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Get research authors to change their behaviour

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Leslie Carr of the University of Southampton, is technical director of the open-source EPrints.org software. This software is used in more than 200 institutional repositories around the world.

What is your definition of open-access?

LC: Open access is the policy of making scientific and scholarly research output freely available for those who need to use them – typically other researchers and scholars.

 

As well as the papers, reports and articles that are commonly discussed in this context, we are also making scientific data the subject of open-access environments.

The main driving forces behind open-access are the authors' need to communicate with his/her peers and the researcher's need to read relevant research.

These are the same people with different hats on. There is also the need for institutions to capture and curate their own research output (for research management and administration purposes and to enhance their research profiles).

What is the role of institutional archives?

LC: Institutional archives or repositories are one mechanism for providing open access because they provide a place for an author to deposit a copy of his or her article in addition to it being sent to a journal for peer-reviewed publication.

The number one priority is undoubtedly to get research authors to change their behaviour and deposit their material in their open-access institutional archive.

Current evidence suggests that institutional policies need to back up institutional archives.

What do you predict for the future?

LC: In the short term, authors depositing material in an institutional archive as part of the process of writing and publishing their work will increase the efficiency of research dissemination. It will also allow new high-level knowledge services to be piloted (bibliometric, data mining, literature analysis and evaluation). This will offer new, community-driven ways of engaging with the literature and new ways of advancing science. This has already been a consequence of the OAI-PMH infrastructure that was developed in 1999 as a precursor to the open-access movement.

This development might seem to be a threat to publishers but in fact this short-term phase is likely to result in commercial operations (ie. publishers) taking responsibility for (and taking profits from) these new scientific-infrastructure services.