Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Disciplinary repositories can harvest from institutional repositories

Stevan Harnad, Institutional Repositories vs Subject/Central Repositories, Open Access Archivangelism, June 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

Beth Tillinghast wrote on the DSpace list:

"I have just run into my first case where I am finding our IR in competition with a Subject Repository... I am wondering if others have run into this dilemma and can provide me with many good reasons why submission should take place in an institutional repository rather than a subject repository?"

The dilemma has a simple, optimal and universal solution, with many, many good reasons supporting it:

Direct deposit should be in each researcher's own institution's IR. SRs and CRs can harvest from IRs.

That's what the OAI protocol is for. Institutions are the (distributed) research providers. They are the ones with the direct stake in the record-keeping and showcasing of their own research output, in maximizing its accessibility, visibility, usage and impact, and in assessing and rewarding its research performance. Institutions are also in the position to mandate that their own research output be deposited in their own IR; funder mandates can reinforce that, and can benefit from institutional monitoring and oversight (as long as funders too mandate institutional deposit and central harvesting, rather than direct central deposit)....

(Before you reply to sing the praises of SRs and CRs, recall that their virtues are identical if they are harvested rather than the loci of direct deposit. The overwhelming benefit of IR deposit is that that is the way to ensure that all research output is universally self-archived.)

(And before you reply that seasoned Arxiv depositors will resist institutional deposit, forget about them: they are not the problem. They are self-archiving already, and have been for a decade and a half. Arxiv self-archivers' habits will be integrated with those of the rest of the self-archiving community once self-archiving mandates prevail and institutional self-archiving becomes universal. For now, focus your attention on the 85% of researchers who do not yet self-archive at all, anywhere. They are the problem. And convergent institutional [and funder] self-archiving mandates are the solution....)