December 1, 2006

Are repositories evil?

Filed under: Repositories — Neil Godfrey @ 2:01 am

As a result of my last post re the hostile reception I got as a local repository rep someone  else also closely involved with repositories did admit that repositories may be potentially a bit evil, but that they also do some good. It’s worth noting that they are also helping to break up the power the publishing companies have held over academics up till now.  So on balance, this someone reassured himself, they are probably more good than evil.

That sounded pretty sort of good to me too. So I dashed off a note to another colleague including a reminder of this, but she replied that in her institution several academics are on editorial boards of publishing companies and THEY DON’T WANT to see the power of publishing companies diminished!

So I guess we have evil being in the eye of the beholder, customized targeting for different folks and all that.

The ‘repositories are evil’ line that my academic friend was initially hitting me with and that prompted my first post on this topic lost some of its force yesterday too, when I spoke to her again about her experiences with our repository. She was most happy to learn that I had resolved what was her personal embarrassment caused in her mind by our mismanagement of her paper, and scarcely mentioned her earlier political critique.

I took her final happiness over the whole thing as reminder to:

  • get our workflows dead right so that there can be no stuffups and adequate records are kept to clarify any matters that arise;
  • maintain ground contacts with the troops in the trenches and work smarter at communicating the positives that are working for them (from the grand goal to the nitty gritty of housekeeping issues);
  • be careful to keep ourselves clear of any appearance of being a political tool and to avoid any murkiness of such a perception to pollute our open access goals.

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