University of Leicester's Self-Archiving Policy

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Tue Aug 7 14:15:52 EDT 2007


On Tue, 7 Aug 2007, Colman, Prof A.M. wrote:

> Dear Stevan
> I am keen to have my publications archived where they are likely to be
> found by interested readers. After your encouraging reply, I spent a
> whole day retrieving 63 manuscript drafts of articles and tidying them
> up for deposit in the Leicester Research Archive. Because PDFs of the
> published versions are already in my own web space, I inserted a
> hyperlink on each manuscript version, directing readers to the PDF
> version.

I would advise you to to forward this exchange to the IP policy-makers
at U Leicester, because the logic of the current UL policy has to be more
carefully thought through. I am sure UL's motivation is to help, not
hinder UL's research impact while ensuring everything is in conformity
with the law. A few minor but critical changes in the current policy
will accomplish both goals: maximal impact, and full legality:

> A month later, less than half of my manuscripts are in the Leicester
> Research Archive. The archive has been seeking permission from the
> publishers for archiving each manuscript draft, and, for those for which
> permission has been granted, have also carefully deleted the hyperlinks
> that I inserted at the top of each manuscript draft.

This is the policy that urgently needs to be carefully thought through
again, as it has a few major, unnecessary flaws that are easily
remediable, but do need to be remedied:

(1) *All* manuscripts should be deposited immediately upon acceptance
for publication. Deposit itself is entirely the prerogative of UL,
an internal matter, not requiring permission from anyone. It is only
*access-setting* to that deposited document -- i.e. Open Access vs.
Closed Access -- that can depend on publisher policy.

(2) If the UL archivists wish to query the publishers about
access-setting, that's fine: in the meanwhile, access to the full texts
of the deposits can be set as Closed Access.

(3) If the response to the query is affirmative (or the policy
indexed in Romeo endorses immediate OA self-archiving), set access
as Open Access; otherwise, rely on the "Request Copy" "Fair
Use" Button for those who want access to the Closed Access deposits:

     "How the Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access
     Mandate + the 'Fair Use' Button Work"

(Deleting hyperlinks to the PDFs on your website makes no sense at all!)

> I am not convinced of the value of manuscript drafts on their own.
> Researchers cannot rely on them, even if they are in fact faithful
> versions of the published articles, which is seldom the case because of
> copy-editing alterations that are often not even discussed with authors.

Andrew, you are judging this against the wrong baseline:

(a) If a potential user has access to either the publisher's paper
version or PDF, they can and will use that. Those are *not* the
users for whom the self-archived version is being provided.

(b) If a potential user does *not* have access to either the publisher's
paper version or PDF, then their problem is not that they don't have
access to a "faithful" copy-edited version, but that they have no access
at all! *Those* are the target users for whom OA is needed, and being
provided, and they are the ones who double research impact if they are
at last given access.

Please don't think of OA self-archiving as replacing subscription
access. It is a *supplement*, for those who are denied subscription
access. You can make your final draft as faithful as you judge
necessary. But it would be a huge error in judgment and priorities
to deprive would-be users of access altogether, when they can't
afford subscription access at all, simply because you don't want to
deprive them of the copy-editing!

> Even if one had confidence in the accuracy of a manuscript version, it
> would be impossible to quote from it, because the pagination would be
> missing. I don't find other researchers' manuscript drafts nearly as
> useful as final PDFs.

Again, you are weighing this entirely from the wrong viewpoint: Those
who can't *access* it, cannot read or use your research *at all*.

(And of course one can quote from a manuscript version. One quotes it,
specifying the section and paragraph number instead of the page! That
is in fact more accurate and scholarly than a page reference. And if
the copy-editor (of the article one is writing, in which one is quoting
from an article for which one only has access to the final draft, not
the PDF) requests page-spans, *that's* the time to tell the copy-editor
that one does not have subscription access, so let *them* look up the
page numbers -- or use the even better scholarly indicator of section
name and paragraph number.)

     "Paragraph-Based Quotation in Place of PDF/Page-Based"

> You said that "Leicester's only omission in all of this is not yet
> having mandated deposit; once it does that, all will go well". Worse
> than that, the person handling my submissions believes that publishers
> need to be contacted for each item, and that "unfortunately I do have to
> wait for permission to archive them, even if they are drafts. Generally
> publishers do not allow the 'as published versions' to be archived by
> anyone apart from themselves on their own sites and so for us to archive
> them, or provide links to sites, other than the publisher's official
> site, may breach copyright law.  . . . Unfortunately we are not allowed
> to even archive the drafts from the following publications which you
> have articles in [followed by a list]".

This UL provisional policy has not been thought through and needs only a
few simple parametric changes to make it sensible and effective:

(i) The manuscript can and should be deposited immediately. No one's
permission is needed for that, and the metadata are then immediately
visible webwide, and the "Fair Use" Button can start doing its job.

(ii) The journal policy can already be looked up in Romeo for most
journals, and that means 62% of the immediate deposits can definitely be
set to Open Access immediately. The archivist can write to the publisher
to double-check the policy if they wish, but meanwhile the deposit should
be OA for this 62%:

(iii) For the remaining 38% of immediate-deposits, set access initially
as Closed Access, and let the archivist inquire, if they wish. Meanwhile
the Fair Use button will be doing its job.

     "Get the Institutional Repository Managers Out of the Decision Loop"

> Is this right, and if not, is there perhaps a different archive in which
> I and my colleagues could place our articles? I have several colleagues
> who are keen on this idea but are not attracted by the very partial
> solution available locally.

The Leicester Archive policy is very wrong on this score. I urge you to
take it up with the administration, because currently they are shooting
themselves in the foot, gratuitously, with this flawed policy, so easily

Yes, there are other Archives you could deposit it in, but it would be a
great pity if Leicester did not sort out its own deposit policy, as it
is so simple to do:

(1) All manuscripts should be deposited immediately.

(2) Not only the archivists but the authors should be able to deposit,
as they can in virtually all of the other IRs worldwide. Almost no IR
restricts depositing to proxy archivists (and those few that do are
making a big mistake in imposing this needless and counterproductive

(3) If there are worries about rights, check Romeo, and, if the archivist
wishes, also write to the publisher. But meanwhile, deposit immediately
and set Access as Closed Access if in doubt.

(4) Implement the "Fair Use" Button:

(5) Adopt the ID/OA policy:

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt an policy of providing Open Access
to your own research article output, please describe your policy at:

     BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
     BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access journal if/when
     a suitable one exists.
     in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
     in your own institutional repository.

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