Tripping Point: Delayed Access is not Open Access; "Chorus" is a Trojan Horse

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 21 14:09:26 EDT 2013

On Sun, Jul 21, 2013 at 12:13 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at>wrote:

This is not about author self archiving, which is a separate issue, so I
> see no Trojan horse.

1. The "This" is US federal funding agency Open Access mandates.

2. The "self" is the author, who is also the fundee, the one who is bound
to comply with the conditions of the funder mandate.

3. The "archiving" is making the fundee's paper accessible free for all all
on the Web

4. The "Trojan Horse" is the attempt by publishers to take this out of the
hands of the author/fundee/mandatee and put it into the hands of the
publisher, who is not the fundee, not bound by the mandate, and indeed has
a conflict of interest with making papers free for all all on the Web.

5. On no account should the compliance with the funder mandate be
outsourced and entrusted to a 3rd party that is not only not bound by the
mandate, but in a conflict of interest with it.

> It is about the design of the Federal program, where I see no reason for
> redundant Federal archiving.

The web is full of "redundant archiving": the same document may be stored
and hosted on multiple sites. That's good for back-up and reliability and
preservation, and part of the way the Web works. And it costs next to
nothing -- and certainly not to publishers. (If publishers wish to save
federal research money, let them charge less for journal subscriptions;
don't fret about "redundant archiving.")

PubMed Central (PMC) is a very valuable and widely used central search
tool. Its usefulness is based on both its scope of coverage (thanks to
mandates) and on its metadata quality. It borders on absurdity for
publishers to criticize this highly useful and widely used resource as
"redundant." It provides access where publishers do not.

Nor does PMC's usefulness reside in the fact that it hosts the full-texts
of the papers it indexes. It's the metadata and search capacity that makes
PMC so useful. It would be equally useful if the URL for each full-text to
which PMC pointed were in each fundee's own institutional repository, and
PMC hosted only the metadata and search tools. (Indeed, it would increase
PMC's coverage and make it even more economical; many of us are hoping PMC
and other central repositories like Arxiv will evolve in that direction.)

> There is nothing in the CHORUS approach to the Federal program design that
> precludes author self archiving in institutional repositories as a separate
> activity.

1. "This" is about US federal funding agency Open Access mandates.

2. The "self" is the author, who is also the fundee, the one who is bound
to comply the with conditions of the funder mandate.

3. The "archiving" is making the fundee's paper accessible free for all all
on the Web. *If authors self-archived of their own accord, "as a separate
activity," there would have been no need for federal Open Access mandates.*

4. The "Trojan Horse" is the attempt by publishers to take this out of the
hands of the author/fundee/mandatee and put it into the hand of the
publisher, who is not the fundee, not bound by the mandate, and indeed has
a conflict of interest with making papers free for all all on the Web.

5. On no account should the compliance with the funder mandate be
outsourced and entrusted to a 3rd party that is not only not bound by the
mandate, but in a conflict of interest with it.

The federal mandates do not require fundees to provide toll-free access
only after a year after publication: They require them to provide toll-free
access* within a year at the latest*. Publishers have every incentive to
make (and keep) this the latest, by taking self-archiving out of authors'
hands and doing it instead of them, as late as possible.

Moreover, funder OA mandates are increasingly being complemented by
institutional OA mandates, which cover both funded and unfunded research.
This is also why institutions have institutional repositories (archives),
in which their researchers can deposit, and from which central repositories
can harvest. This is also the way to tide over research needs during OA
embargoes, with the help of institutional repositories' immediate Almost-OA

And again, no need here for advice from publishers, with their conflicts of
interest, on how institutions can save money on their "redundant archives"
by letting publishers provide the OA in place of their researchers (safely
out of the reach of institutional repositories' immediate Almost-OA Button).

> The journals are part of the research community and they have always been
> the principal archive.

Journals consist of authors, referees, editors and publishers. Publishers
are not part of the research community (not even university or
learned-society publishers); they earn their revenues from it.

Until the online era, the "principal archive" has been the university
library. In the online era it's the web. The publisher's sector of the web
is proprietary and toll-based. The research community's sector is Open

And that's another reason CHORUS is a Trojan Horse.

> With CHORUS they will be again.

What on earth does this mean? That articles in the publishers' proprietary
sector will be opened up after a year?

That sounds like an excellent way to ensure that they won't ever be opened
up any earlier, and that mandates will be powerless to make them open up
any earlier.

> After all the entire process is based on the article being published in
> the journal.

Yes, but what is at issue now is not publishing but *access*: when, where
and how?

> It is true that this is all future tense including the Federal program,
> but the design principles are here and now.

And what is at issue here is the need to alert the Federal program that it
should on no account be taken in by CHORUS's offer to "let us do the
self-archiving for you."

I repeat, immediate access is not a design alternative. The OSTP guidance
> is clear about that. So most of your points are simply irrelevant to the
> present situation.

The federal mandates do not require fundees to provide toll-free access
only after a year after publication: They require them to provide toll-free
access* within a year at the latest*.

Immediate OA (as well as immediate-deposit plus immediate Almost-OA via the
Button) is definitely an alternative -- as well as a design alternative.

But not if OSTP heeds the siren call of CHORUS.

Stevan Harnad

At 09:50 AM 7/21/2013, you wrote:
> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> On Sun, Jul 21, 2013 at 7:57
> AM, David Wojick <dwojick at > wrote:
>  I think what the US Government is actually doing is far more important
> as an OA tipping point.
> We are clearly not understanding one another:
> Yes, the US funder mandates are extremely important, even if  they still
> need a tweak (as noted).
> Yes, OA has not yet reached a tipping point. (That was my point.)
> But no, Delayed Access is not OA, let alone Green OA, although that is how
> publishers would dearly love to define OA, and especially Green OA.
>  As for your Trojan horse point (#2) there is no author archiving with
> Yes, that's the point: CHORUS is trying to take author self-archiving out
> of the hands  and off the sites of the research community, to put it in the
> hands and on the site of publishers. That is abundantly clear.
> And my point was about how bad that was, and why: a Trojan Horse for the
> research  community and the future of OA.
> But the verb should be CHORUS "would be," not CHORUS "is" -- because,
> thankfully, it is not yet true that this 4th publishers' Trojan Horse has
> been allowed in at all.
> (The 1st Trojan Horse was Prism: routed at the gates. The 2nd was the
> "Research Works Act; likewise routed at the gates. The 3rd was the Finch
> Report: It slipped in, but concerted resistance from OA Advocates and the
> research community has been steadily disarming it. The 4th publisher Trojan
> Horse is CHORUS, and, as noted, OA Advocates and the research community are
> working hard to keep it out!)
>  The author merely specifies the funder from a menu during the journal
> submission process and the publisher does the rest. Thus there is no burden
> on the authors and no redundant repository. The article is openly available
> from the publisher after the Federally specified embargo period. This is
> extremely efficient compared to the old NIH repository model.
> Indeed it would be, and would put publishers back in full control of the
> future of OA.
> Fortunately, the CHORUS deal is far from a fait accompli, and the hope (of
> OA advocates and the concerned research community) is that it never will
> be.
> The only thing the "old NH repository model" (PubMed Central, PMC) needs
> is an upgrade to immediate institutional deposit, followed by automatic
> harvesting and import (after the allowable embargo has elapsed) by PMC or
> any other institution-external subject based
> harvester. With that, the OSTP mandate model would be optimal (for the
> time being).
> David, it is not clear why the very simple meaning of my first posting has
> since had to be explained to you twice. I regret that I will have to take
> any further failures to understand it as willful, and SIGMETRICS readers
> will be relieved to hear that I will make no further attempt to correct it.
> Stevan Harnad
>  On Jul 20, 2013, at 11:56 PM, Stevan Harnad <amsciforum at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>  Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> On Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 9:46
> PM, David Wojick < <dwojick at> dwojick at>
> wrote:
>  NIH uses a 12 month embargo and that is what the other Federal agencies
> are required to do, unless they can justify a longer or shorter period for
> certain disciplines. This has nothing to do with the publishers or CHORUS.
> The publishers are building CHORUS so that the agencies will use the
> publisher's websites and articles instead of a redundant repository like
> NIH uses. They are merely agreeing to the US Governments requirements,
> while trying to keep their users, so there is no Trojan horse here, just
> common sense. Immediate access is not an option in this Federal OA program.
> The OA community should be happy to get green OA.
> 1. The embargo length that the funding agencies allow is another matter,
> not the one I was discussing<>.
> (But of course the pressure for the embargoes comes from the publishers,
> not from the funding agencies.)
> 2. The Trojan Horse<>would be funding agencies foolishly accepting publishers' "CHORUS"
> invitation to outsource author self-archiving, -- and hence compliance with
> the funder mandate -- to publishers, instead of having fundees do it
> themselves, in their own institutional repositories.
> 3. To repeat: Delayed Access is not Open Access -- any more than Paid
> Access is Open Access. Open Access is immediate, permanent online access,
> toll-free, for all.
> 4. Delayed (embargoed) Access is publishers' attempt to hold research
> access hostage to their current revenue streams, forcibly co-bundled with
> obsolete products and services, and their costs, for as long as possible.
> All the research community needs from publishers in the OA era is peer
> review. Researchers can and will do access-provision and archiving for
> themselves, at next to no cost. And peer review alone costs only a fraction
> of what institutions are paying publishers now for subscriptions.
> 5. Green OA is author-provided OA; Gold OA is publisher-provided OA. But
> OA means immediate access, so Delayed Access is neither Green OA nor Gold
> OA. (Speaking loosely, one can call author-self-archiving after a publisher
> embargo "Delayed Green" and publisher provided free access on their website
> after an embargo "Delayed Gold," but it's not really OA at all if it's not
> immediate. And that's why it's so important to upgrade all funder mandates
> to make them immediate-deposit mandates, even if they are not immediate-OA
> mandates.)
>  Harnad: if delayed access is not open access in your view then why did
> you post the tipping point study, since it includes delayed access of up to
> 5 years? Most people consider delayed (green) access to be a paradigm of
> open access. That is how the term is used. You are apparently making your
> own language.
> Wojick: That is the way publishers would like to see the term OA used,
> paradigmatically. But that's not what it means. And I was actually (mildly)
> criticizing the study in question for failing to distinguish Open Access
> from Delayed Access, and for declaring that Open Access had reached the
> "Tipping Point" when it certainly has not -- specifically because of
> publisher embargoes. [Please re-read my summary, still attached below: I
> don't think there is any ambiguity at all about what I said and meant.]
> But OA advocates can live with the allowable funder mandate embargoes for
> the time being <> -- as long as
> deposit is mandated to be done immediately<>upon acceptance for publication, by the author, in the author's
> institutional repository, and not a year later, by the publisher, on the
> publisher's own website. Access to the author's deposit can be set as OA
> during the allowable embargo period, but meanwhile authors can provide
> Almost-OA via their repository's facilitated Eprint Request Button<>
> .
>   The Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access (ID/OA) Mandate: Rationale and
> Model <>
>  Public Access to Federally Funded Research (Response to US OSTP RFI)<>
>  Comments on Proposed HEFCE/REF Green Open Access Mandate<>
>  On Jul 20, 2013, at 4:30 PM, Stevan Harnad < <amsciforum at GMAIL.COM>
> amsciforum at GMAIL.COM > wrote:
>  On Sat, Jul 20, 2013 at 3:56 PM, David Wojick <<dwojick at>dwojick at>
> wrote:
>  The US Government is developing a green OA system for all articles based
> even in part on Federal funding, with a default embargo period of 12
> months. The publishers have responded with a proposal called CHORUS that
> meets that requirement by taking users to the publisher's website. Many of
> the journals involved presently have no OA aspect so this will
> significantly increase the percentage of OA articles when it is implemented
> over the next few years.
> [David Wojick works part time as the Senior Consultant for Innovation at
> OSTI, the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, in the Office of
> Science of the US Department of Energy. He has a PhD in logic and
> philosophy of science, an MA in mathematical logic, and a BS in civil
> engineering.]
> Let us fervently hope that the US Government/OSTP will not be taken in by
> this publisher Trojan Horse called " CHORUS<>."
> It is tripping point, not a tipping point.
> If not, we can all tip our hats goodbye to Open Access -- which means free
> online access immediately upon publication, not access after a one-year
> embargo.
> CHORUS is just the latest successor organisation for self-serving anti-Open
> Access (OA) lobbying<,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=41411a1f1a5d3b02&biw=1260&bih=674>by the publishing industry. Previous incarnations have been the "PRISM coalition<,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=41411a1f1a5d3b02&biw=1260&bih=674>"
> and the " Research Works Act<,or.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=41411a1f1a5d3b02&biw=1260&bih=674>
> ."
>  1. It is by now evident to everyone that OA is inevitable, because it is
> optimal for research, researchers, research institutions, the vast R&D
> industry, students, teachers, journalists and the tax-paying public that
> funds the research.
> 2. Research is funded by the public and conducted by researchers and their
> institutions for the sake of research progress, productivity and
> applications -- not in order to guarantee publishers' current revenue
> streams and modus operandi: Research publishing is a service industry and
> must adapt to the revolutionary new potential that the online era has
> opened up for research, not vice versa!
> 3. That is why both research funders (like NIH) and research institutions
> (like Harvard) -- in the US as well as in the rest of the world -- are
> increasingly mandating (requiring) OA: See ROARMAP<>
> .
> 4. Publishers are already trying to delay the potential benefits of OA to
> research progress by imposing embargoes<,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.47534661,d.aWc&fp=41411a1f1a5d3b02&biw=1260&bih=672>of 6-12 months or more on research access that can and should be
> immediate<>in the online era.
> 5. The strategy of CHORUS is to try to take the power to provide OA out of
> the hands of researchers so that publishers gain control over both the
> timetable and the insfrastructure for providing OA.
> 6. And, without any sense of the irony, the publisher lobby (which already
> consumes so much of the scarce funds available for research) is attempting
> to do this under the pretext of saving "precious research funds" for
> research!
> 7. It is for researchers to provide OA, and for their funders and
> institutions to mandate and monitor OA provision by requiring deposit in
> their institutional repositories -- which already exist, for multiple
> purposes.
> 8. Depositing in repositories entails no extra research expense for
> research, just a few extra keystrokes, from researchers.
> 9. Institutional and subject repositories keep both the timetable and the
> insfrastructure for providing OA where it belongs: in the hands of the
> research community, in whose interests it is to provide OA.
> 10. The publishing industry's previous ploys -- PRISM and the Research
> Works Act -- were obviously self-serving Trojan Horses, promoting the
> publishing industry's interests disguised as the interests of research.
> Let the the US Government not be taken in this time either.
> [And why does the US Government not hire consultants who represent the
> interests of the research community rather than those of the publishing
> industry?]
> Eisen, M. (2013) A CHORUS of boos: publishers offer their “solution” to
> public access <>
> Giles, J. (2007) PR's 'pit bull' takes on open access<>.
> Nature 5 January 2007.
> Harnad, S. (2012) Research Works Act H.R.3699: The Private Publishing
> Tail Trying To Wag The Public Research Dog, Yet Again<>.
> Open Access Archivangelism 287 January 7. 2012
>  At 01:39 PM 7/20/2013, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Summary: The findings of Eric Archambault’s (2013) pilot study “ The
> Tipping Point - Open Access Comes of Age<>”
> on the percentage of OA that is currently available are very timely,
> welcome and promising. The study finds that the percentage of articles
> published in 2008 that are OA in 2013 is between 42-48%. It does not
> estimate, however, when in that 5-year interval the articles were made OA.
> Hence the study cannot indicate what percentage of articles being published
> in 2013 is being made OA in 2013. Nor can it indicate what percentage of
> articles published before 2013 is OA in 2013. The only way to find that out
> is through a separate analysis of immediate Gold OA, delayed Gold OA,
> immediate Green OA, and delayed Green OA, by discipline.
> See:
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