Posts Tagged ‘self archiving’

Steven Harnad on self-archiving

I’ve never met the man, even though he teaches in Montreal, but if I was to put a face on his written voice, it would look something like this.

When the U.S. congress tried to pass a bill mandating the self-archiving of research, publishers bounded together to lobby against the bill. The American Anthropological Association signed on too.  The lobby group raised numerous arguments against self-archiving, and even claimed to speak on behalf of researchers – to which many have since argued it did not.

In response to Scott Jaschik’s article, “In Whose Interest?” (2006), Steven Harnad unleashes a powerful advocacy strategy:

“The AAA (and AAP and PSP and FASEB and STM and DC Principles Coalition) objections to the FRPAA proposal to mandate OA self-archiving (along with its counterpart proposals in Europe, the UK, Australia and elsewhere worldwide) are all completely predictable, have been aired many times before, and are empirically as well as logically so weak and flawed as to be decisively refutable.

But OA advocates cannot rest idle. Empirically and logically invalid arguments can nevertheless prevail if their proponents are (like the publishing lobby) well-funded and able to lobby widely and vigorously.

There are many more of us than there are in the publishing lobby, but the publishing lobby is fully united under its simple objective: to defeat self-archiving mandates, or, failing that, to make the embargo as long as possible.

OA advocates, in contrast, are not united, and our counter-arguments risk gallopping off in dozens of different directions, many of them just as invalid and untenable as the publishers’ arguments. So if I were the publisher lobby, I would try to divide and conquer, citing flawed pro-mandate or pro-OA or anti-publishing arguments as a camouflage, to disguise the weakness of the publishing lobby’s own flawed arguments.”

To achieve this, Harnad supports self-archiving with 8 points:

All objections to the FRPAA proposal to mandate OA self-archiving can be decisively answered:

(1) Open access has been empirically demonstrated to benefit research, researchers and hence the public that funds the research, by substantially increasing research usage and impact.

(2) There is no evidence to date that self-archiving has any negative effect on subscription revenue.

(3) With an immediate-deposit/optional-access (ID/OA) mandate, deposit must be immediate (upon acceptance for publication), not delayed; only the access-setting (Open Access vs. Closed Access) can be delayed (“embargoed”).

(4) In recognition of its benefits to research, 94% of journals already endorse immediate OA-setting; so the semi-automatic email-eprint request feature of the Institutional Repository software (allowing would-be users to email the author individually to request and receive the eprint by email) will only be needed for 6% of articles, to tide over any embargo interval.

(5) OA is optimal for research and immediately reachable via self-archiving mandates right now; publishing models can and will adapt, if and when it should ever become necessary.

(6) In response to attempts to delay and filibuster the adoption of the self-archiving mandate by calling for more “empirical studies to test for its likely impact”: mandating self-archiving is itself the empirical test; the impact of the mandate can be reviewed annually to see what other effects it may be having — apart from the positive effects evidence has already shown self-archiving to have.

(7) The way to answer any suggestion that it is unfair to put publisher revenues at potential risk for the sake of general public access to a literature most of which none of the general public is ever likely to want to read is to note that OA is intended for the sake of the public benefits of the research that the public funds, which are maximized by making research maximally available to the users for whom it is mostly written, namely, researchers, so they can use and apply it in further research and applications, as intended, for the benefit of the public that funded it. (It will be publicly accessible to everyone else too, but only as a secondary benefit, not the primary rationale for OA, which is free access to publicly funded research, for researcher use, for public benefit.)

(8) All evidence indicates that voluntarism, invitations, etc. simply do not work to generate self-archiving, whereas mandates do.

(Harnad 2006)

http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/93-guid.html)

OA publishing in anthropology – some more notes.

Unresolved oppositions –

Alex Golub arguing toll-access publishing model is broken:

“If you think that making money by giving away content is a bad idea, you should see what happens when the AAA tries to make money selling it. To put it kindly, our reader-pays model has never worked very well. Getting over our misconceptions about open access requires getting over misconceptions of the success of our existing publishing program. The choice we are facing is not that of an unworkable ideal versus a working system. It is the choice between a future system which may work and an existing system which we know does not.”

(Golub 2007:6)

Stacy Lathrop arguing the system isn’t broken:

“Reading through old AAA Bulletins, Newsletters and Reports, a reader quickly discovers that at times when the AAA has reached bumpy finances, decisions were made by the executive board to assure publications are sustainable.”

(Lathrop 2007:7)

Stacy Lathrop on the extra costs many OA advocates ignore:

“Beyond that, an electronic publishing program should account for costs to market its electronic journals, for training users to use the new means of production, and for responding to users’ questions, problems and needs.”

(Lathrop 2007:7)

This point really caught my attention – what kind of marketing does the AAA do for its journals? In the survey of students I held last year, students were only aware of a few key journals. Online, well… AnthroSource champions all the AAA journals?

I imagine there is a market of librarians to which most journals try to target with whatever marketing budget they have – going for subscription income. Any editors care to share how they allocate their marketing budget, and perhaps share numbers? ie: how much is spent marketing?

My own gut reaction:

I don’t think “anthropology” as a whole is very good at marketing anthropology, aside to itself.  Part of my thesis was motivated from my life in the grad program, constantly explaining to my friends and acquaintances what anthropology is, and isn’t.

But perhaps the AAA publishing program is sustainable – but just barely. And in this rough environment the change to OA is seen as being too risky. But why aren’t they at least promoting self-archiving? Or turning Anthro Source into a real community driven site? (As Alex Golub and others have been pushing for).

Stacy Lathrop. 2007. “Friends, Why Are We Sinking?.” http://0-www.anthrosource.net.mercury.concordia.ca/doi/abs/10.1525/an.2007.48.4.7

Alex Golub. 2007. “With a Business Model Like This, Who Needs Enemies?.” http://0-www.anthrosource.net.mercury.concordia.ca/doi/abs/10.1525/an.2007.48.4.6

self-archiving and anthropology v2

The original self-archiving and anthropology post I wrote reads like an attack on the Mana’o repository, based on a single email server issue. I consider the original post one of my worst (the post is one of those written-in-the-moment blog specials that did not turn out so well). After re-sending my emails to the repository, and successfully incorporating one of my professors articles into the archive, I can say they do an amazing job and I’m amazed at how simple the process is.

I checked out the copyright legalities before sending in the article, but this was unnecessary as the project team does all this work for you. It really is as easy as sending an email, with the desired work one wants to be self archived attached.

Many thanks to the Mana’o Project for making self-archiving so easy for anthropologists! Now I have an excellent example to convince more professors to embrace OA.

self-archiving study

[some notes I thought I’d share]

Reading Response:

Open access self-archiving: An author study (2005)

Swan, Alma and Sheridan Brown, Key Perspectives Limited

Key Perspectives Ltd “was set up in 1996 to provide high quality market research and consultancy services to the scholarly information industry.”

This survey involved 1296 respondents, the responses from an email list of 25,000.

In part deals with “…author experiences and opinions on publishing in open access journals…” (p1)

reasons for publishing OA:

  • “principle of free access for all”
  • seen as way to reach larger audience
  • way to publish more rapidly
  • or even considered more prestigious than toll journals

reasons for not publishing oa:

  • “unfamiliar with any [oa journals] in their field”
  • no OA journal covering field/topic

This study, one of many Key Perspectives has produced, focuses on self-archiving.

Ways to self-archive:

  1. institutional repository
  2. subject-based repository
  3. personal/institutional website → most popular

“Self-archiving activity is greatest amongst the most prolific authors, that is, those who publish the largest number of papers.” (p6)

“There is still a substantial proportion of authors unaware of the possibility of providing open access to their work by self-archiving. Of the authors who have not yet self-archived any articles, 71% remain unaware of the option.” (p6)


“Nevertheless, the evidence there is to hand points to the likelihood that the peaceful – and perhaps mutually beneficial – co-existence of traditional journals and open access archives is entirely possible; in biological terms, mutualism, rather than parasitism or symbiosis, might best describe the relationship.” (p11)

As the recent release of Anthropology Now magazine shows, there are still new journals/publication outlets being formed under the traditional tole-access business model. Anthropology Now seems to give some OA to articles as they first appear, but controversy abounds as to its true nature given that it also has a subscription page and asks for help promoting it to libraries.  See Jason Baird Jackson’s post on his blog.

“in the vast majority of cases (over 90% is the latest estimate9,10) the publisher expressly permits an author to self-archive their own final draft – the version that was finally submitted to the publisher after peer review revisions and recommendations have been incorporated.” (p10)


“We know from Key Perspectives Ltd the work reported here and elsewhere17,18 that authors publish primarily to communicate their research findings to their peers, so that they can be built upon in future research efforts. Depositing an article at the time of acceptance for publication also means that the inevitable delay at the publisher before the article finally appears in the journal is immaterial – the article is already available to anyone who wants to read it and use it for their work. The research cycle is thus shortened. And of course, the article is available to all interested parties, not just to readers in institutions that can afford the journal in which it is published.” (p12)

Interesting to incorporate anthropology specific arguments for opening up readership – “speaking back at anthropologists”


“Previous surveys by KPL1,2,17,18 and others22 have indicated that there is a substantial level of ignorance within the scholarly community with respect to open access, both open access journals and self-archiving. Those respondents who had not self-archived their work by any means were asked whether they were aware of the possibility of providing open access to their work in this way.

Twenty nine percent of them were aware of this and 71% were not.” (p 50)


“80% of self-archivers have deposited their articles themselves; in 19% of cases the library staff archived articles for them and in 10% of cases this was carried out by students or assistants.”

Go assistants go!

“Some employers, such as Queensland University of Technology in Australia29, and some research funders (the Wellcome Foundation has announced a mandatory self-archiving policy for its own grant-holders21) see the benefit of providing open access by self-archiving to the research carried out under their auspices and have elected to mandate this activity. On the whole, though, employers and research funders have as yet not chosen to go down this path. Only 4% of the self-archivers in this present study say that they are required to make their work open access in this way, and 86% of these people are from Southampton University School of Electronics & Computer Science which has had a mandate in place since January 2003.” (p69)

I have been pretty focussed on individual choices, and individual publishing experiences. Perhaps I’ve been too focussed on authors themselves, and should spend more time looking at institutional policies as mentioned above. If institutions begin to mandate OA, than it won’t matter what pushes anthropologists to publish OA or not, since they will have to. I wonder what kinds of deliberation have gone on at Concordia about this.

“A lack of awareness is also seen with respect to open access-related issues generally, as has been shown in previous studies.” (p77)

Hopefully this project can help scratch at the awareness issue…


“The more prolific an author – that is, the more articles s/he publishes – the more likely they are to self-archive their work on websites or in institutional repositories. It is likely, therefore, that as greater numbers of the most productive authors become aware of self-archiving the number of articles in open access repositories will rise quite steeply.

One teacher I have who has been a very generous collaborator is also a prolific author. It’s true that he/she has self-archived a large number of articles. This goes against what I said about part-time being more open to self-archiving since their publications didn’t lead to tenure… In this case, more publications -> more self archiving.  Also, all self-archiving I’ve seen has been on personal websites – which this study claims is the most popular route. I’ll try and get more people onto Mana’o this week.

The caveat here is that issue of awareness. Awareness of self-archiving amongst those who have not carried out this activity remains low, though scholars in the disciplines of library and information science, computer science, physics and mathematics are better informed than those in other subjects. But there are still many scholars who remain unaware of self-archiving and still others who, though aware, have not elected to undertake the activity, at least so far.” (p78)

This provides some nice support for the advocacy and engagement side of my research project. I’ve succeeded in raising the open access issue with a number of teachers, and will continue to do so.

The amount of material on OA Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown have produced is awesome to say the least. I’ll be commenting more on it soon, but for now I’ll have to settle for scribbled notes and quotes]

Big thanks to Olivier Charboneau for suggesting these articles!

self-archiving and anthropology – not there yet

[warning this is a grumpy blogger post… it could have been written in more productive way, but anyways… ]

I was pretty excited to help some collaborators self-archive their work. Having read hundreds of blog posts advocating it, and being a strong believer in the ethical necessity of making anthro research accessible, I am sad to say that I’m very disappointed with the state of self-archiving repositories.

I started with RoMEO, a database which keeps track of self-archiving and OA policies for various academic publishers. This is the first step to finding out if you have permission to self-archive your work. [unless of course you signed away exclusivity believing the publisher would do a good job getting your work ‘out there’. ]

Once I determined it was okay to self-archive the work, I emailed the publisher to confirm that this was indeed okay. This part worked out well.

Excited, and with full legal permission, I went out in search of self-archiving repositories. I started with the document “self-archiving made easy for anthropologists” produced by Kerim at Savage Minds.

It recommends the Mana’o archive, and it makes it sound incredibly easy. Unfortunately the Mana’o site seems to have fallen into disrepair. The front page hasn’t been updated in months, neither has its blog. It says it is being worked on, and to check back soon, but other than it comes across as quite messy and honestly a real turnoff to the teachers whose work I’m trying to archive.

I went ahead with it anyways, but two days later all my emails came back. The Mana’o email address is full, or broken. Either way, its not really being maintained. Server troubles jinxed my first self-archiving attempt, but hopefully the next will go better.

Bummer.

Thankfully Concordia will have its own institutional repository, and this I think makes a lot more sense anyways. Also, I can always help teachers create simple blogs or websites to archive the work… With the right key words and site design Google will help make the work accessible… but a repository really is key…

I tried emailing the Mana’o list to offer my services to get things going, but that email bounced too!!!

Anyone know whats going on with it? Or can anyone help recommend places/repositories for anthropological work?

[so all that to say, I’m sure its just some maintenance work that needs to be done over at Mana’o and once they do get it all running I’ll be sure to support it!]

Open Access Day at Concordia Library

Yesterday was Open Access Day. I found out about this today, but I was still able to pickup an information handout advocating open access journals, and an open access pin!

I was actually going to pickup a copy of a thesis a prior anthropology graduate had written about online communities, to get an idea what a thesis even looked like (funny to be writing something without ever having read one).

I asked about finding the thesis, and in doing so bumped into a very helpful Concordia librarian, OA advocate, and blogger, Olivier Charbonneau. I discussed my research project with him, and he shared a slew of information that gave me an idea just how much I was missing and how impossible it will be to digest it all. At least I won’t be “stalling” out with all the readings he recommended.

We also spoke about self archiving repositories, as a number of teachers I’ve interviewed have expressed a desire to make their work available outside of journals, but they did not know how to go about doing so. As part of my attempts to collaborate and make my research beneficial I’ve offered to help them do this. Charbonneau offered some suggestions as to how to go about making sure one has permission.

Yes, it can be as easy as dropping it into a repository, but my teachers love to stress and they want to make sure they have permission first. This seems to be the stumbling block, along with time, that has prevented the people I’ve interviewed from self-archiving.

I also learned that Concordia Library will soon have its own online repository. I’m sure researchers will make more use of an academy-branded repository. Maybe having the prestige of the institution at stake will start a competition of sorts for making work available. In the meantime I’ll be investigating the various self-archiving repositories and probably use them all. Why limit your article to one?