Re: Ann Okerson on institutional archives

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Sat, 26 Mar 2005 14:38:55 +0000

To be fair to Ann Okerson, she did not state that institutional
archives (or repositories) are likely to be expensive, only that
respondents to her survey were concerned that was the case. Very little
of her article address Institutional Repositories, and the paragraphs
that did only suggested that IR's could have a role for OA. Clearly, Dr
Okerson believes that IRs began with some other role and may be adapted
towards Open Access and not vice versa. (This may be down to the change
in nomenclature from Institutional Archives to Institutional
Repositories - I for one would be quite interested to see a definitive

I think that her article should be read as an American voice (hence the
title "reflections from the United States") in a wider discussion, some
of which (mainly UK) is represented in the other articles in this issue
of "Serials". The article does seem at variance with accepted
definitions of Open Access (e.g. Open Access is defined as concerning
the research literature not administrative reports of the funded
projects; also self-archiving in repositories has always been
recommended as an Open Access strategy) but I do not know whether this
is a national, institutional, professional or personal difference of
Les Carr
On 26 Mar 2005, at 04:09, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Sat, 26 Mar 2005, Subbiah Arunachalam wrote:
>> Friends:
>>  "Ann Okerson weighs the pros and cons of OA for US research 
>> libraries,
>>    noting that institutional repositories are likely to be expensive, 
>> and
>>    their focus in the U.S. is likely to be on locally produced 
>> scholarly
>>    materials other than articles. Consequently: "It is unlikely that
>>    under this kind of scenario in the US, scattered local versions of 
>> STM
>>    articles would compete effectively with the completeness or the 
>> value
>>    that the publishing community adds." She also suggests that library
>>    cost savings resulting from OA journals are "unlikely, unless
>>    substantial production cost reductions can be realised by many
>>    categories of publisher."  - in Serials: The Journal for the 
>> Serials Community  18(1)(2005).
>> Why does Ann Okerson, a respected and knowledgeable US academic
>> librarian, think that institutional repositories will be expensive? 
>> What
>> are the facts? Will leading institutions that have set up 
>> institutional
>> archives tell her and others how much does it cost to set up archives
>> and run them.
>> Arun
> The facts are all contrary to what Ann Okerson states. Not only are
> institutional archives not *likely* to be expensive, those that 
> actually
> exist are de facto not expensive at all (a $2000 linux server,
> a few days sysad set-up time, and a few days a year maintenance). Their
> focus in the US and elsewhere is likely to be exactly on what 
> university
> policy decides it should be (and the Berlin 3 recommendation, likely
> to be widely adopted now, is that the focus should be on university 
> article
> output). And the purpose of self-archiving is not and never has been
> to "compete effectively with the completeness or the value that the
> publishing community adds." It is to provide access to those would-be
> users whose institutions cannot afford the journal's official version.
> Stevan Harnad
Les Carr
Received on Sat Mar 26 2005 - 14:41:49 GMT

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