Gavia Libraria

The CRIS and the IR

Word on the street is that some UK institutions will decommission their IRs in favor of CRIS systems. (The Loon discussed CRIS systems briefly in this post about something else.) If anyone was expecting a shrieking yodel from the Loon over this… well, no.

In the UK, the green open-access function of IRs was supplemented quite early by CRIS functions, in response to governmental pressure. Implementing CRIS accounting went fairly smoothly, as these things go. The push for green OA didn’t. Green OA materials in UK IRs therefore became a drop in the bucket compared to metadata-only CRIS records. Nonetheless, the open-access movement largely regarded the UK as a won battle, since IRs existed and their item-count numbers continued to rise on casual inspection. This was false surety, of course—most of those “items” were nothing but metadata—but the open-access movement has never really minded Potemkin green-OA villages.

What is happening now is that the UK is dropping any pretense that its librarians and faculty care much about institution-level green OA. The Loon approves of dropping pretenses; she has certainly had it up to her beady red eyeballs with Potemkin OA (wherever it is practiced; it is certainly at least as common in the US as the UK). They need CRIS, they fund CRIS. They don’t need or care about green OA, ergo they de-fund it. Likewise digital preservation.

Take green OA seriously or don’t bother, has been the Loon’s stance since there has been a Loon. That is exactly what UK institutions dropping their IRs are doing. Confront them for their unwillingness to work toward green OA, if you like; the Loon will not object and may even join in. But at least they are dropping a ridiculously common face-saving hypocrisy; for that they merit praise rather than censure.