Sunday, March 18, 2007

what an IR shouldn´t be...

i can hardly believe that i last blogged 24 feb. i´ve been to madrid, and back, and now the term has even ended here at the uni.

but be that as it may, here i am on my soapbox, to say: an institutional repository (IR) should NOT be a glorified (or even a less-than-glorified) bibliographic/abstract index! c´mon, thát´s why library catalogues went online to start with. to my mind, when i hop along to any one of the e-prints- or dspace-based collections, i expect, yes EXPECT scholarly works there to be available fulltext, and openly so. this is my understanding of the use of these brands.

my little rant is due to my minutes-ago experience of browsing a collection (more through happenstance), only to find that what was listed in the law collection of the IR were merely mostly abstracts linked to alternative locations (toll-gated journal publication sites) . in effect, where such locations then required access (sign-in / logon). no reasons were given on the IR page for their not simply providing the fulltext in situ (right then and there). such misuses of the IR brands (by brands, i mean "e-prints" and "dspace") should be prevented. i haven´t browsed other collections within the same IR to see if this kind of thing i describe was/is a regular occurrence. nevertheless, the cases that i have seen are enough to provoke my ire.

in sum, universities and research institutes: you shouldn´t get to call your collection an e-prints or dspace collection if all you´re doing is providing a service which is in effect an online catalogue with links to a closed-access collection. for sure, this "catalogue" gives exposure to the authors´ works somehow (via this online abstract) and yet, let´s face it, you can´t pretend that it´s open access. this kind of misuse dilutes the notion of open access and distorts the originally intended uses of the e-prints and dspace softwares.

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