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

Peter Murray-Rust pm286 at cam.ac.uk
Thu Dec 5 16:29:17 UTC 2013

On Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 4:16 PM, Mike Taylor <mike at indexdata.com> wrote:

> Wikipedia works because there's one of it.
> eBay works for the same reason.
> More pertinently, that's why arXiv works, too.
In principle I agree. But none of these was by global design. Wikipedia
overtook other free encyclopedias. So I think we have to accept there will
be a small number of "competing" approaches (<= 3). Then  the best and most
usable solutions will emerge. We cannot *design* the best final solution.
We can build it and work to making it the fittest.

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!

Totally agreed. IRs have destroyed any sense of community solution. In fact
any solution of anything based on universities will balkanize. That is why
the excitement happens outside.

> What researchers need is
> for there to be one repo in the world. (Plus any number of mirrors, of
> course.)
Yes. I'd be happy for one national repository per country because nations,
unlike universities have an interest and experience in building good
information systems. If done well it then becomes  a feasible task to unite
or overlay them, because the nations will *want* them to be used.

The alternatives are:
* rapid uncontrolled evolution of bottom-up tools. This may work (e.g.
Figshare) as long as it's Open.
* large benign institutions such as Mozilla, Wikipedia or OKFN taking a
* monopolist capitalists (e.g. Mendeley). I'm not keen on this one.

Peter Murray-Rust
Reader in Molecular Informatics
Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
University of Cambridge
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