Elsevier Study Commissioned by UK BIS

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Fri Dec 6 19:01:38 EST 2013

On Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 2:00 PM, Bo-Christer Björk <
bo-christer.bjork at hanken.fi> wrote:

> The Elsevier study on OA prevalence study was part of broader report. The
> methods are just shortly mentioned so its a bit problematic to comment in
> detail.
> The global gold OA share found is 9,7 % of scopus articles, consisting of
> 5,5 % APC paid and 4,2 others (not just 5.5 % as Stevan noted below). The
> global hybrid share is 0.5. The green global share could be assumed to more
> or less be the sum of preprint versions of 6.4 % and accepted versions 5.0
> %, adding directly to around 11 %. In particular if their method only took
> the first found full text copy and then classified it
> The big flaw of the study seems to be in the sample used, since it
> consisted of equal numbers of Scopus articles that had been published 2
> months, 6 months, 12 months and 24 months before the Googling. If the hits
> are simple added up for all the sampled articles this means that a major
> share of selfarchivied manuscripts are ignored, due to embargoes or author
> behavior in for instance selfarchiving once a year. For instance half of
> the copies in PMC would not be found in this way. Equally the very low
> figure for "Open Archives", 1.0 %, could be a result of this method. Our
> own results for delayed OA are around 5 %.
> So all in all the figures are much lower than if one includes articles
> made OA with at least a one year delay, which we find is the method we
> would recommend for studies claiming to give overall OA uptake figures.
> Whether this methodological choice was a conscious one from the study team
> or just an oversight is difficult to know. But if they would have adhered
> to a strict interpretation that only immediate OA is OA, the sampling
> should have been different. Now it's somewhere in between.

Bo-Christer is quite right. Elsevier's arbitrary (and somewhat
self-serving) 6-category classification system (each of whose categories is
curiously labelled a "publishing system") leaves much to be desired:

1. Gold Open Access
2. Hybrid
3. Subsidised
4. Open Archives
5. Green Open Access: Pre-print versions
6. Green Open Access: Accepted Author Manuscript versions

It is not just what Elsevier called "Gold Open Access" that was Gold Open
Access, but also what they called "Subsidised." The difference is merely
that what they called Gold was publishing-fee-based Gold and what they
called subsidized was subsidy-based Gold.

Elsevier also neglected to mention that "Subsidised" did not necessarily
mean subsidized either: There are also subscription-based journals that
make their online versions free immediately upon publication; hence they
are likewise Gold OA journals.

What Elsevier called "Open Archives" is also not what it sounds like: It
seems to be *Delayed Access* articles, accessible only after a publisher
embargo, either on the publisher's website or in another central website,
such as PubMed Central, where publishers also deposit, sometimes
immediately, sometimes after an embargo.

The two Green Open Access categories are also ambiguous.The pre-print
versions are (correctly) described as pre-refereeing drafts (but it would
take a lot closer analysis to determine whether the pre-prints differ from
the refereed version. It is easy to determine whether they were posted
before the official publication date but far from easy to determine whether
they were posted before refereeing. (The date of the letter of acceptance
of the refereed draft is often one that only the author and the editor know
-- though it is in some cases printed in the journal: did Elsevier look at
that too?)

The post-refereeing author's drafts are presumably what they are described
as being, but it is not clear by what criteria Elsevier distinguished them
from pre-refeeeing drafts (except when they were in an institutional
repository and specifically tagged as unrefereed).

So, as Bo-Christer points out, there are many methodological questions
about the data without whose answers their meaningfulness and
interpretability is limited. I would say that the timing issue is perhaps
the most important one. And to sort things out I would like to propose a
different system of classification:

*Open Access (OA):* The term OA should be reserved for immediate OA,
regardless whether it is provided by the publisher (Gold) or the author
(Green). A reasonable error-margin for OA should be* within 3 months or
less from publication date*. Anything longer begins to overlap with
publisher embargoes (of 6, 12, 24 months or longer).

*Delayed Access (DA): *The term DA should be used for delays of more than 6
months. And besides the usefulness of separately counting 6, 12, and 24
month DA, DA should also be analyzed as a continuous variable, reckoned in
months starting from the date of publication (including negative delays,
when authors post the refereed draft during the interval from acceptance
date to publication date. The unrefereed preprint, however, should not be
mixed into this; it should be treated as a separate point of comparison.

So there is *Gold OA* (immediate), *Green OA* (immediate), *Gold DA* and *Green
DA* (measured by 6-month intervals as well as continuously in months.

If a separate distinction is sought within Gold, then fee-based Gold,
subsidy-based Gold and subscription-based Gold can be compared, for both OA
and DA. The locus of deposit of the Gold is not relevant, but the fact that
it was done by the publisher rather than the author (or the author's
assigns) is extremely relevant.

For Green OA and DA it is also important to compare locus of deposit
(institutional vs. institution-external). See mandates below.

In all cases independence and redundancy should uniformly be controlled:
Whenever a positive "hit" is made in any category, it has to be checked
whether there are any instances of the same paper in other categories.
Otherwise the data are not mutually exclusive.

If desired, all the above can be further subdivided in terms of
*Gratis*(free online access) and
*Libre* (free online access plus re-use rights) OA and DA.

Tracking Gold has the advantage of having clear unambiguous timing (except
if the publication date differs from the date the journal actually appears)
and of being exhaustively searchable without having to sample or check (if
one has an index of the Gold OA and DA journals).

Tracking Green is much harder, but it must be done, because the fight for
OA is rapidly becoming the fight against embargoes. That's why Green OA
should be reserved for immediate access. It is almost certain that within
the next few years most journals will become Gold DA (with an embargo of 12
months). Hence 12 months is the figure to beat, and Green DA after 18
months will not be of much use at all.

And the best way to push for immediate Green OA, is to upgrade all Green
mandates to require *immediate institutional deposit*, irrespective of how
long an embargo the mandate allows on DA. Requiring immediate deposit does
not guarantee immediate OA, but it guarantees immediate Almost-OA, mediated
by the repository's automated copy-request Button, requiring only one click
from the requestor and one click from the author.

The immediate-deposit requirement plus the Button not only fits all OA
mandates (no matter how they handle embargoes of copyright), making it
possible for all institutions and funders to adopt it universally, but it
also delivers the greatest amount of immediate access for 100% of deposits:
immediate Green OA for X% plus (100-X)% Button-mediated Almost OA. And
this, in turn will increase the universal demand for immediacy to the point
where publisher embargoes will no longer be able to plug the flood-gates
and the research community will have the 100% immediate Green OA it should
have had ever since the creation of the web made it possible by making it
possible to free the genie from the bottle,

*Stevan Harnad*

>         On 12/6/13 5:31 PM, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Elsevier has just conducted and published a study commissioned by UK BIS: "International
> Comparative Performance of the UK Research Base – 2013<https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/performance-of-the-uk-research-base-international-comparison-2013>
> "
> This study finds twice as much Green OA (11.6%) as Gold OA (5.9%) in the
> UK (where bothGreen OA repositories<http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october00/10inbrief.html#HARNAD>
>  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
> world.
> 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 world<http://roarmap.eprints.org/view/geoname/>,
> 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 Gold<https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=cr&ei=b-CUUuTZNM-3kQeAj4CACA#q=harnad+%28fools+OR+fool%27s%29+gold>
> ").
> But once Green OA prevails worldwide, Fair Gold<https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=cr&ei=b-CUUuTZNM-3kQeAj4CACA#q=harnad+%22fair+gold%22> (and
> 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 immediate-deposit<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=%22immediate+deposit%22+blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>
>  (HEFCE<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=hefce+immediate+blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>
> /Liege<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=liege+model++blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>)
> Green OA mandate model is indeed the most effective mandate (compared, for
> example, with the Harvard<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=Harvard+blogurl%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbas=0&tbm=blg> copyright-retention
> model with opt-out, or the NIH<https://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&lr=&q=harnad%20OR%20Harnad%20OR%20archivangelism+blogurl:http://openaccess.eprints.org/&ie=UTF-8&tbm=blg&tbs=qdr:m&num=100&c2coff=1&safe=active#c2coff=1&hl=en&lr=&q=NIH+blogurl%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg> model
> 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 policy<http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/1074-html> which
> subsidizes and prefers Gold and tries to downgrade Green -- certainly not
> because of it!
> _______________________________________________
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