Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Explaining low deposit rates at institutional repositories

Stevan Harnad, Why Cornell's Institutional Repository Is Near-Empty, Open Access Archivangelism, March 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

SummaryCornell University's Institutional Repository (IR) so far houses only a very small percentage of its own annual research output, even though this output is the target content for Open Access (OA) IRs. As such, Cornell's IR is no different from all other IRs worldwide except those that have already adopted a "Green OA" deposit mandate. Alma Swan's international, multidisciplinary surveys have found that most researchers report they will not deposit without a mandate but will comply willingly if deposit is mandated by their institutions and/or their funders. Arthur Sale's comparative analyses of mandated and unmandated IRs have confirmed this in actual practise. Cornell's IR too has confirmed this with high deposit rates for the few subcollections that are mandated. IRs with Green OA mandates approach 100% OA within about 2 years. The worldwide baseline for unmandated self-archiving is about 15%.

Davis & Connolly's 2007 D-Lib article takes no cognizance of this prior published information. It surveys a sample of Cornell researchers for their attitudes to self-archiving and finds the usual series of uninformed misunderstandings, already long-catalogued and answered in published FAQs. The article then draws some incorrect conclusions derived entirely from incorrect assumptions it first makes, among them the following:

    (1) The purpose of Green OA self-archiving is to compete with journals? (No, the purpose is to supplement subscription access by depositing the author's final draft online, free for all users who cannot access the subscription-based version.)
    (2) IRs should instead store the "grey literature"? (No, OA's target content is peer-reviewed research.)
    (3) IRs are for preservation? (No, they are for research access-provision.)
    (4) Some disciplines may not benefit from Green OA self-archiving? (The only disciplines that would not benefit would be those that do not benefit from maximizing the usage and impact of their peer-reviewed journal article output.)
    The only thing Cornell needs to do if it wants its IR filled with Cornell's own research output is to mandate it.