Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 11:48:39 +0000

On Mon, 10 Mar 2008, Tom Franklin wrote:

> [Harnad suggests] that "The interests and incentives are all there --
> research usage and impact -- and they are all local (and competitive).
> Those interests and incentives simply need to be mobilized".
> If those interests were real then people would be doing it already. If it
> would help with RAE or REF then a very large number (those who are, or
> would
> like to be, research active) would get involved and do it.

Apparently not. Apparently the (real) causal link between OA and research
impact (and its rewards) is too distant and delayed to be directly
by researchers in their own individual cases (despite the generic
statistical evidence for it).

IRs, which will not only provide immediate cumulative feedback on impact
metrics for the author, but also for the performance evaluations that
feed back on the author's salary and funding, will make this causal link

    Brody, T., Carr, L., Gingras, Y., Hajjem, C., Harnad, S. and
    Swan, A. (2007) Incentivizing the Open Access Research Web:
    Publication-Archiving, Data-Archiving and Scientometrics. CTWatch
    Quarterly 3(3).

> They cannot see the benefit when there are far more important things
> that they have to do.

Correct: Authors cannot see the (real) benefit of doing the few extra
keystrokes per paper that self-archiving entails because they have
other priorities that appear more important. (Indeed that's what Alma
Swan's author surveys showed.)

    Swan, A. and Brown, S. (2005) Open access self-archiving: An author

So the (real) benefits of OA self-archiving (and the costs of not
self-archiving) must be made more immediately palpable to the researcher.
That's what mandates and metrics will do, directly and perceptibly
coupling the causes (research access) to the effects (research impact
and its rewards).

> People are not going to institutional repositories to find papers; they
> use
> abstract indices, references, google etc.

Of course not. Researchers are not being asked to *find* papers in IRs;
they are being asked to *deposit* them in IRs -- so Citebase, and
Citeseer, and OAIster and Google Scholar and Google can find, harvest
and index them, so that users can then search, find and use them.

(By the way, there's no point finding a paper in an index if the paper
is behind a toll-access barrier that your institution cannot afford.)

> Indeed, I very much doubt that
> people will go to institutional repositories in any number ("Oh, I need
> some
> information on genetic dooh dah in the development of chickens; I wonder
> what there is in the University of Wigan's institutional repository").
> They
> might go to something like Intute Repository Search or to web of science
> or
> to their favourite journal.

Vide supra. This is a misunderstanding of deposit and harvesting from
interoperable OAI-compliant IRs.

> If my intuition is correct then the purpose of the IR is to provide a
> potentially free alternative source to journals for published papers and
> possibly access to the raw data (presumably linked from the paper).

Your intuition is right (and the direct IR consultation was a red

> If that is correct then it would seem to me that the real purpose of
> IRs is to drive a change in the publishing model to move from pay for
> journal to pay for publication (author pays) and have free downline
> access to the results.

Definitely not (though publishing reform and a transition to Gold
OA publishing may well turn out to be an eventual side-effect of the
real purpose of OA IRs, which is to provide immediate supplementary free
access (Green OA) for all would-be users who cannot afford toll-access,
in order to maximise research uptake, usage, impact and progress.)

On the contrary, those who wrongly imagine that the primary or sole
purpose of OA is to induce a transition to Gold OA have actually been
slowing the progress and obscuring the purpose of Green OA (hence OA)
by conflating the research accessibility problem and the journal
affordability problem (connected, but far from identical, both as
problems and solutions).

> IF (and I accept that it is a big if that it is either people's
> reason for this or that it will make it happen) then what is the
> current benefit to the academic? it is too remote, to unlikely
> so they will do all those urgent tasks they have instead.

The purpose of Green OA self-archiving mandate by universities
and research funders is to make the actual causal contingency
between access-provision and research-impact (and its rewards)
less remote and more salient, so researchers can make a simple,
practical adjustment in their priorities -- giving each paper the
few extra minutes worth of keystrokes it deserves, given their

> Secondly, even if academics were motivated are IRs the way they would want
> to do it? I keep hearing that academics have stronger loyalty to the
> subject
> than the institution, so why would they be interested in putting the stuff
> in an IR?

Who pays their salaries, their subjects or their institutions?

Who is in a position to mandate and monitor compliance, their
subjects or their institutions.

Who are the research providers, their subjects or their institutions?

Besides, once deposited institutionally, in IRs the contents can be
harvested centrally, to subject-base CRs.

    "Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest

    "How To Integrate University and Funder Open Access Mandates"

> And if they are interested can they deposit it correctly? see for
> instance

    "Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in

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 Mon Mar 10 2008 - 11:52:36 GMT

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