Re: A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 2006 12:37:04 +0000

On Sun, 19 Feb 2006, David Goodman wrote:

> once we have efficient and universal harvesting
> and indexing, you've said before that it shouldn't make any
> difference where the article is primarily posted.

The issue is not the efficiency of the indexing we have or will have. Nor
is the issue whether central or institutional deposits are more accessible
or harvestable, or indexable (they are, of course, all OAI-equivalent).

The issue is getting from the 15% OA content we have now, to the 100% OA
content we need. It is for that purpose that the self-archiving mandates
have to be mandates, and have to be institutional mandates. (I will not
repeat the logic yet again, but it has absolutely nothing to do with
the efficiency of harvesting or indexing.)

> In the present situation, isn't there good reason in some fields
> to using subject repositories, for some, like arXiv, are used
> in part by people who scan the daily input in their
> field; putting them elsewhere would lose the early
> notification part of OAA.

The purpose of self-archiving mandates is to get the 85% of authors who
do *not* yet do it to do it. The 15% who already do it, spontaneously,
are of course free to keep doing it as they see fit. Anyone can
spontaneously self-archive anywhere -- locally, centrally, multiply,
intergalactically -- but *spontaneous* self-archiving is not the issue
here! The issue concerns what and how to *mandate* self-archiving for the
85% who are not yet self-archiving. Institutional self-archiving is the
natural and certain way to systematically tile 100% of this near empty floor.

> In the context of PMC, anyone not personally
> involved would recognize that it is not good to have
> a repository that authors refuse to use. I don't
> mean to be discussing that aspect.

The "empty-archive" (and "empty-mandate") aspect *is* the substantive
issue under discussion -- not the efficiency of search in 85%-empty space,
nor the way deposit and search is being done by the happy few that are
already doing it, spontaneously, unmandated.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Feb 20 2006 - 12:42:28 GMT

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