[Irtalk] FW: [sparc-oaforum] Re: Ranking of repositories

Elsabe Olivier Elsabe.Olivier at up.ac.za
Fri Aug 5 09:48:17 SAST 2011

Hi Everybody
I absolutely agree with Jean-Claude that quality should not be
neglected. NDLTD has compiled useful resources & information - also on
Technical Standards - which can be very valuable for  ETD repository
managers :  http://www.ndltd.org/resources
Elsabe Olivier 
Manager: Open Scholarship
NDLTD Board Member
Department Library Services
Office 4.16.1
University of Pretoria
South Africa
Tel.: + 27 12 420 3719
Fax: +27 12 362 5100
E-mail: elsabe.olivier at up.ac.za
Skype: elsabe.olivier

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>>> On 2011/08/04 at 08:58 PM, "Denise Nicholson"
<Denise.Nicholson at wits.ac.za> wrote:

Well done to UP.  
Interesting to see the perspective below from someone in Canada.
From: Jean-Claude Guédon [mailto:jean.claude.guedon at umontreal.ca]
Sent: Wed 2011/08/03 17:52
To: peter.suber at gmail.com
Subject: [sparc-oaforum] Re: Ranking of repositories

Personally, I regret these constant efforts to create "rankings"
leading to the identification of "excellence". They completely distort
the quality issues which, IMHO, are far more important. Would it not be
much better to create evaluation thresholds corresponding to quality
levels. This would encourage lower-level repositories to try moving up a
category, and then perhaps two?

Some may object that category classifications are nothing more than
rough, crude ranking. This is not false, but there is a distinction to
be observed, however: quality thresholds do not put competition at the
center of everything, and it does not rely on competition to identify

Some may think that competition is a good way to create quality, but
this is not the case. Just to give an example: the US health system is
largely dominated by competitive rankings of all kinds. This leads to
two opposite results: the US has many of the best health centers in the
world and a great many Nobel prizes in medicine; yet, the US ranks about
35th in the world for life expectancy, which is shockingly low. If one
were to choose between having the medical champions of the world, versus
having a population with a better general health, one would tend to
prefer the latter. At least that would be my choice.

In other words, fighting for excellence as the over-arching principle
of quality creation leads to the concentration of quality at the very
top, and it often leads to the neglect of overall quality.

I believe science needs quality everywhere, and not just at the top. A
bit of competition is also needed, but only at the very top, to
stimulate the very best to go one step further. Competition everywhere
does not work because those that cannot hope to come even close to the
very best, the gold medals, simply give up.

Incidentally, OA corresponds to a massive vote in favor of quality, as
the many discussions about quality control and peer review that are
appearing in its wake demonstrate. Excellence is all right if it is
limited to the very top of science, where the paradigm shifts occur. But
most of science is not about paradigm shifting, far from it. Let us
value excellence, but let us keep it also in its proper place.
Meanwhile, let us grow quality all over and Open Access is a powerful
tool to that end.

My two cents' worth.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le mercredi 03 août 2011 à 10:04 -0400, Peter Suber a écrit :

[Forwarding from Isidro F. Aguillo, via the AmSci OA Forum.  --Peter

The second edition of the 2011 Ranking Web of Repositories has been
published at the end of July.  It is available from t
he Webometrics


The number of repositories is growing fast, especially in academic
institutions from developing countries. As in previous editions the
subject repositories still appear in the top positions, with large
institutional ones following them.

There are no relevant changes in this edition, but the editors are
making a plea to the Open Access community regarding a few aspects
related to intellectual property issues.

The papers and other documents deposited in institutional repositories
are probably the main asset of those institutions. As important as
giving free access to others is the proper recognition of the authorship
of the scientific documents. Unfortunately a few institutions are
hosting their repositories in websites outside the main webdomain of its
organization and many repositories are recommending to use systems like
handle and others purl-like URLs for citing (linking) the deposited
items. This means that moral rights regarding institutional authorship
are ignored, relevant information about authors is missed and the
semantic possibilities of the web address are not explored.

Nowadays it is already common to add the URL address of the full text
document in the bibliographic references of the published papers.
Logically the link to the full text in the institutional repository can
be used for that purpose, but researchers are facing options that ignore
their institutional affiliation, with strange meaningless codes, prone
to typos or other mistakes and pointing to metadata pages not to the
full text documents. Obviously for authors it could be more profitable
to host the papers in their personal pages instead doing it in
institutional repositories whose naming policies have relevant copyright

Our position is that end-users should be taken into account, that web
addresses are going to place in important role in citing behavior, that
citations are the key tool for evaluation of authors, that institutions
are investing large amounts of money in their repositories in exchange
of prestige and impact and that providing permanent address is the duty
of the institution, nor responsibility of external third-parties.

Comments are welcomed



Isidro F. Aguillo, HonPhD The Cybermetrics Lab IPP-CCHS-CSIC Albasanz,
26-28 (3C1) 28037 Madrid. Spain isidro.aguillo @ cchs.csic.es

-- Jean-Claude Guédon Professeur titulaire Littérature comparée
Université de Montréal

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