Re: Why Cornell's Institutional Repository Is Near-Empty

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 01:37:59 +0000

On Mon, 19 Mar 2007, Greg Tananbaum wrote:

> Stevan concluded his recent post regarding Cornell's IR
> population struggles with the statement, "The only thing Cornell
> needs to do if it wants its IR filled with Cornell's own research
> output is to mandate it." One might rightly wonder whether this
> is the only thing they CAN do to fill the IR.

Cornell can do more: It can provide incentives (as University of Minho
in Portugal and DARE in the Netherlands have done). That will accelerate
compliance with the mandate. But Arthur Sale's comparative studies show
that the essential component is the mandate: With it, you reach 100%
within about 2 years, without it you don't even come close:

        Sale, Arthur (2006a) Researchers and institutional
        repositories, in Jacobs, Neil, Eds. Open Access: Key
        Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, chapter 9,
        pages 87-100. Chandos Publishing (Oxford) Limited.

        Sale, A. The Impact of Mandatory Policies on
        ETD Acquisition. D-Lib Magazine April 2006,

        Sale, A. Comparison of content policies for institutional
        repositories in Australia. First Monday, 11(4), April 2006.

        Sale, A. The acquisition of open access research
        articles. First Monday, 11(9), October 2006.

        Sale, A. (2007) The Patchwork Mandate
        D-Lib Magazine 13 1/2 January/February

> The fact that so few institutions, particularly in the US, have
> issued such a diktat after six years of IR activity would seem to
> indicate that this is unlikely to happen en masse.

Until about 3 years ago (i.e., about 10 years after the 1994 "Subversive
Proposal") *no* university or funder had mandated OA self-archiving. There
are now 12 university or departmental mandates adopted worldwide, and
11 funder mandates, plus 1 multi-institutional mandate and 6 funder
mandates proposed. Stay tuned.

> I wonder is whether this
> list, and the scholarly communication space generally, would be
> better served by asking whether Cornell, or any institution for
> that matter, can provide any compelling incentives short of a
> mandate to encourage wholesale IR participation. Or is this a
> sisyphean task?

To repeat: Incentives are good, and helpful, but insufficient. The
necessary and sufficient condition for a full OA IR is a Green OA
mandate. Incentives can help reach 100% faster, but incentives alone
won't do the trick.

Stevan Harnad
American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Tue Mar 20 2007 - 02:56:35 GMT

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