Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 13:58:13 +0000

On Fri, 15 Dec 2006, Heather Morrison wrote:

> arXiv is showing very healthy growth, around 20% annually.
> I've been tracking arXiv on a quarterly basis, starting
> Dec. 31, 2005, details at:

Arxiv has been showing this same, steady, unswerving linear increase in the
number of deposits per month (quadratic acceleration of the total content) since
the year 1991, and Arxiv has been tracking its own growth, monthly, since then:

The year 2006 is hence not the one in which to fete this as "very healthy"
growth -- unless we want to wait till doomsday for 100% OA. At this rate,
Ebs Hilf estimates it will take till 2050 for Physics:

    Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives

and that is without mentioning that Arxiv-style CR self-archiving has not yet
caught on in any other field (except possibly economics) since 1991. In contrast,
distributed self-archiving in, for example, computer science, has already long
overtaken Arxiv-style central self-archiving. See Citeseer (a harvester
of locally self-archived papers in computer science, already twice the
size of Arxiv):

Logic alone should alert us that ever since Institutional IRs and Central CRs
became completely equivalent and interoperable, and seamlessly harvestable and
integrable, with the OAI protocol of 1999, the days of CRs were numbered.

It makes no sense for institutional researchers either to deposit only
in a CR instead of their own IR, or to double-deposit (in their own IR
plus CRs, such as PubMed Central). The direct deposits will be in the
natural locus, the researcher's own IR. And then CRs will harvest, as
Citeseer, OAister -- and, for that matter, Google and Google Scholar -- do.

OA self-archiving is in the interests of the impact, visibility, and recording
of each institution's research output. Institutional self-archiving tiles all of
OA space (whereas CRs would have to criss-cross all disciplines, willy-nilly,
redundantly, and arbitrarily).

Most important, institutions, being the primary research providers,
have the most direct stake in -- and the most direct means of monitoring --
the self-archiving of their own research output. Hence institutional
self-archiving mandates -- reinforced by research funder self-archiving
mandates -- will see to it that institutional research output is deposited
in its natural, optimal locus: each institution's own IR (twinned
and mirrored for redundancy and preservation). CRs (subject-based,
multi-subject, national, or any other combination that might be judged
useful) can then harvest from the distributed network of IRs.

    "Central vs. Distributed Archives" (began Jun 1999)

    "PubMed and self-archiving" (began Aug 2003)

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

    "Harold Varmus: 'Self-Archiving is Not Open Access'" (began June 2006)

    Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates: What? Where? When? Why? How?

    Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim, C., O'Brien,
    A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S. (2005) Developing a model
    for e-prints and open access journal content in UK further and higher
    education. Learned Publishing 18(1) pp. 25-40.
    ABSTRACT: A study carried out for the UK Joint Information Systems
    Committee examined models for the provision of access to material
    in institutional and subject-based archives and in open access
    journals. Their relative merits were considered, addressing not only
    technical concerns but also how e-print provision (by authors) can
    be achieved ? an essential factor for an effective e-print delivery
    service (for users). A "harvesting" model is recommended, where the
    metadata of articles deposited in distributed archives are harvested,
    stored and enhanced by a national service. This model has major
    advantages over the alternatives of a national centralized service
    or a completely decentralized one. Options for the implementation
    of a service based on the harvesting model are presented.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Sat Dec 16 2006 - 14:49:53 GMT

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