DEGREE (Dutch Electronic GREy files on Economics)


is a virtual collection of fulltext electronic working papers on economics and business economics, issued in the Netherlands.

DEGREE model

This cooperation model is designed for the dissemination of electronic working papers on economics and business economics, but can be used in other disciplines or for other documents, provided that similar conditions apply.

Table of content:

1. Conditions for participation in DEGREE
2. Organization on a local level
3. Organization on a national level
4. Production of electronic working papers
5. Bibliographical description of electronic working papers
6. International co-operation
7. Checklist


1. Conditions for participation in DEGREE

Three conditions apply:

- There is a series of working papers on economics and/or business economics, published by an institution or faculty. Individual papers, not published in a series, are not included.
The set-up and peer review of such a series is arranged, so only the electronic dissemination of papers has to be organized.

- The institution or faculty gives permission to make the working papers full text available on the Internet.

- A WWW (World Wide Web) server is available, in order to store the full text working papers and their bibliographic data.

2. Organization on a local level

Management level

Electronic publishing of working papers is a new challenge to libraries. In order to succeed, close co-operation with the institution/faculty is necessary. Once, on the management level, the decision to make working papers available on the Internet is taken, a plan of action can be drawn up and the new service becomes part of the regular library tasks.
The set-up and implementation require frequent communication between library and institution/faculty. Therefore, it is advisable to form a project group to start this new service. In this way, goals, responsibilities, and time schedules can be established.

Library

Required working hours are estimated. Tasks and responsibilities are assigned to the staff. Handling procedures for electronic working papers are set up.

Institution/Faculty

Authors are requested and instructed to submit papers in electronic form, in a specific format. Since secretaries and computer staff are likely going to be asked for assistance in this matter, they too have to be well informed.


3. Organization on a national level

The DEGREE project aims at the decentralization of tasks and responsibilities as much as possible. The idea is that the most concerned party will make the most effort to carry out those tasks in the best way. According to this principle, DEGREE participants are responsible for the production, WWW availability and disclosure of their own working papers. Full text electronic working papers are located on a local WWW server and made available via the Internet. Bibliographic data, according to the DEGREE template, are kept in a separate WWW directory, which is accessible to the Tilburg University Library. This library mirrors these directories weekly and, as such, collects the bibliographic records of all working papers included in DEGREE in an archive. The Tilburg University Library converts the bibliographic records to the "DEGREE database", which is accessible at no charge via the DEGREE home page. Tilburg University Library maintains the DEGREE home page, as well as the DEGREE database.

4. Procedures for the production of working papers

It is realistic to assume that working papers are already produced electronically, albeit with different word processing systems.

Format

Original files, besides HTML documents, have to be converted into a page documentation language like PostScript or Acrobat PDF (Portable Document Format). In order to be prepared for this, an inventory of the different word processing systems which are used to produce working papers in the institute/faculty has to be made. One must be aware that choosing a format entails selecting adequate software and hardware for the authors, and relevant instructions to one's own (library) users.

Submission of papers

The authors can submit his/her electronic working paper in various ways to the person responsible for storing the documents on the WWW server: e-mail, floppy, FTP (File Transport Protocol). When making a choice, it is important that the documents and related information are transfered undamaged.
Instructions to create PostScript or PDF files from original papers must be available..

Problems

Authors sometimes dislike not being allowed to deliver documents in the original format. However, it would be too cumbersome for the library to convert every original document to a standard format. As it is in the author's own interest to have his/her papers distributed via the Internet, he/she may be expected to make this extra effort.
When authors use (SWP) Scientific WorkPlace to produce a working paper, problems may occur during conversion to a PostScript file. This is caused by the use of fonts which are not recognized by PostScript. At the moment no adequate solution is available for this problem. Tilburg University has proposed a temporary solution.

5. Procedures for the bibliographic description of working papers

Similar to the production, DEGREE partners are responsible for the cataloguing and subject indexing of their own working papers. These bibliographic records, constructed according to the DEGREE template, are available to others.

6. International co-operation

A model of co-operation for serial working papers in economics, named RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) has been developed on an international level. The initiator is Thomas Krichel, an economic scientist working at Surrey University. In cooperation with Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands, the Guildford Protocol has been established. This protocol describes the bibliographic data exchange between RePEc partners.
Simular to DEGREE, the RePEc co-operation model endorses a decentralized organization of tasks and responsibilities. RePEc participants make their electronic publications available on the Internet and release their bibliographic records. The latter are collected in the RePEc archive and retrievable, at least, in WoPEc, an international site for working papers on economics.
DEGREE participates in RePEc as follows:
- all DEGREE participants make their full text electronic papers available via the Internet;
- each DEGREE participant provides bibliographic data on their documents according to the DEGREE template;
- those bibliographic records are put in a specific WWW directory ;
- Tilburg University Library has access to these directories;
- Tilburg University Library weekly mirrors the partners' directories into the DEGREE archive on its WWW server;
- RePEc regularly mirrors this DEGREE archive.

7. Checklist

1. Does your organization publish serial working papers in Economics/BusinessEconomics?
2. Is your organization willing to make these working papers available via the Internet?
3. Is there a WWW server available to store the full text working papers?
4. Is there a plan of action for this new service and are procedures set up?
5. Has been decided in which format(s) working papers are going to be available on the Internet?
6. Is all the necessary software and hardware available?
7. Do you agree to use the DEGREE template for the bibliographic data of your working papers?
8. Has a WWW directory been created to store the bibliographic records?
9. Does Tilburg University Library have access to this directory?
10. Have you contacted the DEGREE coordinator?

If all of the above questions can be answered positively, the process leading to the availability of your working papers on the Internet can start. They will be retrievable via the DEGREE home page (national) and the WoPEc home page (international).


For more information, please contact C.Stuyts@kub.nl
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