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December 04, 2009

Moving beyond the typical 15% deposit level

In an email to the AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM@LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG mailing list, Steve Hitchcock writes:

... authors of research papers everywhere want "to reach the eyes and minds of peers, fellow esoteric scientists and scholars the world over, so that they can build on one another's contributions in that cumulative. collaborative enterprise called learned inquiry."

[This] belief was founded on principle, but also on observed practice, that in 1994 we saw authors spontaneously making their papers available on the Web. From those small early beginnings we just assumed the practice would grow. Why wouldn't it? The Web was new, and open, and people were learning quickly how they could make use of it. Our instincts about the Web were not wrong. Since then, writing to the Web has become even easier.

So this is the powerful idea ..., and what we haven't yet understood is why, beyond the typical 15% deposit level, self-archiving does not happen without mandates. The passage of 15 years should tell us something about the other 85% of authors. Do they not share this belief? Does self-archiving not serve the purpose? ...

This is the part that needs to be re-examined, the idea, and why it has yet to awaken and enthuse our colleagues, as it has us, to the extent we envisaged. Might we have misunderstood and idealised the process of 'learned inquiry'?

I completely agree.

In passing, I'd be interested to know what uptake of Mendeley is like, and whether it looks likely to make any in-roads into the 85%, either as an adjunct to institutional repositories or as an alternative?


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Note on Mendeley blog:

100,000 users and 8M papers. I didn't look beyond the report to see what the numbers mean.


Mendeley is worth trying. It's a lightweight publishing mechanism but it's also a good place to organize papers. I prefer Zotero (open source goodness) but once Mendeley's Zotero import keeps the collections synched I'm likely to spend a lot more time in Mendeley organizing.

Right now what it's best at is information extraction of the metadata--impressive since the XMP in PDFs isn't generally usable, and often isn't correct.

Hi, Andy. As a representative of Mendeley I can shed some light on what those numbers mean.

The users number is a little off, because many people use Mendeley without registering for a web profile. The number of users includes only those who have filled out their profiles to some extent, so the total number of users may be higher.

Let me also say that Mendeley is not interested in replacing IRs, rather working with them explicitly for the purpose of shrinking that 85%. The details of how the service will integrate with the repositories is still being worked out, primarily to solve some long standing larger problems such as author disambiguation and manuscript version tracking. Dorothea and I have discussed this a little over email and at friendfeed. The developers would very much like to avoid porting the limitations of legacy systems and anachronistic citation styles into the product. After the 1.0 release lands, expect to see the pace quicken in this area, but please don't stop bringing it up. Startups have many demands on their attention, so even as important as this is, the developers don't come from a library background and need to hear about this repeatedly.

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