What Provosts Need to Mandate

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Dec 10 21:46:54 EST 2004


    UNIVERSITY PRESSES LAG BEHIND COMMERCIAL PRESSES IN SELF-ARCHIVING POLICY

On Fri, 10 Dec 2004, Ted Bergstrom wrote:

> The  University of California is setting up a postprint series which is 
> intended to house published papers written by all scholars in the UC 
> system... I have found that the stated policies of the university presses, 
> as recorded by Sherpa, are among the least permissive...
>
> University Presses Preprints      Postprints      Publisher's PDF
> California         No             No               No
>
> There is one shining exception, Cambridge University Press.
> Cambridge          Yes            Yes              Yes

It is ironic in the extreme -- and, I think, strongly confirms my
recent critique of Stanford University Press and Library Director Michael
Keller's unadmirable critique of the NIH Proposal --

    "Critique of Stanford/HighWire Press Critique of NIH Proposal"
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/4178.html

that University Presses, of all Publishers, should be proving to be the most
sluggish in going green. This will not only redound to their historic
discredit in all of this, but if they don't hurry up and set a good
example, they will (as at California) find themselves in direct conflict
with their own universities' efforts to implement and benefit from OA.
With 92% of journals already going green and universities the main
ones clamouring for them to do so, this glaring anomaly needs to be
resolved. 

    http://romeo.eprints.org/stats.php

Although I may be mistaken, I like to think the fact I was a Cambridge
University Press editor for 25 years -- including my most active days of
OA advocacy -- might have had something to do with Cambridge's progressive
policy. 

    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/bbs.valedict.html

But let me add, again, that the publisher's PDF is a red herring and is
*unnecessary*: Just self-archive the author's postprint and link it to
the publisher's for-fee website for those who may want the publisher's
PDF; that's all that's needed -- and a more than fair quid pro quo.)

> I wonder if the publishers have really thought these policies through? 
> ...Can anyone suggest good ways to persuade some of these publishers to 
> move toward more liberal policies?

It is *certain* that universities have not thought these policies
through. And, yes, it's quite obvious what needs to be done: Have a talk
with the university's provost. He is the one in the best position to
weigh the relative merits of the two conflicting university interests:
(1) to maximize university press journal revenue, on the one hand, and (2)
to maximize university research impact and income (as well as to invest
in perhaps eventually easing the university's serials budget burden)
on the other.

    "What Provosts Need to Mandate"
    http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/3240.html
    http://www.eprints.org/signup/sign.php

Stevan Harnad

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UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
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UNIFIED DUAL OPEN-ACCESS-PROVISION POLICY:
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            http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm#journals
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