E-LIS, E-prints in Library and Information Science

Published: 
28 Feb 2011
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Introduction

Established in 2003, E-LIS http://eprints.rclis.org/ is an international Open Archive for Library and Information Science (LIS). Over 11,500 papers have been archived to date. It is freely accessible, aligned with the Open Access (OA) movement and is a voluntary enterprise. E-LIS has grown to include a team of volunteer editors from 44 countries and support for 22 languages.  The development of an international LIS network has been stimulated by the extension of the OA concept to LIS works and facilitated by the dissemination of material within the LIS community. These are some of the reasons for the success of E-LIS.

In a few years, E-LIS has been established as the largest international open repository in the field of library and information science. Searching or browsing E-LIS is a kind of multilingual, multicultural experience, an example of what could be accomplished through open access archives to bring the people of the world together.  Because librarians are so involved in open access advocacy, E-LIS is a key to encouraging open access for all repositories, by giving librarians the experience they need to speak with confidence when talking with researchers and open access archives, and the experience to provide the best possible assistance to self-archiving faculty.

The invisibility of scholarship from so-called developing countries, such as African countries or India, was regarded as a fait accompli in the pre-Internet era. Thanks to these projects, authors who contribute to an e-print archive are participating in a global effort by universities, researchers, libraries, publishers, editors, and readers to redefine the mechanisms of scholarly research. This e-print archive makes LIS research more visible, available, and relevant, and increases its visibility, status, and public value.

Copyright is one of the key issues for E-LIS. The submission of documents and their accessibility is not an infringement of copyright. All work in E-LIS remains property of the author. If the document is a preprint, the process is quite straightforward because there are no limits concerning copyright: the author holds the exclusive copyright for the pre-refereed preprints. For the refereed postprint, the issue becomes more complex. The author might have given the rights to, for instance, a publisher. The right to self-archive the refereed postprint is a legal matter because the copyright transfer agreement applies to the text. Most journals permit self-archiving, but it depends on the publisher's copyright policy. Authors can also deposit the postprint inside the archive with restricted access. Some publishers have stated that they grant these rights as a standard procedure. Copyright law gives the creator of copyrighted work exclusive rights, which may be both segmented and transferred to others.

The users

There are currently 8,000 authors represented in E-LIS. It is possible to deposit works in any language, although abstracts and keywords must be included in English, in addition to abstracts and keywords in the original language of the document. More information is available on E-LIS's submission policy and related copyright issues. In a broad sense, any document related to LIS that is electronically available, can be submitted to the archive in pdf. The types of user are: Librarians, academics, archivists, information management specialists from: Academic libraries, Archives, Government libraries, Health libraries, Information Centres, Museums, National libraries, Private libraries, Public libraries, School libraries, Universities, World libraries.

E-LIS value-added features provide tools for editors and for users. Among others, these include automatic alerts for editors, full metadata display of metadata records, full-text search, browsing by user, a counter in the homepage as well as statistics.

Essentially, the strong part of the repository is the 60 national editors from 44 countries, carrying out the quality control of the metadata. Each editor approves the documents of his own country and coordinates the actions on the promotion of E-LIS in his country. All the editors share this common vision and mission, while contributing to E-LIS with their own experience and competence. 
E-LIS deals with each country's specific issues to decide the best solution for technical and non-technical barriers so that international visibility can be promoted whilst national interests are served. International co-operation can facilitate debate on current issues on many levels and provides new professional experiences and expertise to editors on a personal level.

Recent improvements

E-LIS has recently migrated to Dspace. AePIC CILEA - Consorzio Interuniversitario Lombardo per L'Elaborazione Automatica  who is kindly offering the hosting and technical maintenance of E-LIS pro bono, proposed in 2010 to change from EPrints Software to DSpace due to business and maintenance reasons. The E-LIS Team accepted the proposal and E-LIS was ported from EPrints to DSpace between December 2010 and January 2011 thanks to the excellent work done by Susanna Mornati and Andrea Bollini's team.

E-LIS repository is currently supported by a broader number of institutions like

  • CILEA through the AePIC team which is managed by Susanna Mornati and supports E-LIS at technical level since January 2003
  • FAO of the United Nations through the FAO AIMS team which is managed by Johannes Keizer and supports E-LIS since 2010 and

More information at http://eprints.rclis.org/cms/support

The editorial work is performed under the management of an executive board that drives the policies, alliances, new actions, collaborations and any topic that is of interest to E-LIS. The executive board is made up of two chief executives, two representatives of the editorial team, two representatives of CIEPI - International Centre for Research in Information Strategy and Development -which is the association created by E-LIS members for representing institutionally the E-LIS interest as a legal entity - and two technical representatives that have deep technical experience on document repositories. In addition to this structure, the advisory board appointed to advise the executive board is formed by institutions and people that support E-LIS.

More information at http://eprints.rclis.org/cms/governance

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Written by Imma Subirats Coll, Chief executive and E-LIS founder.