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December 19, 2005

Open Access Scholarship Archiving: Mandates Work, Requests Don't, Australian Data Say

Arthur Sale, Comparison of IR content policies in Australia, a preprint, self-archived December 8, 2005.

Abstract: Seven Australian universities (of 38) have established institutional repositories (also known as IRs or eprint archives) that can be analyzed for content and which were in operation during 2004 and 2005. The paper analyses their performance and concludes that a requirement to deposit research output into a repository coupled with effective author support policies works in Australia. Voluntary policies do not, regardless of any author support, consistent with international data.

From the body of the paper: Only QUT had a formal requirement for authors to deposit all research output in their IR during 2004 and 2005. All the other universities had voluntary deposit policies, and still have. Some universities in the sample profess little or no interest in the self-archiving of postprints, and see their repositories as serving other functions, or are working on other activities. Some universities are reported to have a Author Support (AS) approach to their authors; others do not. It is difficult at this stage to disentangle AS from a requirement policy through lack of a AS metric, though it probably has a significant impact. However the AS impact is believed to be less than that of having an effective and enforced deposit policy, even if only loosely enforced, which is the justification for this analysis....No Australian university with a voluntary policy collects significantly more than 15% of the DEST [Department of Science, Education and Technology] reportable content and most much less. This is consistent with international data for which 15% is accepted as an average limit. The DEST reportable content is itself estimated at being only 50% of university research output. QUT stands out at 4X higher than its nearest competitor (2005 data, 2.4X in 2004). Detailed analysis of QUT’s collection rates suggests that the deposit rate surged after March 2005, and that QUT can expect to have a final success deposit ratio for 2005 near 60% and a success ratio for 2006 documents nearer to 80%. The difference is attributed to the deposit policy coupled with good author support practices....A requirement to deposit research output into a repository coupled with effective author support policies works in Australia. Voluntary policies do not, regardless of any author support, consistent with international data. It is well overdue for DEST to rule that postprints of all research that Australian universities report to DEST must be deposited in an institutional repository, to take effect say for 2007. The costs to the universities are ridiculously small; the benefits from increased global research impact, and enabling Australians to access the research they fund through the public purse, are enormous. "

Source: P.Suber OA News (10 Dec 05) [FullText]

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