Quality Bias vs Quality Advantage

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Wed Feb 21 16:28:50 EST 2007

On Wed, 21 Feb 2007, Franck Laloe wrote:

> (note in passing that you and me know that CERN 
> does not have a mandate (to their CDS); authors 
> put their work on ArXiv, the librarians then 
> import the files by copying and paste thme into 
> CDS. CERN should therefore not be counted among 
> the mandating institutions. In different words, 
> the high percentage of CERN has nothing to do 
> with their mandate, which is merely ignored by the researchers.

"Mandate" has two senses, and as it happens, *both* senses are sufficient to
generate 100% institutional OA. The first sense is the usual one: a requirement
that researchers (employees, or fundees) deposit, personally or by proxy (student,
secretary, documentalist).

The second sense of mandate is when the institution itself takes it as its own
mandate to ensure that all of its researcherch output is deposited. This is the
situation at CERN: CERN takes it to be its mandate or prerogative to deposit all
of its research, so it does so. Often this does require the cooperation of the
author, which is provided, as per the mandate.

But it has always been a completely trivial matter who does the actual keystrokes:
If it is the author himself, or his assigns (students, secretaries,
documentalists). that's fine. If it is the institution (with its documentalists
and secrataries), that's fine too. Just as long as it is mandated (in either
sense) and the mandate is met.

> > > FL:
> > > (ii) More serious is the fact that, even in the
> > > presence of mandate/strong encouragement, such as
> > > in the case of Wellcome Trust and NIH, the collection
> > > proportion is around 10%, not more. So, at least
> > > for the moment, there is still room for an
> > > enormous bias of the conclusion by "quality advantage".
> >
> < SH:
> >Again, I think you mean QB not QA here, and it sounds as if you're indeed
> >invoking the Ptolemeic interpretation I mentioned above.
> FL:
> No, this is not what I meant. My point is that QB 
> can in these cases bias your measurement of QA 
> exactly as much as in non spontaneous archives.

No, I do not see that at all. QB means self-selection bias (a greater tendency for
better authors to self-archive, better papers). QA means quality advantage (a
tendency for higher-quality papers to benefit more from being self-archived than
lower quality papers).

With nonmandated self-archiving, there can be a QB. But with mandated
self-archiving, especially once the %OA is high, if there is still just as high
and OA citation advantage, then not just QB is behind the OA advantage. And if the
OA advantage is even significantly higher for mandated self-archiving than for
unmandated self-archiving, then the most obvious inference is that QA > QB.

The Ptolemeic hypothesis (resisting the obvious one) is that the OA avantage is
still just a QB, because the few remaining authors who are not yet complying with
the mandate are the cause of the OA Advantage. (This is especially far-fetched,
because we compared compared mandated and unmandated self-archiving with other
matched articles in the same journal year, not with other, non-OA articles in the
same institution and year.)

A+ E.

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