Bernard Rentier and Andrew Adams are both very right (below).
The UK government has engaged Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia to
help make UK tax-payer-funded research available online
Open Access to peer-reviewed research (OA) is an
important, timely and even urgent goal, and the UK's
commitment to providing OA is extremely welcome and
commendable. But turning to Jimmy Wales to help make it
happen makes almost as little sense as turning to Rupert
Wikipedia is based on the antithesis of peer review.
Asking JW to help make sure peer-reviewed research is
available to all is like asking McDonalds to help the UK
Food Standards Agency make sure that wholesome food is
available to all.
The way to make all taxpayer-funded academic research in
Britain available online to all is already known: Make it
a mandatory condition of funding that the fundees make it
available online to all (OA).
Britain (RCUK) has already gone a long way toward toward
trying to mnadate just that -- a much longer way than any
other country so far. But there are still some crucial
implementational details that need tweaking in order to
make those mandates work:
1. The requirement has to be to deposit in the fundee's
institutional repository (rather than an
2. The deposit itself must be made immediately upon
acceptance for publication (rather than only after a
publisher embargo period).
That way the fundee's institution will be empowered to
monitor and ensure compliance with the funder mandate. In
addition, when there is an allowable publisher embargo on
making the immediate-deposit OA immediately, the
institution's email-eprint-request Button can tide over
immediate research usage needs during the embargo on an
automated, accelerated individual-request basis.
Institutional deposit will also motivate institutions to
mandate OA for all of their research output, not just the
But these are all implementational details that could be
fixed by just updating the language of the RCUK mandates
-- making it explicit that research that is not
institutionally deposited immediately loses its funding.
Each institution's research grant support office, already
so solicitous about complying with all conditions on
applying for, receiving and retaining grants will equally
assiduously see to it that institutional fundees
understand and comply.
But JW does not know any of this. And if he did, he would
be no better able to implement it than anyone else. It's
the implementation that's needed, to make the broth edible
and available to all -- not more cooks (and especially not
from McDonalds' kitchens)!
On 2012-05-02, at 7:40 AM, [log in to unmask] wrote:
> Sorry, but I disagree with this.
> I understand all the help that celebrities can bring to a cause, but the choice of the celebrity should be wise. In this case, there is a dangerous risk of mixing up concepts.
> Wikipedia is, by definition, the negation of peer reviewing. Or, at best, it is considering everyone as a peer to everyone else.
> It works surprisingly well, by the way, in many cases, but it fails completely at times as well. Expurging mistakes from WP (whether they are willingly forged or not) is a very difficult task and it can take forever. And you cannot control everything.
> I do not want to engage in a debate on Wikipedia's qualities and weaknesses, but tens of thousands of professors around the world spend time explaining their students why WP, though comfortable (who has never used it?), is a dangerous tool because it makes widely public a lot of informations that have not been reviewed by acknowledged specialists.
> Considering how people these days conflate Open Access and lack of peer reviewing, considering our relentless efforts to fight this confusion, I find it dangerous for a government to choose WP's founder as an advocate of scholarly OA.
> Bernard Rentier
> Chairman, EOS (Enabling Open Scholarship)
> Le 2 mai 2012 à 12:47, Jan Velterop <[log in to unmask]> a écrit :
>> Strict logic is not what we win the battle for open access with. Some celebrity involvement is to be welcomed. On a visceral level the success of Wikipedia (not a logical outcome at the outset on the basis of the premises) may well influence the perception of open access.
>> Jan Velterop
>> On 2 May 2012, at 11:00, Andrew A. Adams wrote:
>>>> "The [UK] government has drafted in the Wikipedia founder Jimmy
>>>> Wales to help make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain
>>>> available online to anyone who wants to read or use it."
>>> I was hoping that the new government might be less star-struck than the
>>> previous one. Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose, it would seem. We really
>>> don't need Jimmy Wales advising on this. The team behind eprints has been
>>> (with minimal funding) developing the technology needed for many years and
>>> there are many academics in the UK much better versed in the intricacies of
>>> UK academic work and life than Mr Wales. Sigh. I foresee another lost couple
>>> of years wasted on this instead of getting to grips with the known problem
>>> and the known solution (including providing better funding for eprints
>>> development to the team that created it and still does the software
>>> engineering for it).
>>> Professor Andrew A Adams [log in to unmask]
>>> Professor at Graduate School of Business Administration, and
>>> Deputy Director of the Centre for Business Information Ethics
>>> Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan http://www.a-cubed.info/
> GOAL mailing list
> [log in to unmask]