[open-science] RE : [GOAL] On OA's one and only overwhelming priority

Guédon Jean-Claude jean.claude.guedon at umontreal.ca
Sat Dec 17 11:33:37 UTC 2011

The devil in the details: of course we need the mandates, but succeeding in getting mandates is not an excercise in rationality or logic; it is a move fraught with a large amount of institutional politics. Because of this, anything that helps the politics of the debate move closer to a mandate is helpful. Focusing only on the mandate does not necessarily help this process. Not forgetting the mandate is the important point but more attention should be placed on practical tactics to reach this particular goal. And, of course, there are other possible goals that also help OA to move forward. They too require effective tactics.

Jean-Claude Guédon

-------- Message d'origine--------
De: goal-bounces at eprints.org de la part de Stevan Harnad
Date: ven. 16/12/2011 09:24
À: open-science
Cc: goal at eprints.org
Objet : [GOAL]  On OA's one and only overwhelming priority
On 2011-12-16, at 7:36 AM, Steve Hitchcock wrote:

> Stevan,    I'm not sure why a question about better repository indexing leads to the answer: Mandates not indexes.

It's not "Mandates, not indexes." 

It's that we won't have anything to index until/unless we mandate!

> Surely both are needed, and are mutually reinforcing. You improve the chances of mandates if it can be shown that existing repository content is being used more. At what point in the growth of mandates do we concede the need for better repository services?

When the repositories have enough content to make better services worthwhile. You can't squeeze blood out of a stone. While IRs are near-empty of OA content, there's next to nothing to search on, and certainly nothing to crow about.

My response was actually to Peter Murray-Rust who wrote: 

> "I would feel more strongly about supporting GreenOA if we actually built an index of it - it's not fair to expect the scholarly poor to traverse the tangle of badly organised "free" publications."

This may make PM-R -- a crusader for open data, and for libre OA that ensures article harvestability and data-crunchability by data-base services -- feel more strongly about OA. 

But what is actually needed to get researchers to provide OA is OA mandates, not indices or even navigational tools to "traverse the tangle of badly organised 'free' publications."

The trouble with that tangle is not that it is badly organized but that it is mostly non-existent.

Every year, maybe every month, one hears someone say that "there won't be OA, or they won't provide OA, or OA will not be useful -- until/unless X" (substitute for X anything you like: indexes, navigational/analytic tools, richer metadata, copyright reform, reliable digital preservation, Gold OA, whatever you like).

My reply, always, is that there is one thing, and one thing only, that is needed in order to have 100% (green) OA, and that is immediate-deposit (no delay, no waiver, ID/OA) mandates, adopeted globally by institutions and funders.

If we keep on believing and waiting upon all the X's that people propose instead, we will wait for more needlessly lost decades.

(On the other hand, whenever anyone states clearly that the overwhelming priority is to mandate OA, and that, in addition, X too would be welcome, I happily applaud.)

> What is the current rate of growth of mandates? Might it have slowed?

Yes, it has.

> If so, why might that be?

I'm not sure, but I think it's for two main reasons: 

(1) distraction by and diversion to X's (the two main distractions being publishing reform (gold OA) and copyright reform) 
(2) the adoption of ill-thought-out and ineffective mandate models.

I hope, fervently, that this will now be remedied by Bernard Rentier's and Alma Swan's  newly chartered EnablingOpenScholarship, created specifically to give institutions reliable guidance on how to formulate and implement their OA mandates. http://www.openscholarship.org

> Perhaps it is because institutions will get progressively hard to convince (the early adopters will presumably have been the easiest to persuade). Maybe some of them are asking the same sort of questions about repositories as Donat.

There is no question that institutions (and funders) are hard to convince. That's why a concerted global effort to convince them, based on clear, well-thought-out, tested methods is so very much needed. And I hope EnablingOpenScholarship will provide just that.

> The OA repository world should not stop to wait for mandates, it should be developing on every front. Instead, repositories are developing on other fronts, just not necessarily OA #jiscmrd

Yes, through their entire decade of existence, OA repositories have been developing on every front, just not OA.

And that's the point. 

Please, let's not lose another decade like that.

Mandating OA is the only way to achieve OA. As long as we keep running off in every other direction, we will get everywhere else, but not to OA.


> On 15 Dec 2011, at 12:28, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>> On 2011-12-15, at 5:58 AM, Donat Agosti wrote:
>>> Dear Peter and Stevan
>>> "I would feel more strongly about supporting GreenOA if we actually built an index of it"
>>> I always thought that this is or is happening within these two
>>> The two leading lists of OA repositories around the world are the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR) and the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR).
>>> Or does this index really not exist - this then would be the same problem we face in taxonomy, where have no clue what we published since 1758 the start date of zoological taxonomic literature that we need to consult to make sure our names are correct.
>> Dear Donat,
>> Yes, ROAR and OpenDOAR are indexing Green OA in that they track the repositories as well as their content (though the content cannot yet be sorted reliably by full-text/metadata-only, and peer-reviewed/non-peer-reviewed, but only by indirect indicators such as document-type and size).
>> More important, the all-important annual ratio of institutional deposits to total annual institutional peer-reviewed research output is not being tracked, for the simple reason that institutions don't yet know their total annual research output! They have no mechanism for monitoring it. In fact, OA repositories will become that mechanism -- but only after it has been mandated that they must deposit it all! 
>> Keith Jeffery's CERIF and CRIS's would do this, but they need to be adopted to do so.
>> So, yet again, it is Green OA mandates that are needed most, not Green OA indexes.
>> (Yassine Gargouri has been periodically measuring the ratio of annual ISI-indexed institutional output that is Green and Gold OA, and will shortly post some results. And the EU has called for proposals to develop a long-term mechanism for measuring this ratio.)
>> Cheers, Stevan
>>> Cheers
>>> Donat
>>> From: open-science-bounces at lists.okfn.org [mailto:open-science-bounces at lists.okfn.org] On Behalf Of Thomas Kluyver
>>> Sent: Thursday, 15 December 2011 2:13 PM
>>> To: Peter Murray-Rust
>>> Cc: john wilbanks; open-science at lists.okfn.org
>>> Subject: Re: [open-science] How CC-BY can become TA
>>> On 15 December 2011 03:24, Peter Murray-Rust <pm286 at cam.ac.uk> wrote:
>>> I would feel more strongly about supporting GreenOA if we actually built an index of it - it's not fair to expect the scholarly poor to traverse the tangle of badly organised "free" publications.
>>> I've had an idea like this in the back of my mind for a while. When you're denied access to a paper on a journal website, it would be great to have a browser plugin to search institutional repositories etc. for the same paper. A sort of alternative DOI resolution system. Obviously there's some technical challenges in that - and the publishers probably wouldn't cheer for it - but it seems worth exploring.
>>> Thomas
>>> <Untitled attachment 00101.txt>

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