Research Community Interests and the Publishing Lobby's Latest Trojan Horse (CHORUS)

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 23 00:27:06 EDT 2013

On Mon, Jul 22, 2013 at 2:49 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at>wrote:

> The Federal OA program is controlled by the Federal Government, so all
> your talk of ceding control is just a rhetorical device. Neither the
> fundees, the institutions nor the journals control it, except to the extent
> that the journals make the publication decisions. So no one is ceding
> control to anyone. And I repeat that the journals are part of the
> community, a central part. (You are doing your private language thing
> again. You do it a lot.)
> Under CHORUS the lead author merely has to check a box indicating the
> funder. The institutions have to do nothing more, nor does the fundee. The
> journal then gives the article link to the agency and makes the article
> publicly available at the agency controlled time. This is enormously
> simpler than creating repositories that fundees have to populate and
> funders have to work with (and someone has to build and maintain). In
> essence the article is published and the agency links to it. That is all
> and it cannot be any simpler than this. Creating a parallel universe of
> redundant repositories must be more complex, costly and burdensome.

As far as I know, the publishers' CHORUS deal that you describe (and that I
have referred to in my not-so-private language argument as a Trojan Horse)
has not yet been accepted by the Federal Government, nor by its funding

Maybe they will accept it, maybe they won't. I and many others have been
describing the many reasons they should *not* accept it.

You are repeating arguments about the redundancy and complexity and
costliness of repositories to which I and many others have already replied.

But I am not trying to persuade you that researchers using their keystrokes
to deposit in OA repositories is better for research and for OA than
letting publishers do it for them: The ones I and many others are trying to
persuade of that are the same ones that you and the rest of the publisher
lobby are trying to persuade of the opposite: the Federal government and
its research funding agencies.

May the best outcome (for the research community) win.

I want to close by reminding inquiring readers of just one of the many
points that David Wojick and the other CHORUS lobbyists keep passing over
in silence:

The Government directive is not to make funded research freely accessible
12 months after publication but *within 12 months of publication*.

The publishers' Trojan Horse would not only take mandate compliance out of
the hands of fundees, making compliance depend on publishers rather than
fundees, but *it would also ensure that the research would not be made
freely accessible one minute before the full 12 months had elapsed*.

If I were a publisher, interested only in protecting my current income
streams, come what may, I'd certainly lobby for that, just as I would lobby
for the untrammelled cigarette ads and zones, if I were a tobacco company,
interested only in protecting my current income streams, come what may; or
for the untrammelled manufacture and use of plastic bags, if I were a
plastic bag company with similar "community" interests.

CHORUS is a terrific way of locking in publisher embargoes and Delayed
Access for years and years to come, thereby leaving payment for Fools Gold
as the sole option for providing immediate OA.

Stevan Harnad

(Shades of Finch -- and RWA, and PRISM... The publishing lobby is a "part"
of the research "community" indeed, heroically defending "our" joint
interests! I'm ready for the usual next piece of rhetoric, about how
un-embargoed Green OA would destroy journal publishing, and with it peer
review and research quality and reliability... We've heard it
many times over, for close to 25 years now...)

> On Sun, Jul 21, 2013 at 3:01 PM, David Wojick <dwojick at >
> wrote:
>  There is no funder mandate on authors at this point, so you are assuming
> a burdensome model that need not be implemented.
> Right now, there is a presidential (OSTP) directive to US federal funding
> agencies to mandate (Green) OA.
> It is each funding agency that will accordingly design and implement its
> own Green OA mandate, as the NIH did several years ago.
> The mandate (requirement) will, as always, be on the fundees: the authors
> of the articles that are to be made OA, as a condition of funding.
>  The only mandate is on the Federal funding agencies to provide public
> access to funder-related articles 12 months after publication.
> The presidential (OSTP) directive is to the US federal funding agencies to
> mandate (Green) OA, meaning that all published articles resulting from the
> research funded by each agency must be made OA -- within 12 months of
> publication at the latest.
> The articles are by fundees. The ones bound by the mandates are the
> fundees. Fundees are the ones who must make their research OA, as a
> condition of funding.
>  CHORUS does this in a highly efficient manner, rendering an author
> mandate unnecessary.
> CHORUS does nothing. It is simply a proposal by publishers to funding
> agencies.
> And to suggest that the the reason funding agencies should welcome the
> CHORUS proposal is efficiency is patent nonsense.
> To comply with their funder's requirements, fundees must specify which
> articles result from the funding. The few fundee keystrokes for specifying
> that are exactly the same few fundee keystrokes for self-archiving the
> article in the OA repository.
> No gain in efficiency for funders or fundees in allowing publishers to
> host and time the OA: just a ruse to allow publishers to retain control
> over the time and place of providing OA.
> Because of the monumental conflict of interest -- between publishers
> trying to protect their current revenue streams and the research community
> trying to make its findings as soon as widely as possible -- control over
> the time and place of providing OA should on no account be surrendered by
> funders and fundees to publishers.
>  Search is no problem as there are already many ways to search the
> journals.
> And there are also already many ways to search OA articles on the web or
> in repositories.
> So, correct: Search is no problem, and not an issue. In fact, it's a red
> herring.
> What is really at issue is: in whose hands should control over the time
> and place of providing OA be?
> Answer: Funders and their fundees, not publishers.
>  DOE PAGES, described in the first article I listed in my original post,
> is a model of an agency portal that is being designed to use CHORUS. It
> will provide agency-based search as well. CHORUS as well will provide
> bibliographic search capability.
> To repeat: The same functionality (and potentially much more and better
> functionality) is available outside the control of publishers too, via the
> web, institutional repositories, harvesters, indexers and search engines.
> The only thing still missing is the OA content. And that's what publishers
> are trying to hold back as long as possible, and to keep in their own hands.
>  We simply do not need a new bunch of expensive redundant repositories
> like PMC.
> And the research community simply does not need to cede control over the
> locus and timetable of providing OA to publishers.
>  I am also beginning to wonder about your Trojan horse metaphor. The
> Trojan horse is a form of deception, but there is no deception here, just a
> logical response to a Federal requirement, one that keeps a journal's users
> using the journal. The publishers are highly motivated to make CHORUS work.
> CHORUS is all deception (and perhaps self-deception too, if publishers
> actually believe the nonsense about "efficiency" and "expense"), and the
> "logic" is that of serving publishers' interests, not the interests of
> research and researchers.
> The simple truth is that the research community (researchers and their
> institutions) are perfectly capable of providing Green OA for themselves,
> cheaply and efficiently, in their own institutional OA repositories and
> central harvesters -- and that this is the best way for them to retain
> control over the time and place of providing OA, thereby ensuring that 100%
> immediate OA is reached as soon as possible.
> Letting in the publishers' latest Trojan Horse, CHORUS, under the guise of
> increasing efficiency and reducing expense, would in reality be letting
> publishers maximize Delayed Access and fend off universal Green OA in favor
> of over-priced, double-paid (and, if hybrid, double-dipped) Fools Gold OA,
> thereby locking in publishers' current inflated revenue streams and
> inefficient modus operandi for a long time to come, and embargoing OA
> itself, instead of making publishing -- a service industry -- evolve and
> adapt naturally to what is optimal for research in the online era.
> Stevan Harnad
>  At 02:09 PM 7/21/2013, you wrote:
>  Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> 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
> Button.
> 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
> Access.
> 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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