Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Lee Miller <lnm2_at_CORNELL.EDU>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2003 16:27:22 -0500

>On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Stevan Harnad 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!)

They can't, and I don't advocate discipline-based self-archiving. As I
suggested in an earlier post:

> > The simplest way to aggregate papers within disciplines would be include a
> > discipline field in the metadata.

This simple device would facilitate aggregation by discipline without
requiring that the paper be archived by the discipline.

> > 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.

Agreed, but as noted in a previous exchange:

> > This gets back to the problems of subject
> > classification, but at the discipline level a short list of defined
> > discipline descriptors should be sufficient.
>A *very* short list. Because once I have narrowed it to "Ecology," the
>rest is best done with boolean full-text search and algorithms rather than
>prefabricated human classification schemes.

>But how many such high-level (useful) partitions do you think
>there really are, within, say, "Biology"? I suspect we are talking about
>a very small number; the rest is boolean content-based search. (Besides,
>it is not just *journals* we are classifying, as in the old aggregator
>days, but *papers*.)

I'd say that Biology could usefully be partitioned into as few as four

Lee Miller
Received on Sun Mar 16 2003 - 21:27:22 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:55 GMT