Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

From: Dr. Vinod Scaria <>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 17:07:54 +0000


As we all know, Open Access Publishing is not gaining the momentum as
far as Journals published from Developing Countries are concerned [with
reference to western Journals]. Many reasons can be attributed like:

    1. Monopolistic nature of Open Access Publishers like BioMedCentral
    http://www. which pursues the "author pays"
    and would drive away any author from Developing countries. Thus
    obviously publishers from Developing countries would have second
    thoughts before starting one at BMC.

By meaning monopolistic, I refer to the almost complete control over open
access publishing- say about >75% of open Access Journals in Medicine.and
Mega organisations like PLOS are crunching the small publishers, as they
can easily override the smaller ones with the mega funding they have.

    2. As I previously stated in my Editorial in Internet Health-
    www. virtualmed. netfirms. com/internethealth/articleapril03. html ,
    the fear of losing revenue, which are the sole source of sustenance
    of many Journals [though some make a meagre profit].

    3. Lack of sufficient expertise and
    exposure to Open Access Publishing. >>
    www. virtualmed. netfirms. com/internethealth/opinion0303. html
    http://bmj. com/cgi/eletters/326/7382/182/b <<

But recent developments are worth mentioning - at least from India. Online
Journal of Health and Allied Sciences www. ojhas. org , India's first
Online BioMedical journal declared a couple of months back that they
would go Open.

[I am in the Editorial board of OJHAS from Sept 2003]. OJHAS is
edited and published by a small group of scholars with no external
support. Everything from Web Design to Editing and Review are done by
voluntarily by the Editorial team. It also stands as a fine example of
the fact that Open Access Journals can indeed be successfully organised
and can indeed survive without an "author pays" model.

Now coming to the Archival, Cogprints was our first choice for many reasons

1] It offers interoperability [as mentioned by Harnad]
2] It offers unmatched popularity
3] It has been there for years and we can be sure of the permanence
4] It is of course FREE.

And as Harnad suggested, there is no reason why Journals should not
be archived at Open Archives, be it self maintained repositories or
Centralised ones. In fact Open Archiving of electronic journals is
the need of the hour because our own studies [unpublished] show that
Electronic journals are just as ephemeral as websites. Scholarly
communication should never be lost at the cost of copyright
restrictions. Many of these journals have perhaps done more harm than
good by locking the access by copyright restrictions.

Moreover, electronic journals are equally vulnerable to the vagaries
of the Internet. For example, JMIR www. jmir. org went suddenly offline
some time back [i think it was an year or so] making the whole content
inaccessible. [But it reappeared later and now is an Open Access Journal].

Thus in short, OPen Archiving of Journals as a whole is perhaps to be
discussed in a wider perspective than just making it OPEN. The major
emphasis should be the PERMANENCE of Open Archiving. I hope this post will
surely trigger a debate on the topic.

Kind regards

Dr. Vinod Scaria
Executive Editor: Calicut Medical Journal
Assoc Editor: Online Journal of Health and Allied Sciences
Editor in Chief: Internet He_at_ lth

WEB: www. drvinod. netfirms. com
MAIL: vinodscaria_at_yahoo. co. in
Mobile: +91 98474 65452

----- Original Message -----
From: Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 3:38 AM
Subject: Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

The two items that follow below are by Vinod Scario from Peter Suber's
Open Access News http://www. earlham. edu/~peters/fos/fosblog. html

It provides an interesting and inspiring example of the power
and value of OAI-interoperability http://www. openarchives. org/
and the interdependence of the two open-access strategies (open-access
self-archiving and open-access journal publishing) that this new online
open-access journal, produced in India, is being made accessible
by archiving it http://calicutmedicaljournal. org/archives. html
in a specially created sector of CogPrints in the UK,
http://cogprints. ecs. soton. ac. uk/view/subjects/JOURNALS. html
a multidisciplinary central archive created in 1997 for author
self-archiving (which is now being done more via distributed institutional
eprint archives -- to which the CogPrints software was adapted by Rob
Tansley, creator of eprints http://software. eprints. org/#ep2 and then
of dspace http://www. dspace. org/ -- rather than via central ones like
CogPrints). Yet there is no reason a central archive like CogPrints (or,
for that matter, any of the distributed institutional archives) cannot
provide a locus for open-access journals too! OAI-interoperability
means that they will all be picked up and integrated by cross-archive
harvesters like OOAster! http://oaister. umdl. umich. edu/o/oaister/

Received on Thu Oct 30 2003 - 17:07:54 GMT

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