Elsevier Study Commissioned by UK BIS

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 6 10:31:48 EST 2013

Elsevier has just conducted and published a study commissioned by UK
BIS: "International
Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base –

This study finds twice as much Green OA (11.6%) as Gold OA (5.9%) in the UK
(where bothGreen OA
 and Green OA mandates
<http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Temp/UKSTC.htm> began)
and about equal levels of Green (5.0%) and Gold (5.5%) in the rest of the

There are methodological weaknesses in the Elsevier study, which was based
on SCOPUS data (Gold data are direct and based on the whole data set, Green
data are partial and based on hand-sampling; timing is not taken into
account; categories of OA are often arbitrary and not mutually exclusive,
etc). But the overall pattern may have some validity.

What does it mean?

It means the effects of Green OA mandates in the
UK<http://roarmap.eprints.org/view/geoname/geoname=5F2=5FGB.html> --
where there are relatively more of them, and they have been there for a
half decade or more -- are detectable, compared to the rest of the
where mandates are relatively fewer.

But 11.6% Green is just a pale, partial indicator of how much OA Green OA
mandates generate: If instead of looking at the world (where about 1% of
institutions and funders have OA mandates) or the UK (where the percentage
is somewhat higher, but many of the mandates are still weak and ineffective
ones), one looks specifically at the OA percentages for effectively
mandated institutions <http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/358882/>, the Green
figure jumps to over 80% (about half of it immediate-OA and half embargoed
OA: deposited, and accessible during the embargo via the repository's
automated copy-request Button, with a click from the requestor and a click
from the author).

So if the planet's current level of Green OA is 11.6%, its level will jump
to at least 80% as effective Green OA mandates are adopted.

Meanwhile, Gold OA will continue to be unnecessary, over-priced,
double-paid (which journal subscriptions still need to be paid) and
potentially even double-dipped (if paid to the same hybrid
subscription/Gold publisher) out of scarce research funds contributed by UK
tax-payers ("Fool's

But once Green OA prevails worldwide, Fair
all the Libre OA re-use rights that users need and authors want to provide)
will not be far behind.

We are currently gathering data to test whether the
Green OA mandate model is indeed the most effective mandate (compared, for
example, with the
model with opt-out, or the
with a 12 month embargo).

*Stevan Harnad*

P.S. Needless to say, the fact that the UK's Green OA rate is twice as high
as its Gold OA rate is true *despite* the new Finch/FCUK
subsidizes and prefers Gold and tries to downgrade Green -- certainly not
because of it!
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