20 October 2010

Open Access Week Profile 2: Authors Who Self-Archive

As noted in the previous post, forced migration-related reports, organizational publications, working papers, and the like are generally pretty easy to find online at no cost. Journal-reported research is much more challenging and less predictable to locate on the web on a complimentary basis, despite the fact that journal publishers are giving the green light to authors to deposit eprints of their articles in digital repositories. I recently undertook a little study to investigate the extent to which authors of Journal of Refugee Studies (JRS) articles have archived versions of their manuscripts. I discovered only one out of 119 articles: Jenni Millbank and Laurie Berg of the University of Technology, Sydney deposited a pre-print of their JRS article in SSRN, the social science subject repository.

So why do some authors self-archive when so many others don't? I decided to ask Prof. Millbank for her views. She has kindly given me permission to reproduce her responses to my questions:

What motivated you to begin self-archiving your papers?
-The importance of having a broad international readership, particularly a US readership, when publishing in journals that may not be available overseas or through mega databases such as LEXIS and WESTLAW. Also wanting to get research out there quickly - when many journals have a time lag of over a year from acceptance to publication.

Were you familiar with the open access movement when you began to self-archive?
- Yes.

Were you familiar with journal publishers' policies regarding self-archiving?
- Yes - many of them have become more restrictive since.

Why did you choose SSRN?
- It is a big database, easy to use and free. I like that they distribute through theme based topic email lists.

Does your institution have a repository? If yes, do you also archive your papers there? If no, why not?
- Yes - but it is less easy to use and has much more limited utility - eg not searchable in the same way that SSRN is, also SSRN comes up on google, has beta links, records of views and downloads etc.

Is self-archiving complicated? Approximately how long does it take you to upload a paper?
- Once you are used to the set up it only takes 5 or 10 minutes.

Do you have any advice for other authors who have not yet taken the step to self-archive?
- Absolutely - do it, as a researcher the critical thing is to get information out there and be part of the trans-national conversations in your area of expertise.

Many thanks, Prof. Millbank!

For examples of other authors who self-archive on SSRN, browse through the "Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Law eJournal."

And if any readers out there would like to share their reasons for self-archiving, please send a comment!

Tagged Publications and Web Sites/Tools.

No comments: