Re: EPrints, DSpace or ESpace?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 3 Jun 2003 13:57:43 +0100

    Publish or Perish: Self-Archive to Flourish

              Stevan Harnad

It is becoming apparent that our main challenge is not creating
institutional repositories, but creating policies and incentives for
filling them.

Universities' "publish or perish" policies are intended to encourage
and reward researchers for doing research and for making their findings
public to all would-be users. It is a natural extension of "publish or
perish" to encourage and reward researchers for maximizing the impact of
their research output by maximizing would-be user access to it.

An article on how this can be done through national and university
research accessibility and assessability policies (with the UK as a model)
will appear in THES Friday, June 6. It will be a condensed version of the
following short article:

    "Enhance UK research impact and assessment by making the RAE webmetric"

The institutional-repository movement would also benefit greatly
from clearly separating the 5 quasi-independent aims that currently
constitute its very mixed agenda. All 5 aims are worthwhile and important,
but only the first is urgent, and it is the heart of the challenge for
filling institutional repositiories with university research output for
the sake of maximizing its impact by maximizing access to it:

The 5 distinct aims for institutional repositories

    I. (RES) self-archiving institutional research output (preprints,
    postprints and theses)

    II. (MAN) digital collection management (all kinds of digital content)

    III. (PRES) digital preservation (all kinds of digital content)

    IV. (TEACH) online teaching materials

    V. (EPUB) electronic publication (journals and books)

As long as we keep blurring or mixing these 5 distinct aims, the first
and by far the most pressing of them, RES -- the filling of university eprint
archives with all university research output, pre- and post-peer-review,
in order to maximize its impact through open access -- will be needlessly
delayed (and so will any eventual relief from the university serials
budget crisis).

Perhaps the two most counterproductive of the conflations among these
five distinct aims has been that between I and III (research
self-archiving, RES, and digital preservation, PRES) and that between
I and V (research self-archiving, RES, and electronic publication,

The RES/PRES mix-up, much discussed in the American Scientist Forum,
can easily be seen to be a needless and misleading conflation when we
recall that insofar as the peer-reviewed research literature is
concerned, the current preservation burden is on its primary corpus,
which is the published literature (online and on paper). The much-needed
filling of university research-output archives is a *supplement* to this
primary corpus, for the purpose of maximizing its impact by maximizing
access to it; it is not a *substitute* for it. It is simply a mistake
and a needless retardant on the filling of the university research output
archived to imply that there are preservation problems to solve before
they can be filled.

The RES/EPUB mix-up is really two mixups. The first is the conflation of
self-archiving with self-publishing: The urgent archive-filling challenge,
RES, concerns the self-archiving of peer-reviewed, *published* research
output. Again, this is a *supplement* to publication, for the purpose of
maximizing its impact by maximizing access to it; it is not a *substitute*
for it.

The second RES/EPUB mix-up has to do with university e-publishing
ambitions (perhaps along the lines of High-Wire Press-Hopes!). It is
fine to have these ambitions, but they should not be conflated in any
way with the completely independent and urgent aim of self-archiving
the university's peer-reviewed, *published* research output.

Most of this is discussed in the thread:

    "EPrints, DSpace or ESpace?"

This is also the source of the slowness in archive-filling
lamented by Michael Day in the article below. The remedy,
again, is clearly distinguishing RES from any other institutional
repository aims, and drafting national and institutional research
self-archiving policies and incentives, as soon and as systematically
as possible.
    Michael Day, Prospects for institutional e-print repositories
    in the United Kingdom, a paper from the ePrints UK project. Abstract: "This study
    introduces ePrints UK, a project funded as part of the JISC's Focus
    on Access to Institutional Resources (FAIR) Programme. It first
    introduces the project and the main features of the FAIR programme
    as it relates to e-print repositories. Then it provides some general
    information on open-access principles, institutional repositories
    and the technical developments that have made their development
    viable. There follows a review of relevant repositories in the UK
    and an indication of what impact ePrints UK might have in supporting
    learning, teaching and research. This is followed by a discussion of
    perceived impediments to the take-up of institutional repositories,
    including both practical and cultural issues. A final section
    investigates the development of ongoing evaluation criteria for
    the project." Source:

See: "Enhance UK research impact and assessment by making the RAE webmetric"

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jun 03 2003 - 13:57:43 BST

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