Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 20:03:55 +0000

As a google search on "amsci 3rd-party central" will reveal, a lot of water
has flowed under the bridge on this topic since the inception of the
American Scientist Open Access Forum. Here's one summary posting:

    "Central versus institutional self-archiving" (Nov 2003)

In a nutshell: partly out of genuine worry about free-riding 3rd-party
publishers taking advantage of liberalized OA-green policies, and partly
out of a genuine misunderstanding of the Net, the Web, and of OAI
interoperability, publishers are more reluctant to endorse author
self-archiving in central 3rd-party than in author's own institutional
repositories IRs or personal websites.

The solution, of course, is for authors to self-archive in their own IRs
and simply let central services harvest the metadata and the links. The
only cases this does not cover are unaffiliated authors, but the solution
there is simple too: A "personal website" is simply some disk-space and
connectivity provided by an Internet Service Provider (ISP). Universities
have a long tradition of providing haven for unaffiliated scholars. They
can offer them a sector in their IRs and label it the "personal website"
of the unaffiliated author in question.

End of story. There is really literally no more to it than that, other than
empty semiology.

This should take care of cases like the one recently reported by Steve Oberg in
his blog and then blogged by Peter
Suber in Open Access News

Steve had asked Elsevier -- a publisher that is 100% green on author
self-archiving -- whether 3rd party sites were ok too, and Elsevier
replied no.

Now it seems to me Steve has some really obvious options: He can
*blog* his article in his own blog (a blog is provided by an ISP as a
"personal website") and simply deposit the metadata and the URL in the
central repository he had meant to self-archive the paper in: E-Lis

Or he can do the same from a personal website -- or approach a kindly
institution to provide a personal website.

All these variants just amount to silly make-work, of course, and will
vanish quickly of their own accord as self-archiving grows, and the
real meaning of depositing something on the web -- and what comes
with the territory -- becomes more familiar to all.

But for now, if our objective is take make our findings OA immediately,
rather than to waste still more time making a fuss, we should just get
on with it...

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Sat Mar 18 2006 - 22:32:50 GMT

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