Swan, Alma, Needham, Paul, Probets, Steve, Muir, Adrienne, Oppenheim, Charles, O’Brien, Ann, Hardy, Rachel and Rowland, Fytton
Delivery, Management and Access Model for E-prints and Open Access Journals within Further and Higher Education.
This study identified three models for open access provision in the UK: (a) the centralised model,where e-prints of articles are first deposited directly into a national archive and then madeaccessible to users and service providers; (b) the distributed model, where e-prints are depositedin any one of a distributed network of OAI-compliant institutional, subject-based and open-access journal archives, whose metadata are then harvested and made accessible to users and serviceproviders; and (c) the model we have termed the ‘harvesting’ model, a variant of the distributedmodel in which the harvested metadata are first improved, standardised or enhanced before being made accessible to users and service providers. In considering the relative merits of these models, we addressed not only technical concerns but also how e-print provision (by authors) can be achieved, since without this content provision there can be no effective e-print delivery service (for users). For technical and cultural reasons, this study recommends that the centralised model should not be adopted for the proposed UK service. This would have been the costliest option and it would have omitted the growing body of content in distributed institutional, subject-based, and open-access journal archives. Moreover, the central archiving approach is the ‘wrong way round’ with respect to e-print provision since for reasons of academic and institutional culture and so long as effective measures are implemented, individual institution-based e-print archives are far more likely to fill (and fill quickly) than centralised archives, because institutions and researchers share a vested interested in the impact of their research output, and because institutions are in a position to mandate and monitor compliance, a position not enjoyed by centralised archives. The study therefore recommends the ‘harvesting’ model [(c) above], constituting a UK national service founded upon creating an interoperable network of OAI-compliant, distributed, institution-based e-print archives. Such a service, based on harvesting metadata (and, later, full-text) from distributed, institution-based e-print archives and open access journals would be cheaper to implement and would more effectively garner the nation’s scholarly research output. The model also permits further enhancement of the metadata to provide improved features and functionality.
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