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How To Support Institutional OA Archive Start-Up and OA ContentProvision

On Sat, 2 Oct 2004, Jean-Claude Guedon wrote:

> Stevan,  How would you go about funding the conversion of individual 
> institutions such as universities?
> How would you use funding to achieve "the implementation of official 
> institutional self-archiving *policies*"?
> As a member of the Information Sub-Board of OSI, I would be interested 
> in seeing a series of concrete tactics and strategies in this regard.

I am delighted that OSI asks, at last! 

The answer is quite simple, and completely analogous to the rationale for
the funding that is already being provided and recommended by OSI, JISC
and others in order to help start up and fill OA journals:

    (I) First, determine the start-up cost of creating an institutional
    OA Archive (including any requisite departmental/disciplinary
    modularization and customisation). (Southampton can help provide
    you with the actual figures; they have the most extensive experience
    with this.)

    (II) Second, offer to institutions -- exactly the way it is now being
    offered to journals and to authors -- to subsidise all or part of
    the cost of creating the archive as well as of depositing the papers,
    but only:

    (III) ON CONDITION that the institution adopts and implements an
    official self-archiving policy 

If you wish, Southampton University can also provide an
instructional/informational package on institutional self-archiving
consisting of:

    (i) the OSI Handbook on how and why to create and fill Institutional
    OA Archives 

    (ii) information on the size of the OA citation-impact 
    advantage to be expected from self-archiving

    (iii) information on the current growth rate in the number
    and size of institutional OA archives

    (iv) information on journals' self-archiving policies

    (v) information on other institutions' self-archiving policies:

    (vi) information on how institutional OA self-archiving databases
    can be used to measure and evaluate individual and institutional
    research performance and impact: 

    (vii) information on how to answer users' prima facie questions
    about self-archiving

    (viii) information on current national initiatives to mandate self-archiving:

    (ix) Powerpoints for archive administrators and
    users, explaining the rationale for self-archiving

And last, here are 5 of the reasons for OSI (and other funders interested
in supporting OA) to subsidise institutional OA archive start-up costs:

    (1) The cost of subsidising the conversion of an institution to OA
    self-archiving is far less than the cost of subsidising the conversion
    of a journal to OA-publishing.

    (2) The return -- in annual number of OA articles -- on subsidising
    the conversion of one institution to self-archiving is far greater
    than the return on converting one journal, and far more likely to
    propagate to other institutions of its own accord.

    (3) Converting one institution to OA self-archiving (unlike converting
    one journal to OA publishing) propagates over all institutional
    (*This is also the reason why it is so important that the national
    self-archiving mandates should be for distributed institutional
    self-archiving, as recommended by the UK Select Committee, rather
    than for central self-archiving, as recommended by the US House

    (4) The cost -- per resulting OA article -- of subsidising author
    OA self-archiving (by providing a start-up proxy archiving service
    to help or do it for them) is incomparably lower than the cost --
    per resulting OA article -- of subsidising author OA publishing costs.

    (5) Converting institutions to self-archiving not only provides
    immediate OA for far more articles, but it also paves the way for a
    possible (*not certain*!) eventual transition to OA publishing in a
    gradual, anarchic way that generates far less resistance and far more
    OA -- along with more time and scope for evolution and adaptation --
    than trying to convert directly journal by journal.

    "The Green Road to Open Access: A Leveraged Transition"

Stevan Harnad