Defining embargo periods by discipline?

David Wojick dwojick at CRAIGELLACHIE.US
Fri Mar 1 15:11:08 EST 2013

Thank you Loet; the NSF list is a very good candidate as NSF is one of the 
lead agencies in this rulemaking.

I cannot give you an example of a proper embargo period as I am looking for 
an analytical way to find such, but I can explain the concept. Abstractly 
the proper embargo period is the shortest one that does not damage the 
journals in the discipline financially because of significant subscription 
cancellations. The idea is that this period varies by discipline due to 
differences in the rate of diffusion of research results.

The evidence offered for embargo periods greater than the OSTP default 
period of 12 months is usually that citations peak later than this, which 
seems like a reasonable argument. It might also allow for periods shorter 
than 12 months. Mind you this evidence is merely indirect but for 
administrative purposes we need a simple formula. When citations peak seems 
like a reasonable candidate but I wonder if anyone has really looked at 
this issue? It is clearly scientometric in nature and the future of the 
scholarly publishing industry may depend on it.

All my best,


At 02:18 PM 3/1/2013, you wrote:
>Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
>Dear David,
>1. for the disciplinary delineation, I would first look at the NSF-list with
>13 broad fields (as used for the S&E Indicators). The advantage is that the
>list is seriously updated each two years by our colleague Ken Hamilton and
>that there is investment in its quality. There are many other
>2. Can you provide an example of "a proper embargo period"?
>Loet Leydesdorff
>Professor, University of Amsterdam
>Amsterdam School of Communications Research (ASCoR),
>Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam.
>Tel.: +31-20- 525 6598; fax: +31-842239111
>loet at ; ;
>-----Original Message-----
>From: ASIS&T Special Interest Group on Metrics
>[mailto:SIGMETRICS at LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] On Behalf Of David Wojick
>Sent: Friday, March 01, 2013 5:44 PM
>Subject: [SIGMETRICS] Defining embargo periods by discipline?
>Adminstrative info for SIGMETRICS (for example unsubscribe):
>Dear Group,
>I have begun to work on the design issues for a new federal green OA system
>as raised by the recent U.S. OSTP Memo. See
>One of the most interesting issues is defining different embargo periods for
>different disciplines. There is a clear scientometrics component to this.
>Therefore I am asking if anyone knows of any research that speaks to this
>issue? My first impression is that the citation pattern over time is the
>only analytical framework that has been explored but I may be wrong. In any
>case we seem to be breaking new ground with this policy issue.
>There are actually two distinct issues. First how do we define a discipline
>for regulatory purposes? Second how do we determine the proper embargo
>period for each discipline? The latter is perhaps the harder question. Your
>thoughts will be greatly appreciated.
>My best regards to all,

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