Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Empirical study of university-level OA mandates

Arthur Sale, The acquisition of open access research articles, a preprint, self-archived August 23, 2006.

Abstract: The behavior of researchers when self-archiving in an institutional repository has not been previously analyzed. This paper uses available information for three repositories analyzing when researchers (as authors) deposit their research articles. The three repositories have variants of a mandatory deposit policy.
It is shown that it takes several years for a mandatory policy to be institutionalized and routinized, but that once it has been the deposit of articles takes place in a remarkably short time after publication, or in some cases even before. Authors overwhelmingly deposit well before six months after publication date. The OA mantra of 'deposit now, set open access when feasible' is shown to be not only reasonable, but fitting what researchers actually do.

From the body of the paper:
Repository managers should invest in promotion and follow-up for 2-3 years after a mandatory policy is promulgated, after which the behavior becomes routinized.
No especial activities need to be undertaken to convince researchers to deposit research articles soon after publication – this seems to happen naturally under mandatory policies.
Six month embargos by publishers are likely to be unpopular with researchers, since in the absence of constraints they deposit earlier than this.
The recommendation widely adopted by the open access movement and summarized as ‘deposit immediately, and make open access as soon as legally possible’ is shown to be excellent advice for any university or funding agency considering adopting a mandatory policy.

Comment. This is an important set of results. Sale's research shows that OA mandates work without coercion and supports the case for university-level mandates, the case for the dual deposit/release strategy, and the case against self-archiving embargoes.

From Open Access News, August 23, 2006
Posted by Peter Suber at 8/23/2006 08:52:00 AM.

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