Re: subject classification

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 17:18:56 +0100

On Wed, 25 Jun 2008, Talat Chaudhri [tac] wrote:

> > SH: (1) Because OA IRs are OAI-PMH-interoperable and harvestable.
> > (Google
> > Scholar is already useful, but GOAIgle Scholar will be incomparably
> > the moreso.)
> OAIster is one example. Can anyone tell me how many academics are
> using it in preference to Google? With no offence meant to an excellent
> service, I fear I already know the answer: not many at all. I remain to
> be convinced.

OAIster will be of limited usefulness -- just a proof of principle --
until the *content* is there, OA, online. Till then, Google Scholar
(with its citation counts, Page Rank, and Boolean search) is
incomparably better for the negligible content there is.

All these Google Scholar functionalities (and more -- see citebase) will
be added to OAIster -- as soon as the *content* is there. Not before. No

> > SH: (2) Because it is harder for an institution to manage, monitor,
> > archive and harvest wildcat websites than IRs.
> Absolutely. Such websites are a copyright nightmare.

Absolutely *not* because of copyright! (That's *your* self-inflicted
nightmare, Talat. I wish I could help you, but the ailment is
iatrogenic, or I should say dikikogorogenic!). Because it is harder for an
institution to manage, monitor, archive and harvest wildcat websites
than IRs.

> > SH: (3) Because it is harder for an institution to mandate deposit and
> > monitor compliance for wildcat websites than IRs.
> This is also very true. I do think that one can do tactically
> better than imposing mandates, that is to say by convincing academics
> in representative forums on an institutional or departmental level
> (preferably both) that they are a good idea and getting them to be
> involved in putting their own mandates in place. It really isn't very
> helpful to our aim to get them feeling that it has been imposed upon
> them by management. I don't oppose mandates per se.

Those are intuitions. The evidence is the opposite: Invitations with
encouragement fail, mandates and incentives succeed.

As Alma Swan's surveys showed, researchers don't oppose mandates per se
either: over 80% say they would comply willingly -- and Arthur Sale's
studies confirm that that they actually do what they say, once mandated.

> I do agree with Stevan's point that the process needs to be as easy
> and seamless as possible in order to encourage academics, though that
> is very far from being the full reason for their reluctance, as Pete
> pointed out earlier.

The 34 ostensible reasons for their Zeno's Paralysis are known, and have
been known for years:

    Harnad, S. (2006) Opening Access by Overcoming Zeno's Paralysis, in
    Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic
    Aspects, chapter 8. Chandos.

The cure is not more keystrokes. Not even more information is enough,
nor incentives. The cure is Green OA mandates (and they are on the way,
at long last).

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Jun 25 2008 - 18:12:11 BST

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