Another clarification — actually a correction.

Being careful with the language of the letter below made me see that, in earlier entries, I’ve fallen into one of the easy traps in which OA opponents would like to catch everyone:

…of these, 16 are listed as “grey” (won’t allow archiving), 23 are “green” (allow refereed postprint archiving — NIH mandate compliant) and 7 “pale green” (allow preprint archiving; many “pale green” publishers actually allow postprint archiving and are NIH compliant
…at least 50% of PSP members are already complying with the NIH mandate, and a further 15% at least allow preprint archiving and may even be NIH-compliant.
The majority of journals for which information is readily available are already compliant with the new NIH mandate

This phrasing is deeply misleading: it’s not the journals or the publishers who must comply with the new NIH (or any other) Open Access mandate!
Publishers can choose to allow their authors to self-archive, or not. They are under no compulsion whatsoever. It’s the authors — who have taken public funding, and so are working for the public — who must comply with the mandate to give the public full value for its money.
There is no such thing as an NIH-compliant, or non-compliant, journal or publisher. That’s a phrase that comes readily to hand, a convenient shorthand perhaps, but we should not use it. The mandate simply does not concern itself with the actions of publishers. Beware the rhetorical frame in which the new law is cast as “the government telling publishers how to run their business”!
The obvious replacement phrase, when talking about journals or publishers and their policies, is “mandate-compatible”, so I’ll be careful to use that from now on.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *