Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More on the Depot

Stevan Harnad, Depot: Central Round-Up, Back-Up and Stop-Gap for UK's Open Access Institutional Repositories, Open Access Archivangelism, April 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

EDINA, SHERPA and JISC have just announced DEPOT, which looks as if it will be a superb central service for the UK, and a model for all countries worldwide that wish to provide Open Access to their research output.

DEPOT is many things, but chiefly a mediator for UK Institutional Repositories (IRs):

(a) If your institution already has an IR, Depot will redirect your deposit there, while also registering it and tracking it centrally, to make sure the deposit is picked up by the major search engines.
(b) If your institution does not yet have an IR, you can deposit directly in Depot and Depot will provide access to your deposit until your institution has an IR, at which point it will transfer your deposit to your IR.

I have mostly only congratulations for the designers and implementers of Depot. It is the optimal synthesis: It reinforces the author's own IR as the canonical locus for OA content. It monitors and integrates all of the UK's IRs. And it provides a provisional locus for any researcher whose institution does not yet have an IR (or for researchers who are not affiliated with an institution).

I would, however, like to recommend three small but very important changes....

  1. Do not restrict deposit to postprints: Include preprints too....
  2. Make it clear that the deposit of the postprint should be done as soon as the article is accepted for publication.
  3. Make it clear that the deposit itself, and its timing, does not depend in any way on publisher policy: only the OA-access-setting date might....

Moreover, as it is stated that Depot itself will be based on the EPrints IR software, this means that Depot will have (i) the option for Closed Access deposit as well as (ii) the "Fair Use" Button -- REQUEST EMAIL EPRINT. With those features, almost-OA [i.e. email delivery of a digital copy] can be provided almost-immediately and semi-automatically for any Closed Access deposit....