Commission study addresses Europe's scientific publication system

Sally Morris (ALPSP) sally.morris at ALPSP.ORG
Mon May 8 11:28:23 EDT 2006

Please note that the recommendations are not at this stage those of the Commission, as Stevan suggests, but simply those of the report's authors;  there is now a period of consultation before the Commission draws its conclusions


Sally Morris, Chief Executive
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK
Tel:  +44 (0)1903 871 686
Fax:  +44 (0)1903 871 457
Email:  sally.morris at
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Stevan Harnad 
  Sent: Tuesday, April 18, 2006 8:40 PM
  Subject: Re: [SIGMETRICS] Commission study addresses Europe's scientific publication system

  Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe): 
  On 18-Apr-06, at 1:53 PM, Eugene Garfield wrote:

    Subject:  Commission study addresses Europe's scientific publication system
    The European Commission has published a study 
    The study... makes a number of recommendations for future action,
    *       Guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research, at the time of
    publication and also long-term...
  Given that Gene has posted the above to Sigmetrics, here is some pertinent follow-up:

  Suggestion for Optimising the European Commission's Recommendation to Mandate Open Access Archiving of Publicly-Funded Research

  The European Commission "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe" has made the following policy recommendation:


  "Research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers' publishing practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions, they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding. The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives [emphasis added], and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented."
   The European Commission’s Recommendation  A1 is very welcome and potentially very important, but it can be made incomparably more effective with just one very simple but critical revision concerning what needs to be deposited, when (hence what can and cannot be delayed):

   For the purposes of Open Access, a research paper has two elements – (i) the whole document itself (called the “full-text) and (ii) its bibliographic metadata (its title, date, details of the authors, their institutions, the abstract and so forth). This bibliographic information can exist as an independent entity in its own right and serves to alert would-be users to the existence of the full-text article itself.

  EC Recommendation A1 should distinguish between  first (a) depositing the full text of a journal article in the author’s Institutional Repository (preferably, or otherwise any other OAI-compliant Open Access Repository – henceforth referred to collectively as OARs; see Swan et al. 2005) and then deciding whether to (b1) allow Open Access to that full-text deposit, or to (b2) allow Open Access only to its bibliographic metadata and not the full-text. EC Recommendation A1 should accordingly specify the following:

    1.. Depositing the full-text of all journal articles in the author's OAR is mandatory immediately upon acceptance for publication for all EC-funded research findings, without exception. 
    2.. In addition, allowing Open Access to the article’s bibliographic metadata at the time of deposit (i.e., immediately upon acceptance for publication) is always mandatory.

    3.. However, allowing Open Access to the full-text of the article itself immediately upon deposit is merely encouraged wherever possible, but not mandatory; full-text access can be made Open Access at a later time if necessary: The OAR software enables the author to allow Open Access to either the whole article or to its bibliographic metadata only.

  This separate treatment of the rules for (a) depositing and for (b) access-setting provides authors with the means of abiding by the copyright regulations for the articles published in the 7% of journals that have not yet explicitly given their official green light to authors to provide immediate Open Access through self-archiving (as  93% of journals have already done). Authors can make their full-text Open Access at the time agreed with the publisher simply by changing the access-setting for the deposit at the chosen time.

  Meanwhile, however, the  bibliographic metadata for all articles are and remain openly accessible to everyone from the moment of acceptance for publication, informing users of the existence and whereabouts of the article. During any publisher-imposed embargo period, would-be users who access the metadata and find that they cannot access the full-text can email the author individually to request an eprint -- and the author can then choose to email the eprint to the requester, or not, as he wishes, exactly as authors did in paper reprint days.

  The European Commission is urged to make this small but extremely important change in its policy recommendation. It means the difference between immediate 100% Open Access and delayed, embargoed access for years to come.

  Pertinent Prior American Scientist Open Access Forum Topic Threads:

   2002: "Evolving Publisher Copyright Policies On Self-Archiving"

  2003:  “Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output” 

  "What Provosts Need to Mandate"

  "Recommendations for UK Open-Access Provision Policy"

  2004:  "University policy mandating self-archiving of research output"

  "Mandating OA around the corner?"

  "Implementing the US/UK recommendation to mandate OA Self-Archiving"

  "A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy"

  2005: "Comparing the Wellcome OA Policy and the RCUK (draft) Policy"

  "New international study demonstrates worldwide readiness for Open Access mandate"

  "DASER 2 IR Meeting and NIH Public Access Policy"

  "Mandated OA for publicly-funded medical research in the US"

  2006: "Mandatory policy report" (2)

  "The U.S. CURES Act would mandate OA"

  "Generic Rationale and Model for University Open Access Mandate""

  "U. California: Publishing Reform, University Self-Publishing and Open Access" 

  "A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy"

  "Optimizing Open Access Guidelines of Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft" 

  "Optimizing MIT's Open Access Policy" 

  Future UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) to be Metrics-Based 

  Optimizing the European Commission's Recommendation for Open Access Archiving of Publicly-Funded Research 


  Why it is so important that research should be deposited immediately, rather than delayed/embargoed

  The reasons are six:

  (1) Science is done (and funded) in order to be used, not in order to be embargoed. 

  (2) For fast-moving areas of science especially, the first few months from publication are the most important time for usage and progress through immediate uptake and application to further ongoing research worldwide. Studies show that early usage has a large, permanent effect on research impact (Kurtz et al. 2004; Brody & Harnad 2006). Limiting the possibility of early usage therefore means a large and permanent loss of potential research impact. 

  (3) If the metadata of all Restricted Access articles are visible worldwide immediately alongside all Open Access articles, individual researchers emailing the author for an eprint of the full text will maximise early uptake and usage almost as rapidly and effectively as setting access privileges to Open Access immediately. The OAR software is designed to simplify and accelerate this to just a few keystrokes. 
  (4) For this, it is critical that the deposit of both the full-text and bibliographic metadata should be immediate (upon acceptance for publication) and not delayed. 

  (5) If the EC policy were instead to allow the deposit to be delayed for 6-12 months or more, the result would be to entrench instead of to eliminate usage-denial for research findings that were made and published in order to be used, immediately. 

  (6) Publisher copyright agreements concern making the full text publicly accessible, whereas authors depositing their full-texts in their own OAR without public access -- and emailing individual eprints on request from fellow-researchers -- constitutes Fair Use.

  (a) Self-archiving increases research usage and impact by 25-250% 

  (b) But only 15% of researchers as yet self-archive spontaneously 

  (d) 95% of researchers report they will comply if self-archiving is mandated by their institution and/or research funder 

  (d) 93% of journals already officially endorse author self-archiving 

  (e) For the remaining 7% of articles, immediate deposit can still be mandated, and for the time being access can be provided by emailing the eprint

  Open Access maximises research access, usage, impact and progress, maximising benefits to research itself, to researchers, their institutions, their funders, and those who fund the funders, i.e., the tax-paying public for whose ultimate benefit the research is done. Access to the research corpus also provides secondary benefits to students, teachers, the developing world, industry, and the general public.

  ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories) tracks the Institutional and Central Open Access Repositories (OARs) worldwide as well the individual growth of each (see also OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) , which  provides a human-confirmed subset of ROAR plus classification details coverage in alliance with DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals ).

  ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Access Policies) tracks the adoption of Open Access Self-Archiving Policies in institutions worldwide

  ROMEO (Directory or Journal Open Access Self-Archiving Policies): tracks the growth in the number of journals giving their “green light” to author self-archiving: 93% of the over 9000 journals so far endorse some form of immediate author self-archiving: 


  Brody, T. and Harnad, S. (2006) Earlier Web Usage Statistics as Predictors of Later Citation Impact. Journal of the American Association for Information Science and Technology. 

  Harnad, S. (2006) Publish or Perish ? Self-Archive to Flourish: The Green Route to Open Access. ERCIM News 6 Kurtz, M. J., Eichhorn, G., Accomazzi, A., Grant, C. S., Demleitner, M., Murray, S. S. (2004) The Effect of Use and Access on Citations Information Processing and Management 41 (6): 1395-1402 

  Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O’Brien, A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access journal content in UK further and higher education. Learned Publishing 18(1) pp. 25-40. 

  ABSTRACT: A study carried out for the UK Joint Information Systems Committee examined models for the provision of access to material institutional and subject- based archives and in open access journals. Their relative merits were considered, addressing not only technical concerns but also how e-print provision (by authors) can be achieved -- an essential factor for an effective e-print delivery service (for users). A "harvesting" model is recommended, where the metadata of articles deposited in distributed archives are harvested, stored and enhanced by a national service. This model has major advantages over the alternatives of a national centralized service or a completely decentralized one. Options for the implementation of a service based on the harvesting model are presented.

   "Central vs. Distributed Archives" (1999-2003) 

   "Central versus institutional self-archiving" (2003-2006) 

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