[Open-access] [GOAL] Re: Re: Fight Publishing Lobby's Latest "FIRST" Act to Delay OA - Nth Successor to PRISM, RWA etc.

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at gmail.com
Fri Nov 22 16:28:12 UTC 2013

On Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 10:52 AM, Bjoern Brembs <b.brembs at gmail.com> wrote:

> *SH:* Institutional users need access to subscription journals today… if
> the content is not OA, it means paying tolls.

>  *BB:* Is that supposed to be a justification for keeping subscriptions?

Yes, till the must-have articles are accessible OA.

And a further justification for mandating Green OA.

> *BB:* The plan does not interfere with current mandates, on the contrary,
> it will complement current mandates by providing an infrastructure that
> will yield time and effort back to researchers (rather than demanding time
> and effort from them as current mandates do), by offering them support,
> rather than demanding extra work. "We will take care of your data and
> software mandates for you!" is what institutes will say once we have that
> infrastructure.

Fine with me, once you have that labour-saving infrastructure.

But what has that to do with cancelling journals while their contents are
not yet available as Green OA?

> *BB:* All I would to do is similar to what, e.g., PMC offers:
> http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/?term=brembs[au]
> These are most of my articles, none of them I put at PMC, some of them I
> made OA and some of them I had no idea they were OA.

What's OA is OA, and harvesters, including PMC, will find them.

But the challenge is what is not OA -- and that's still the majority of
articles (in every journal). So no grounds for journal cancelation (except
what's beyond the budget). And no excuse for not implementing a strong,
effective Green OA mandate. The latter will solve all the problems, fast.

*BB:* Oh, I didn't realize what PMC does (see above) is illegal! If that's
> the case, this would really be a problem. I can assure you, from the 11
> articles on this page above, I'm only aware of 5 being OA, the other 6 I
> had no idea.

Check the articles. Don't just speculate. *Are they accessible full-text?* *Are
they current articles?* (The older articles may have been made accessible
after the elapse of a publisher embargo of a year or more, and as a result
of an agreement with the publisher, in exchange for allowing the embargo --
a Faustian Bargain if ever there was one!)

> *BB:* I'm saying we should cut the subscriptions that will free the most
> money, regardless of anything else.

In the real world, the selection criterion for librarians is not just
budget limits and which subscriptions will free the most money, but which
journals are needed and used the most.

> *BB:* For simplicity, let's say 30% cuts lead to a drop in access of 30%
> of the articles. Let's say the harvested database covers 50% of that, which
> means a temporary drop in access of just 15%. In my books, any faculty
> member not willing to accept that tiny price in return for several hours
> per week in saved time normally spent dealing with data, software and
> literature is a fool.

I don't know whether 85% access is the cut-off point, but I do know what
you invented these figures. If we instead invent, say, 75%, 50% or 25%, the
cancelation question looks rather different.

> *BB:* If faculty are not willing to pay this tiny price, we indeed
> deserve what's coming.

No. If faculty are not willing to pay the tiny price of a few keystrokes to
deposit all their papers (and their funders and institutions are not
willing to mandate it), then we indeed deserve what's coming.

Again, if faculty aren't even willing to accept a temporary 15% drop in
> access in return for the windfall benefits they receive, we do not deserve
> any reform whatsoever and ought to bear the consequences.

Bjoern, you are speculating about what's 3rd-party harvestable, and you are
inventing access percentages. That means you are merely shadow-boxing with

*BB:* Why, of all people, would you demand that anything other than 100% OA
> is insufficient? Why would you let the best (~100%) be the enemy of the
> better (85%)?

Maybe 85% immediate OA would be enough -- but we are nowhere near 85%
immediate OA (except in your imagination!)

*Stevan Harnad*
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