Thursday, July 10, 2008

Self-Archiving through SelectedWorks

When one is looking on the internet for information on the publications or activities of a scholar, there are few things lamer than an outdated (and poorly organized) departmental web site. When an article that was published in 2006 is listed as "in press," you know that the web site is almost worthless. Here is one solution that is being offered by Berkeley Electronic Press (a leader in Open Access journals):

"For years, I've heard colleagues complain that their school-run faculty publication pages are unattractive, out-of-date and difficult to maintain. Website change requests can take weeks or even months to implement because tech support teams are overloaded. At the same time, Deans complain of the money they pour into their IT groups. Too many school websites have failed at their mission: to showcase faculty research. For this reason, we have developed SelectedWorks. SelectedWorks offers the highest level of web-publishing technology at a price any school can afford. It is attractive, easy to use, and fully customizable."

--Aaron Edlin, co-founder, The Berkeley Electronic Press

Here is some prose from the SelectedWorks web page:

With SelectedWorks, Authors can

  • Present research in an engaging manner
  • Post and share articles, working papers, presentations and more
  • Take control of ownership and dissemination
  • Organize work according to personal criteria
  • Preserve work in a viewable, usable manner

With SelectedWorks, Institutions get

  • Increased visibility of institution's scholarly production
  • A web-based solution that includes digital tools and web-hosting
  • Orderly and consistent layout across faculty sites
  • Simplified aggregation and archiving of digital content
  • Full IT support and customer service
I have asked my institution about the possibilities of subscribing to this service (no reply). But SelectedWorks also allows individual free subscriptions, so I am trying it out:

Michael E. Smith SelectedWorks page.

Uploading pdfs (or other formats) is easy, and the page looks clean and well organized (according to whatever categories one defines). Entering the citation data is a pain in the neck, not because the page is poorly designed but just having to cut and paste the components of each citation. It would help greatly if they allowed data translation from Endnote files. I may or may not try too move all my articles from my personal web page to SelectedWorks, I'll see how this seems to work out. I present this post not as an endorsement of SelectedWorks or the Berkeley Electronic Press, but as an exploration of the publication and open access possibilities for archaeologists.


Fred Howell said...

Re: "entering the citation metadata is a pain in the neck..."

[from one of the developers...]

You might want to have a look at too - it does batch import from EndNote (and bibtex, reference manager, PubMed, Web of Knowledge etc) to cut down on the pain of entering the metadata by hand.

Our motivations for starting the site last year sound similar to the rationale behind the SelectedWorks offering.

Another variant on the theme is Thomson ISI's researcherid - they let you claim citation entries in their Web of Knowledge database and will generate a basic web page for you, but I don't think it looks as good as the one you get with (or SelectedWorks).

Michael E. Smith said...

PublicationsList looks fine too. It has some pluses and some minuses in comparison with SelectedWorks, but these seem pretty minor. I would MUCH RATHER have an institutional repository at my university. Lacking that, however, these public repositories may be the way to go (because in my fields, archaeology and anthropology, the professional societies are not about to get into open access repositories).