Quality Bias vs Quality Advantage

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Thu Feb 22 07:04:40 EST 2007

On Thu, 22 Feb 2007, Franck Laloe wrote:

> >SH:
> >With nonmandated self-archiving, there can be a QB. But with mandated
> >self-archiving, especially once the %OA is high...
> FL:
> Aha! This sentence shows that you have actually
> understood what I meant. If this percentage is low (and it is), 
> your signal is totally buried in
> a parasicic signal, and your measurement is not
> valid. Just simple scientific logics, nothing deep ...

Dear Franck,

I understood perfectly. And for the institutions on which we based the
calculations, the percentage is high, not low. You mistakenly thought
we were basing our analyses on the c. 10%-level funder mandates, but we
were not. We were basing them on the >50%-level institutional mandates.

As I said, anywhere less than 100% there is the logical possibility of
the QB epicycles (low %OA, unmandated: "the better authors self-archive
spontaneously"; high %OA, mandated: "the worse authors don't comply
with the mandate"), but, as I said, I think it is obvious that
this is Ptolemeic theory-saving rather than inference to the most
likely explanation. (And even with lower %OA, as long as the mandated
self-archiving came from a significantly higher percentage OA than the
unmandated self-archiving, a significant statistical tendency could
be estimated.)

> > SH:
> > "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.
> FL:
> Yes. My point was that CERN falls in neither of these cases: there is no 
> requirement or mandate at all, just a tradition which pushes physicists 
> in this field to spontaneously deposit in ArXiv (exactly as in my own of 
> research). Yes, you may call it "mandate", or "self-mandate", or 
> "spontaneous mandate", etc.. In physics, we have "spontaneous 
> processes", and "stimulated processes", they are different categories 
> and correspond to different diagrams. Of course we could speak of 
> "stimulated spontaneity" and "spontaneous stimulation", it would be kind 
> of nice, but would it be the simplest vocabulary to use?
> Well, English is not my mother tongue, maybe I will make a fool of 
> myself if I launch is a discussion about semantics? You are a thousand 
> times betten than me at this game Stevan!

This is not a matter of the semantics of "mandate". There is a substantive
point here, and I believe you are mistaken about it:

(1) It is simply not true that the reason CERN now has virtually 100%
of its current annual output self-archived is that its researchers all
spontaneously self-archive in Arxiv, and the CERN archivists simply
harvest if back from there.

(2) It is not even correct that CERN now has virtually 100% of its output
self-archived because *most* CERN research is spontaneously self-archived
in Arxiv.

(3) The reason CERN now has virtually 100% of its current annual output
self-archived is twofold: 

    (3b) CERN has mandated that its institutional repository should contain all of
    its research output and

    (3a) CERN documentalists are mandated to self-archive it there for all
    CERN researchersresearchers andD

(4) This state of affairs is in complete contrast with all other research
institutions in the world except the half-dozen others that likewise have such
mandates, as listed in ROARMAP. (If all universities and institutions worldwide
had CERN's policy -- call it what you like! -- OA would be home free by now!)

(5) Yes, CERN's task of ensuring that 100% of its current annual research
output is self-archived is made easier by the fact that many (not all,
not most, but many) CERN researchers self-archive spontaneously in Arxiv,
so those papers can be harvested back, instead of having to be requested by
the CERN staff from their authors directly.

(6) But that is still a self-archiving mandate: In an institution with no such
mandate, the staff would be wasting their time begging the authors for a copy to
deposit, as the authors would not provide it (for the 34+ reasons that they do not
self-archive spontaneously, but only if mandated: they are too lazy, they don't
think it's necessary, they are worried about copyright, etc. etc.).

(7) Queensland University of Technology, in contrast to the other
institutions that currently have a mandate, does it exactly the same
way CERN does: The Vice Chancellor mandated it, and the library staff
chased the authors to get the papers and do the keystrokes for them.

(8) Without a mandate, whether at CERN or anywhere else, it does not happen.



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