The Beginning of Institutional Repositories

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Jun 2009 19:53:50 -0400

(Hyperlinked version of this posting:

Stuart Basefsky, Senior Reference Librarian at Cornell, writes, in The
End of Institutional Repositories & the Beginning of Social Academic
Research Service: An Enhanced Role For Libraries :

"In building IRs, the evidence is clear that their mere existence does
not translate into use. Hence the necessity to come up with
Harvard-like mandates to force compliance of faculty. The social,
academic foundation for cooperation and active participation in IR
efforts was overlooked. However, a lesson can be learned from these

(1) Stuart Basefsky seems to count mandating IR deposit -- a strategy
that has been demonstrated to be successful in filling IRs -- as a
"failing." One wonders why?

(2) Alma Swan's author surveys (unmentioned by Basefsky) have shown
that most researchers report they do not yet deposit their papers in
their IRs, but if deposit were mandated by their institutions or
funders, 95% of them say they would deposit, 14% of them reluctantly,
81% willingly.

(3) Arthur Sale's outcome studies (likewise unmentioned) have shown
that researchers actually do as they say they would, and in about two
years an IR with a deposit mandate is well on the way to filling.

(4) Of the 768 IRs registered in ROAR -- the overwhelming majority of
them very far from full -- Cornell's are not in the top 10%.

(5) Nor is Cornell as yet one of the 51 institutions and departments
(and 36 funders) that have adopted a deposit mandate.

(6) The failing, it seems to me, is that of the mere existence of IRs
failing to be sufficient to fill them.

(6) The lesson, it seems to me, is that deposit mandates successfully fill them.

(7) And the IR usage stats and OA impact advantage are the evidence
that full IRs are heavily used.

(8) Stuart Basefsky's article lists many promising things an IR can do
to make itself more useful.

(9) But he seems to regard the most important of them -- mandating
deposit -- as a "failing."

(10) And he does not seem to realize that if an IR fails to fill
itself with its own institutional research output, it may be some sort
of an online information resource, but it is not an IR.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jun 23 2009 - 00:54:46 BST

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