All entries for February 2009

February 10, 2009

Duplication of deposit requirements

Some authors are affiliated to more than one institution, so their articles are relevant to more than one repository. From an Open Access (OA) point of view, it only matters that they deposit once, to one repository, but from a University administrative point of view, the article might need to be duplicated in different institutional repositories.

In theory, the author ought to be able to choose which repository to deposit to, and the other(s) can harvest from there. RSS feeds are very useful as a way to watch when our authors are depositing in another repository, whilst we're operating on a relatively small scale and for authors with unique surnames. But the problem with an RSS feed is that it alerts me at the time of record creation, and I then have to create a calendar appointment for myself at the end of an embargo period, so that I can get the full text file to add to our repository: this is perhaps a problem that only we at WRAP face, because we only want full text items. In any case, watching RSS feeds is possible for one or two authors, but not on a grand scale.

I wonder if, in the future, we might end up maintaining lists of our authors who have informed us that they deposit elsewhere, and then running yearly processes to harvest records and items from those repositories. We would have to have a way of uniquely identifying those authors in the other repositories. Every repository has a slightly different aim and character and type of content within it, so the data from each repository would need to be handled differently, before it could go in our repository. This sort of a large-scale process is just not feasible for us. (This is pretty much what our medical authors already expect us to do with their content that is available on OA in PubMed - yes, it would be better if the content went round the loop the other way, but in practice, we don't have the resources to format their work appropriately for PubMed anyway. I don't know of any IR that does this - yet.)

There are two other ways around such a process: 1) insist that authors deposit multiple times in multiple repositories; 2) all repositories enable authors to specify other repositories for their content to be sent to, upon deposit.

Clearly, I can't make option 2 happen! There is no reason for an author to deposit more than once at present, because we don't have a mandate. But if we did have one and the other institution had one, we would be requiring authors to deposit their work more than once.

Asking for multiple deposits is nothing to do with OA and our authors will be aware of it and resistant to it. The best reason I can give to authors is that having lots of copies of their work available in OA repositories will help the chances of their work being preserved in the long term. For those medical authors, the long term intention would be to reverse that loop, so the duplication of effort for CR and IR deposit would be a developmental phase only (in theory), but for those affiliated to more than one mandating institution, there is no other way round duplication, that I can see.

February 2009

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