1. Research Accessibility


1.1  There exist 24,000 peer-reviewed journals   (and conference proceedings) publishing 2.5 million articles per year,  across all disciplines, languages and nations.


1.2  No university anywhere,  not even the richest, can afford to subscribe to all or most of the journals that its researchers may need to use


1.3  Hence no article is accessible to all of its potential users, and hence all articles are losing some of their research impact (usage and citations).

2. Research Impact: Usage and Citations

2.1  This is confirmed by recent findings, independently replicated  by many investigators, showing that articles for which their authors have supplemented subscription-based access to the publisher's version by self-archiving their own final drafts free for all on the web are downloaded and cited twice as much across all 12 scientific, biological, social science and humanities disciplines analysed so far. (Note: there are no discipline differences in benefits of self-archiving, only in awareness.)


2.2  The total citation counts for  articles submitted to UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) are also very closely correlated with  departmental  RAE rankings (despite the fact that citations  are not directly counted by RAE). More citations mean  higher RAE ranking.


2.3 Hence citation counts are (i) robust indicators of research performance, (ii) they are not currently maximised for those articles that are not self-archived and (iii) those articles that are being self-archived have a substantial competitive advantage  over those that are not.

3. University Self-Archiving Mandates Maximise Research Impact

3.1 Only 15% of the 2.5 million articles published annually are being spontaneously self-archived worldwide today.


3.2  Creating an Institutional Repository (IR)  and encouraging staff to self-archive their articles therein is a good first step, but it is not sufficient to raise the self-archiving rate appreciably above the 15% baseline for spontaneous self-archiving.


3.3  Adding library help to encourage and assist staff to self-archive raises the self-archiving rate somewhat,  but insufficiently.


3.4  The correct measure of institutional success in self-archiving is the ratio of annual self-archived articles in a university's IR relative to that university's total annual article output.


3.5 The only institutions that are reliably approaching a 100% annual self-archiving rate today are those that not only create an IR (3.2) and provide library help (3.3) for depositing, but also adopt a self-archiving policy requirement or mandate.


3.6  A self-archiving mandate is a simple and natural extension of universities' already existing mandate to publish research findings ('publish or perish'); it is already linked to incentives by the fact that staff are promoted and funded on the basis of research performance indicators, of which citation impact is a prominent correlate, as in the RAE (2.2).


3.7  Two international, cross-disciplinary JISC surveys have found that 95% of authors will comply with a self-archiving  mandate  (81% willingly, 14% reluctantly).


3.8  The four institutions worldwide that have adopted  a self-archiving  mandate to date (CERN in Switzerland,  Queensland University of Technology  in Australia, Minho University in Portugal, and the ECS Department at University of Southampton) have each confirmed the outcome of the JISC author surveys (3.7), with their institutional self-archiving rates reliably climbing toward 100%,whereas institutions without mandates remain at the 15% spontaneous self-archiving baseline rate.


4. Action: This University should now mandate self-archiving university-wide

4.1 This university should now maximise its own RAE ranking and set an example for the rest of the world by adopting a self-archiving mandate university-wide.

4.2 As indicated by the JISC survey and the empirical experience of the other 3 mandating institutions (3.8): there is no need for any penalties for non-compliance with the mandate; the mandate  (and its own rewards: enhanced research access and impact) will take care of itself.

4.31 What needs to be mandated:

-- immediately upon acceptance for publication

-- deposit in the university's Institutional Repository

-- the author's final accepted draft (not the publisher's proprietary PDF)
-- 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. This makes the University's self-archiving mandate completely independent of publishers' self-archiving  policies.)

4.32 The Eprints software allows authors to choose to set access as Open Access (OA) or Restricted Access (RA):

OA: both metadata and full-text are made visible and accessible to all would-be users web-wide

RA:  metadata are visible and accessible web-wide but full-text is not

4.4 The decision as to whether to set full-text access as OA or RA can be left up to the author; 93% of authors will set full-text access as OA (4.2); for the remaining 7%, the Eprints software still makes it possible for any would-be user web-wide to request an eprint of the full-text automatically by email -- by just cut-pasting their own email address into a box and clicking;  the author immediately receives the request and can instantly email the eprint with one click. The result will be 100% access to all university research output, 93% immediately and directly, with one keystroke, 7%  indirectly after a short delay, with a few extra keystrokes by user and author.

5. The Importance of Prompt Action

5.1 Self-archiving is effortless, taking only a few minutes and a few keystrokes; library help is available too (but hardly necessary).

5.2 This university should not delay in adopting a self-archiving mandate: 100% OA is both optimal and inevitable -- for research, researchers, their universities, their funders, and the tax-paying public that supports both the research and the universities. It will also give this university a strong competitive impact advantage over later adopters.

5.3 An early adopter not only provides a model for the world with its university-wide self-archiving policy but at the same stroke it maximizes its own research impact and research impact ranking.

5.4 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.

APPENDIX:  Southampton University Resources for Supporting Open Access Worldwide

A1  U. Southampton ECS department was the first department  and institution in the world to adopt a self-archiving mandate (2001).


A2 ECS hosts Psycprints (1991),  BBSPrints (1994),  Open Journals (1995), OpCit (1996), CogPrints (1997); the American Scientist Open Access Forum (1998).


A3  ECS designed the first and most widely used software for creating institutional archives (Eprints, 2000),  now already used by about 200 institutions worldwide; ECS also created Citebase (2002), the citation-based OA search engine (well before Google Scholar).


A4  ECS conducted many of the seminal studies empirically demonstrating the citation impact advantage of self-archiving  across all disciplines; ECS also maintains the growing and widely used bibliography of the accumulating findings on the OA Impact Advantage.


A5  ECS/Eprints maintains ROAR, the Registry of Open Access Repositories,  tracking the number, size and growth of IRs and their contents worldwide.


A6  ECS/Eprints maintains ROARMAP, the Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies, tracking the institutions worldwide that have adopted self-archiving policies, from recommendations to full mandates.


A7  ECS/Eprints maintains the ROMEO Directory of Journal Policies on Author Self-Archiving: 93% of the nearly 9000 journals registered to date (including all the principal publishers and the core ISI journals) have already formally endorsed author self-archiving; only 7% of journals have not.


A8  ECS/Southampton successfully lobbied the UK Parliamentary Select Committee  in 2004 to mandate self-archiving; this led directly to the RCUK self-archiving mandate proposal, the Berlin 3 Policy Recommendation (formulated at Southampton) and the development of RAE submission mechanisms for the world's two principal IR softwares (Eprints, and MIT's Dspace, both written by Southampton's Rob Tansley).