Copyright retention is not a prerequisite for self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 17:19:14 +0000

On Fri, 10 Mar 2006, Jeffery, KG (Keith) wrote:

> For me there are two very important steps:
> (a) the need for mandating (else people have - in their opinion -
> better things to do with their precious time)
> (b) the need to make deposit as easy / quick / foolproof as possible:
> for me this means integrating it into the workflow of an institution /
> organisation (which as a by-product favours institutional repositories):

So far, so good.

But now this:

> example - if an organisation is to own the IP in a publication it should
> approve of its publication (or even pre-publication/deposit); this
> implies a workflow where the author requests permission and once granted
> deposit is automatic.

Where on earth did this "owning the IP in a publication" come from?

We are talking about institutional self-archiving of published research
articles, in order to maximise their usage and impact, by supplementing
paid journal access to the journal's proprietary PDF or print copy (by
those users whose institutions can afford it) with free access to the
author's own self-archived final draft (for those would-be users whose
institutions cannot afford paid access to the journal's proprietary PDF
or print copy).

We are not talking about copyright retention or renegotiation. (Nothing
wrong with it, but that is *not* what OA self-archiving is about! Nor
is it by any means a prerequisite for self-archiving).

And authors don't need their institutions "approving" of their
publication! Mandating that they publish (or perish) is quite enough.

And self-archiving a *published* article is not publishing! It is
access-provision. That too should be mandated now -- but no further
institutional "permission: or "approval" is needed, or wanted.

> I know everyone will scream that this is NOT how it is done today, but
> in many cases the author at present signs e.g. copyright agreements
> without legal entitlement (the organisation likely owns copyright not
> the individual depending on the contract of employment).

Copyright/IP negotiation is *not* what OA self-archiving in IRs is
about. Please, please let us not hold back and complicate self-archiving
yet again by wrapping it in irrelevant, unnecessary speculative baggage.

> My point is simple; given mandating and easy-to-use workflows we should
> get increased deposit. The deposit location is (for me) a less pressing
> topic - harvesting will provide access.

Yes, the location does not matter in the OAI-compliant age. But
institutions can mandate self-archiving by their own researchers in
their own IRs for many internal reasons. Central repositories cannot.

And research funders help OA far more by reinforcing institutional
self-archiving mandates -- by preferentially mandating self-archiving in
the fundee's own institutional IR, and only secondarily in a central
one, where necessary.

Mandated institutional self-archiving can and will tile all of OA space.

> I could go on and on about problems with harvesting and repositories and
> the need for (structured) research information context... But I won't!

If you mandate self-archiving, the rest of the problems will become
trivial and will solve themselves naturally. If you instead pre-emptively
posit those hypothetical problems as notional obstacle to self-archiving,
and you simply potentiate Zeno's Paralysis.

Stevan Harnad

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
> Behalf Of Andy Powell
> Sent: 09 March 2006 16:35
> Subject: Re: Poynder Again on Point on Institutional Repositories
> > A reasonable question, but I think that you'll find that the answer is
> > not a matter of "simply" anything, because evidence is that (left to
> > themselves) researchers don't deposit their articles on the web
> > either!
> Sure. I'm happy to concede that "simply" doesn't come into it! :-) And
> as you say below, the reason for non-deposit is probably more to do with
> the lack of mandate than with a particular technical or operational
> approach.
> > In an environmental assessment that Jessie Hey and Pauline Simpson
> > undertook for the TARDis project, they discovered that most
> > departments in Southampton University had some research papers on the
> > web, but that these web pages were on average two years out of date.
> Fair enough. But, in the absence of a mandate, there probably isn't
> much reason (your department in Southampton and a few others excepted?)
> to assume that the situation will be any different in repositories. The
> value-added advantages of repositories that you list below may be
> sufficient to ensure that they are kept up to date. On the other hand,
> they may not.
> In suggesting that we focus on the issue of "making research papers
> available on the Web" I'm not necessarily suggesting that we encourage
> an unstructured, free for all type approach - just that we use language
> that is readily understood and where the primary aim is clear.
> > The web (of itself) does not encourage more self-deposit of research
> > papers or data. And why should it? It can be quite an onerous task to
> > keep a web site up-to-date.
> Agreed.
> > 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.
> One could argue that a content management system might achieve the same
> aims? (And, as an aside, there is no reason why a content management
> system or even a plain old-fashioned Web site can't be made to support
> the OAI-PMH, whether or not we decide to call the resulting thing a
> 'repository' or not). In fact, at that stage, all one is doing is
> disagreeing about the label ('repository' vs. 'content management
> system' vs. 'Web server') that one attaches to a service component on
> the network. My, somewhat flippant, point is that we might be better to
> focus on an aim that everyone can understand ("making stuff openly
> available on the Web") rather than getting hung up on a particular
> technical or operational mechanism for achieving the aim ("the
> repository").
> > 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.
> Agreed.
> Consider two approaches to policy makers in funding bodies and/or
> institutions:
> "We want you to mandate that all academics make a copy of their research
> output freely available on the Web" and further "we suggest that the
> best way to achieve this is through the use of an open access
> repository".
> "We want you to mandate that all academics deposit a copy of their
> research output in an open access repository".
> Which is clearer? I think that the first is, because it emphasises what
> is important in a way that everyone can understand. But, perhaps that's
> just me - perhaps my use of 'on the Web' is just as open to
> mis-interpretation and confusion as 'in a repository'?
> Andy
> --
> Head of Development, Eduserv Foundation
> +44 (0)1225 474319
Received on Fri Mar 10 2006 - 17:48:20 GMT

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