Re: [EP-tech] Re: Eprint request button - data on effectiveness

From: Stevan Harnad <amsciforum_at_GMAIL.COM>
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 07:15:51 -0400

On Tue, Jul 21, 2009 at 4:27 AM, Francis
Jayakanth<> wrote:

> Since Jan 2009, our repository (, has been using the
> GNU version, which supports reprint request. Since then, on an
> average, we receive about 20-25 reprint request everyday! This is very
> encouraging for us and it also exemplifies the usefulness of the IRs. My
> only concern is, one needs to spend considerable amount of time in
> responding to the reprint requests. Will there be any copyright-related
> issues if the reprint request process is automated?

(1) Congratulations on the success of the IISC's eprint request button.

(2) You do not reply directly to Gavin's question about request
fulfillment, but I assume you also mean to say that the eprint
requests at IISC are indeed being fulfilled via an affirmative click.

(3) You also don't indicate who is fulfilling the requests, but if the
button is being implemented correctly, then it should be the author
(or the author's designated proxy) who is receiving the eprint
requests by email, and then clicking (once) to fulfill them, if the
author elects to do so.

(4) 20-25 reprint request every day is an admirable figure, but I
assume that that is for the IISC as a whole rather than for a single
author (although there are no doubt a few happy authors on the planet
who do receive 20-25 email eprint requests per day for their

(5) One keystroke per email request is hardly time/effort for an
author (or his proxy) and I rather doubt authors would complain about
it. Even in paper reprint request days it was gratifying to receive
and respond to evidence of interest in one's work. With the
semi-automatic button, it's only a few keystrokes for the requester
and a single keystroke for the author, all within an incomparably
shorter turnaround time, with automatic addressing.

(6) Hence this is certainly not an occasion for worrying about the
time and effort in providing "Almost OA" in this remarkably fast and
efficient way, particularly when the alternative is an access embargo.

(7) But, no, automatizing the request-fulfillment would entirely
defeat the purpose of the eprint request button, for that would be
completely identical with having made the deposit Open Access rather
than Closed Access in the first place, even when the author wishes to
honor a publisher's embargo on providing open access: It was in order
to make it possible to make as well as to mandate making immediate
deposits even in those cases that the eprint request button was

(8) On the other hand, the Eprints repository software does have a
means of automatically converting the deposit from Closed Access to
Open Access at any time the author chooses. (And if this moment is
hastened by the author's getting fed up with doing the single
keystrokes for single requests, that's all well and good.)

(9) Over 90% of journals already endorse some form of immediate Open
Access, so the single extra author keystroke per request is already
only reserved for a minority of articles.

(10) But let us be patient and let both deposit mandates and the
button do their good work in providing incomparably more access than
ever before possible, without worrying too much about a few extra
keystrokes per author in fullfilling eprint requests:

(11) It is the keystrokes of depositing the articles in the first
place that are the crucial ones, if the planet is to have universal OA
at long last.

(12) And the dual purpose of the button includes the capability of
fulfilling research usage needs during any access embargo, to be sure;
but, even more important, its other purpose is to ensure that
immediate-deposit mandates can be adopted universally today, without
any concerns about copyright or legality.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jul 21 2009 - 13:13:18 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:51 GMT