Eprint website for the University of Tasmania

Discussion Paper

Professor Arthur Sale, Research Coordinator, School of Computing

2004 August 6, Version 1.0


Executive Summary

This document proposes the urgent establishment of an eprint website for the University of Tasmania, and suggests corresponding policies for discussion. A mandatory self-archiving policy for research output, and a mandatory policy for archiving theses are suggested for discussion and implementation over several years. A School of Computing prototype website temporarily codenamed ‘UTasER’ can be viewed at http://eprints.comp.utas.edu.au/ and illustrates the type of information that an eprints website will hold. Present document contributions are mainly from the School of Computing, but trial documents have also been entered by the Library. An Eprints server will increase the research impact of UTas research output by 3-5´, and is considered an essential part of the research strategy being undertaken in the School of Computing.


What are eprints?

An eprint is an electronic version of a paper, article or thesis, preserved in an archive and searchable and retrievable globally. The word encompasses preprints (versions of a research article distributed before refereed publication) and postprints or reprints (copies of a published article distributed apart from the journal or poceedings in which they appeared). An eprint server is a server on which all or most of the research output of an institution is mounted, and which provides search and browse capability to find particular papers. Such a server is a useful addition to a university's  profile, but not particularly valuable by itself. You have to know about it to search it, and few people outside Tasmania will.

To be really value-adding, an eprint server must comply with the standards of the Open Access Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting  (OAI-PMH), and be registered with global OAI harvesters such as scirus (http://www.scirus.com/), myOAI (http://www.myoai.com/) and OAIster (http://oaister.umdl.umich.edu/o/oaister/). These provide global search services for research publications for all registered institutions, for example OAIster currently has data on 3.3M documents from 307 universities and research organizations worldwide. There is small value in institutional searching and only slightly more for national level searching; the Internet is a global medium.

As part of the research strategy for the School of Computing an eprint server has been established, and is proposed as a prototype for the University of Tasmania. To view the look-and-feel of our eprint server, view it at http://eprints.comp.utas.edu.au/. At the date of writing this prototype contains 17 documents: journal papers, conference papers, a newspaper article, Honours theses, PhD theses, and unpublished technical reports. One technical report (this document) is available as HTML and other formats; it has also been updated several times since its first upload. The others are available in PDF as their primary format. These documents have been contributed by staff and students of the School of Computing, or solicited to exercise the software capabilities and provide some idea of the possibilities to members of the University.

To get some experience with an eprint server, point your Internet browser to the prototype server and search for the key phrase 'spread spectrum', or search for the author surnames 'Malhotra' or 'Cook'. This prototype has been registered with only one harvester (OAIster) pending a decision on a university server, and has been registered with the Institutional Archives Registry. It passes all the OAI-PMH protocol validation tests. Once the once-a-month harvesting schedule takes effect, its documents will be searchable globally, including via Yahoo. Try also viewing scirus or OAIster (URLs above), and searching all linked universities for something or someone interesting to you; if your mind is blank try 'spam filter'.

You cannot reasonably comment on this proposal until you have some experience of what it might offer; to assist you this document itself is uploaded to the prototype server as HTML http://eprints.comp.utas.edu.au:81/archive/00000011/ . Download the HTML version and you will have a set of live hyperlinks that can take you directly to the places on the Web mentioned above and scattered through this document.

The author is willing to give a brief talk and demonstration of eprints (including the prototype server and OAI browsers) on request to Arthur.Sale@utas.edu.au.


There are many benefits of an eprint website for the University of Tasmania. The most significant to academics, RHD students and other researchers are the following which align firmly with the EDGE agenda, and with the School of Computing research strategy.

·       Papers available online are suggested by information science researchers to be cited on average 300% more frequently than papers available only in paper form! See 'Articles freely available online are more highly cited', Nature, 411-6837, p521, 2001, also at http://www.neci.nec.com/~lawrence/papers/online-nature01/. A 2004 ISI citation impact study (http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/OATAnew.pdf) shows that journal articles that have been made open access by self-archiving are cited 250%–550% more than articles in the same journal that are not self-archived. An even more recent valuable reference is http://www.dlib.org/dlib/june04/harnad/06harnad.html (note the impact of online articles in this paragraph).

·       Our research output (where legally possible) is made publicly available, globally, free, and at the time of creation. It is not restricted to an institution, country, journal, or by ability to pay. Only Internet access is required.

·       The self-loading of preprints on the server provides prima facie proof of priority of the research findings. This is especially important for research higher degree theses and is a win-win situation for postgraduates working on cutting edge sciences and technologies for both theses and papers submitted to journals and conferences.

·       Global searches through OAI-compatible search engines bring our research and researchers more easily to the attention of other researchers worldwide.

·       All the above increases our research impact very significantly.

Besides these, there are many more peripheral or long-range benefits that are unlikely to strongly motivate academic staff yet which may resonate with the Academic Senate and senior management. These include:

·       The Group of Eight universities have a project to install open access (eprint) archives in all of their membership. At the time of writing only four servers at Melbourne (www.unimelb.edu.au, 273 documents), Queensland (http://eprint.uq.edu.au/, 875 documents), ANU (http://eprints.anu.edu.au/ 2000 documents) and Monash University (http://eprint.monash.edu.au/, 33 records) are operational. The University of Tasmania regards itself as equal with these universities. QUT (142 documents) and Curtin (81 documents) also have operational servers, as does ALIA and the National Library of Australia, making 9 in total in Australia including ourselves (17 documents).

·       No university anywhere has access to the entire world's research. The Open Access Initiative is aimed at making access to research output readily available to all. Working with this initiative incidentally assists in combating the serials pricing crisis.

·       Some disciplines are already highly electronic in their dissemination practices, primary examples are Theoretical Physics and Computing. This trend can only be expected to continue, and an eprint archive will assist the University in maintaining a leading edge reputation.

·       The initiative is an operation driven by standards, where global interoperability is seen as vital.

All the above indicate that an eprint server for the university containing a high proportion of our research output would create a major change in the dissemination effectiveness of the University’s research (=‘research impact’). It is tragic that the University is not yet exploiting nor even considering this opportunity.


Growth in documents on the ANU Eprint server

Retrieved from http://archives.eprints.org/ on 29 June 2004


Implementation Barriers and Counter-Arguments

Direct Costs

The direct costs (cash) are minor. The prototype eprints server is mounted on the same server used by the School of Computing for many other purposes. A dedicated server with adequate disk space for records for several years and a better response time would cost say $5000. However, a fully operational server could be mounted initially on an existing University web server computer.

The EPrints software proposed to be used (http://www.eprints.org/) is completely free under a GNU open source licence, as are updates and all the supporting software (Apache, mySQL, Perl, etc). Registration with OAI harvesters is also free. Searches performed on harvesters such as myOAI and OAIster are free apart from Internet traffic costs. The software is widely used by universities for this purpose and there is an active support forum. Over 50% of the world's university repositories use Eprints; its only serious competitor is DSpace. The diagram shows the rate of growth of global deployment of Eprints technology recorded by one registry.


Indirect costs

Indirect costs are more significant and can be broken down into technical support costs, server supervision, and upload costs.

Technical support by ICT personnel

The initial implementation effort for the prototype has been supplied by the School of Computing. The implementation could be easily transported to another server with minimal staff time (our effort is under 1 person-week in ICT support). There will however need to be some work put into customizing the site to suit the University's visual standards and desired user interface. Other university sites offer examples. This need not be a large task (say another person-week), indeed could be minimal and evolve with the site. Depending on the upload solution adopted, it might be desirable for IT Resources to write a module to interface to the University LDAP server so that all research staff have automatic upload registration on the server with their email username and password; this might require say a week's work at most. Ongoing technical support by ITR should be minor, and mainly concerned with security, updates and backups.

If the later proposal to interact with ADT through an eprints server is implemented there will also be a small amount of work required to reformat the thesis data in a form harvestable by ADT, since the ADT refuse to harvest in a standards-compliant manner. One or possibly two weeks work is estimated.

Server supervision by information specialists

The server will require supervision by someone with a research or information science speciality from the Library. Regular monitoring will be required to approve uploads, and monitor the quality of the service and the status of the server. Depending on the take-up of the facilities, this might be a moderate or a relatively light load. An upper bound estimate of the effort can be made by assuming that the entire research article output (~2000/yr) and thesis output (~130/yr) output of the University is uploaded to the server annually. Research articles should require ~30s on average to approve, and theses ~5min on average to upload; totalling maybe 30 hours/year.


Creation of content is the province of academic staff and RHD candidates. However, there is the additional step of submitting the content (preprint files and in some cases postprints) to the server. Three basic self-archiving models are possible, but combinations are of course possible:

1.     In one, the researcher uploads the file and enters the bibliographic information. Experience suggests that the work may be 5-10 minutes with a small amount of experience of what is required. This is a tiny fraction of the work involved in producing the paper, and would seem negligible in order to get 3´ increased citations. However in other institutions it has been seen as a barrier because it simply does not get done. It is extremely hard to get academics to do work without deadlines even if it clearly to their benefit.

2.     In a variation on this theme, one person in each school is responsible for the uploading. This could be the person responsible for PES data entry since much of the information is required by them anyway. Entry would be smoother, quicker and more reliable, at the expense of some extra liaison with the academic and workload for the responsible person.

3.     The ultimate in centralization would be to have a single institutional person (or a team) do the uploading, with the academic simply emailing the papers to him/her/them. This has the ultimate in consistency, but also requires a significant change to the duties of the person/team. Seeking additional information not initially supplied by the academic in the email would constitute a significant part of that load. The option also exists to spread the workload around various subject editors. The Library is best placed to pick up this responsibility.


The implementation of an eprint server is easy (as we have proved); the hard part is getting anywhere near 100% participation by researchers and coverage of institutional output. This can be readily seen by the performance of Australian institutions with eprint servers (from less than 40 documents at Monash University to a respectable 2000 at ANU). For comparison, MIT has 8000 theses and 4000 papers; Duke University's Historical Sheet Music Archive has 17 000 records. To save rewriting what others have already experienced, here is what the eprint FAQ says about this problem:


How can an institution facilitate the filling of its Eprint archives?

1. Install OAI-compliant Eprint Archives .

2. Adopt a university-wide policy that all faculty maintain and update a standardised online curriculum vitae (CV) for annual review.

3. Mandate that the full digital text of all refereed publications should be deposited in the University Eprint Archives and linked to their entry in the author's online CV. (Make it clear to all faculty how self-archiving is in the interest of their own research and standing , maximizing the visibility , accessibility and impact of their work.)

4. Offer trained digital librarian help in showing faculty how to self-archive their papers in their own university Eprint Archive (it is very easy).

5. Offer trained digital librarian help in doing "proxy" self-archiving, on behalf of any authors who feel that they are personally unable (too busy or technically incapable) to self-archive for themselves. They need only supply their digital full-texts in word-processor form: the digital archiving assistants can do the rest (usually only a few dozen keystrokes per paper).

6. A policy of mandated self-archiving for all refereed research output, together with a trained proxy self-archiving service, to ensure that lack of time or skill do not become grounds for non-compliance, are the most important ingredients in a successful self-archiving program. The proxy self-archiving will only be needed to set the first wave of self-archiving reliably in motion. The rewards of self-archiving -- in terms of visibility , accessibility and impact -- will maintain the momentum once the archive has reached critical mass. And even students can do for faculty the few keystrokes needed for each new paper thereafter.)

7. Digital librarians, collaborating with web system staff , should be involved in ensuring the proper maintenance, backup, mirroring, upgrading, and migration that ensure the perpetual preservation of the university Eprint Archives. Mirroring and migration should be handled in collaboration with counterparts at all other institutions supporting OAI-compliant Eprint Archives.”


Wherever an eprint server is proposed, many respond ‘But I can't do this, because the journal/conference I publish in won't let me.’ This is largely untrue, and there is an extensive literature on the reactions and the common objections, which have been canvassed ad nauseam. A recent survey indicates that 83% of scholarly journals (up from 50% last year) approve self-archiving. See the 'I worry about...' section at http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/ and the following summary.

In brief, the research and the paper belong to the academic and/or the employing institution prior to publication. At the pre-acceptance stage, the author (or the institution depending on IP policy) is free to do whatever they want with it. Indeed in many disciplines there was a healthy trade in paper preprints of research articles until electronic archives took over – the most significant examples are Theoretical Physics and Computer Science, but there are many others in the sciences and technologies. In other disciplines a paper preprint culture never took off, especially in the humanities and the medical sciences. Regardless of the prior existence of a preprint culture, there is no legal or copyright barrier to mounting preprints on an institutional server, right up to the point where the article is accepted and the publisher asks the author to sign an agreement.

If a publisher states that an article will not be considered if it is mounted on a preprint server, this is simple anti-competitive coercion by that publisher. The author is free to accept the conditions or to publish elsewhere. Such pre-conditions are becoming more and more unusual as publishers adapt to ICT technology impact, but they still exist in some disciplines.

At acceptance stage, all publishers of journals or conference proceedings ask for assignment of copyright or some form of copyright license. In the majority of cases the exact form of this is more a matter of tradition than legal requirement, and the publishers (for example Nature) are increasingly happy for preprints and/or postprints to be mounted on a personal website or institutional eprint server, usually as long as they are acknowledged as published in the publication. Indeed in the computer sciences, some publishers will provide the postprint PDF file exactly as printed in the paper journal or conference proceedings for the author to mount personally (for example the Journal of Research & Practice in Information Technology). These practices increase the profile of publishers and are a reaction to the increase in electronic access to scholarly literature. The number of journals that allow some form of self-archiving or open-access is increasing (estimated at 83% of scholarly journals in 2004, sample of 10673 journals). For an introduction to the literature on this topic see http://www.eprints.org/self-faq/#publisher-forbids.

Other objections

Another common objection is that the Internet is already congested and has too much information, so why add to it? This is nonsense. The Internet does not yet contain as much information as there is in print, yet we do not worry about adding to that body of knowledge. However, everyone would welcome access to more precise and more reliable search tools to find the information that they want on the Internet, and it is precisely this problem that the OAI addresses. Searches of scirus, myOAI and OAIster are the scholarly equivalent of Google: they search a global and growing database of information restricted to websites that advertise themselves as providing scholarly information, and which are moderated to accurately represent themselves. The value of such facilities is enhanced by increasing numbers of OAI-compliant (300+) servers operated by universities, including only nine in Australia.

Another objection that is sometimes heard is that preprint files are second-class information; the only thing that should be published on the Internet is the fully refereed paper that which has been validated by experts. Of course, such a criticism cannot be levelled against postprints or RHD theses, which eprint servers also provide. Few editors (of which I am one) of scholarly journals would be so rash as to make this claim; the quality of the refereeing process is well-known to us to be patchy and under increasing stress as more and more experts decline to undertake refereeing tasks. However there are two even more cogent replies.

·         Eprint servers do not only provide copies of documents, they are surrounded (like e-journals and other electronic media) with other forms of validation and refereeing. For example, many papers are found not through searching but by citations, their inclusion on key papers listings, and links on other websites. All of these are a distributed form of refereeing. Some eprint websites also accumulate comments added to the papers; a form of democratic refereeing similar to book reviews. CiteSeer http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/ provides invaluable information to the computer sciences through its analysis of eprint documents, search facilities for citations, and identifying top publications for research impact.

·         Secondly, the evidence strongly suggests that readers do not have the same view about the uniqueness of a refereed paper that authors and research directors sometimes do. They are often satisfied to read an earlier version of the paper if they can get it more conveniently than a refereed version; even more so if the author mounts a long version of a published paper. Sometimes just the abstract will satisfy them, or surprisingly just a text-only version without diagrams. Enough in any case for the 200-1000  people who actually read the average scholarly paper (the best available estimate) to decide whether they want to study it further or seek/order a journal published version. Both these issues are canvassed with valuable statistics about online usage in Odlyzko, A M, Learned Publishing, 15(1) Jan. 2002, pp7-19, also available at http://oberon.ingentaselect.com/vl=5313651/cl=38/nw=1/fm=docpdf/rpsv/cw/alpsp/09531513/v15n1/s2/p7 (as published) and http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/rapid.evolution.pdf (preprint); a ‘must read’ for anyone with a view on this topic, positive or negative.

It also needs to be emphasized that an eprint server as outlined here has no necessary connection with the PES (Publication Entry System) used by the Research & Development Office, though it might be possible to upload eprint data to PES records for extension with SEO, category and other information. It also has no relation to any University budget exercise in the distribution of the Research Quantum; the eprint archive places no relative values on different forms of research output. However, it has been suggested that the WARP records could be extended to include a link to the full text of the publication in an eprints server, which is a good idea which could be explored further.



The foregoing discussion has concentrated on the mounting of research articles (‘papers’) on an eprint server. Many of the same arguments apply to theses, with even more force, as another form of research output. Research Higher Degree theses are practically invisible on the global research record; the canonic copy resides in the UTas University Library and is catalogued therein, but the catalogue entry is not indexed by any international service, and the contents of the thesis are extremely unlikely to be accessed outside Tasmania. The same situation occurs in reverse: if a UTas researcher identifies a thesis that may be of interest, the first problem is to identify whether the title (or abstract) is sufficiently interesting to warrant the time and expense to request photocopying of 200+ pages or the making of an obsolete microfiche. In all probability (and I have seen many examples in the School of Computing), the thesis is never consulted. In response to this many universities have commenced mounting electronic copies of RHD theses on an OAI-PMH compliant server, with the result that

·         The author, title and abstract are available on global search engines, and

·         depending on any third party embargo, the full text is available, free, online.

Clearly the University of Tasmania ought to be moving this way, as fast as possible. It is already a long way behind many other universities in developing e-thesis policies and procedures. The benefits to RHD graduates are that their thesis is virtually published and their research priority in a discovery or finding can be legitimately asserted; and the thesis is much more likely to be cited in their own and others’ work. Of course the same copyright issues do not arise as with research articles: the copyright in this University clearly lies with the author subject to restrictions from a third party who might have funded the research or provided data.

The University has actually started consideration of e-theses, and is a sleeping partner in a CAUL/UNSW project known as Australian Digital Theses (ADT, see http://www.adt.caul.edu.au/) with a deadline of becoming an active participant in Feb 2005. This project however has its problems:

·         The ADT central repository is not OAI-PMH compliant, and the data provided by the participating universities is not accessible on OAI harvesting search engines, nor is ADT willing to harvest from OAI-PMH compliant repositories (I asked). Regardless, UNSW has just acquired the surprisingly large sum of $540,000 from the Australian Government to achieve OAI-PMH central repository compliance in the future (our prototype has achieved it, now, with $0 in grants). Compliance for institutional repositories does not seem to be on the horizon of ADT as it may undermine the need for the project. ADT participation will therefore achieve little in the way of global exposure, at least initially.

·         The software used by ADT is badly written, and dates from 1997. The opinion of some members of ITR (with which I concur) is that it is insecure and should not be mounted on the University’s servers. I would not ask for it to be mounted on the School of Computing servers.

·         In any case the aim is misguided. There is only minor extra value to the University (or other universities) in participating in an Australian database of theses; the aim should be for its e-theses to be directly linked into the global network and accessible via global searches.

·         The ADT software disallows anything other than PDF files of the thesis text as printed. The planners have not realized that in the digital era theses may be accompanied by computer program listings for downloading, music scores and recordings, art videos, etc.

However, this commitment to ADT can be turned to the University’s advantage. Mounting its e-theses on an OAI-PMH compliant server such as Eprints will allow the University to serve its theses up to both ADT (thus complying with its prior agreement and policy) and direct to global harvesters. Our theses then become more accessible than other Australian universities participating now in ADT, rather than less as at present). In order achieve this end, with the Library and ITR’s consent, I established an ad hoc working party to look into the option of mounting the University’s theses on an Eprints server (either the same as for articles or a separate one – there is little difference). This working party met on 22 July (minuted) and further meetings are planned. Accordingly, policies related to e-theses should be considered in the same context as research articles, and this has been done in the recommendations and the appendixes.


To implement a publicly accessible eprint server and get high participation as quickly as possible requires speedy implementation of some policies while others can take their time through the University system. Academic Senate is asked only to approve only the following three recommendations R1 (general principle), R2 (prototype endorsement) and R3 (referral for comment) at this time. Other draft policies are referred for comment (see next section).

R1    Academic Senate endorses the general principle of an eprint server, and requests the cooperation of the corporate sections of the University, in particular the Library and Information Technology Resources, in implementing such a server.

R2    Academic Senate endorses the continuance of the prototype trial of an eprints server, and encourages other schools and individuals to voluntarily contribute their research output. Academic Senate notes that the School of Computing is the interim administrator of the server.

R3    Academic Senate refers this paper to the Faculties, the Board of Graduate Studies, the Tasmania University Postgraduate Association, the RHD Unit, the Web Development Office, the Library, ITR, and the Research & Development Office for discussion. Comment is to be received in time for the Senate meeting on 22 October 2004.


Further actions for referral and discussion

Overall responsibility

Since the implications of this scheme span the Library, research and academics generally, a distributed responsibility is desirable. The following has been discussed with the University Librarian.

A1          Responsibility for the implementation of an eprint server and the mounting of the University's research output on it should be assigned jointly to the University Librarian and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research).

A2          The Librarian and the PVC(R) should be advised by a small steering committee appointed by the Academic Senate, since this is a matter of academic significance.


The sooner that this scheme is operational the better, as the GO8 universities have a head start of about two years. Several of the existing Australian servers have been in operation for a year. Note however that the need for an eprint server is not yet built in to any University Plan, nor the performance criteria of the individuals who might be involved. There do arise occasions when the delays inherent in these procedures need to be bypassed, and this is one of them. This timeframe has been discussed with the University Librarian and is considered feasible.

A3          Early in 2005, the University Library in consultation with stakeholders and a Steering Committee would implement a central server, migrate existing files, and commence a program to encourage voluntary participation by Schools and individuals. A target for voluntary participation by academics in uploading research documents by end 2005 is suggested as 40% of all research output.

A4          Towards the end of 2005, consideration would be given to continuing the voluntary program or making the responsibility for uploading mandatory for 2006. The target for participation by academics in uploading research documents by end 2006 is suggested as 70% of all research output.

A5          In both 2005 and 2006, policies and procedures would be put in place to meet the same percentage targets for RHD theses, though in this case the aim should be to require the candidate to submit a complete or near-complete electronic copy of the thesis to the RHD Office.

A6          Following achievement of the 2006 target or at an earlier time considered appropriate the steering committee will be disbanded and the ongoing responsibility for the service vested in the University Library.

Appropriate policies will need to be discussed and agreed, if a high level of academic participation is to be a reality. Organization of additional workload or implementation effort will also need to be considered.
Appendix 1 — Draft Research Eprint Policy

1.     The University of Tasmania's policy is to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of its research output by maximising online access to the research for all would-be users and researchers worldwide.

2.     It is also the University's policy to keep to the minimum the effort that each researcher has to expend in order to provide open online access to his or her research output, but as far as possible to devolve the loading of research output to the researcher who is responsible for it.

3.     The University has accordingly adopted the policy that all research output that is legally permissible is to be self-archived by researchers in a University EPrint Server.

4.     This policy will be progressively implemented over 2005 and 2006, so that by end 2006 all publicly accessible research output is uploaded to the server at the time of writing and publication. Responsibility for the implementation and oversight is assigned to the University Librarian and the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) jointly.

5.     Publicly accessible research output includes all refereed journal articles and conference papers/short papers/poster presentations; all unrefereed conference papers/short papers/poster presentations, newspaper articles, books and research monographs, book chapters, and theses of graduating RHD candidates. Optionally, researchers may include long versions of published papers, errata, internal technical reports. Publications under a permanent or temporary embargo because of third party sponsorship are of course excluded as full-text entries, but should be included as entries containing just abstracts, titles, keywords, etc.

6.     The thesis submission rules should be altered to require the provision of an electronic version of the thesis at an appropriate time (refer to Board of Graduate Studies and see later appendix).

7.     This archive will form a comprehensive record of the University's research publications, and the University commits to referring to it in the University's Annual Report and Research Report. [Note that the archive goes beyond the information entered into PES, which will continue for Commonwealth and budget purposes.]

Suggestions regarding implementation

One of the key matters for discussion is Policy 3 above. The evidence from existing archives suggests that voluntary participation yields low participation rates, and the University will fail to meet its objective. Policy 3 suggests that participation is required for all research output. However, this should be phased in over a year, with the Library conducting training sessions for each school, and establishing a proxy-service desirably in the school but within the Library as a backup to assist researchers who are unable to or unwilling to load their our research.

·         The University should not require the full text of books or research monographs to be uploaded. It is sufficient to archive a reference along with the usual metadata.

·         PhD and research Master theses should be archived at the point that the candidate is approved for graduation. The uploading should be assigned to either the Library or the RHD Unit for implementation. Thesis submission guidelines will need to be revised so that candidates provide a complete (or near complete) electronic version of the thesis in an acceptable format. Restricted access theses will be uploaded with a restricted access policy, to be modified when the reason for the restriction expires (exactly as at present for paper theses).

·         Research papers submitted to journals and conferences should be uploaded as a preprint at the time of submission. Following revision, acceptance and publication, a revised record should be stored if the publisher's policies permit (see below).

This policy is compatible with publishers' copyright agreements in the following ways:

·       The copyright for all unrefereed preprints resides entirely with the author(s) and the University before it is submitted for peer-reviewed publication, hence it can be self-archived irrespective of the copyright policy of the journal to which it is eventually submitted. There are no legal issues. Publishers may however exert anti-competitive coercion.

·       In case the author has signed a restrictive agreement in which he/she has voluntarily agreed to give up their IP rights and not to self-archive any preprint, the author is encouraged to self-archive a version of the research findings in a long form different from the paper submission., or just a title and abstract. The IP and its disposition resides with the author at this point, and copyright resides in the expression not the idea.

·       The copyright for the peer-reviewed postprint will depend on the wording of the copyright agreement which the author signs with the publisher, and self-archiving of the postprint will depend on this agreement.

·       Many publishers allow the peer-reviewed postprint to be self-archived (eg American Psychological Association). The copyright transfer agreement will either specify this right explicitly or the author can inquire about it directly. If the author is uncertain about the terms of your agreement, a table of copyright policies is available at http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo.php. Wherever possible, the author is advised to modify the copyright agreement so that it does not disallow self-archiving.

·       In case the author has signed a restrictive copyright transfer form in which he/she has explicitly agreed not to self-archive the peer-reviewed postprint, the author is encouraged to self-archive, alongside the already-archived preprint, a 'corrigenda' file, listing the substantive changes the user would need to make in order to turn the unrefereed preprint into the refereed postprint.

·       Copyright agreements may state that eprints can be archived on your personal homepage. As far as publishers are concerned, an eprint archive is a part of the University's infrastructure for the author's personal homepage.

·       Some journals still maintain submission policies which state that a preprint will not be considered for publication if it has been previously 'publicised' by making it accessible online. Unlike copyright transfer agreements, such policies are not a matter of law but simple coercion by the publisher. If the author has concerns about submitting an archived paper to a journal which maintains such an anti-competitive submission policy, please discuss the matter with the University's IP Adviser.

Appendix 2 — Draft RHD Thesis Policy

This draft policy does not pretend to be explicit, nor final. Rather it sets out some desirable principles for discussion from which a policy can be formed. The intention is to enhance the visibility of theses, which is a win-win situation for both the graduate and the University. Text in italics at the end of each point is an explanation.

1.     During 2005, RHD candidates will be encouraged to submit their RHD thesis in an appropriate electronic form as well as hard copy. [There must be few if any candidates who still submit typewritten theses, so the only significant issues are whether all the components are assembled into a single e-form or whether the paper thesis is assembled from printouts of various files, photographs, and other records. A trial year will provide time for experience, and the benefits of eprint archiving should be a  major incentive for some to participate.]

2.     From January 2006, submission of an electronic form of the thesis will be mandatory. [If the e-form is mandatory, its production becomes part of the thesis writing and production, and simplified because it is no longer an “add-on”. Photographs and other information will also be e-assembled rather than paper cut and pasted (or inserted as pages). Significant advisories will need to be developed, and maybe there should remain a sunset clause provision for “near-complete” e-forms.]

3.     “Near complete” e-forms should be acceptable in the early stages. As the name suggest a near complete e-form contains the vast bulk of the thesis, certainly all the text, but may be missing some parts which are considered too hard to integrate, such as a photocopy of a published article, a complex set of high-resolution photographs, etc. [Such e-forms are likely to be almost as valuable to the reader as the full thesis, which can then be retrieved if the missing pieces are desired. The eprint record would identify the document as “incomplete” and give details.]

4.     At some time in the future (possibly 2007) submission of a bound hard copy for the University Library will be no longer required. [Once the e-form is mandated to be required, the only continuing justification of shelving hard copies of these is for the default  long-term archival value of paper records. They are hardly ever accessed at present and will be even less so once e-forms are available and adequately archived.]

5.     The Board of Graduate Studies and the RHD Unit will arrange for appropriate training and assistance to candidates in developing their publishing skills to make this possible. [It should be seen as an essential part of research training to be able to produce a research monograph in e-form.]

6.     Consideration should be given to allowing candidates to optionally submit their theses only in electronic form from 2006. [This has workload benefit for the candidates in producing only one form, and mirrors the real world where few researchers assemble paper copy any more. In addition there are major benefits for the candidate in being able to use colour diagrams, graphics and photographs, and even to include animations and videos. The option might be used in frontier technologies, sparingly at first. It is too early to make e-submission the norm though some universities are moving this way or have done so.]

Appendix 3 — QUT Eprint policy (as an example)

 (retrieved from http://www.qut.edu.au/admin/mopp/F/F_01_03.html on 29 Jun 04).

Policy F/1.3 E-print repository for research output at QUT


Contact Officer

Associate Director (Information Resources), Library

Approval Date


Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review


1.3.1 Application

QUT staff and post-graduate students produce research and scholarly output as a contribution to their discipline and/or as part of scholarly discourse. A significant proportion of this is intended for publication for the general purpose of recognition and impact. The following policy applies to this process, only where such output is not intended for commercialisation or individual royalty payment or revenue for the author or QUT. In effect it applies to the corpus of refereed research literature, conference proceedings, and other non-refereed output, as contributed by QUT to the outside world

1.3.2 Policy

Material which represents the total publicly available research and scholarly output of the University is to be located in the University's digital or "E print" repository, subject to the exclusions noted. In this way it contributes to a growing international corpus of refereed and other research literature available on line, a process occurring in universities worldwide.

The following materials are to be included:

  • refereed research articles and contributions at the post-print stage (subject to any necessary agreement with the publisher);
  • refereed research literature at the pre-printed stage (with corrigenda added subsequently if necessary at the discretion of the author);
  • theses (as prepared for the Australian Digital Theses (ADT) process);
  • un-refereed research literature, conference contributions, chapters in proceedings, etc.

The material is to be organised in the repository according to the same categories used for the reporting of research to DEST (see Office of Research and Research Training Web Site ).

Material to be commercialised, or which contains confidential material, or of which the promulgation would infringe a legal commitment by the University and/or the author, should not be included in the repository.

1.3.3 Responsibility

Uploading of material to the E-print repository is the responsibility of authors and researchers, as advised and supported by the University Library. Responsibility for management of the repository rests with the University Library.

Where authors or researchers maintain home pages, links should be provided to the article or document which has been submitted to the University E-print repository.

1.3.4 Operational Guidelines

Guidelines specifying the lodgement points and the process to be followed for lodging materials in the E-print repository are available from the University Library . Guidance on Copyright arrangements and standards for publishers is available from the University Copyright Officer . The Director, Library Services will report annually through the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Technology, Information and Learning Support) to University Research and Development Committee and the Office of Research on the status of the E-print repository.