Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

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Self-archiving of published articles in the Institutional Repository: A case study of the workflow, transaction costs, and yield rate for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Texas A&M University
Jo Ann Bianchi, Gail Clement, Robert McGeachin

Last modified: 2012-04-16


Scholarly communication librarians rely on a variety of approaches to recruit content for their universities’ Institutional Repositories. Chief among these approaches is archiving faculty authors’ published articles in the Repository, where the works are stored, preserved, and disseminated over the Internet to users worldwide without charge. Cited benefits of the self-archiving approach include: the immediate ‘freeing’ of the research literature from publishers’ paywall barriers; mitigation of the ‘serials crisis’ problem for libraries struggling to cover the cost of rising journal prices in the face of static or decreased serials budgets; and more effective digital preservation for the research literature (Gadd, Oppenheim, and Probets, 2003).

The benefits of self-archiving, however, come at a price – namely, the transaction cost of investigating the copyright status of each article to be archived and, where necessary, securing the permission from the copyright holder (often times the journal publisher) to redistribute the article via the university’s open access repository. In spite of the popularity and longevity of article self-archiving as a content recruitment practice for Institutional Repositories, there is little data on the costs and success rate of this approach. Without such data, library administrators and IR managers have little means to determine the return on investment for this form of IR content recruitment.

TAMU’s Digital Services & Scholarly Communication unit has undertaken a study to identify the transaction costs of article self-archiving and to calculate the yield rate of this IR content recruitment approach. Using, as a test set, the total population of published articles from the current faculty of the Department of Physics & Astronomy, the authors are seeking permission from the copyright owner (most often, the publisher) to archive each work in the Texas A&M Digital Repository. We have devised a methodology for locating and analyzing the policies and permissions documents from each publisher; tracking the time involved in securing permissions; and calculating the yield rate -- the percentage of articles from the original test set that are determined to be eligible for archiving in the IR.


self-archiving; copyright transfer agreements; journal publishers