Saturday, June 16, 2007

Do we need a Repositories Plan B?

Do we need a Repositories Plan B?: Andy Powell, Repository Plan B? eFoundations, June 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

"The most successful people are those who are good at Plan B." -- James Yorke, mathematician
[...] Imagine a world in which we talked about 'research blogs' or 'research feeds' rather than 'repositories', in which the 'open access' policy rhetoric used phrases like 'resource outputs should be made freely available on the Web' rather than 'research outputs should be deposited into institutional or other repositories', and in which accepted 'good practice' for researchers was simply to make research output freely available on the Web with an associated RSS or Atom feed.

Wouldn't that be a more intuitive and productive scholarly communication environment than what we have currently? ...

Since [arXiv], we have largely attempted to position repositories as institutional services, for institutional reasons, in the belief that metadata harvesting will allow us to aggregate stuff back together in meaningful ways.

Is it working?  I'm not convinced.  Yes, we can acknowledge our failure to put services in place that people find intuitively compelling to use by trying to force their use thru institutional or national mandates?  But wouldn't it be nicer to build services that people actually came to willingly?

In short, do we need a repositories plan B?

(Via Open Access News.)

axXiv has RSS feeds, which I rely on. Research blogs like Machine Learning (Theory) recommend interesting papers from time to time. But what I would like is to have feeds for the new papers and readings of researchers whose work I want to follow. Institutional repositories aggregate material in the wrong way for this, and authors lack convenient tools to generate feeds automatically as they post new papers.

I think I'll start a blog that just lists the papers found interesting or I have recently written.

1 comment:

Zeppe said...

What do you think of It seems to implement some of your ideas, as the possibility to look at the libraries of other people. The bad thing is that being the name of the people unavailable (people are known by nick), the good thing is that for each paper you can know whose library it is in, so you can find people with similar interests by using the system and updating your library, and then follow their libraries through RSS feed. I think the key for such systems is the number of people who use it.