Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 2008 04:22:44 +0000

On Sat, 8 Mar 2008, Atanu Garai/Lists wrote:

> with the emergence of
> large digitisation projects, notably Google Books, the advantages of
> having a centralised global databases are becoming obvious.

Google books is actively scanning books and paying for it. No OA CR is
doing that for OA content: We are talking about author/university
*self*-archiving! And other the special case of Google Books is certainly
not replacing the distributed harvesting norm for Google Scholar and
Google itself.

> A choice between 'central repository' and 'IR' is a policy decision
> for a university or group of universities and such a decision is
> driven by number of factors...
> For universities which produce a high number of research
> papers annually, creating IRs may be sensible but there are universities
> in India that are producing only a handful of research papers.

As Arthur Sale pointed out, A consortial IR for a group of small
universities is still an IR. It doesn't scale to all universities,
nor does it need to. (And the only relevant policy decision for a
university is to mandate Green OA self-archiving...)

And an arbitrary networking of (direct-deposit) subject-based CRs not
only does not scale but is incoherent (whereas any subject-based
central *harvesting* from IRs is perfectly feasible and coherent).

> For full text data, interoperability is challenged by copyright
> restrictions. These dilemmas are avoided intrinsically in CRs.

The copyright constraints are far bigger on external, 3rd-party
direct-deposits than they are on institutional self-archiving.

> large scale CRs are having the opportunity to make full text
> search and retrieval feasible.

The most powerful and effective full text search and retrieval
service provider is Google, a central harvester...

> Volatility of harvested metadata from IRs is avoided with the
> implementation of CRs.

Getting the OA full-text content trumps "metadata stability" many times
over (Citeseerx generates its own metadata from harvested full-text.)...

> Self-archiving and mandate is not a technological issue, it is a
> regulatory one - hence, it can be done in IRs and/or CRs.

(This sounds like the confusion of consortial IRs with subject-based CRs

Please consider how a university can mandate that all of its
research output, in all disciplines, must be self-archived in
external subject-based CRs. (Which CRs? Which subjects? How many? How
maintained and financed? How does each university monitor and audit
compliance?) Could/would a university mandate that, say, various credit
card companies should do the university's expense accounting in place
of its own internal record-keeping?

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 Mar 09 2008 - 04:26:38 GMT

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