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

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 23 16:44:34 EDT 2013

On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 8:06 AM, David Wojick <dwojick at>wrote:

> What Federal system design arguments have I not responded to?

Here are the first few arguments you have not responded to. (I have no idea
what you are attempting to sector off under the guise of responding only to
"Federal system design" arguments):

1. that mandates are for public access within up to a year whereas CHORUS
would provide it only at the very end

2. that OA mandates are intended to require authors to provide OA whereas
CHORUS would take it out of authors' hands entirely (thereby mooting
mandate compliance altogether, let alone earlier or wider compliance).

3. that repository deposit facilitates providing eprints during any OA
embargo with the repository's eprint-request Button whereas CHORUS prevents

4. that CHORUS locks in 1-year embargoes and puts and leaves publishers in
control of both the hosting and the timetable for public access

5. that repository costs are small and mostly already invested, and for
multiple uses, hence CHORUS would not save money but rather waste

I have more, but that should be fine for a start...

It is not an ad hominem to point out that the Federal policy is not
> anti-publisher, as many OA advocates are.

I for one am not anti-publisher.  But I'm  very definitely against
publisher anti-OA-mandate lobbying and I'm also against publisher embargoes
on Green OA.

Apart from that, I have a long history of defending publishers against
overzealous OA advocates or overpricing plainants -- *as long as they were
on the "side of the angels*," by endorsing immediate, unembargoed Green, as
Springer and Elsevier did for many years.

The gloves came off when publishers started trying to renege on their prior
endorsements of immediate Green.

> It is an important fact about the policy. I have to be repetitive because
> Harnad is presenting the same non-design arguments over and over.

I have no idea what you mean by "non-design" arguments. The points above
are against CHORUS as a means of implementing the funding agencies' Green
OA mandate, that's all.

> Arguments such as that publishers cannot be trusted

I have not said that. I said that compliance with funders' mandates on
fundees to provide OA to their funded research should on no account be
entrusted to publishers because of the obvious conflict of interest: The
interest of research and researchers is that research should be OA
immediately; the interest of publishers is that access should be access
should be delayed for as long as possible (one year, within the "design" of
the OSTP directive).

I fully trust that publishers would faithfully make articles publicly
accessible -- on the very last day of the maximal allowable OA embargo.

access should be immediate via institutional repositories,

I don't just repeat that over and over: I give the reasons why: Because
Open Access means Open Access, and the reasons that make Open Access
important at all make it important immediately upon publication,* not one
year later.*

And it's institutional repositories because institutions are the providers
of all research, funded and unfunded, in every discipline. Institutions
have already created OA repositories. They have many reasons for wanting to
archive, manage and publicly showcase their own research output in their
own repositories -- over and above the reasons for OA itself (maximizing
research uptake, usage, applications, impact and progress).

And institutions themselves are also beginning to mandate Green OA. Hence
funder and institutional mandates should be convergent and mutually
reinforcing. All research should be deposited in the institutional
repository immediately upon acceptance for publication. (Their metadata and
URLs can then be harvested by whatever central access points, databases,
indices and search engines disciplines wish to create.)

And if the author wishes to comply with a publisher embargo, access to the
deposit can be set as Closed Access instead of Open Access during the
embargo, in which case the repository's eprint-request Button can provide
Almost-OA during the embargo (while embargoes last -- which will not be
long, one hopes, once mandatory Green OA has become universal).

All of these benefits are lost if publishers are in control of providing
public access on their sites, a year after publication.

> delayed access is not open access, etc. My response does not vary.

Delayed access means losing a year of Open Access. Your response does not
vary because the publisher lobby is interested in minimizing, not
maximizing Open Access. If the maximal allowable delay is 12 months,
publishers will happily make sure it is no less than 12 months, and on
their site, with no Almost-OA Button to tide over the embargo, no
integration with institutional mandates, and authors entirely out of the
compliance loop for mandates that are intended to generate as much OA as
possible, as soon as possible.

My own response varies as much as possible, in an effort -- each time - to
present from every angle the case for implementing OA mandates in such a
way as to provide the maximum benefit to research and researchers, rather
than just to protect the proprietary interests of publishers at the expense
of research. researchers, and the public that funds them.

Stevan Harnad

> On Jul 23, 2013, at 7:33 AM, Cristóbal Palmer <cmp at CMPALMER.ORG> wrote:
> > Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> >
> >
> > On Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 7:05 AM, David Wojick wrote:
> >>
> >> Your personal dislike of publishers is not a system design argument,
> nor is it Federal policy.
> >
> > Your personal inability to stay focused on the arguments presented and
> reliance instead on ad hominem plus repetition isn't a system design
> argument either.
> >
> > Thanks,
> > --
> > Cristóbal Palmer
> >
> >
> >
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