Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

From: Eberhard R. Hilf <hilf_at_PHYSNET.PHYSIK.UNI-OLDENBURG.DE>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2003 15:21:52 +0200

dear Colleagues,
the physics ArXiv has a linear increase of the number of papers put in per
month, this gives a quadratic acceleration of the total content (growth
rate of Data base), not linear.
Total amount by now may be at 10-15 % of all papers in physics.
Linear growth of input rate means the number of physicists and fields
using it rises, while in each field (and physicist) a saturation is
reached after a first exponential individual rise.

Never there will be a saturation such that all papers will go this way,
since in different fields culture and habits and requirements are
different. --
[That is why it is e.g. best, to keep letter distribution by
horses at a remote island (Juist) alive since the medieval times].

Eberhard R. Hilf, Dr. Prof.;
CEO (Geschaeftsfuehrer)
Institute for Science Networking Oldenburg GmbH
an der Carl von Ossietzky Universitaet
Ammerlaender Heerstr.121; D-26129 Oldenburg
email :
tel : +49-441-798-2884
fax : +49-441-798-5851

On Mon, 8 Sep 2003, ?iso-8859-1?Q?Hugo_Fjelsted_Alr=F8e?= wrote:

> Stevan Harnad wrote:
> > Those are all OAI-compliant archives, and they include both central,
> > discipline-based archives and distributed institutional archives. With
> > OAI-interoperability, it doesn't matter which kind of OAI archive a
> > paper is in, but I am promoting university archives
> >
> >
> > rather than central ones (even though I founded a central one myself
> > ) because researchers'
> > institutions (and
> > their research funders) all share in the joint
> > publish-or-perish interests
> > (and rewards) of maximizing the impact of their research
> > output. Central
> > repositories and disciplines do not. (They are the common locus for
> > research that is competing for impact.) Hence research institutions
> > (and their funders) are in a position to encourage,
> > facilitate, and even
> > mandate (through an extension of the publish-or-perish
> > carrot-and-stick)
> > open-access self-archiving of their own research output in
> > their own OAI
> > archive by their researchers, whereas disciplines and central
> > organizations (e.g., WTO, WHO, UNESCO) are not:
> >
> >
> I think it is still too early to write off any of the possible paths to
> open access within the field of self-archiving (not that you do that). I
> see a potentially very fruitful role for community-building archives
> that focus on certain research areas. These could be facilitated or
> mandated by some of the specialized public research institutions that,
> together with universities and private companies, inhabit the research
> landscape. I think of research institutions oriented towards applied
> research within for instance environmental research, agriculture, public
> health, education, community development, etc. Here, there is a clear
> two-sided research communication: towards the public and towards other
> researchers in the field. Open access thus serves two communicative
> purposes, improving scholarly communication and improving public access
> to research results, besides the complementary purpose of institutional
> self-promotion.
> By "community-building", I mean that such archives can contribute to the
> creation or development of the identity of a scholarly community in
> research areas that go across the established disciplinary matrix of the
> university world. I have myself inititated an archive in research in
> organic agriculture (, which we hope will become a
> center for international communication and cooperation in this area.
> Scientific papers from research in organic agriculture are published in
> many different specialized disciplinary journals as well as in general
> scientific journals and journals focused at organic agriculture, and it
> is not easy for researchers to keep track of all that is being
> published.
> I know the same thing can in principle be done with OAI-compliant
> university archives and a "disciplinary hub" or "research area hub", and
> in ten years time, we may not be able to tell the difference. But today,
> it is still not quite the same thing. Contributing to the community
> would be detached from the usage of what is there, since the depositing
> of papers would take place somewhere outside the hub. This makes it
> dependent on the widespread existence of university archives. So if one
> wants to establish such an open-archive-based scholarly community hub,
> the way to do it is to make an eprint archive with the scope that one
> wants.
> > Having said that, it is still a historical fact that the first and
> > still-biggest open-access OAI archive is a central,
> > discipline-based one,
> > the Physics Archive founded in 1991 But
> > Arxiv's growth
> > rate has been steadily linear since 1991, and shows no sign of either
> > accelerating or generalizing to all the other disciplines. So clearly
> > something else was needed to hasten the open-access era, and my own
> > hunch is that a concerted policy university-based archiving was what
> > was needed.
> >>
> What's wrong with linear growth? It must be the SIZE of the growth rate
> that is important. And how long it will take to realize some satisfying
> level of open access with this growth rate. When you are looking for
> exponential growth, I take it that you are looking for something that
> MIGHT turn out to have a higher maximum growth rate than, for instance,
> arXiv. And that is all well, but it might be exponential and still have
> a slower maximum growth than the linear growth we see in arXiv.
> In the presentation that you refer to above, you write:
> "At that rate, it would still take a decade before we reach the first
> year that all physics papers for that year are openly accessible."
> I think that this is an impressive and very satisfying growth. And I
> don't think that a decade is too long - the great news is that physics
> is getting there!
> Kind regards
> Hugo Alroe, archive administrator at
Received on Mon Sep 08 2003 - 14:21:52 BST

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