On 5 December of last year, the University’s new publication server pub.mdw was officially introduced at the mdw Library. And with that, the University’s researchers had been given their first-ever tool with which to sustainably self-archive and provide access to their texts in electronic form.
The past several years have seen universities set up and use publication servers as important elements of their research infrastructures. Made necessary by ongoing digitisation, they are an instrument that is meant to ensure the long-term usability of scholarly publications: the idea is that an institution’s research output should be permanently documented, findable, and usable (i.e., at least freely available for reading) in the spirit of open access.
So why set up a publication server right now?
On the one hand, of course, because it’s high time to do so: when one clicks through the web presences of the mdw’s research-oriented departments, one quickly encounters a large number of scholarly texts that, though perhaps readable there, are not posted permanently. These texts are also not indexed by academic search portals, they’re only rarely posted in a way that includes persistent identifiers (that would allow them to be reliably cited) and that ensures long-term archiving, and most of them also lack open access-suitable licenses that clarify the options for their use.
All of this can now be done by pub.mdw. And a further reason for putting a publication server into operation now, of all moments, is the mdw’s participation in the university infrastructure project AT2OA – Austrian Transition to Open Access, which runs from 2017 to 2020 and provides support (including funding) towards building platforms for open-access publications and setting up networks of experts.
Happily, the provision of high-capacity infrastructure for researchers at the mdw is also a high priority of the University’s leadership: the mdw Rectorate provided the lion’s share of the funds necessary to establish pub.mdw.