Monday 24 September 2007

Outcomes of Light Touch QA attempt

The results of my attempt at applying light-touch QA via emails. No-one complained about the emails, or whined about being asked to do something unreasonable. In fact, several people thanked me for keeping them on the ball and went on to request more quality alerts. (That was unexpected!)

A couple of people were still chary about putting up their full texts (or opening them up to public access). In fact, one professor sent me a list of 15 publications that he wouldn't put in the repository becaue "he had signed his copyright away". The startling thing was that 13 of those 15 publications (some journals, some conferences and some workshops) were published by "ROMEO green" publishers, ie publishers with repository-friendly policies. The other two items were book sections about which we have no deposit policy. So I had an excuse to email the whole school and remind them about our deposit policy and encourage them about their OA practices - a very useful opportunity indeed.

As to the actual effect - after a week (with no reminders and no followup) 16% of the errors that I reported had been dealt with. To be honest, I was hoping for more, but I think that these QA reminders need to be built into a proper process which includes reporting Quality statistics to the Research Committee. As a one-off it was a useful exercise, but on reflection I think that 16% is probably a realistic rate of returns for a voluntary, one-shot activity request.

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