OA's Real Battle-Ground in 2014: The One-Year Embargo

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Sun Dec 8 13:05:42 EST 2013

On 12/7/2013, Jeroen Bosman wrote:

> *JS:* Stevan,
> As you say, this is indeed specualation. I can follow the reasoning but
> wonder if you could mention examples of publishers releasing content after
> one year as you say under 6.
> See Laakso & Bjork (2013) in the text appended at the end of this posting.

> *JS: *The roadmap you put before us here is a major turn from the massive
> introduction of hybrid gold now offered by publishers and accepted by
> governments (UK, NL).
> The publishers' road is the road to over-priced, double-paid,
double-dipped Fool's Gold OA.

The alternative is the road to Green OA -- which will in turn lead to
single-paid, affordable, sustainable Fair Gold OA.

> *JS: *I am afraid that currently many authors and universities would be
> content with (one year) delayed gold OA and retaining subscriptions. I do
> not think that under those circumstances there would still be massive
> support for depositing author versions for just one year. We do not even
> have that now, with almost no delayed gold at all.
> Until recently authors and universities were content with
subscription-access alone. Then came the OA movement. Now the publishers
are trying to offer 1-year Delayed Access instead of OA (and they only
offer that under pressure for OA).

The pressure for OA will only increase, not decrease. Publisher
access-embargoes block access as surely as publisher subscription tolls do.
If access is needed for research at all, it is needed immediately upon
acceptance for publication, not just a year (or two, or ten) later. OA
means immediate (and permanent) online access.

*JS: *It may be tactically important to convince the research community of
> green ID/OA mandates before publishers make this switch.
> Publishers are offering embargoed access only because of pressure for
immediate OA, from researchers as well us institutional and funder OA
mandated. The Liège/HEFCE immediate-deposit mandate model (ID/OA) is
probably the most effective mandate model, and the one to which all OA
mandates can be easily upgraded.

> *JS: *One final suggestion: it would be nice to have your speculative
> roadmap and the OA classification you suggest in this thread available on
> the eprints.org webpage, for easy reference.
I've posted a revised version of it in http://openaccess.eprints.org and
appended it below.
I've also added two references (Harnad 2007, 2010) for the leveraged
transition from subscription access to mandated Green OA and finally to
Fair Gold.

I will first reply to David Wojick's (*DW*) optimistic comment about the
prospect of publishers demanding and US lawmakers agreeing to Green OA
embargoes longer than the ones proposed by OSTP. (DW is a policy consultant
with OSTI and for some reason one cannot fathom, sounds uncannily like a
publishing industry

On Sat, Dec 7, 2013 at 12:12 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at craigellachie.us>

> *DW:* In case some of you have not seen it, the draft FIRST bill in the
> US House has a major Federal OA section beginning on page 32 (section 302).
> http://www.fabbs.org/files/5913/8375/7907/Discussion%20Draft%20of%20House%20Science%20Committee%20Bill.pdf
> *DW: I*n particular it provides for embargo periods of up to 24 months,
> rather than OSTP's baseline of 12 months. Agencies can also go for 30 or 36
> months for specific cases that must be justified. As a policy analyst I
> would say there is no way to tell where OA is going at this point. The
> wheel of fortune is still spinning, as it were.
> http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/author/dwojick/

Nowhere else on the planet is a publisher OA embargo longer than a year
being seriously contemplated -- but, as I said, the Liège/HEFCE
immediate-deposit mandate model (ID/OA) is immune to publisher embargoes…

*Stevan Harnad*
OA's Real Battle-Ground in 2014: The One-Year

The prediction that "It is almost certain that within the next few years
most journals will become [Delayed] Gold (with an embargo of 12
is an extrapolation and inference from the manifest pattern across the last

1. Journal publishers know (better than anyone) that OA is inevitable and
unstoppable, only delayable (via embargoes).

2. Journal publishers also know that it is the first year of sales that
sustains their subscriptions. (The talk about later sales is just

3. Publishers have accordingly been fighting tooth and nail against Green
OA mandates, by lobbying against Green OA
by embargoing Green
and by offering and promoting hybrid Gold

4. Although the majority of publishers
including Elsevier<http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/search.php?id=30&fIDnum=|&mode=simple&la=en&format=full>
 and Springer<http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/search.php?id=74&fIDnum=|&mode=simple&la=en&format=full>)
do not embargo Green OA, of the 40% that do embargo Green OA, most have a
1-year embargo.

5. This 1-year embargo on Green is accordingly publishers' reluctant but
realistic compromise: It is an attempt to ward off immediate Green OA with
minimal risk by trying to make institutions' and funders' Green
mandates *Delayed
Green Mandates
of Green OA Mandates.

6. Then, as an added insurance against losing control of their content,
more and more publishers are releasing online access themselves, on their
own proprietary websites, a year after publication: *Delayed Gold

The publishers' calculation is that since free access after a year is a
foregone conclusion, because of Green mandates, it's better (for
publishers) if that free access is provided by publishers themselves, as
Delayed Gold, so it all remains in their hands (archiving,
access-provision, navigation, search, reference linking, re-use,
re-publication, etc.).

One-year delayed Gold is also being offered by publishers as insurance
against the Green author's version taking over the function of the
publisher's version of record.

(Publishers even have a faint hope that 1-year Gold might take the wind out
of the sails of Green mandates and the clamor for OA altogether: Maybe if
everyone gets Gold access after a year, that will be the end of it! Back to
subscription business as before -- unless the market prefers instead to
keep paying the same price that it now pays for subscriptions, but in
exchange for immediate, un-embargoed Gold OA, as in
 or hybrid Gold<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=hybrid+blogurl:http%3A%2F%2Fopenaccess.eprints.org%2F&safe=active&tbm=blg>

But I think most publishers also know that sustaining their current
subscription revenue levels is a pipe-dream, and that all their tactics are
really doing as long as they succeed is holding back the optimal and
inevitable <https://www.google.ca/#q=harnad+%22optimal+and+inevitable%22>
for refereed research journal publishing in the OA era for as long as they
possibly can:

*And the inevitable outcome is immediate Green OA*, with authors posting
their refereed, accepted final drafts free for all online immediately upon
acceptance for publication. That draft itself will in turn become the
version of record, because *subscriptions to the publisher's print and
online version will become unsustainable once the Green OA version is free
for all*.

Under mounting cancellation pressure induced by immediate Green OA,
publishers will have to cut inessential costs by phasing out the print and
online version of record, offloading all access-provision and archiving
onto the global network of Green OA institutional repositories, and
downsizing to just the provision of the peer review service alone, paid for
-- per paper, per round of peer review, asFair
of today's over-priced, double-paid and double-dipped Fool's
-- out of a fraction of each institution's annual windfall savings from
their cancelled annual subscriptions.

So both the 1-year embargo on Green and the 1-year release of Gold are
attempts to fend off the above transition: *OA has become a fight for that
first year of access: researchers need and want it immediately; publishers
want to hold onto it until and unless they continue to be paid as much as
they are being paid now.* The purpose of embargoes is to hold OA hostage to
publisher's current revenue levels, locking in content until they pay the
right price.

But there is an antidote for publisher embargoes on immediate Green, and
that is the immediate-institutional-deposit
the "Almost-OA" Request-a-Copy
 (the 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>
mandate), designating the deposit of the final refereed draft in the
author's institutional repository immediately upon acceptance for
publication as the sole mechanism for submitting publications for
institutional performance review and for compliance with funding

Once those immediate-deposit mandates are universally adopted, universal OA
will only be one
keystroke<https://www.google.ca/#q=%22keystroke+mandates%22> away:
The keystroke that sets access to an embargoed deposit as Open Access
instead of Closed Access. With immediate-deposit ubiquitous, embargoes will
very quickly die their inevitable and well-deserved deaths under the
mounting global pressure for immediate OA (for which impatience will be all
the more intensified by Button-based Almost-OA).

The scenario is speculative, to be sure, but grounded in the pragmatics,
logic and evidence of what is actually going on today.

(Prepare for a vehement round of pseudo-legal publisher FUD about the
copy-request Button as its adoption grows -- all groundless and
ineffectual, but yet another attempt to delay the inevitable for as long as
possible, by hook or by crook…)

*Stevan Harnad*

Harnad, S. (2007) The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged
In: Anna Gacs. *The Culture of Periodicals from the Perspective of the
Electronic Age*. L'Harmattan. 99-106.

*______* (2010) No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need
Not Be Access Denied or
. *D-Lib Magazine* 16 (7/8).

Hitchcock, S. (2013) The effect of open access and downloads ('hits') on
citation impact: a bibliography of

Houghton, J. & Swan, A. (2013) Planting the Green Seeds for a Golden
Harvest: Comments and Clarifications on "Going for
. *D-Lib Magazine* 19 (1/2).

Laakso, M & Björk, B-Ch (2013) Delayed open
. *Journal of the American Society for Information Science and
Technology* 64(7):

Rentier, B., & Thirion, P. (2011). The Liège ORBi model: Mandatory policy
without rights retention but linked to assessment

Sale, A., Couture, M., Rodrigues, E., Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2012) Open
Access Mandates and the "Fair Dealing"
In: *Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Culture Online* (Rosemary J.
Coombe & Darren Wershler, Eds.)

Suber, P. (2012) Open
MIT Press.
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