Re: JAIRO (Japanese Institutional Repositories Online)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 04:51:18 -0400

The remarkable thing is that even in the subdiscussion of THE university
rankings and league tables, teaching/research trade-offs, student
quantity/quality, and national competitiveness, not one of the considerations
adduced turns out to be unique to Japan -- not even the misapprehension that it
is unique! The very same factors, when they are contemplated elsewhere, whether
at the national level or at an institutional level, likewise tend to fall into
the "trap" of being misperceived as locally unique and characteristic. (If you
like, this could be dubbed a generic, global sense of local "Nihonjinron": see
the discussion threads on the "peculiarities" of France, Netherlands, Germany,
India, the US -- also North/South and the Harvards /"Have-Nots.")

But insofar as mandating OA is concerned, it is all moot. I have already replied
that if a sense of "Sitting Pretty" (i.e., of having all the subscription access
one feels one need and wants, and believing that this is also reciprocal,
insofar as one's intended readership is concerned) motivates some authors not to
comply with a self-archiving mandate, *that's ok*. It's certainly no reason for
not adopting such a mandate. The compliance rate will still be far higher than
the unmandated global baseline deposit rate of 5-25%.

And if the word "mandate" has negative connotations, choose another word --
requirement, regulation, rule, procedure, policy, mechanism, format -- just as
long as it is made clear that deposit is being officially required, as a matter
of administrative policy, not merely invited, encouraged, recommended, requested
or urged, as a matter of taste or ideology. And, as noted, it's most effective
if the institutional repository is officially designated as the sole locus and
mechanism for submitting publications for performance review and research
assessment -- paper copies and PDF email attachments are formats that can no
longer be processed…

(By the way, there seems to be some evidence that mandating institutions may be
batting above their weight in League Tables, though this remains to be
systematically tested.)

Stevan Harnad

On 2010-09-18, at 10:28 PM, Syun Tutiya wrote:


            You appear to be falling into the Nihonjinron trap in
            believing that Japan is


      That does not seem to a correct description.  I have already fallen
      into your Nihonjinron trap, though I don't like to do any
      Nihonjinron.  For thouse of you this term, "Nihonjinron," which
      be translated as the discussion of the Japanese people, does not
      make sense, let me add that the Nihonjinron is a particular set of
      attitudes and discourses which tend to view the Japanese nationality
      not only as unique and unintelligible worldwide but, interetingly,
      inferior to the "Western" cultures.

      But as a good Japanese student and scholar, trained in the Japanese
      educational system successfully, I am proud to say that there are
      things I as a Japanese alone know which others, mayby including my
      Japanese colleagues, might not know.  If you call it a
      yes, I am trapped. But if you say


            universities are moving towards greater requirements on
            their academics to

            publish in international journals in English. Alongside
            these moves, we

            should be promoting the adoption of a deposit mandate to
            ensure the broadest

            impact of these articles.

      I don't think I can agree. Japaense research institutions were under
      severe pressure toward pulihishing their results in international
      journals in the 1990s and they, together with the never-stable
      government then, have succeeded in increasing the number of articles
      published in the impact-factor branded journals, which are
      international, in ten years.  Last year, China overtook Japan in
      of the number of published articles and Japan's "market share" is
      gradually decreasing, but China has over ten times as large a
      population so I don't care. The pressure still continues, as you say
      in your posting, of course, but the researchers here apparently want
      to talk to those in rich enough universities worldwide through the
      impact-factor branded journals, whose number is far less than half
      Stevan's "25,000" titles.  And the pressure itself is equally strong
      all over the advanced societies including China.

      You say the Japanese universities are now forced to improve their
      international representation, and I agree.  But if you look at the
      ranking or other rankings, the problem about our universities does
      lie in their research impact but in their "education" impact.
      Research related scores, like the number of articles published in
      branded journals, have been going up, probably not because of the
      organic growth of the production but because of the improvement of
      precision in counting, though the institutional summary is actually
      very difficult on account of the tough task of name
      University of Tokyo might have increased their score thanks to the
      many other Tokyo Universities of <Scholary-Genre-Name> which tend to
      be merged as part of Tokyo University, though the accuracy is

      So I should say that if the international thing is important in the
      Japanese context, that's not the issue around education rather than
      research. The university management is under higher pressure with
      respect to education than to research.  Without good enough
      universities can not survive only with good researchers.  I don't
      think this is any "Nihonjinron" but an objective view of the
      of the current Japanese higher education.  So the talks about
      mandating can't get prioritized in terms of management and the
      is passive not because of bureaucracy but because just "sitting
      pretty."  Of course, this does not mean I would not argue for the
      mandating in the good sense.

      Thanks anyway for rainsing such interesting but arguably important


Received on Sun Sep 19 2010 - 09:53:11 BST

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