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Re: US University OA Resolutions Omit Most Important Component

On Wed, 4 May 2005, David Stern wrote:

> While Stevan's push for 100% coverage of academic materials within OA
> repositories is on target, I still believe that we need a more reliable
> and universal infrastructure for decentralized repositories ... one that
> includes long-term support, which means funding for all authors and
> organized R&D for enhanced navigation.

All funding and support are of course welcome, but please, please let us
not lose sight (yet again) of the fact that the problem is not that the
cupboards are not *there* but that they are (85%) *bare*!


That means the immediate problem is *not* an insufficiently reliable and
universal infrastructure or insufficiently enhanced navigation. It is
insufficient OA content provision (15%). Hence what is needed, urgently,
is university *self-archiving policy*, not infrastructural or navigational


> The present loose federation of existing D-Space (and other) and
> possible FEDORA-based institutional repository (IR) platforms does not
> yet offer the scalable design that we require in order to develop
> integrated tools with universal storage. Perhaps we need to devlop a
> blend of IRs and discipline-based repositories (a la arXiv) in order to
> provide platforms and navigation for all users -- not just those in
> organizations able to run their own IRs?

Trust me: No "blend" of the present network of near-empty cupboards will
create or invite OA content. Only an explicit OA content-provision policy,
by the content-providing institutions, for their own OA cupboards, will
generate that missing OA content. Provide the content and the enhancements
will all follow as a matter of course. Keep fussing instead about
enhancements, and OA will be delayed yet another needless decade.

> We have the technology, now we need to focus our support on a plan that
> provides universal storage and access ... with or without the peer
> review overlay for the present time.

Here David Stern is alas simply rehearsing well-worn (and long-answered)
worries that have merely been serving to hold back OA for years now, not
to advance it:


Stevan Harnad