Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 18 Nov 2001 23:08:03 +0000

The current topic thread begins with:

Central vs. Distributed Archives

See also the earlier thread:

Central vs. Distributed Archives

On Sat, 17 Nov 2001, Eberhard R. Hilf wrote:
> eh> Steve said the only way is using OAi-compliance by the author to
> eh> self-archive his documents before and through refereeing.
> eh>
> eh> The word "only" is too much of a load.
> eh>
> eh> In Physics (and Mathematics) since a long time authors can self-archive
> eh> their documents, without having to install any software or learn about
> eh> OAi. They are automatically included into the OAi scheme by the
> eh> OAi compliant service providers by using PhysDoc (or Math-Net) as gateways
> eh> who take care of their document being included.

My comrade-at-arms Ebs Hilf has misinterpreted the sense of my "only."

He is of course quite right that central, discipline-based
self-archiving (in OAI-compliant Eprints Archives) is likewise an
effective and welcome form of self-archiving. However, as I wrote in
the very next posting:
> sh> The Physics Archive [], for example, has over 150,000
> sh> articles, but cumulated across 10 years! At that rate, even for this
> sh> most advanced of all the self-archiving disciplines, the year 2011 will
> sh> be the first in which ALL the articles published in physics that
> sh> year will be accessible for free for all:
> sh>
> sh>
> sh>
> sh>
> sh>
> sh> This is why institution-based self-archiving now needs to be vigorously
> sh> supported and promoted to fast-forward us all to the optimal and
> sh> inevitable for research and researchers.

It was with this fact in mind that I had written written the earlier "only"
> sh> The only sure way to free access to the entire refereed research
> sh> literature online, right now, is for researchers themselves to take the
> sh> initiative and self-archive it (in their own institutions' OAI-compliant
> sh> Eprint Archives: )

The force of the "only" was coupled with the sense of the "right now"!

A researcher in any particular discipline today (other than Physics,
Mathematics, or Cognitive Sciences) cannot take the initiative and
self-archive his refereed research in a central archive for his discipline,
because such central archives do not yet exist for most disciplines! Nor,
where they to exist, are they filling anywhere near fast enough (see the
2 Digitometrics links above).

Researchers' individual (and thereby collective) leverage (and rewards
for publication and impact) operates largely at the level of their own
institutions. Researchers need not install any software themselves, nor
learn anything about OAi. They need only encourage their own
universities to do so, out of shared self-interest in research
visibility, uptake and impact:

    7. What you can do now to free the refereed literature online

    "Online or Invisible?" (Steve Lawrence)

By way of OAI-interoperable central Eprint Archives, physicists and mathematicians
today have and Ebs's PhysDoc (or Math-Net) and Cognitive
Scientists have

But for all the other disciplines, the fastest and surest path today is
to have their own institutions install their own OAI-compliant
Institutional Eprint Archives (using the free
software) as a growing number of universities and research institutions
are now doing:

Institute of Education, University of London, London, England
University Library System, University of Pittsburgh
Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe
Media Studies, University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Formations Media Studies Archive
California Institute of Technology
Instituto Brasileiro de Informacao em Ciencncia e Tecnologia
Institut Jacques Monod, Paris
Department of Philosophy, University of Vienna
University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
RIACS, NASA Ames, Moffett Field CA
University of Nottingham, Nottingham
University of Rochester Libraries
Sissa Multimedia Database
University of California Digital Libraries
History and Theory of Psychology
The American South
Computer Science Technical Reports Iowa State University
University of Glasgow
Hofprints Hofstra University
CSIRO Exploration and Mining
UniversitÓ degli studi di Firenze

Central and Distributed Self-Archiving are complementary paths, converging
on the same goal: the freeing of online access to the refereed research
literature. All such Archives are integrable into the interopeable
pantheon of OAI-compliant Archives Worldwide, which becomes a global
"virtual collection" free for everyone, everywhere, forever:

I repeat: The ONLY way to fast-forward ALL of the current research being
published in the 20,000 refereed journals worldwide RIGHT NOW is through
immediate author/institution self-archiving.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):

You may join the list at the amsci site.

Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Sun Nov 18 2001 - 23:08:47 GMT

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