[Journal-notes] Dlib article has errors

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Sep 19 06:54:52 EST 2005


In the following Dlib Article:

        "Academic Institutional Repositories
        Deployment Status in 13 Nations as of Mid 2005"
        Gerard van Westrienen & Clifford A. Lynch
        http://www.dlib.org/dlib/september05/westrienen/09westrienen.html

the authors write:

    "In examining the software used to support IRs, we found considerable
    variation in the level of software diversity from one nation to
    the next; looking across nations, only a few packages saw use in
    many different countries, most notably the EPrints software, which
    according to our respondents is used in at least 7 of the 13 countries"

In fact, a quick check (near mid-2005, since when there has been very
little change) of the Institutional Archives Registry (itself not yet
an exhaustive list)

    http://archives.eprints.org/ 

would have revealed the following Eprints archive counts for the
(arbitrary) 13 countries sampled. Note that both the number of countries
with Eprints archives and the number of Eprints archives in each is
undercounted [incorrect Dlib estimate **, correction in (parens)]:

Australia      *7* (11)
Belgium        *0* (1)
Canada         *0* (12)
Denmark        *0* (2)
Finland        *0* (0)
France        *11* (11)
Germany        *2* (4)
Italy          *7* (12)
Norway         *0* (0)
Sweden         *3* (5)
Netherlands    *0* (0)
UK            *24* (35)
US             *+* (38)

Total countries with Eprints archives: 10/13 (not, as reported, *7/13*)
Total Register Eprints Archives: 22 countries
Total Eprints Archives worldwide: 159

This is just a spot-check of a subset of the data from:

    Table 4: Number and kind of software packages used for IRs.

on which I happen to have some systematic data. I suspect though,
on statistical grounds alone, that Tables 1-3 are equally erroneous
and incomplete:

    Table 1: Academic institutional Repositories; state of the art in
    13 countries - June 2005
    Table 2: Coverage of IRs related to type of objects (in percentage
    of total objects)
    Table 3: Estimations of disciplinary coverage of the IRs

I sent these corrections to the authors and to Bonnie Wilson of Dlib well
before the date of publication (hence closer to "mid-2005"), but alas no
corrections were made. This is one of the risks of relying on hearsay 
soundings rather than systematic sources. (Note that the data from Canada
are especially bad.)

Caveat emptor.

Stevan Harnad




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