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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2012
    • (edited Oct 31st 2012)

    It seems that in order to make any headway in breaking the hold that commercial publishers have over libraries, libraries need to be able to cancel subscriptions without inconveniencing their users. This requires a high fraction of papers to be available (at least in submitted form, ideally the journal accepted version) on arXiv, institutional repository, author webpage … . It has been noted that we are nowhere near 100% coverage in mathematics despite existence of arXiv.org, which is known to every mathematician.

    What are the barriers? Why hasn’t close to 100% coverage already happened? How can we improve this situation?

    I can think of a few possible reasons: maybe authors are scared of copyright lawyers; maybe they are lazy; maybe they don’t realize why it is such a good idea; maybe they don’t realize that arXiv allows updating, and think of it only as a “preprint server”; maybe they work in fields not really covered by arXiv. I [EDIT: think] most of these applied to me until relatively recently.

    I am particularly interested in barriers that involve the existence of incentives not to self-archive. Just lack of knowledge or basic laziness and apathy are important, but I think we can at least make a good start on dealing with those. I suspect there must be other reasons. I have heard of some people being worried that their ideas will be stolen, but that seems odd, since arXiv publication establishes precedence, surely.

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2012

    Many chemistry journals explicitly prohibit putting articles to any public archives.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeOct 31st 2012

    OK, but I don’t know many math ones that do. I am specifically interested in mathematics for the purposes of this question.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthordarij grinberg
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012
    • (edited Nov 1st 2012)

    This was brought up at http://meta.mathoverflow.net/discussion/1325/journals-not-allowing-papers-that-are-arxived/ and linked to http://www.ams.org/notices/201203/rtx120300436p.pdf . According to the latter PDF, Cambridge U. Press gives the author a “restricted” permission to publish the author-created(!) version on the arXiv.

    I must say, however, that I can’t find any kind of permission to do so on the CUP website. Am I not searching hard enough?

    EDIT: On a different note, the situation regarding post-publication corrections to a pre-publication arXiv preprint is largely terra incognita…

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012

    Also in this forum: /discussion/75/problems-with-journal-submissions-due-to-arxiv-submission/. I would be very surprised if this issue were a major reason for people not systematically using arXiv.org.

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorDiana Gillooly
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012

    Cambridge University Press’s policies can be found here:

    http://journals.cambridge.org/action/stream?pageId=4088&level=2&menu=Authors&pageId=3608/

    Scroll down to Copyright and Institutional Repositories

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthordarij grinberg
    • CommentTimeNov 1st 2012

    Thanks for the link! (I have been looking at a very different page: http://www.cambridge.org/home/page/item6662973/?site_locale=en_US which seems to be not mentioning arXiv at all, probably because it is not specifically about journals.)

    Do you happen to know what “(for appropriate journals)” means in “2.1. The author may post either the AO or SMUR version of the author’s article in the Institutional Repository of the institution in which the author worked at the time the article was first submitted, or (for appropriate journals) in PubMed Central or UK PubMed Central or arXiv.” ? Does it mean “for medicine journals in PubMed and for mathematics journals in arXiv” or does it mean “for the journals participating in Cambridge Open” (which, I have to say, don’t include any journals I know, like the Proc. of the Edinb. Math. Soc., or the Comp. Math.).

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorsmitternacht
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2012

    The SHERPA/RoMEO site lists self-archiving policies for most journals, in a convenient format. I don’t know how accurate and updated it is, but the few instances I have checked were correct.

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2012

    This is all good information about policies, but I find it hard to believe they are a major deterrent. I have never read such a policy in detail and I have at least put the final author version on my webpage since the beginning of my career. I have never heard anyone complain about that, but still not everyone does it. Why?

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorDiana Gillooly
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012

    Replying to #7: Yes, “(for appropriate journals)” is intended to mean “for medicine journals in PubMed and for mathematics journals in arXiv”. These rights aren’t connected to whether a journal participates in Cambridge Open. I should point out, though, that this policy applies to journals that use CUP’s standard copyright forms. A lot of the journals that CUP and other publishers handle are owned by societies, associations, foundations, etc. – in particular, Proc. Edinburgh Math. Soc. and Compositio Math, which you’ve mentioned. Such journals may use the publisher’s standard forms if the owner of the journal opts to do so, but the publisher typically can’t (and shouldn’t wish to) force their policy on the journal owner.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthordarij grinberg
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012

    @Diana: Ah, thanks for clarifying this! (Do you have a way to make this clarification more explicit on the webpage you linked? I think writers would benefit from this.)

    @Mark: Let’s try to rule out other reasons. Are there still fields of mathematics “not really covered by arXiv”? I don’t have a particularly broad overview of arXiv, but the fields I care about are all covered very well in there.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012

    I haven’t done an exhaustive search but my impression is that the sections of arXiv are more restrictive than, for example, the Math Reviews Classification Scheme. There are big areas of applied math that don’t seem to be on arXiv (at a first glance anyway).

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012

    I sent the following email to some UoA colleagues today (note - the definition of UoA is not relevant). I would appreciate any was to improve it, as I seek to answer the question in the title of this thread.


    Dear Colleagues,

    I noticed with surprise that your own personal webpages don’t appear to systematically contain links to publicly available copies of papers, while the original papers are mostly in commercial journals that charge readers for access.

    1) Making your research publicly available is a good idea for several reasons:

    • it increases your potential readership well beyond those at highly funded institutions
    • open access publications on average receive more citations than others
    • the public has subsidized most of your publications, and deserves to see what they have paid for

    I believe that it will become standard practice in the near future that papers that are not publicly available will not count for promotions and prizes. Open Access mandates by funders have been introduced in many countries already, and NZ is sure to follow.

    Further reading:

    Research Funders Open Access rules http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/juliet/ Why Open Access? http://www.arl.org/sparc/openaccess/why-oa.shtml Article on citation advantage of open access publications http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013636 Who Needs Access? http://whoneedsaccess.org/

    2) The barriers to doing this are low:

    • most publishers to whom you may have signed away copyright still allow the final author version submitted to them to be made publicly available on the author’s website
    • it is fairly easy to argue with publishers for keeping more rights - and of course there are many good journals that make papers open access on publication
    • instead of your own website, you could use arXiv.org or the UoA ResearchSpace repository to store the papers if desired.

    Further reading:

    Do Mathematicians Get the Author Rights They Want? http://www.ams.org/notices/201203/rtx120300436p.pdf Directory of Open Access Journals http://www.doaj.org/doaj?func=browse&uiLanguage=en UoA ResearchSpace https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/

    3) Self-archiving your publications publicly is really a very small and conservative step to take, that doesn’t presuppose any major change to the scientific publishing system, and is standard practice for a great many researchers including many of your department colleagues not listed on this mail. Nevertheless it has a big payoff for researchers and society at large. I urge you to get onto it right away. I am happy to give any further advice and assistance that I can.

    Regards,


    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthordarij grinberg
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2012

    Great job, Mark!

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 4th 2012
    • (edited Nov 4th 2012)

    I sent this to about 9 people in our Mathematics Dept and 18 in my Computer Science department. Not much response yet, but I did get this gem (edited to anonymize and fix typos).


    I am even more surprised that you have time to look at all of our websites!

    The arguments for and against open access are complex, and while I used to be laissez faire about these things, as the argument hots up I see myself leaning more to the other camp. Publishers run legitimate businesses and they too have rights. I am considering removing all the links to things where I don’t legally have the right to make it available on my website.

    Please don’t spam everyone with more on this - I am sure that they are not interested. If you want to talk, I am happy to make a time.


    It seems that one of the barriers is an inability to process a clearly written email from a colleague. This is not meant as a joke - I am sure that most of my colleagues are intelligent, but it is just getting them to focus properly on something for a few minutes that is the problem, when people have so many demands on their time.

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthordarij grinberg
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2012
    • (edited Nov 5th 2012)

    I don’t think this is about focussing. He feels there is a divide and he feels that (reading between the lines of your email, even if there was nothing in there) you are asking him to join one of the sides, but he favors the other. The word “camp” is very telltale. The reaction reminds me of many (relatively intelligent) people’s latent hostility to the OSS/GNU scene due to the visible presence of snobs and charlatans in the latter (particularly now that it is publically represented by pirate parties all across Europe, and these tend to put these kinds of personalities into the foreground). I won’t be surprised if you get 2-3 more such replies, but I will be if they will be in the majority.

    Unfortunately, once a subject is charged (evolution, climate, authorship of the Quran etc.), there is no way to make an objective argument about it without sounding like you are endorsing one of the opposing camps.

    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorColin Gopaul
    • CommentTimeNov 5th 2012

    You should consider sending a more in depth email to (1) grad students who would be motivated by more chance of citations and (2) whoever is the highest ranking person responsible at university X or in department X for bring about increased impact of research (perhaps the funders even which is one of the things OA advocates have made inroads into). It is hard to get staff to update their webpage once a year, it would be hard here as well. It is best to have it institutionalized.

    By more in depth I mean: 1) Make the email interactive. Example just for fun in the email ask your readership some questions such as “who holds the copyright of their last paper”? While most will answer right to me in person (similar to if I gave you a vase and asked what country was it made in), I can see most never even asked themselves the question. Another example is “how many times a semester have they felt annoyed they didn’t have instant access to a paper or “what was the worst thing that happened to you because you did not have immediate access to a paper you wanted” or “if you do not have access to paper X, whose abstract appears relevant, do you still cite it in your paper”? Then break down exactly how many mouse clicks it takes them to make the difference. This leads to point 2 below.

    2) Give examples of the self archiving options that are available.

    Remember people respond to stimuli, they are not intelligent! At least this is something more concrete to work with than a vague idea of intelligence. Try to focus on the things they will feel rewarded doing and the one’s they will feel pained to have or do without. Emphasizing easy or a better system is not enough, getting 30 mins exercise is easy yet most people don’t do it. They must feel a sense of pleasure for whatever brief motivation you provide to endure. You have to find a way for them or the department to have pride in their publications and thus a long term desire to put it all in one place (a url list, a repository, author or research group webpage, etc) and keep updating. This is hard. But if any publications you put on you CV for evaluation are not on the department or university server list, then the department does not recognize those papers. Then at least once a year for job assessment someone will self-archive and update.

    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorMark C. Wilson
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2012

    So, has anyone else tried a direct approach to colleagues? I have received only 2 replies from 27 people after several days, so can but hope it will have an impact. Will try to get a discussion at a department meeting, and aim higher in the university hierarchy. Clearly funder mandates and linking openness of publications to promotions will be far more effective than merely appealing to the idea of the public good.

    I found this which may be useful - a survey of attitudes to open access amongst academics: http://rspproject.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/unlocking-attitudes-to-open-access-survey-results/