Scientometric aspects of government OA mandates

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 9 15:56:35 EST 2013

On Mon, Dec 9, 2013 at 1:19 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at>wrote:

> The Scholarly Kitchen has an interesting article on how to define "federal
> funding" under the emerging US OA mandate. See
> The scientometric issue is how valid the impact analysis of government
> agencies can be when "government funding" is poorly defined, such that
> research with very little actual government funding is included?
> Conversely, what role might the scientometric community play in resolving
> this issue? I have raised this issue in the Kitchen article comments, if
> anyone wants to join the discussion.

Let me see if I get this:

Because it is not clear what proportion of the research that a funded
researcher publishes can be directly attributed to any particular funding
source, it would be better if funders did not mandate that it must be made
Open Access (for "scientometric" reasons!)?

I don't think so.

In any case, don’t worry: Whatever is not covered by federal funder
mandates will be covered by institutional mandates like Harvard’s, MIT’s
etc. All refereed research output, both funded and unfunded, in all fields,
is the obvious, natural target for OA. No problem for researchers to figure
that out: they won’t have to think twice.

And publishers — for all their moaning and groaning, and dire warnings of
doom and gloom — will, of course, figure out a way to adapt. All the FUD
they keep trying to raise at each juncture is so unmistakably just smoke
and delay tactics: futile efforts to stave off the obvious, optimal and
inevitable outcome for research, researchers, the vast R&D industry, and
the tax-paying public in the online era: 100% Open Access to all
peer-reviewed research immediately upon acceptance for publication.

But why is a policy consultant for OSTI raising this "scientometric"
smokescreen which sounds, for all the world, as if it were coming from a
lobbyist for the publishing industry?

*Stevan Harnad*
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