Across disciplines, what motivates or prevents faculty self archiving? This article is in early view at JASIST. It looks like it comes from the author's dissertation. It isn't terribly earth-shattering, but it's well done, it provides more evidence, and there are definitely some implications for library/IR manager practice. Here's the citation:

Kim, J. (2010). Faculty self-archiving: Motivations and barriers Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology DOI: 10.1002/asi.21336

The author went through a complicated process to identify 1,500 faculty members at 17 research institutions with DSpace IRs (not immediately clear why only DSpace IRs). The faculty members were at all levels (associate, assistant, full) and from several areas of science (includes math), several areas of engineering (includes CS, hm), several areas of social science, and several areas of the humanities. Some had items in their IR and some didn't. There was a web-based survey and with a 45% response rate (sounds good, but the author mailed the people and e-mailed them a bunch of times, so she worked for it).  The survey is included in the appendix. It has a bunch of likert scale questions, some yes/no, some multiple choice, and some open questions. Forty-one telephone interviews were done with survey respondents to get more in-depth information.

So what did she find?

  • Altruism - but this isn't exactly what you think. It's more like generalized reciprocity combined with quid pro quo combined with access for those in less developed countries.
  • Coming from a self-archiving culture. Some actually mentioned peer pressure - if it weren't expected of them, they wouldn't do it.
  • Copyright concerns. Some don't self archive because they believe they don't have the right. The nice part is that at least a few knew that they could amend the publication agreement. This sort of counteracts the idea that faculty don't know about or get copyright. These folks were pretty clear on it.
  • Technical skills and age. Younger and those who rated their technical skills more highly were more likely to self archive.
  • Impact on tenure or promotion. They all seemed to think there would be a positive or no impact on promotion and tenure.
  • Time and effort. It's too much of a PITA for its priority.

Applications/implications for librarians: If concern about copyright is preventing a lot of self-archiving, then there's real education that can be done. Also - the fact that it's a hassle. If they can populate their website by using a badge or widget from the IR, that would make things easier, eh?

A couple of trivial things about the article: it seems really redundant - it repeats itself a lot. Some good editing would make it a bunch tighter. It has a great reference list - this might be a useful collection for anyone writing or presenting on the topic.

update: huge typo in the title, for heaven's sake. what's staff archiving?


More like this

IR in this case is an institutional repository - a database/website/services thingy that the institution (typically the library) runs to preserve and provide access to the intellectual works of the institution. DSpace is a software product started by MIT that runs IRs.
Thanks for asking!

I keep lots of stuff around, because it is such a PITA to throw it away. And it is even more of a PITA to get another copy later when you need it.

During my years at the university (in the '70s) we didn't discuss ever the issue of archiving. I had only one professor who proudly mentioned his collection of articles in his special field, and he kept it in his room, where it wasn't available for anyone else. Not even backups were mentioned, even though I was studying computer engineering, and reliability was a hot topic in those days. We students learned about backups in the hard way.

IOW, we learned to produce information, not to manage it.

It was only later, while working as a R&D engineer in the industry, when I learned that information is like any material substance. It has a life cycle. You have to produce it, maintain it, and in the end, you have to destroy it in a controlled way, e.g. before you send your computer to the scrap heap. Don't destroy the backups, though. Copyright only applies to distribution, not archives.

By Lassi Hippeläinen (not verified) on 17 Jul 2010 #permalink

Quite a few institutional repositories aren't open to public access.

Many authors don't have a final published version of their manuscripts. Sloppy publishing business practices mean the only version they have is the corrected editorial proof. When asking for electronic reprints, more than a few authors have responded with a copy of their proof and cordial note explaining why. I'm always astounded when this happens (about a quarter of reprint requests are met this way) because the page charges are still stupidly high, despite the ease of document formatting/layouts for print and electronic publishing.