Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wow, they went for it.

It was not at all clear to me that the Arts and Sciences faculty of Harvard would go for mandatory submission of their articles to the Harvard institutional repository (IR.) But they just did.

Since Harvard is such a leader in US education, expect this to ripple through the rest of the ARL.

One thought: if open access IR's are such a great idea why do the NIH and now Harvard need to mandate submission? Were authors ever told they must submit to traditional journals? Well, yes they were, by tenure evaluation committees on campus and prospective employers. But there is an obvious difference. Authors still had to compete to get things published in the best journals,which is why tenure committees valued peer review publication so highly. The economics of IR's are different. Unlimited storage space and the lack of what we might call market discipline means that potential authors aren't clamoring for limited space in the journal. Instead IR managers are out there beating the bushes for content, which may be why tenure committees have not taken submission to them seriously.

Is this a vicious cycle or simply a start up problem?

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