Open Access News

News from the open access movement


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Richard Poynder interviews Leo Waaijers

Richard Poynder, The OA Interviews: Leo Waaijers, Open and Shut?  April 4, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Netherlands is a leading nation in the ongoing struggle for Open Access (OA). It has been more successful than any other country in creating a network of institutional repositories, and it has led the world in deposit rates most notably by means of its Cream of Science and Promise of Science initiatives. Significantly, it has achieved this without the need to mandate researchers to deposit their research papers. Instead it has incentivised them. Much of the credit for this success must go to the manager of SURFshare Leo Waaijers.

But how successful is successful? Can the Netherlands ensure that the entire nation's research output will eventually become freely available on the Web without a mandate? ...

RP: ...How do you define OA...?

LW: OA to knowledge means that the only access limit is your own comprehension....

RP: What's your view on the respective merits of [green and gold approaches to OA]?

LW: In terms of the OAI layers: green is data, gold is a service....The point is that green is necessary but insufficient on its own....

RP: There has also been some debate about what research institutions should be placing in IRs. What are your views on this?

LW: Every research result of the institution that's meant for reuse and sharing should be placed in the IR. I would stress that the institution is responsible for the quality of the stuff in its IR. And while it could outsource elements of the quality control e.g. to a publisher that does not exempt it from this responsibility....

RP: It's widely agreed...that the greatest problem facing IRs today is getting people to put material into them....What's your take on this problem, and what is the answer?

LW: The main driver for authors is exposure. That's why they write in the first place. So, you get their co-operation if you can demonstrate that putting their papers in an IR is not detrimental to their current exposure (from publishing in journals), that it gives them new exposure (by making their work available through, say, Google Scholar, and through national, institutional, personal, disciplinary or other document-based web sites), and that it guarantees long term exposure (curation). You also need to convince them that they can achieve all that without too many (perceived) problems.  In short, what we need to do is to remove all the barriers (administrative, technical and copyright barriers), create awareness and, foremost, exhibit good practices and champions. Repositories per se are part of an infrastructure and do not sell themselves. It's services that do the trick....

RP: ...Are you in favour of [mandating green OA]?

LW: Not primarily. Authors are spontaneously in favour of Open Access. All that stops them from acting are the administrative, financial and copyright obstacles that exist, or are perceived to exist. So, the first priority for institutions or research funders should be to remove those (mental) hurdles. Only when that has been done will an institution be in a position to mandate self-archiving for the few academic mavericks who always oppose everything.  In other words, mandating could be an eventual step, but a mandate is not necessary in order to start the institutional OA enabling process....