A role for metrics in the US Federal OA system design
dwojick at CRAIGELLACHIE.US
Tue Jul 23 11:58:25 EDT 2013
While we are on this topic I want to point out the potential major role for
metrics in the US Federal OA system design. The design guidance says the
agencies may provide different embargo periods for different disciplines,
other than the 12 month default period. In documents submitted at the one
hearing held so far some publishers and OA advocates have already suggested
other embargo periods, ranging from 6 to 24 months. But deciding these
issues will require some sort of analytical framework and this is where
metrics may play a big role.
Here is how I put it in my first article on the Federal guidance, calling
it a monster challenge (emphasis added):
"The third monster is the multiplicity of disciplines. The OSTP memorandum
explicitly provides for having different embargo periods for different
disciplines. This is because there is evidence that the journals in these
disciplines are financially sensitive to the embargo period in different ways.
Having discipline-specific embargo periods is an intriguing prospect, but
it will not be easy to develop. To begin with, there is again the challenge
of multiple agencies. Because the government is organized by mission, not
by scientific discipline, most disciplines are funded by a number of
different agencies. Almost everyone does some economics, computer science,
biology, chemistry, and physics, for example. This raises the prospect that
different agencies might have different embargo periods for the same
Then there is the challenge of formally identifying the discipline of every
journal article. The British do it based on the sponsor because their
sponsoring organizations are discipline-specific. US federal sponsors are
not discipline-specific except perhaps at the program level. Going to that
level would be a very complex process indeed. Then, too, there are various
discipline categorization schemes available in the bibliographic and
science studies world that might be useful, but one would have to be
selected, made official, and properly applied. And, of course, different
agencies might choose different schemes.
But the real challenge will be deciding on the proper embargo periods for
each discipline once these are defined. There are presently no analytical
or administrative procedures for doing this that I know of. There is a joke
that every government official has three boxes on their desk In, Out, and
Too Hard. Deciding on discipline-specific embargo periods may be too hard.
If not, then the agencies and the discipline-specific societies need to
really jump on this challenge because there is a lot of work to do."
I am very interested to hear any idea on how to meet this challenge.
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