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Re: Publisher Proxy Deposit Is A Potential Trojan Horse

On Wed, 19 Mar 2008, Thomas Krichel wrote:

  Stevan Harnad writes

SH: (7) University-external, subject-based self-archiving does not scale up to cover all of OA output space: it is divergent, divisive, arbitrary, incoherent and unnecessary.
  TK: So, do you recommend arXiv, RePEc, E-LIS, etc to close down?
No, I was talking about where institutions and funders should *mandate* depositing institutional research output.

(8) ..."(The deposits, or their metadata, can then be externally
harvested into whatever subject-based, disciplinary, or
multidisciplinary central collections we may desire.)"

To reach 100% OA at long last, the problem is not the small minority of articles that are already being deposited, unmandated, for over a decade now, but the vast majority that have not been, and are not being.

  Disclosure: I am the creator of RePEc...
Disclosure: I am the creator of CogPrints (launched over ten years ago).

We can have all the central collections our hearts desire, and the small minority (out of all researchers, at all institutions, in all disciplines) who already deposit centrally can continue to deposit centrally if they wish.

It is infinitely easier for an institution to hack up a way to back-harvest the (usually tiny) portion of its own total research output that its researchers are already systematically self-archiving in an OAI-compliant central repository (as CERN -- a special case of a physics-only institution with the majority of its output already being self-archived in Arxiv -- has done) than to keep imagining that 100% of institutional output can and will find its way into some central collection, somewhere, of its own accord.

Or to imagine that the way for an institution to mandate the self-archiving of 100% of its own research output (and to audit, assess, archive and showcase its own research assets, and to reward compliance by its own researchers) is to mandate that it be deposited "somewhere."

(Not mention the even more incoherent and short-sighted notion of institutional and funder mandates somehow relying on -- and paying for! -- proxy institution-external deposit by publishers instead of direct self-archiving by researchers.)

What is needed is a coherent, convergent strategy that will systematically scale up to cover all of research output, funded and unfunded, from all disciplines and interdisciplines, from all institutions (most of which are pandisciplinary universities) worldwide.

Institution-external deposit into arbitrary central collections is not that scaleable strategy. Mandated institutional deposit is. Both institutions and funders need to take this into account, when they mandate OA self-archiving.

Whatever central collections we may desire are then just a matter of harvesting content from the distributed OAI-compliant IRs -- which were made OAI-compliant specifically so as to make their content all interoperable and harvestable.

Stevan Harnad