Sunday 30 September 2007

Self Deposit - It Jolly-Well Works You Know!

First some impartial statistics, and then some ballyhoo.

To follow up the previous posting about our School repository's apparent 100% success rate for capturing the School's research outputs, I have expanded the scope of the investigation. If you recall, I focused on a single society publisher (the ACM) as it provides and important publication venue for half of the research groups in our School. Thanks to Alma Swan's assistance, I have managed to get a more comprehensive (and more representative) report of 157 journal publications for our school from ISI's Web of Knowledge in 2006. Comparing this against the repository's holdings for that year I find that 128 items match deposits in the database and 29 do not - that makes a deposit rate of 82%. Of those 128 deposits, 118 have full texts and 105 are open access - making an overall OA success rate of 67%.

Running the same experiment on the WoS Conferences data I get 108 conference or workshop papers reported, of which 86 seem to be deposited in the repository (an 80% success rate, almost identical to the journal figures above). However, only 60 of those are full text and 54 are open access, meaning that only 50% of this source of material is being OAed. That seems to be a significant difference (2/3 above versus 1/2 here) which may be partly explained by the attitude of the electronics community towards conferences and workshops. [Note that the figure of 86 items deposited has yet to be carefully checked.]

Now the ballyhoo!

As I explained in one of my opening posts back in July, the ECS repository is a research school's working repository with minimum investment - having been established six years ago it now attracts about 2% FTE effort in management, editorial and technical support, and it is still running on the same old server (well, workstation). The policy is that the repository shouldn't put a noticeable load on the research staff - it is there to serve research, not vice versa.

So to find that self-archiving works even in such a neglectful (lax, sloppy) environment is very exciting indeed. We don't have complex processes, careful editorial QA procedures nor any extensive administrative oversight. It just happens, day by day. To find that the effectiveness is running at 80-100% without any management effort on your part, is just amazing.

So let's hear it for self-deposit!

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