Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 01:50:59 +0000

I basically agree with Thomas Krichel on all the substantive points:

On Sun, 16 Mar 2003, Thomas Krichel wrote:

> institutional archives will lie empty unless there are better
> incentives for scholars to contribute to them. If you tell
> them that it will open their scholarship to the world to
> read, they will listen. If you tell them, figures in hand,
> how much it does, and how much impact they gain---relatively
> to their colleagues in the offices next door---they will act...
> Basically RePEc aims to achieve a type of dataset that will allow
> to measure impact

I agree. Steve Lawrence has gathered some data along these lines. We are
doing so too. And I know you are too. These data will help demonstrate
to the research community, quantitatively, the direct causal connection
between research access and research impact.

> you have to get authors to self-archive. To do that, you need
> to find the right incentives...
> publishing is done more with the academic colleagues in mind
> rather than with the university's central administration
> in mind. Then you inevitably end up with a situation where
> you have to get a whole discipline along to self-archive. As
> long as others in the discipline are not doing it, there
> is little interest in the individual scholar doing it.
> You have to demonstrate that to individual academics, figures at
> hand. In the meantime you have to collect formally archive contents.

I also agree completely that until OAI-compliant self-archiving prevails,
havesting or centralized links to authors' arbitrary websites is extremely
desirable and useful. I expect that there is an order of magnitude
more non-OAI self-archived content (preprints and postprints) on the
Web today then there is OAI. Harvesting it (citeseer-style) or linking
to it with OAI-equivalent metadata (RePec-style) is not only valuable
in itself (making a lot of open-access work more visible and usable)
but it will help encourage more self-archiving, as well as providing the
access/impact causality data that will help inspire still more!

[Les Carr is doing it now with the 2001
UK-wide RAE returns, generating "RAEprints": ]

(I couldn't quite see the point about why individuals couldn't do it,
and a whole discipline needs to be convinced. Surely individuals
come first, but never mind.)

> Incidentally, have you deposited all your papers in institutional
> archives? I see some ~harnad above.

Of course! All my papers (retroactive to the 70's) have been FTP- and
then web-archived since the late '80's, as well as in CogPrints since
1997 and the Southampton ECS Archive since 1999. Both Archives have since
become OAI-compliant:

(I practise what I preach!)

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02):

Discussion can be posted to:

See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:

the BOAI Forum:

the Free Online Scholarship Movement:

the OAI site:

and the free OAI institutional archiving software site:
Received on Mon Mar 17 2003 - 01:50:59 GMT

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