Forthcoming OA Developments in France
harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Mon Jun 26 16:49:28 EDT 2006
** Apologies for Cross-Posting **
Below is a synoptic translation of an important French Press release
about forthcoming OA developments in France. I would add only that CNRS is
mistaken in its worry that CNRS researchers would resist a self-archiving
mandate: Multiple author surveys -- international and multisciplinary
-- as well as repeated experience with actual mandates have shown that
there will be very high rates of compliance.
Second, legal issues are mooted if the mandate is an immediate *deposit*
mandate, but the author has the option to set access to as Open Access or
Closed Access: 94% of journals already endorse setting access immediately
to Open Access. For the remaining 6%, the HAL repository software
should implement the semi-automatic EMAIL EPRINT that has already been
implemented in tje GNU Eprints and DSpace repository software. That will
tide over access during any embargo period (and embargoes will fade away
once everything is being systematically self-archived and used).
The STI 'Professional Days' 2006 (4th edition) conference on
"Archives institutionnelles et archives ouvertes"
took place in Nancy from 19 - 21 June.
All the major French research organizations were represented: CNRS,
INSERM, INRIA, INRA, INERIS, IRD, and ADEME are to sign a Joint Draft
Agreement (already finalised), defining a coordinated approach, at
the national level, for open-access self-archiving of French research
output. Also to sign the agreement are the conference of university
presidents (CPU), the conference of Grandes Ecoles (France's Elite
Universities), and the Pasteur Institute.
This marks an important advance in the implementation of a French
national policy for open access institutional archives (OA/IA). There
is also a protocol of agreement about metadata to enrich the articles
and some assistance to depositers on legal matters.
Elsewhere, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD) has also recommended that making results open access
in open archives should be made a condition of R&D funding, and so have
NIH and FRPAA in the US and RCUK in the UK.
In France there is first to be a 'statement' as a prelude to a
'directive'. The difference is important. NIH and CERN have different
deposit rates, reflecting the difference between a request and a
NIH, with only a request, has a deposit rate of, 4%, whereas CERN, with
a requirement, is approaching 100%. OA cannot achieve its objectives
unless deposit rates approach 100%.
A laisser-faire policy, only requesting self-archiving, generates a
deposit rate of a few percent. Systematic activism from librarians and
information professionals (informing, encouraging, helping with
deposits) raises the rate to about 12%. Adding a 'carrot and stick'
component (e.g., making the deposit rate one of the criteria in annual
evaluation) might raise rates to 20% but not much more. By contrast,
organizations that have a contractual obligation to deposit (such as
CEMAGREF, since 1992, and INERIS) have deposit rates near 100%,
fulfilling their contract to have open institutional archives which
reflect the full research output of their organizations.
The Joint Draft Agreement is being formulated at a time when France
is considering many other questions about legal aspects, voluntary vs.
obligatory deposit, and the purpose of knowledge repositories. For fear
that restive researchers might resent the imposition of administrative
rules, the question is mostly evaded (especially by the CNRS), but
there is evidence of progress: at the Nancy conference, INSERM (National
Institute of Health and Medical Research), announced that it plans to
make self-archiving in its open-access archive compulsory within the
next few years -- but this progress is far too slow.
A sense of legal uncertainty is one of the factors holding back
deposit rates. Paradoxically, it is information professionals (librarians
and documentalists) -- not researchers or management -- who have been
pressing for a clear legal framework on open access archiving from the
directorate of the CNRS.
There is a French call for proposals (drawing on a total source of
only 1 million euros) for studies on the creation and support of new
Open Access Journals. In contrast, in the UK, the JISC (Joint
Information Systems Committee) is spending approximately 115 million
euros, much of it devoted to studies on the creation and support of the
infrastructure for open access archives in British universities and
research institutions. According to some of the participants at the
Nancy conference, France's new National Agency of Research (ANR) refers
in its contracts to requirement (or is it a request') linking its
research funding to the provision of 'Open Access' to the results.
Groupement Français de l'Industrie de l'Information
25 rue Claude Tillier 75012 Paris.
France Tél : 33 1 43 72 96 52
Fax : 33 1 43 72 56 04
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