Re: [SOAF] Please Don't Conflate Direct with Harvested CRs (Central Repositories), Or Deposit Locus With Search Locus

From: (wrong string) édon <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 10:56:57 -0500

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Consider the logic of Stevan's argument.

I gave an example of one central, multi-disciplinary repository, HAL,
because this category of central depositories had not been overlooked
in the discussion. Then, in a different point, I turned to the
question of central depositories in general and brought out the fact
that several of them had political foundations. Because of this
political link, I suggested that such repositories might be in a
better position - I repeat "might" - to obtain a national mandate.

When I suggested this possibility, I was thinking about NIH of
course. I did also write: "Moreover, it has been my impression that
the notion of NIH wanting to dispose of its own depository (which
allows for some degree of control over file formats, for example, and
this is important for the development of data mining processes) had
not impeded, quite the contrary, the political process leading to the
law where this mandate is contained".

In his response, Stevan claims the contrary. And to demonstrate his
thesis, he uses the case of HAL! HAL, he claims, is ten years old
(which it is not, incidentally - more like three or four years old.
The official signature with the Academy of Science dates back to
2006, but it had been in the works for a couple of years). Hal did
not get a mandate; therefore, Guédon is wrong... What about NIH?

I would also like to know how the "mandated locus of deposit has
indeed (partially) impeded (and is continuing to (partially) impede)
progress in implementing and sustaining the NIH mandate". In
particular, are the present and renewed threats against the NIH
mandate aimed at the mandate itself, or are they aimed at the place
of deposit. In particular, does Stevan know of precise arguments that
use the place of deposit as a lever against the mandate? If so, could
Stevan be so kind as to provide some precise citations (and
quotations) to convince us. I am quite willing to be convinced, but
only if the proof is brought on the table.

Also, I was talking specifically about places of deposit, not
depositories in general.

Also, I did not fail "to take into account a single one the many very
specific practical and functional points that have been adduced on
behalf of funders stipulating IRs instead of CRs as their designated
locus of deposit,...". I simply took them for granted. But, as is
often the case in my debates with Stevan, I simply wanted to point
out that there is bit more to the situation that what he chooses to
point to. This is one more case where I essentially agree with all he
says, but feel the need to point out the incompleteness or the overly
restrictive nature of what he says. However, it appears that, for
Stevan, anything extending beyond the strict boundaries of his mental
horizon is deemed to be "vague".

Finally, I suspect that if I had qualified Stevan's text with
something equivalent to "vague and cheery", and had alluded to
Chairman Mao through the 100 flowers blooming, etc., I would have
been called "strident" or something like that. And on the Am-sci
list, the debate would have been summarily and arbitrarily cut off by
the moderator of the list who happens to be ... Stevan in person.

I will conclude by quoting Mr. Spock (of Star Trek fame): Captain,
this is illogical.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le mardi 10 février 2009 à 08:36 -0500, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
             if a central depository is correlated with a
            political entity, particularly a national
            government, then it may be in a position to
            secure a national mandate in one single move.

      Indeed. And France's HAL has been correlated with a
      political entity: the French government. But in nearly a
      decade there has not been one single move toward adopting
      a nation-wide OA mandate for HAL in France. 

      (In the meantime, the UK, with no national repository,
      has adopted an OA mandate for all 7 of its national
      research funding councils , and 7 of its universities
      have already adopted institutional or departmental OA
      mandates too. In France one national funding council one
      national institute, and one laboratory have so far
      adopted OA mandates.)


            NIH wanting to [manage] its own
            [r]epository... ha[s] not impeded, quite the
            contrary, the political process leading to
            the law where this mandate is contained.


      The issue -- to repeat -- is not institutional
      repositories (IRs) vs. central repositories (CRs) but IRs
      vs. CRs as the mandated locus of direct deposit. (The
      rest is indeed just a matter of harvesting.)

      And the NIH's stipulation of a CR (PubMed Central) as the
      mandated locus of deposit has indeed (partially) impeded
      (and is continuing to (partially) impede) progress in
      implementing and sustaining the NIH mandate. 

      Instead designating the fundee's IR as the default locus
      of direct deposit (and then harvesting to PubMed Central
      from there) would greatly facilitate the progress not
      only of the NIH mandate, but of institutional mandates
      ("the slumbering giant") as well as other funder mandates
      worldwide, for the specific reasons that have been
      repeatedly adduced in this discussion.

            I am convinced that we will have to live with
            a mixed array of multi-disciplinary
            depositories, single (or made up of related
            disciplines) central depositories and
            multi-disciplinary depositories.

      To repeat. This is not the issue. Of course there can and
      will and should be both IRs and CRs. The issue is locus
      of mandated deposit. 


            the best way to move forward is simply ensure
            the creation of meta-data that ease[s] the
            institutional harvesting of articles by

      (1) Most Institutions do not have OA mandates, hence they
      are not harvesting institutional deposit that have been
      deposited institution-externally.

      (2) Most funders do not have OA mandates either (and not
      all research is funded), hence much research would not be
      harvestable to IRs even if all funders mandated deposit
      in CRs.

      (3) Depositing institution-externally in CRs and then
      back-harvesting to the institution's website makes about
      as much sense as depositing in google and than
      back-harvesting to one's own website (except that it is
      even worse, with a variety of different googles in which
      one's own content might be externally located). Only
      forward-harvesting -- from the distributed local
      providers to external collections and global services,
      rather than the reverse -- makes any practical or logical

      (4) More important even than making practical and logical
      sense is the likelihood that funders mandating IR deposit
      instead of CR deposit will facilitate and motivate the
      adoption of complementary mandates by the fundees'
      institutions, to capture the rest of their institutional
      research output. (Waking the "slumbering giant": the
      universal providers, the worlwide network of universities
      and research institutions.) This potential gain would be
      at no loss in either content of functionality to the

      All of this vague and cheery talk about letting 1000
      flowers bloom simply fails to take into account a single
      one the many very specific practical and functional
      points that have been adduced on behalf of funders
      stipulating IRs instead of CRs as their designated locus
      of deposit, and harvesting to CRs from there.

      Stevan Harnad

Jean-Claude Guédon
Université de Montréal
Received on Wed Feb 11 2009 - 15:11:16 GMT

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