Re: The Mandate of Open Access Institutional Repository Managers

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2010 13:11:34 -0400

On 2010-07-30, at 12:17 PM, C Oppenheim wrote:

> Stevan says distributing articles amongst many OA resources does not advance OA one millimetre. I disagree. users will be indifferent as to whether the hits they get from a Google Scholar search come from an IR or an OA journal, so the cause of OA IS advanced by having a rich variety of OA sources.

And Google Scholar is indifferent to whether the OA URLs it harvests are from an IR or an OA journal.

And users will be indifferent to whether the URL of an OA article is from an IR or an OA journal.

And authors will be indifferent to whether the downloads or citations of their articles result from an IR or an OA journal.

There is only one empirical question in all this: We know that making an article OA will increase its downloads and citations over leaving it non-OA.

Does making it OA many times over increase them even more. (I don't know: Do you, Charles?)

With no empirical basis for encouraging authors to spam the web with multiple copies of their OA articles (with no evidence of gain), I'd say making it OA once is enough. (And the best and most systematic way to do that is by depositing it -- once -- in your IR.) Leave the rest to the harvesters. (And publish in a gold OA journal if and when you please; it has nothing to do with you IR or your IR manager.)

> Stevan says that it is not the job of repository managers to theorise about the future of publishing. He also says a repository manager's mandate should be to fill the institutional repository with the institution's journal article output, regardless of whether it is published in a gold or non-gold journal.

So far, so good...

> But it IS the job of repository managers - and their managers - to think about the entire e-publishing scene and to adopt policies that advance their Institution's strategies.

Which strategies?

1. Easing the institution's incoming journals budget (1a)? What does that have to do with managing the institution's repository for its outgoing journal article output (1b)?

2. Advancing the institution's own hopes as an e-publisher? (Nolo contendere -- except to say that it's an extremely bad idea for an institution to link its efforts to provide OA to its own staff's journal articles (2a) with any plans for the institution to become a journal publisher (2b). This is why both University of California [Bepress] and Stanford [High-Wire Press] are tied up in knots about OA.)

I think mixing either of those pairs of distinct agendas (1a/1b or 2a/2b or both) represents *huge* strategic mistakes and miscalculations on the part of repository managers' managers, if that is what they have in mind.

(On the other hand, I applaud fervently the mixing of the repository agenda (3a) with the research assessment and performance evaluation agendas (3b), as many UK -- universities as well as, notably, U Liege -- have done. There the institutional interests converge quite naturally and mutually reinforce rather than conflict with one another. -- I rather doubt Charles would disagree on this!)

> As Jenny rightly says, Institutions are driven to do things for a large variety of reasons. OA is good because it gets the Institution's publications more widely read and more highly cited. But the particular OA routes to achieve that is a matter for internal politics.

And are the internal politics of institutions, then, to be allowed to plow ahead, uncritiqued, like a Juggernaut?

I can only repeat: Green OA is entirely in the hands of the worldwide research community (i.e., the institutional community). Institutions (and funders) are in a position to mandate Green OA, and hence in the position to provide 100% OA, globally. The cost to an institution of an IR and a mandate is next to nothing (especially if there were other things they wanted to use their IR for too!)

Gold OA, in contrast, is in the hands of the worldwide publishing industry. Institutions (and funders) are not in a position to mandate Gold OA -- all they can do is to spend some of their scarce resources to fund it (since the money to pay for it is already being spent on subscriptions).

So what other "particular route" did you have in mind, Charles, for IR managers and IR managers' managers, apart from mandating green -- and encouraging gold where possible (and funding it where available)?

> Sorry Stevan, but it is not for you to say what a repository manager's priorities should be - it is the repository manager's manager who decides that.

Well that's news to me. I thought I had been trying to say what a repository manager's priorities should be since years before there were repositories or repository managers...

> In a nutshell - Stevan believes that the mandate of repository managers is to fill the IR with 100% of staff outputs. It is not. The mandate of the repository manager is to do such duties as his/her employer requires. Despite considerable overlap, the two are not always identical.

And my mandate, Charles (if you will permit me!) is to continue describing, as clearly and as concretely as I can, what it is that I take to be the mandate of repositories, repository managers, and repository managers -- and why.

(And if "internal politics" are sleep-walking, I'll keep doing my level best to wake them up!)


> ______________________________________
> From: Repositories discussion list [JISC-REPOSITORIES_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad [harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK]
> Sent: 30 July 2010 16:49
> Subject: Re: The Mandate of Open Access Institutional Repository Managers
> On Fri, 30 Jul 2010, Delasalle, Jenny wrote:
>> And surely the gold OA does not preclude green OA as well?
> Not at all. Nor does green preclude gold.
> But:
> Green can be mandated; gold cannot.
> And (paid) gold costs extra money; green does not.
> That, in a nutshell, is why only green can scale up (via mandates) to
> universal OA, and gold (while subscriptions still need to be paid) is
> premature (and irrelevant to the mandate of an institutional repository
> manager).
>> Just because a publisher has already made an article available on OA
>> does not mean that the repository can't (or shouldn't) also do so.
> A repository manager's mandate should be to fill the institutional
> repository with the institution's journal article output, regardless of
> whether it is published in a gold or non-gold journal.
>> Unless the publisher has the copyright and has forbidden it, of course.
> The author's final refereed draft can be *deposited* regardless of
> publisher policy or copyright.
> Over 60% of journals have already endorsed setting access to the the
> deposit as OA immediately upon acceptance for publication. (A further 30%
> endorse immediate OA for the pre-refereeing draft).
> For the remainder of deposits, if the author wishes to honor the
> publisher's access embargo, access can be set as Closed Access instead
> of OA, and the repository's semi-automatic "email eprint request" button
> can provide "Almost OA" during any embargo period.
> The repository manager's mandate is to make sure it is all deposited
> immediately. The institution's mandate is to mandate that it all be
> deposited. And it should be part of the repository manager's mandate to
> advocate relentlessly that the institution should adopt a deposit
> mandate if it has not done so already.
>> I'd advise an author to put their article in as many places as possible
>> on OA, on the Web if their aim is to increase accessibility and discovery,
>> whilst always pointing at the canonical published version as well.
> If your author deposits it in your repository, all the other deposits are
> redundant (welcome, harmless, but redundant).
> The repository manager's mandate is more than fulfilled if all
> the institution's annual journal article output is being deposited in the
> institution's repository.
> If only a fraction of the institution's annual journal article output
> is being deposited, but deposited in many places, that does not advance
> OA by one millimeter (and advising multiple deposit to authors most of
> whom don't even do one deposit is not -- with all due respect -- good
> advice ). By needlessly calling for
> even more keystrokes from the authors' already paretic fingers, multiple
> deposit gratuitously raises the goal-posts while masking the repository
> manager's real mandate, which is to ensure that all the institution's
> journal article output is deposited in the institution's repository,
> once!
> (And the way to ensure that is for the institution to mandate it.)
>> In my experience, researchers like it if the canonical published version,
>> or the "version of record" is OA, and that is the gold OA model.
> Researchers "like" lots of things (including downloads, citations and
> impact, hence OA).
> But the fact (for over a decade now) is that only about 20% of them are
> *doing* anything about their "likes." (Zeno's Paralysis.)
> So whereas an author may imagine that in principle it would be nicer
> if the canonical "version of record" of his articles were OA, rather
> than just the accepted final draft, in practice 80% of authors are not
> depositing either version, let alone making it OA. (And the fact is also
> that far more journals endorse immediate green OA for the final draft
> than for the version of record.
> That's the reality. Moreover, (paid) gold OA publishing costs money.
> So the only solution (if 100% OA is the objective) is to mandate
> deposit.
> By the way, although authors are often asked the fatuous hypothetical
> question "Would you rather the publisher's version of record or just
> the accepted final draft of your article were OA?" they of course
> answer (as I would too): the version of record.
> But the right question to ask them in view of publishers' policies
> today is rather: "Would you rather *at least* the accepted final draft
> of your article were OA (or "Almost-OA) or *no version at all* (with
> access restricted to only those users whose institutions can afford
> to subscribe)?
> Researchers' answer to this far more relevant and realistic
> question is obvious (just as their "likes," above, are).
> But you still need a deposit mandate in order to make it happen -- to
> get researchers to do what it takes to make what they'd "like" to happen
> actually happen.
>> The repository game is certainly different to the publication one in so
>> far as the aims of the repository are different than those of the
>> publisher (especially all the aims of an IR - there are lots of
>> institutional drivers beyond OA), and in that the readers' discovery
>> route is different, which is partly because of those different aims.
> (1) Publication is about successfully meeting the peer-review standards
> of a suitable journal.
> (2) OA is about maximizing access to the publication (by not restricting
> it only to those users whose institutions can afford access to the
> journal in which it was published).
> (3) I don't know what the general "repository game" is, but OA to
> refereed journal articles loomed large in the motivation and design of
> repository software and the repository movement.
> (4) There are other things that can be put into a repository too, of
> course, but that has nothing to do with the green/gold issue under
> discussion here, one way or the other.
>> OA is a big driver for repositories. It is a big feature of
>> repositories, but, as Charles says, a professional repository manager
>> takes a holistic approach and that means being aware of researchers'
>> broader perspectives and diverse institutional needs that Graham Stone
>> has demonstrated.
> It is not clear what "broader perspectives and diverse institutional
> needs" you are referring to.
> I addressed the gist of Graham's UKSG article, which was an argument
> for the "gold only route" -- which, I take it, means that Graham has now
> become a repository manager who thinks the only way to make articles OA
> is to publish them in a gold OA journal -- which leaves the repositories
> now dedicated to to the deposit of the "grey" literature rather than
> the green literature.
> I find this a real head-shaker insofar as the mandate of a repository
> manager is concerned. I should have thought that (1) not only is a
> repository manager's mandate to fill the institution's repository
> rather than to theorise about the future of publishing, and (2) not
> only should green OA practice take priority over gold OA theory, but
> that (3) a repository manager's priority should be OA's target content
> (journal artucles) rather than the other kinds of content one might
> also wish to deposit in an institutional repository. (The discussion,
> however, was about (1) and (2), not about (3).)
> Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Jul 30 2010 - 18:11:48 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:50:12 GMT