Lund University's OA Initiatives

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 13:15:46 +0000

[Thanks to Steve Hitchcock for drawing these passages to my attention]

Lund University (PU) is a pioneer and leader in many aspects of
Open Access (OA): LU has created the Lund University Eprint Archive
as well as the Directory of Open Access Journals
and now the Lund Virtual Medical Journal
as described in the following article:

    Lund Virtual Medical Journal
    Makes Self-Archiving Attractive and Easy for Authors
    Yvonne Hultman Özek, D-Lib Magazine, October 2005

In this article, Yvonne Hultman Özek writes:

    "one cannot assume that setting up an Institutional Repository
    ensures that researchers will rush to the library to learn how to
    deposit post-prints of their articles."

This is not only true but constitutes the one and only obstacle to
100% Open Access (OA) worldwide for over a decade now.

(But OA is not just about already published postprints; it is also
about pre-peer-review preprints. The postprints are definitely the
primary targets of OA, however.)

    "We are convinced that the routine work of self-archiving at LU
    should not be part of the researcher's work."

It is a great help to have the university library or another service
to facilitate author self-archiving. St Andrews University has long
had its "Let Us Archive it For You!" service
and LU's aid to its researchers has also been a valuable one in helping
the LU self-archived content grow.

If I may make some suggestions, though:

(1) It is important to distinguish between the task of retrospective or
"legacy" self-archiving (of earlier published articles across the years)
and forward-going self-archiving, for present and future LU research

(2) Researchers are sluggish about both, even though it has been
repeatedly demonstrated how few keystrokes-worth of time and effort each
document actually entails:

    Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2005) Keystroke Economy:
    A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving

(3) It is good to help authors with the keystrokes, but we already know
that this is not enough either. Only a self-archiving mandate by the
university and/or the funders of the research will ensure 100% OA:

because most authors themselves, in two international surveys, have stated
consistently that they will only self-archive if/when it is required by their
employers or funders (but then 95% will comply):

    Swan, A. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An Introduction.

So proxy self-archiving such as that offered by LU is a great help, but
alas it is not enough. LU also needs to adopt an official self-archiving
policy. The keystrokes need to be mandated; it is insufficient to offer
to do them on behalf of the authors!

[Comment by Steve Hitchcock: "This leads to the procedures to
'self-archive' researchers' post-prints in LU:research and LVMJ"]

If I may make another suggestion: "Lund Virtual Journal" is a bit of an
anachronism and a misnomer. The PostGutenberg "journal" is a a validation
and tagging service: a peer-review service provider and certifier of
the outcome as having been accepted for publication as having met the
quality standards of the journal in question. (Journals are also still
access-providers, on-paper and online, but that will with time become
a less and less important component of the service they perform.)

Obsolete already, however, is the old, paper-era idea that a "journal"
is a collection of unrelated articles on a subject. That is already no
longer what a journal is, and it was never one of the journal's strong
points. Authors want and seek articles on the topics they are working on
or interested in. Cover-to-cover reading of journals is obsolete (if it
was ever practised). Authors search the entire literature in their areas
of interest, and then retrieve and read what is of particular interest
to them, regardless of what journal it happened to appear in and what
articles it happened to co-appear with.

What is searched, then, is not the contents of a particular journal,
but a harvested index of the titles/abstracts (and, where possible,
the inverted full-texts) of all pertinent journals. And even less than
the desire to search all and only the arbitrarily-related contents
of a particular journal or issue, is the desire or desirability of
searching all and only the arbitrarily-related contents of a particular
institutional repository, show-casing all and only the arbitrarily-related
research output of that institution, appearing in whatever journals
they each happened to appear in. Such internal search may be useful
for the institution's own book-keeping and assessment purposes,
but certainly not for researchers elsewhere, searching and using the
research literature. They will use the *harvested* collections, across
many distributed institutional archives, which will *include* LU's,
but not be restricted to it.

Hence it is a misnomer and an anachronism to call LU's medical research
article output -- published in a variety of different journals --
the "Lund Virtual Medical Journal." It is not that it may not be useful
to draw all of LU's medical research output together for various purposes.
But it only confuses things (for both users and authors) to call this
harvest a "journal" (whether "virtual" or otherwise: these days "virtual"
means online, when it comes to text).

Authors will be confused ("Do I cite my article as appearing in the
journal that published it, or in the LU 'virtual journal'?" Answer:
It is published in the journal that published it, but you can list the
LU version's URL for the purposes of *access* -- but not as a journal
publication. It is already published in a journal.)

Users too will be confused: "What journal did this appear in? What do I

    "First we download the article from the publisher's website using the
    SHERPA guide, which lists those publishers that allow self-archiving
    of article post-prints."

"Post-prints" mean either the author's final, refereed draft *or*
the publisher's PDF. Far fewer publishers allow the self-archiving
of their proprietary PDF than those that allow self-archiving of the
author's final, refereed draft. What is required for 100% OA is not
the publisher's PDF; the author's final draft is quite sufficient.

If I may make a recommendation: The present LU procedure is far
too restrictive. What authors self-archive is their own drafts, both
unrefereed preprints and refereed postprints. The SHERPA/Romeo publisher
policy registry covers not only postprints but preprints, and so does
its Eprints/Romeo counterpart, which shows the data at the individual
journal level:

A total of 93% of the journals registered are "green" on self-archiving,
69% (5936 journals) are postprint-green and a further 24% (2076) are
preprint-green. (Only 7% (604) of the 8620 journals registered to date are
still gray.)

So LU should be self-archiving and providing OA to at least 93% of its
research article output in full-text (either in preprint or postprint
form) -- and it should be *depositing* 100% of it. (For the time being,
the eprints of the "gray" journal articles can be requested by email,
based on the metadata; that's still free access, even though it involves
a few more keystrokes and some delay. It is a foregone conclusion that
nature will take its course, once there is 100% self-archiving, and the
gray 7% will shrink to zero.)

But again, it is ever so important to note that this is all
*access-provision*, not publication. The journals publish. The LU archive
merely provides access. And provides access to LU authors' drafts --
preprints and postprints -- as a *supplement* to the journal's published
version, for those would-be users around the world who cannot afford
access to the journal's published version.

    "Second, we request the final peer reviewed manuscript version by
    sending a letter to the author to ask for this version."

Again, if I may make a suggestion: The first step can and should be left out
altogether: It is not the publisher's PDF that is needed, but the author's
drafts, both preprints and postprints. The procedure should start (and end!)
with those. And version-checking should be an option, certainly not a
precondition or criterion for what actually appears in the archive.

[Comment by Steve Hitchcock: "It appears that the first point refers
to the publisher pdf, which Lund does not make make available from the
IR but instead use it to compare with the author's final peer reviewed
manuscript. If these versions differ significantly: -

    "When faced with ambiguous situations, we do not make the manuscript
    freely available."

I would strongly urge that LU make a few small but crucial revisions in
this policy. The idea of OA is certainly not to self-archive only drafts
that (1) have been demonstrated to be identical or near-identical with
the publisher's proprietary PDF and/or (2) only articles for which the
publisher is postprint-green. The official, canonical version is always
the publisher's version of record, and the LU eprint should always link
to it (and that is what should be cited). But the LU archive should contain
the author's drafts, both preprint and postprint, and clearly tagged as
such. The rest can be left to the user, who is quite capable of distinguishing
a preprint from a postprint, and an author's final draft from a publisher's
PDF. OA is about the access problem; scholarliness in the OA era will take
care of itself.

Having said all that, there is far more to admire and emulate in LU's
self-archiving initiative than there is to update!

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Nov 08 2005 - 17:20:49 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:06 GMT