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

Bjoern Brembs b.brembs at gmail.com
Fri Nov 29 13:32:59 UTC 2013

On Friday, November 22, 2013, 5:28:12 PM, you 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.

Who decides what must-have articles are? Isn't
that faculty? As such, if the faculty agrees that
a subscription cut is justifiable if the funds are
used for developing infrastructure that will not
only solve all access problems but also save them
time, everything's ok?

In other words, if campaigning for subscription
cuts results in faculty agreeing to such cuts, all
must-have articles are covered, be definition.
That need not be the 100% OA access you demand.

> And a further justification for mandating Green OA.

These mandates need no justification in this
forum, I hope.

>>  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?

Like everything, infrastructure cannot be built without
money. You might ask the tax payers for yet more
money, I prefer taking tax payer funds back from

Being able to do science is more important than
accessing it - after all, if you can't do science,
there will be nothing to access.
> What's OA is OA, and harvesters, including PMC, will find them.

That's what I want to do - on a global scale.

> But the challenge is what is not OA -- and
> that's still the majority of articles (in every
> journal).

Do you mean new articles or all articles? These
are important numbers so I'd like to have a good
estimate: of all articles that have been published
since 1664, what percentage is openly accessible
My estimate would be a large majority, but I may
well be totally off.

>> 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?

Those are my articles, of course I checked
that they are accessible full text and I know I
published them in a subscription journal (someof
these journals are still subscription journals) and
I honestly have no idea under what agreement they
have moved int PMC.

That these articles are in PMC indicates to me
that your prior statement of the author needing to
put the article OA, cannot be all that accurate:
I'm the author and I had no idea they were OA!

>  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!)

But that's a major component of what I'm trying to
say: in contrast to all current options (at least
those that I use for my field), we can already
offer a large majority of the entire body of
literature in full text with functionalities
nobody else can offer. Obviously, the older
articles will be overrepresented, but we would
still have many subscriptions to cover much of the
newer articles from.

Just temporarily cutting access to a small section
of the latest articles would free enough money  to
build something that everyone will want - simply
because it will save everybody so much time and

>> 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.

Well, if the goal is to fee funds to develop
infrastructure and libraries do not cut those
subscriptions that will free the most funds, they
will not be able to develop the infrastructure -
that would obviously not only be
counterproductive, it would be outright silly.

If you are arguing that libraries only act silly,
we might as well stop any efforts of reform that
are library-based.

> BB: For simplicity, let's say 30% cuts lead to
> 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.

I invent them because we hold the purse strings!
We determine how much access we want to sacrifice
for getting ourselves from the 1990s into the 21st
century. The number is something that needs to be
agreed upon. Once we agreed on, say 18% and we
have 50% coverage due to harvesting the
literature, we can cut 36% of subscriptions (on
average) and have the full support of the faculty.

Obviously, if the faculty agree on 12% and the
coverage is 66%, we can also cut 36%.

> 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.

First, this is not mutually exclusive so I see no
need to disagree with you.

Second, in my suggestion, faculty only need to
sacrifice once for a temporary period. In the
green scheme, they'd need to sacrifice for the rest
of their careers.

It doesn't take a cognitive psychologist to
realize what will be met with less resistance.

>>  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!)

I'm not talking 85% OA - I'm talking 85%
accessibility for faculty which would free up
enough funds to develop a technical solution which
will lead to 100% OA not due to politicians and
funders forcing it, but due to researchers choosing
the most efficient and time-saving way to

Best wishes,


Björn Brembs
Universität Regensburg

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