Suggestions from the Ranking Editors

The role of librarians in the Open Access movement has been very important as they are the main designers, promoters and maintainers of institutional repositories. The basic principles behind the current arrangement of repositories are inspired by the librarianship techniques.

However, some decisions guided by these principles are probably hampering the universal adoption of the Open Access initiatives (OAI), as they are ignoring the main users of these repositories: scientists, researchers, scholars.

We publicly acknowledge the work done by librarians worldwide but we would like to offer some suggestions to improve the impact of the OAI:

  • The institutional repository is a very important asset of the institution as a whole, not only of the library. We recommend the following syntax for the institutional repository web address:
    and not

  • Collective catalogues are well suited for library purposes, but although harvesters and consortium repositories may be very useful, they should be considered always as secondary systems, mainly for purposes of increasing visibility and searchability. Even for very small institutions it is feasible to set up their own repository that is, as mentioned before, the main research asset for the institution.
  • Repositories consist of full text papers, not bibliographic records. That means that the link to the full text file should be clearly marked in the web page of each record. Some repository designs makes difficult to locate such links.
  • For scientists it is important that the link to the full text would be easily citable. So it should be avoided the following situations:
    • Very long URLs.
    • URLs with nonsense characters that have no meaning. We suggest to use, for example, the last name of the first author and the publication year.
    • File names without suffix indicating the type (.pdf, .doc, .ps, etc). You can follow the recommendations indicated here and here.

As usual we will thank your comments if you address them to our MAILBOX .