Re: NIH Open to Closer Collaboration With Institutional Repositories

From: Pippa Smart <pippa.smart_at_GOOGLEMAIL.COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 17:35:53 +0000

Does the SWORD transfer protocol allow for automatic exporting of
full text, or only of metadata?

If it allows for automated exporting of full text -

Can it differentiate (automatically) between material mandated to be
deposited within PMC as well as the institutional repository (i.e. is
there a "checkbox" in which the original depositor indicates the
funding agency.

How would automated deposit work with embargo periods? (would the
depositor be expect to know this, and is there also a "checkbox" in
which they can indicate this?)


Pippa Smart
Research Communication and Publishing Consultant
PSP Consulting -
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Tel: +44 1865 864255
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Skype: pippasmart
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of Learned Publishing (

2009/2/19 Stevan Harnad <>
> In his "Analysis of Comments and Implementation of the NIH Public
Access Policy," Dr. Raynard Kington, Acting Director, National
Institutes of Health (NIH), writes that
> "direct feeds from [institutional repositories (IRs) are]...
worthwhile... but... raise important technical and logistical
challenges regarding author approval, copyright permissions, quality
control, and formats for electronic transfer. The NIH remains open to
closer collaboration with institutional [repositories] and will
consider this issue as the Policy matures."
> It is virtually certain that all technical and logistical
challenges to designating Institutional Repositories (IRs) as NIH's
preferred locus of direct deposit (followed by "direct feed"
to PubMed Central (PMC)) can be successfully met (and most already
have been: see below). The benefits of
NIH/institutionalcollaboration on direct feeds will be enormous, and
will far exceed the current reach of the NIH mandate (which is now
restricted to the 80,000 articles a year resulting from NIH funding,
no more, no less).
> The NIH mandate touches the institutions of every one of NIH's
fundees. If the NIH mandate preferentially encourages its fundees to
deposit their NIH-funded output in their own respective IRs (with
direct feed to to PMC therefrom, instead of direct deposit in PMC, as
now), it will also motivate their fundees to deposit -- and motivate
their fundees' institutions to mandate the deposit of -- the rest of
their institutional output in their IR too, not just the NIH-funded
fraction of it. Not so if the 80,000 NIH articles must be directly
deposited institution-externally (in PMC): That has the exact
opposite effect, competing with and complicating, hence demotivating
institutional deposits and mandates. (And we must not forget that the
institutions are the universal providers of all research output:
funded and unfunded, across all disciplines.)
> The "technical and logistical challenges" for "direct feeds" from
IRs to PMC have already been largely met:
> (1) The SWORD transfer protocol has already solved the problem of
automatically exporting IR deposits to other respoitories.
> (2) "Author approval" is not a problem at all: Authors are mandated
by NIH to deposit, and NIH specifies the locus of deposit. Currently
that designated locus is PMC. The recommendation here is that the
preferred locus of deposit should instead be the author's IR, with
the deposit then automatically ported by "direct feed" (via SWORD) to
PMC. (Institutional deposit will in fact simplify deposit for
authors, increasing their motivation to comply with the NIH mandate.)
> (3) "Copyright permissions" are not a problem either: Authors are
mandated by NIH to deposit and NIH specifies the locus of deposit. If
copyright is not an issue with PMC deposit, it is even less of an
issue with direct institutional deposit in the fundee's own IR.
(Publisher embargoes can be -- and are -- implemented by IRs just as
they are by PMC.)
> (4) "Quality control" is not a problem either. Authors are mandated
by NIH to deposit their final, refereed, revised draft, and NIH
specifies the locus of deposit. The IR deposit can be exported by
"direct feed" (via SWORD) to PMC, where exactly the same quality
controls can be performed as are now being performed by PMC. (The IR
direct-deposit protocol can easily be made to conform to the PMC
direct-deposit protocol: they are almost identical already.) 
> (5) "Formats for electronic transfer" is not a problem either. The
SWORD protocol does the electronic transfer, and the format for
deposit of the author's final, refereed, revised draft is exactly the
> It is very welcome and timely news that NIH's Acting Director is
"open to closer collaboration with institutional archives." The
sooner a collaborative deposit policy, with IR deposit and direct
feed to PMC can be adopted and announced, the sooner its potentially
enormous knock-on effects will begin to make themselves felt in
helping to wake the "slumbering giant" -- the US and global network
of universities and research institutes, not only the NIH-funded
ones, but all of them: the universal providers of research, worldwide
-- to create their own IRs (if they don't have them already) and to
mandate the deposit of all of their own research output into them,
not just NIH-funded research.
> This global enabling effect of the NIH mandate for accelerating and
facilitating universal OA should also be cited in the defense of
NIH's historically invaluable public access policy against
the Conyers Bill's attempt to overturn it.
> (And the other research funding councils worldwide, too, should be
encouraged to consider the enormous potential OA gains -- at no loss
-- from stipulating IR deposit rather than institution-external
deposit in their own OA policies as well.)
> Stevan Harnad
> American Scientist Open Access Forum
Received on Thu Feb 19 2009 - 20:00:32 GMT

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