Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2003 22:22:04 +0000

On Sun, 23 Nov 2003, herbert van de sompel wrote:

> >
> >
> > REASON 1: Researchers and their own institutions share a common
> > interest -- because they are co-beneficiaries -- in maximizing the
> > access to, and thereby the impact of, their own research output.
> Another reason - IMO - is the role institutional repositories play in
> "archiving" (literal meaning of the word) the intellectual output
> of institutions. One should expect that institutions have strong
> incentives to do such archiving; this is about much more than only
> "publications"; it is about all kinds of output of an institution.
> Institution-based "self-archiving" can ride on the wave of institutional
> archiving in general. See also Cliff Lynch's paper in that respect
> ( herbert

A priori, I thought that too: Like you, I at first welcomed the joining of
forces among the five main rationales for institutional self-archiving
as a way of creating a synergy among them and thereby promoting the
self-archiving of refereed research output (5: RES).

    1. (MAN) digital collection management (all kinds of digital content)

    2. (PRES) digital preservation (all kinds of digital content)

    3. (TEACH) online teaching materials

    4. (EPUB) electronic publication (journals and books)

    5. (RES) self-archiving institutional research output (preprints,
    postprints and theses)

But in practise, instead of a synergy, there has been confusion, with the
various different agendas and motivations for institutional archiving mainly
obscuring or eclipsing RES (5) instead of clarifying and accelerating it.

The self-archiving of refereed research articles is *not* the same
as the self-archiving of other institutional output (or the archiving
and management [MAN, 1] of institutional digital buy-in). Because of EPUB (4)
self-archiving is again being confused with institutional self-publication
(which it isn't) and mixed up with institutional ambitions to cash in on
their intellectual property (which is not only irrelevant but antithetical to
the self-archiving of refereed research). TEACH (2), is clouding faculty's
sense of what to self-archive, why, and for whom. And PRES (2), born of
institutions' worries about how to preserve both their buy-in digital
contents (like journals) as well as their own unique forms of output,
has made many people forget that the self-archived refereed-research articles
are just *supplements*, provided for access purposes, and not *substitutes*
for the primary versions of the article, which is the publisher's (and hence
part of the preservation burden for buy-in, not for duplicate output)!

So, alas, so far, what looked as if it would give the self-archiving of
institutional refereed research output (RES, 5) further synergetic force has
instead defocussed and diffused what could have been a very clear and
focussed university policy:

Never mind. Those of us who still have the open-access picture clear in
our minds are working hard to get institutions into focus despite all the
confusion among disparate archiving agendas. Providing open access
to institutional refereed research output is a very specific, urgent
task. It should not be mixed up with other kinds of digital archiving
that institutions may be contemplating doing.

Here are some prior threads on this opportunity for synergy that has so far
been missed:

    "Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives"

    "EPrints, DSpace or ESpace?"

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):
    Post discussion to:

Dual Open-Access Strategy:
    BOAI-2 ("gold"): Publish your article in a suitable open-access
            journal whenever one exists.
    BOAI-1 ("green"): Otherwise, publish your article in a suitable
            toll-access journal and also self-archive it.
Received on Sun Nov 23 2003 - 22:22:04 GMT

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