The All-Important Open-Archive Start-Up Costs

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 09:59:26 +0000

> Great idea, Stevan, especially the slush fund - the main deterrent for me
> (and hence, in all likelihood, for Joe Academic in general) is taking off
> the time to reformat old stuff (especially when it involves graphics)
> and check it against the published version (often with hundreds of
> penciled-in changes at proof stage). On any given day I'd rather devote the
> time to producing new "content," but everyone would benefit from such an
> archive. Good luck in seeing it through, and thanks from all of us.

I think that making sure there is a slush fund at each university, to
pay web-savvy students to archive the first wave of papers for authors
who are too busy or technophobic to do it for themselves will be
absolutely critical to getting over the first and only hump that must
be gotten over in the Open Archiving Initiative, and then the route to
the optimal and inevitable will be smooth, rapid and irreversible.

The cost is a one-time start-up one, and will not be big, because in
reality, very little is needed:

(1) Rob Tansley's redesigned, genericized CogPrints software (to be
called something like "Eprints") will make the self-archiving procedure
exceedingly brief, simple and friendly, so that many authors will want
to do it all themselves. <>

(2) For those requiring a student proxy to do it for them, the default
procedure will be to archive from the version they have in their
word-processing files, carefully tagging nonfinal drafts as such.
The cost of this will be almost zero, per paper, as the student proxies
will be able to archive many papers for many authors in any given

(3) Where copyright allows it, the final draft can be archived: Most of
these are available online now from the publisher.

(4) Where copyright does not allow it -- and the slush funds are enough
to cover it, for this is NOT an essential step at this phase, to get
over the hump, and once we are over the hump, it will take care of
itself -- the nonfinal draft can be linked to an "ADDENDA" file,
containing a list of the (important) changes that went into the final
draft. (Alternatively, if a revised, enhanced version of the final
draft is what is archived, in order to get around a copyright
restriction, then the ADDENDA file can list what was added to the final

So I hope that Universities planning to install the open archive
software will also make this one-time start-up money available: Consider
it an investment in freeing their serials budget. It will work!

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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