Re: On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 2003 17:44:59 +0100

On Sat, 13 Sep 2003, Kathleen Shearer wrote:

> We have also discussed this option as one strategy for accumulating a
> baseline of content in our repositories. However, it was assumed that
> one would have to seek permission first from each author, and this could
> become very time consuming...

The proposal here is for the author's own institutional library
to self-archive (by proxy) the author's articles published in the
55% of refereed journals that already officially support self-archiving.

A splendid idea, both for past and present articles. Yes, it would of
course require the authors' permission (this is *self*-archiving, after
all, even if by proxy) but authors will certainly be happy to give the
permission for the sake of the enhanced visibility and impact, and it
should be possible to set it up on a blanket institutional basis, based
on university and departmental policy.

> Does anyone know whether author permission would be required for this?

It would not be time-consuming at all if set up as a blanket university
policy and agreement: "We will archive for you all of the articles
you publish in the 55% of journals that already officially support
self-archiving." In most cases, however, the easiest way to do this
will be to get the digital file from the author. (Note that not all the
publishers that support self-archiving agree to let their own PDF be used:
The author's version may need to be used in some cases.)

> It does seem like a good way to get some content into the repository in
> the initial stages. The idea being that one could then showcase a
> "working" repository to the faculty members when encouraging them to
> begin self-archiving.

Indeed. But there's no reason for this proxy self-archiving to be limited to
old articles: The 55% applies as much to articles appearing now, or to appear.
It will also be easy to get the digital versions of the more recent articles
from the authors. (This should be part of the blanket institutional self-archiving

Stevan Harnad

> Kathleen Shearer
> Research Associate
> Canadian Association of Research Libraries
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Stevan Harnad
> Sent: Friday, September 12, 2003 11:05 PM
> Subject: Re: On the Need to Take Both Roads to Open Access Status: R
> On Fri, 12 Sep 2003, [Identity Deleted] wrote:
> > Stevan,
> >
> > [Identity Deleted], our electronic resources coordinator, was
> inspired by
> > your quote of 55% of journals allowing self-archiving to ask why we
> don't
> > just go back and retrospectively add that 55% to a University
> archive.
> > [ ]
> >
> > I have been pushing [Ivy League University, identity deleted] to
> establish
> > such an archive. I thought it was a great idea to get a collection
> of
> > content immediately. Do you know of other Universities that are
> doing
> > this and if not, why not?
> Thanks for your message.
> (1) The 55% figure comes from the Romeo sample of 7000+ journals, of
> which 55% already officially support author/institution
> self-archiving.
> (Many more journals will agree if asked.)
> %20Policies.htm
> (2) In most cases the support probably extends to the retrospective
> legacy
> literature as this is not a great source of potential revenue and many
> more journals (e.g., Science) already support self-archiving after an
> interval -- from 6 months to three years -- after the publication
> date.
> (3) Although making a university's past research output openly
> accessible is very valuable and desirable (and doing it is to be
> strongly encouraged), making its *current* research output openly
> accessible is even more valuable and desirable (and even more strongly
> to be encouraged!).
> (4) The 55% figure is actually an estimate of the *minimum* amount of
> *current* research output that universities can already self-archive
> immediately, without the need to make any further request of the
> publisher, or any change in the copyright transfer of licensing
> agreement.
> (5) The challenge with self-archiving (whether current or legacy
> research
> output) is not, and has never been, publishers or copyright.
> Publishers
> will cooperate, in the interests of science and scholarship.
> (6) The real challenge is establishing a systematic institutional
> self-archiving policy that will ensure the speedy self-archiving of
> research output. The library can help
> especially by offering a proxy self-archiving service
> e.g.
> but it is the university and its departments that need to strongly
> encourage or even mandate self-archiving by its researchers
> their policy backed up by the research funding agencies
> But going after retrospective research is a good idea too. I hope
> universities that have been implementing this will reply and share
> their
> experience.
> 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 & 03):
> or
> Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Sat Sep 13 2003 - 17:44:59 BST

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