Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 9 Nov 2004 16:23:53 +0000 (GMT)

On Sun, 7 Nov 2004, Thomas Krichel wrote:

> Stevan Harnad writes:
> > citeseer is not OAI-compliant.
> Wrong.

That's good news. I knew it was coming but not that it had already come.
And citeseer's new face-lift in its presentation format is very becoming
too! Bravo to Lee Giles.

> > Disciplines do not count an author's publications, weigh
> > their impact, and employ and fund him accordingly. His institution
> > does (and to a certain extent his research funders do too).
> I see two problems with this reasoning:
> (1) While institutional administrators make the final decisions,
> they rely on discipline-specific advice. They can't do without it.
> (2) A crucial argument for a university administrator to pay Prof.
> X better, is that otherwise she may be hired away to University Y.
> The opportunity for Prof. X arises through a discipline-specific
> valuation scheme.

I am not sure what point Thomas is making. Of course when a university is
evaluating an employee for promotion/tenure it consults qualified peers
at other universities for their judgment, and both the employee and
the consultants are usually in the same department, hence discipline,
at their respective universities. That has nothing to do with the fact
that it is in his *own* university (department) that the employee is
being evaluated, it is for the research impact of *that* university
that he is being rewarded, it is *that* university that co-benefits
from the impact (and the research) income: not the other university,
and not the discipline. So it is the employee's own university that
has the interest in maximizing its employees' impact, showcasing it,
monitoring it, measuring it, and mandating that all of that university's
research output should be self-archived in order to maximize it --
not the other university, nor the discipline.

Nor am I sure what Thomas's point is about a "discipline-specific
valuation scheme"? What does that mean? That universities have
departments, and typically hire and promote (and consult outside experts)
at the departmental, hence also disciplinary level? I agree. But that
has nothing to do with the question of whether it is the
local university/departmental self-archiving or remote central/disciplinary
self-archiving that is more likely to grow and spread to 100% OA across
all disciplines. I can only repeat (and I don't think Thomas disagrees)
that it is the researcher and his own university/department that share the
benefits of maximizing their joint research impact, not the researcher
and his discipline, or any remote 3rd-party entity (with the exception
of the research funder, like NIH, but even there, the funder gains just
as much from mandating institutional self-archiving, and OA as a whole,
within and across disciplines gains a good deal more).

> > Even Physics, at Arxiv's present linear growth rate, unchanged since
> > 1991, will not be 100% OA for at least another 10 years).
> I will let you calculate how long it takes for the remaining
> disciplines to become open access at the speed that institutional
> archives are filling at this time. I guess it will 100 years or
> more.

Without a self-archiving mandate, I agree. That is why self-archiving
mandates are necessary, both from the employer and the funder. But
the optimal locus for the self-archiving practice to propagate across
disciplines within the same university and across universities is local
institutional/departmental self-archiving -- mandated, maintained
and monitored locally, but harvested remotely -- rather than remote
central self-archiving. Again, I don't think Thomas is advocating
central archiving either, so I am not sure what the disagreement is about.

Stevan Harnad

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Received on Tue Nov 09 2004 - 16:23:53 GMT

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