Re: Author Self-Archiving versus Author/Institution Self-Archiving

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 18:24:31 +0100

In focussing on the archiving of eprint papers, Roy Tennant is correct to
make the distinction between author "self-archiving" and archiving by a
third party, which could be by an institutional staff member, as he says.
There is a third model here, which is archiving by publisher, as in the
PubMed Central model.

The critical distinction to make in these cases is cost. All three models
have the same objective, or at least they should do, which is to provide
free and open access to the full texts of refereed papers. That objective
is compromised if costs are too high.

The pre-eminent model, arXiv, based on author self-archiving, estimates
costs of less than 5 US dollars per archived paper (Figure 1)

Are the other models capable of keeping costs low enough to maintain free
access? What are the principal costs of these other approaches? They are
inevitably going to be more expensive than arXiv simply because they
involve a degree of manual labour.

Given Roy's assessment of the needs of users in the widest sense, there
clearly is a need for tailored and targetted services, but what is
essential and what 'value-added'? Maybe some of those with experience of
third-party archiving can elaborate and quantify what they believe to be
the main, essential costs.

It is vital that the objective of free access can be sustained by these
services. My concern, and it is heightened when we start using terms such
as 'branding' and making assumptions that 'most faculty shouldn't ever'
self-archive, is that we may be letting early enthusiasm or current funding
levels, or whatever, distract us from producing a longer-term business
model for the free (to the user) *part* of the service. In this model every
extra cent or penny of cost is critical.

Steve Hitchcock
Open Citation (OpCit) Project <>
IAM Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865

At 10:24 28/05/02 -0700, Roy Tennant wrote:
>On Friday, May 24, 2002, at 01:40 PM, Peter Suber wrote:
>> Excerpts from the Free Online Scholarship (FOS) Newsletter
>> May 23, 2002
>>[text deleted]
>>There are two primary paths to FOS: open-access journals and
>Knowing full well what I may be in for, I want to take issue with the
>term "self-archiving", which Stevan and others are apparently using as
>an umbrella term for activities that I think should now be split apart.
>When "self-archiving" is used, I tend to think of and other
>repositories where the author is indeed depositing their own paper. But
>this term seems much less useful to describe repositories that are
>institutionally sponsored, and for which the depositing process may be
>out of the hands of the author (performed by a staff member, for
>example). I'm beginning to find this latter model much more compelling
>in many instances than true "self-archiving".
>It may appear that I'm splitting hairs, but I think not. By depicting
>only two primary paths to free online scholarship you run the very real
>risk of turning away those who have no interest in spending a lot of
>time and effort to do what is required to "self-archive". And despite
>Peter's enthusiasm (see below) this process can still, in some cases, be
>both time consuming and painful.
>>If you want to deepen the discussion, focus on why self-archiving isn't
>>spreading more rapidly than it is. Creating an archive is now painless
>>with free software, maintaining an archive takes minimal effort, hosting
>>one takes server space that any university could donate without
>>and the benefits are immediate and cumulative.
>As someone who has created several, I can tell you that creating an
>archive is far from painless. There is free software to be had,
>certainly, but the out-of-the-box interface requires a good deal of work
>to both brand it and make it sufficiently understandable as to be
>moderately usable. Once it is usable, the garden variety faculty member
>(mostly the people NOT on this list) will nonetheless find it difficult
>to understand and time-consuming to use. If you don't believe me,
>perhaps you will believe the experiences of the authors of this article:
> when they say "The
> software has a self-archiving facility but our experience of
>this is that it is rather long winded and requires a certain amount of
>IT literacy. Some users may well be put off." That has been our
>experience as well.
>Even should the interface be dead simple, a number of faculty will
>nonetheless find other reasons not to do it. Therefore, our model is to
>use existing organizational structures within the university to do the
>depositing. That is, we target staff at university "organized research
>units" (institutes or centers) and academic departments for training in
>depositing the papers of their associated faculty. Our premise is that
>most faculty shouldn't ever have to know how to do it, just as many do
>not need to know or care about how what it takes to put their papers up
>on their institute's web site. So far it appears that this model will
>allow us to scale up this service fairly rapidly and minimize our
>support overhead.
>Therefore I think it does the effort to free online scholarship a
>disservice to conflate staff-supported institution-based repositories
>with "self-archiving". Were I a faculty member with interests other than
>freeing online scholarship (of which I assure you there are many) I
>would find the term "self-archiving" off-putting. I would wonder why on
>earth I should take over a task that had never been mine to begin with.
>All of this is not to take away from the useful work being done by
>Stevan, Peter, and many others. We are, after all, advocating many of
>the same things. So please take this message in the spirit in which it
>is intended -- to try to tease out differences and nuances in the model
>that has so far been put forward and bring them to light.
>These are my personal comments, and are not intended to necessarily
>represent the views of my employer, the eScholarship initiative of the
>California Digital Library.
>Roy Tennant
Received on Wed May 29 2002 - 18:24:31 BST

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