Re: Institutional vs. Central Repositories

From: <keith.jeffery_at_STFC.AC.UK>
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 2009 13:49:02 -0000

Stevan -

May I add four additional aspects in favour of institutional repositories, namely:

1. Research institutions can not only mandate OA IR deposit, but also incorporate such deposit naturally into the research workflow of the organisation thus reducing the threshold barrier (pre-stored information aiding completing metadata e-forms), increasing currency / immediacy and ensuring research context in the associated institutional CERIF-CRIS;

2. Research institutions may wish to control access to their IP for commercial reasons and also for security reasons (experiments on animals, defence contracts); this is clearly best done locally;

3. Research institutions have usually a wealth of additional research material over and above scholarly publications e.g. grey literature ., research datasets and software in their repository/ies. This is clearly not of (much) interest to central repositories and is best managed locally where it can be accessed (subject to any rights/conditions) in context;

4. Research institutions need - for internal and external evaluation - to have their research output (not only scholarly publications) recorded for local processing associated with the contextual data (persons, organisational unit(s), projects, patents, products, events, funding source (organisation) and funding (grant)...all in a local CERIF-CRIS. Harvesting from central repositories (a) is not complete even on research publications (b) does not have this associated contextual data which is all-important for evaluations.

I refer to the situation in Norway (FRIDA) and Flanders (FRIS) as examples. It is clear that many other national strategies are moving in this direction including the other Nordic countries, UK (especially Scotland!), Netherlands etc.


Prof Keith G Jeffery E:
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-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum [mailto:AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM_at_LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 25 November 2009 13:11
Subject: Institutional vs. Central Repositories

On Wed, 25 Nov 2009, Armbruster, Chris wrote:

> Much hope and a lot of money has been invested in institutional
> repositories - but, for example, in the UK the significant mandates
> are now research funder mandates and all the life science RCUKs have
> joined UK PMC. It would thus seem important and urgent that IRs
> reconsider their strategy and take a closer look at the idea of being
> a research repository or joining forces for building a national (or regional) system.

It is not at all clear that the "significant mandates" are the funder mandates, especially in view of the past year's burst in institutional mandates (UCL, Harvard, MIT, Stanford...):

The ones who need to reconsider their strategy are the (few) research funders who have needlessly and counterproductively stipulated that locus of deposit should be central rather than institutional.

(1) Institutions are the universal providers of all research output -- funded and unfunded, across all subjects, all institutions, and all nations.

(2) Institutions have a vested interest in hosting, monitoring, showcasing and archiving their own research output.

(3) OAI-compliant Repositories are all interoperable.

(4) Either funders or institutions can in principle stipulate any locus of deposit for a mandate, either institutional or central.

(5) But mandates are still growing too slowly, and one big reason is that *no one wants to do -- or andate -- multiple deposit*.

(6) There are potentially many diverse and divergent central loci for any piece of research output: subject collections, national collections, funder collections, multidisciplinary collections, etc.

(7) The metadata and/or full-text deposits of any OAI compliant repository can be harvested, exported or imported to any OAI compliant repository.

(8) The natural, economical, rational and systematic solution (one-to-many, unitary-local to multiple-distal) is for all researchers to deposit locally, in their own institional repository -- and for central collections to harvest, import or export -- not the reverse (many-to-one, distal to local), or both, or neither.

(9) The only thing that stands in the way of that optimal solution -- whereby institutional and funder mandates can collaborate, converge, and mutually reinforce one another -- is the arbitrary and ill-thought-through requirement by some funders (but by no means all) to deposit centrally instead of institutionally.

(10) This obstacle is neither a functional one (it has nothing to do with the relative functionality of institutional and central repositories -- they are interoperable and equipotent) nor a "cultural"
one (since self-archiving culture is still very new and all too rare):
the problem is simply the needless adoption of arbitrary and ill-thought-out locus-of-deposit by some of the initial funders.

(11) The solution is to fix the funder locus-of-deposit specs, not to switch to central locus of deposit.

(12) Prediction: The notion of a "central repository" -- new as it is -- is already obsolescent: Is Google a "central repository" or merely a harvester of local content?

Stevan Harnad

> Armbruster, Chris and Romary, Laurent, Comparing Repository Types:
> Challenges and Barriers for Subject-Based Repositories, Research
> Repositories, National Repository Systems and Institutional
> Repositories in Serving Scholarly Communication (November 23, 2009).
> Available at SSRN:
> Regards, Chris
> -----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
> Von: American Scientist Open Access Forum im Auftrag von Leslie Carr
> Gesendet: Di 11/24/2009 18:11
> Betreff: Re: Comparing repositories - subject-based, institutional, research and national repository systems
> On 23 Nov 2009, at 17:22, Armbruster, Chris wrote:
>> After two decades of repository development, some conclusions may be drawn as to which type of repository and what kind of service best supports digital scholarly communication, and thus the production of new knowledge.
> I think "two decades" is a bit misleading: although what we think of as the big subject-based repositories may predate the Web itself it's only just 10 years since the conception of OAI-PMH and (just) less than 8 years since the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Even the notion of an Institutional Repository is still relatively young - and when did we start calling them "repositories" rather than "archives"? I'm sure that the archives of this list will have the answer!
> --
> Les Carr
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Received on Wed Nov 25 2009 - 15:46:12 GMT

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