Re: Convergent IR Deposit Mandates vs. Divergent CR Deposit Mandates

From: Alma Swan <a.swan_at_TALK21.COM>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2008 06:51:33 +0100

> I can readily see that bringing back the local output from a
> central depository creates a bit of work for a library, but
> given that in many institutions, self-archiving is a myth,
> and archiving is done by librarians anyway, I would like to
> know which is the most demanding route: checking with every
> member of the faculty if they have self-archived (or archive
> for them) or simply write a suitable script that would
> harvest things back to the library? And is the differentce so
> great as to warrant the intense discussions of the last few
> days? I ask for a bit of sensible common sense here.

Good point, except that in the institutions with most self-archiving going
on, the library is not doing it, the authors are. Deduction: if you want to
have a sustainable, filling IR, the responsibility for deposit lies with the

> Yes, yes, yes and again yes, but the world is not ideal and
> history is not rational (pace Hegel and Marx). It would have
> been nice; it did not happen. So, let us move on and deal
> with the real situation rather than regret what might have
> been, and then, as Harnad does, berate the funders because
> they did not end up behaving as they might have done in
> somebody's ideal vision of the ideal world.

I think the 'berating' is actually a style thing. Think of it as 'putting
the case for a better model'.

> I thought that RePEc was an example of how things should
> work. Contributors of articles put them in their
> institutional collection and RePEc harvests them - actually,
> harvests the metadata - and presents to the economics
> research community a collection of free-to-access economic
> literature. I am at a loss to understand, then, why Thomas
> keeps apparently arguing against this model, since he himself
> has been instrumental in establishing it and showing it to be
> a success, and why others consistently hold it up as an
> example of good practice (which it is) while arguing the case
> for centralised deposit (which RePEc doesn't have). Or have I
> got the wrong end of the stick there?
> Yes, perhaps things should work this way, but they do not in
> reality. How long are we going to hit our heads agains walls,
> acting as if thy were not there... Better go on with what we
> have and build together from there.

But the point above was that RePEc *is* working, even in reality.

The more general point of my initial comment was that for a long time it did
feel as though we were beating our heads on a brick wall but now a
noticeable change is happening - universities are beginning to understand
what it's all about. They ARE receptive now and eager to find out what to do
and how to do it. Now they want to make their policies, and what should be
ultra-simple for a university policy can become far more complex because of
having to take existing funder-mandates-into-central-repositories into
account. As Stevan would say (sort of) divergence, rather than convergence,
reigns. Or, where we could have had one single, sparkling, clear flowing
stream, we now have a couple of muddy ponds. The right sort of
hydroengineering can sort that out, one hopes.

> Let me repeat my (borrowed) mantra: rough consensus and
> working code. That is how the Internet beat X.25 and all the
> telcos of the world.

True, and I have no doubt we are getting there, but there's no harm in
putting a bit of effort into striving for the best possible outcome, rather
than relaxing and leaving things to muddle along.

Alma Swan
Key Perspectives Ltd
Truro, UK
Received on Sat Jul 26 2008 - 11:09:51 BST

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