Open Access (the book)
- This is the home page for my book, Open Access (MIT Press, 2012). I use it for posting updates and supplements, and linking to reviews, translations, and OA editions. — Peter Suber.
- Suggested short URL for this page = bit.ly/oa-book
About the book
- The book was released in June 2012 and became OA in June 2013. MIT Press itself hosts four OA editions, in PDF , HTML , ePub , and Mobi (Kindle) . The same editions are available in DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard), and other places around the web. The Internet Archive hosts 12 OA editions, adding ABBYY GZ, Daisy, DjVu, OCLC XISBN JSON, plain text, Single page processed JP2 zip, streaming, and Torrent.
- An inexpensive paperback edition remains available as well.
- The best edition for searching is the streaming edition from the Internet Archive. The search box is at the top of the page, and the hits show up as little flags on the bar at the bottom of the page, showing how many there are and roughly where they're located in the book. Clicking on a search result will jump you to the full text, in full context, including the page number for citation purposes. When you search the book for a given topic or name, don't forget to search this page of updates and supplements as well.
- The best edition for cutting and pasting depends on what you need. If you don't know where to find the passage you want to want to cut/paste, then I recommend either the MIT PDF or the Internet Archive PDF. Each displays the full-text in one large file, for searching, but each leaves hard returns in your pasted text. The same is true of the IA plain text edition. If you already know where to find the passage you want to cut/paste, then I recommend the MIT HTML edition. It puts separate chapters into separate files, but will not leave hard returns in your pasted text.
- The best edition for deep linking is also the streaming edition from the Internet Archive. Built on BookReader, it supports deep links to individual pages, and I use this edition below when I link directly to pages and chapters of the book.
- Tech note: There are 12 unpaginated pages in the front of the book, and each one needs a distinct number for the purpose of deep linking. Hence, to deep link to page k of the print edition, use k+12 rather than k in the URL. For example, the deep link to page 5 is http://archive.org/stream/9780262517638OpenAccess/9780262517638_Open_Access#page/n17/mode/2up. Because 5 + 12 = 17, the URL uses /n17/ rather than /n5/. For other examples, see my deep links in the updates and supplements below.
- In addition to deep linking to parts of the book, you can deep link to parts of this book home page.
- To deep link to the updates and supplements for a given chapter of the book, for example chapter 5, the anchor is "ch5". Just add "#" and the anchor to the URL for this web page, for example, http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap/Open_Access_(the_book)#ch5. You could also use the short URL, http://bit.ly/oa-book#ch5.
- To deep link to the updates and supplements for a given page of the book, for example page 5, the anchor is "p5". Just add "#" and the anchor to the URL for this web page, for example, http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap/Open_Access_(the_book)#p5. You could also use the short URL, http://bit.ly/oa-book#p5. When there's more than one top-level update for a given page, the anchors are "p5.1", "p5.2", "p5.3" and so on, in the order in which I added them. If you're unsure of the anchor for a given entry, just look at the page source code.
- Request. If you cite the book and include a URL with your citation, please use the URL for this book home page (long URL or short URL). Then your readers will know about the print and OA editions, the reviews and translations, and the updates and supplements.
- Also see my case study on this book, A living open book, in Hazel Woodward, ed., Ebooks for education: Realising the vision, Ubiquity Press, November 2014, pp. 113-118.
- Also see the home page for my newer book, Knowledge Unbound: Selected Writings on Open Access, 2002–2011, MIT Press, 2016.
- Some people looking for a history of OA come to this book. But I had other purposes in mind here and didn't include much history. I'm pulling together my contributions to the history of OA in another place.
|Choice named Open Access an Outstanding Academic Title for 2013.|
- Stephen Curry, Open Access by Peter Suber, Reciprocal Space, July 5, 2012. "There has been a fairly torrid debate over open access over the last six months (even longer for aficionados). For people who look in only occasionally it must seem like a storm that swirls around the same arguments time and again....Cutting through this noisy argument is Peter Suber’s short book on the topic, which has just been published by MIT Press. In the ten brief chapters of Open Access he works his way through the definitions, the history, the economics and the implications of changes to the landscape of research publishing. The text is thorough, clear and measured....Suber does a wholly admirable job of unpicking the complexities of open access and we’ll get there sooner if more of us are able to engage properly with the matter."
- Rob Harle, Open Access by Peter Suber (MIT Press 2012), Leonardo Reviews, August 2, 2012. "This is a very important book, which, I suggest, is a must read for all scholars and researchers who publish their own work or consult the peer-reviewed published work of others ––in other words, virtually all academics...."
- Louis Kirby, Open Access: Peter Suber's new book, ZettaScience, September 6, 2012. "It comes down to this. I am a taxpayer and a physician. It makes me madder than Hell to have to pay $35.00 to read a single PDF of a journal article when my tax dollars already paid for the research....Peter Suber’s book is terrific. It is short and easily readable in a couple of sittings. That said, he is very thorough and clear at explaining what Open Access is, and why it benefits both the author, the research enterprise and society...."
- John Dupuis, Reading Diary: Open Access by Peter Suber, Confessions of a Science Librarian, September 26, 2012. "Peter Suber’s... Open Access is an important book. You should read it, you should buy (or recommend) a copy for your library. You should buy a hundred boxes and give a copy to every faculty member at your institution. And not just because it’s a blazingly wonderful book — although it mostly is — but because it’s a book that sets the stage for an intelligent, rational, fact-based discussion on the future of scholarly publishing...."
- Elliott Smith, Open Access, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Fall 2012. "Suber provides clear and concise explanations....Given the recent attempts in Congress to rescind the NIH Public Access Policy, Open Access should be of interest to a broad audience. It is particularly relevant to faculty and administrators at research institutions...."
- Wm. Joseph Thomas, Review of Peter Suber, Open Access, Against the Grain, November 2012, p. 40. "Suber makes the point eloquently that all key players involved in vetting research — authors, editors, and peer reviewers — can consent to OA without losing revenue. Not only that, Suber makes the case that distributing research freely is a public gift with both direct and indirect benefits to all....If the readers of Suber's book will take action on providing access to knowledge as a 'public good,' we can indeed complete the 'peaceful revolution' that Suber envisions."
- Aaron Tay, 5 things I learnt about Open Access after reading Crawford's & Suber's books, Musings about librarianship, January 19, 2013. "Before [reading Suber's book], I had heard about "mandates" that require all researchers at a certain institution to support open access by depositing their work in their institutional repository. But Suber's book in chapter 4, shows how simplistic this thinking is and includes material that is almost 100% new to me....There's also a great discussion on why the word "mandate" might not be the best word, and a very good section "digression on historical timing of Open Access policies" on when and why it might be the right time to try to adopt different mandate types....Suber's book is longer (but still short) and more technical....I loved it....I do wish he could have written a much longer book, as I got the sense that behind every sentence he wrote, lurks a bigger story...."
- T.M. Owen, Open Access by Peter Suber, Choice, February 2013, vol. 50, No. 06, p. 216. "Drawing extensively on his previous online writings, world-renowned open access (OA) expert Suber...presents a well-written, concise explanation of OA. The book appeals to those with all levels of OA knowledge, from novice to expert, but it is especially beneficial for those unfamiliar with the subject....In ten well-organized chapters, the author defines OA, examines the motivation behind OA, presents options for institutional and funders' policies, confronts copyright issues, explains the economics of OA, and predicts what the future might hold. The extensive notes and references that accompany each chapter enhance the value of this important resource. Open Access should be required reading for everyone involved in the publishing cycle — from authors to publishers, including librarians and general readers. Everyone who reads this volume will gain a better understanding and appreciation of OA....Summing Up: Essential...."
- Giridhar Madras, Open Access by Peter Suber, Current Science, February 10, 2013. "This book by Peter Suber builds on his excellent work and articles on open access (OA)....This book is clear in its recommendation....On 16 August 2012, Georgia State University distributed copies of Suber’s book to new faculty and administrators on campus....It is high time that Indian institutions follow the [George State] example."
- Padmanabhan Balaram, Open Access: Tearing Down Barriers, Current Science, February 25, 2013. "Open Access by Peter Suber...is an excellent and easily readable primer on the movement to make the results of scholarly work freely available. The author's preface is engaging, urging readers to plunge on: 'I want busy people to read this book. OA benefits literally everyone, for the same reason that research benefits literally everyone.' Suber is clear 'that the largest obstacle to OA is misunderstanding....' His remedy for misunderstanding ‘is a clear statement of the basics for busy people’. I believe the book will serve this purpose admirably....This is a book that must be read by those busy scientists who publish a lot, read a lot and have had little time to grasp the nuances of the open access movement. It must also be read (and read carefully) by strident advocates, who have little time to allay the fears of those unfamiliar with the issue."
- Brenda Chawner, Open Access, Online Information Review, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2013) pp. 150 - 151. "Suber has been writing about OA concepts and developments since 2001, making him one of the movement's most important champions. Now, in Open Access Suber provides a succinct, readable and well-reasoned discussion of OA concepts and practices....[T]his book is an excellent guide for anyone interested in learning more about open access publishing."
- Kevin Michael Clair, Open Access by Peter Suber, Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol. 39, no. 1, January 2013. "In his latest book, Suber lays out in succinct and engaging fashion the primary reasons why the major players in the scholarly communications space should consider open access in their publishing, peer-reviewing, and library acquisitions work....For libraries just making inroads into the open access world, Open Access is an essential introduction to the topic. For academic librarians who have been working in the scholarly communications space and are familiar with its content, the value of Open Access lies in the concise way in which Suber outlines all of the reasons why the OA movement exists, and how researchers, librarians, and their reading audience can continue to work in order to advance its cause. Open Access is an essential addition to the libraries of anyone interested in the future of scholarly publishing in all of its forms."
- Elizabeth Siler Open Access by Peter Suber, Library Resources & Technical Services, vol. 57, no. 2, 2013. "In Open Access, Peter Suber explains the ins and outs of the OA movement, in a quick and efficient way, to inform the busy researcher....Open Access provides a brief but complete overview of OA publishing...."
- Gary F. Daught, Review: Peter Suber’s Open Access, Omega Alpha | Open Access, June 17, 2013. "This book is a high-quality, thoughtful, and well-written distillation of Suber’s decade-long full-time immersion in the developing open access environment....Suber accomplishes his purpose admirably. In addressing these topics, Suber writes succinctly and with clarity, applying the logic of a philosopher (which he is), the sharpness of a debater, and the cadence of a musician (speaking to his writing style). He anticipates the many sides and questions of his readers, even honest critiques, and he answers them with directness and without polemic. He clearly aims to persuade, but he also wants to bring his readers along with with him."
- Colin Steele, Open access by Peter Suber, Australian Library Journal, September 29, 2013. "While many libraries and librarians will buy Suber’s book, it really needs to become essential reading for administrators and academics, since the system will not quickly change without their understanding of and involvement in the issues. Suber’s pithy comments may help, such as, ‘The deeper problem is that we donate time, labor, and public money to create new knowledge and then hand control over the results to businesses that believe, correctly or incorrectly, that their revenue and survival depend on limiting access to that knowledge’....Suber’s book is an excellent primer....In [the] future, the role of the library will include the facilitation of scholarly publishing to enable the widest dissemination of an institution’s intellectual output. To assist that process, Suber’s book is an essential OA vade mecum."
- Benjamin Caraco, Peter Suber, Open Access, Lectures, Les comptes rendus, October 1, 2013. Also here. "[Suber's] écrits, activités et engagements font de lui l’un des spécialistes les plus respectés et écoutés sur la question du libre accès. Dans son dernier livre, Open Access,...il propose une introduction raisonnée au libre accès dans un langage clair, alliant la pédagogie au pragmatisme." In Google's English: "[Suber's] writings, activities and commitments made him one of the most respected and listened to on the issue of open access experts. In his latest book, Open Access,...[he] offers a reasoned introduction to free access in clear language, combining pedagogy [with] pragmatism."
- Brad Reid, Peter Suber, Open Access, Computing Reviews, October 29, 2013. "Anyone in the computing, publishing, archiving, and library worlds will find [this book] informative, interesting, and nontechnical....This is a compact presentation of the interesting and important topic of OA."
- David R. Stewart, Peter Suber, Open Access, Theological Librarianship, 7, 1 (January 2014) pp. 72-74. "It is very easy to imagine a book on this urgent topic that is too complex, too long, too combative, and deathly boring. Happily, Suber’s Open Access is none of these things. He has an almost perfect instinct for what his readers are eager to know, and he frames his content in useful examples and in the context of the real-world challenges common to the academy. Likewise, he clearly has a great deal of respect for the issues libraries and librarians must contend with in these times of transition. Open Access is highly recommended for anyone who wants to understand better how academic publishing is changing, whether from a library acquisitions or a publishing perspective."
- Paul Uhlir, "Peter Suber, Open Access" (review not online), Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2014, pp. 92-94. "Peter Suber’s book Open Access provides an easy-to-read compendium of answers to many questions and blows up some of the canards that have been flying around the ether. Suber is one of the gurus of the open access (OA) movement....In summary, Suber dispels the arguments against open publishing of publicly funded research results and makes a cogent case for the new models."
- Marian De Saxe, "Peter Suber, Open Access" (review not online), Media International Australia, February 2014. "Peter Suber...is...the ideal person to provide an insider's expert overview and summary of this form of publishing while mounting a persuasive argument in favour of the extensive advantages to be gained from adopting formal open access policies....The strength of this book lies in the clarity with which Suber highlights an extremely complex publishing and access environment....[T]his book provides a thorough grounding in the youthful history and practical state-of-play of open access publishing."
- Hubertus Kohle, Peter Suber, Open Access, Kunstform, May 2014. "Zunächst gilt es, die knappe Einführung in ein Gebiet anzuzeigen, das zu den wichtigsten, umstrittensten und gleichzeitig scheinbar nebensächlichsten des aktuellen Wissenschaftsbetriebes gehört. Der Autor, Peter Suber, gilt als einer der besten Kenner des durchaus komplexen Gegenstandes. Er liefert eine konzise, leicht in einem knappen halben Tag zu lesende Darstellung, die ganz auf den Vergleich Online- gegen Druck-Publikation abstellt."
- Gordana Ljubanović, Peter Suber, Open Access, National Library of Serbia Herald, n.d. but circa December 2014. [The review is long and positive. Unfortunately I can't pick a good excerpt to post here because the review is in Serbian, which I don't read, and because Google's English translation is weak.]
- Jean Bernatchez, Peter Suber, Qu’est-ce que l’accès ouvert? Lectures, Les comptes rendus, March 15, 2017. Bref, le livre est un incontournable pour se familiariser avec l’accès ouvert. Il est heureux qu’il soit désormais disponible en français....Peter Suber propose une synthèse du phénomène accessible (sur tous les plans) et qui rend justice aux acteurs concernés, à leurs arguments favorables ou défavorables. Il est certes un militant de la cause, mais il ne verse pas dans l’exagération. Il ne souhaite pas la disparition du modèle traditionnel de l’édition scientifique, mais il insiste néanmoins sur la promotion du bien commun, avant tout, et sur sa traduction dans le monde de l’édition scientifique par l’accès ouvert.
- Pablo Markin, The Continued Relevance of Peter Suber’s (2012) Book on Open Access, Open Science, June 18, 2017. Few formats fit better Marshall MacLuhan’s dictum that “the medium is the message” than Open Access does. Peter Suber’s book Open Access published in 2012 by the MIT Press intends to be an authoritative source of reference on the notion of open access, its historical roots, its variegated models, policies proffered in its support, its possible scope, its copyright implications, its economic foundations and consequent limitations....As this book has been translated into multiple other languages, such as Chinese Polish and French, it has become a standard source for arguments in favor and against Open Access....Despite the elapsed time from the date of its publication, the digital supplement for this book provides further materials in respect to the effect Open Access is likely to have....[I]n the intervening years this publication has hardly lost any of its relevance as a sustained and up-to-date compendium of thoroughly researched scholarship on Open Access and reasons for its emergence.
Unless noted otherwise, all these translations are OA or have OA editions.
- Arabic, QScience division of the Qatar Foundation, October 2015. Thanks to Tahseen Al-Khateeb for doing the translation, and to Christopher Leonard, Alwaleed Alkhaja, Fakhri Saleh, Jameela Jassim for their editorial help. There is both a print and OA edition.
- Chinese, China Ocean Press, January 2015. Thanks to Li Wu for doing the translation. Unfortunately China Ocean Press does not plan to issue an OA edition.
- French, OpenEdition Press, October 2016. Thanks to Marie Lebert for doing the translation, and to Helen Tomlinson and Solenne Louis for revising it. There is both a print and OA edition.
- Polish, University of Warsaw press, October 13, 2014. Thanks to the Interdyscyplinarne Centrum Modelowania Matematycznego i Komputerowego Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (Interdisciplinary Center for Mathematical and Computational Modelling at the University of Warsaw), the Platforma Otwartej Nauki (Open Science Platform), Wydawnictwa Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego (University of Warsaw Press), and the team of translators: Roman Bogacewicz, Maciej Chojnowski, Wojciech Fenrich, Joanna Kielan, Andrzej Leśniak, Krzysztof Siewicz, Michał Starczewski, and Jakub Szprot.
- Spanish, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, August 17, 2015. Thanks to Remedios Melero for doing the translation, and to Indrajit Banerjee, Dominique Babini, and Eduardo Aguado for their lengthy new introduction. There is both a print and OA edition.
- Forthcoming. Translations are under way into Czech, German, Greek, Japanese, Romanian, and Russian. I'll link to them here as they become available. I welcome other translations.
About the updates and supplements
- I add new updates and supplements in real time, as I find new evidence. I consider these supplements to be continuously updated "public footnotes" for the assertions they annotate. For more on this concept, see my 2012 article, The Idea of an Open-Access Evidence Rack.
- To find corrections, as opposed to other kinds of updates and supplements, search this page for the word "correction". All the hits except for this entry will be corrections.
Text, updates, and supplements
- Some of these notes didn't fit into the book. The book is deliberately short and I was already over my wordcount. Others were too late to put in the book. They cite publications or developments that hadn't occurred by the time my text was final in the spring of 2011.
- The first print edition used an "all rights reserved" statement and a CC-BY license icon, which caused confusion. The digital editions clarified the book's copyright status, and the clarification appeared in future print editions. Basically, the book incorporates some material that I previously published in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter under a CC-BY license and a copyright owned by SPARC. That material remains CC-BY. The all-rights-reserved copyright on the first print edition applied only to new parts of the book, and even those parts shifted to a CC-BY-NC license on June 17, 2013, one year after the book was published.
- Note that all the updates and supplements are CC-BY, and have been from the start.
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for the Preface:
- At p. ix, I say, "OA benefits nonresearchers by accelerating research and all the goods that depend on research, such as new medicines, useful technologies, solved problems, informed decisions, improved policies, and beautiful understanding." Add this note.
- On OA for improved policies: A 2014 study from the University of Queensland's Institute for Social Science Research showed that Australian policy-makers agreed that academic research was useful for policy-making. For example, 39% agreed that "Academic research alters or transforms how policy makers think about issues and choices" and 42% agreed that "Academic research is used to shape and inform the design and implementation of policies and programs." Interestingly, surveyed academics thought these propositions were true more often than policy-makers themselves. Most relevant here, however, is the result cited by the authors in a blog post summarizing the study (June 13, 2014): "The main reasons provided by policy-makers for the [relatively] low uptake of academic research were the perception that academic research is not available when needed, is difficult to access, or is not being translated in a user-friendly form for policy-makers." It's hard to avoid the conclusion that academic research would be even more useful for policy-making if it were OA.
- More on OA for improved policies: See Marialuisa Taddia, Good Citations, April 16, 2018. Law professors have always influenced law and policy, and today open access is amplifying their influence. "More academic journals are making their content freely available online through ‘open access’, making the dissemination of scholarly articles quicker and wider. [Jon Yorke, law professor at Birmingham City University] points to an academic paper he co-authored in 2013 on the EU and the abolition of the death penalty as ‘the most downloaded article in the Pace International Law Review’, with over 2,000 downloads by governments, institutions and non-governmental organisations. ‘With open access of journals globally, policy-makers can have at their fingertips instant access to the quality of material which they are required to [use to] form intricate arguments. It definitely helps them and they do listen to legal academics in that way,’ Yorke adds...."
- More on OA for improved policies: See Fernando Hoces de la Guardia, Sean Grant, and Edward Miguel, Why We Need Open Policy Analysis, a preprint from he Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), April 5, 2018. "In this paper we have argued that policy analysis can address the threat of its own credibility crisis by adopting solutions from the open science movement."
Chapter 1: What Is Open Access?
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 1:
- For updates to Section 1 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 5, I say, "Even...authors [who don't sell their work and want to share it as widely as possible]...tend to transfer their copyrights to intermediaries —publishers— who want to sell their work. As a result, users may be hampered in their research by barriers erected to serve intermediaries rather than authors." Add this note.
- See my July 2011 interview with Richard Poynder: "OA doesn’t merely share knowledge. It accelerates research by helping authors and readers find one another. It’s compatible with intermediaries but not with intermediaries who erect access barriers to keep authors and readers apart."
- At p. 7, I introduce the Budapest Open Access Initiative and its definition of OA. Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which reaffirmed the original definition of OA and made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012.
- At p. 15, I refer to "the well-documented phenomenon that OA articles are cited more often than non-OA articles...and that journals converting to OA see a rise in their submissions and citation impact." See the documentation in note 6 at pp. 178-179. Add these notes.
- For a comprehensive annotated bibliography of studies up to 2013, including studies that do and do not support the OA citation advantage, see Steve Hitchcock, The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on citation impact: a bibliography of studies, OpCit Project. SPARC Europe continued Hitchcock's bibliography in its Open Access Citation Advantage Service, but stopped updating it in 2016.
- See Mirjam Curno and Stephanie Oeben, Scientific Excellence at Scale: Open Access journals have a clear citation advantage over subscription journals, Frontiers, July 11, 2018.
- See Dan Pollock and Ann Michael, Evaluating Quality in Open Access Journals, DeltaThink, August 2018. "While the proportion of fully OA journals is growing over time, the proportion of higher-performing fully OA journals [measured by journal impact factor] is growing faster than the average performers....The data show that an increasing number of fully OA publications are attaining higher impact factors at faster rates than their subscription and hybrid counterparts....There is nothing preventing an OA journal from being 'high quality', and based on this data, a fully OA journal’s Impact Factor now appears more likely to be above average for its field."
- See Yang Li et al., Will open access increase journal CiteScores? An empirical investigation over multiple disciplines, PLoS ONE, August 30, 2018. "This paper empirically studies the effect of Open Access on journal CiteScores. We have found that the general effect is positive but not uniform across different types of journals. In particular, we investigate two types of heterogeneous treatment effect: (1) the differential treatment effect among journals grouped by academic field, publisher, and tier; and (2) differential treatment effects of Open Access as a function of propensity to be treated. The results are robust to a number of sensitivity checks and falsification tests. Our findings shed new light on Open Access effect on journals and can help stakeholders of journals in the decision of adopting the Open Access policy." Also see the summary in the LSE Impact Blog on October 30, 2018, emphasizing the effects of a journal flip or conversion to OA.
- For evidence that OA increases submissions, see Chapter 8, endnote 11 (note call at p. 159, note text at pp. 216-217). Also see the updates and supplements for p. 145, below.
- At p. 17, I say, "In general, scholarly journals don’t pay editors...either. In general, editors...are paid salaries by universities to free them, like authors, to donate their time and labor to ensure the quality of new work appearing in scholarly journals." Add this note.
- Journal editors acknowledge this point, and even emphasize it as part of an argument for universities (if not publishers) to better reward their important work. See Alan Rauch, Ecce Emendator: The Cost of Knowledge for Scholarly Editors, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 23, 2014. "[S]cholarly publishing is still a big business. University libraries make enormous outlays of cash to ensure that the faculty of each department have access to the very best and most recent research. But editors see none of that money. And their labor to support the mechanism is, more often than not, completely unrewarded and unsupported."
- At p. 18, I say, "Academic publishers are not monolithic...." Add this note.
- See Library Loon, Pyrrhic publishers, Gavia Libraria, June 10, 2011: "[T]he Loon must note that “publishers” is not a monolith. “Publishers” are not suing Georgia State; SAGE, Oxford, and Cambridge are. However. The vast bulk of toll-access publishers have consistently ranged themselves behind mendacious attacks on open access, behind Washington lobbyists fighting against the NIH Public Access Policy and policies like it, behind these lawsuits, behind anti-ETD whisper campaigns. Only a paltry few have any excuse whatever to say “we’re different from the monolith” " (emphases in original).
- At p. 18, I say, "This variety reminds us (to paraphrase Tim O'Reilly) that OA doesn't threaten publishing; it only threatens existing publishers who do not adapt." Add this note
- See Barry Eisler, The digital truths traditional publishers don't want to hear, The Guardian, April 29, 2013. "We have to be careful not to conflate publishing services with the entities that have traditionally provided them. The services are essential; the entities are not. This would seem a fairly obvious point, and yet as thoughtful and experienced a person as novelist James Patterson is now calling for a bailout of the legacy publishing industry, apparently because he fears that publishing is dying. No. Publishing isn't dying; it is evolving. Authors understand this, and are embracing it. Legacy publishers need to do the same."
- At p. 21, I say, "OA would benefit from the right kinds of copyright reforms...." Add these notes.
- See my article, Open access and copyright, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, July 2, 2011. "For example, here are some copyright reforms that would help the cause:  Shorten the term of copyright, or at least prevent it from becoming even longer every time Mickey Mouse is about to fall into the public domain.  Ban the retroactive extension of copyright to works in the public domain.  Allow OA for orphan works, with a takedown requirement if the rightsholder steps forward and complains.  Permit the circumvention of DRM in pursuit of non-infringing uses.  Recognize that some creative works generate revenue for creators, and some don't, and that creators of the former type are harmed by unauthorized copying while creators of the latter type are harmed by the default prohibition of copying. That is, stop making royalty-free literature collateral damage in the war against revenue leaks.  Allow green OA, at least for royalty-free literature, within a certain time after publication, regardless of the publishing contract the author signed with a publisher.  Allow digitization and search indexing without permission when they result in no dissemination, or when the dissemination consists of nothing more than fair-use snippets.  Make the penalties for copyfraud (false claim of copyright) at least as severe as the penalties for infringement; that is, take the wrongful decrease in the circulation of ideas at least as seriously as the wrongful increase in the circulation of ideas."
- Idea #6 above (letting authors make their works green OA a certain number of months after publication regardless of the contracts they may have signed with publishers) has been proposed several times in Germany, for example in 2006 (from Gerd Hansen), in 2008 (from the German federal government), in 2011 (from the Social Democratic Party), and in 2013 (from the German federal government). This idea is now law in Germany, and took effect on January 1, 2014.
- In January 2014, a similar bill was introduced in the Netherlands, and became law on July 1, 2015. For more details on the Dutch bill, see the January 2014 defense of it by its leading proponent, Sander Dekker, State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science.
- In April 2014, Belgian law gave authors of research articles the unwaivable right to make their articles OA regardless of the contracts they might have signed with publishers, provided that the underlying research was at least half-funded by public funds, and provided that the OA is at least six months after publication in the natural sciences, and at least 12 months after publication in the humanities and social sciences. See Section 6, Article 29 (p. 68691) of the Belgisch Staatsblad for September 5, 2018.
- In December 2015, a similar bill was introduced to the French Council of Ministers. For the adopted version, see Article 30 of Loi pour une république numérique, October 7, 2016.
- In February 2016 the Associazione italiana per la promozione della scienza aperta (AISA) began drafting a similar bill for the Italian parliament.
- In March 2016, the Parlamentarische Gruppe Digitale Nachhaltigkeit (Parldigi) proposed a similar amendment to Swiss copyright law.
- On August 1, 2017, a related law took effect in Austria. See §86 of the Bundesrecht konsolidiert: Gesamte Rechtsvorschrift für Universitätsgesetz 2002, Fassung vom 30.09.2018. University regulations may require that students submit a copy of an accepted dissertation to the university for publication, and may require that this publication (in Google's English) "must be made electronically in a publicly accessible repository." (Thanks to Daniel Hürlimann.)
- For some reform recommendations that would re-balance copyright law, or correct some of its excesses, but without aiming to optimize copyright law for OA, see:
- Pamela Samuelson et al., The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform, the Copyright Principles Project, September 10, 2010.
- Giancarlo F. Frosio et al., COMMUNIA policy recommendations, COMMUNIA, March 31, 2011.
- Rep. Jim Jordan et al., Republican Study Committee Policy Brief: Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it, Republican Study Committee, November 16, 2012. I'm linking to a copy of the report because the original was taken down one day after it was released.
- Principles and Proposals for Copyright Reform, from the Authors Alliance, May 21, 2014.
- Also see Re:Create, a coalition of "innovators, creators and consumers united for balanced copyright," launched April 27, 2015.
- Also see Albert N. Greco, The Scholarly Publishing Community Should Support Changes to US Copyright Law (paywalled), Journal of Scholarly Publishing, January 2018.
- At p. 24, I say, "Not all plagiarists are smart, but the smart ones will not steal from OA sources indexed in every search engine....OA deters plagiarism." Add these notes.
- See my article, Open Access and Quality, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, October 2, 2006. "Because OA will only reduce plagiarism by smart plagiarists, the effect may be small. And today the effect is small in any case because so little of the literature is OA. But just as we can expect good things from a pest-resistant strain of wheat, even when we've just introduced it in one field, we can expect good things from this plagiarism-resistant strain of research literature."
- See this October 2016 interview with Matt Hodgkinson, Head of Research Integrity at Hindawi. He's seen a rising number of plagiarism cases since he entered academic publishing in 2003. Some of this growth is due to "an industrialization of misconduct." But some is due to better detection, thanks to OA. "Some of this is down to technology and openness enabling detection of poor practices – such as better plagiarism detection and more content being online and thus easily searchable, particularly when it is not hiding behind a paywall."
- For more on OA and plagiarism, including real-time updates, see the items tagged with oa.plagiarism by the Open Access Tracking Project.
- At p. 24, I say, "[M]ost toll-access publishers are already adapting, by allowing author-initiated OA, providing some OA themselves, or experimenting with OA." Add this note.
- See ALPSP report indicates publisher health but OA concerns, Research Information, October 24, 2013. "In 2008 half of publishers had some form of open access but this had risen to two thirds by 2012. Most publishers surveyed now have a hybrid model in place across all titles (i.e. author has option to pay for their article to be open access). However take up of the hybrid model by authors is low, 1 per cent of articles published. There has also been a large increase in publishers offering open access after an embargo period (normally 12 months)." I do not have access to the report itself, or I would quote from it directly.
- At p. 29, I say, "For four decades, subscription prices have risen significantly faster than inflation and significantly faster than library budgets." Add this note.
- The EBSCO Serials Price Projection Report for 2019 (published in September 2018) confirms that both trends continue. "Library budget growth remains a top concern, generally lagging behind annual inflation in journal pricing in spite of the annual price increase caps applied to many e-journal packages....Though overall budgets in the U.S. academic library market show modest improvements, the budget for serials materials generally have not kept pace with annual journal price inflation."
Chapter 2: Motivation
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 2:
- For updates to Section 2.1 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 29, I say, "For four decades, subscription prices have risen significantly faster than inflation and significantly faster than library budgets." Add these notes.
- Correction. In endnote 2 at p. 181, I link to a graphic from the ARL report, Monograph and Serial Expenditures in ARL Libraries, 1986-2004. The URL I used for that graphic is now dead. Here is a working URL from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, http://web.archive.org/web/20121030025208/http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/monser04.pdf.
- Correction. In the same endnote, I cite Stephen Bosch, Kittie Henderson, & Heather Klusendorf, "Periodicals Price Survey 2011: Under Pressure, Times Are Changing," Library Journal, April 14, 2011. The URL I used for that article is now dead, and LJ provides no redirect. Here's a working URL, http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2011/04/publishing/periodicals-price-survey-2011-under-pressure-times-are-changing/.
- Data from journal aggregator EBSCO show that subscription prices from 2009 to 2013, averaged across all fields, rose by more than 20%.
- At p. 29, I say, "Subscription prices have risen about twice as fast as the price of healthcare...." Add this note.
- Correction. In endnote 2 at p. 181, I link to the Scholarly Communication FAQ from the University of California's Office of Systemwide Library Planning, February 29, 2003. The URL I used for that FAQ is now dead. Here is a working URL from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, http://web.archive.org/web/20070630080017/http://www.ucop.edu/copyright/2003-02-27/faq.html. On this point, the FAQ itself cites Mary Case, "Capitalizing on Competition: The Economic Underpinnings of SPARC, Association of Research Libraries, n.d., at this URL, http://www.arl.org/sparc/core/index.asp?page=f41. But that URL is now dead as well. Here is a working URL from SPARC, http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/papers-guides/case-capitalizing. Case cites the Bureau of Labor Statistics 2000.
- At p. 30, I start subsection #2 in which I offer data showing that researchers do not have access to all the research they need. See endnotes 3 and 4 at p. 182. Add these notes.
- Also see Jennifer Howard, JSTOR Tests Free, Read-Only Access to Some Articles, Chronicle of Higher Education, January 13, 2012: "Every year, JSTOR said, it turns away almost 150 million individual attempts [from readers without subscriptions] to gain access to articles."
- Also see Ross Housewright, Roger C. Schonfeld, and Kate Wulfson, UK Survey of Academics 2012, Ithaka S+R, May 16, 2013. From pp. 38-39: "[A]bout half of all respondents —slightly more in the arts and humanities than in other fields— strongly agreed that they “often would like to use journal articles that are not in [their] library’s print or digital collections.” And only slightly more than a third strongly agreed that they can “almost always get satisfactory access” to needed journal articles that are not in their library collections, a pattern that holds across disciplinary groupings. When asked how they gain access to needed materials that their institution’s library does not directly provide, more than two-thirds of our respondents indicated that they “often” or “occasionally” simply give up." From p. 42: "Almost 60% of academics at non-RLUK [Research Library UK] institutions strongly agreed that they would often “like to use journal articles that are not in my library’s print or digital collections,” compared with less than 40% of academics at RLUK institutions."
- Also see the Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey, March 2013. One survey question asked T&F authors what they thought of the statement, "Researchers already have access to most of the articles they need." Of 14,541 respondents, 38% disagreed (26%) or strongly disagreed (12%).
- At p. 30, I say, "[C]umulative price increases...forced the Harvard Library to undertake 'serious cancellation efforts' for budgetary reasons." In endnote 5 (note text at p. 182), I cite two sources. Here are eight, including the original two, in chronological order.
- A letter from Sidney Verba, the Harvard University Librarian, January 1, 2004. "As of January 1 , the University is eliminating a number of journals published by Elsevier....Harvard libraries will fulfill requests for articles from these journals through interlibrary loan and third-party document delivery services. The decision to eliminate these journals was...driven not only by current financial realities, but also —and perhaps more importantly— by the need to reassert control over our collections and to encourage new models for research publication at Harvard....Of greatest concern to the Digital Acquisitions Committee and to the University Library Council was the lack of any [Elsevier] option by which Harvard could prune its holdings and reduce its level of spending. Libraries wishing to cancel subscriptions could do so, but only by incurring steeply increased fees that obliterate any potential savings —while Elsevier's revenues continued to rise....Bundling has created an artificial environment that sustains journals that might otherwise not be viable on their own....The combined costs of Elsevier subscriptions far outrun even its closest competitors, while prudent cancellation decisions lead only to steeper fees. Like so many other institutions, Harvard's collections have become hostage to this situation. Declining the bundled agreement and intentionally reducing our outlay for Elsevier titles will ultimately give us the ability to respond to the marketplace unfettered by such artificial constraints."
- Robin Peek, "Harvard Faculty Mandates OA," Information Today, April 1, 2008. This is an interview with Stuart Shieber after the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted unanimously for a green OA policy on February 12, 2008. Quoting Shieber: "At Harvard, serials duplication has been all but eliminated and serious cancellation efforts have been initiated. Monograph collecting has been substantially affected as well. In total, our faculty have seen qualitative reductions in access to the literature." (I link to a copy of the original article because the original URL is now dead.)
- The Report of the Task Force on University Libraries, Harvard University, November 2009. "Even during the recent years of endowment growth, the libraries struggled to collect the books, journals, and other research materials desired by current faculty and students....The reasons for these difficulties are multiple, but include the steadily rising prices of monographs and journal subscriptions....The economic downturn has made this issue even more critical than in years prior. Because library budgets have been cut, journals will need to be cancelled, with attendant cancellation fees feeding a downward spiral....Harvard must become a more forceful participant in this negotiation, leverage its combined rather than distributed weight, and not be beholden to the prices and packages determined by the major publishing houses."
- "Libraries on the Edge," The Harvard Gazette, January 2010. "Through centuries, Harvard's libraries have amassed rich collections and unique holdings. But now budgetary pressures that have been building during the past decade, and intensified in the past year, threaten the ability of the world's largest private library to collect works as broadly as it has in the past. In an interview, University Library director and Pforzheimer University Professor Robert Darnton called the situation 'a crisis in acquisitions.' "
- Harvard's response to the first White House RFI on OA, January 22, 2010. "Harvard University...is not immune to the access crisis that motivates much of the campaign for public-access policies. In fact, the Harvard library system has gone through a series of serials reviews with substantial cancellations, and further cancellations will undoubtedly occur in the future."
- Harvard's response to the second White House RFI on OA, January 14, 2012. "Even Harvard University, whose library is the largest academic library in the world, is not immune to the access crisis motivating much of the campaign for public-access policies. In fact, the Harvard library system has had to make a painful series of budget-driven journal cancellations, and we are deciding on a set of further cancellations at this very moment."
- Testimony of Stuart Shieber, Professor of Computer Science and Director of Harvard's Office for Scholarly Communication, before the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, March 29, 2012. "The Harvard library system is the largest academic library in the world, and the fifth largest library of any sort. In attempting to provide access to research results to our faculty and students, the university subscribes to tens of thousands of serials at a cost of about 9 million dollars per year. Nonetheless, we too have been buffeted by the tremendous growth in journal costs over the last decades, with Harvard's serials expenditures growing by a factor of 3 between 1986 and 2004. Such geometric increases in expenditures could not be sustained indefinitely. Over the years since 2004 our journal expenditure increases have been curtailed through an aggressive effort at deduplication, elimination of print subscriptions, and a painful series of journal cancellations. As a researcher, I know that Harvard does not subscribe to all of the journals that I would like access to for my own research, and if Harvard, with its scale, cannot provide optimal subscription access, other universities without our resources are in an even more restricted position."
- Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing, Harvard University, April 17, 2012. "Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive....Prices for online content from two providers have increased by about 145% over the past six years, which far exceeds not only the consumer price index, but also the higher education and the library price indices. These journals therefore claim an ever-increasing share of our overall collection budget. Even though scholarly output continues to grow and publishing can be expensive, profit margins of 35% and more suggest that the prices we must pay do not solely result from an increasing supply of new articles....The Faculty Advisory Council to the Library, representing university faculty in all schools and in consultation with the Harvard Library leadership, reached this conclusion: major periodical subscriptions, especially to electronic journals published by historically key providers, cannot be sustained: continuing these subscriptions on their current footing is financially untenable. Doing so would seriously erode collection efforts in many other areas, already compromised....Costs are now prohibitive...."
- At pp. 30-32, I say, "Several sub-Saharan African university libraries subscribed to zero [subscription-based scholarly journals in 2008], offering their patrons access to no conventional journals except those donated by publishers." Add this note.
- See Samuel Kwaku Smith Esseh, Strengthening Scholarly Publishing in Africa: Asessing the Potential of Online Systems, doctoral dissertation at University of British Columbia, 2011, at pp. 252-253: "In most research and university libraries in Africa, the data show a serious gap in terms of inadequate funding for journal subscriptions. While a total of 26% of libraries indicated with certainty that they had not budgeted for journal subscriptions, another 11% libraries were not sure if any budget had been set aside. Those who did report available funds (less than 8%) had a budget of between $250,001 and $500,000 for journal subscriptions. The majority (32, or 49%) had a yearly budget of between $1 and $250,000. When this range is further broken down and carefully examined, what is evident is that a total of 78% of librarians (within the $1-$250,000 budget range) reported a subscription budget of less than $100,000 per year."
- At p. 32, I say, "In 2010, Elsevier's journal division had a profit margin of 35.7 percent while ExxonMobil had only 28.1 percent." Add this note.
- The profit margin for STM publishing at Elsevier rose to 39% in 2013. See the Reed Elsevier Annual Reports and Financial Statements 2013. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)
- The profit margin for academic publishing at Informa, which owns Taylor & Francis, was 35% in 2013. See Informa's Full Year Results for the Year Ended 31 December 2013. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)
- See David Harvie, Geoff Lightfoot, Simon Lilley, and Kenneth Weir, What are we to do with feral publishers? Organization, August 14, 2012. Quoting from the self-archived edition: "Sage, the publisher of this journal, shows a gross profit across both books and journals of over 60 per cent. A smaller publisher, Emerald, which concentrates more on journals, is able to register a gross profit of over 75 per cent. Given that the perceived quality of the journal enables publishers to demand higher prices, and Emerald has relatively few highly ranked journals, it is likely that gross profits for journals for major publishers are even higher than the 77 per cent recorded by Emerald. We are aware of only two other industries where these sorts of return are on offer: that in illegal drugs and the delivery of university-level business education...."
- At p. 33, I say, "[Most] big deals include confidentiality clauses preventing universities from disclosing the prices they pay. The effect is to reduce bargaining and price competition even further." Add this note.
- Also see Elsevier's David Tempest defend confidentiality clauses in answer to a question at Oxford University, April 2013. Watch the video or read this portion of the transcript: "Stephen Curry...: I’m glad David Tempest is so interested in librarians being able to make costs transparent to their users, because at my university, Imperial College, my chief librarian can not tell me how much she pays for Elsevier journals because she’s bound by a confidentiality clause. Would you like to address that? [Loud applause for the question] David Tempest: Well, indeed there are confidentiality clauses inherent in the system, in our Freedom Collections. The Freedom Collections do give a lot of choice and there is a lot of discount in there to the librarians. And the use, and the cost per use has been dropping dramatically, year on year. And so we have to ensure that, in order to have fair competition between different countries, that we have this level of confidentiality to make that work. Otherwise everybody would drive down, drive down, drive drive drive, and that would mean that ... [The last part is drowned in the laughter of the audience.]"
- For another kind of defense of confidentiality clauses, see Phil Davis, Non-Disclosure Agreements — Economic Tool or Kabuki Theatre? Scholarly Kitchen, May 29, 2012. Davis argues that signing non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and then violating them in private can help libraries more than abolishing NDAs. But he does not provide data on how many librarians follow this practice, and he does not argue that actual non-disclosure would help libraries more than disclosure.
- At p. 33, I quote James McPherson's findings from 2003: "In 1986 [academic] libraries spent 44 percent of their budgets on books and 56 percent on journals; by 1997 the imbalance had grown to 28 percent for books and 72 percent for journals." Add this note.
- See David Harvie, Geoff, Lightfoot, Simon Lilley, and Kenneth Weir, What are we to do with feral publishers? Organization, August 14, 2012. Quoting from the self-archived edition: "Since 1999, spending on books has fallen by almost a fifth in real terms, and from almost 12 per cent of libraries' total spending to just over 8 per cent. Expenditure on serials, on the other hand, has increased sharply: from just under £70 million to over £130 million. In real terms this represents an increase of 63 per cent; journals' share of total library spending rose from 16 per cent to almost 20 per cent."
- See Robert Darnton, The New Age of the Book, New York Review of Books, March 18, 1999: "Until recently, monographs used to account for at least half the acquisitions budget of most research libraries. In 1996-1997, however, 78 percent of the acquisitions budget in the library of the University of Illinois at Chicago went for periodicals, 21 percent for monographs. Syracuse University’s library spent 75 percent on periodicals and 17 percent on monographs. The library at the University of Hawaii spent 84 percent on periodicals and 12 percent on monographs. (The numbers don’t add up to 100 percent, since there are other categories of expenditures.) The decline in the purchase of monographs among large research libraries over the last ten years comes to 23 percent."
- At p. 33, I say, "[T]he journal crisis, concentrated in the sciences, has precipitated a monograph crisis, concentrated in the humanities." Add this note.
- For evidence that the effect on book purchases was delayed, especially for university-press books, see Elisabeth A. Jones and Paul N. Courant, Killer serials: Did electronic journals really destroy the university press? Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 50, 1 (2013) pp. 1-11. "Our first research question asked whether there had actually been a downturn in library purchasing of university press books since 1985, and if so, whether that decline was temporally coincident with the sharp increases in serials prices that began in the 1980s and 1990s....[Q]uite intriguingly, the answer to the second question would appear to be a decisive no: only one library in the sample – the very smallest, at Barry University – shows a consistent decline in purchasing from university presses extending back to the 1980s. To the extent that any of the other libraries cut their purchasing from the sample presses, they tended to do so later, mainly around either 2000 or 2007 – dates which, likely not coincidentally, mark the beginnings of the two most recent major U.S. economic downturns....Libraries’ overall monographic purchasing may have gone flat in the 1980s and declined after 2000, but based on these data, the same cannot be said for their purchasing of university press monographs. Cutting those purchases truly does seem to have been a strategy of last resort, likely linked more closely to the overall economic conditions of the past decade than to the rising serials costs which came much earlier...."
- At p. 34, I say, "Some publishers don't allow libraries to share digital texts by interlibrary loan and instead require them to make printouts, scan the printouts, and lend the scans." Add this note.
- See Eric Hellman, eBook ILL is silly. The reason why will bore you, Go To Hellman, March 22, 2014. "But if a library can do digital ILL, what is to prevent libraries from sharing a resource so widely that only one library in the world needs to buy the item? The solution that e-journal publishers typically use is the "print-and-ship" solution. In other words, a library is allowed to send articles from a subscribed journal only if they print it out first. The transaction is thus identical to what it was back in the dark ages of ink and paper and xerox machines. For publishers, the friction of print-and-ship discourages libraries from canceling subscriptions; besides, the big-deal model of bundling many subscriptions into one has been much more advantageous for publishers than the document-delivery model that ILL competes with....Printing article PDFs and mailing them is a stretch, but mapping this model into ebooks is a farther stretch...."
- At p. 37, I say, "Editors and referees donate the peer-review judgments to improve and validate [the] quality [of journal articles]." Add this note.
- In endnote 13 (note call at p. 37, note text at p. 184) I cite a study showing that the value of this unpaid labor, worldwide, came to about £1.9 billion/year in 2008, or about $3 billion/year. However, the URL for that citation points to a news article about the study, not the study itself. First, the URL to the news article has changed to this: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/402189.article. Second, here's the full citation and proper link to the study itself: Activities, costs and funding flows in the scholarly communications system, Research Information Network, May 19, 2008. Third, here's an excerpt from the study at p. 8: "We have estimated the unpaid non-cash costs of peer review undertaken in the main by academics at £1.9bn globally each year [about $3bn]. If payment were to be made in cash to meet these costs, there would be a significant transfer of funds to academics and the HE sector globally. If universities were able to capture the payments made to peer reviewers, it might be possible to make these payments neutral in terms of university budgets. But our assumption is that the majority of payments would in effect form additions to salaries. Since the estimated breakeven price of a major discipline journal would increase by 43%, the result would be an increase in the costs of subscriptions to academic institutions globally of the order of £1.4bn. The estimated increase in the costs of subscriptions to UK libraries in the HE sector would be of the order of £53m, a rise of 45% compared with their current subscription expenditure."
- At p. 37, I say, "Publishers argue that they add value to the submitted manuscripts, which is true. But other players in the game, such as authors, editors, and referees, add far more value than publishers." Add these notes.
- See my article, Archived postprints should identify themselves, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, May 2, 2005: "If you tuned in late, I acknowledge that journals add value. It's a myth that OA wants to dispense with these valuable services....The true bone of contention is not whether these services are valuable but [whether they are worth what we pay for them, and] how to pay for the most essential services without creating access barriers for readers."
- The value added by conventional publishers must be weighed against the value subtracted by their business model. See my article, Problems and opportunities (blizzards and beauty), SPARC Open Access Newsletter, July 2, 2007: "[A]fter [subscription-based] publishers add value through peer review and copy editing they feel financial pressure to subtract value by imposing password barriers, locking files to prevent copying or cutting/pasting, freezing data into images, cutting good articles solely for length, and turning gifts into commodities which may not be further shared."
- OA publishers can add the same value as TA publishers. Hence, even if the added value is high, it's not an argument for TA over OA. It's merely an argument for publishing over non-publishing. Moreover, after adding value, OA publishers do not subtract value, as conventional publishers do.
- See my article, Balancing author and publisher rights, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2007: In a position paper by the ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers), AAP/PSP (Association of American Publishers / Professional/Scholarly Publishing), and STM (International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers), "publishers are arguing that because they add value to the publication, they deserve exclusive rights in it....This is neither balanced nor good for research. Publishers do add value, primarily the organization of expert volunteers who provide peer review. But no matter how many other forms of publisher-added value we recognize, and no matter how we estimate their overall benefits, there's no doubt that publishers add *less* value to the final product than authors, who do the research and writing, and funders, who pay for the original research....There are two main reasons why we find ourselves in the odd situation in which publishers get to control access even though they add less value than authors or funders. The first is that publishers demand compensation for their services, while authors and funders do not. The second is that publishers believe the only way to be compensated is to control access and charge for it. This is their business model from the age of print, when it was physically impossible to make perfect copies for a worldwide audience at zero marginal cost. Their business model depends on scarcity, which for digital texts in a networked world is always artificial scarcity. Publishers are not appealing to the principle that adding value carries the right to control access. If they were, then all contributors who added value would have to share control. Nor are they appealing to the principle that the right to control access belongs to the contributor who adds the greatest value. If they were, they'd have to make a serious argument that their contribution is more valuable than the author's or funder's. They are demanding the right to control access because they need compensation for their services and choose a business model that depends on access barriers and artificial scarcity. Even if we don't think this situation is perverse and cries out for change, at least we should notice that their position is not about balance. It's about what publishers need or want, regardless of what authors need or want. Am I saying that publishers should join authors and funders in working without direct monetary compensation? Not at all. Publishers deserve to be paid for the value they add. But it doesn't follow that they deserve to control access...."
- See Richard Smith, A great day for science, The Guardian, October 11, 2008. "Indeed, publishers arguably subtract value by Balkanising the research. Scientific research is fundamentally different from a thing, a car or a banana, in that ideas can be exchanged and increase exponentially without anybody losing. The more people have access to scientific ideas, the more new ideas." If I may paraphrase: TA publishers subtract value by blocking or diminishing network effects. Also see Smith's later piece, A bad bad week for access, The Guardian, June 28, 2012. "[OA is] taking a long time to come. The vested interests are huge, powerful, and well connected. None of the people who wrote the articles I've been accessing were paid for writing them. They are supported by public money, and publishers are making money by restricting access to their work. I argued to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission that far from adding value to the publishing process publishers are subtracting value. I stand by that, and I'm angry."
- See Glenn S. McGuigan and Robert D. Russell, The Business of Academic Publishing: A Strategic Analysis of the Academic Journal Publishing Industry and its Impact on the Future of Scholarly Publishing, E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship, Winter 2008. McGuigan and Russell quote from a Deutsche Bank report ("Reed Elsevier: Moving the Supertanker," Company Focus: Global Equity Research Report, January 11, 2005, p. 36, not online): "We believe the publisher adds relatively little value to the publishing process. We are not attempting to dismiss what 7,000 people at [Reed Elsevier] do for a living. We are simply observing that if the process really were as complex, costly and value-added as the publishers protest that it is, 40% margins wouldn't be available."
- See Andrew Odlyzko, Open Access, library and publisher competition, and the evolution of general commerce, preprint, February 4, 2013. "As an author, I ﬁnd that copy editing subtracts value, by forcing me to do extra work, usually for no good reason, and often to correct what the copy editors have done." This is my own experience as well.
- See Richard Smith, The business of academic publishing: “a catastrophe”, The Lancet, October 6, 2018. "As I watched Paywall: The Business of Scholarship, I was taken back 30 years to when I thought for the first time about the business aspects of academic publishing. I was an assistant editor at the BMJ, and the editor asked me to join a meeting with a group of rheumatologists who wanted a share in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases, a journal we owned. “We do the research published in the journal”, said one of the rheumatologists. “We do the peer review, we edit the journal, we read it, and we store it in our libraries. What do you do?” “Tell them what we do”, said the editor to me. I was at a complete loss."
- At p. 39, I say, "Most scientific research is funded by public agencies using public money, conducted and written up by researchers working at public institutions and paid with public money, and then peer-reviewed by faculty at public institutions and paid with public money. Even when researchers and peer reviewers work at private universities, their institutions are subsidized by publicly funded tax exemptions and tax-deductible donations. Most toll-access journal subscriptions are purchased by public institutions and paid with taxpayer money." Add this note.
- See Stuart Shieber, Public underwriting of research and open access, The Occasional Pamphlet, April 4, 2014. "The penetration of the notion of “taxpayer-funded research”, of “research their tax dollars have paid for”, is far greater than you might think....[A]ll university research benefits from the social contract with taxpayers that makes universities tax-exempt....It’s difficult to estimate the size of this form of support to universities. The best estimate I’ve seen puts it at something like $50 billion per year for the income tax exemption. That’s more than the NIH, NSF, and (hardly worth mentioning) the NEH put together. It’s on par with the total non-defense federal R&D funding....All university research, not just the grant-funded research, benefits from the taxpayer underwriting implicit in the tax exemption social contract. It would make sense then, in return, for taxpayers to require open access to all university research in return for continued tax-exempt status...."
- At p. 39, I say, "Every scholarly journal is a natural mini-monopoly in the sense that no other journal publishes the same articles." Add this note.
- See Peter Suber, "Preface" to Solomon, Laakso, and Björk, Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences, Harvard Library, June 2016, p. 3, where I argue that this natural mini-monopoly is one reason (among other reasons) to favor flipping toll-access journals to OA over launching new OA journals. "[W]ithout question, new OA journals advance the primary goal of providing OA to more and more research. But they don't save libraries money, an important secondary goal. They don't save libraries money unless they justify the cancellation of existing subscription journals. But because different journals publish different articles, journals are not fungible, and free journals do not directly displace priced journals, or justify their cancellation, even when they exist in the same field and at the same level of quality. By contrast, every converted OA journal removes a subscription line from the budget of every subscribing library, without removing access to the journal's research. This frees up money for other good purposes, including the growth and sustainability of OA itself. It helps solve the inescapable background problem that the money needed to support high-quality OA in every field is largely tied up in subscriptions to conventional, non-OA journals. The alternative is to find significant new money for OA, which is as unlikely as it is unnecessary."
- At p. 40, I say, "Laid on top of this natural monopoly are several layers of artificial monopoly." Add these notes.
- See Mark McCabe, The impact of publisher mergers on journal prices: an update. ARL Bimonthly Report, #207, December 1999. "During the sample period (1988–1998) two significant mergers occurred: one between Pergamon (57 biomedical titles) and Elsevier (190) and the other between Lippincott (15) and Kluwer (75). To estimate the impact of these mergers on the prices of the biomedical journals being studied, a subset of data from the larger sample of medical libraries was analyzed. According to these empirical estimates, each of these mergers was associated with substantial price increases; in the case of the Elsevier deal the price increase was due solely to increased market power....For example, compared to premerger prices, the Elsevier deal resulted in an average price increase of 22% for former Pergamon titles, and an 8% increase for Elsevier titles. This asymmetry probably reflects the corresponding asymmetry in premerger journal portfolio size for the two firms. That is, Pergamon’s relatively small biomedical portfolio prevented it from realizing it could profitably set prices at the same level as Elsevier for journals in the same class. In the Lippincott/Kluwer merger, a 35% price increase in former Lippincott titles was due in part to increased market power, but also due in part to an apparent increase in the inelasticity of demand for the titles. That is, after the merger, Lippincott titles were even less likely to be cancelled. These results also contain a likely explanation for the persistent journal price inflation observed in most academic fields.10 The sensitivity of library demand to price increases is very small by normal standards (a 1% increase in price results in a 0.3% decline in subscriptions). Given this inelastic demand, publishers have a strong incentive to increase prices faster than the growth rate of library budgets...."
- See Pritpal Tamber, Is Scholarly Publishing Becoming a Monopoly? BioMed Central News and Views, an editorial, October 3, 2000. "In recent years merger mania has dominated the professional publishing landscape....Between January 1998 and June 1999, the number of leading publishers in science/technology fell from 13 to 10 as Wolters Kluwer swallowed up Ovid Technologies and Plenum publishing, and the Thomson Corporation left the medical field entirely....At the same time, the medical publishing industry was reduced from eight to five leading publishers....However, all this activity would have paled to insignificance had a proposed merger between Reed Elsevier...and Wolters Kluwer taken place in 1998. This would have created the largest player in the professional publishing industry, leap-frogging the Thomson Corporation (which has little activity in the science/technology or medical markets). The merger failed after facing regulatory scrutiny...but the companies continued to make acquisitions of smaller companies, Reed Elsevier making up to 70 in 18 months....."
- In the wake of Reed Elsevier's 2001 acquisition of Harcourt, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigated anti-competitive practices in the academic journal publishing industry. In September 2002 it issued its report, The market for scientific, technical and medical journals. In Chapter 5, the report lists "evidence that the market may not be working well", including hyperinflationary price increases (Section 5.1), higher prices at large for-profit publishers than small non-profit publishers (5.2 - 5.5), use of high-profit journals to subsidize low-profit journals (5.7), higher profit margins in STM fields than in other fields (5.9 - 5.11), and bundling (5.12 - 5.13). In Chapter 7, the OFT admits that the "evidence...gives cause for concern" but explains why it is reluctant to intervene. One reason, ironically, is that publisher price increases have been so excessive for so long that "a point may have been reached where it is in the interests of publishers, as well as customers, the level of price increases to be reduced" (7.2). Another reason, also ironic, is the incipient open-access movement (7.4 - 7.7). The report concludes that, "However, if competition fails to improve, or should additional significant information come to light, we may consider further action." Also see the OFT press release for the report. Prices have continued to rise faster than inflation since the report came out, but the OFT has not acted.
- See Albert A. Foer, Can Antitrust Save Academic Publishing? A presentation at the American Library Association Annual Meeting, Orlando, Florida, June 28, 2004. At the time, Foer was the President of the The American Antitrust Institute. "Between the merger wave [in academic publishing] and the invention of the Big Deal, not only the nation but the English-speaking world seems to be headed for that dangerous territory in which a small number of individuals, working through international corporations, may gain the power to control important aspects of the production and distribution of critically important information. We have an obligation to stop this movement."
- See Thomas M. Susman, Statement on Behalf of the Information Access Alliance, Prepared for the U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Hearings on Single-Firm Anticompetitive Conduct, November 2006. "The IAA believes that single-firm anticompetitive conduct accounts at least in some part for the serious problems confronting research libraries today. Our concerns include the rapid expansion of publisher bundles, the perceived lack of viable alternatives in the marketplace, the frequent demand for nondisclosure clauses in contracts, publishers' practices of requiring multi-year commitments, and the strict limitations on reducing the scale of bundles....In short, with their limited budgets and inability to reduce the numbers of titles within bundles, libraries are effectively restrained by the journal bundle from purchasing titles from other publishers. This, in turn, creates a major strategic entry barrier in the journals market that forecloses entry by new or smaller publishers and allows major bundling publishers to continue supracompetitive price increases...."
- See George Monbiot, Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist, The Guardian, August 29, 2011. "Whose monopolistic practices make Walmart look like a corner shop and Rupert Murdoch a socialist?...While there are plenty of candidates, my vote goes not to the banks, the oil companies or the health insurers, but...to academic publishers....Of all corporate scams, the racket they run is most urgently in need of referral to the competition authorities....You might resent Murdoch's paywall policy, in which he charges £1 for 24 hours of access to the Times and Sunday Times. But at least in that period you can read and download as many articles as you like. Reading a single article published by one of Elsevier's journals will cost you $31.50....Murdoch pays his journalists and editors, and his companies generate much of the content they use. But the academic publishers get their articles, their peer reviewing (vetting by other researchers) and even much of their editing for free....The returns are astronomical: in the past financial year, for example, Elsevier's operating profit margin was 36%....More importantly, universities are locked into buying their products. Academic papers are published in only one place, and they have to be read by researchers trying to keep up with their subject. Demand is inelastic and competition non-existent, because different journals can't publish the same material....What we see here is pure rentier capitalism: monopolising a public resource then charging exorbitant fees to use it....In the short term, governments should refer the academic publishers to their competition watchdogs....The knowledge monopoly is as unwarranted and anachronistic as the corn laws. Let's throw off these parasitic overlords and liberate the research that belongs to us."
- Anti-competitive practices by publishers will only worsen as publishers merge and consolidate. To track this consolidation, monitor the page of Publisher Mergers maintained by the University of California Berkeley Library. (When I added this update, February 10, 2013, the page of mergers had last been updated on February 16, 2012.)
- At p. 40, I say, "[L]arge commercial publishers charge higher prices and raise their prices faster than small, nonprofit [TA] publishers. Yet, the scholarly consensus is that quality, impact, and prestige are generally higher at the nonprofit society journals." Endnote 15 (note text at pp. 184-185) documents the claims about quality, impact, and prestige. Add these notes.
- See Mathias Dewatripont, Victor Ginsburgh, Patrick Legros, and Alexis Walckiers, Pricing of Scientific Journals and Market Power, Journal of the European Economic Association, April-May 2007. Quoting from the self-archived edition: "We classified these journals into three categories: (a) FP journals published by for-profit publishers, (b) NFP journals managed by not-for-profit publishers (scientific societies, university presses, etc.), and NFPP journals published and distributed by FP firms on account of scientific societies....Our empirical investigation documents the following:  There exist large price differences across fields.  These differences seem to be correlated with the market power of publishers. The larger the concentration ratio, the larger the average price in a field, the price to which should be added the large difference between FPs, NFPPs and NFPs.  As a general rule, FP journals charge four times as much on average than NFP journals, for a given number of citations, age, language, number of articles, and field (or concentration ratio). Journals of scientific societies managed by FP publishers (NFPP) are twice as expensive as NFP journals (scientific societies exercise some control on prices).  Prices are positively correlated with quality measured by the number of citations they receive (even when citations are instrumented), and this effect is larger for FP journals....We take the first finding as indicative of the fact that substitution possibilities across journals are limited, allowing for a significant amount of discretion in the setting of journal prices....We confirm earlier research concerning the large price difference between FP and NFP journals, and show that prices of NFPP journals are somewhere in between. Moreover, we show that prices increase with citation counts and we have argued that costs should tend to fall when citation counts rise. This is consistent with “value-based pricing” (à la McCabe 2002, 2004) rather than with cost-based pricing, and is again indicative of publishers’ ability to exercise discretion in price setting, because journals and papers are hardly substitutes, and researchers need all of them...."
- Most society publishers don't have the revenues or surpluses of the commercial giants. In 2010 Elsevier reported profit margins (36%) larger than those at ExxonMobil (28%); see p. 183n8. But most society journals are not in that league, and not even close. Many are in the red. Insofar as publisher profiteering is part of the argument for OA (and it needn't be), it only applies to the commercial giants, not to small, nonprofit society publishers.
- Some societies join the commercial giants in lobbying against OA policies, and argue that OA is intrinsically harmful to society publishers, or that OA harms small nonprofit publishers as such. I make many concessions to society publishers, but I cannot make this one. Since 2007, Caroline Sutton and I have maintained a list of society publishers of OA journals. In 2007 we found 425 societies publishing 450 full (non-hybrid) OA journals. In 2011 we published a second edition of our list showing 530 societies publishing 616 full OA journals. After publishing our 2011 results, we posted our list to a Google spreadsheet open to community editing. As of February 24, 2014, it showed 848 societies publishing 801 full (non-hybrid) OA journals.
- At p. 40, I say, "Large conventional publishers spend some of the money they extract from libraries on marketing and “content protection” measures that benefit publishers far more than users." Add this note.
- At that point in the text I cite Roger Clarke, The cost profiles of alternative approaches to journal publishing, First Monday, 2007. But I should also have added a quotation from his piece. "For–profit publishers have higher cost–profiles than not–for–profit associations, because of the additional functions that they perform, in particular their much greater investment in branding, customer relationship management and content protection. The difference is particularly marked in the case of eJournals — a computed per–article cost of US$3,400 compared with US$730. This point is sufficiently significant that further examination is warranted...."
- At pp. 40-41, I describe the sense in which librarians are more attuned to the journal pricing crisis than faculty. Add this note.
- As a class, librarians are not only more knowledgeable about the issues, but more active in working to change the system of scholarly communication. In a July 2011 interview with Richard Poynder, I put it this way: "Librarians lobby for OA mandates. They write to their representatives in the legislature. They make phone calls and visit. They network and organize. They communicate with one another, with their patrons, and with the public. They launch, maintain, and fill repositories. They write up their experiences, case studies, surveys, and best practices. They pay attention. On average, they understand the issues better than any other stakeholder group, including researchers, administrators, publishers, funders, and policymakers...."
- At p. 46, I quote from Thomas Jefferson's beautiful 1813 letter to Isaac McPherson. In endnote 24 (p. 187), however, I only cite a print edition of the letter. Here's an online edition as well. Appropriately, the relevant parts of the letter are reprinted in Philip Kurland and Ralph Lerner (eds.), The Founder's Constitution, University of Chicago, 1987, as annotations to the copyright clause in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8.
Chapter 3: Varieties
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 3:
- For updates to Section 3 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 50, I say, "Also like conventional journals, most [OA journals] are honest and some are scams." Add these notes.
- For work on suspicious OA journals and publishers, the OA community is indebted to Richard Poynder and Jeffrey Beall. For example, see Richard Poynder's interviews with Bentham (April 2008), Dove Medical Press (November 2008), Libertas Academica (January 2009), Sciyo (February 2010), InTech (October 2011), OMICS (December 2011), and fellow investigator Jeffrey Beall (July 2012). Also see the many strands of Poynder's inquiry into Scientific Journals International (starting in July 2008). Similarly, see Jeffrey Beall's list of predatory publishers, list of predatory journals, and blog devoted to "critical analysis" of OA publishing. Update: Note that Beall took his list offline on January 15, 2017.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 4.1: "We should do more to make publishers, editors, referees and researchers aware of standards of professional conduct for OA publishing, for example on licensing, editorial process, soliciting submissions, disclosing ownership, and the handling of publication fees. Editors, referees and researchers should evaluate opportunities to engage with publishers and journals on the basis of these standards of professional conduct. Where publishers are not meeting these standards we should help them improve as a first step....As one means for evaluating a new or unknown OA publisher or OA journal, we recommend that researchers consult the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) and its code of conduct....We encourage all OA publishers and OA journals to apply best practices recommended by OASPA or to seek membership in the association, which would entail a review of their practices and an opportunity to amend these where necessary."
- See my article, Ten challenges for open-access journals, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, October 2, 2009, especially Section 6, "Doubts about honesty": "Are OA journals a scam? Are fee-based OA journals a scam? Are some fee-based OA journals scams? Do some observers believe that some fee-based OA journals are scams? Does this belief harm OA journals as a class? Although you edit or publish OA journals yourself, you probably gave one, two, or three "yes" answers to these five questions. That's the challenge....The challenge behind this challenge is that we rarely have more than grounds for suspicion. We'll often have doubts about our doubts about a journal's honesty. In my own mind, it's important to leave space to distinguish a scam from a clumsy start-up. An entirely honest but clumsy start-up might announce titles far in advance of their content and forget to disclose the editors or owners. My recommendation is two-sided. On the other hand, don't create a hostile or unwelcoming environment for new start-ups....Don't let ours become a revolution that eats its own children....The OASPA code of conduct is a beacon here. Not only does it say the right things: disclose your peer review process, your contact info, your fees, and don't spam. It is the voice of OA publishers themselves, not critics of OA publishers. It shows that OA publishers are willing to articulate these norms and willing to enforce them. It's public self-regulation. It's available for supporters, critics, and start-ups to consult it as an emerging standard....[T]he Davis/Anderson hoax from June 2009...made all OA journals look bad....You might quarrel with the word "all". Not all OA journals charge publication fees. Not all OA journals that do charge fees take the money and fail to deliver honest peer review, or even a cursory human glance. True and true. The actual number of journals like TOISCIJ [The Open Information Science Journal] is very small. But most people who hear about the Davis/Anderson hoax don't understand the distinctions among OA journals, just as most people who heard about the 1996 Sokal hoax didn't understand the distinctions among cultural studies journals or even among humanities journals. Jumping to the conclusion that the problem lies with OA as such or publication fees as such is not justified and not fair. But that's the challenge. By contrast, TA journal scams –-like the nine fake journals published by Elsevier–- seldom trigger generalizations about the faults of TA journals as such. From long familiarity, most academics have learned to discriminate among TA journals. But most are still learning to discriminate among OA journals."
- How often are scholarly authors lured into these journals? See David Solomon and Bo-Christer Björk OA Coming of Age, The Scientist, August 6, 2012. "While poor quality publishers are proliferating, often creating hundreds of cookie-cutter journals, they tend to publish relatively few articles. On the other hand, PLoS recently published its 50,000th article. We reanalyzed data from a study we recently published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology that characterized the APCs of journals charging them. We found that two thirds of the approximately 106,000 articles published in 2010 in these journals, listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, were in publications listed by the 2010 Journal Citation Report (JCR) and another 11 percent were listed in the Scopus abstract and citation database but not in the JCR. The publishers of these indexes screen the journals they list for quality including ensuring that they are properly peer-reviewed. This suggests that the majority of scientists publishing in OA journals that charge APCs are savvy enough to avoid low quality publishers. It appears that they care about the quality of the journals in which they publish, as do the promotion and tenure committees that evaluate researchers. Beall and others have pointed out a legitimate concern with predatory publishing, but it is important to keep that concern in perspective."
- For my suggestions on how to evaluate OA journals too new to have trustworthy reputations for high or low quality, see my online handout, How to make your own work open access (first put online October 2012, periodically updated).
- At p. 50, I say, "As early as 2004, Thomson Scientific found that 'in each of the broad subject areas studied there was at least one OA title that ranked at or near the top of its field' in citation impact." Add this note.
- Correction. I cite my source in endnote 2 at p. 187: Marie E. McVeigh, "Open Access Journals in the ISI Citation Databases: Analysis of Impact Factors and Citation Patterns Thomson Scientific," Thomson Scientific, October 2004. The source is correct, but the URL I used for the source is incorrect in two ways. First it uses ".eom" where it should use ".com". Second, even when corrected, the link is now dead. Here is a working link from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine, http://web.archive.org/web/20090806233855/http://science.thomsonreuters.com/m/pdfs/openaccesscitations2.pdf.
- At p. 50, endnote 2 (note text at p. 187). Here I'm documenting the assertion that "The number of high-quality, high-impact OA journals has only grown" since the Thomson Scientific study in 2004.
- See Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure, BMC Medicine, October 22, 2012: "[T]he scientific impact of OA journals founded in the last decade, and in particular in biomedicine, is on par with similar subscription journals, as measured by average number of citations."
- Also see Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, Delayed Open Access – an overlooked high-impact category of openly available scientific literature, forthcoming in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 2012: "A journal impact factor analysis revealed that delayed OA journals have on average twice as high average citation rates compared to closed subscription journals, and three times as high as immediate OA journals."
- At p. 50, I say, "Like conventional publishers, there are a few large OA publishers and a long tail of small ones...." Add these notes.
- See Salvatore Mele, First Results of the SOAP Project, a presentation at the Conference of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, Prague, August 23, 2010. The few large OA publishers are better about providing libre OA than the long tail of small ones. See esp. slides #7 and #10. Half of the 14 "large" OA publishers use CC licenses, most of them (82%) using CC-BY licenses and the rest (18%) using CC-BY-NC. Of the smaller OA publishers, only about one-fifth used CC licenses.
- See Jan Erik Frantsvåg, The size distribution of open access publishers: A problem for open access? First Monday, December 2010. The long-tail of small publishers limits the ability of OA publishing to take advantage of economies of scale. "All these elements suggest that small–scale operation of OA publishing is economically inefficient, and that OA publishing best be organized in larger publishing institutions."
- See William H. Walters and Anne Linvill, Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas, College and Research Libraries, May 2011. "[T]he largest [OA journal] publishes more than 2,700 articles per year, but half publish 25 or fewer....Overall, the OA journal landscape is greatly influenced by a few key publishers and journals."
- At p. 52-53: For clarity, read the terminology box on p. 53 before starting Section 3.1 on p. 52.
- At pp. 54-55, I say, "One of the early victories of the OA movement was to get a majority of toll-access publishers and journals to give blanket permission for author-initiated green OA. But this victory remains one of the best-kept secrets of scholarly publishing, and widespread ignorance of it is the single most harmful consequence of green OA's invisibility." Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 1.7: "Publishers who do not provide OA should at least permit it through their formal publishing agreements....The minority of subscription-based publishers who do not yet allow author-initiated green OA, without payment or embargo, should adopt the majority position."
- At p. 55, I refer to the "invisibility" of green OA. Add these notes on the general invisibility of green OA compared to gold OA (in chronological order).
- See Ian Rowlands and Dave Nichols, New Journal Publishing Models: An International Survey of Senior Researchers, CIBER (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research), September 22, 2005. The original link is dead and I can't find a live one. But here's an excerpt from the study, quoted in a blog post I wrote at the time: "Authors are not at all knowledgeable about institutional repositories: less than 10 per cent declared that they know 'a little' or 'a lot' about this development...."
- See the Research Information Network, Researchers' use of academic libraries and their services, September 1, 2006, especially section 9.4. "Our survey shows a significant discrepancy between the proportion of librarians who say their institution has an open access institutional repository (52%) and the proportion of researchers who believe that their institution has such a repository (15%). As Figure 37 shows, the gap is even greater between the 20% of librarians who say they don’t know whether their institution has an open access institutional repository and the 72% of researchers who don’t know...."
- See Faculty Attitudes and Behaviors Regarding Scholarly Communication: Survey Findings from the University of California, from the UC a Office of Scholarly Communication and the California Digital Library eScholarship Program, August 2007. "In May 2006, a special committee of the UC Academic Council proposed that faculty routinely grant to the University a limited, nonexclusive license to place their scholarly publications in a noncommercial, publicly accessible online repository....Despite full faculty governance review and discussion, the survey revealed that the vast majority of the faculty was unaware of the proposal....[In addition to] the lack of faculty knowledge about the potential change in University policy (mentioned above)...respondents were overwhelmingly unaware of eScholarship services, a University-wide set of tools and electronic publishing services for enabling the electronic creation and dissemination of published and unpublished works. This is an interesting contrast to the relative success of eScholarship, as evidenced by the significant quantity, quality, and regularity of contributions and the heavy use that content receives...."
- See Richard Poynder's interview with me from October 2007. In response to one of his questions, I described the situation this way: "The fact is that green OA has always had to fight for recognition. Its novelty makes it invisible. People understand OA journals, more or less, because they understand journals. But there's no obvious counterpart to OA archiving in the traditional landscape of scholarly communication. It's as if people can only understand new things that they can assimilate to old things. All of us [OA advocates] have had the experience of describing green OA at a meeting and then getting questions that presuppose that all OA is gold OA. All of us have seen critics object to green OA policies by pointing out supposed shortcomings of gold OA."
- See Alma Swan, Key Concerns Within the Scholarly Communication Process, Key Perspectives, March 2008. This is a report to the JISC Scholarly Communications Working Group. "Researchers...think that placing work on their websites is an adequate substitute for depositing in a repository and have a poor appreciation of what institutional repositories are trying to achieve in general."
- See Sue Thorn, Sally Morris, and Ron Fraser, Learned societies and open access: key results from surveys of biosciencesocieties and researchers, Serials, March 2009. "[R]espondents were confused about what was or was not a repository of self-archived material." (While I cite this study for the proposition that green OA has been invisible or misunderstood, I am critical of many of its other conclusions; see my blog post on it from July 2008, after the study had appeared as a report and before it was published as a journal article.)
- At p. 55, I say, "Most publishing scholars will choose prestige over OA if they have to choose. The good news is that they rarely have to choose. The bad news is that few of them know that they rarely have to choose....There are two reasons why OA is compatible with prestigious publication, a gold reason and a green one...." Add this note.
- On the first part of this assertion, that publishing scholars will choose prestige over OA, see the UK Survey of Academics 2012 from Ithaka S+R, JISC, and RLUK, May 14, 2013. At pp. 69-72 the authors interpret the results presented in Figure 40: "Three factors —all closely related to the prominence and reach of the publication— were rated as very important by more than 4 in 5 respondents: that the current issues of the journal are circulated widely, are well read by academics in their field, and have a high impact factor....And other factors —the journal’s accessibility in developing nations...and the journal making its articles freely available online so there is no cost to purchase or read them— were rated as important by less than a third of respondents overall." Ithaka reported similar results in its US Faculty Survey 2009 (April 2010); see pp. 25-26 and Figure 23. I discuss the 2009 version of the results in Unanimous faculty votes, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2010: "I don't dispute the Ithaka findings. In fact, I've often argued myself that scholars will choose prestige in their field over OA, when they have to choose. I've only tried to make clear that they rarely have to choose [here omitting citations to four earlier articles]....[I]t's not hard to reconcile this evidence with the evidence of the unanimous faculty votes [for university green OA policies]. The Ithaka finding is about gold OA, and the unanimous faculty votes are about green OA. Green OA policies allow faculty to submit their work to the journals of their choice. One of the primary reasons why OA mandates focus on green rather than gold OA (or repositories rather than journals) is precisely to preserve this sort of academic freedom. When the high-profile journals in a field are TA, then a green OA policy allows faculty to have the best of both worlds: prestige from the journal publishing the article and OA from the institutional repository. It's not at all surprising that faculty, or faculty who understand their OA options, will take the best of both worlds when they can. That explains both the preference for high-profile journals and the support for green OA. Meantime, more and more OA journals are moving into the top cohort of prestige and impact in more and more fields, a second reason why authors rarely have to choose between prestige and OA...."
- At p. 55, I say, "If there are no prestigious OA journals in your field today, you could wait (things are changing fast), you could help out (by submitting your best work), or you could move on to green." Add this note.
- On the second option, helping out, see the Faculty Advisory Council Memorandum on Journal Pricing, Harvard University, April 17, 2012. One of its recommendations is short and direct: "[M]ove prestige to open access."
- At p. 57, I say, "[S]cholars who regularly read research in a...disciplinary repository, such as arXiv for physics or PubMed Central for medicine, readily grasp the rationale for depositing their work in OA repositories...." Add this note.
- See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007: "I predict that the rate of spontaneous self-archiving will start to rise significantly when the volume of OA literature on deposit in repositories reaches a critical mass. The mass will be critical when researchers routinely search repositories, or routinely find what they seek in repositories. Only by using repositories as readers will they appreciate the value of using them as authors. For now, this critical mass exists for the largest disciplinary repositories, such as arXiv and PubMed Central. We shouldn't expect it to exist for any single institutional repository, since researchers search for literature by topic or field, not by institution. But we can expect a critical mass to develop for the network of institutional repositories....[S]cholars who find articles in repositories must be led to realize that they are finding them in repositories. They need to see and credit the role of the repositories, not just the role of Google or OAIster or the search engine that brought them there."
- At pp. 57-58, I say, "Because most publishers and journals already give blanket permission for green OA, the burden is on authors to take advantage of it....The reason the spontaneous rate [of self-archiving] is lower than the nudged, assisted, and mandated rate is rarely opposition to OA itself. Almost always it's unfamiliarity with green OA (belief that all OA is gold OA), misunderstanding of green OA (belief that it violates copyright, bypasses peer review, or forecloses the possibility of publishing in a venerable journal), and fear that it is time-consuming. In this sense, author unfamiliarity and misunderstanding are greater obstacles to OA than actual opposition, whether from authors or publishers." Add this note.
- See Mikael Laakso, Green open access policies of scholarly journal publishers: a study of what, when, and where self-archiving is allowed, Scientometrics, forthcoming (c. May 2014). "Of the 1,1 million articles included in the analysis, 80.4% could be uploaded [with publisher permission] either as an accepted manuscript or publisher version to an institutional or subject repository after one year of publication....With previous studies suggesting realized green OA to be around 12% of total annual articles the results highlight the substantial unused potential for green OA....The threshold for making a green OA copy available voluntarily is in such cases low, but what remains to be aligned is author attitude."
- At p. 58, I refer to the fear that self-archiving is time-consuming. But there is evidence to answer these fears. Add these notes.
- See Leslie Carr and Stevan Harnad, Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving, Working Paper, University of Southampton, March 15, 2005 (Last Modified, March 2, 2012). Two months of log activity at an active institutional repository showed that "The median time for metadata entry is 5 minutes and 37 seconds per paper. The average is 10 minutes 40 seconds owing to the long tail of the distribution....A researcher who writes one paper per month would accordingly find themselves (or their designees) spending an average of...about 39 minutes per year in metadata entry tasks related to self-archiving." For a later version of the same study, see Leslie Carr, Stevan Harnad, and Alma Swan, A Longitudinal Study of the Practice of Self-Archiving, Working Paper, University of Southampton, April 20, 2007 (Last Modified, March 2, 2012).
- See Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown, Open access self-archiving: An author study, Technical Report, University of Southampton, June 6, 2005. "Authors have frequently expressed reluctance to self-archive because of the perceived time required and possible technical difficulties in carrying out this activity, yet findings here show that only 20% of authors found some degree of difficulty with the first act of depositing an article in a repository, and that this dropped to 9% for subsequent deposits."
- Also see the Survey on open access in FP7, European Commission, 2012. At p. 5: "The majority of respondents find it easy or very easy to have time or manpower to self-archive peer-reviewed articles...."
- At p. 58, I say, "author unfamiliarity and misunderstanding are greater obstacles to OA than actual opposition." I already have some documentation on author unfamiliarity and misunderstanding in endnote 9 (note text at p. 189). Add these notes.
- See Jenny Fry et al., PEER Behavioural Research: Authors and Users vis-à-vis Journals and Repositories: Final Report, August 2011. "There appears to be a lack of awareness of publishers’ open access embargo periods, with just over half of authors surveyed in phase 2 stating that they did not know or could not remember what embargo period, if any, was enforced by the publisher when they placed their article in an OAR [OA repository]....[D]uring the project there was some uncertainty identified over the precise meaning of the term ‘Open Access’, with focus group participants expressing uncertainty over what ‘Open Access’ really entails....However, the phase 1 findings indicate that general awareness of OA is growing compared to results from earlier seminal studies conducted by Rowlands et al. (2004) and Swan and Brown (2004, 2005)....The analysis of the free text responses received in the phase 1 survey also revealed a discrepancy between what was reported in the multiple choice questions and what researchers really understand OAR to be....Examples of low levels of awareness of institutional repositories included workshop participants learning of the existence of a repository at their institution through discussion with the research team at the workshop. Others were not always sure whether their institutional repository was OA or available for access only by members of the institution...."
- See Claire Creaser et al., Authors Awareness and Attitudes Toward Open Access Repositories, New Review of Academic Librarianship, 16 (Supplement 1), October 2010, pp. 145-161. The authors have self-archived a copy, though it is not yet OA. "Levels of Open Access awareness do not necessarily equate to levels of repository awareness. For example, authors participating in the focus groups tended to associate Open Access with the “Gold Road.” Authors were asked to name suitable subject-based repositories and in some cases the “repositories” named were, in fact, Open Access journals and/or publishers (e.g., Biomed Central, PLoS)....[M]ost expressed some difficulty in defining what a repository was and what sort of material it might hold.... Some understood repositories to hold only working article series or pre-prints and were somewhat taken aback by the idea of submitting published articles to an institutional repository....Furthermore, authors tend to have a highly restrictive view of copyright permissions relating to pre-prints and post-prints. Significantly, they were unaware that a growing number of publishers support open access by allowing the deposit of stage-two manuscripts in repositories...."
- At p. 65, I conclude my argument that we should pursue green and gold OA simultaneously. Add these notes.
- For recent research on the relative proportions of green and gold OA in the natural sciences, broken down by field, see Bo-Christer Björk et al., "Open Access to the Scientific Journal Literature: Situation 2009," PLoS ONE, June 2010, especially Figure 4. Gold exceeds green in medicine, biology, and biochemistry, and green exceeds gold in every other field covered.
- See Yassine Gargouri et al., Green and Gold Open Access Percentages and Growth, by Discipline, Working Paper, University of Southampton, June 16, 2012. "We compared the percent and growth rate of Green and Gold OA for 14 disciplines in two random samples of 1300 articles per discipline out of the 12,500 journals indexed by Thomson-Reuters-ISI using a robot that trawled the web for OA full-texts. We sampled in 2009 and 2011 for publication year ranges 1998-2006 and 2005-2010, respectively. Green OA (21.4%) exceeds Gold OA (2.4%) in proportion and growth rate in all but the biomedical disciplines....The spontaneous overall OA growth rate is still very slow (about 1% per year). If institutions make Green OA self-archiving mandatory, however, it triples percent Green OA as well as accelerating its growth rate."
- See my article, Tectonic movements toward OA in the UK and Europe, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2012, in which I reaffirm my support for green and gold OA, as complementary, but criticize the Finch Report and new OA policy at the Research Councils UK (RCUK) for failing to take full advantage of green. "I'm not recommending a green-only policy. I support gold OA and I support paying for it. I acknowledge that (today) gold makes it easier than green to eliminate embargoes and ensure libre OA, and I strongly want to eliminate embargoes and ensure libre. More, I supporting demanding immediate libre OA in exchange for paying any part of the cost of publication. Green and gold are complementary, and I support a dual or mixed policy in order to get the advantages of each. My summary objection to the Finch recommendations and current RCUK policy is that they don't take sufficient advantage of green and, in the case of the Finch report, do not even acknowledge the advantages of green. As a result, the current RCUK/Finch policy will likely pay more than necessary, make the transition slower than necessary, leave a regrettable percentage of publicly-funded research non-OA, and put the business interests of publishers ahead of the access interests of researchers."
- See my July 2013 interview with Richard Poynder: "I still believe that green and gold are complementary, and that in the name of good strategy we should take full advantage of each. From this perspective, my chief disappointment with the RCUK policy is that it doesn’t come close to taking full advantage of green."
- At p. 69, I recommend CC-BY licenses for OA research, and mention some other organizations and initiatives that do so as well. Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 2.1: "We recommend CC-BY or an equivalent license as the optimal license for the publication, distribution, use, and reuse of scholarly work."
- At pp. 72-73, I point out that most OA journals fail to offer libre OA. Add these notes.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI with recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. See esp. the second bullet of recommendation 2.1: "OA journals are always in a position to require open licenses, yet most of them do not yet take advantage of the opportunity. We recommend CC-BY for all OA journals."
- Also see my article, The rise of libre open access, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2012. "The failure of 70% OA journals to offer any kind of open license is an embarrassment. It shows that most OA journals don't understand the benefits of libre OA, don't understand their own power to assure it, or both."
- At p. 73, I say, "I’ve argued that it’s unfair to criticize the OA movement for disparaging gratis OA (merely on the ground that its public statements call for libre) or neglecting libre OA (merely on the ground that most of its success stories are gratis). But two related criticisms would be more just. First, demanding libre or nothing where libre is currently unattainable makes the perfect the enemy of the good. Fortunately, this tactical mistake is rare. Second, settling for gratis where libre is attainable makes the good a substitute for the better. Unfortunately, this tactical mistake is common, as we see from the majority of OA journals that stop at gratis when they could easily offer libre." Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI with recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. See esp. the third bullet of recommendation 2.1: "We should achieve what we can when we can. We should not delay achieving gratis in order to achieve libre, and we should not stop with gratis when we can achieve libre."
- At p. 73, endnote 2 (note text at p. 191), I document the fact that most OA journals offer gratis but not libre OA. Add this note.
- Note 20 at p. 191. Correction. I cite a page within the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) on the tally of DOAJ-listed journals using CC licenses. That URL is now dead. In its place, please see this newer page within the DOAJ on the tallies of DOAJ-listed journals broken down by the CC licenses they use. For a summary of the numbers nine months after the book came out, confirming the diagnosis made in the book, see my blog post for March 27, 2013.
- At p. 73, I discuss the tactical mistakes of demanding "libre or nothing" when libre may be unattainable, and settling for gratis OA when libre is attainable. Add this note.
- See the third bullet to Recommendation 2.1 of the BOAI-10 statement, September 12, 2012: "In developing strategy and setting priorities, we recognize that gratis access is better than priced access, libre access is better than gratis access, and libre under CC-BY or the equivalent is better than libre under more restrictive open licenses. We should achieve what we can when we can. We should not delay achieving gratis in order to achieve libre, and we should not stop with gratis when we can achieve libre."
Chapter 4: Policies
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 4:
- For updates to Section 4 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 78, I start discussing OA policies at universities and funding agencies. Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the Budapest Open Access Initiative, with recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 1.1 calls for an OA policy at every university: "Every institution of higher education should have a policy assuring that peer-reviewed versions of all future scholarly articles by faculty members are deposited in the institution’s designated repository...." Recommendation 1.3 calls for an OA policy at every funding agency: "Every research funding agency, public or private, should have a policy assuring that peer-reviewed versions of all future scholarly articles reporting funded research are deposited in a suitable repository and made OA as soon as practicable."
- At p. 78, I say that about one-quarter of peer-reviewed journals are OA. Add these notes.
- By the time the book came out, the fraction was closer to one-third. In the book, I used the common industry estimate that there are about 25,000 peer-reviewed scholarly journals in all fields and languages. As of July 28, 2012, the Directory of Open Access Journals listed 8,000 peer-reviewed OA journals. Using the original estimate for the total number of peer-reviewed OA journals, this means that 32% of the total were OA in July 2012.
- It's very difficult to get an accurate number for the total number of peer-reviewed journals in all fields and languages. 25k is still the most commonly used industry estimate. However, even limiting the count to titles indexed in Ulrich's, the number is now closer to 28k. See the discussion thread on this question at LibLicense in August 2012. (If we use 28k as the total number of peer-reviewed journals, then in July 2012, 28% were OA.) Moreover, there are reasons to think the Ulrich list is itself incomplete. See for example Jack Meadows, "The Growth of Journal Literature: A Historical perspective," in Blaise Cronin and Helen Barsky Atkins (eds.), The Web of Science. A Festschrift in Honor of Eugene Garfield, ASIS&T Monograph Series, 2000, pp. 87-107. In 1987, Meadows estimated that there were 71k peer-reviewed journals worldwide. (Thanks to Jean-Claude Guédon for the reference to Meadows.)
- At p. 79, I say that there are no gold OA mandates. But several have been proposed. Add these notes.
- In May 2006, Academy of Science of South Africa proposed a policy that would pay for gold OA, build the infrastructure for green OA, but stop short of mandating green OA. The original report is now offline, but I quoted relevant excerpts in a blog post at the time. "[T]he Department of Science and Technology [should take] responsibility for ensuring that Open Access initiatives are promoted to enhance the visibility of all South African research articles and to make them accessible to the entire international research community. Specifically: online, open access (“Gold route”) versions of South African research journals should be funded...." (My post praises the willingness to fund gold, but criticizes the unwillingness to mandate green.)
- In March 2007, Australia's Productivity Commission proposed a gold OA mandate. The press release, report, and overview have been taken offline, but I quoted the relevant language in my blog post at the time. "A concern with mandating open access is that it would reduce the incentives for subscribers to pay for conventional journal access and, in turn, the incentives for publishers to supply journals. Mandated access would, therefore, be likely to require a new payment mechanism to elicit sufficient publishing services such as through the direct subsidisation of providers or of authors. Among the possible payment mechanisms, the Commission prefers an 'author pays' approach...." (My post includes criticism of the proposal.)
- In a November 2009 interview, Henk Schmidt, Rector of Erasmus University Rotterdam, described his plans to require OA, with a preference for gold over green. "I intend obliging our researchers to circulate their articles publicly, for example no more than six months after publication. I’m aiming for 2011, if possible in collaboration with publishers via the 'Golden Road' and otherwise without the publishers via the 'Green Road'." In September 2010, he announced the school's new OA policy, which is green.
- In January 2011 talk, J.J. Engelen, Chairman of the Governing Board of the primary public research funder in the Netherlands (Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, or NWO), described his preference for a future gold OA policy. "These goals of scientic publishing are best reached by means of an open access publishing business model....Open access publishing should become a requirement for publicly funded research. In order to make open access publishing a success, the enthusiastic cooperation of the professional publishing companies active on the scientific market is highly desirable." (The talk was published later in 2011.)
- The first link in the paragraph above is now dead (November 2013), and the Internet Archive has no copy "due to robots.txt." Can anyone help me find a working link to Engelen's January 2011 talk? Note that the urgency is low because the talk was later published, and I have a working URL to the published version in the last link in the paragraph above.
- In July 2012, the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) published AusAID Research Strategy 2012–16, containing a new OA policy which could be construed as a gold OA mandate. From p. 1: "In support of the transparency agenda in the Government's aid policy we will: ...require researchers to publish in open access journals, or make pre-publication versions of their work available." The word "or" in the final clause might mean that if grantees provide (green) OA to their preprints, then they needn't publish in OA journals. So far I have not been able to determine how AusAID interprets that sentence. Also see my blog post on the policy.
- In July 2012, the Research Councils UK announced a new OA mandate favoring gold over green, and the UK government accepted the recommendations of the Finch Group to the same effect. For analysis and critique, including some discussion of the sense in which they are and are not gold OA mandates, see my article, Tectonic movements toward OA in the UK and Europe, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2012. "The RCUK policy is not a gold OA mandate, or not a simple one, because in some circumstances it can be satisfied with green. But it deliberately steers authors toward OA journals and in that sense approaches a gold OA mandate. When the author's journal offers no suitable green option, the policy becomes a definite gold OA mandate. (Moreover, it's a gold policy with incentives for journals not to offer suitable green green options....)"
- Also see the September 2013 report of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills. The committee strongly criticized the RCUK and Finch Group for failing to acknowledge or appreciate the good reasons why all previous OA mandates have been green. See especially Paragraphs 25, 31-33, 61, 66, 70.
- At p. 80, I start discussing rights-retention mandates. It should be clear from the text, and from many of my previous writings, that this is the model I favor. I reiterated and elaborated my position in October 2012 when Stuart Shieber and I released the first version of our guide to Good practices for university open-access policies. The guide distinguishes six kinds of policy, unlike the book which only distinguishes four. It explicitly recommends rights-retention policies with waiver options, and explains why that model is preferable to other models.
- At p. 81, endnote 7 (note text at p. 194). At the end of this note, I cite Frankel and Nestor's 2010 legal analysis showing that Harvard-style rights-retention policies successfully avoid copyright problems.
- For a more recent legal analysis coming to the same conclusion, see Eric Priest, Copyright and the Harvard Open Access Mandate, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, preprint August 1, 2012, published version forthcoming. Also see Stuart Shieber's blog post on Priest's article, Is the Harvard open-access policy legally sound? The Occasional Pamphlet, September 17, 2012.
- At p. 82, I say, "Because shifting the default is enough to change behavior on a large scale, waiver options don't significantly reduce the volume of OA. At Harvard, the waiver rate is less than 5 percent and at MIT it's less than 2 percent." Add this note.
- See my article, Three principles for university open access policies, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, April 2, 2008. "Some shortfall from 100% OA is probably inevitable, like the friction in a machine, and a small shortfall is harmless. I even believe that some deliberate exceptions (as opposed to unintended failures) could be desirable, for example, to muster support to pass the policy and to accommodate unexpected circumstances. We don't have to pretend to anticipate unanticipated cases; it's enough to make OA the default....My preference is to think about which policy will bring an institution closest to 100% OA (Principle 1) without violating academic freedom (Principle 2)...."
- At p. 84, line 13. Correction. "...journal are..." should be "...journals are...." (This correction applies only to the first print edition and the earliest digital editions.)
- At p. 86, I say, "For detailed recommendations on OA policy provisions, and specific arguments for them, see my 2009 analysis of policy options for funding agencies and universities." Add this note.
- Also see Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber (eds.), Good practices for university open-access policies, Harvard Open Access Project, first released October 2012 and regularly updated since.
- At p. 86, endnote 12 (note text at pp. 195-196).
- At p. 196, line 4. Correction. "...in the institutional review..." should be "...in the institutional repository...." (This correction applies only to the first print edition and the earliest digital editions.)
- In July 2012, the Catholic University of Louvain strengthened its OA mandate from July 2008 to follow the promotion, tenure, and internal funding incentives used at the University of Liege. When the new Louvain policy takes effect on January 1, 2013, "the Academic Council will only consider duly deposited publications in its internal research performance evaluations and that deposit will also be one of the criteria in the allocation of institutional research funds."
- For a regularly updated list of institutions recommending that committees evaluating candidates for promotion, tenure, funding, awards, or other purposes should only review articles on deposit in the institutional repository, see the entry on Internal use of deposited versions in Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber (eds.), Good practices for university open-access policies, Harvard Open Access Project, first released October 2012.
- At p. 86, I start the subsection titled, Digression on the Word "Mandate". Add this note.
- Wikipedia formerly had an article Open-access policies, which now redirects to the article Open-access mandate. This is a mistake, like redirecting from cats to tigers. It's a mistake even if you like tigers better than other cats. OA mandates are a proper subset of OA policies, just as tigers are a proper subset of cats, and Wikipedia needs a place to discuss non-mandatory policies. The article recognizes this, and covers non-mandatory policies alongside mandatory ones. But by covering them all in the article on mandates, it further stretches the term "mandate" and needlessly undermines attempts to make OA terminology less ambiguous. Moreover, it gives needless new ammunition to those critics and opponents whose objections are based more on the connotations of the word "mandate" than on the the actual provisions of mandatory OA policies.
- At p. 89, endnote 16 (note text at pp. 196-197). Here I'm documenting the claim that "Alma Swan's empirical studies of researcher attitudes show that an overwhelming majority of researchers would 'willingly' comply with a mandatory OA policy from their funder or employer." Add a note.
- A May 2011 survey from the European Commission shows similar researcher attitudes toward open data mandates. See Survey on open access in FP7, European Commission, 2012, p. 7. "Three quarters of those respondents with an opinion would agree or strongly agree with an open access mandate for data in their research area, providing that all relevant aspects (e.g. ethics, confidentiality, intellectual property) have been considered and addressed....Only a small number of respondents, 13 %, have no opinion on the question."
- At p. 93 endnote 20 (note text at pp. 197-199). Here I list some examples of libre green OA. I list and discuss many more in The rise of libre open access, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, June 2, 2012.
- At pp. 94-95, I argue that policy-makers should watch for the moment when they could strengthen green gratis OA policies into green libre policies. Add this note.
- See the ten-year anniversary statement from the BOAI, which made recommendations for the next ten years, Ten years on from the Budapest Open Access Initiative: setting the default to open, September 12, 2012. Recommendation 2.1, first bullet: "OA repositories typically depend on permissions from others, such as authors or publishers, and are rarely in a position to require open licenses. However, policy makers in a position to direct deposits into repositories should require open licenses, preferably CC-BY, when they can."
Chapter 5: Scope
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 5:
- For updates to Section 5 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 97, I say that OA "is not limited to publicly-funded research, where the argument is almost universally accepted, but includes privately funded and unfunded research." Add these notes.
- Funding agencies with strong OA policies include both public and private agencies. Among the major private funding agencies with OA policies are the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Open Society Foundations, and Wellcome Trust. Universities with strong OA policies cover all faculty research articles, regardless how or whether the underlying research was funded.
- See Cory Doctorow, Why all pharmaceutical research should be made open access, The Guardian, November 20, 2012: "The reason pharma companies should be required to publish their results [and make them OA] isn't that they've received a public subsidy for the research. Rather, it is because they are asking for a governmental certification saying that their products are fit for consumption, and they are asking for regulatory space to allow doctors to write prescriptions for those products. We need them to disclose their research – even if doing so undermines their profits – because without that research, we can't know if their products are fit for use."
- At p. 100, I say, "The purpose of OA is to remove access barriers, not quality filters. Today many peer-reviewed OA journals are recognized for their excellence...." Add this note.
- Gabriel M. Peterson, Characteristics of retracted open access biomedical literature: A bibliographic analysis, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, December 2013: "Open access literature does not differ from fee-for-access literature in terms of impact factor, detection of error, or change in postretraction citation rates. Literature found in the PubMed Central Open Access subset provides detailed information about the nature of the anomaly more often than less accessible works. Open access literature appears to be of similar reliability and integrity as the population of biomedical literature in general, with the added value of being more forthcoming about the nature of errors when they are identified."
- At p. 103, I say, "Open access is a kind of access, not a kind of editorial policy." Add this note.
- See Peter Suber, Open Access Overview (original 2004, frequently updated since then), in which I elaborate. "OA is a kind of access, not a kind of business model, license, or content.  OA is not a kind of business model. There are many business models compatible with OA, i.e many ways to pay the bills so that readers can reach the content without charge.... OA is not a kind of license. There are many licenses compatible with OA, i.e. many ways to remove permission barriers for users and let them know what they may and may not do with the content.... OA is not a kind of content. Every kind of digital content can be OA, from texts and data to software, audio, video, and multi-media. The OA movement focuses on peer-reviewed research articles and their preprints. While most of these are just text, a growing number integrate text with images, data, and executable code. OA can also apply to non-scholarly content, like music, movies, and novels, even if these are not the focus of most OA activists."
- At p. 104, I argue that the quality of a journal does not depend on its price or medium. "We see this whenever toll-access journals convert to OA without changing their methods or personnel." Add this note.
- See Peter Suber, "Preface" to Solomon, Laakso, and Björk, Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences, Harvard Library, June 2016, p. 3, where I give several reasons to favor flipping toll-access journals to OA over launching new OA journals. Here's the last of them: "New journals start from scratch, while converted journals bring their readership, authors, editors, referees, quality, standards, and reputations with them. This matters because all new journals – OA and non-OA alike – start with a credibility problem aggravated by a vicious circle. They need a good reputation in order to attract good submissions, and they need good submissions in order to build a good reputation. Many born-OA journals have broken this vicious circle through high quality, hard work, and persistence, just as many other high-quality born-OA journals have failed to break it. But converted-OA journals bypass the vicious circle and don't need to break it. Their credibility is continuous and uninterrupted. Conversion brings uncommon benefits that make it desirable even in fields where there is no shortage of high-quality, born-OA journals."
- At p. 105, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 199-200), I cite research showing that "[w]hile...fears [that making a thesis or dissertation OA will reduce the odds that a journal will publish an article length version] are sometimes justified, the evidence suggests that in most cases they are not." Add these notes.
- See Marisa Ramirez and five co-authors, Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Sciences? College and Research Libraries, forthcoming, January 2015: "Though previous studies have shown that journal editors are willing to consider manuscripts derived from electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), faculty advisors and graduate students continue to raise concerns that online discoverability of ETDs negatively impact future opportunities to publish those findings. The current study investigated science journal policies on open access ETDs and found that more than half of the science journals contacted (51.4%) reported that manuscripts derived from openly accessible ETDs are welcome for submission and an additional 29.1% would accept revised ETDs under certain conditions."
- See Gail Macmillan, Jordan Hill, and Karen DePauw, ETDs and Open Access: Understanding the Digital Landscape of Open Access in the Graduate School Arena, October 21, 2013. From slide 5: "Only 3 universities in the US reported that they do not make any of their ETDs publicly available. 1/3 of the US respondents and over half of the I’nat’l institutions make their entire ETD collections publicly available." From slide 9: "Few institutions embargo ETDs permanently; only one in each category [US and non-US]. One year or more seems to be the norm worldwide." From slide 13: "89% [of surveyed publishers in the social sciences and humanities] will accept manuscripts based on ETDs." From slide 14: "Journal editors are more enthusiastic about receiving submissions based on ETDs than are university presses. Two-thirds of the journals “always welcome” submissions from ETDs, while one-tenth of the university presses do. This is not to say the university presses discourage submissions based on ETDs. Nearly half consider ETD-based submissions on a case-by-case basis."
- See Can't Find It, Can't Sign It: On Dissertation Embargoes, Harvard University Press Blog, July 26, 2013. "From our perspective [at Harvard University Press], a missing element in [concerns that OA will prevent future publication of the dissertation as a book]...is the possibility of a dissertation's availability actually working in favor of a young scholar seeking a contract. HUP Assistant Editor Brian Distelberg, for instance, notes how a project's discoverability can be the means by which his interest is sparked: "I'm always looking out for exciting new scholarship that might make for a good book, whether in formally published journal articles and conference programs, or in the conversation on Twitter and in the history blogosphere, or in conversations with scholars I meet. And so, to whatever extent open access to a dissertation increases the odds of its ideas being read and discussed more widely, I tend to think it increases the odds of my hearing about them." ...An enormous part of a university press acquisitions editor's job is to be out scouting for new voices, new ideas, and new inquiries. And as Distelberg notes, much of that scouting takes place online, where these conversations are happening. If you can't find it, you can't sign it."
- See Marisa Ramirez and four co-authors, Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?, College and Research Libraries, July 2013: "The findings indicate that manuscripts that are revisions of openly accessible ETDs are always welcome for submission or considered on a case-by-case basis by 82.8 percent of journal editors and 53.7 percent of university press directors polled....Only 4.5 percent of all respondents indicated that they would never consider an ETD for publication...."
- See Jennifer Howard, Putting Dissertation Online Isn't an Obstacle to Print Publication, Surveys Find, Chronicle of Higher Education, December 12, 2012: "Are you a science graduate student worried that making your thesis or dissertation available online will hurt your chances of getting it published? Gail McMillan, director of the digital library and archives at Virginia Tech, has good news for you. In a recent survey of science-journal editors, 87 percent indicated they would consider articles drawn from openly accessible electronic theses and dissertations, or ETD's....Many students and their faculty advisers, however, cling to the idea that publishers will balk at publishing work if it's already freely available online. Ms. McMillan has found that those fears cut across disciplinary lines. Decisions about whether to restrict access to electronic work tend to be driven by anecdote, she said, and faculty members tend to play it safe when dispensing career advice. "I think faculty want to err on the side of caution," she said. "I wish they would look at the data." ...The results of the 2012 survey have not yet been published. The results of the 2011 survey are available in an article, "Do Open-Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Sciences and Humanities?," forthcoming in the journal College & Research Libraries and available now as a preprint...."
- See Kate Valentine Stanton and Chern Li Liew, Open access theses in institutional repositories: an exploratory study of the perceptions of doctoral students, Information Research, December 2011. "While awareness of open access and repository archiving is still low, the majority of interview and survey respondents were found to be supportive of the concept of open access. The perceived benefits of enhanced exposure and potential for sharing outweigh the perceived risks. The majority of respondents were supportive of an existing mandatory thesis submission policy."
- For a growing list of the policies of individual publishers, see Publisher Policies: Thesis content and article publishing, maintained by Scholarly Publishing @ MIT Libraries.
- At p. 107, I say, "Royalties on most scholarly monographs range between zero and meager." Add this note.
- See Things You Should Know Before Publishing a Book, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 29, 2014, Rachel Toor's interview with Elizabeth Knoll, an editor for 17 years at Harvard University Press. Quoting Knoll: "Sad to say, it's extremely unlikely that your book is going to make you or your publisher any real money....You can probably make more money having a first-class yard sale."
- At pp. 109-110, endnotes 8-10 (note texts at pp. 200-202), I cite research showing that OA to full-text books sometimes increases the net sales of print editions. Add these notes.
- See Caroline Wintersgill, Open Access, Open Minds: Who should be the academic gatekeepers? politics|upside|down, October 11, 2013: "[M]y experience at Bloomsbury is that average commercial sales of ‘open’ titles are about 10% ahead of comparable ‘non-open’ titles."
- See Brianna L. Schofield et al., Understanding and Negotiating Book Publication Contracts, Authors Alliance, October 2018, pp. 61-62. "Eric von Hippel, an economist at MIT..., studies the economics of distributed and open innovation. Professor von Hippel wanted to "walk the walk" and make his previously published book, Sources of Innovation, freely available to the public online. So, he struck a deal with his publisher: If hard copy sales declined after he made his book freely available online, he would pay the publisher $1,000 as compensation for lost sales. If sales went up, the publisher would keep the profits and allow him to keep posting the free version. Happily, sales of printed copies went up, so he was able to keep the free version available online. Based on the success of this experiment, von Hippel was able to negotiate a non-exclusive license with his publisher for his next two books, Democratizing Innovation and Free Innovation."
- For real-time news and comment on this question, follow the oa.books.sales tag at the Open Access Tracking Project.
- At pp. 114-15, I say, "We need access to medical or physical research before we can use it to tackle a cure for malaria or devise a more efficient solar panel." If I were writing the book today, I'd add a section on unmet demand for access by research-based business, industry, and manufacturing. This material doesn't belong in Section 5.5.1, on access for lay readers, because those who need access in these businesses are not lay readers but research professionals. And most of the rest of the book focuses on research professionals in the academic world, not research professionals in the non-academic world. But for now, I'll use this passage at pp. 114-115 as the hook for adding updates and supplements on research-based business, industry, and manufacturing. Add these notes.
- See the Obama White House directive of February 22, 2013, requiring the largest federal funding agencies to develop OA mandates within the next six months. "Scientific research supported by the Federal Government catalyzes innovative breakthroughs that drive our economy. The results of that research become the grist for new insights and are assets for progress in areas such as health, energy, the environment, agriculture, and national security. Access to digital data sets resulting from federally funded research allows companies to focus resources and efforts on understanding and exploiting discoveries. For example, open weather data underpins the forecasting industry, and making genome sequences publicly available has spawned many biotechnology innovations. In addition, wider availability of peer-reviewed publications and scientific data in digital formats will create innovative economic markets for services related to curation, preservation, analysis, and visualization. Policies that mobilize these publications and data for re-use through preservation and broader public access also maximize the impact and accountability of the Federal research investment. These policies will accelerate scientific breakthroughs and innovation, promote entrepreneurship, and enhance economic growth and job creation."
- See Australian Government's Office of the Chief Scientist, Top Breakthrough Actions for Innovation, December 2012, p. 6. "Breakthrough Action Two: Business must have increased access to publicly funded expertise, infrastructure and open-access to research data, especially in areas of national priority....Specific actions:...Provide free and open access to data and other outputs of publicly funded research."
- See Darrell West, Allan Friedman, and Walter Valdivia, Building an Innovation-Based Economy, The Brookings Institution, November 2012. "One of the most important policy questions about innovation is how the nation can extract the maximum social benefit from its investments in research and development....The protection of intellectual property (patents and copyrights) introduces the profit incentive to inventive activity, but this is a rather ineffective incentive if the innovator does not or cannot pursue profit. That is precisely the case of public R&D because the general expectation is that new knowledge created with taxpayers’ money may be made available to taxpayers at minimum cost....The expectation of a wide dissemination of public research has inspired a bill that is currently being considered in Congress. We should support the Federal Research Public Access Act...that mandates public dissemination of federally funded research within six months of publication..." (Emphasis in original.)
- See Francie Diep, Startups Root for Cheaper Peeks at Scientific Papers, NBC News, May 24, 2012. "Meanwhile, a group of important stakeholders in the dispute tends to be overlooked: startups and small businesses. Small biomedical and energy companies, for example, read many academic papers....[T]he small-company founders we interviewed agreed that they would benefit from freer access....'Obviously we have to keep up on the latest science out there,' said Brian Glaister, CEO of a Seattle-based startup called Cadence Biomedical. His company is working on a spring-powered device that people with weak legs can wear to help them walk. 'It's a pain in the butt if we can't get access' to a paper, Glaister said....He says his company, which plans to launch its first commercial product in a few weeks, cannot afford the small-company subscription deals that publishers offer: He needs access to so many journals by so many publishers, the total cost would be prohibitive....Another small company that feels the pinch of paying for journal articles is AltaRock Energy, a geothermal energy startup also based in Seattle...."
- See Harvard University's January 2012 response to the first question in the White House call for comments on OA to peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from federally-funded research. "Businesses need access to cutting-edge research to stimulate innovation, for example to develop new medicines, reduce the size and energy requirements of computer chips, strengthen lightweight composite materials, reduce harmful emissions from fossil fuels, increase the efficiency of solar panels, and make food safer. Public access to publicly funded research nourishes R&D in these industries, allowing them to develop new products, improve existing products, and create jobs. The question is not whether useful, publicly funded, basic or pre-competitive research will continue. Even in an age of budget cuts, it will continue. The question is whether we will make the results of that research easily available to all those who can make use of it, or whether we will allow it to be locked down by a private interest at the expense of the public interest....Public access not only facilitates innovation in research-driven industries such as medicine and manufacturing. It stimulates the growth of a new industry adding value to the newly accessible research itself. This new industry includes search, current awareness, impact measurement, data integration, citation linking, text and data mining, translation, indexing, organizing, recommending, and summarizing. These new services not only create new jobs and pay taxes, but they make the underlying research itself more useful. Research funding agencies needn't take on the job of provide all these services themselves. As long as they ensure that the funded research is digital, online, free of charge, and free for reuse, they can rely on an after-market of motivated developers and entrepreneurs to bring it to users in the forms in which it will be most useful. Indeed, scholarly publishers are themselves in a good position to provide many of these value-added services, which could provide an additional revenue source for the industry."
- See John Houghton, Alma Swan, and Sheridan Brown, Access to research and technical information in Denmark, a report commissioned by Denmark’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Information (Forsknings- og Innovationsstyrelsen) and Denmark's Electronic Research Library (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek), April 2011. "Research articles, patent information, scientific and technical standards, technical and market information were seen as the most important information sources [for small and medium-sized businesses, SMEs]. Forty eight per cent rated research articles as very or extremely important, and among those in research roles a higher 64% did so....More than two-thirds reported having difficulties accessing market survey research and reports and Doctoral or Masters theses, 62% reported difficulties accessing technical reports from government agencies and 55% reported difficulties accessing research articles....[R]esearch articles and market survey research and reports are seen to be both important and difficult to access...Use of Open Access materials is widespread. More than 50% used free institutional or subject repositories and Open Access journals monthly or more regularly, and among researchers 72% reported using free institutional or subject repositories and 56% Open Access journals monthly or more regularly....Access barriers and delays involve costs. It would have taken an average of 2.2 years longer to develop or introduce the new products or processes in the absence of contributing academic research. For new products, a 2.2 years delay would cost around DKK 36 million (EUR 4.8 million) per firm in lost sales, and for new processes it would cost around DKK 211 000 per firm."
- See Harnessing Openness to Improve Research, Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from the business-oriented Committee for Economic Development, November 2009. "This more open model of research is consistent with the research mission of the university to create and disseminate knowledge —and appears to lead to both broader and deeper research while increasing the pace of innovation....Not only do we believe that the NIH policy is consistent with copyright law and good public policy —to increase the pace of innovation and avoid making the taxpayer pay twice for taxpayer-funded research —but we believe that the public-access mandate should be expanded....The intellectual property arguments that have been invoked to oppose public-access mandates for government-funded research and the digitization and partial display of the world’s books suggest to us the need to recalibrate our intellectual property rules for the digital age. Intellectual property rules should serve not only those who first create a work (and subsequent rights holders) but should also recognize the needs of users who often are follow-on creators....Governments should...[r]eview and recalibrate intellectual property rules recognizing the increasing importance for innovation of users as follow-on innovators....Why should we care about the degree of openness? Over the course of our work we have found that greater openness fosters quicker and broader innovation, primarily because of the potential for many more people to contribute....Expanding the rights of first innovators leaves less room for follow-on innovation by users, leading to its underproduction."
- Also see the letter supporting the proposed OA mandate at the NIH from the US Chamber of Commerce, October 22, 2004. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce (Chamber), the world's largest business federation, representing more than three million businesses of every size, sector, and region, is pleased to provide the following comments concerning the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) proposed action: Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information.' ...The Chamber strongly supports NIH’s effort to ensure that scientific information arising from NIH-funded research is made freely available....The Chamber strongly disagrees with the proposed six-month delay for publishing taxpayer-funded information [and recommends immediate or undelayed OA]....With ready access to such taxpayer-funded information, stakeholders are better informed and able to engage in constructive, informed public dialogue with others, resolve uncertainties, and, relevant to business interests, the Chamber’s members are better able to plan future business operations. This outcome is good for America and good for American industry, as it will create new business opportunities, thereby strengthening our economy and making America more competitive in the global marketplace." Note that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce reversed course, and by 2010 opposed federal policies to mandate OA for publicly-funded research. One thing that happened between 2004 and 2010 is that Elsevier joined the organization.
- Also see the updates and supplements for p. 133, below, on studies showing that the economic benefits of OA exceed the costs. Some of the studies cited there focus on benefits to non-academic sectors of the economy.
- At p. 115, I say, "We need access to an earthquake prediction before we can use it to plan emergency responses." Also see endnote 13 at p. 202. Add this note.
- There are many other examples of predictions with life-saving potential locked behind paywalls. For example, see Bernice Dahn et al., Yes, We We Warned About Ebola, New York Times, April 7, 2015. "The conventional wisdom among public health authorities is that the Ebola virus, which killed at least 10,000 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, was a new phenomenon, not seen in West Africa before 2013....The conventional wisdom is wrong. We were stunned recently when we stumbled across an article by European researchers in Annals of Virology [actually, Annales de l'Institut Pasteur / Virologie]: 'The results seem to indicate that Liberia has to be included in the Ebola virus endemic zone....[M]edical personnel in Liberian health centers should be aware of the possibility that they may come across active cases.' ...What triggered our dismay was not the words, but when they were written: The paper was published in 1982." The journal, published by Elsevier, is not OA. For a general study of this kind of access failure in health research, disproportionately harming the global south, see Elise Smith et al., Knowledge sharing in global health research – the impact, uptake and cost of open access to scholarly literature, Health Research Policy and Systems, August 2017.
- At p. 117, endnote 17 (note text at p. 204). Here I'm citing research showing demand among lay readers for access to cutting-edge medical research. Add these notes.
- See the Congressional testimony of David Lipman, Director of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, July 29, 2010: "Last year, 99% of the articles in PubMed Central were downloaded at least once, and 28% were downloaded more than 100 times. Although we can collect only aggregated information about users of PubMed Central, we can infer they represent a mix of people from the education and business sectors, as well as private citizens. Based on the type of Internet domain from which they access PubMed Central (e.g., .com, .edu, .net, .gov), we estimate that approximately 25% of our users are from universities, 40% are private citizens or those using personal Internet accounts, and 17% are from companies (the remainder consists of government users or others). These kinds of numbers support the notion that PubMed Central has become a broad-based repository for researchers, students, clinicians, entrepreneurs, patients and their families."
- See Who needs access? You need access! — a web site from the @ccess working group collecting the stories of people who need research access. Some are research professionals, and some are lay readers. Currently (March 2013) the site categories include Artists, Developing world, Fossil preparators, Independent Researchers, Nurses, Patient Groups, Patients, Small businesses, Teachers, and Translators.
- See Susannah Fox and Maeve Duggan, One in four people seeking health information online have hit a pay wall, Pew Internet & American Life Project, January 15, 2013: "Twenty-six percent of internet users who look online for health information say they have been asked to pay for access to something they wanted to see online....Of those who have been asked to pay, just 2% say they did so. Fully 83% of those who hit a pay wall say they tried to find the same information somewhere else. Thirteen percent of those who hit a pay wall say they just gave up. Men, women, people of all ages and education levels were equally likely to report hitting a pay wall when looking for health information. Respondents living in lower-income households were significantly more likely than their wealthier counterparts to say they gave up at that point."
- At p. 118, I say, "OA benefits researchers directly and benefits everyone else indirectly by benefiting researchers." (Also see p. 26.) Add this note.
- I elaborated on this point in a 2012 interview, Digital access to knowledge: Research chat with Harvard’s Peter Suber, Journalists' Resource, October 16, 2012: "Even if you aren’t interested in reading peer-reviewed research, you benefit from open access. You depend on the medicines, the machines, and the policies made by people who make use of research and in that sense who make use of access to research. So, either you benefit directly, as a researcher, or indirectly, as a consumer of the fruits of research. The only people who oppose open access are some academic publishers, not even all of them. And even academic publishers want to accelerate research insofar as they benefit as individuals from advances in better medicines, longer batteries, cleaner energy, or more-informed decision-making."
- At pp. 120-123 (and in notes 22-25 at pp. 205-206), I argue that we should want OA for our machines as much as we want OA for ourselves. Add these notes.
- See Stuart M. Shieber, Statement before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, U.S. House of Representatives, March 29, 2012: "Opening access to the literature makes it available not only to human readers, but to computer processing as well. There are some million and a half scholarly articles published each year. No human can read them all or even the tiny fraction in a particular subfield, but computers can, and computer analysis of the text, known as text mining, has the potential not only to extract high-quality structured data from article databases but even to generate new research hypotheses. My own ﬁeld of research, computational linguistics, includes text mining. I have collaborated with colleagues in the East Asian Languages and Civilization department on text mining of tens of thousands of classical Chinese biographies and with colleagues in the History department on computational analysis of pre-modern Latin texts. Performing similar analyses on the current research literature, however, is encumbered by proscriptions of copyright and contract because the dominant publishing mechanisms are not open."
- See Heather Joseph, With Introduction of FASTR, Congress Picks up the Pace on Open Access Legislation, SPARC, February 14, 2013. "FASTR calls for affected agencies to require articles be provided in formats and under terms that ensure researchers have the ability to freely apply cutting-edge analysis tools and technologies to the full collection of digital articles resulting from public funding. This is a crucial step. As the volume of research information increases, with a mind-boggling 1.5 million research articles published each year, no person can realistically hope to make full sense of this information by simply accessing and reading individual articles on their own. We must enable computers as a new category of reader to help power through this volume, thousands of articles at a time, and to highlight patterns, links, and associations that would otherwise go undiscovered. Computational tools like text mining and data mining are crucial to achieving this, and have the potential to revolutionize the research process. Of course, to be able to apply these kinds of tools, users must be assigned the rights to do so freely across the full collection of articles – not just on single articles, or a on a subset of articles."
- Some sites offer free online access to certain texts, perhaps even under an open license, but only to users who register first. Sometimes registration is even free of charge. The Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin statements are silent on registration barriers. But registration barriers are unquestionably access barriers (regardless of how we decide the terminological question whether they are barriers to "open access"). Many researchers object to them as irritants, delays, and invasions of privacy. The chief objection may be that registration requirements block machine access, which is a prerequisite to many of the concrete benefits of access for human users, such as search indexing and text mining.
- At pp. 121-122, I argue that the growing body of OA literature is a "spectacular inducement" to develop software optimized for OA, and conversely, that useful tools optimized for OA "create powerful incentives for authors and publishers to open up their work." Add this note.
- A good example of powerful software optimized for OA, and currently forced to exclude paywalled literature, is Iris.ai, an AI-enhanced search engine for research. From a June 16, 2018 interview with Maria Ritola, co-founder of Iris.ai: "When asked about challenges that the team have experienced so far, Ms Ritola was quick to point out the issue of paywalls. She explained that the Iris.ai system is connected to about 130 million open access papers – almost all those available to the public – but that many useful documents are still hidden behind systems that require users to pay for access." For an update on the Iris.ai use of OA literature, see How AI technology can tame the scientific literature, Nature, September 10, 2018. Iris.ai is trained on a database of 134 million OA papers, in part because they're OA.
Chapter 6: Copyright
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 6:
- For updates to Section 6 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 128, I argue that the OA policy at the NIH does not violate copyright. Add this note.
- See the video of my April 9, 2012, debate at Harvard Law School with Mark Seeley, Senior Vice President and General Counsel at Elsevier. At roughly minute 8, Seeley concedes that the NIH policy, and similar OA policies, do not infringe copyrights. At minutes 16 and 18 we pick up that question again for clarification and more explicit discussion. Also see my blog post on the debate, which includes comments from Seeley and my replies.
- At p. 128, line 22. Correction. "One of practical..." should be "One of the practical...." (This correction applies only to the first print edition and the earliest digital editions.)
Chapter 7: Economics
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 7:
- For updates to Section 7 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 133, I say, "Many publishers who oppose OA concede that OA is better for research and researchers than toll access." Add this note.
- See Bradie Metheny, "NIH open access publishing policy receives initial good marks from most stakeholders," Washington Fax, September 8, 2004; originally online at this URL, for subscribers only, and now apparently not online at all; see my blogged excerpt at the time. "John Regazzi, managing director of marketing development for Elsevier, the world's largest publisher of journals, said no one can argue against giving the public access to NIH information; it is in the public interest. 'But how you do it is the key,'...Regazzi argued."
- At p. 133, endnote 2 (note text at pp. 207-208). Here I cite studies showing that the economic benefits of OA exceed the costs. Add these notes.
- See Paul Basken, First Milestone Is Claimed on Long Road to Tracking Science’s Economic Value, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 3, 2014. "The National Institutes of Health generates [$2.21] in economic growth for every taxpayer dollar it receives. 'That is an over-100-percent return on the investment,' [Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut] assured her legislative colleagues...." Neither Basken nor the source he summarizes breaks out the portion of the economic impact attributable to the NIH open-access policy.
- See Neil Beagrie and John Houghton, The Value and Impact of Data Sharing and Curation: A synthesis of three recent studies of UK research data centres, JISC, March 2014. From p. 17: "A very significant increase in research efficiency was reported by users as a result of their using the data centres. These estimated efficiency gains ranged from 2 and up to more than 20 times the costs."
- See Benefits to the Private Sector of Open Access to Higher Education and Scholarly Research, a report commissioned by the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and undertaken by the HOST consulting group, October 2011. "A substantial body of research literature establishes the benefits to private sector businesses of publicly funded research. Mansfield (1991,1995,1998), Beisea and Stahle (1998) and other studies provide evidence of tangible economic benefit, in particular in terms of product innovations achieved and revenue gained through enhanced sales. The work of Houghton et al. (2011) confirmed these conclusions and also drew out the benefits of access to research in terms of shortening product and service development cycles. This study confirms the importance placed by businesses on access to scholarly research and its broad impact in terms of product, service and process innovation….Open Access publishing provides a way of opening much more university and scholarly research to the business sector….[M]ost businesses spend considerable amounts of time working around paywalls….The review suggests that, at a time of accelerating pressure on SME [small and medium-sized enterprises] competitiveness, a shift to Open Access would create significant cost savings by enabling businesses to review more quickly the relevance of individual papers and act accordingly. By boosting discoverability OA may also add value directly to levels and speed of knowledge transfer in this part of the economy.
- See the Battelle Technology Partnership Practice, Economic Impact of the Human Genome Project, May 2011. Quoting the press summary (May 11, 2011): "The $3.8 billion the U.S. government invested in the Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1988 to 2003 helped drive $796 billion in economic impact and the generation of $244 billion in total personal income, according to a study released today by Battelle. In 2010 alone, the human genome sequencing projects and associated genomics research and industry activity directly and indirectly generated $67 billion in U.S. economic output and supported 310,000 jobs that produced $20 billion in personal income. The genomics-enabled industry also provided $3.7 billion in federal taxes during 2010."
- See John Houghton, Bruce Rasmussen, and Peter Sheehan, Economic and Social Returns on Investment in Open Archiving Publicly Funded Research Outputs: Report to SPARC, July 2010. "Preliminary modeling suggests that over a transitional period of 30 years from implementation, the potential incremental benefits of the proposed FRPAA [Federal Research Public Access Act] archiving mandate might be worth around 8 times the costs. Perhaps two-thirds of these benefits would accrue within the US, with the remainder spilling over to other countries. Hence, the US national benefits arising from the proposed FRPAA archiving mandate might be of the order of 5 times the costs. Exploring sensitivities in the model we find that the benefits exceed the costs over a wide range of values. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine any plausible values for the input data and model parameters that would lead to a fundamentally different answer."
- See John Houghton, Bruce Rasmussen, and Peter Sheehan, Economic and Social Returns on Investment in Open Archiving Publicly Funded Research Outputs [in the United States,” SPARC, August 4, 2010. "Preliminary modeling suggests that over a transitional period of 30 years from implementation, the potential incremental benefits of the proposed FRPAA [Federal Research Public Access Act] archiving mandate might be worth around 8 times the costs. Perhaps two-thirds of these benefits would accrue within the US, with the remainder spilling over to other countries. Hence, the US national benefits arising from the proposed FRPAA archiving mandate might be of the order of 5 times the costs."
- Also see the updates and supplements for pp. 114-115, above, on the benefits of OA to research-based manufacturing and other non-academic sectors of the economy.
- At p. 134, endnote 3 (note text at p. 208), I cite a study showing that green and gold OA both have high benefit-cost ratios, and that the infrastructure for green OA "has largely already been built." For evidence that green OA costs less than gold OA, and that green OA policies are more cost-effective than gold OA policies, see the following.
- Alma Swan and John Houghton, Going for Gold? The costs and benefits of Gold Open Access for UK research institutions: further economic modelling. Report to the UK Open Access Implementation Group. June 2012. From the executive summary: "Based on this analysis, the main findings are:  so long as research funders commit to paying publication costs for the research they fund, and  publication charges fall to the reprint author’s home institution,  all universities would see savings from (worldwide) Gold OA when article-processing charges are at the current averages,  research-intensive universities would see the greatest savings, and  in a transition period, providing Open Access through the Green route offers the greatest economic benefits to individual universities, unless additional funds are made available to cover Gold OA costs....[F]or all the sample universities during a transition period when subscriptions are maintained, the cost of adopting Green OA is much lower than the cost of Gold OA - with Green OA self-archiving costing institutions around one-fifth the amount that Gold OA might cost, and as little as one-tenth as much for the most research intensive university sampled. In a transition period, providing OA through the Green route would have substantial economic benefits for universities, unless additional funds were released for Gold OA, beyond those already available through the Research Councils and the Wellcome Trust...."
- John Houghton and Alma Swan, Planting the green seeds for a golden harvest: Comments and clarifications on “Going for Gold”, D-Lib Magazine, January/February 2013. "At the institutional level, during a transitional period when subscriptions are maintained, the cost of unilaterally adopting Green OA is much lower than the cost of unilaterally adopting Gold OA – with Green OA self-archiving costing average institutions sampled around one-fifth the amount that Gold OA might cost, and as little as one-tenth as much for the most research intensive university. Hence, we conclude that the most affordable and cost-effective means of moving towards OA is through Green OA, which can be adopted unilaterally at the funder, institutional, sectoral and national levels at relatively little cost....In an all-OA world, it seems likely that the net benefits of Gold OA would exceed those of Green OA, although Green OA would have a higher benefit/cost ratio. However, we are not in an all-OA world yet, nor anywhere near it. The most affordable and cost-effective means of moving towards OA in the meantime is through Green OA, which can be adopted unilaterally at the funder, institutional, sectoral and national levels at little cost. Moreover, Green OA may well be the most immediate and cost-effective way to support knowledge transfer and enable innovation across the economy."
- At pp. 134-136 I discuss the "widely varying estimates in the literature on what it costs a university to run an institutional repository." Also see Chapter 7, endnote 4 (note call at p. 136, note text at pp. 208-209). Add these notes.
- See C. Sean Burns, Amy Lana, and John M. Budd, Institutional Repositories: Exploration of Costs and Value, D-Lib Magazine, January/February 2013. "[I]nstitutions that mediate submissions incur less expense than institutions that allow self-archiving, institutions that offer additional services incur greater annual operating costs than those who do not, and institutions that use open source applications have lower implementation costs but comparable annual operating costs with institutions that use proprietary solutions. Furthermore, changes in budgeting, from special initiative to absorption into the regular budget, suggest a trend in sustainable support for institutional repositories."
- See David Nicholas and five co-authors, Have digital repositories come of age? The views of library directors, Webology, December 2013. This study provides recent data on the range of repository costs, staffing, and services.
- At p. 136, I introduce the distinction between fee-based and no-fee OA journals. Add this note.
- While most OA journals fall into the no-fee category (Chapter 7, endnote 8, pp. 209-210), the fee-based OA category is growing faster than the no-fee category. See Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure, BMC Medicine, October 22, 2012: "Journals with author-processing charges have seen breakout growth during the last three years, going from 80,700 articles in 2009 to 166,700 articles in 2011." Also see Figure 2 for a graphic representation of the growth of OA journals from 2000 to 2011, broken down by business-model category.
- At pp. 138-139, I say, "By contrast [with the majority of OA journals, which charge no author-side fees] most toll-access journals (75 percent) do charge author-side fees." In endnote 8 (note text at p. 209) I cite and link to an ALPSP report for this fact. But the URL is now dead, and the ALPSP provides no redirect. Correction. Here's a new URL: http://www.alpsp.org/Reports-Publications/facts-about-open-access-2005/125582.
- At p. 139, I say, "Moreover, even within the minority of fee-based OA journals, only 12 percent of those authors end paying the fees out of pocket. Almost 90% of the time, the fees at the fee-based journals are waived or paid by sponsors on behalf of authors." Here I call note 8 (note text at pp. 209-210). In that note I cite Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen et al., Highlights from the SOAP project survey. What Scientists Think about Open Access Publishing, arXiv, January 29, 2011, Table 4. But I should have included these details from Table 4. Publication fees were paid by the author's funder 59%, by the author's institution 24%, and by the author out of pocket 12%. Also add these new notes.
- For studies showing larger percentages for smaller and more specialized samples of authors, my blog post from February 1, 2013, in which I cite figures from two studies released in January 2013.
- When interpreting data on authors who pay publication fees out of pocket, remember that only about 30% of peer-reviewed OA journals overall charge publication fees (Chapter 7, endnote 8, pp. pp. 209-210). Hence, the SOAP result that only 12% of authors at fee-based OA journals paid the fees out of pocket really means that only about 12% of authors at 30% of OA journals overall, or only about 3.6% of authors at OA journals overall, paid fees out of pocket. We should also remember that about 50% of the articles published in peer-reviewed OA journals are published in fee-based journals (see the updates and supplements for p. 170, below). Hence, if we count by article rather than by journal, then the SOAP result that only 12% of authors at fee-based OA journals paid the fees out of pocket really means that only about 12% of authors of 50% of the articles published by OA journals overall, or only about 6% of authors of articles published by OA journals overall, paid fees out of pocket. I summarize and extend some of this analysis in a blog post from February 1, 2013.
- At p. 140, I say, "The false belief that most OA journals charge author-side fees also infects studies in which authors misinform survey subjects before surveying them. In effect: 'At OA journals, authors pay to be published; now let me ask you a series of questions about your attitude toward OA journals.'" Add this note.
- At p. 141, I say, "[M]ost hybrid journals don't make this promise [to reduce subscription prices in proportion to author uptake of the OA option] and 'double dip' by charging subscription fees and publication fees for the same OA articles." Add this note.
- See Michelle Brook, The Sheer Scale of Hybrid Journal Publishing, Open Access Working Group, March 24, 2014. "With recently published data from the Wellcome Trust, the scale of this double charging has become much more clear. In Oct 2012 – Sept 2013, academics spent £3.88 million to publish articles in journals with immediate online access – of which £3.17 million (82 % of costs, 74 % of papers) was paying for publications that Universities would then be charged again for....Only £0.70 million of the charity’s £3.88m didn’t have any form of double charging." Also see the open data provided by the Wellcome Trust to support this calculation.
- At p. 141, I say, "SHERPA list[s] more than 90 publishers offering hybrid OA options, including all of the largest publishers." Add this note.
- In endnote 12 (note text at p. 211), I point to the SHERPA list at this URL http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/PaidOA.html. But that URL is now dead (December 2013). Correction: please replace it with this URL, http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/PaidOA.php. BTW, there are now many more than 90 publishers on the list, but they are unnumbered and must be counted manually.
- At p. 141, I say, "The average rate of uptake for the OA option at hybrid journals is just 2 percent." Add this note
- A 2013 report from the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) showed that the rate of uptake was only 1%. See the summary of the report in Research Information, October 24, 2013. "However take up of the hybrid model by authors is low, 1 per cent of articles published." I do not have access to the report itself, or I would quote from it directly.
- See Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen et al., First results of the SOAP project. Open access publishing in 2010, arXiv, October 4, 2010. Table 4 summarizes the data on the uptake of the hybrid OA option. After Table 4, the authors conclude: "The measured open access share in hybrid journals is found to be around 2%."
- At p. 143, line 11. Correction. "...alone is has..." should be "...alone has...." (This correction applies only to the first print edition and the earliest digital editions.)
- At p. 143, I say, "There are reasons to think that OA journals cost less to produce than toll-access journals of the same quality...." At pp. 143-144, I spell out some of those reasons, and in note 16 (note call at p. 144, note text at p. 213), I cite several studies in support of this proposition. Add these notes.
- See Roger Clarke, The Cost Profiles of Alternative Approaches to Journal Publishing, First Monday, December 3, 2007. "For–profit publishers have higher cost–profiles than not–for–profit associations, because of the additional functions that they perform, in particular their much greater investment in branding, customer relationship management and content protection. The difference is particularly marked in the case of eJournals — a computed per–article cost of US$3,400 compared with US$730. This point is sufficiently significant that further examination is warranted....[I]t would appear that open access journal publishing is achievable through not–for–profit channels far more cheaply and efficiently than through for–profit organisations....But the primary beneficiaries of these features [higher–quality branding, more active marketing, more aggressive customer management, and content protection] are the publisher and its owners [not authors or readers]." Also see the summary of Clarke's findings by Lee C. Van and Kathleen Born in their Periodicals Price Survey 2008, Library Journal, April 15, 2008: "Commercial publishers have a hard time realizing the economies because they are locked into expensive practices that offset them, including higher quality branding and marketing, more aggressive customer management, and costly content protection systems. Taking those added costs into account, it takes a commercial publisher about $3400 to produce an article for an e-journal, while a nonprofit publisher could produce the equivalent article for about $730. The study suggests that it is easier for the nonprofit association to flip its business model to OA than it is for the large commercial publisher."
- See the statement from the Public Library of Science published by Richard Poynder on March 8, 2011. "Publishing in the conventional system is estimated to cost the academy around $4500 per article. What PLoS (and for that matter BioMed Central, Hindawi, Co-Action, Copernicus and other successful open-access publishers) is showing is that high-quality publishing can be supported by publication fees that are substantially less than the costs of the conventional system...."
- See my interview with Richard Poynder in July 2011. "[Q:] When we spoke in 2007, you said you expected OA to be a cheaper way of publishing research. Is that still your view? [A:] There are good reasons to think that OA publishing costs less, and will continue to cost less, than TA publishing at the same level of quality....However, there are also those who dispute the conclusion, generally without evidence or with misleading evidence, such as the experience of behemoth publishers with legacy overhead from the age of print and subscriptions. I’m happy to leave it an empirical question and wait for more decisive data to emerge. But my hypothesis based on present evidence is that OA publishing will cost less."
- See Claudio Aspesi, Reed Elsevier: Transitioning to Open Access - Are the Cost Savings Sufficient to Protect Margins? Bernstein Research, November 26, 2012: "Spurred by the reading of Peter Suber's book Open Access, which argues that publishers would incur...meaningful savings in the transition to OA, we recently worked with the finance team of a subscription-funded publisher to identify in detail the cost savings which could be achieved in an OA model....We estimate that a full transition to OA could lead to savings in the region of 10-12% of the cost base of a subscription publisher....Savings would derive primarily from discontinuing physical print, the elimination of production management, and the phase out of the sales force. There would also be savings in IT (DRM costs), but they would be partially offset by higher server and communications costs (because of the need to accommodate a larger flux of downloads) and in customer service, since subscriber services would be largely eliminated (in working with this publisher, we estimated that 34% of customer service costs would remain). On the negative side, the largest impact would be the need to ramp up marketing costs, some additional administrative expenses (since invoicing would likely be more fragmented and complex) and – most of all – the loss of advance revenues...."
- See Andrew Odlyzko, Open Access, library and publisher competition, and the evolution of general commerce, preprint, February 4, 2013. "Most of the arguments for Open Access are valid irrespective of the costs of publications, and are based on the public good, eﬃciency of research, and similar considerations. However, the possibility of moving to dramatically lower cost structures does make a switch to new business models much easier to perform. It has been clear for two decades that much lower costs in scholarly publishing are possible, but with some exceptions, little has been done to the bulk of the literature to move in that direction....That lower costs were possible was obvious even three decades ago, since the costs per article varied wildly between publishers. This showed that costs were not a matter of unavoidable necessity, but of market power, choice, and inertia. This has become far clearer since then. There are many cost reductions that are feasible and desirable...."
- See Richard Van Noorden, Open access: The true cost of science publishing, Nature, March 27, 2013 (corrected April 5, 2013). See esp. the fourth (unnumbered) graphic titled, "The Cost of Publishing", showing that online TA journals cost less to produce than print TA journals, and that OA journals cost less to produce than online TA journals. The graphic draws on data from John Houghton, Economic implications of alternative scholarly publishing models: Exploring the costs and benefits, JISC, 2009.
- At p. 145, lines 8-9. Correction. "...redirect money we're currently spending on peer-reviewed journals." should be "...redirect money we're currently spending on peer-reviewed toll-access journals." (This correction applies only to the first print edition and the earliest digital editions.)
- At p. 145, I mention a few benefits that OA brings even to conventional publishers: "increased readership, citations, submissions, and quality." Add these notes.
- For the evidence on increased citations, see Chapter 1, endnote 6 (note call at p. 15, note text at pp. 178-179). Also see the updates and supplements for p. 15, above.
- For the evidence on increased submissions and subscriptions, see Chapter 8, endnotes 10 and 11 (note calls at p. 159, note text at pp. 216-217).
- For the case that OA can increase quality, see my articles, Open access and quality, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, October 2, 2006, and Thinking about prestige, quality, and open access, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2008.
- Also see my Open Access Overview. OA benefits even conventional journals and publishers: "OA makes their articles more visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility to attract submissions and advertising, not to mention readers and citations. If a subscription-based journal provides OA to some of its content (e.g. selected articles in each issue, all back issues after a certain period, etc.), then it can use its increased visibility to attract all the same benefits plus subscriptions. If a journal permits OA through postprint archiving, then it has an edge in attracting authors over journals that do not permit postprint archiving. Of course subscription-based journals and their publishers have countervailing interests as well and often resist or oppose OA. But it oversimplifies the situation to think that all their interests pull against OA."
- In February 2006, a survey of BMJ authors showed that OA increased submissions and TA would decrease submissions. See Sara Schroter, Importance of free access to research articles on decision to submit to the BMJ: survey of authors, BMJ, February 16, 2006. "Three quarters (159/211) [of surveyed BMJ authors] said the fact that all readers would have free access to their paper on bmj.com was very important or important to their decision to submit to the BMJ. Over half (111/211) said closure of free access to research articles would make them slightly less likely to submit research articles to the BMJ in the future, 14% (29/211) said they would be much less likely to submit, and 34% (71/211) said it would not influence their decision....Authors value free access to research articles and consider this an important factor in deciding whether to submit to the BMJ. Closing access to research articles would have a negative effect on authors' perceptions of the journal and their likeliness to submit."
- See Péter Jacsó, Open access to scholarly full-text documents, Online Information Review, 30, 5 (2006). "...The paper shows that while open access archives are good for the majority, for publishers, editors and authors, open access articles can substantially increase their impact, and the impact factor for the source journals...."
- In 2007, Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) converted four hybrid OA journals to full OA. In 2009 it presented evidence that the conversion boosted the impact factors of all four journals.
- In the 2008 Journal Citation Reports, Thomson Reuters reported that five OA journals had the highest impact factors in their fields: (1) PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, first out of 15 in Tropical Medicine, (2) PLoS Pathogens, first out of 25 in Parasitology, (3) PLoS Computational Biology, first out of 28 in Mathematical & Computational Biology, (4) PLoS Biology, first out of 71 in Biology, and (5) Journal of Medical Internet Research, first out of 20 in Medical Informatics.
- See Hans Lossius and Kjetil Søreide, Open access publishing: a girder in the success of the Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine, an editorial, January 19, 2011. "The Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine (SJTREM) has entered its third year as an open access international scientific on-line journal....Submissions are steadily increasing, and the acceptance rate is per date approximately 40%....[T]he number of SJTREM papers cited in other journals are increasing....SJTREM converted into open access (OA) online publishing in July 2008...."
- For other benefits, see The Impact of Open Access: The Future of the Academic Information Supply Chain, EBSCO and Red Sage Consulting, October 2012. The report enumerates the well-known publisher fears and objections to OA (at pp. 24-25). But it also enumerates benefits to publishers (at p. 19). Under "Improved dissemination/access" it lists "Maximum dissemination" and "Global access, free at point of use (provisos: peer review process; properly funded)." Under "Financial Benefits" it lists "Potential for increased advertising revenues", "Upfront payment before costs are incurred", "Predictable revenue stream", "Shorter time for new journals to become established/financially viable", "Puts the financial issue back with authors/funders, not the 'budget' of libraries", and "Dealing with fewer sources of income". Under "Strategic Benefits" it lists "Provides a choice of business models", "Allows exploration of alternative pricing models", "More opportunities for publishers to add value, including to content originating from other sources", "Aligns publishers with the stated aims of funders and universities", and "A platform to publish good quality content that did not make it into top journals". Also see my blog post (December 19, 2012) on the strengths and weaknesses of this list.
- In January 2013, the Journal of Hymenoptera Research reported that its submissions grew after it converted from TA to OA. See Stephen Schmidt et al., The move to open access and growth: experience from Journal of Hymenoptera Research, Journal of Hymenoptera Research, vol. 30, pp. 1–6, January 30, 2013. JHR is published by the International Society of Hymenopterists.
- Also see Stefan Busch, The careers of converts – how a transfer to BioMed Central affects the Impact Factors of established journals, BioMed Central Blog, January 15, 2014. "At BioMed Central we’ve seen a strong effect on citations and the Impact Factors of publications that move to BioMed Central when they are already well-established titles listed in the Journals Citation Report....Since Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica converted to open access publication seven years ago, its Impact Factor has increased about four-fold, and as a consequence the journal has moved into the top third of the veterinary sciences category in Web of Science....The following graphs for Journal of Experimental & Clinical Cancer Research, Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, and Genetics Selection Evolution all convey a similar message: the first Impact Factor that is based solely on open access articles (vertical line) represents a significant rise – a doubling and more – compared to the years before the transfer to BioMed Central...." Also see BMC says IFs of its society journals increased after move to OA, Research Information, August 6, 2014, and The Impact Factor of journals converting from subscription to open access, BioMed Central blog, November 6, 2014.
- At p. 146, I refer to one kind of transition to OA as "a peaceful revolution based on negotiation, consent, and self-interest." (See also p. 13 and p. 147.) Add this note.
- For an analysis building on this concept in the the larger domain of copyright reform, see Nicolas Suzor, Free-Riding, Cooperation, and 'Peaceful Revolutions' in Copyright, Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, forthcoming, 2014.
Chapter 8: Casualties
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 8:
- For updates to Section 8 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 151, endnote 2 (note text at p. 215). Correction. For "Alma Swan's interview with the APS and IOP in which 'both societies said they could not identify any losses of subscriptions' due to OA archiving", please replace http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/11006/, which is no longer valid, with http://cogprints.org/4406/. And add this note:
- Alma Swan summarized some of the same findings in a message posted to the American Scientist Open Access Forum on February 3, 2005. "Have physics publishers gone to the wall [because of rising levels of green OA through arXiv]? No, and not only have they continued to survive, they have also continued to thrive. I have recently asked questions about this of two of the big learned society publishers in physics, the American Physical Society in the US and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd in the UK. There are two salient points to note:  Neither can identify any loss of subscriptions to the journals that they publish as a result of the arXiv.  Subscription attrition, where it is occurring, is the same in the areas that match the coverage of the arXiv as it is across any other areas of physics that these societies publish in. Both societies, moreover, see actual benefits for their publishing operations arising from the existence of arXiv....In answer to the question 'Does arXiv worry or threaten your business?' the APS answered: 'We don't consider it a threat. We expect to continue to have a symbiotic relationship with arXiv....' The Institute of Physics Publishing's response was: 'IOPP's experience as a learned society publisher illustrates the strong synergies and mutual benefits that currently exist between major peer-reviewed journals...and the arXiv e-print server....Whilst posting an pre-print or post-print is becoming more of an essential in some areas of the physics community for immediate and wide dissemination, we do not see the arXiv or repositories threatening our business.'"
- At p. 152, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 215-216). Here I'm documenting the assertion that, "At Congressional hearings in 2008 and 2010, legislators asked publishers directly whether green OA was triggering cancellations. In both cases publishers pointed to decreased downloads but not to increased cancellations." Add these notes.
- Susan Hezlet, Access and Accessibility for the London Mathematical Society Journals, Notices of the AMS, March 2014. At p. 279, Hezlet reports that the Annals of Mathematics lost subscriptions when it provided green OA to the published versions of its articles. But she concludes "from the scant evidence we have" that there is no danger in allowing green OA to preprints or to the authors' accepted manuscripts.
- Also see Philip M. Davis, Public accessibility of biomedical articles from PubMed Central reduces journal readership—retrospective cohort analysis, FASEB Journal, July 2013. "A longitudinal, retrospective cohort analysis of 13,223 articles...published in 14 society-run biomedical research journals...between February 2008 and January 2011 reveals a 21.4% reduction in full-text...HTML...article downloads and a 13.8% reduction in...PDF...article downloads from the journals' websites when U.S. National Institutes of Health-sponsored articles...become freely available from the PubMed Central repository....The relationship between free access and subscription cancellation behavior is not well understood." Davis predicts that increased downloads will lead to increased cancellations, but cites no evidence that they have already done so.
- Also see Martin Frank, Open but Not Free — Publishing in the 21st Century, New England Journal of Medicine, February 28, 2013. "A longitudinal cohort analysis of 12 subscription-based research journals in physiology revealed that PubMed Central drew approximately 14% of full-text article downloads away from journal websites when articles deposited in PubMed Central became freely available to the public 12 months after publication [citing an October 2012 study by Phil Davis]. Similarly, the open-access journals from the Public Library of Science (PLOS) had a 22% loss of traffic to PubMed Central [citing a November 2013 blog post by Kent Anderson] The persistent reduction in full-text downloads from journal websites contributes to a loss of the advertising revenue that partially offsets the cost of publication." Although increased cancellations would support Frank's thesis more than decreased downloads, he cites no evidence of increased cancellations.
- One study from a major publisher trade association shows that green OA actually increases downloads from publisher web sites. See the June 2012 final report of the PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) study, at p. 11: "A Randomised Controlled Trial indicates that making preprints visible in PEER repositories is associated with more traffic to the publisher sites at the aggregate level, but this varies by publisher and subject. Overall, PEER is associated with a significant, if relatively modest, increase in publisher downloads, in the confidence range 7.5% to 15.5%" (emphasis added). Also see the June 2012 PEER Usage Study at pp. 3-4: "This report reviews the findings of an experiment to measure the effect of exposing early article versions in repositories on downloads of the version of record at various publishers’ web sites....There was a positive effect on publisher downloads in all four broad subject areas, but this was statistically significant only in the life (20.3%, CI95 13.1% to 27.9%) and physical sciences (13.1%, CI95 5.2% to 21.6%). The uplift in medicine and in the social sciences and humanities could be a chance effect. Larger publishers experienced a strong uplift (12.6%, CI95 8.3% to 17.0%), while the increase for smaller publishers was much weaker (3.3%) and could be a chance effect (p=0.53)....For three publishers, the uplift was both statistically significant (at the 5% level) and in double figures." Note that the PEER study was coordinated by the International Association of Science, Technical and Medical Publishers, and funded by the EC eContentplus programme.
- The pattern continued in a third Congressional hearing on OA on March 29, 2012. The hearing was titled, "Federally Funded Research: Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests," and held by the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight. From the SPARC summary of one part of the Q&A: "Rep. Zoe Lofgren, (D-CA), noting that the NIH Public Access has now been in place for nearly four years, challenged the publishers assertions that they would be financially harmed by FPRAA, and asked if any data demonstrating financial harm to publishers could be presented by any of the panelists. None was provided."
- Other evidence suggests that while levels of green OA continue to rise, and library budgets to fall, the fortunes of conventional journal publishing continue to rise. See the financial analysis of the academic publishing industry by Simba Information, January 6, 2012. "Amid budgetary pressures and a slow economic recovery, the combined markets for science, technical and medical (STM) publishing grew 3.4% to $21.1 billion in 2011."
- In February 2012, the NIH updated its own evidence that its policy has caused no harm to date. "The [NIH] Public Access requirement took effect in 2008. While the U.S. economy has suffered a downturn during the time period 2007 to 2011, scientific publishing has grown:  The number of journals dedicated to publishing biological sciences/agriculture articles and medicine/health articles increased 15% and 19%, respectively.  The average subscription prices of biology journals and health sciences journals increased 26% and 23%, respectively.  Publishers forecast increases to the rate of growth of the medical journal market, from 4.5% in 2011 to 6.3% in 2014...."
- Also in February 2012, Elsevier revealed that its sales and profits both increased in 2011. "The science and technology field performance particularly stood out...." Also see Elsevier's own summary of its 2011 financial results. "Underlying revenue up 2%....Underlying adjusted operating profit up 5%; up 4% at constant currencies....[W]e expect to deliver another year of underlying revenue and profit growth in 2012...."
- Also see the updates and supplements for p. 157, below, on the state of evidence that increased levels of green OA or shortened embargoes on green OA cause journal cancellations.
- At p. 154, I start a section entitled, "There is evidence that green OA decreases downloads from publishers' web sites." Add this note.
- See Philip M. Davis, Public accessibility of biomedical articles from PubMed Central reduces journal readership: retrospective cohort analysis, The FASEB Journal, April 3, 2013. "A longitudinal, retrospective cohort analysis of 13,223 articles (5999 treatment, 7224 control) published in 14 society-run biomedical research journals in nutrition, experimental biology, physiology, and radiology between February 2008 and January 2011 reveals a 21.4% reduction in full-text hypertext markup language (HTML) article downloads and a 13.8% reduction in portable document format (PDF) article downloads from the journals' websites when U.S. National Institutes of Health-sponsored articles (treatment) become freely available from the PubMed Central repository. In addition, the effect of PubMed Central on reducing PDF article downloads is increasing over time, growing at a rate of 1.6% per year. There was no longitudinal effect for full-text HTML downloads." The Davis study confirms earlier studies showing reduced downloads; also like earlier studies, it does not show reduced subscriptions or increased cancellations.
- At p. 154, I say that even when users have privileges at a library which subscribes to a needed journal, "authentication is a hassle." Add these notes.
- See Peter Suber, The Database Paradox, Library Hi Tech, 10, 4 (1992) pp. 51-57. "Students already know that they can pursue any topics that interest them by using the library. But some barrier of intimidation prevents many from doing so, even when their curiosity is intense. We may hope that some of the advances in information technology will tear down this barrier and open the doors of knowledge to those who have in effect been waiting outside with longing. I suspect that the evolution of this technology is in the direction of ever greater user-friendliness. However, I can imagine serious ergonomic mistakes that would make the barrier even higher than it is now."
- See Dorothea Salo, "My Gripe About E-Journals," Caveat Lector, November 14, 2005. The original is no longer online, but here's an excerpt from my blog post at the time: "If I follow that link [from a blog post to an interesting-looking article], I’m stuck. The journal website does not offer me a way to authenticate as belonging to MPOW [My Place Of Work]. It doesn't even tell me whether MPOW subscribes to that journal or not....To get to the article, I have to go to MPOW's website, drill down into it to find the journal in MPOW's bewildering plethora of e-resources, and finally try for the article —by which time I've typically forgotten the citation information...."
- See Richard Smith, A bad bad week for access, The Guardian, June 28, 2012. "It occurs to me that I might be able to access the article through Imperial [College London], so I ring the library....[After connecting with a helpful librarian, I learn that] it’s a four stage process for me get online access to a journal in the library. I have to be induced...to have my photograph taken and get an identity card (I couldn’t because the man was on holiday), go physically to the library with my card, and then contact the IT department to get access to the library VPN....I can’t believe that it will still be like this in 10 years' time...."
- See John Bohannon, Who's downloading pirated papers? Everyone, Science Magazine, April 28, 2016. "Some critics of Sci-Hub have complained that many users can access the same papers through their libraries but turn to Sci-Hub instead —for convenience rather than necessity. The data provide some support for that claim. The United States is the fifth largest downloader after Russia, and a quarter of the Sci-Hub requests for papers came from the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the wealthiest nations with, supposedly, the best journal access. In fact, some of the most intense use of Sci-Hub appears to be happening on the campuses of U.S. and European universities....Even for journals to which the university has access, Sci-Hub is becoming the go-to resource, says Gil Forsyth, another GWU engineering Ph.D. student. “If I do a search on Google Scholar and there’s no immediate PDF link, I have to click through to ‘Check Access through GWU’ and then it’s hit or miss,” he says. “If I put [the paper’s title or DOI] into Sci-Hub, it will just work.” He says that Elsevier publishes the journals that he has had the most trouble accessing...."
- See Benjamin Kaube, Scientists should be solving problems, not struggling to access journals, The Guardian, May 21, 2018. "My research suggests it takes 15 clicks on average [to find and access a journal article], multiple logins into different repositories, dead links, and waiting on endless redirects. The scale of this problem is huge: 10 million researchers around the world access 2.5bn journal articles online each year....I've calculated that research output equivalent to around 11,500 academics is lost each year....[M]ainstream digital content [is] just a click away, but to access a scientific article you have to navigate institutional login pages, subscriptions, and paywalls. If you're off campus, that's another nightmare all together. The high cost and inconvenience associated with accessing research papers has given rise to unauthorised alternatives, including a 'dark web' of crowdsourced journal articles."
- At p. 154, I start a section entitled, "Most [conventional] publishers voluntarily permit green OA." Add this note.
- A large number of conventional publishers voluntarily do more to provide green OA than even the NIH policy requires. There are three kinds of examples: (1) journals participating in PubMed Central, many with embargo periods shorter than the NIH maximum of 12 months, (2) journals providing OA to the published editions of articles by NIH-funded authors, and not just the unedited peer-reviewed manuscripts, and (3) journals depositing their articles in PubMed Central under open licenses rather than all-rights-reserved copyrights, and depositing articles whether or not their authors are NIH-funded.
- At p. 155, I say that green OA mandates typically apply only to the final version of the author's peer-reviewed manuscript, not to the published version. I also say that "[l]ibraries wanting to provide access to copyedited published editions will still have an incentive to subscribe." Add this note.
- We can turn the argument around. If publishers claim that this is not an incentive to subscribe, then they would seem to be saying that their copyediting and other enhancements to the peer-reviewed manuscripts add little or nothing that is worth paying for.
- At p. 157, I start a subsection entitled, "Some studies bear on the question of whether increased OA archiving [green OA] will increase journal cancellations." Add these notes, some on increased levels of green OA and some on shortened embargoes on green OA.
- Also see Cameron Neylon, The Embargoes Don’t Work: The British Academy provides the best evidence yet, PLoS Opens, May 14, 2014. "The conclusion I draw from these two sets of data [presented in a July 2013 study by the British Academy] is that there is no value in longer embargoes for H&SS [Humanities and Social Sciences] – indeed that there is no need for embargoes at all. H&SS cluster with physics and maths, disciplines where substantial, and importantly concentrated, portions of the literature have been available prior to publication for over 20 years and where there is no evidence of a systemic failure in the running of sustainable publishing businesses....Why do institutions continue to subscribe to journals when the ‘same’ content is available online for free? This would only be the case if factors others than online availability of manuscripts drove subscription decisions. This might be the case if other factors, such as overall cost, scholar demand or access to the version of record were more important factors. This is exactly what the survey data in the BA report shows supporting the view that short embargoes are not a risk to the sustainability of subscription journals in H&SS. The report itself however comes to the opposite conclusion. It does this by creating a narrative of increasing risk based on potential loss, that things might change in the future, particularly if the degree of access rises, that the survey can only ask about the current environment and hypothetical decisions....For me decades of the ArXiv and Astronomy Data Service and seven years of mandated deposit to Pubmed Central with no evidence of linked subscription cancellations seem like strong evidence. Remember that the report states that physics and maths are similar to H&SS. But increasingly I’m feeling this whole argument is rather sterile...."
- Also see Peter Suber, What doesn't justify longer embargoes on publicly-funded research, January 11, 2014. "Phil Davis has shown that the half-life of research articles differs from field to field. The half-life of an article here is 'the median age of articles downloaded from a publisher's website.' See his study, Journal Usage Half-Life, November 25, 2013....Unfortunately [Davis'] data are not being carefully used by publishers who want to lengthen the permissible embargoes in federal OA policies. Note that Davis himself does not make the careless arguments I'm about to describe. There are two problems in arguing that the Davis study somehow entails that OA policies should permit longer embargoes -- longer embargoes in general or longer embargoes in fields with longer article half-lives. 1. The first problem is that the Davis [study] doesn't show that short embargoes cause cancellations. This is a larger problem than it may appear to be. Publishers have been claiming for years that short embargoes cause cancellations, but there is no evidence to support the claim....2. But the second problem is larger and more important than the first. Suppose we had good data showing that short embargoes caused cancellations, or that a uniform embargo across fields caused more cancellations in the fields with longer article half-lives. It still would not follow that policies should permit longer embargoes. To get to that conclusion we'd have to add premises. These premises are often assumed, but they are remarkably weak once made explicit for examination. We'd have to add the premise that public policies should maximize publisher revenue before maximizing public access to publicly-funded research. Or we'd have to add the premise that policies should put publisher interests ahead of researcher interests. I reject these premises. Research funding agencies, especially public funding agencies, ought to reject them as well...."
- Also see the January 2014 press release from Taylor & Francis, Taylor & Francis extend green Open access zero embargo pilot scheme for Library & Information science authors until end 2014. "Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, has been running a Library & Information Science Author Rights pilot scheme that allows authors to post their peer-reviewed Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) to an institutional repository immediately after publication. The two year pilot scheme, first introduced in 2011, has now been extended for at least a further year....As part of the pilot, a survey was conducted....Having the option to upload their work to a repository directly after publication is very important to these authors: more than 2/3 of respondents rated the ability to upload their work to repositories at 8, 9, or 10 out of 10, with the vast majority saying they feel strongly that authors should have this right. The implementation of the author rights pilot saw the number of respondents who would recommend Routledge as a publishing outlet increase by 34% while the average willingness to publish with Routledge on a scale of 1 to 10 increased from 6.6 to 8.3. The shift in response from Library and Information Science professionals towards Routledge’s publishing program before and after the launch of this initiative practically demonstrates the enthusiasm for immediate upload of non-embargoed content within the library community...."
- Also see the September 2013 report of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Business, Innovation and Skills. After reviewing the state of the evidence, the committee concluded that "there is no available evidence base to indicate that short or even zero embargoes cause cancellation of subscriptions" (Paragraph 44). "We note the absence of evidence that short embargo periods harm subscription publishers" (Paragraph 49).
- Also see the June 2012 final report of the large-scale PEER (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) study, supported by the European Commission's eContentplus program and coordinated by the International Association of Science, Technical and Medical Publishers. Norbert Lossau, the Scientific Coordinator of OpenAIRE and a member of the PEER Executive Committee, summarized the report this way: "[T]he economic research of the PEER project could not find any evidence for the hypothesis that self-archiving affects journal viability." Indeed, it found that green OA created a modest benefit for publishers. From the final report at p. 11: "A Randomised Controlled Trial indicates that making preprints visible in PEER repositories is associated with more traffic to the publisher sites at the aggregate level, but this varies by publisher and subject. Overall, PEER is associated with a significant, if relatively modest, increase in publisher downloads, in the confidence range 7.5% to 15.5%" (emphasis added).
- Also see the February 2012 report from the business-oriented Committee for Economic Development, The Future of Taxpayer-Funded Research: Who Will Control Access to the Results? From the executive summary at p. 6: "No persuasive evidence exists that greater public access as provided by the NIH policy has substantially harmed subscription-supported STM publishers over the last four years or threatens the sustainability of their journals or their ability to fund peer review."
- See Harvard's January 2012 submission to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy: "[I]f publishers believe that short embargo periods would harm them, they should release data showing it. Researchers, research institutions, and taxpayers cannot be expected to prove the negative, or to prove the harmlessness of short embargoes. Until there is data to show harm, we must act in the public interest and provide early or immediate public access to publicly funded research. If publishers provide data showing substantive harm, then it may become appropriate to consider what kind of compromise with the public interest might be justified."
- Also see the updates and supplements for p. 152, above, on the state of evidence that rising levels of green OA cause journal cancellations.
- At p. 158, endnote 9 (note text at p. 216). Correction. The URL I cite for this ALPSP report is now dead, and the ALPSP provides no redirect. Here's a new URL: http://www.alpsp.org/Ebusiness/ProductCatalog/Product.aspx?ID=26.
- At p. 158, endnote 10 (note text at p. 216). Correction. The URL I cite for Jonathan Weitzman's article is now dead. Here's a new URL: http://web.archive.org/web/20040228064824/http://www.biomedcentral.com/openaccess/archive/?page=features&issue=6.
- At pp. 159-160, I say, "Some publishers fear that rising levels of green OA will not only trigger toll-access journal cancellations but also increase pressure to convert to gold OA. (Likewise, some OA activists hope for this outcome.)" Add these notes.
- See Peter Suber, Will open access undermine peer review? SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2007. "[Let's] focus on the weakness [of the publisher] claim that if rising OA does cut journal revenue, then the journals will fold up and stop providing peer review. It's much more likely that, if they could no longer sustain themselves on subscription revenue, they would convert to OA and continue providing peer review. Survival as an OA journal would be vastly preferable to folding up, and most would try it at least experimentally before turning out the lights and closing the door....At such a dinosaur moment, some will adapt rather than die, and most will at least try. We know that adaptation is possible because many are already adapting. Every year since 2005 the number of TA journals converting to OA has increased significantly. Publishers don't like this scenario because OA journals have lower profit margins and "unproved" business models. But it's one thing to argue that TA journals might be forced to adapt to a changing world and survive in a less profitable form, and quite another to argue that they will not survive at all. However, publisher lobbyists prefer the Chicken Little objection and invariably fail to draw this distinction. The objection that business models for OA journals are not proven should be taken seriously, and can be seriously answered. Indeed, taking it seriously puts a different color on lobbyist predictions that publishers would fold up their TA journals rather than convert to OA. Suddenly that kind of dramatic ending looks less like the result of inexorable causation than a business judgment made in advance of the facts."
- See Peter Suber, "Preface" to Solomon, Laakso, and Björk, Converting Scholarly Journals to Open Access: A Review of Approaches and Experiences, Harvard Library, June 2016, p. 5. "If you’re an academic librarian, you probably cancel journals every year for budgetary reasons alone. You're in a good position to tell journals that you cancel with regret, not because they are atrocious (the atrocious ones were cancelled long ago), but because the collision between limited library budgets and fast-rising journal prices makes painful choices unavoidable. You're in a good position to make the case that converting to OA is better than cancellation, for everyone, and that new evidence shows that converting to OA can preserve or enhance readership, submissions, quality, and financial sustainability."
- At p. 160, I quote Derk Haank, then-CEO of Springer: "In 2008 when Springer bought BioMed Central and became the world’s largest OA publisher, Haank said: “[W]e see open access publishing as a sustainable part of STM publishing, and not an ideological crusade.” " Add this note.
- Five years later, in September 2013, Springer said in a press release, "Open access is now at the heart of Springer's strategy,...with BioMed Central delivering an increasingly substantial fraction of the company’s growth...."
- At p. 160, I say, "OA publishing might be more sustainable than TA publishing, as toll-access prices and the volume of research both grow faster than library budgets." Add these notes.
- Correction. Change "TA" to "toll-access". (I used the abbreviation in my manuscript, but MIT Press wanted to minimize the use of abbreviations; I spelled out most instances of the abbreviation but missed this one.)
- See Donald Force and Elizabeth Shaffer, Records Management and Peer-Reviewed Journals: An Assessment: Final Report, April 2013. Force and Shaffer ask whether records information management (RIM) professionals in North America should launch a peer-reviewed journal and, if so, whether the journal should be OA. They look carefully at many relevant factors, including the results of a survey of RIM professionals. Deliberations of this kind often focus with fear on the supposed unsustainability of OA journals. But this one takes a notably different turn: "The contemporary journal publishing landscape is currently undergoing reflection and change in the face of evolving technologies and the ever-increasing call for open access to information and publicly funded research. Any new journal entering the current landscape would need to consider the sustainability of a non-open access model."
- At pp. 160-161, I say, "If publishers acknowledge that gold OA can be sustainable, and even profitable, and merely wish to avoid making lower margins than they make today, then their objection takes on a very different color. They're not at risk of insolvency, just reduced profits, and they're not asserting a need for self-protection, just an entitlement to current levels of profit. There's no reason for public funding agencies acting in the public interest, or private funders acting for charitable purposes, to compromise their missions in order to satisfy this sense of publisher entitlement." Add this note:
- See Robert Heinlein, "Life-Line," 1939: "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."
- At p. 161, I say, "Even if green OA does eventually threaten toll-access journal subscriptions, green OA policies are still justified." Add these notes.
- I elaborated this point in Digital access to knowledge: Research chat with Harvard’s Peter Suber, Journalists' Resource, October 16, 2012: "Open access would be justified even if it did cause some harm to academic publishers. But it’s not causing harm. The Congressional witnesses effectively admit it. [See p. 152 and the updates and supplements for p. 152.]...Academic publishers fear that the harm is coming. Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t. The case for open access is based on real needs, and the case against it is based on conjecture and fear. Let’s adopt an OA policy for publicly-funded research and see what happens. One day, if publishers can show evidence that the policy harms them, then we can look at the evidence and decide, in light of that evidence, what’s in the public interest."
- I also elaborated this point in Tectonic movements toward OA in the UK and Europe, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, September 2, 2012: "If rising levels of green OA do start to cause cancellations, for example, in fields outside physics, then we can decide what to do about it. We can act in light of the evidence, whatever it turns out to be. We can weigh the demonstrable degree of harm to publishers against the demonstrable degree of benefit to research, researchers, research institutions, and taxpayers. We can see to what extent the publishers experiencing cancellations are doing their best to adapt to the opportunities of the digital age, and to what extent they are laggards at adaptation who deserve no public assistance, especially at the expense of researchers and taxpayers. In short, we needn't let fear of harm serve as evidence of harm, and we needn't assume without discussion that even evidence of harm to subscription publishers would justify compromising the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research. Policy-makers must take seriously the argument that green OA mandates could be justified even if they do eventually cause cancellations. The case for this 'even if' argument can be long or short. It's essentially the argument for OA itself....[I]t's also the argument that public agencies should put the public interest ahead of private interests....But in either form, the argument is essential to avoid the mistake of letting public agencies make insurance for publishers a higher priority than access to publicly-funded research."
- Here's how I put a similar point in an article in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter for December 2010: "I've often praised SCOAP3 as our best hope for a peaceful revolution in the shift from peer-reviewed TA journals to peer-reviewed OA journals. However, SCOAP3 is not the only strategy for that transition. It's just the only one that builds on negotiation, cooperation, and stakeholder consent. The chief alternative to the SCOAP3 strategy is to grow the volume of green OA --whether or not it triggers a shift from TA journals to gold OA. I support both strongly, with equal emphasis on "both" and "strongly". I don't want either to be the only arrow in our quiver. I strongly support green OA mandates and other methods for growing the volume of green OA, and I support them regardless of their effect on publishers....The goal of green OA is not to force subscription journals to convert to gold OA. The goal is to share knowledge and accelerate research. The idea is not for researchers and research institutions to harm or transform publishers, but for researchers and research institutions to act in their own interests. However, the effect could create economic risk for publishers, and hence create economic pressures to avert that risk. Instead of a frictionless flip, brought about by consent and self-interest, the all-green strategy could bring about a high-friction flip, preceded by hostile lobbying and disinformation and followed by resentment and acrimony....But as I said, I support the green strategy regardless of its effect on publishers. I'll take this revolution with or without friction. I support green OA because it delivers more OA more quickly and less expensively than gold OA. It needn't wait for journals to decide to convert or for new born-OA journal to learn the ropes. It isn't limited to new work submitted to OA journals, but can cover new work published anywhere. However, for the narrow goal of increasing gold OA, as opposed to broader goal of increasing OA overall, I support the win-win logic of SCOAP3. Both strategies may bring about the same volume of OA in the end. But if it works, the win-win logic will convert publishers and journals with consent and cooperation. As I argued in SOAN last year, 'Peaceful revolution through negotiation and self-interest is more amicable and potentially more productive than adaptation forced by falling asteroids.' "
- Apart from the continuing justification for OA, we would face what I've called the disentangling problem. See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007: "[E]ven if subscriptions fall as OA archiving rises, it will be difficult to disentangle the cancellations caused by OA from the cancellations caused by natural attrition and librarian triage. Some part of the cancellations will be due to unbearable prices and onerous licensing terms....The disentangling problem will be aggravated by the fact that journals respond to cancellations by raising their prices, triggering new cancellations, and we already know (from the ALPSP study in March 2006) that high prices cause many more cancellations than OA archiving."
Chapter 9: Future
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 9:
- For updates to Section 9 in general, including real-time updates, see the following tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project:
- At p. 165, I say, "Generational change is on the side of OA." Add these notes.
- See Generation Gap in Authors' Open Access Views and Experience, Reveals Wiley Survey, October 8, 2013: "Early career professionals were 6% more likely to publish under a Creative Commons (CC) license than more mature researchers, while over half of respondents above the age of 55 preferred not to use CC licenses of any kind." For more detail, see slides 17-18 in the accompanying slide deck.
- See We’re embracing change say young researchers in latest analysis, Taylor & Francis, October 2014: "Those in the 20-29 year old age group were most likely to agree that open access journals have a larger readership than subscription journals (58% either strongly agreed or agreed with this statement) and that open access journals are more heavily cited. Across all other age groups agreement with these statements decreased with age, with just 15% of those who were 70 or over expressing the same level of agreement on citations. Authors in their sixties and seventies offered the opposite opinion to those in their twenties, being the least likely to agree that open access publication increased readership and citations, and most likely to agree with the statement that there is ‘no fundamental benefit to open access’."
- At p. 165, I say, "Time itself has reduced the panic-induced misunderstandings of OA." Add this note.
- See my Predictions for 2008, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, December 2, 2007. After listing several OA initiatives from publishers formerly opposed to OA, I predict more of the same: "Some of these OA projects will be motivated by fear of OA and the desire to prepare for it. But some will be motivated, in effect, by the decline in fear. We're entering the post-panic period of the OA revolution, and as panic subsides, more and more former opponents will be willing to acknowledge the virtues of OA and try to benefit from them. It will be easier see nuance, rather than undifferentiated menace, and recognize that some variations on the theme may fit a given publisher's plans and research niche even if other variations do not."
- At p. 167, I say, "Even if we acknowledge the need for cultural change in the transition to OA —far more critical than technological change— it's easy to underestimate the cultural barriers and the time required to work through them." Add these notes.
- See Hofstadter's Law: "It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into account Hofstadter's Law."
- The University of Liege adopted an OA mandate in 2007, and was the first institution anywhere to limit assessment of candidates for promotion, tenure, and awards to works on deposit in the repository. Ten years later, Bernard Rentier, the rector who recommended the policy, reported that it had succeeded in changing the culture at the institution and was no longer necessary. "And 10 years after the launch of the 'ORBi' archive [and its accompanying OA policy], the pressure of the mandate is no longer needed. Everyone has understood the incomparable advantages of the tool in terms of article visibility and on many other aspects. Closing the archive would cause an internal revolution!" If other evidence shows that cultural change is necessary for effective implementation, this report is evidence that cultural change is sufficient.
Chapter 10: Self-Help
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for Chapter 10:
- I restated many of the points from this chapter in a public talk at the Berkman Klein Center, October 23, 2012. See the online handout I wrote to accompany the talk, How to make your own work open access. The handout includes active links and I update it as needed.
- At p. 170, I say, "[A]bout 30 percent of OA journals charge author-side fees and about half the articles published in OA journals appear in those fee-based journals." Add these notes.
- See William Walters and Anne Linvill, "Characteristics of Open Access Journals in Six Subject Areas," College and Research Libraries, August 2010. "While just 29 percent of OA journals charge publication fees, those journals represent 50 percent of the articles in our study."
- See Mikael Laakso and Bo-Christer Björk, Anatomy of open access publishing: a study of longitudinal development and internal structure, BMC Medicine, October 22, 2012: "OA journals requiring article-processing charges have become increasingly common, publishing 166,700 articles in 2011 (49% of all OA articles)."
- See Walt Crawford, Open Access Journals 2014, DOAJ subset, April 2015, showing that 64% of the articles published in OA journals in 2013 were published in fee-based OA journals.
- See Walt Crawford, The Gold OA Landscape, 2011-2014, Cites & Insights, October 2015, p. 20: "Most gold OA journals (not quite three-quarters) are funded by societies, universities and colleges, libraries, government agencies, grants or subsumed costs, without charging APCs (although some of those are using temporary no-APC periods to boost article submissions). But the 26% of journals that do charge APCs...published 57% of the OA articles (in reputable journals) in 2014, and assuming level APCs, pay journals have published a majority of OA articles since 2013."
- At p. 173, I say, "[If you don't have an OA repository in your institution or field,] consider one of the universal repositories open to research articles of all kinds. I recommend OpenDepot, OpenAire, Academia, and Mendeley." After Elsevier bought Mendeley (April 2013, after this book came out), I stopped recommending Mendeley and wrote a blog post about it. In October 2013 (also after this book came out), I wrote a new version of Chapter 10 as a wiki-based handout, How to make your own work open access. That handout has long since stopped recommending Academia and Mendeley, for the kinds of reasons since summarized (December 2015) very well by the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication. My top recommendation for a universal repository is now Zenodo.
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and Supplements for the Glossary:
- At p. 175, and elsewhere in the book, especially Section 3.3, I define OA to include both gratis access and libre access. Moreover, I define libre access to cover the whole spectrum beyond fair use, not just the most-free or least-restricted end of that spectrum (that is, not just the CC-BY and CC0 end of the spectrum). Some allies differ from me on both of these points. That is, some want to define OA to mean libre access only, and some want to define libre access to cover just the most-free end of the spectrum beyond fair use.
- I first defended my use of these definitions in the August 2008 article in which I borrowed the gratis/libre terminology from the world of software and introduced it into world of scholarship. I defended it several times thereafter in blog posts, and defended it most recently in the second postscript to my June 2012 article on the rise of libre OA. Undoubtedly some disagreements still remain. However, in my view, these disputes are entirely verbal, and turn on how we should define and use certain terms. Unless we are careless, they should not interfere with our understanding of the underlying issues, distinctions, and policies, let alone with the actions we take based on that understanding. For example, we can use and recommend CC-BY while allowing that the term "open access" and even the terms "libre access" and "libre OA" cover more than CC-BY.
- In too many discussions for too many years, important substantive questions were obscured by verbal disputes and definition wars. The gratis/libre terminology, or the equivalent, and the names of well-defined open licenses, can help us get past verbal disputes and focus on substance.
- I stand by my position on p. 70: "The best way to refer to a specific flavor of libre OA is by referring to a specific open license. We’ll never have unambiguous, widely understood technical terms for every useful variation on the theme. But we already have clearly named licenses for all the major variations on the theme, and we can add new ones for more subtle variations any time we want."
|Read the OA text:|
For updates and supplements to a given endnote, see the page for the note call. For example, the note call for endnote 2 in Chapter 3 occurs on p. 50, and the note text occurs on p. 187. Any updates and supplements to that endnote will be collected in an entry for p. 50, not in an entry for p. 187.
|Read the OA text:|
|Read the OA text:|
Updates and supplements for the index:
- Add new entry: Students, 73, 174. See also Theses and dissertations.
- Add new entry: Terry, Sharon, 204-205
- Toll-access (or conventional) journals and publishers.
- Add new sub-entry: Right to refuse to publish any work for any reason, 126-128
- Add new entry: Translation, 27, 74
In many places above I link to tag libraries from the Open Access Tracking Project. All OATP tag libraries are crowd-sourced and updated in real time. You can make them more complete by taking part as an OATP tagger. (Disclosure: I launched OATP in 2009 and still oversee it.)