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December 12, 2013

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Stevan Harnad

THE MECHANICS BEHIND THE MAGIC

I like Scott's article. We share a vision...

If you're interested in some of the objective evidence on the adoption rate (still too slow) and the effectiveness (quite remarkable, though depending on mandate-type) of OA self-archiving mandates, have a look at ROARMAP http://roarmap.eprints.org and the references below. (You might also have heard of the US OSTP, EU Horizon2020 and UK HEFCE/REF mandates, soon to come.)

Scott is certainly right that my thinking has been magical:

In 1994: I thought it would be enough to just just say "self-archive" and next day all researchers on the planet would do it. (Next day came, and nothing happened.)

It was magical thinking also to create CogPrints in 1997, in case researchers in my field didn't have a central place to self-archive (no success).

Magical thought too, that creating EPrints in 2000 (from which DSpace too emerged) -- so that all institutions could create their own OA repositories -- would do the trick (no dice).

A series of studies inspired by Lawrence 2001, demonstrating that OA increases citations made no noticeable difference either.

But then in 2003, things began to pick up, with the adoption of the very first Green OA mandate (Southampton), followed by several more (notably QUT in Australia and Minho in Portugal). ROARMAP launched, but adoptions were still just a trickle.

Then in 2004 the UK Select Committee recommended that all UK institutions and funders mandate Green OA. And the trickle became a trend -- but still a very sluggish one. And most of the mandates were weak, ineffective ones. It would have taken magic to make them work.

So in 2006, Peter Suber and I independently proposed the immediate-deposit/optional-access mandate (ID/OA) (Peter called it the "dual-deposit-release") mandate, Southampton designed the automated request-a-copy Button for EPrints and Eloy Rodrigues designed its counterpart for DSpace. (Perhaps it was still magical thinking to imagine they would work -- or would even be adopted.)

But then in 2007, Bernard Rentier, rector of the University of Liège, became the first to adopt the ID/OA mandate and the Button.

We then waited a few years to see whether it would work.

And by 2009 it became evident that ID/OA + Button was working, and generating over 80% OA compared to about 30% for the weaker mandates and even less without mandates. And no magic was needed.

Meanwhile, Gold OA had been making some headway too, but even more slowly than Green, because it required authors to switch journals and because it cost them extra money; and in 2013 economist John Houghton(with publishing consultant Alma Swan) described exactly why Green needed to come first.

Is it magical to think the adoption of ID/OA + Button will become universal in the next few years? Perhaps. But let's be empirical, and wait for the evidence.

(Meanwhile, I -- and many others -- will keep "tirelessly trotting out the facts" rather than just waiting passively…)

Gargouri, Y., Larivière, V., & Harnad, S. (2013) Ten-year Analysis of University of Minho Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate (in E Rodrigues, Ed. title to come) http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/358882/
http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/344687/

Gargouri, Y, Lariviere, V, Gingras, Y, Brody, T, Carr, L and Harnad, S (2012b) Testing the Finch Hypothesis on Green OA Mandate Ineffectiveness. In Open Access Week 2012

Hitchcock, S. (2013) The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies. http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html

Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on "Going for Gold". D-Lib Magazine 19 (1/2).
http://www.dlib.org/dlib/january13/houghton/01houghton.html

Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy without rights retention but linked to assessment processes.
http://orbi.ulg.ac.be/handle/2268/102031

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. & 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.)
http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/18511/

Stevan Harnad

Scott, my posted response doesn't seem to get past your spam filter, with or without URLS.

T Scott

Yes, the filter caught it (nothing personal!). Let me see if I can release it.

Jean-Claude Guédon

I would simply add that the Finch report did not create the rifts among OA advocates that Scott mentions in his funny posting (very well written, by the way).

That the world should move in a messy way has been known for a long time, has it not... However, these fits and starts cannot happen without some clear thinking behind them. Distinguishing between how to think about change and how change actually happens is of the essence.

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