Re: Poynder Again on Point on Institutional Repositories

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 20:00:58 +0000

On Thu, 9 Mar 2006, Armbruster, Chris wrote:

> If we agree that voluntary IRs will hit a glass ceiling at about 15% -
> will IRs become mandatory?...
> I don't think that I have read anywhere about a convincing strategy to
> convert a significant number of leading institutions to OA. Even though
> MIT and UC have made strong moves (DSpace, OCW, CDLib), I don't see a
> mandatory policy being adopted any time soon.

The motivation is self-interest (maximizing access maximizes impact and
impact income) and the strategy is providing evidence that this is so, and
how to achieve it. See JISC briefing paper:


MIT and UC do not mandate OA self-archiving. For those institutions that do, see:

> should funders mandate deposit in IRs and IRs alone?

They should mandate self-archiving in the researcher's own institutional OA IR
preferentially; other OA archives can then harvest using OAI.

    "A Simple Way to Optimize the NIH Public Access Policy"

> Consider some of the most successful disciplinary repository and
> distribution systems like arXiv, SSRN and RePEc. They are successful
> because they provide genuine value to the community, facilitating
> literature awareness and communication. Note, that all of these offer
> pre-print / working paper services....
> To my mind these services provide real, individual incentives for
> scientists and scholars to opt for OA.

Arxiv is a central repository; RePEc is harvested from distributed
sites; I'm not sure about SSRN (and not sure it's all OA) but it too
seems harvested. The list omits another big one: Citeseer. And OAIster,
And while we're at it, there's now Google Scholar. Both harvested from
distributed sites.

It's not true Arxiv is just preprints, it's both preprints and postprints, and always
has been. Ditto for Citeseer, OAIster and Google Scholar.

But all of these archives, whether central archives or merely harvested
virtual archives, are simply the locus of the 15% "glass ceiling" for
spontaneous (i.e., unmandated) self-archiving of the target OA literature
(journal articles -- preprints and postprints) (plus the c. 7% of articles
from OA journals). They do not raise the ceiling with further incentives:
They *are* the ceiling.

The reasons institutional self-archiving is a good bet is that institutions
have a stake in the impact of their own research output, and are in a position
to mandate that it be self-archived in their own IR. All institutions together
tile all of OA space. Central repositories are not entities, and cannot mandate.
Funders can mandate self-archiving in either the researcher's own institutional
IR or a suitable central repository, if there is one. Better bet to mandate local
institutional self-archiving and leave the rest to OAI harvesting.

> 2. Consider also Faculty of 1000 or Living Reviews as models of
> providing literature awareness and services for readers.

Very useful, and a good incentive, but not as good (or successful)
as a mandate.

> 3. Consider OA journals in conjunction with changes to the peer review
> mechanism, making peer review public, signed and/or interactive.

A completely irrelevant red herring (and deterrent) to understanding
and doing OA self-archiving -- whose main target is published journal
articles (postprints), not peer-review reform.

> Public, interactive peer review formats enable more inclusive scholarly communication.

Peer commentary is a valuable supplement for peer review, but no substitute for it;
nor does it provide OA, one way or the other.

> For those interested, I have reviewed all of these moves in detail:
> Armbruster, Chris, "Open Access in Social and Cultural Science:
> Innovative Moves to Enhance Access, Inclusion and Impact in Scholarly
> Communication" (November 15, 2005). Available at SSRN:

Interesting, but rather selective and hence incomplete, and somewhat out-of-date.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Mar 09 2006 - 20:07:20 GMT

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