All entries for June 2009

June 24, 2009

Sources of full text content

Writing about web page http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/PDFandIR.html

Institutional repositories come in a variety of flavours, but WRAP is very definitely about full text items: we don't want to create metadata-only records. WRAP is also a showcase of Warwick research and we're keen to preserve the content for the long term, so we don't mind hosting copies of content that is also held elsewhere. With these particular "flavours" in mind, I've been summarising some of the sources of full text content that we have found, other than waiting for authors to send content to us. I should also say at this point that authors are often resentful that we don't just harvest the stuff on their behalf anyway, so we're trying to show willing: where we can do, we will do. The main problem for us though, is that only they will have suitable full text files of the correct versions, in most instances. So we can't take on this admin task for them.

Our latest source of content that we can just put in without hassling authors to send us a version is the list that Sherpa now makes available, of publishers which allow final version deposit (linked to from this post). Within that list, there are some publishers who support author affiliation searching in some way: we're working our way through the list. BioMed Central and Cambridge University Press are two large sources of content, in this way. EDP Sciences would also be a significant source, except that we don't have subscriptions to their content, and that is another reason why we can't just harvest the readily available content on authors' behalf. We can and probably will get around to writing to the authors to ask them to supply the published version, though: this is the classic scenario of why we would like to have a Warwick repository in the first place.

As well as publishers who allow final version deposit, we do write to authors, inviting them to deposit. The biggest hurdle we seem to come across is that authors don't have appropriate versions to send to us, even if they are willing in theory. Our key message when we visit departments, is to ask authors to save their post-prints/accepted versions. But it takes time for our message to reach them and even longer for them to change their practice...! Writing to authors to ask for final versions because we can't access them might elicit more deposits because it both illustrates the point of the repository and it's more likely that the author will have kept the appropriate version. So EDP content is fairly high on my list of author e-mails to be sent.

We also monitor Zetoc alerts. We hope to catch authors as soon as the articles are published, before they have discarded earlier versions! Monitoring these alerts requires a fairly high amount of staff effort at the repository end, but is relatively successful. We are also monitoring alerts from WoS and have started to measure how much of their content is not truly Warwick authors' content, and the cross-over of content that we get alerts for from Zetoc. And we keep up with PubMed Central alerts too: lots of those are for BioMed Central content, which can go into WRAP. We don't have SCOPUS, or I'd probably be monitoring their alerts too!

I blogged about writing to authors back in April this year, and it's something that I continue to monitor the effectiveness of. I'd rather not have to, but it is far more effective than any of our newsletter articles, in the University-wide newsletter known as CommUnicate, or on the staff website (Insite) and email news bulletin (Inbox-Insite). We're about to get an article in the second issue of the Library's own newsletter, to be issued in the summer. Such broad publicity probably won't do us any harm, but they only ever elicit one or two deposits and it is the personal invitations that really generate content, which is what we need... so for now, we'll keep holding authors' hands and doing whatever we can for them, including reminding them to deposit their articles and writing to say we've done it for them, whenever we can.


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