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Re: [OAI-eprints] Re: [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Thomas Krichel <krichel AT openlib.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 13:56:08 +0200


Threading:      • This Message
             [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk
             [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from krichel AT openlib.org

  Christopher Gutteridge writes
 
> For example; we are planning a University-wide eprints archive. I am 
> concerned that some physisists will want to place their items in both
> the university eprints service AND the arXiv physics archive. They may 
> be required to use the university service, but want to use arXiv as it
> is the primary source for their discipline. This is a duplication of 
> effort and a potential irritation.

  Faculty should be given the choice. They should not be required
  to do either one. arXiv have been doing a tremendous job at
  archiving. You are not going to replace them. But arXiv really
  only covers a small set of disciplines well. 

> Ultimately, of course, I'd hope that diciplinary archives will be replaced
> with subject-specific OAI service providers harvesting from the 
institutional
> archives.

  I would put this in different way, I'd say that there should be more
  interoperability between institutional archives and disciplinary
  aggregators. Such aggregators don't have a prime function of 
  archiving contents but to put the archival contents into 
  relations with personal and institutional data and
  document-to-document metadata such as citations. Rather
  than marking up the documents content in the institutional
  archive with subject classification data, it should be marked
  up with aggregator data. That is, for example, you may decide
  to export all the computer science papers to rclis. Thus
  you create an rclis set within and inform rclis of this. Then
  they can periodically harvest the data and feed it. In the 
  longer run, we need an extension to the OAI protocol to support
  this on a larger scale. In the meantime, it is perfectly feasible
  to do this here and now with the model aggregator service that
  it out there, the RePEc project. In fact, RePEc does this already
  with the California Digital library, thanks to efforts by
  Roy Tennant and Christopher F. Baum. So, to all those institutional
  archivers out there, if you have an economics department that does
  not already operate a RePEc archive, talk to them, talk to RePEc,
  and set up a OAI set with the Economics papers. It is better,
  within an institution, to proceed department by department and
  listen to what the academics want (and these wants will be 
  different in each department), rather than setting up one 
  archive that is supposed to satisfy everybody's needs at the
  risk of satisfying nobody's.

> What I'm asking is; has anyone given consideration to ways of smoothing
> over this duplication of effort? Possibly some negotiated automated 
process
> for insitutional archives uploading to the subject archive, or at least
> assisting the author in the process.

  It not a pressing concern as much as this appears, because
  discipline-based archives have, arXiv apart, not that much stuff.
  Discipline aggregators, RePEc apart, are still in their infancy.
  I am involved with others in setting up rclis, an aggregator
  for computing and library and information science. One thing
  should be clear: aggregator need years to develop and lots
  of TLC to sustain themselves. 
  
  But I repeat: it is best to listen to academics to tell you 
  what their needs are, rather than setting up procedures around
  a central institutional archive, The latter is what Clifford Lynch wants.
  I don't think that it will work.

  With greetings from Minsk, Belarus,


  Thomas Krichel                         http://openlib.org/home/krichel
                                     RePEc:per:1965-06-05:thomas_krichel


[BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 15:07:34 +0000 (GMT)


Threading: Re: [OAI-eprints] Re: [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from krichel AT openlib.org
      • This Message

On Tue, 18 Mar 2003, Thomas Krichel wrote:

>cg> What I'm asking is; has anyone given consideration to ways of 
smoothing
>cg> over this duplication of effort? Possibly some negotiated automated 
process
>cg> for insitutional archives uploading to the subject archive, or at 
least
>cg> assisting the author in the process.
> 
>   This is not a pressing concern as much as it appears, because
>   discipline-based archives have, arXiv apart, not that much stuff.

Thomas gived exactly the correct answer to Chris!

>   It is better,
>   within an institution, to proceed department by department and
>   listen to what the academics want (and these wants will be 
>   different in each department), rather than setting up one 
>   archive that is supposed to satisfy everybody's needs at the
>   risk of satisfying nobody's.

Of course. Institutional self-archiving does not imply one single
university archive, but an OAI-interoperable network, parametrized to
suit any special needs of each discipline. (That's certainly how Chris's
eprints.org software is being designed: http://software.eprints.org/ )

>   it is best to listen to academics telling you 
>   what their needs are, rather than setting up procedures around
>   a central institutional archive, The latter is what Clifford Lynch 
wants.
>   I don't think that it will work.

What is needed is institutional self-archiving, distributed across its
departments interoperably, but customized to the different needs of the
different disciplines.

>cg> Ultimately, of course, I'd hope that disciplinary archives will be 
>cg> replaced [by] subject-specific OAI service providers harvesting 
>cg> from the institutional archives.
> 
>   I would put this in different way, I'd say that there should be more
>   interoperability between institutional archives and disciplinary
>   aggregators. Such aggregators don't have a prime function of 
>   archiving contents but to put the archival contents into 
>   relations with personal and institutional data and
>   document-to-document metadata such as citations. Rather
>   than marking up the documents content in the institutional
>   archive with subject classification data, it should be marked
>   up with aggregator data... n the longer run, we need an extension 
>   to the OAI protocol to support this on a larger scale. 

No problem. This is certainly something the OAI developers can address.
But it has nothing to do with what Chris was worrying about (dupicate
self-archiving in disciplinary and institutional archives); and it seems
to agree about the primacy of institution-based archiving (but
distributed across, and adapted to, the institution's departments and
disciplines).

>   Faculty should be given the choice [between disciplinary and 
>   institutional self-archiving]. They should not be required
>   to do either one. arXiv have been doing a tremendous job at
>   archiving. You are not going to replace them. But arXiv really
>   only covers a small set of disciplines well. 

This seems to contradict what was said before! It would be impossible
to implement an effective, systematic institutional self-archiving
policy if it were optional whether researchers self-archive in their
institutional archive or in a central disciplinary archive (even though
OAI-interoperability makes the two alternatives completely equivalent
from an open-access point of view). Let me count the ways:

(1) Institutions can mandate self-archiving, disciplines cannot.

(2) Most disciplines do not have disciplinary OAI Archives at all.

(3) All institutions have (just about) all disciplines.

(4) There are many other potential uses for institutional research
archives (apart from open access).

(5) OAI-interoperability guarantees that institutional and disciplinary
self-archiving are equivalent from the open-access point of view, but
aggregating institutional packages out of distributed disciplinary
OAI archives is harder (though it is not clear how much harder) than
aggregating disciplinary packages out of distributed institutional
OAI archives.

(6) But it is not the equivalence or ease of aggregation that is relevant
at this point (with most archives non-existent or near-empty) but what
is the most promising and natural way to reach universal open access.
(Return to (1) above.)

Stevan Harnad



[BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Thomas Krichel <krichel AT openlib.org>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 20:45:49 +0200


Threading: Re: [OAI-eprints] Re: [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from krichel AT openlib.org
      • This Message
             [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk

  Stevan Harnad writes

> Thomas gived exactly the correct answer to Chris!

  I didn't know this was a quiz :-) 

> What is needed is institutional self-archiving, distributed across its
> departments interoperably, but customized to the different needs of the
> different disciplines.

  That is a tall order. 

> (1) Institutions can mandate self-archiving, disciplines cannot.

  Cliff imagines that they can, but in practice, it will be tough.
  You can not put a KGB officer in every academic's office!

> (2) Most disciplines do not have disciplinary OAI Archives at all.

  Sure, but all have some ways to communicate informally, and many
  have innovative channels. Sure, many of them stay small, but
  there is not technical obstacle to a meaningful aggergation. 

> (4) There are many other potential uses for institutional research
> archives (apart from open access).

  I agree. If I would run an institution's archive I would back
  up all the web sites each year. In 20 years time, you would get
  a fascinating picture of the development of the institution. 

> (5) OAI-interoperability guarantees that institutional and disciplinary
> self-archiving are equivalent from the open-access point of view, but
> aggregating institutional packages out of distributed disciplinary
> OAI archives is harder (though it is not clear how much harder) than
> aggregating disciplinary packages out of distributed institutional
> OAI archives.

  no, it is easier to construct feature-rich datasets out of 
  disciplinary archives, because some of them will be prepared
  with the specifics of an aggregator in mind.

  With greetings from Minsk, Belarus,


  Thomas Krichel                         http://openlib.org/home/krichel
                                     RePEc:per:1965-06-05:thomas_krichel


[BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad AT ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 20:37:18 +0000 (GMT)


Threading: [BOAI] Re: Cliff Lynch on Institutional Archives from krichel AT openlib.org
      • This Message

On Tue, 18 Mar 2003, Thomas Krichel wrote:

>sh> (1) Institutions can mandate self-archiving, disciplines cannot.
> 
>   Cliff [Lynch] imagines that they can, but in practice, it will be tough.
>   You can not put a KGB officer in every academic's office!

You're on the wrong track. Self-archiving can and will be mandated by
researchers' instituitions by and for *exactly* the same reasons and
methods as publishing-or-perishing is mandated by institutions. No
KGB, just the simple carrot/stick career consequences of research and
research impact. Once the direct causal connection between access and
impact is shown and known -- e.g.,
http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/lawrence.html --
everyone will find it as natural that research institutions should
reward their researchers for maximizing the impact of their publishing
(by self-archiving it) as to maximize the publishing itself.
http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/#institution-facilitate-filling

>sh> (2) Most disciplines do not have disciplinary OAI Archives at all.
> 
>   Sure, but all have some ways to communicate informally, and many
>   have innovative channels. Sure, many of them stay small, but
>   there is no technical obstacle to a meaningful aggregation. 

Here is the point on which Thomas and I part ways (profoundly). I agree
completely that where papers have not yet been self-archived in
OAI-compliant Archives (whether institutional or disciplinary) it is
highly desirable to find, link, metadata-enhance or harvest any
discoverable online papers that already exist on arbitrary websites
webwide. This is the invaluable service Thomas's RePEc (Research
Papers in Economics) is performing for over 86,000 non-OAI papers that
would otherwise be very difficult to find and use http://repec.org/

But the objective of OAI-compliant institutional self-archiving (and
a systematic policy mandating it) is to get away as soon as possible
from having to resort to these makeshift solutions for arbitrary web
content. (Nor is any of this relevant to what I said, which is that most
disciplines do not have disciplinary OAI Archives at all, and disciplines
are in no position to mandate self-archiving, whereas institutions are.)
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/Ariadne-RAE.htm
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/tim-arch.htm
http://paracite.eprints.org/cgi-bin/rae_front.cgi

>sh> (5) OAI-interoperability guarantees that institutional and 
disciplinary
>sh> self-archiving are equivalent from the open-access point of view, 
but
>sh> aggregating institutional packages out of distributed disciplinary
>sh> OAI archives is harder (though it is not clear how much harder) than
>sh> aggregating disciplinary packages out of distributed institutional
>sh> OAI archives.
> 
>   no, it is easier to construct feature-rich datasets out of 
>   disciplinary archives, because some of them will be prepared
>   with the specifics of an aggregator in mind.

I regret I couldn't follow the logic of this at all. First, there are
almost no disciplinary OAI archives. Second, makeshift measures with
arbitrary web content are exactly that: makeshift, interim measures.
Third, from the fact that "some" arbitrary content may happen to
have "some" desirable specific features, nothing whatsoever follows.
And fourth, whatever are the specific features desired, they can be
systematically included (and mandated) in the institutional OAI archives
(parametrized to fit each discipline). 

Aggregation is not the objective: Interoperable content is; and (mandated)
institutional OAI self-archiving is the most direct, fastest and surest
way to generate it.

Stevan Harnad


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