Re: The Beginning of Institutional Repositories

From: Sally Morris (Morris Associates) <"Sally>
Date: Wed, 24 Jun 2009 11:01:04 +0100

That's what they told Alma. It is not, however, what they are doing so far


Sally Morris
Partner, Morris Associates - Publishing Consultancy

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-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 23 June 2009 14:13
Subject: Re: The Beginning of Institutional Repositories

On Tue, 23 Jun 2009, Sally Morris (Morris Associates) wrote:

> The perceived necessity for institutional and other mandates does, in a
> sense, reflect a failing - that researchers simply do not see 'what is in
> for them' and therefore do not, by and large, deposit voluntarily. What
> this tells us is an interesting question

It is indeed an interesting question. I think a partial answer is given
by Alma Swan's surveys, which showed not only that 95% of researchers
would comply with a deposit mandate, but that 81% would do so
*willingly*, and only 14% reluctantly.

To me, that suggests that researchers are inclined to deposit, but not
inclined enough to do so without a mandate from their institutions or

The reasons most are *inclined* to do so, yet only a few actually do it
without a mandate are multiple. I have identified at least 34 of them:

     Harnad, S. (2006) Opening Access by Overcoming Zeno's Paralysis, in
     Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic
     Aspects, chapter 8. Chandos.

The three chief worries are about doing so are that (1) it might be
illegal, (2) it might put their paper's acceptance for publication by
their preferred journals at risk, and (3) it might be time-consuming.

These -- and the 31 other worries -- are all groundless, and individual
researchers can be successfully informed about this, one by one; but
that is not a very practical route to reaching a deposit rate of 100%
worldwide. Official institutional and funder mandates reassure researchers
that there is nothing to worry about, their institutions and funders
back them, everyone is doing it, and, as they quickly learn, the time
it takes to deposit it is minuscule.

     Carr, L. and Harnad, S. (2005) Keystroke Economy: A
     Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving.

I am not saying that this fully resolves the puzzle of why it is taking so
long to reach the outcome that is so obviously and demonstrably optimal
for research and researchers, and fully within reach. We will have to
leave that to future historians and sociologists. What is urgent now
-- for the sake of research itself, as well as for researchers, their
institutions and funders, and the tax-payers that fund the research --
is that this optimal and inevitable outcome should be facilitated and
accelerated by mandates, so we reach it at long last. For the longer we
delay, the more research impact and progress keeps being lost, needlessly.

So full speed ahead with deposit mandates now, and then we can study
why it took so long -- and why it needed to be mandated at all -- at
our leisure, after we have universal OA.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Jun 24 2009 - 12:20:06 BST

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