Re: How to Compare IRs and CRs

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 15:27:08 +0000

On Sun, 10 Feb 2008, wrote:

> My point is that one should not consider (and design) OA in isolation.

It is not at all clear why not, David. One does not have to redesign
the web, publishing, or science, to attain 100% OA. One need merely
self-archive in one's IR.

> OA should be viewed as part of a systematic change in the way we do
> science.

But why? when reaching 100% OA is simple and reachable -- just a matter
of a few keystrokes, and the only thing universities and funders need do
is mandate them -- whereas systematically changing the way we do science
is complicated, and not at all within obvious reach?

> Or, to put it another way, OA has to be justified in terms of
> the benefits it will provide. OA is disruptive and costly so the
> benefits must be correspondingly great.

What disruptive and costly effects? IRs cost next to nothing; keystrokes
cost nothing; mandates cost nothing.

Are we speculating, then, about the possible future of journal publishing
after Green OA self-archiving is mandated and reaches 100%? (It will
convert to Gold OA publishing. But what does that have to do with the
scientific and scholarly research community? Publishing is a service
industry and will adapt itself to the needs of research. Is research
instead supposed to adapt itself to the needs of the publish industry?)

> The benefits of OA in science lie in increased efficiency of
> communication. What I call better, faster science. But access is only
> part of the communication process. I am working the other part --

Agreed that access is only part of it. But it is a necessary part,
indeed an essential prerequisite. And it is an immediately doable
part: The way to do it is for universities and funders to mandate
Green OA self-archiving in the researcher's own OAI-compliant
Institutional Repository (IR).

That's immediately reachable, right now. Then we can worry about other

[NB: Recall that I am only talking about OA's target content: journal

> getting the stuff to the people who need it as efficiently as possible
> (findability). My point is that my part of the system has something to
> say about your part.

But you can't find what's not there: Green OA IR mandates will provide
the missing content, and then we can see whether there's truly any
residual findability problem at all.

> Less metaphorically, OA design issues like IR
> versus CR need to consider the delivery (or findability) issue, perhaps
> even being determined by them.

IF it were the case that direct CR (Central Repository) deposit could
deliver 100% of the target OA content and IF direct CR deposit were also
somehow essential for findability, you would be quite right.

But direct CR deposit cannot and will not deliver 100% of the target
OA content (thematic CRs cannot cover all of research output space,
exhaustively and non-redundantly, and institutions and funders are the
entities that have the interests, and the means, to mandate deposit;
"themes" are not); and harvesting content to CR search services will
provide the findability. So both the conditional IFs are counterfactual.

> My specific point was that your IR solution to OA looks like it
> creates problems with my delivery solution. Perhaps we can discus this.

I would be happy to discuss it. My guess is that your delivery solution
calls for richer metadata than OAI. Fine. If the richer metadata really
prove necessary, either CRs can harvest the OAI metadata from the IRs
and enrich them, or, once the IRs are at last capturing all their own
research output, the IRs themselves can be persuaded (by the advantages
of your delivery solution) to enrich their own metadata requirements.

But direct CR deposit is a nonstarter, either way, because it will not
generate 100% OA content -- and it is totally unnecessary.

[NB: Again, recall that I am only talking about OA's target content:
journal articles.]

> As for the research, it was very preliminary. We just took one issue
> of each of several major journals, in physics and chemistry, and
> manually (intelligently) searched the web for each article. Starting by
> author typically worked better than by title or text. We got a good
> success rate. I should point out that much, perhaps most, of web
> available science is not on Google. It is in the deep web.

Depositing on arbitrary websites, let alone in the deep web, is obviously
nonoptimal. Mandates to deposit in OAI-compliant IRs will solve that.

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt a policy of providing Open Access
to your own research article output, please describe your policy at:

    BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
    BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access journal if/when
    a suitable one exists.
    in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
    in your own institutional repository.
Received on Sun Feb 10 2008 - 15:31:38 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:13 GMT