Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 18:41:06 +0000

On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Lee Miller wrote:

>sh> our rewards (research
>sh> grant funding and overheads, salaries, postdocs and students attracted
>sh> to our research, prizes and honors) are intertwined and shared with our
>sh> institutions (our employers) and not our disciplines (which are often
>sh> in fact the locus of competition for those same rewards!)
> But this is not just a matter of rewards. Disciplinary communities play a
> vital role in adding coherence to a field. They help researchers focus on
> the developing streams of thought and discovery, and on the
> interrelationships between specialized knowledge and the broader body of
> knowledge residing in the discipline.

All true. But disciplines can't make their researchers self-archive. They
can't even make them publish. Only the publish/perish carrot/stick wielded
by the researcher's institution/employer (and also the researcher's
research-funder) can do that. And the only reason the institution would
want to is because it have a shares stake in the impact of the research,
hence in maximizing it through open-access.

(But tell me how you think *disciplines* can facilitate and accelerate
self-archiving and open access and I am ready to be won back to
discipline-based self-archiving!)

> I admire your clear-headed concentration on the primary goal of open
> access. But surely the usefulness of open access can be increased by
> simultaneously developing some additional features.

All sorts of features are possible. But they all depend on one thing,
and that is content: Until we get the archives *filled*, the other
features and desiderata are rather beside the point.

I have argued against classification schemes because I think they are
a waste of time, delaying self-archiving till we come up with the "right"
classification scheme, instead of just going ahead and self-archiving.
I also think they are trivial, in today's age of algorithmic sorting of
full-text content.

For the same reason, I have argued *for* distributed, institution-based
self-archiving (for the incentive-based reasons I have mentioned), but I
have not argued *against* central, discipline-based self-archiving.
That is welcome too, just as BOAI-2 (publishing in open-access journals)
is welcome. I just favor institution-based self-archiving because I
think it is the fastest and most natural road to universal open access.
No point waiting for discipline-based archives or open-access journals
to be created where there are none: Just self-archive in your own
institution's archive. That is a solution that scales to everyone,
right now.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Mar 16 2003 - 18:41:06 GMT

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