Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Best practice for archive managers: new articles first, past articles later

Steve Hitchcock, Warning on repository legacy deposit burden, EPrints Insiders, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

Repositories should focus on the present rather than the past to reduce the immediate burden on depositing authors and repository staff, an expert in repository development and management has warned. Authors are encouraged, and in some cases mandated, to deposit copies of their latest published papers in the local IR, but with many IRs just opening or beginning to grow content more quickly, managers see older, legacy papers as a rich source of repository material.

Responding to a question about providing open access to these legacy papers, Leslie Carr, who leads the team developing EPrints and manages the repository of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, ECS EPrints, said: "Be very careful about the past, there's a lot of it and there's only a limited amount of effort that you can draw on now, in the present."

"If you are setting up a self-archiving repository for 'current science'," Carr continued, "...each researcher will have to deposit an item every few months (say 10 minutes every 3 months). This is not onerous....Now consider adding the startup requirement that you also want to include the last 4 year's literature. Suddenly you have to sell to your staff the idea that they each have to invest several hours to start the repository....

"The result? Disgruntled staff who are more likely to feel hostile and ill-disposed towards the repository, who have less patience with the software and are more likely to complain to the repository manager. While our staff got over the 'legacy mountain' after a painful few months, I did wish that we hadn't added that extra complication at the start. I would prefer to get the repository established, make sure people are happy AND THEN encourage them to fill in papers from the past."