Pogo: We have seen the enemy, and he is us...

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Tue Jul 27 21:23:31 EST 2004

On Tue, 27 Jul 2004 brs4 at lehigh.edu wrote:

> Is it so clear that some couple thousand colleges and universities in the
> U.S.  are all going to mandate self-archiving 

Not all of them tonight, but, yes, most of them, and better sooner than

> *and* that most faculty will actually self-archive even if "required" 
> to do so, 

Not all faculty publish either, even if required to do so (publish or
perish)... Those who do publish, though, tend also to care about the
impact of their publications. So do their hiring/promotion/tenure

> despite the best of initial intentions as revealed in one or another 
> survey? 

The Swan & Brown (2004) survey found that the vast majority of authors
would self-archive *willingly* if required by their employers or
research funders to do so. Pessimists are of course free to doubt
the survey.

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey
    Report. http://www.jisc.ac.uk/uploaded_documents/JISCOAreport1.pdf

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) Authors and open access
    publishing.  Learned Publishing 2004:17(3) 219-224.

> How are faculty going to be policed who do not self-archive, 
> or don't want to? 

The same way they are policed for publish-or-perish, and for impact.

> Faculties pride themselves on a degree autonomy from administrations.

And so they should; but less on autonomy from the impact of their
research, and less still o autonomy from the decisions of their
hiring/promotion/tenure committees and research-funders.

> Is it so clear too that the same measure of interest in self-archiving
> will be displayed across disciplines?

All disciplines publish articles in peer-reviewed journals. (All other
publications are moot for now, insofar as OA is concerned.) All
disciplines care about whether their research is read, used, and cited.
In all disciplines access is a necessary (though not a sufficient)
condition for impact. All disciplines have hiring/promotion/tenure
committees as well as research-funders, both of which care about
research uptake, usage, and impact.

> Or is it so clear that all the authors at institutions are going to self-
> archive voluntarily and consistently, if their universities do not enforce
> or require it? 

On the contrary, it is clear that many will not, until self-archiving
is mandated, just as many would not publish if it were not mandated.

> Or that the U.S. government could, should or would make it
> mandatory for universities or colleges to self-archive research that is
> not government funded?

The US government can only mandate self-archiving for research that is
US government funded. But the effect of that mandate (and the felt
benefits of OA) can and will propagate beyond US-funded research. And
universities, too, can and will mandate self-archiving in order to
maximise their research impact and its benefits.

> I do not dispute the desirability of self-archiving, but the solution will
> emerge when universities gradually divert their serials funds to very
> efficiently run journal operations that link to institutional
> repositories, not in imagining what modal logicians call "possible worlds"
> in which everyone acts reasonably.

The self-archiving of published journal articles has absolutely nothing
to do with serials funds or journal operations or diversions -- in this
actual world or in any possible one worth imagining. (This is a conflation
of OA self-archiving -- the green road to OA -- with OA journal publishing
-- the golden road to OA. They are completely different.) A little more
reflection may help get the logic and causality involved here straight
for this commentatror.

That self-archiving is do-able, done, and, when done, successful; this
is not a modal matter but an empirical and historical fact about that
10-20% of the annual total of 2,500,000 articles that is already being

> That is a reason for developing repositories, not a faith in publisher
> largesse with respect to conferring a "right" to self-archive postprints,
> nor an assumption that the day will dawn when some very large number of
> authors and institutions self-archive.

I can't follow this. It sounds like the curious suggestion not to cross
the road even though the light is green. 

> I have no illusions about the difficulties involved. But a gradualist
> approach in which universities develop or take over some lead journals and
> make this work may be worth a try.

This commentator is clearly fixated exclusively on OA journal publishing
(the golden road). Why he is recommending that blinkered view to others
(and what it has to do with the green road of OA self-archiving) I will
have to leave it to other readers to try to explain.

> These considerations in my mind reflect not prophesies of doom but an
> assessment of the practical realities involved. 

The practical realities are reflected in the 10-20% self-archiving that
is already taking place. This does sound like a prophecy of doom, in the
face of data that directly contradict it.

> It is, incidentally, those realities that working librarians have to
> work with. We are left picking up the pieces when models don't prove
> sustainable, as recent history starkly confirms.

Self-archiving has next to nothing to do with librarians. The "self" in
question is the researcher, and librarians' past history and expertise is
not with giving away their own institutional researchers' output, but
with buying in the research output of other institutions.

I have no idea what unsustainable model this commentator thinks is
pertinent here.

> If we're going to create institutional repositories, it has to be for the
> right reason.

Right. And that reason is research impact:


    Harnad, S. & Brody, T. (2004) Comparing the Impact of Open Access
    (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals, D-Lib Magazine 10
    (6) June http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june04/harnad/06harnad.html

Stevan Harnad

UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
open access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
is available at:
        To join the Forum:
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    american-scientist-open-access-forum at amsci.org

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