Re: On Distinguishing Open Access Self-Archiving from Open Access Journal Publishing

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2004 17:11:31 +0100 (BST)

On Mon, 25 Oct 2004, Prof. Tom Wilson wrote:

> Is self-archiving working? We have heard much about the Open Archives Initiative
> and of the virtues of self-archiving over other methods of open access
> publishing, but what is going on? After a certain amount of labour I discovered
> a list of 10 institutions using the e-Prints software from Southampton to
> organize institutional archives. I searched out their archives and collected
> data on the number of documents they contained, year by year back to 1990.

You might have saved some effort by looking at the following,
which charts the growth of about 220 archives, 144 of them GNU Eprints:

> Finding that the University of Southampton accounts for 71% of all the
> documents deposited I analysed the composition of its archives and find that
> there is a very strong disciplinary bias - more than 70% of the content is
> deposited by just two units.

That is because the University of Southampton as a whole does not yet
have an official self-archiving policy, only the ECS department does. But a few
other universities do already have self-archiving policies:

And more soon will, once the proposed US and UK self-archiving mandates
are implemented (and emulated):

> I'm in the process of writing a short research note on the subject, which those
> interested can find at

Interesting report, but not clear why you focussed on university-wide archives
rather than departmental ones (since departments are parts of universities,
the eprints software is deliberately modular, and university self-archiving
policies are best implemented at a departmental level!):

You also, in your report, seem to (1) confuse self-archiving with self-publishing
(publishing is done in peer-reviewed journals, open access to that publication
is provided by self-archiving it) and to (2) confuse open-access
self-archiving ("green") with open-access publishing ("gold")
(universities are not *publishing* the articles their authors
self-archive, they are merely maximising their access and impact be
making them open-access).

Please look at the proposed self-archiving mandates and that may help
sort these things out more coherently: Universities provide OAI-compliant,
interoperable archives. Mandatory self-archiving policies ensure the
archives are filled, and researchers, their institutions, their funders
and research as a whole is the beneficiary of the maximised research
access and impact that this affords.

Stevan Harnad

A complete Hypermail archive of the ongoing discussion of providing
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UNIVERSITIES: If you have adopted or plan to adopt an institutional
policy of providing Open Access to your own research article output,
please describe your policy at:

    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.

> ___________________________________________________
> Professor T.D. Wilson, PhD
> Publisher/Editor in Chief
> Information Research
> University of Sheffield
> Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
> e-mail:
> Web site:
> ___________________________________________________
Received on Fri Oct 29 2004 - 17:11:31 BST

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