Re: Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 17:28:25 +0000

On Fri, 17 Jan 2003, [identity removed] wrote:

> I've followed the debate on self-archiving university research output with
> interest. One issue in particular... is the question of legal deposit.
> If researchers and academics make their work solely available through
> institutional web sites - and by implication [do] not publish them in print
> format - would you consider them liable for legal deposit (assuming that
> legal deposit is extended to material other than print)? I'd be interested
> in your thoughts on this.

First, the focus of the open access initiative (BOAI) and of self-archiving is the published, peer-reviewed research
literature (20,000 journals-worth). This literature, being formally
published, is already legally deposited by the publisher, presumably,
whether it is analog or digital, or both.

The second, lesser target of the BOAI is this same literature *prior* to
refereeing and publication (pre-refereeing preprints). Perhaps you know
more, but I cannot see any great advantage in redundantly having the
author deposit the pre-refereeing version in a national deposit library
too, only to have the publisher deposit the published version a little

If and when the university Eprint archives take over the archiving and
distributing load from the publishers and libraries entirely, it might
become part of the new system that the legal deposit of the published
version is done by the university that did the research and self-archived
it, rather than the publisher, but that seems a mere technicality --
and premature to worry about now, when the main (and overdue) task at
hand is getting it all self-archived and hence openly accessible at
all. The stage of taking over the archiving load from the publishers and
libraries will only come *after* the content is up there, self-archived
and openly accessible in the first place.

The only remaining case (for this specific focus, which is on research
output, pre- and post-peer-reviewed publication) is those "preprints"
that are destined never to be submitted or accepted for publication
(part of the so-called "gray literature"). Here I am sure new norms and
practises will evolve for preservation, but again, it is certainly not
the first priority at this time. If/when the refereed literature is all
up there, self-archived and openly accessible, policies will no doubt
be adopted for dealing with the "gray literature" too.

("Liable for"? I'm not sure what that means. "Eligible
for"? Yes. Encouraged to deposit? Yes, if the paper is not destined
for peer-reviewed publication and there is a desire to acknowledge the
work's existence and to preserve it: Some judgment will be needed for
such vanity-press self-publications, so as not to create an open crackpot
sector in the legal deposit library: But perhaps in the PostGutenberg age
this does not matter: After all, there is plenty of room in cyberspace,
and the rest is just about how we tag things for quality and navigation
-- e.g., as refereed by journal X.)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Jan 17 2003 - 17:28:25 GMT

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