Access Archiving vs. Preservation Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2008 23:25:32 -0400

(1) Preserving Access-Archive Contents. As always when this topic
comes up, the same old points need to be repeated: I am of course not
saying that the contents of IRs should not be and are not being
That is why I linked (and of course fully support) PRESERV, of which
my friends and colleagues Les Carr and Steve Hitchcock are,
respectively, principal investigator and (nervous) project manager!),
as well as LOCKSS, etc. etc. 
My point was that preservation archiving is not the purpose of access
archiving. Access-provision is. And the purpose of an OA deposit
mandate is OA-provision, not preservation.
(2) Locus of Deposit. For all the indisputably valid and worthy
things Steve Hitchcock says below about loci, collaboration,
interoperability, services and harvesting, my point was that the
locus of deposit for both funder and institutional deposit mandates
needs to be the institutional repository, not the the central
collection or service, such as PubMed Central, if funder and
institutional mandates are to converge and to facilitate one another
rather than diverge and to impede one another in the global
transition to universal OA.

(3) Version of Deposit. Again, for all the incontestably useful
points Steve makes, what the institutional and funder mandates
(rightly) require to be deposited is not the publisher's version of
record, to be preserved for posterity, but the author's refereed
final draft, to be made accessible (today, tomorrow, and for as long
as need be) for all would-be users who cannot afford access to the
publisher's version of record.

That is not the version that preservation-archiving is concerned
about: Preservation-archiving is concerned about the preservation of
the publisher's version of record.

(That said, it is very possible -- indeed more than likely -- that
after the global transition to universal OA has transpired, safely
and successfully, there will be an eventual further transition, in
which subscriptions to the publisher's version of record shrink,
under pressure from Green OA, until they become unsustainable,
journals cut costs, phase out inessential products and services (such
as the print edition and even the online version of record), offload
all archiving and access-provision onto the (now global) network of
OA IRs and CRs, and downsize to just peer-review service-provision,
funded on the Gold OA cost-recovery model, per article, charged to
the author institution, and paid for out of the institutional
windfall subscription cancellation savings. At that time, but not
before, the IR deposit version will become the version of record and
access-archiving will converge with preservation-archiving.)

(4) The Wisdom of the Mandators. Yes, all of this will come to pass
thanks to the wisdom of research funders and institutions in
mandating Green OA self-archiving, but, no, it will not be because
they were prescient, saw what was coming, and formulated their
objectives and policies accordingly.

Much of this is happening somnambulistically, with the mandators --
institutions and funders alike -- still profoundly confused about
what it is that they are mandating, how, and why. They are blithely
mix-matching, each in their own idiosyncratic ways, access-archiving
and preservation-archiving, locus of deposit issues, version of
deposit issues, journal affordability and research
accessibility, green and gold OA, publishing and access-provision,
content-provision and service-provision, access issues and rights
issues, and OA and non-OA matters.

So, yes, we must accommodate mandates and mandators if we are to
reach universal OA at all, but let us not fool ourselves that it is
not often the blind leading the blind...

Stevan Harnad

On Mon, Jul 21, 2008 at 11:02 AM, Steve Hitchcock
<> wrote:
      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

      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 IRs.

      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

      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:

      "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

      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 - 04:27:39 BST

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