Re: The RePEc (Economics) Model

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 22 Mar 2003 02:10:48 +0000

On Wed, 19 Mar 2003, Thomas Krichel wrote:

> There is no contradiction between institutional and departmental
> archives

I agree completely. In fact, departmental archives *are* institutional
archives (as opposed to centralised, disciplinary ones, like the Physics
ArXiv or CogPrints).

> having discipline-based
> aggregat[ors] will be the best way to stimulate institutional
> and departmental archiving. The problem is, of course, that
> there are not many aggregators around. Therefore I have been
> arguing for a while that the institutional self-archiving
> community should stick together to elect one area of disciplinary
> priority... [R]ather than to fight a war on all fronts,
> concentrate the effort and build systems that are interoperable
> beyond the unqualified DC data model. The DC data model is too simple
> for academic self-documentation.

I have no problem with elaborating the OAI protocol if it is necessary
and useful (I am not technically qualified to judge one way or the
other). But I *definitely* disagree that the institutional self-archiving
community should "elect one area of disciplinary priority"!

Repec's aggregating and enriching efforts with what Economics web content
exists already, and citeseer's harvesting and enriching efforts with what
Computer-Science web content exists already are both invaluable interim
contributions to making existing web content more interoperable and
usable, but what is urgently needed is (much, much) more content, in all
disciplines! That is what the (OAI) self-archiving movement is about.
And this can and will be done in parallel, for all disciplines. There is
no sense in waiting to do it one-by-one serially, whether discipline by
discipline or journal by journal!

> just look at the amount of stuff that is on the web. There are so many
> grass-roots initiatives. The larger public is not aware of them because
> they serve specific communities. This is where I get so angry with
> Clifford and his---implicit---call to shut them down, to fit all
> publishing activities into a central straight jacket.

Cliff Lynch is not calling -- explicitly or implicitly -- for shutting
anything down, nor for fitting "all publishing activities into a central
straitjacket"! He is simply supporting self-archiving by institutions
(which includes self-archiving by their departments!)

And when I look at the web I am of course struck by how much is on it,
but far more struck by how much could so easily be on it, but is *not* --
across all disciplines. The target is the 2,000,000 papers published
annually in the planet's 20,000 peer-reviewed research journals.

> you insisted that because the Physicists had done [centralisers
> self-archiving], everyone could and would, it was the optimal way...

No Thomas, what I said and wrote (many times) is "optimal and inevitable,"
is *open access* (i.e., free on line full-text access to all refereed
research). That is the *end.* Centralized Arxiv-style self-archiving is
merely one of the candidate *means* to that end, and it did look like
it was headed toward prevailing for a while; but then it became clear
that faster means were needed. And with OAI-compliant institutional
(including departmental) self-archiving, I think those faster means are
at hand, the ones that can and will at last scale up to the whole
refereed research corpus, across disciplines.

>sh> central archiving did not catch on
> Exactly as I had forecasted!

Dear Thomas: *Nothing* has so far caught on, in over 10 years of having
open-access within reach! So it was always the safer bet that any new
candidate means would fail too! Don't be too proud of having predicted
that central archiving would not catch on. The challenge is still to
find a means that *will* catch on, and to *make* it catch on. (And the
Big Koan is still: Why is it taking so long, given that the outcome is
optimal and inevitable and reachable?)

>sh> The Big Koan is: "Why aren't all researchers self-archiving yet, given
>sh> its benefits and feasibility?"
> One answer that I have is that the benefits of doing
> self archiving have to be demonstrated to the invidual
> level of each researcher.

Agreed. And we, and you, and others are working on doing exactly that
by demonstrating empirically the causal connection between access and

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Mar 22 2003 - 02:10:48 GMT

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