An astrophysicist has made the tongue-in-chief proposal that UK astrophysicists should use their UK Gold OA mandate fund allotment to invest in Arxiv, a central Green OA repository in which they have been depositing, un-mandated, for two decades.
The problem that Open Access (OA) mandates are intended to solve is not in astrophysics: Astrophysicists have been providing OA, without the need of mandates, for almost as long as High Energy Physicists have, by depositing in Arxiv.
But researchers in other disciplines have not followed suit, for over 20 years now.
And they won’t, unless OA is mandated.
And the only ones who can monitor and ensure that researchers in all disciplines comply with OA mandates are their institutions.
So astrophysicists would do a much greater service to global OA if they invested in implementing the automatic Arxiv exporter for deposits in their own institutional repositories (IRs).
OA Mandates that would require double-deposit from longstanding Arxiv users — in both Arxiv and the author’s IR — would be outrageous and out of the question.
But an automatic exporter of IR deposits and their metadata to Arxiv (and any other central repository, such as PubMed Central or EuroCentral) would be a great step toward convergence and interoperability, and would greatly facilitate both the adoption of and compliance with Green OA self-archiving mandates from both funders and institutions.
Of course the extra investment funds are all fantasy, as the UK Gold OA funds are only to be paid to Gold OA journals, not to be spent on whatever the author wishes! But the support of veteran Arxiv users in favour of implementing automatic IR-to-Arxiv export capability would be a great help even without extra money. The functionality is already available, for both EPrints and DSpace IRs: