On 24 January, the UK Serials Group (UKSG) published The E-Resources Management Handbook. I contributed a chapter to it on Open access and publishing. It is freely available from the UKSG site.
"Book self-archiving cannot and should not be mandated, for the contrary of much the same reasons peer-reviewed journal articles can and should be."Stevan Harnad
18 January 2008
contribution to liblicense-l
"The Policy applies to all peer-reviewed journal articles, including research reports and reviews. The Policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials."
"Subscription journals and mandated open access are not compatible." Jan's argument depends on the high level of OA archiving, whether that level is caused by a mandate or by a successful disciplinary culture of self-archiving. It therefore predicts that the near-100% level of OA archiving in physics would kill off subscription journals in physics. But that is not what we see when we look. On the contrary: the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) have seen no cancellations to date attributable to OA archiving. In fact, both now host mirrors of arXiv and accept submissions from it. They have become symbiotic with OA archiving. We may or may not see the same symbiosis in other fields, as their levels of OA archiving rise to levels now seen in physics. But the experience in physics is enough to falsify the flat prediction that subscription journals and high-volume OA archiving are incompatible. For more on the question whether high-volume OA archiving will cause libraries to cancel subscription journals, see my article from September 2007 (esp. Sections 4-10).
Jan assumes that all OA journals charge author-side publication fees. ("They don't give authors a choice and simply refuse to publish articles unless they are paid for by article processing charges....") But in fact most OA journals charge no publication fees. Last month, Bill Hooker's survey of all full-OA journals in the DOAJ found that 67% charged no publication fees. The month before, Caroline Sutton and I found that 83% of society OA journals charged no publication fees.
If "paying the ticket" means paying the publication fee at a fee-based OA journal, then there are two replies. First, the NIH already allows grantees to spend grant funds on such fees. Second, but the NIH does not, and should not, require grantees to publish in OA journals. There aren't yet enough peer-reviewed OA journals in biomedicine to contain the NIH output; and even if there were, such a requirement would severely limit the freedom of authors to publish in the journals of their choice. That's why all funder mandates worldwide focus on green OA, not gold OA.
If "paying the ticket" means paying for peer review even at TA journals, when grantees submit their work to TA journals, then the reply is somewhat different. TA journals are already compensated by subscription revenue for organizing peer review. The NIH mandate will protect their subscriptions by delaying OA for up to 12 months and by providing OA only to author manuscripts rather than to published articles. In the September 2007 article I mentioned above (Section 6), I list four incentives for libraries to continue their subscriptions even after an OA mandate. If the argument is that these protections don't suffice, and that the risk to publishers is too great, then my answer is that Congress and the NIH have to balance the interests of publishers with the interests of researchers and the public. Here's how I described that balance last August:Publishers like to say that they add value by facilitating peer review by expert volunteers. This is accurate but one-sided. What they leave out is that the funding agency adds value as well, and that the cost of a research project is often thousands of times greater than the cost of publication. If adding value gives one a claim to control access to the result, then at least two stakeholder organizations have that claim, and one of them has a much weightier claim than the publisher. But if publishers and taxpayers both make a contribution to the value of peer-reviewed articles arising from publicly-funded research, then the right question is not which side to favor, without compromise, but which compromise to favor. So far I haven't heard a better solution than a period of exclusivity for the publisher followed by free online access for the public....Publishers who want to block OA mandates per se, rather than just negotiate the embargo period, are saying that there should be no compromise, that the public should get nothing for its investment, and that publishers should control access to research conducted by others, written up by others, and funded by taxpayers.