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Depositing a document in an open archive: Introduction

Benefits, issues and steps of depositing a document in an open archive


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A Post-Gutenberg Anomaly: Harnad's parable

  1. A new PhD graduate proudly tells his mother he has just published his first article. She asks him how much he was paid for it. He makes a face and tells her "nothing", and then begins a long, complicated explanation...

  2. A fellow-researcher at that same university sees a reference to that same article. He goes to their library to get it but is told the following: "It's not subscribed to here. We can't afford that journal. (Our subscription/licence/loan/copy budget is already exhausted.)"

  3. An undergraduate at that same university sees the same article cited on the Web. He clicks on it. The publisher´s website demands a password: "Access Denied: Only pre-paid subscribing/licenced institutions have access to this journal."

  4. The undergraduate loses patience, gets bored, and clicks on Napster to grab an MP3 file of his favourite bootleg CD to console him in his sorrows.

  5. Years later, the same PhD is being considered for tenure. His publications are good, but they´re not cited enough; they have not made enough of a "research impact". Tenure denied.

  6. Same thing happens when he tries to get a research grant. His research findings have not had enough of an impact. Not enough researchers have read, built upon and cited them. Funding denied.

  7. He decides to write a book instead. Book publishers decline to publish it: "It wouldn´t sell enough copies because not enough universities have enough money to pay for it. (Their purchasing budgets are tied up paying for their inflating annual journal subscription, licence, loan costs...)"

  8. He tries to put his articles up on the Web, free for all, to increase their impact. His publisher threatens to sue him and his server-provider for violation of copyright.

  9. He asks his publisher: "Who is this copyright intended to protect?" His publisher replies: “You!”

Source: HARNAD, Stevan. Skyreading and Skywriting for Researchers: A Post-Gutenberg Anomaly and How to Resolve it (2001).

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To quote this guide

Sicot, Julien, Fouquet, Josiane. "Déposer un texte dans une Archive Ouverte". in UBL (Université Européenne de Bretagne). Formadoct.Rennes : UBL, 2010 (dernière maj le 4 juillet 2013). Disp. sur :