Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Mandating OA for institutional performance review

Stevan Harnad, Institutions: Don't Just Cancel Journals; Mandate Self-Archiving, Open Access Archivangelism, November 1, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Max Planck Society would do incomparably more for Open Access (and its own research impact) if it mandated deposit in its own Institutional Repository (IR), Edoc, rather than just canceling journal subscriptions.

For some time now, the reply from the MP Institutes and German universities has been: "We cannot mandate!"

But of course they can! The policy need not be coercive; it need not have sanctions for noncompliance. It need merely be officially adopted. And there are obvious and simple administrative ways to make it worth researchers' while to comply (if the enhanced research impact that OA vouchsafes is not enough): Simply declare the IR as the official institutional submission format for all performance review for its employees!

So there are no administrative barriers. Nor are there any legal barriers: For performance review, it is sufficient to deposit the final, revised, refereed, accepted draft -- the postprint -- immediately upon acceptance for publication, and set access the postprint full-text as">Closed Access (administrative access -- with only the bibliographic metadata, not the postprint, visible webwide) rather than immediate Open Access (if the journal in which the article is published is non-Green and demands an embargo).

(Since the only thing that has been standing between us and 100% OA for years now is keystrokes, an administrative keystroke mandate is all that is needed. The increasingly palpable benefits of OA itself will take care of the rest, as carrots, rather than sticks.)