Functional Symmetry But Strategic Asymmetry in Locus of Direct Deposit: Institution-Internal or External

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 23 Apr 2008 09:38:46 -0400

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    Data exchange among disparate repositories

Comment from Stevan Harnad: The demonstration (below) of the bulk
transferability of the contents of one OAI-compliant repository to
another is indeed welcome. It shows that it does not really matter
from the point of view of either accessibility or harvestability
where a research output is deposited (as long as it's in an
OAI-compliant repository). But where it is deposited still matters a
great deal for the probability of research output being deposited at
all, and especially for the probability of deposit mandates being
adopted at all -- particularly deposit mandates on the part of
institutions, who are the providers of all the research output,
funded and unfunded, across all disciplines. 

The importance of the new OR08 demonstration of the transferability
of Institutional Repository (IR) contents is hence greatest for
confirming that both institutional and funder mandates can and should
require deposit in the author's institutional IR, from which central
harvesters, indexers and search engines, as well as Central
Repositories (CRs) like PubMed Central, can then harvest/import them.
This convergent synergy would be best for the progress of OA. 

(The fact that external deposits can also be back-harvested to the
depositor's own institutional IR is also welcome and useful, but it
certainly does not imply that depositing willy-nilly anywhere is as
likely to scale up to systematic OA policies, generating universal
OA, as depositing, systematically and convergently at the universal
source: the researcher's own IR -- and then, where desired,
harvesting/exporting externally therefrom.)
      Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim,
      C., O?Brien, A., Hardy, R. and Rowland, F.
      (2005) Delivery, Management and Access Model for E-prints
      and Open Access Journals within Further and Higher
      Education. JISC Technical report.

      Swan, A., Needham, P., Probets, S., Muir, A., Oppenheim,
      C., O?Brien, A., Hardy, R., Rowland, F. and Brown, S.
      (2005) Developing a model for e-prints and open access
      journal content in UK further and higher education.
      Learned Publishing, 18 (1). pp. 25-40.

[re-posted from Peter Suber's Open Access News]

      ECS developers win $5000 repository challenge, a press
      release from the University of Southampton School of
      Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), April 15, 2008.  

            Developers from ECS, Southampton, and Oxford
            University won a $5000 challenge competition
            which took place at the OR08 Open
            Repositories international conference.

            Dave Tarrant, Tim Brody (Southampton) and Ben
            O'Steen (Oxford), beat a large field of
            contenders, including finalists from the USA
            and Australia, by demonstrating that digital
            data can be moved easily between storage
            sites running different software while
            remaining accessible to users (watch video).
            This approach has important implications for
            data management and preservation on the

            [W]ith the growth of institutional
            repositories alongside subject-based
            repositories, and in cases where
            multiple-authors of a paper belong to
            different institutions, it is important to be
            able to share and copy content between

            Meanwhile the repository space has become
            characterised by many types of repository
            software - DSpace, EPrints and Fedora are the
            most widely used open source repository
            software - containing many different types of
            content, including texts, multimedia and
            interactive teaching materials. So although
            sharing content and making it widely
            available (interoperability) has always been
            a driver for repository development, actually
            moving content on a large scale between
            repositories and providing access from all
            sources is not easy.

            The OR08 challenge, set by the Common
            Repository Interfaces Group (CRIG), had just
            one rule for the competition: the prototype
            created had to utilise two different
            'repository' platforms....

            This data transfer was achieved using an
            emerging framework known as Object Reuse and
            Exchange (ORE), a topic that attracted one of
            the highest attendances at OR08....

      Comment [from Peter Suber].  Congratulations to Tarrant,
      Brody, and O'Steen.  I look forward to the day when
      institutional repositories can harvest full-texts and
      metadata from disciplinary repositories and vice
      versa.  That will greatly reduce the temperature on the
      question where researchers initially deposit their work
      (and where universities and funders require them to
      deposit their work), and greatly increase the security of
      deposits (on the LOCKSS principle).  Thanks to ORE and
      the tools developed by the Southampton-Oxford team, this
      day is not far off. 
Received on Wed Apr 23 2008 - 14:44:40 BST

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