Against Conflating OA Self-Archiving With Preservation-Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 12:57:41 +0100

    Pertinent Prior AmSci Topic Threads:

    "Archive Preservation Considerations" (Aug 1998)

    "What exactly is the digital preservation problem?" (Jan 2002)


    "Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation" (Oct 2004)

    "Against Pre-emptive Plans for Content-Bare Cupboards" (Mar 2005)

    "preservation vs. Preservation" (Mar 2006)

    "Formaldehyde and Function" (Mar 2006)

Words stand in our way: In the long list of gratuitous (and sometimes
absurd) retardants on the research community's progress towards
the optimal and inevitable -- 100% Open Access -- one that will stand
out historically is the persistent, mindless conflation of

    (1) the Open Access Self-Archiving of authors' final, peer-reviewed,
    accepted drafts of their journal articles, done in order to maximize
    their immediate (and future) access, usage and impact


    (2) the long-term preservation archiving of the proprietary subscription
    version of those very same articles.

The only thing I have the energy to say (because I have said it, in
vain, so very often!), is that this conflation is utter nonsense and
extremely counterproductive. It advances neither OA self-archiving nor
preservation-archiving. It merely sows confusion and indirection.

OA self-archiving has *nothing whatsoever* to do with preservation
archiving, despite the co-occurrence of the word "archiving" in both
locutions! It is not that self-archived author drafts will not be
preserved too -- they will be, of course --

    PRESERV (PReservation Eprint SERVices)

    SHERPA DP: Creating A Persistent Preservation Environment For
    Institutional Repositories

but that the *purpose* of self-archiving them is not digital preservation, it
is access and usage. And the self-archived author-drafts are merely supplements
to the journal article; they are not the versions that have the preservation
problem that preservationists are concerned about: the publisher's official
PDF/XML version is the one that has that problem.

Only 15% of articles are being self-archived. It does not help to give authors
the false and absurd impression that the reason they should self-archive is
for the sake of long-term preservation. Long-term preservation of their published
journal articles is not and should not be the concern of authors. It should be
the concern of publishers, subscribing libraries, and deposit libraries.

Research access, usage and impact, in contrast, are and should be the concern of
authors, their institutions and their funders. And that is the real reason
self-archiving should be mandated.

We now seem to be at last on the road toward the adoption of
self-archiving mandates by research institutions and funders. But what
is still holding them up at this late hour is the fact that they keep
being needlessly intertwined with completely irrelevant, distracting and
confusing themes, such as property rights, peer review, publishing reform,
and preservation. Declarations and Manifestos keep stoutly declaiming
these red herrings as if they were parts of OA itself, when all OA means
is: free online access to journal articles.

    Self-Archiving FAQ on Preservation:

But I said I would not rant...

Stevan Harnad

On Tue, 11 Jul 2006, Beagrie, Neil wrote:

> dear all
> Some of the podcasts and presentations below may be of interest to colleagues on the list.
> Neil
> Following the highly successful inaugural series of C21st Curation public lectures last year, SLAIS organised a second series of public lectures by eight leading speakers, open to students, professionals and general public during April and May 2006. Podcasts and presentations from the series are now available online (
> The four evening sessions each attracted an audience of professional librarians, archivists, records managers, museum curators, publishers, and students. Each session provoked lively discussion and debate. Details of the key themes and speakers are given below.
> Scholarly Communications
> Astrid Wissenburg, Director of Communications at the Economic and Social Research Council
> "Scholarly communications and the role of researcher funders"
> The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (
> David Brown, Head of Scholarly Communications at The British Library
> "Scholarly communication: trends and developments"
> The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Digital Resources in the Humanities
> Professor Susan Hockey, UCL
> "Digital resources in the humanities: why is digital information different?"
> The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Suzanne Keene, UCL
> "Disruptive technologies: are museums immune?"
> The presentation for this lecture is available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Service Delivery in National Institutions
> Natalie Ceeney, Chief Executive of The National Archives
> "The digital revolution and service delivery in The National Archives"
> The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Jemima Rellie, Head of Digital Programmes at the Tate
> "Digitising delivery at Tate Online"
> The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Curation and Access for Scientific Data
> Neil Beagrie, The British Library and JISC
> "Curation and access for scientific research"
> The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Prof. Michael Wadsworth, Dept of Epidemiology and Public Health at UCL
> "Data curation in the Medical Research Council: The National Survey of Health and Development"
> The podcast and presentation for this lecture are available on the SLAIS Web site (
> Feedback from those attending the lecture series has been overwhelmingly positive. We are extremely grateful to all the speakers who gave their time to make the second series of public lectures so enjoyable and stimulating intellectually and professionally for the audience. We hope making podcasts and presentations from the lectures available online this year will be welcomed by those who were unable to attend some of the lectures and the many individuals from overseas who asked if this would be possible. We would welcome further feedback from those who attended or download the lectures and any suggestions on topics for future public lecture series.
> **************************************************************************
> Experience the British Library online at
> Help the British Library conserve the world's knowledge. Adopt a Book.
> The Library's St Pancras site is WiFi - enabled
Received on Tue Jul 11 2006 - 13:47:03 BST

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