Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dark deposits when OA is not permitted or when permission is uncertain

Stevan Harnad, The Definitive Answer: Deposit All Final Drafts, Immediately Upon Acceptance for Publication, Open Access Archivangelism, May 21, 2009. 

The context is an AmSci OA forum discussion thread on whether Wiley-Blackwell allows postprint archiving.  See Stevan's full post (of which this is just a summary) for the evidence on each side. 

Summary:  (1) Under all circumstances, deposit the final, refereed, accepted draft of your journal article (postprint) in your Institutional Repository (IR), immediately upon acceptance for publication. There is no need whatsoever to make a single exception.
    (2) Unless you are certain that you have reason not to, set access to that deposited draft as Open Access (OA) immediately upon deposit. (Otherwise, you can set access as Closed Access, for the duration of any publisher embargo you wish to honor.)
    (3) The only thing even remotely at issue is whether or not, if you deposit a document in your IR and make it OA, you receive a take-down notice from the publisher.
    (4) If you receive a take-down notice and you wish to honor it, set access as Closed Access for the duration of any publisher embargo you wish to honor.
    (5) Meanwhile, if there are multiple, self-contradictory statements of the publisher's policy, act on the most positive one and don't give it another thought until and unless you ever receive a take-down notice.

Update (5/23/09).  Also see Stevan's follow-up post.  Some of it includes more detail on the Wiley-Blackwell policy and some of it continues the general advice.  Excerpt:

...And above all, reflect that if the millions of articles that have been made OA (by computer scientists, physicists, economists, and all other disciplines) since the 1980's had waited (or asked) for a clear, unambiguous green light in advance from each publisher, we would have virtually none of those millions of articles accessed, used and built-upon across those decades by the many users worldwide whose institutions could not afford access to the publisher's subscription edition....

I can only repeat, yet again, that it is an enormous strategic error to ask when there already exists a suitable public green light from the publisher....

Update (6/13/09). Also see Stevan's third installment in this series.  Excerpt:

The default explanation and advice to [faculty] regarding their right to deposit their refereed, accepted final drafts in [an institutional] repository should (in my judgment) be the following:

  1.  Every final draft can and should be deposited in OU's IR immediately upon acceptance for publication. There is absolutely no legal obstacle to doing this, without exception; publisher policy and copyright are completely irrelevant to making this deposit.
  2. Set access to the deposit immediately as Open Access if the journal (or the publisher, on behalf of all its journals) has formally stated that all of its authors may make their final drafts OA, without any access embargo (as at least 63% of journals have already done). If you have contractually agreed to an access embargo in your copyright agreement, you can instead set access to the deposit as Closed Access for the duration of the embargo. (Closed Access means only the metadata are openly accessible, not the full-text, until the embargo elapses.)
  3. If the journal or publisher has formally posted that you may make your final draft OA immediately and has elsewhere made negative statements inconsistent with that, act according to the positive statement until and unless you should ever receive a "take-down notice" from the publisher -- at which time you may simply re-set your OA deposit as Closed Access if you wish.
  4. Avoid agreeing contractually to any OA embargo wherever possible....

In cases where they have any "reasonable doubts" they should simply set access provisionally as "Closed Access," rather than not depositing at all -- or depositing only after any embargo has elapsed....