Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 6 Jun 2004 18:52:51 +0100

Here is a synopsis, based on the current data and trends, concerning:


    (1) The number of articles in the biggest of the central archives,
    which have been around for some time, is growing at an unchanging
    linear rate that is far too slow.

    (2) The number of articles in individual institutional archives --
    *when they have institutional self-archiving policies*
    -- is growing faster than any central archive.

    (3) There are few central archives, their number is growing
    very slowly, and it requires far more concerted action to
    create new ones.

    (4) There are many institutional archives, their numbers are growing
    fast, and it takes only a little local action to create new ones.

    (5) There is a centralized funding and upkeep problem with centralized
    archives, and often no persistent "entity" to ensure they keep going.

    (6) With institutional archives the costs are distributed across
    the universities, and each university is a persistent entity.

    (*7) There is no entity behind a centralized archive to mandate and
    monitor their filling, nor is there any shared interest between the
    author and the archive in the enhanced impact that motivates authors
    to self-archive.

    (*8) The author's institution is in a position to create
    institutional archives and to mandate and monitor their filling
    (with an institutional policy of OA provision), and there is a strong
    shared interest between the author and the archive in the enhanced
    impact that motivates authors to self-archive.

    (9) Although 80% of journals have already given their green light
    to author self-archiving, many of them are still reluctant to
    sanction archiving in 3rd-party archives (i.e., other than those
    of the author's institution or publisher) for fear of sanctioning
    cut-rate 3rd-party publisher-rivals. (The fear is ungrounded for
    many reasons, but it is there as a further retardant on central

    (10) OAI-compliance has made all OAI archives -- central and
    institutional -- equivalent, interoperable, jointly harvestable
    and searchable.

The most important points are *7 and *8:

Swan & Brown (2004) "asked authors to say how they would feel if
their employer or funding body required them to deposit copies of their
published articles in... repositories. The vast majority... said they would
do so willingly."

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) JISC/OSI Journal Authors Survey

    Swan, A. & Brown, S.N. (2004) Authors and open access publishing.
    Learned Publishing 2004:17(3) 219-224.

I am pretty sure that many of the misplaced expectations for central
archives (rather like the misplaced expectations for OA Journals) are
simply based on a misunderstanding of the nature of OA, the motivation
for OA, and the fastest and surest means of providing OA.

All means are welcome, but please, let us invest our efforts in proportion
to their power and probability of success, based on the available
evidence and reason, and not on the basis of preconceptions (which are
almost always papyrocentric in unconscious ways, and often obsolete) or
abstract speculations.

    Pertinent Prior Amsci Forum Topic-Threads:

    "Central vs. Distributed Archives"

    "Central versus institutional self-archiving"

    "Association for Computer Machinery Copyright/Self-Archiving Policy"

    "Open Letter to Philip Campbell, Editor, Nature"

    "Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy"

    "Elsevier Science Policy on Public Web Archiving Needs Re-Thinking"

    "Elsevier Gives Authors Green Light for Open Access Self-Archiving"

    "Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output"

    "University policy mandating self-archiving of research output"

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sun Jun 06 2004 - 18:52:51 BST

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