[OAI-eprints] Shrewd University OA Policy Advice from the Antipodes

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon May 1 21:34:37 EDT 2006

Professor Arthur Sale of University of Tasmania has rapidly become the 
planet's premiere strategist of successful University OA Self-Archiving 
Policy. Apologies for cross-posting -- but ignore at your own peril! -- SH

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 10:57:59 +1000
From: Arthur Sale <ahjs at ozemail.com.au>
Subject: Re: Ian Gibson on open access 

Effective author support policies involve a plethora of activities, and are
well exemplified by the activities undertaken at QUT, Queensland University
and here. No doubt in many other places. They include (but no university
does all):

*       Assistance with uploading the first document (hand-holding). Maybe
devolve this out to departments/faculties/workshops.
*       Fall-back positions which allow a subject-librarian, or a
department/faculty office professional, to upload on behalf of an author who
is not computer literate.
*       Provision for turning final manuscripts into pdf format (info about
free OSS options and/or a library service).
*       Provision of as much [automated] statistical use information as
authors find useful. See for example
*       League tables of document downloads (Do NOT publish or put on the
Web league tables of academics by totals of downloads. This is
counter-productive as the same few people are always at the top {sometimes
because of extraneous discipline or popularity reasons}, and everyone else
feels aggrieved). Document download info seems ok as it is anonymized and
variable. See for example
*       Encouragement (or stronger) from a head of school or research
coordinator - they need to be converted and they are intra-university
competitive as well as being discipline-competitive.
*       Integration of the repository into school and university websites
(eg instead of a list of publications on a web-page (always out of date) put
a php/perl query on the repository for the particular author or authors
(always up to date). Possibility needs promotion and education to web-page
designers (may be academics).
*       Professional development workshops for PhD candidates to put their
publications up (Important: these are Trojan horses. Maybe you can get a
mandate for them ahead of academics/faculty)
*       Development of repository software to provide extra information to
authors and possibly readers, such as citation counts.
*       Briefing meetings with heads of departments, deans and research
directors. Keep it as routinized as possible: we are not trying to do
something radical but to smooth something that should be a routine part of
research activity.
*       When you have a mandated policy, act on selected
departments/faculties in a sequential strategy. Do not attempt a scattergun
approach. Again, it is routinization that you are after.
*       Some universities have introduced financial benefits for depositing.
*       Do not worry about metadata quality, nor bother authors about it.
Authors are often as good as librarians, if not better. In any case the most
popular discovery techniques are not dependent on metadata.
*       Provide a service for authors who are worried about copyright. It
generally isn't important nor is the service onerous.
*       . I am sure that there are more I have forgotten for the moment.

Getting back to the requirement (mandatory) policy. I well understand that
most universities do not yet have such a policy. I think I know exactly how
many do. However, unless it is in your kitbag (like a field-marshal's baton)
the university is wasting its money even having a 5-15% full repository.
Striving to achieve such a policy is understandable and laudable, but it
must be a continuous and strong push.

However, expending money on author support policies without a mandate is
like pushing a large rock up a hill. It does not work and is demonstrated
not to work. Precisely because of what I wrote earlier: the vast majority of
academics (85%+) are non-participants and will seize any excuse however
spurious to avoid doing any extra work. They are incapable of being
persuaded in the mass. Remember that I am a researcher, not a librarian. I
know the mindset of researchers.

So to summarize:

*       Try to get the mandate before the repository.
*       If you've got the repository before the mandate, make it
crystal-clear to everyone (especially in higher management) that a mandate
is in your sights and you are not going to let go of it until you get what
you want and the forces of reaction are defeated. Use the word "luddite" if
you have to.
*       Don't expend significant amounts of time and money on author-support
until you've got the mandate. It is pretty much wasted anyway, like flushing
dollar notes down the toilet.
*       After you've got the mandate, go for full-on author-support. It will
speed up the transition which will take 1-3 years.

Arthur Sale


> From: Lesley Perkins
> Sent: Monday, 1 May 2006 2:18 PM
> Hello Arthur,
> Point well taken. You make a strong argument, and the results of your
> research are, as you say in your article, "striking." A mandatory deposit
> policy is the holy grail.
> As you know, there are still universities with IRs but no such policy. When
> I'm speaking with academic librarians who are enthusiastic about OA and are
> working at universities with IRs but no mandatory deposit policy (at least,
> not yet), I need to give them a little something else to go on, a glimmer of
> hope. They need concrete examples of how to, as you say, "put effort into
> making researchers like doing it." So, I guess some of us are,
> unfortunately, stuck for the time being with going at it a bit backwards --
> give researchers reasons to like depositing, and then force them to do it!
> In your firstmonday article you use the phrase "effective author support
> policies." I'm curious to know what these are, specifically. If you think
> everyone else on this listserv already knows, maybe you would be so kind as
> to reply to me off-list (if you have time, of course).
> Lesley Perkins
Arthur Sale wrote:

>>Yes it will help, as do all supply-side interventions. For example, see our
>>ego-soothing (and useful) statistics generated on papers in our repository
>>e=4w (also used in New Zealand, South Africa and the USA).
>>However, all such interventions have but a minor effect, unless accompanied
>>by a mandate. They simply don't work on non-participants. I have evidence of
>>this in Australia - for example the University of Queensland has pulled out
>>every voluntary stop and are still at 15% or less of their research output.
>>However, if you have a mandate, the increasing number of depositors suddenly
>>like to find lots of reasons to like what they are doing. This is our
>>experience in Australia, in the Queensland University of Technology. See
>>So, the message remains as it has for several years: Each university should
>>have a mandatory deposit policy (aka requirement to deposit) as the top
>>priority. Every effort should be made to put this into place first. Whether
>>the deposit is open access or restricted access can be left to the
>>researcher or the library to decide. Secondly, once you have such a
>>requirement and not before, put effort into making the researchers like
>>doing it. It pays off in making the transition to 100% deposit faster. I am
>>doing work on this transition now (as yet unpublished).
>>Arthur Sale

From: Lesley Perkins
Sent: Monday, 1 May 2006 4:31 AM
access (fwd)

>>>I agree completely! (I think!)
>>>Please don't misunderstand me; I'm not the least bit interested in quibbling
>>>about primary vs. secondary reasons, or ideological crusading. I'm a
>>>practical librarian. It seems to me the focus should be on what works. If
>>>you say that demonstrating the impact factor will help, I will certainly
>>>emphasize that in my future presentations.
>>>But it also seems to me that John Willinsky may be on to something when he
>>>says we should be appealing to researchers' egos, by showcasing their
>>>articles (deposited in IRs) in special sections on university, and
>>>university library, homepages (and, as Peter Suber has pointed out, on sites
>>>like Cream of Science.) If that strategy works, then maybe a policy that
>>>mandate self-archiving will be a much easier pill for researchers to
>>>Lesley Perkins
Stevan Harnad wrote:

On Sun, 30 Apr 2006, Lesley Perkins wrote:

>>>>Forgive me for interrupting, but does it really matter if the reasons
>>>>for self-archiving are primary or secondary? Doing the right thing for
>>>>the "wrong" reasons is still the right thing. Wouldn't you say that
>>>>applies in this case?
>>>>It would perhaps not matter if people actually *were* self-archiving --
>>>>and mandating self-archiving -- for secondary or wrong reasons.
>>>>But the fact is that only 15% of papers are as yet being spontaneously
>>>>self-archived *at all*. And among the reasons why self-archiving is not
>>>>yet being done or mandated nearly enough is that secondary and wrong
>>>>reasons for self-archiving, or for mandating self-archiving, are simply
>>>>not compelling enough to make it happen.

>Researchers will not self-archive -- and their universities will not
>require them to self-archive their -- in order to make their papers freely
>accessible to the general public. That is just too absurd. Both
>universities and their researchers know perfectly well that most of
>their specialized research papers are of no absolutely no direct interest
>to the general public. Hence public access to them would be a ludicrous
>(and readily defeasible) reason for requiring researchers to take the trouble
>to self-archive them (little trouble though that is).
>In contrast, both universities and their researchers know that
>researchers' income and funding depends to a large on their research
>impact. So demonstrating the strong and dramatic causal connection
>between self-archiving and research impact *is* a compelling reason --
>indeed *the* compelling reason -- for mandating it.
>It is this strong and compelling causal connection between self-archiving
>and research impact  -- well known to this Forum, but still too little known
>to researchers and their employers and funders -- that needs to be
>conveyed far more widely than this Forum, if we are to reach the 100%
>OA that is already so long overdue.
>Trading instead in secondary or wrong reasons is a good way to continue
>ideological crusading if one feels one has a lot of time on one's hands
>and has an appetite for that sort of thing, but it does not get much done.
>I might add that -- however much it may preoccupy and exercise the
>library community -- appeals to remedy the journal pricing/affordability
>crisis will also fail to induce researchers to self-archive. Indeed,
>any user-end rationale will fail. The appeal has to be to the *author*
>as author -- not to the author as user (for authors already have the use of
>their own papers). That means the primary (and secondary, and tertiary)
>reason for self-archiving has to be based on the self-interest of the
>author and his institution. And that means the impact of their (joint)
>research output.
>Stevan Harnad

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