How to Compare IRs and CRs

Stevan Harnad harnad at ECS.SOTON.AC.UK
Sat Feb 9 13:05:20 EST 2008

On Sat, 9 Feb 2008, Thomas Krichel wrote:

>  Stevan Harnad writes
>> (Could Tom please state his evidence for this, comparing the 12 mandated
>> IRs so far with unmandated control IRs -- as Arthur Sale did for a subset,
>> demonstrating the exact opposite of what Tom here claims.)
>  Show me an archive, and a university, who will vouch that for a
>  certain period, all that is in the IR  with free full-text
>  is a equivalent to the university's authors' total research
>  papers in the same period. Does such a university exist?

Yes, Les Carr has already provided these data for the first mandate,
Southampton ECS, in the pages of this Forum. CERN had done the same. We
are currently gathering the corresponding data for QUT and Minho. Arthur
Sale's comparative studies have also demonstrated this.

But while we're at it, what's good for the goose is good for the gander
(or, rather, for each genus and species): Show me a discipline-based CR
that normalizes by its own denominator -- i.e., by the total research
output of that discipline from all institutions, worldwide!

>> And the question of the *locus* of mandated deposit still needs to
>> be sorted out for the funder mandates: they ought to be mandating IR
>> deposit and central harvesting rather than going against the tide by
>> needlessly mandating direct central deposit.
>  Central deposit in the funders archive is better because
>  it assures the funder that a copy is and remains available. It
>  does not preclude IR archiving.

It does not preclude IR archiving, but it doesn't mandate it, it doesn't
help it, and it in fact hinders it, by confusing researchers as to where
self-archiving needs to be done, and how many times.

Simple solution: Both universities *and* funders mandate deposit in the
researcher's IR; then funders can also harvest centrally from the IRs
(or the IRs can -- very easily -- be configured to export to the
designated CRs, where desired or required).

So, No: Central deposit is decidedly *not* "better" -- it is worse, far
worse, on all counts. It is just something else that is being done
unthinkingly, and the effort is not being made to think it through.

>> (It was my impression that Tom Krichel too was a fan of distributed
>> local self-archiving and central harvesting; as I recall, he was one of
>> those who warned me off of centralism during my brief fatuous flirtation
>> with it.
>  I remember still you apologizing to me in a public meeting about
>  this. Surely, few readers of this forum will believe it happened, but
>  I have witnesses. ;-)
>  Now you just as infatuated with the idea of in institutional
>  mandate as a simple solution. You love simple ideas, that
>  you then keep on repeating.

Tom, I foolishly apologized to you publicly for my foolish brief lapse
from distributed institutional self-archiving to central self-archiving
between 1996 and 1999, and this is the thanks I get for my politeness?

Whereas here you are, defecting (I think!) to central deposit now without
so much as "by your leave"?

(Alright then, let me put it less charitably: My changes in strategy
were empirically-driven, not opinion-driven. They were always backed
up by reasoning on the best evidence available at the time, and they
continue to be. The empirical sequence was that once self-archiving
became possible (via FTP and then Web), some communities -- notably
Physics, depositing centrally, and Economics, depositing locally --
spontaneously took it up in significant numbers while most didn't. My
first instinct was local deposit (1989-5). But no one listened, while the
growing Physics Arxiv made it seem to me as if central deposit might be
a better way. So we created CogPrints (1997) for central deposit; yet
the other communities still weren't depositing. Then came OAI (1999),
opening up a new, interoperable way to do local depositing, so we created
the generic OAI-IR software (2000), and IRs caught on, globally, yet their
contents were still not growing. Then came Green OA mandates, they worked,
and it became obvious that they were the way to systematically cover all
research output, from all institutions, in all disciplines. So I'm afraid
it was those empirical facts that made me change my mind, Tom, not your
preference for local deposit in 1996, nor your preference for central
deposit in 2008. I am afraid that -- not for the first time -- I was,
in that public posting to which you allude, giving rather more credit
than credit was due. I've done worse. I've fatuously portrayed myself
as playing John the Baptist to someone else's Messiah. I confess to an
occasional weakness for hyperbole and even bathos, but not too often.
Mostly it's the facts and reasoning that prevail...)

>> But now Tom seems so comfortable with the continuing spontaneous
>> deposit rate of economists
>  Where is your evidence for this? I am not comfortable. For a start,
>  I am in Siberia at this time. ;-)

Here is an opportunity for a serious response: Do you now favor local IR
deposit or CR deposit -- and why?

>> that he does not notice that this spontaneous formula has utterly
>> failed to generalize to all other disciplines for well over a decade
>> now,
>  I may be dumb, but I am not deluded. I do notice.
>  The problem is that there are not enough pioneers such as Paul Ginsparg and
>  Thomas Krichel. And they don't get enough help. It's time for universities
>  to support academics who are interested to lead forward scholarly
>  initiative for their groups of scholars. Help them with disk space,
>  CPU time, open TCP ports etc. In the long run this will generate more
>  visibility for the sponsoring institution (per money spent) than
>  pure research.

I am afraid I could not detect any facts or reasoning in the above, Tom.
Universities don't lack disk space, CPU time or open TP ports for OA.
Nor do they lack OA champions (there are always a few at just about
every institution). What they lack is deposits. And the reason they lack
deposits is because they lack deposit mandates. I thought you said you
had noticed...

>  BTW, I am working in pioneering initiatives (again), if an institution
>  is interested in sponsorship (in kind not money) get in touch.

I think you'll need to be more specific about what you propose to
pioneer. But be forewarned: what OA needs today is content-provision,
nothing else, just the content. There are already more than enough
pioneering but unused tools and wizardry to put that content to
unprecedentedly powerful and productive new uses; but without the content,
those pioneering tools are laying idle.

>> Leslie Carr wrote:
>> It's not a done deal by any means, but I think that the trend is
>> looking a lot more positive than you suggest .
>  I am not saying that the trend is not up, but I would like to
>  see one successful institutional archive as outlined in the
>  other message, before I believe that a mandate really can work.

I suggest having a look at the IRs cited above, as well as the repeatedly
cited comparative studies of Arthur Sale. It is not sufficient to keep
saying "I am not convinced" without ever troubling to look at the data.

>  I am not saying that mandates & IRs are wrong, but relying
>  exclusively on them is failing to realize other opportunities.

Relying exclusively on unmandated IRs (or CRs) is indeed a failure to
realize their opportunities. That is why the OA movement is at last
pressing with full force for the worldwide adoption of Green OA IR
self-archiving mandates. All evidence is that they are the missing
necessary condition for filling the IRs (and CRs) so that all the
pioneering potential of OA can at long last be realized.

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt a 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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