Re: Repository effectiveness

From: Sally Morris <sally_at_MORRIS-ASSOCS.DEMON.CO.UK>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 11:36:17 +0100

I am not convinced that the primary obstacle is the difficulty of deposit.
The impression obtained from the studies I did was that the majority of
scholars did not know (or had a very vague and often inaccurate idea) about
self-archiving, and most had no particular interest in depositing their own

A question of mote and beam, perhaps?!


Sally Morris
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex, UK BN13 3UU
Tel: +44 (0)1903 871286
-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
Behalf Of Leslie Carr
Sent: 20 September 2010 10:21
Subject: Re: Repository effectiveness

On 19 Sep 2010, at 16:09, bjork_at_HANKEN.FI wrote:

> Firstly I have recently uploaded my central 30 articles to our (D-Hanken)
> In what I would consider best practice fashion. You can check the results
> This took me about one week's workload
in all including finding the proper files, reformatting the personal
versions, checking the copyright issues etc. The actual task of uploading,
once I had everything ready, took perhaps the six minutes suggested, but all
in my experience around an hour would be more appropriate.

Thanks for providing some actual experience and feedback to the list. I have
had a look at your user record in your institutional DSpace repository, (how
is that related to your home page?, is the material automatically generated
by the repository for inclusion in the home page?) and the 24 items that are
available for public view (perhaps some are stuck in the editorial process?)
appeared at the following times
3 items on 2010-Apr-28
5 items on 2010-Jun-01
8 items on 2010-Jun-17
5 items on 2010-Aug-12
3 items on 2010-Aug-16
DSpace does not reveal whether you submitted them in a single batch and the
library processes batched them up, or whether you deposited them in batches
and they were made available immediately.

I think that the pattern of deposit is important in determining the overall
impact of the workload on the author - and more importantly, on the
psychological impact of the workload. It must be the case that depositing
thirty articles seems like a substantial administrative task, especially
when there are so many other activities demanded of an academic's daily
time. Even five or six items a day is a substantial diary blocker! This is
the backlog phenomenon - any new repository (or new user) has to face the
fact that getting started is the hardest part of using a repository.
Depositing a reasonable representation of your recent (or historical) output
is A Huge Chore. However, once you have achieved that, then the incremental
workload for depositing an individual paper when you have just written it
seems trivial. Especially compared to the job of sorting out the references

This was certainly the case for our (school) repository in 2002, when we
decided to mandate the use of EPrints for returning our annual list of
research outputs to the University's admin office. (Stevan may remember
this!) People whined, people complained, people dragged their heels, but
ultimately they did it. But the following year, there were no complaints,
just a few reminders sent out. And an incredibly onerous admin task (a
month's work of 6 staff to produce the departmental research list) was
reduced to a 10 minute job for one person (using Word to reformat the list
that EPrints provided). And since then, we haven't looked back.

There is a report available which details the study we did at that time to
determine the effort involved in self-deposit:
It includes all the data that we collected, and some visualisations of the
Web activity that was involved in depositing several hundred records. That
is where the 6 minute figure comes from, if you are interested.

> We are helping out some other key researchers at my school to upload and
there are many non-trivial task. For instance researchers in Finance whose
"personal versions" consist of text files and several tables which are
provided to the publishers as sheets in excel files. There may be several
hours of work to format a decent personal version of such a papers. Since
some of best authors are very busy (dean and vice dean of the school) this
has to be done by admin staff.

You can make a "Sunday best" version of the papers and the spreadsheet
tables, or you could just deposit the texct and the tables separately - if
that is acceptable to the authors. (This is a common phenomenon in Open
Educational Resources - people's teaching materials are never finalised, and
there are always just one or two more adjustments to make to prepare them
for public view. And so a desire for the best sometimes means that material
is never shared.)

> Secondly the situation reseachers face in making the decision to upload a
green copy resembles the situation faced by any individual deciding whether
or not to take into use a new IT system. There is a large body of literature
on this in Information Systems (my field) research and the UTAUT model :...I
would suggest that using a model like these to model how rational scholars
behave could be could quite fruitful, rather than staring from scratch.

It would be interesting to analyse some of the Open Access experience from
the last decade in terms of these models, but we are not starting from
scratch in this area. The MIS models are very general, and the OA experience
is very specific. Harnad, for example, maintains a list of 38
rationalisations that people make against the use of repositories: . Still, adopting an accepted
theoretical framework to talk about this issues can't be a bad thing!

> Uploading green copies to a repository may not be so different from
starting a profile and uploading stuff to Face Book or other similar
voluntary IT acts we have to decide on.
Except that voluntary participation in Facebook is a million miles away from
formal scholarly communication, in ways that we can all articulate at the
drop of a hat. "Publish or perish" for one!
Les Carr=
Received on Mon Sep 20 2010 - 11:45:15 BST

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