Saturday, August 03, 2013

IEEE’s Anthony Durniak on the state of Open Access: Where are we, what still needs to be done?


Anthony Durniak
The tenth in a series exploring the current state of Open Access (OA) the Q&A below is with IEEE’s Anthony Durniak. Durniak leads the professional staff that operate IEEE’s publishing and online information services. He is also responsible for IEEE Spectrum, the organisation’s flagship monthly magazine of technology trends and insight, and The Proceedings of the IEEE, the organisation’s leading scholarly journal.

Incorporated in 1896, and headquartered in New York City, IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a non-profit corporation and professional association. It has more than 425,000 members in more than 160 countries, about 51.4% of whom reside in the United States. Membership consists of engineers, scientists, and allied professionals whose technical interests are rooted in electrical and computer sciences, engineering, and related disciplines.

IEEE publishes around 160 journals, magazines and conference proceedings from the more than 1,300 conferences and workshops it holds each year. As such, it publishes nearly a third of the world’s technical literature in electrical engineering, computer science, and electronics.

IEEE is, therefore, a scholarly publisher, although not a commercial publisher but a learned society. However, it does work in co-operation with commercial publisher John Wiley and Sons, Inc. to produce technical books, monographs, guides, and textbooks.

Today all IEEE content since 1913 is available in digital format and the IEEE Xplore digital subscription library contains more than 3.5 million articles produced from all of IEEE’s periodicals and annual conferences. It also includes technical standards, e-books from the IEEE Press-Wiley joint imprint, and publications from other technical societies.

Initial scepticism and concern


Like most legacy publishers, IEEE’s initial response to Open Access was a mixture of scepticism and concern. In 2004, for instance, Durniak warned the American Library Association Annual Conference that “Free open access runs the risk of destroying professional societies.”

By 2007, however, IEEE could no longer ignore the growing calls for OA. That year it published its Principles of Scholarly Publishing, a response, it said, to the US National Institutes of Health Public Access mandate and growing requests from the library community for IEEE to state its position on OA.

Amongst other things, The Principles of Scholarly Publishing included the statement, “IEEE liberally grants to its authors the right to post their own content for free public access on the author's own web site or their employer's institutional repository.” In other words, it supported Green OA, or self-archiving.

But with OA continuing to gain mindshare IEEE realised it would need to do more, so last year it launched four Gold OA journals — IEEE Journal of the Electron Devices Society, IEEE Transactions on Emerging Topics in Computing, IEEE Photonics Journal, and IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine.

And this year IEEE announced a new three-part OA program, which consists of its Gold OA journals, its decision to offer Hybrid OA for all its peer-reviewed journals, and the launch of a new PLOS ONE-style mega journal called IEEE Access.

In the process of embracing Gold OA, however, IEEE has retreated a little on Green OA, changing the conditions under which authors can self-archive. Specifically, researchers can no longer self-archive the published version of their paper, only the final accepted manuscript.

“We did this to be fair to the authors who are now paying article processing charges (APCs) to make their article available open access,” Durniak explains. “Those article processing charges cover the expenses of several value added steps — from the peer review to the value added copy-editing, page formatting, and reference checking. Authors who pay those APCs can refer anyone to our web site where readers can immediately obtain for free the final published version of the OA article. Authors who go the traditional route and let the subscription pay all the costs can now post their final accepted manuscript on their own website.”

That would seem to be fair enough. Nevertheless, IEEE’s approach to OA has attracted critics. In May, for instance, Peter Brett, a researcher at the Surrey Space Centre, published a post on his blog entitled “The IEEE does not do Open Access”. Brett’s complaint was that IEEE does not permit reuse of the OA articles it publishes (i.e. it does not use the CC-BY licence), and it still requires authors to sign over copyright in their papers to IEEE (OA publishers like BioMed Central and PLOS, by contrast, use CC-BY and allow authors to retain copyright).

When I raised this issue with Durniak in May he replied, “We believe ours is a balanced approach that is in the interest of both authors who create these works, as well as the general public that consumes them. We listen to many of our authors’ concerns about issues such as plagiarism. Approximately 20 percent of authors who responded to a recent IEEE survey, in fact, indicated they’ve had work plagiarized or infringed. At this time, we believe a copyright transfer represents the best option for protecting intellectual property and guarding against plagiarism and other inappropriate uses of the work

OA advocates like Harvard’s Stuart Shieber, however, dispute publisher claims that assigning copyright to them protects researchers from plagiarism. “Pursuing plagiarists is a matter of calling their behavior out for what it is, with the concomitant professional opprobrium and dishonor that such behavior deserves. Publishers should feel free to help with that social process; they don’t need any rights to do so.”

In response to Brett’s criticism of IEEE’s failure to embrace CC-BY, Durniak told me, “We at the IEEE acknowledge that open access is an evolving publishing model and as such is subject to much debate. But the IEEE is not alone in resisting the rush to the CC-BY Creative Commons license. Indeed you recently reported about the position of the Rockefeller University Press, which also avoids using the CC-BY license.”

The analogy with Rockefeller University Press, however, is probably not apposite since RUP has chosen not to offer any Gold OA options, and so receives no article-processing fees. In resisting CC-BY, RUP is simply seeking to protect its subscription income, even though it makes all the papers it publishers Green OA after only a six-month embargo.

Elsewhere, last December professor of software engineering at St Andrews University Ian Sommerville responded to IEEE’s Hybrid OA trial by posting a note on his blog entitled, “The IEEE simply doesn’t get open access publishing”. Sommerville suggested that the very notion of Hybrid OA was “complete nonsense”, since “Either a journal is open access — available freely to all or it isn’t. There is no halfway house that makes sense”.

Sommerville added that if the real cost of publishing an article was $3,000 then, “it looks to me like the IEEE is a pretty inefficient organization.”

It may be that IEEE has come to agree that $3,000 is too high, since it subsequently decided to discount its Hybrid OA fees by $1,250 (41%). Explains Durniak, “$3,000 is what we in the US would call the ‘list price’ for the Article Processing Charge for the hybrid option in our traditional journals. We reduced the APC to $1,750 in order to encourage participation in the new Open Access plan we introduced this year.”

He added, “It is our intention to leave it at $1,750 at least through 2014.”

The APC for IEEE Access is also $1,750, as is the APC for The Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine. The other topical OA journals charge $1,350.

Noteworthy


That then is some background. What about Durniaks’s answers in the Q&A below?

Two things struck me. First, it is clear that there is still a great deal of anxiety amongst publishers (especially learned societies) about the financial implications of OA, especially Green OA. On a number of occasions Durniak stresses the need for a “sustainable” system. The concern at the moment, he explains, “is the attempt by some to insist that articles funded by the traditional subscription model be made available by green OA after some embargo period. That is the approach being advocated by the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

The specific danger, he adds, is that “If the waiting time for free article access is too short, readers will stop buying subscriptions and instead wait for the free articles to arrive. That will inevitably force many publishers — especially small scholarly associations — to stop publishing. That is why the IEEE has recommended to OSTP that the embargo period for its public access program be 24 months.”

This is an oft-repeated claim made by publishers. To date, however, they have failed to provide any convincing data to demonstrate that their fear is real, although they have tried. Consider, for instance, a report published last year by the UK Publishers Association and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP). This claimed that libraries would cancel 65% of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and 44% of Scientific, Technical and Medical journal subscriptions if the papers published in them were freely available after a 6-month embargo. When I interviewed ALPSP chief executive Audrey McCulloch, however, it was far from clear to me that such a threat had been demonstrated.

The second thing to strike me in what Durniak has to say is that IEEE has not seen many requests from the developing world for Gold OA. “One reason for this may be that authors in the developing world can already publish for free in our traditional journals,” suggests Durniak. He adds, “Furthermore, we will offer waivers of APCs in cases where authors can show financial hardship.”

He continues, “From the readers’ point of view, we think most people who need our content already have it through subscriptions by local universities. IEEE’s prices for its traditional subscription journals already have special discounts for the lesser developed countries and for academic consortia.”

This is an interesting point. Certainly it could be argued that the Gold OA pay-to-publish model has little or nothing to offer researchers in the developing world, even if they could afford it. As Durniak points out, under the traditional subscription model they can read the contents of journals at a discounted price (although some deny that these discounts are what publishers claim them to be), and if they want to publish in them they can do so without charge, and without the need to request a fee waiver. They can then make the papers OA by self-archiving them as Green OA.

The problem, however, is that if publishers like IEEE extend their Green embargoes to 24 months (or more), developing world researchers would seem somewhat less likely to opt for OA, since Green OA at 24 months is hardly OA, and they would surely be reluctant to request a Gold OA waiver if there is no guarantee of getting one. In its FAQ IEEE says, “Article processing charges may be waived in cases of hardship — each case will be considered individually”. That is not a guarantee. 

On the other hand, as Dominique Babini points out in her Q&A, researchers in Latin America and Africa may be more interested in taking their own road to OA. 

But please read the Q&A below and see what Durniak has to say. 

Earlier contributors to this series include palaeontologist Mike Taylor, cognitive scientist Stevan Harnad, former librarian Fred Friend, SPARC director Heather Joseph, publishing consultant Joseph Esposito, Portuguese librarian Eloy Rodrigues, Executive Officer of the Australian Open Access Support Group Danny Kingsley, de facto leader of the Open Access movement Peter Suber, and Open Access Advocacy leader at the Latin American Council on Social Sciences (CLACSO) Dominique Babini.

The Q&A begins


Q: When and why did IEEE embrace Open Access?

A: We first acknowledged it in 2007 when the volunteer leaders of the IEEE drafted our Principles of Scholarly Publishing. At that time, we recognized that various communities may require different channels for delivering the results of their scientific and technical activities, one of which would be open access.

Equally important, those principles stated that all conceivable ways of knowledge dissemination must rely on a self-sustaining business model. IEEE believes this is necessary to preserve the editorial integrity of the content and protect the publishing process from undue influence by any government or commercial agendas. At that time, IEEE began some small experiments with open access.

In response to increasing requests from our members and authors, as well as the organizations that fund their work, IEEE introduced a comprehensive,
three-part open access program in 2013.

First, it introduced several fully open access journals in specific topical areas of interest. These journals are completely supported by article processing charges (APCs).

The second part of this program is to offer the option for any author whose article is accepted for publication in one of our traditional journals to pay an APC and have their article available open access. Since the rest of the journal is still supported by subscriptions, we refer to this as the hybrid approach. All IEEE journals are hybrid journals, except those that are fully OA.

And third is our new mega journal, called IEEE Access, which is also completely open access, and focused on multi-disciplinary articles, especially those dealing with applied topics.

Q: Do you think that OA inevitably leads to conflict and disagreement between publishers and the research community? On his blog, for instance, Peter Brett, a researcher at the Surrey Space Centre, argues, “The IEEE claims to offer ‘fully Open Access’ publishing options to all of their authors. In fact, they offer no such thing.” I assume you would disagree with Brett’s conclusion, but why do you think publishers are so frequently criticised, if not demonised, by researchers when the topic of Open Access comes up? (In the first of this series, for instance, Mike Taylor describes publishers as “exploiters” rather than partners). Is it that researchers, librarians and research funders expect more of publishers than they can reasonably deliver in terms of OA, or is there some other reason?

A: In a word, NO. Researches, authors, librarians, and publishers all basically want the same thing — to identify the best articles and package them for convenient delivery to the widest possible audience so that their content can ultimately benefit humanity.

It is personally frustrating when conversations about how to financially support those goals more often than not become contentious. The answer won’t be the same for every researcher — for some, the traditional publishing model will be the most-desirable route because, for example, it may be important for them to build their reputations by publishing in a journal with an established name. For others, they may decide that “Gold OA” supported by APCs is the best option because they want to pay to publish with a specific organization that can offer certain services. And others will choose the Green OA option because they deem it cost-effective.

All options offer benefits … and all have drawbacks as well. In our case, it’s a delicate balancing act between meeting the needs and requests of our author community, and maintaining a sustainable publishing model that will continue to provide information to the research communities, as IEEE has done for the past century.

Not everyone sees the work behind the scenes for that balancing act — they just see that we’re charging fees, and so it’s easy to want to criticize the approach.

Q: There has always been a great deal of discussion (and disagreement) about the respective roles that Green and Gold OA should play. From the perspective of publishers, what would you say should be the respective roles of Green and Gold OA today, and why?

A: There’s no silver-bullet solution to providing the best access to research. Each has its place and authors and readers need to be prepared for different experiences.

For several years now, IEEE allowed Green OA by permitting authors to post the final accepted version of their papers on their personal websites or their employers’. This approach varies in the time it takes authors to post their works and readers must search a variety of personal and institutional websites to find the content.

Gold OA, on the other hand, is similar to traditional subscription-based publishing in that it is handled by organizations that specialize in publishing. As a result, authors and readers can expect predictable speed of posting, convenient retrieval, and are ensured the integrity of the content.

In terms of the whole industry, the danger at the moment is the attempt by some to insist that articles funded by the traditional subscription model be made available by green OA after some embargo period. That is the approach being advocated by the US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

If the waiting time for free article access is too short, readers will stop buying subscriptions and instead wait for the free articles to arrive. That will inevitably force many publishers — especially small scholarly associations — to stop publishing. That is why the IEEE has recommended to OSTP that the embargo period for its public access program be 24 months.

Q: What about Hybrid OA. What role should that play?

A: IEEE’s policy is that we will provide all options as long as the author community uses them.

Q: How would you characterise the current state of OA around the world?

A: The world is becoming more pragmatic about OA. The initial emotionally charged positions of both the OA advocates and the publishers have been replaced by realistic efforts to develop a sustainable system. IEEE’s three-prong OA program that I described earlier is a perfect example of that.

Q: What still needs to be done, and by whom?

A: It is the responsibility of the entire scholarly community, but especially learned society publishers, to preserve the integrity of the peer-review process and quality of manuscripts.

There is a concern in some quarters that article processing charges in Gold OA will tempt publishers to lower their standards in order to accept more articles and hence collect more money. To avoid even the minimal perception of that type of conflict of interest, we are closely monitoring the rejection rates of our open access publications. So far we are pleased to report that the rejection rates are in line with our traditional subscription-based journals.

We must all also be on the lookout for unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of open access to create derivative products without knowledge or approval of the authors. There have already been reports of new journals doing wholesale reprinting of OA Articles published by others in order to give the impression that they were legitimate.

Q: What in your view is the single most important task that the OA movement should focus on today?

A: Sustainability. Perhaps the volunteer leadership of IEEE worries about this issue more than most because they are engineers. By their nature and training, engineers focus on building systems that are robust, reliable, and economically viable. Examples of this range from your tablet computer, to the electric power grid, to the Internet itself. The publishing program at IEEE is just over 100 years old and has acquired an extremely high reputation in the scientific community as a source of unbiased and trusted information. We intend to keep it operating for at least another century with at least the same level of technical quality.

So IEEE is carefully monitoring its experiences in OA, in terms of objective measures of the impact of the published articles, as well speed of publication and quality of the review process. We will modify our programs as necessary going forward.

One can envision many scenarios where the OA system may not perform as expected. For example, consider the current challenges faced by governments around the world to control their spending. In the US, the budget sequestration has reduced the operating hours of numerous activities from national parks to control towers at small airports. Europe is in a similar situation. If the operating hours of a government operated repository are similarly reduced in times of fiscal stress, have we really opened up access?

Or take the challenges universities face from Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs). These free educational alternatives will put pressure on their ability to raise tuition and grow their budgets. In that situation, would we see universities complaining about a “Crisis in Article Processing Charges" similar to the “Serials Budget Crisis” that has faced their libraries for more than a decade? All parties have a responsibility to work to ensure that open access stays truly open.

Q: What does OA have to offer the developing world?

A: We haven’t seen many requests from the developing world for OA. One reason for this may be that authors in the developing world can already publish for free in our traditional journals. Furthermore, we will offer waivers of APCs in cases where authors can show financial hardship.

From the readers’ point of view, we think most people who need our content already have it through subscriptions by local universities. IEEE’s prices for its traditional subscription journals already have special discounts for the lesser developed countries and for academic consortia.

Q: What are your expectations for OA in 2013?

A: This year will mark a point of inflection in the development of OA. As I explained earlier, the initial emotional debate has been replaced by serious programs to put realistic, sustainable systems in place.

Q: Will OA in your view be any less expensive than subscription publishing? If so, why/how? Does cost matter anyway?

A: Cost always matters. After all, the entire OA movement started because of objections to the subscription prices of some scholarly journals.

But OA publishing will probably not be much less expensive as some hope. Right now some say OA “is an order of magnitude less expensive” than traditional publishing. But as the experience of the Public Library of Science has demonstrated, OA publishing is in the same range as traditional publishing.

Granted, in a totally OA world there are some expenses that can be eliminated. Expenses associated with subscription processing, licensing contract administration, and access control software obviously all go away. But the bulk of the necessary infrastructure to facilitate peer review, editorial preparation, online delivery, and the long-term maintenance of a digital archive remain.

More important, the researchers and authors expect ever-more elaborate features in the publishing process. Examples of these include interactive articles in HTML, consistent XML tagging to facilitate semantic analysis and text mining, the addition of videos and other multimedia illustrations, and now storage of related large data sets. These all cost money to provide and maintain for the long haul. So whichever system gains popularity — traditional subscription or OA — it will need to charge equitable prices to cover those expenses.

----

Anthony Durniak, Staff Executive for Publications at IEEE, leads the professional staff that operate IEEE’s publishing and online information services. Trained as an electrical engineer, Durniak began his career as a science journalist, working as a reporter and editor at several magazines including Business Week. He became one of the pioneers in electronic publishing in the 1980s as part of a new product development team at McGraw-Hill. He then spent seven years at the American Chemical Society where he lead the team that put all of the ACS journals up on the Internet, before joining the IEEE in July 1998.

Durniak has an EE degree from The City College of New York and a Masters degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He’s a senior member of IEEE. Active in the scholarly publishing industry, Durniak was a founding member of the board of directors of CrossRef, the industry consortium that developed innovative mechanisms for linking citations in journal articles. He also served on the board of the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM).

5 comments:

Stevan Harnad said...

IEEE Still Onside With Angels

If we cut through all the IEEE spin about "sustainability," IEEE is still on the side of the angels insofar as the future and future growth of OA, Green OA, and Green OA mandates are concerned, because IEEE still endorses immediate, unembargoed Green OA self-archiving of the author's refereed, accepted final draft (not the publisher's Version of Record).

That is the only thing -- repeat, the only thing -- the researchers, institutions and funders of the world need in order to mandate immediate, unembargoed Green OA.

The trouble is that many publishers, unlike IEEE, try to embargo Green OA, for two reasons -- one of them thanks to Finch/RCUK Folly, which virtually invites publishers to adopt a Green OA embargo and crank up its length beyond the allowable Finch/RCUK maximum limit while at the same time offering a fee-based hybrid Gold option. This way publishers can try to (1) force UK users to pick the latter option, so the publishers can cash in on the UK's Fools Gold Fund subsidy and preference as well as (2) fend off the other OA mandates that are being adopted worldwide, the ones that just mandate Green OA without subsidizing or preferring Fools Gold.

Fortunately, there is a simple, cost-free remedy against all this, and it is for funders and institutions alike to mandate immediate-deposit in institutional repositories (irrespective of whether access to the deposit is set immediately as Open Access or as Closed Access to comply with a publisher OA embargo); the institutional repository's email-eprint-request Button can then tide over worldwide research access and usage needs with one click from the requestor and one click from the author during any publisher embargo.

This allows all funders and all institutions to mandate immediate-deposit, for all papers, without exception, regardless of OA embargoes and embargo limits. The important thing to understand is that the sole barrier to 100% Green OA for the past 25 years has been keystrokes. Authors were afraid to do the keystrokes, because they were afraid of their publishers. Mandates were needed in order to embolden authors to do the keystrokes. The immediate-deposit mandate ensures that N-1 of the N requisite keystrokes get done for 100% of the articles published on the planet. The Button allows authors to do an Nth keystroke for each individual paper and each individual request whenever they wish, until either the embargo expires, or embargoes die their inevitable, natural and well-deserved deaths, or the author tires of complying with them and sets repository access to immediate-OA -- whichever comes first.

The point is that with publishers that are already on the side of the angels, like IEEE, the author can already do one Nth keystroke, once and for all, today.

And history will look favorably on such publishers, for not trying to hold research access, impact and progress hostage to sustaining their current revenue streams and modus operandi, at all costs, come what may, for as long as they possibly could, by embargoing OA.

We cannot remind ourselves often enough that the publishing tail must not be allowed to keep wagging the research dog.

Open & Shut said...

Thanks for the comment Stevan. If I understand correctly what Anthony Durniak says, then the nub of the issue appears to be this: IEEE is happy to let its authors self-archive their papers on their web sites or in their institutional repositories on a voluntary basis because, as Durniak puts it, "This approach varies in the time it takes authors to post their works and readers must search a variety of personal and institutional websites to find the content."

I assume this implies that for IEEE (and no doubt most scholarly publishers) Green OA is acceptable for so long as it is haphazard and tardy, and for so long as potential readers have difficulty in locating papers. If, on the other hand, researchers are mandated to make copies of their papers freely available, and if these freely available copies become easy to find, then Green OA becomes an unacceptable threat, unless an embargo is applied to the free copies. And IEEE believes that the minimum embargo period in such circumstances needs to be 24 months.

This suggests that as mandates proliferate then green publishers will start to introduce embargoes, lengthen existing embargoes, or otherwise make self-archiving more difficult — as we have seen both Emerald and Springer do recently. And from what Durniak says, it seems reasonable to conclude that at some point IEEE might itself seek to introduce a 24 month embargo.

So we have a shifting landscape: Where once the maximum embargo period was viewed as six months, this has tended to shift to 12 months, and now we can see publishers pushing at 24 months, and longer. This pressure to extend embargoes can only intensify as it becomes apparent that “when push comes to shove” (as Nature puts it) most research funders around the world lack the will to pay for Gold OA. This will likely see more and more concluding that Green OA is the best option. And that can only increase the pressure on embargoes. And as we have seen with RCUK, initial declaratory statements from funders about the need for short minimum embargoes can quickly shift in the face of publisher pressure.

Critics of Green OA have long argued that one of its weaknesses is that the minute publishers feel that self-archiving poses any kind of threat to their revenues they will inevitably seek to impose ever longer embargoes. I assume that is what we are witnessing today.

As I understand it, you believe that the response to this is that where publisher embargoes restrict immediate access research institutions and funders should mandate immediate deposit with closed access (what you call an ID/OA mandate), accompanied by an eprint button so that during the publisher's embargo period readers can request authors to email them a copy of a paper, and thereby circumvent the embargo. This approach, of course, introduces a different kind of friction into the system, including presumably a time delay.

Another approach is the rights retention model of the Harvard OA policy. The Harvard model, however, seems to require that researchers be given an opt out. This in turn means that authors come under pressure from publishers to request a waiver from any such policy.

All of which reminds us that achieving OA is no easy task!

Stevan Harnad said...

Almost-OA: "Frictional Access" (1 of 2)

Richard Poynder is absolutely right on every point. (Except possibly one [trivial] one: Richard seems to imply that IEEE has already embargoed the author's final refereed draft. It has not. Richard's is only a speculation that they might, given that some other publishers have done so. Richard is quite right that some other publishers have done so. And his speculation about IEEE may prove correct. But it should be noted that it is still just a prediction…!)

Now to "friction."

The request-eprint Button was created for both EPrints and DSpace repositories in 2006 with six very specific objectives:

1. to make it possible for all institutions and funders to mandate OA without being held back by considerations of copyright renegotiation or embargo length

2. to make it possible for all institutions and funders to mandate the deposit component (if not the OA component nor the copyright retention component) of any OA policy without the need of an opt-out option

3. to make it possible for authors to provide almost-immediate access ("Almost-OA") to their articles during any OA embargo almost as effectively as by making them immediately OA, thereby maximizing uptake, usage and impact and minimizing losses to research and researchers during any OA embargo period

4. to make it possible for the date of deposit (if not the date of OA) to be dictated by institutions and funders, not by publishers

5. to make it possible for all authors to comply with OA mandates at a fixed, natural, determinate date in their publication cycle and work-flow, and to begin providing OA (or Almost-OA) to their (refereed) findings as early as possible.

6. to make it possible, once all or most institutions and funders worldwide have mandated immediate-deposit, to hasten the inevitable, natural and well-deserved death of all OA embargoes, under the mounting global pressure of OA and its benefits (and author fatigue with the "friction" of having to keep clicking the Button to provide Almost-OA!).

Publishers embargo (Green) OA in order to prevent their subscription revenue streams from being reduced by the revolutionary technical potential opened up by the online medium for as long as they possibly can, at the cost of research access and impact. The Almost-OA Button and the immediate-deposit mandate were jointly designed long before the Finch Fiasco of 2012, to cover the journals that already had OA embargoes, and any journals that might adopt OA embargoes in the future. It is a prophylactic against OA embargoes.

Stevan Harnad said...

Almost-OA: "Frictional Access" (2 of 2)

Publishers embargo (Green) OA in order to prevent their subscription revenue streams from being reduced by the revolutionary technical potential opened up by the online medium for as long as they possibly can, at the cost of research access and impact. The Almost-OA Button and the immediate-deposit mandate were jointly designed long before the Finch Fiasco of 2012, to cover the journals that already had OA embargoes, and any journals that might adopt OA embargoes in the future. It is a prophylactic against OA embargoes.

The perverse (but predictable) effect of Finch/RCUK's reckless new OA policy (of preferring to pay for Gold OA instead of reinforcing the requirement to provide cost-free Green OA) has been to give publishers a much stronger incentive to adopt and lengthen Green OA embargoes beyond RCUK's allowable length limit, and to offer hybrid Gold OA (i.e., keep charging institutions for subscriptions, but allow authors to pay them extra to make their individual article Gold OA) instead, so as to ensure that mandated UK authors are obliged to pay them extra for Gold OA rather than just providing cost-free Green OA.

Immediate-deposit plus the Almost-OA Button will be an antidote to this perverse effect of the Finch/RCUK mandate -- which is why it is so important to adopt HEFCE's proposal to make immediate-deposit mandatory in order to make articles eligible for REF2020.

There is a profound conflict of interest between, on the one side, research, researchers, their institutions, their funders, the vast R&D industry, students, teachers, journalists, and the tax-paying public that funds the research, and, on the other, the publishing industry. Publishing is a service industry that had been performing an essential service to research during the Gutenberg era of print on paper, but is now blocking the natural evolution of research communication in the print-free online era by trying to embargo making refereed research freely accessible to all online.

Publishers will not stop trying to delay the optimal and inevitable for research for as long as possible by embargoing Green OA. OA mandates are the way for the research community to overcome the publishing industry's delay tactics -- and the immediate-deposit mandate plus the Button are their key components.

Harvard/MIT/UC-style copyright-reservation mandates are fine, and welcome, but, as noted, they require opt-out options or authors will not comply. The opt-out is invariably needed because the author's journal of choice insists on embargoing OA beyond the allowable limit and the author (rightly) insists on their journal of choice.

But all that the Harvard/MIT/UC-style copyright-reservation mandates need in order to make them work, optimally, is to add an immediate-deposit requirement (whether or not the article is embargoed), without opt-out. Authors who opt out can then rely on their repository's eprint-request to provide Almost-OA during the embargo.

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing" Button. In: Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online (Rosemary J. Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

Open & Shut said...

To clarify: I am not suggesting that IEEE has already embargoed the deposit of the author's final refereed draft.

My point is rather that IEEE has indicated that when mandates like those proposed by OSTP are introduced then they believe such mandates should include a minimum 24-month embargo before copies of articles are made freely available.

For this reason I am speculating that as mandates proliferate and become more effective IEEE may itself seek to introduce a 24-month embargo.