Generic Rationale for University Open Access Self-Archiving Policy
There are 24,000 peer-reviewed journals worldwide, publishing 2.5 million articles per year. No university can afford all or most of the journals its researchers may need. Hence all articles are losing some of their research impact (usage and citations). Recent findings show that articles whose authors supplement subscription-based access by self-archiving their own final drafts free for all on the web are downloaded and cited twice as much across all 12 disciplines analysed so far. Citation counts are robust indicators of research performance; self-archived articles have a substantial competitive. Only 15% of the 2.5 million articles published annually are being spontaneously self-archived worldwide today. Creating an Institutional Repository (IR) and encouraging staff to self-archive is a good first step, but the only institutions that are reliably approaching a 100% annual self-archiving rate today are those that not only create an IR and provide library help for depositing, but also adopt a self-archiving policy requirement or mandate. There is no need for any penalties for non-compliance. Two international, cross-disciplinary JISC surveys have found that 95% of authors will comply.The four institutions worldwide that have adopted a self-archiving mandate to date have confirmed this. 93% of journals have already endorsed author self-archiving; only 7% of journals have not. What needs to be mandated: (1) immediately upon acceptance for publication (2) deposit in the Institution’s OA Repository (3) the author’s final accepted draft (not the publisher’s proprietary PDF) (4) both its full-text and its bibliographic metadata (author, date, title, journal, etc.) (Note that only the depositing itself needs to be mandated. Setting the access privileges to the full-text can be left up to the author, with Open Access strongly encouraged, but not mandated.) Self-archiving is effortless, taking only a few minutes and a few keystrokes; library help is available too (but hardly necessary). The mandate need have no penalties or sanctions in order to be successful; it need only be formally adopted, with the support of Heads of Schools, the library, and computing services. The rest will take care of itself naturally of its own accord, as the experience of Southampton ECS, Minho, QUT and CERN has already demonstrated.
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