Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 8 Mar 2008 12:08:40 +0000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 08 Mar 2008 09:46:26 +0200
From: Hussein Suleman <hussein -->
To: Atanu Garai/Lists <atanugarai.lists -->,
    oai-implementers --
Subject: Re: [OAI-implementers] local/distributed vs global/unified archives

hi Atanu

this is a good question that i will try to answer, based on a fading memory

in the 90s we had a few large subject repositories around the world (like
arXiv) but they were mostly not (financially) sustainable as they were run
poor scholarly societies, there was a silo effect (with the owners of data
trying to provide services as well) and the model simply did not replicate
all disciplines (we were stuck with a handful of poster child repositories)
in some senses, this "crisis" in subject repositories led to the Santa Fe
meeting of the OAI.

to address especially the sustainability problem, open access advocates
to recommend institutional repositories rather than subject repositories
because scholarship is a primary function of institutions and if anything
be here hundreds of years from now it will be the institutions of higher

the core idea of OAI-PMH was therefore to bridge between sustainable
repositories (e.g., IRs, although the term did not exist back then) and high
quality service providers (e.g., those hosted by scholarly societies)

so OAI-PMH is supposed to give us the best of both worlds. it is tempting to
believe that global subject repositories will be a better model, but this
not work in the 90s. maybe it will work now (maybe scholarly societies,
research agencies, etc. have deeper pockets now) - we dont know for sure -
who is willing to invest a lot of money and many years on redoing an
that failed in many instances not too long ago?


hussein suleman ~ hussein -- ~

Atanu Garai/Lists wrote:
> Dear Colleagues
> This question is very basic. Institutions all over the world are
> developing
> their own repositories to archive papers written by staffs. On the other
> hand, it is very much feasible to develop thematic and consortia
> repositories
> wherein authors all over the world can archive their papers very easily.
> Both
> the approaches have their own pros and cons. However, having few big
> thematic
> (e.g. subject based) and/or consortia (e.g. Indian universities archive)
> repositories is more advantageous than maintaining hundreds of thousands
> small IRs, taking cost, management, infrastructure and technology
> considerations. Moreover, knowledge sharing and preservation becomes
> easier
> across the participating individuals and institutions in large IRs. If
> this
> advantages are so obvious, it is not understandable why there is so much
> advocacy for building IRs in all institutions?
> Thank you for reflecting on this issue.
> Best
> *Atanu Garai
> *Online Networking Specialist
> /International Secretariat:
> /150, route de Ferney
> CH-1211 Geneva 2
> Switzerland
> Tel: 41.22791.6249/67
> Fax: 41.22710.2386
> /New Delhi Contact:
> /Tel: 91.98996.22884
> Email: garai -- <mailto:garai -->
> atanu.garai -- <mailto:atanu.garai -->
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Received on Sat Mar 08 2008 - 12:18:55 GMT

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