Re: Poynder Again on Point on Institutional Repositories

From: Armbruster, Chris <Chris.Armbruster_at_IUE.IT>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 14:26:19 +0100

Les Carr wrote on 09 March

'So whether a Web Page or a Repository you need a mandate to ensure that
research output is captured. And given a mandate (and hence accessible
research), the added benefits of a repository over a website seem clear
- a repository provides a focus for interoperability and services,
maintenance of documents/data and for monitoring policy and practice.
And through targeted collection of metadata it should provide the
opportunity for information reuse for all sorts of academic tasks (CV
building, bibliography lists, administrative returns, RSS feeds etc) to
provide immediate help to researchers and managers'.


If we agree that voluntary IRs will hit a glass ceiling at about 15% -
will IRs become mandatory? To me, progress seems to be very slow on this
front... I have no detailed insight into why universities and public
research organisations find it difficult to adopt mandatory depositing
policies, but I suspect that if researchers from science and technology
studies (STS) were to investigate this, they would find that for the
vast majority of the institutions there are many obstacles and
(potentially) plenty of resistance. I might be wrong on this, but I
don't think that I have read anywhere about a convincing strategy to
convert a significant number of leading institutions to OA. Even though
MIT and UC have made strong moves (DSpace, OCW, CDLib), I don't see a
mandatory policy being adopted any time soon.

Hopes are then often pinned on mandatory policies from research funders
- but apart from the Wellcome Trust no mandatory policy has been enacted
yet. Yet, even if this were a more reasonnable expectation, should
funders manadate deposit in IRs and IRs alone?

I would therefore like to draw renewed attention to what - im my mind -
are the more successful OA projects to date. What is particularly
appealing is that in these cases structurally and functionally similar
solutions are founded across the sciences and humanities.

1. Consider some of the most successful disciplinary repository and
distribution systems like arXiv, SSRN and RePEc. They are successful
because they provide genuine value to the community, facilitiating
literature awareness and communication. Note, that all of these offer
pre-print / working paper services. While in the health/life sciences
there might be good reasons to deposit only post-prints, for all other
disciplines this would not seem to be the case. arXiv, SSRN and RePEc
have many contributing institutions, hundreds of scholars engaged in
providing services and hundreds of thousands of important papers in OA.
To my mind these services provide real, individual incentives for
scientists and scholars to opt for OA.

2. Consider also Faculty of 1000 or Living Reviews as models of
providing literature awareness and services for readers. These new
services functionally depend on e-OA, but are then vastly superior to
anything we have in print or behind the toll gates.

3. Consider OA journals in conjuction with changes to the peer review
mechanism, making peer review public, signed and/or interactive. There
exist real incentives for the community and/or writer insofar as
articles become available earlier. Public, interactive peer review
formats enable more inclusive scholarly communication.

For those interested, I have reviewed all of these moves in detail:

Armbruster, Chris, "Open Access in Social and Cultural Science:
Innovative Moves to Enhance Access, Inclusion and Impact in Scholarly
Communication" (November 15, 2005). Available at SSRN:

Lars Christof Armbruster
PhD, Diplom-Soziologe
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow of the Fondazione Antonio Ruberti (awarded
by EIROforum - European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN);
European Fusion Development Agreement (EFDA);European Molecular Biology
Laboratory (EMBL); European Space Agency (ESA); European Southern
Observatory (ESO); European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF);
Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL).

Working Papers 2005
available at
to download register at
SSRN is a network by scholars for scholars.

Visiting Fellow
Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies
European University Institute
via delle Fontanelle 20, I - 50016 San Domenico
Received on Thu Mar 09 2006 - 19:22:56 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:14 GMT