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

Stevan Harnad amsciforum at GMAIL.COM
Tue Jul 23 17:29:48 EDT 2013

On Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM, David Wojick <dwojick at>wrote:

I have already responded to these points. The publisher's self interested
> motivation is to keep the web traffic to its journals.

At the expense (to research and researchers) of impeding the growth of OA
and OA mandates and ensuring that the allowable embargo length is always
the maximum 12 months. ("For immediate-OA, please pay the Fools-Gold OA

Studies suggest they are losing 20% to PMC.

And while publishers' download sites have lost the traffic, research has
gained a great deal of functionality, as well as OA.

> The publishers believe this, whether it is true or not, thus their
> motivation.

Their motivation is in no doubt. But the issue is not what is best for
publishers but what is best for research, researchers and the public that
funds them.

> The mandate is that the articles be made publicly accessible and the
> articles are the publisher's so they are not third party contractors,
> whatever that might mean.

My articles are my publisher's, not mine?

I think you might mean that the publishers are the holders of the
copyright, or exclusive vending rights.

Well we're talking about a mandate here -- by the party of the second part,
the author's funder, requiring the party of the first part, the author, to
make the research they've funded publicly accessible within a year of
publication at the very latest.

That's a condition of a contract the author must sign before ever doing the
research, let alone signing any subsequent contract with any party of the
third part regarding vending rights.

The fundees need play no role.

The fundees play no role? No role in what? The funder mandates bind the
fundees, not some other party.

> The publishers are making a ground breaking concession by agreeing to the
> Federal embargo deadlines.

Agreeing? It seems to me they don't have much choice! Who are publishers
conceding to? And conceding what?

If this is publisher largesse rather than federal government duress I would
really like to know to what we owe their newfound magnanimity...

> This is great news for OA. I have no idea what you mean by letting them
> sit. They will be on view in their on-line journals, which is arguably
> where they belong.

I think Christina's "let[ting] them sit" may have been an ill-chosen
descriptor, but I can still make sense of it:

Ceding the provision of public access to the publisher's site and the
publisher's timetable means that research must sit for 12 months,
accessible only to subscribers, even though the mandate states that they
must be made publicly accessible within 12 months *at the latest*. Fundees
could have deposited them in repositories immediately, and made them
publicly accessible earlier, or, if they wished to comply with a publishers
embargo, made them immediately Almast-OA, via the repository's Button,
instead of sitting inaccessibly for 12 months.

And before you reply "fundees can still do that if they want to," let me
remind you of the fundamental purpose of Green OA mandates: *It's to get
authors to provide OA*. Without them, they don't. Not because they don't
want to. But because without a mandate from their funders or institutions,
they dare not: because of fear of their publishers." The mandate releases
authors from that fear.

And the CHORUS variant -- in which "the fundee has no role" -- would leave
authors stuck in that fear, contractually unprotected by a funder mandate,
and would render the funder policy empty and ineffectual beyond its
absolutely minimum requirement, which is public access after 12 months (but
not a moment before).

And that would of course suit publishers just fine. In fact, maybe that's
the reason for their newfound magnanimity: "Concede" on public access after
a 12-month embargo, take control of hosting and providing it, and maybe
that pesky global clamor for immediate OA will go away -- or, better,
redirect authors toward the Fools Gold counter where they pay hybrid
publishers for immediate OA.

> The repository approach made sense when the publishers refused to provide
> access. That day has passed.

Don't bank on it. The clamor for access is growing and growing. And that's *
immediate* Open Access, not publisher-Delayed Access after 12 months.

Stevan Harnad

On Jul 23, 2013, at 8:50 AM, "Pikas, Christina K." <
Christina.Pikas at JHUAPL.EDU> wrote:

> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> The vast majority of OA advocates are not anti-publisher exactly but are
justifiably skeptical of publishers' motivations, activities, and proposals.
> This proposal is not a healthy one for scholarly communication, in my
opinion. The mandate is between the funders and the fundees and the
publishers are third party contractors. The US federal government often
likes to push off work to contractors that is inherently governmental and
that should be done by (less biased) government employees.
> The publishers' proposal may be an easier route to go and might be
attractive with the lobbying and the advocates like you pushing it, but in
the long run the publishers serve their own bottom lines (as they should in
a market economy) and not necessarily the best interests of scholarly
communication. The products of federally funded research are too important
to let sit and should be in repositories run by the funders and/or fundees.
> This is all in my opinion and is not the position of my employer (or
anyone else, for that matter).
> Christina Pikas
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics [mailto:
SIGMETRICS at] On Behalf Of David Wojick
> Sent: Tuesday, July 23, 2013 8:07 AM
> Subject: Re: [SIGMETRICS] Research Community Interests and the Publishing
Lobby's Latest Trojan Horse (CHORUS)
> Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
> What Federal system design arguments have I not responded to? It is not
an ad hominem to point out that the Federal policy is not anti-publisher,
as many OA advocates are. 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. Arguments such as that publishers cannot be trusted, access
should be immediate via institutional repositories, delayed access is not
open access, etc. My response does not vary.
> David Wojick
> 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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