Steve Harnad’s American Scientist Open Access Forum recently gave an excellent review of Peter Suber’s talk, and the audience discussion, entitled “What Can Universities Do To Promote Open Access?” at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Harnad outlined 8 key points of Suber’s lecture, as described below, and proceeded to add his own extended commentary. First author highly recommends visiting Harnad’s original posting, but below is a summary of the summary!
1) Journals versus Books: Suber described the varied application of OA mandates to journal articles and to scholarly book chapters. As expected OA at the moment only applies to journal articles that authors are entitled to give away.
2) Versions and Citability: Here, Suber pointed out that although the publisher’s final and official PDF is always what is cited, the ‘postprint’, in the form of the final, post-peer review, accepted version, is equally useful to researchers.
3) First OA Self-Archiving Mandate: Suber alluded to the Queensland University of Technology’s first institution wide OA mandate, though Harnad pointed out that Southampton University’s School of Electronics and Computer Science actually declared the earliest OA mandate.
4) Probability of Author Compliance with OA Self-Archiving Mandates: Suber discussed the Swan & Brown’s author surveys, which found that 95% of authors would comply with an OA self-archiving mandate, including over 80% willingly. The same was true of Arthur Sale’s data on actual mandate compliance rates.
(5) Deposit Mandates vs. Copyright-Retention Mandates: Suber discussed the technical differences between these two descriptions. NIH’s is not a copyright-retention mandate. It is a no-opt-out deposit mandate plus a no-opt-out requirement to negotiate with the 38% of journals who don’t endorse immediate OA, so as to be able to make the deposit OA within a year. Harvard’s is a copyright-retention mandate, with opt-out.
(6) Mandate Implementation Mechanisms: Peter noted that there are currently no sanctions on deposit mandates, only administrative incentives and contingencies. The open access repositoryhas beens made the official locus for submitting publications to be assessed for performance review.
(7) Peer Review, Journals and Repositories: Peter discussed the differences between much OA lingo. Journals provide peer review; IRs provide access to peer-reviewed postprints. The issue of IRs providing peer review is a red herring (raised by others, not Peter).
(8) Journal Weighting in Researcher Performance Evaluation: Finally, Suber made the point that the credit and weight accorded for publishing in a given journal in a researcher’s performance evaluation should not be changed due to new OA regulation. Performance evaluation should still depend only on the journal’s track-record for quality, not on its OA policy or status.