Submission policies

Self Archiving

This is where the author deposits their work in to a repository by themselves. It usually involves the filling in of forms to detail what the content is about. Some studies have been done to determine how long it takes an author to self archive their work (Carr and Harnad).

But what about the quality of information that is put into a metadata record. One of the arguments that some authors may make is that adding what is essentially catalogue record is a specialist skill more akin to that of a librarian. Librarians tend to be more thorough, disciplined and have systems designed to add appropriate key words to content (e.g. DCC, thesauri). As a result the descriptive metadata will tend to be more accurate and comprehensive. Indeed, there are indications when one harvests records from repositories where self archiving is present there are some inaccuracies.

It could be argued in the commercial publishing domain, due to their strict adherence to particular standards, that metadata and thus location of items via search services will be greater. Thus it is for this quality enhancement that institutions are willing to pay their subscriptions.

Mediated Deposit

An increasingly popular approach to population of repositories is the concept of mediated deposit. In this model authors or their administrative staff simply supply the original articles in their native format. It is then up to the repository administrator to convert these into an appropriate submission format, append the correct metadata and complete the deposit. For the academic staff the advantage of this route is that it is far less time demanding for them. For the repository it ensures that internal standards can be maintained more readily. Advantages can include more comprehensive and detailed descriptive metadata for each item, and increasing the likelihood of search engines locating the item.

The method is not without its drawbacks. Experiences from within the SHERPA partnership have noted that some documents for deposit are supplied as a series of files, in multiple formats. These require meticulous and lengthy work to convert into a single deposit worthy item. This has significant staff resourcing implications with respect to the scalability of a repository. A mediated service manned by a single individual may struggle to cope with an increasing tide of deposits in a timely manner, which may damage the internal reputation of the repository. However, if staffing and ingest levels are frequently reviewed by repository management as part of an overall planned development process, then this difficulty can be addressed.

When a mediated submission system is used the author does not actually click through the legal agreement stage of the deposit process so they have not directly granted the submission licence. This raises a potential issue. Typically the deposit licence used in a repository does ask the person "signing" (i.e. clicking through) to confirm that they have the permission of the author, and that the author has the permission of co-authors, but extra checks may be advisable. Consequently, repository administrators may wish to consider collecting additional proof of the permissions being granted when deposit is taking place via a third party. Keeping a paper or electronic record of permission granted by the author is advisable. This should be combined with a take-down policy which helps the institution respond to any disputes which may arise. While none of these constitute a complete legal defence, they are likely to demonstrate a responsible approach on the part of the institution.

Find out more from the JISC Digital Repositories infoKit