Mapping Open Access/Science

the case of the French « digital bill » consultation

Celya Gruson-Daniel
(Centre Virchow Villermé / COSTECH-France)/ LabCMO-Québec)

Constance de Quatrebarbes
(ISC-IDF CNRS/ CSI-i3 Mines-Paris-Tech)

The New Digital Republic bill :
A « turning point » in France for Open Access/Science research policy

The « Digital Republic » bill

30 articles & 3 main objectives :

  1. Wider data and knowledge dissemination
  2. Equal rights for Internet Users
  3. Fraternity through an inclusive digital society

Open Access

1 article : Article 9

1 objective:

“foster free access to the public sector research work”

The online consultation in October 2015 :

an “unprecedented” initiative in the legislative process

From September 26th
to October 18th 2015

Votes: 147.709 Contributions: 8.501 Participants: 21.329

Version 0: Governement

Votes in favour / against / inconclusive

New versions :

108 propositions for article 9

Comments in favour/ against

A Science & Technologies and
Communication Studies perspective

Study of controversy related to Article 9 (Open Access)

  • Who were the main stakeholders who took part in the debate related to Open Access policy?
  • What were the key elements of the debate ?
  • What can we learn about the stakeholders and their conception of Open Access but also Science ?
  • What were the main strategies used by these stakeholders to impose their own opinions ?
Conceptual and methodological approach: The social world/arenas Framework (Strauss, 1978) / Situational Analysis (Clarke, 2005)

Methodology : Open Research

Ethnographic approach:

2nd generation ethnography /

Ethnography for the Internet

(Hess, 2001) (Hine, 2015)


Digital sociology approach

Digital Methods /

Mapping Controversies

(Roger, 2013) (Munk, 2014 ; Plantin 2014 ; Venturini et al. 2014, Baya-Laffite et Cointet 2015)

Open Research

  • Collaborative format => hackathon République Numérique
  • Open and collaborative software (Github, Zotero)

A mixed method approach :

The use of digital methods to support qualitative analysis
Network Analysis /Controversy mapping Production of a map based on the similarity of votes between participants (7 similar votes)

Qualitative Analysis
    Corpus :
  • Main profiles on the map
  • 26 Versions most voted or commented (title-explanations-comments)
  • Mailing lists and other online media.
    Ethnographic approach since 2013

=> Characteristics of the main communities

=> Description of their vote strategies

Mapping Methodology

'Openscience4S' Github Repository

Map of the participants based on their similarity of votes

Treshold : 7 similar votes Partition based on the modularity
    Communities based on :
  • Professions in the research system (IST, researchers, publishers, members of NGOs)
  • Research fields (STM and SHS)

Key elements of the debate:

Modalities of Open Access/ Science :
  • The length of embargo (12-24 months vs 6-12 months)
  • Definition of a public scientific resource
  • Data :
    • Text and Data Mining (copyright exception) for SHS
    • Open data research (STM)
Legal aspect :
  • Open Access : rights or duties ?
  • Exclusive copyright session or not ?
  • Use of free licences ?
Organisation of the research system :
  • Survival of SHS French publishers
  • Role of national, institutional repositories


  • Open Access in Social Sciences and Humanities
  • Green Open Access or alternative models (Freemium but not Gold Open Access)
  • Importance of the State

Communities and
conceptions of Open

Meanings for Openness :
  • online access, free as freedom » + licences
  • philosophical argument
  • (culture libre)
  • online access, free as « free beer »
  • pragmatic argument
  • (economical advantages)

Conceptions of Openness :
  • science is universal
  • science should be reproductible (transmission)
  • science should be independant from publisher

=> Commons & licences

Research System
  • competitiveness for TDM
  • Efficiency of the alernative model
  • Adapted in a digital environnement

=> Business model & economic transition studies


to impose a specific concept of openness and a vision of research
  • To broaden audience : general media in France
  • To target researchers : mailing lists etc.
  • Consortium of stakeholders and co-optation
  • Binge voting
  • Family voting
  • Multi-account
  • Use of rhetorical discourse : pathos (« traditional publishers »
  • Imposition of new idiomes (accès ouvert vs libre accès)

Next Steps

Network Analysis
/Controversy mapping
Qualitative Analysis
  • Main profiles on the map
  • 26 Versions most voted or commented (title-explanations-comments)
  • Mailing lists and other online media

Discussion on the map
Textual Analysis
Sentimental analysis, top keywords/participants analysis, mining mailing list
    Few remarks
  • Online world not a real world
  • A technical and controled infrastructure for contribution
  • On the use of digital methods and interpretation

Celya Gruson Daniel @celyagd

de Quatrebarbes