Friday, November 20, 2015

Why I think faculty and librarians should not host their work on or

This is an *evergreen* tweet of mine:

When this tweet is re-found and re-tweeted, it's usually followed by people following up with questions or challenging what I said.

So I thought I'd summarize some of the reasons why I think faculty and librarians should not host their academic work on or is not an educational institution
" is not a university or institution for higher learning and so under current standards would not qualify for the EDU top level domain. The domain name "" was registered in 1999, prior to the regulations which required .edu domain names to be held by accredited post-secondary institutions. All .edu domain names registered prior to 2001 were grandfathered in and not made subject to the regulation of being an accredited post-secondary institution" [Wikipedia,, November 20th].

Commercial Repositories use dark-arts user design to encourage the uploading of articles that frequently are not under license of the author

Institutional repositories admittedly have some pretty bad user interfaces. But it's understood that some of the unpleasant friction that comes with uploading your research into your university's repository is because your institution will not automatically publish uploaded material without assurances that a publisher's right is not being infringed. Commercial repositories have disclaimers that express that they are also concerned that copyright is not being infringed, but the extreme ease by which a user can re-publish articles formally published elsewhere betrays the strength of this concern. continues to design services so slick that users don't realize that they have triggered them, such as their Sessions feature which they launched and then disabled in May of this year. Also, services like appear to be designed to cannibalize traffic from your official point of publication.

Selective enforcement from publishers keep universities from providing similar services that commercial repositories are trying to fill

We need to resist the narrative that commercial repositories are filling a market need that libraries and universities have refused to pursue. We have wanted a more social and inter-connected interface to research for some years now.

But when libraries and universities have responsibly hosted published research articles under fair user / fair dealing and have restricted use to classroom participants in Learning Management Systems (such as Blackboard) or library Course Reserve Systems we have been pursued and sued by publishers. In the Canada, we have had to deal with Access Copyright and the US, libraries have been following The Georgia State Copyright Case with much concern.

In conclusion, this is my new "evergreen tweet" about

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