Re: The OA Deposit-Fee Kerfuffle: APA's Not Responsible; NIH Is

From: Steve Hitchcock <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 16:02:46 +0100

At 02:31 19/07/2008, Stevan Harnad wrote:
      (One discerns the dead hand of digital preservationists
      here, pushing their agenda, oblivious to the fact that
      the content they seek to preserve is mostly not even OA
      yet, and that the version that NIH has (rightly)
      stipulated for OA deposit (each "investigator's...
      electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed
      manuscripts upon acceptance for publication") is not even
      the draft that is in the real need of preservation, but
      just a supplementary copy, for access purposes -- the
      definitive version, the one that really stand in the need
      of preservation, being the original: the publisher's
      proprietary version. But is the NIH mandate an access
      mandate or is it a preservation mandate? For
      preservation, you need to deposit in an archival
      depository, not an OA collection like PMC, and you need
      only deposit one or a few copies of the original, and APA
      would certainly have no problem with that...)

Stevan,   Most funder mandates have expressed concern about
preservation, and this would suggest it is better to go with that
flow rather than rebuke it. The way to do that is view preservation
as a service. Then there is analogy with your scenario here: locus of
OA deposit is the IR, after which any service can be applied, e.g.
harvest to PMC for OA and preservation, if that is the objective.

The emphasis of our work on digital preservation currently is storage
and interoperability, so you have flexibility about where/who stores
the selected content and which services can be applied. That's no
different from any other interoperable services that characterise OA

The main drawback is likely to be rights, not just in the OA case,
but generally. This concern led recently to proposals to allow some
organisations to harvest for preservation:

International Study on the Impact of Copyright Law on Digital
Preservation (pdf 214pp), LoC, JISC, OAK Law Project, SURFfoundation,
July 2008

This highlights the general problem with rights and digital content,
but the proposed solutions, exempting certain organisations, may not
be broad enough to help the content appearing in IRs. This rights
problem applies to content copies and could apply to other service
organisations too, not just those concerned with preservation, so we
should be careful about beating up preservation for this. It will
apply to repository-repository copies, so affects the case in point
here too.

There is no advantage in suggesting all these policy makers are wrong
on preservation. It is possible to put your case - IRs as locus of OA
deposit - without detracting from any possible preservation
objectives. In fact quite the reverse, if you can embrace these
concerns with practical solutions, as outlined here, it will be
easier to win support for the practical or policy changes you are
seeking, in the NIH case or others.

From your summary of the blog version of this post:
Status: O
Message-ID: <>

"For preservation, the definitive document needs to be deposited in
an archival depository (preferably several, for safe-keeping,
updating and migration as technology evolves), not an OA collection
like PMC. But that essential archival deposit/preservation function
has absolutely nothing to do with either the author or with OA."

But it does have something to do with the interacting repositories
concerned. They must look at the overlap of their content, and what
they want or expect to be preserved, with that of other repositories,
publishers and preservation services. They probably don't see
sufficient overlap yet, so don't feel able to leave preservation to
others. It's not such a simple picture as the above paragraph paints.
The Preserv project, which you link, is looking to build a framework
for services that can take all this into account, such as what types
of services, and where, are needed for repository preservation. but
this requires repositories to engage with the issue, since at the
moment there aren't enough services, not LOCKSS nor archival
depositories for repositories, for them to be able to ignore it or
leave it to others. The technology and the scope for preservation
services is improving, but the business drivers are not there yet,
and in the end these will derive from policy and mandates, just as
the funder mandates recognise.

Steve Hitchcock
Preserv Project Manager
IAM Group, School of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 7698    Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Tue Jul 22 2008 - 02:55:01 BST

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