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Generic Rationale and Model for University Open Access Mandate

            ** Apologies for Cross-Posting **

Universities are invited to use this document to help encourage 
the adoption of an open access self-archiving mandate at their 
institution (Hyperlinked version available at: 
http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ )


1. Research Accessibility

1.1 There exist 24,000 peer-reviewed journals (and conference 
proceedings) publishing 2.5 million articles per year, across all 
disciplines, languages and nations.

1.2 No university anywhere, not even the richest, can afford to 
subscribe to all or most of the journals that its researchers may 
need to use

1.3 Hence no article is accessible to all of its potential users, 
and hence all articles are losing some of their research impact 
(usage and citations).

2. Research Impact: Usage and Citations

2.1 This is confirmed by recent findings, independently 
replicated by many investigators, showing that articles for which 
their authors have supplemented subscription-based access to the 
publisher's version by self-archiving their own final drafts free 
for all on the web are downloaded and cited twice as much across 
all 12 scientific, biological, social science and humanities 
disciplines analysed so far. (Note: there are no discipline 
differences in benefits of self-archiving, only in awareness.)

2.2 The total citation counts for articles submitted to UK 
Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) are also very closely 
correlated with departmental RAE rankings (despite the fact that 
citations are not directly counted by RAE). More citations mean 
higher RAE ranking.

2.3 Hence citation counts are (i) robust indicators of research 
performance, (ii) they are not currently maximised for those 
articles that are not self-archived and (iii) those articles that 
are being self-archived have a substantial competitive advantage 
over those that are not.

3. University Self-Archiving Mandates Maximise Research Impact

3.1 Only 15% of the 2.5 million articles published annually are 
being spontaneously self-archived worldwide today.

3.2 Creating an Institutional Repository (IR) and encouraging 
staff to self-archive their articles therein is a good first 
step, but it is not sufficient to raise the self-archiving rate 
appreciably above the 15% baseline for spontaneous 

3.3 Adding library help to encourage and assist staff to 
self-archive raises the self-archiving rate somewhat, but 

3.4 The correct measure of institutional success in 
self-archiving is the ratio of annual self-archived articles in a 
university's IR relative to that university's total annual 
article output.

3.5 The only institutions that are reliably approaching a 100% 
annual self-archiving rate today are those that not only create 
an IR (3.2) and provide library help (3.3) for depositing, but 
also adopt a self-archiving policy requirement or mandate.

3.6 A self-archiving mandate is a simple and natural extension of 
universities' already existing mandate to publish research 
findings ('publish or perish'); it is already linked to 
incentives by the fact that staff are promoted and funded on the 
basis of research performance indicators, of which citation 
impact is a prominent correlate, as in the RAE (2.2).

3.7 Two international, cross-disciplinary JISC surveys have found 
that 95% of authors will comply with a self-archiving mandate 
(81% willingly, 14% reluctantly).

3.8 The four institutions worldwide that have adopted a 
self-archiving mandate to date (CERN in Switzerland, Queensland 
University of Technology in Australia, Minho University in 
Portugal, and the ECS Department at University of Southampton) 
have each confirmed the outcome of the JISC author surveys (3.7), 
with their institutional self-archiving rates reliably climbing 
toward 100%,whereas institutions without mandates remain at the 
15% spontaneous self-archiving baseline rate.

4. Action: This University should now mandate self-archiving 

4.1 This university should now maximise its own RAE ranking and 
set an example for the rest of the world by adopting a 
self-archiving mandate university-wide.

4.2 As indicated by the JISC survey and the empirical experience 
of the other 3 mandating institutions (3.8): there is no need for 
any penalties for non-compliance with the mandate; the mandate 
(and its own rewards: enhanced research access and impact) will 
take care of itself.

4.31 What needs to be mandated:

     -- immediately upon acceptance for publication
     -- deposit in the university's Institutional Repository
     -- the author's final accepted draft (not the publisher's proprietary PDF)
     -- both its full-text and its bibliographic metadata (author, date,
     title, journal, etc.)

(Note that only the depositing itself needs to be mandated. 
Setting the access privileges to the full-text can be left up to 
the author, with Open Access strongly encouraged, but not 
mandated. This makes the University's self-archiving mandate 
completely independent of publishers' self-archiving policies.)

4.32 The Eprints software allows authors to choose to set access as Open
Access (OA) or Restricted Access (RA):
     OA: both metadata and full-text are made visible and accessible to all
     would-be users web-wide
     RA: metadata are visible and accessible web-wide but full-text is not

4.4 The decision as to whether to set full-text access as OA or 
RA can be left up to the author; 93% of authors will set 
full-text access as OA (4.2); for the remaining 7%, the Eprints 
software still makes it possible for any would-be user web-wide 
to request an eprint of the full-text automatically by email -- 
by just cut-pasting their own email address into a box and 
clicking; the author immediately receives the request and can 
instantly email the eprint with one click. The result will be 
100% access to all Southampton research output, 93% immediately 
and directly, with one keystroke, 7% indirectly after a short 
delay, with a few extra keystrokes by user and author.

5. The Importance of Prompt Action

5.1 Self-archiving is effortless, taking only a few minutes and a 
few keystrokes; library help is available too (but hardly 

5.2 This university should not delay in adopting a self-archiving 
mandate: 100% OA is both optimal and inevitable -- for research, 
researchers, their universities, their funders, and the 
tax-paying public that supports both the research and the 
universities. It will also give this university a strong 
competitive impact advantage over later adopters.

5.3 An early adopter not only provides a model for the world with 
its university-wide self-archiving policy but at the same stroke 
it maximizes its own research impact and research impact ranking.

5.4 The mandate need have no penalties or sanctions in order to 
be successful; it need only be formally adopted, with the support 
of Heads of Schools, the library, and computing services. The 
rest will take care of itself naturally of its own accord, as the 
experience of Southampton ECS, Minho, QUT and CERN has already 

APPENDIX: Southampton University Resources for Supporting Open Access

A1 U. Southampton ECS department was the first department and
institution in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate (2001).

A2 ECS hosts Psycprints (1991), BBSPrints (1994), Open Journals
(1995), OpCit (1996), CogPrints (1997); the American Scientist Open
Access Forum (1998).

A3 ECS designed the first and most widely used software for creating
institutional archives (Eprints, 2000), now already used by about 200
institutions worldwide; ECS also created Citebase (2002), the
citation-based OA search engine (well before Google Scholar).

A4 ECS conducted many of the seminal studies empirically demonstrating
the citation impact advantage of self-archiving across all disciplines;
ECS also maintains the growing and widely used bibliography of the
accumulating findings on the OA Impact Advantage.

A5 ECS/Eprints maintains ROAR, the Registry of Open Access
Repositories, tracking the number, size and growth of IRs and their
contents worldwide.

A6 ECS/Eprints maintains ROARMAP, the Registry of Open Access
Repository Material Archiving Policies, tracking the institutions
worldwide that have adopted self-archiving policies, from
recommendations to full mandates.

A7 ECS/Eprints maintains the ROMEO Directory of Journal Policies on
Author Self-Archiving: 93% of the nearly 9000 journals registered to
date (including all the principal publishers and the core ISI journals)
have already formally endorsed author self-archiving; only 7% of
journals have not.

A8 ECS/Southampton successfully lobbied the UK Parliamentary Select
Committee in 2004 to mandate self-archiving; this led directly to the
RCUK self-archiving mandate proposal, the Berlin 3 Policy Recommendation
(formulated at Southampton) and the development of RAE submission
mechanisms for the world's two principal IR softwares (Eprints, and
MIT's Dspace, both written by Southampton's Rob Tansley).

(Hyperlinked version available at: http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ )