[Open-access] [open-science] OKF at Open Repositories 2014

Bjoern Brembs b.brembs at gmail.com
Thu Dec 5 23:41:35 UTC 2013

On Thursday, December 5, 2013, 5:16:01 PM, you wrote:

> Wikipedia works because there's one of it.

> eBay works for the same reason.

> More pertinently, that's why arXiv works, too.

> The whole system of IRs necessarily and *by design* leads to
> balkanisation. How could it not? That's what
> the institutions actively
> *want* -- come and see *our* awesome repo! What researchers need is
> for there to be one repo in the world. (Plus
> any number of mirrors, of
> course.)

Spot on! And neither Ebay, nor Wikipedia are a
single computer with one harddrive. The advantage
of the net is that it doesn't matter where things
are, as long as it appears unitary for the human
user. Which is why, practically, repositories are
great: there are people, funds and institutions
attached to it in many ways, such that each
repository and its contents are 'cared for' in a
very decentralized way. That's the good part.

The bad part is that they operate in a balkanized'
way, which means nobody is using them.

It seems to me that the most feasible way (both
legally and practically) is to get repositories to
act as peers in a single peer-2-peer network
(perhaps using a torrent-like technology), where
the peers care for, maintain and curate the
content, rather than to design a centralized
intitiative from scratch.

I'll let myself be convinced otherwise, but for now
repositories appear to me like arms, legs, livers
and spleens looking for a brain to make it all
work. Designing a whole human from scratch appears
to bring a whole bag of issues with it that might
hamper any such approach beyond what it's worth.

What are the arguments against redesigning
repositories and for designing a new scholarly
knowledge database from scratch?

Again, we obviously need "here is your scholarly
content:", but are there any good reasons why that
content cannot/should not be located in current
repositories adhering to a common standard?


Björn Brembs
Universität Regensburg

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