Evolution of document typology in HAL: the results of the working group

Written by CCSD

The CCSD created in last September a working group to make recommendations for an evolution of the document typology, common to all the users of HAL. The report (in french) of this working group is now available.

It is not easy to change such a typology : it requires to take into account the user’s needs, the obligation to display a deposit submission form easy to use, even for users non specialists of documentary questions while preserving the interoperability of HAL with other platforms. It also forces the treatment of the existing past data: the working group has taken it into account in order to impact the least possible the teams involved, those of portals and the CCSD.

Note that the scope is limited to textual document types (research data typologies are not covered).

The working group has compiled several lists of document types in order to make comparisons: it includes an inventory of the current list of types of documents in HAL, a census of the requests of users and existing international lists with notably the one of COAR. The working group has then established a list of criteria in order to evaluate the types of documents which do not exist currently  in HAL, those specific to the portals and those present in HAL but for which there are confusions or dissatisfactions. Those kind of documents must correspond to what is expected in a scientific open archive.

Following its studies, the working group recommends a two-tiered list – a generic document type that the user must choose according to the existing logic – and more precise document sub-types, which are optional: the users can choose it only if they wish to qualify the publication more precisely (in italics in the list below).

  • journal article
    • review article
    • data paper
    • book review
  • conference paper
  • conference poster
  • conference proceedings
  • thematic/special issue of a journal
  • book
    • critical edition
    • handbook
    • synthesis book*
    • dictionary, encyclopedia
  • book chapter
  • blog post
  • encyclopedia ou dictionary entry
  • translation
  • patent
  • other type
  • preprint/working paper
    • preprint
    • working paper
  • report
    • research report
    • technical report
    • report to funding agency
    • expert appraisal report
    • data management plan
  • doctoral thesis
  • HDR
  • lecture

*translation to be confirmed

The technical issue of development will obviously condition the integration of this typology at two levels. A second phase of the project will logically follow and will examine the recommendations of the working group and their technical feasibility.

This list is common to all HAL users, but recommendations are made for document types which are specific to some portals.The members of the working group are aware that the proposals will undoubtedly not meet all the expectations, but they have worked to propose clear types of documents and the least disciplinary marked. They were also careful not to multiply the types of documents available to avoid difficulties when choosing one. Finally, for each type of document, the question of the corresponding full text arose: the working group thinks that the open archive logic should take precedence over that of a bibliographic database. Is it useful for example to distinguish erratum and corrigendum? Publishers indeed assign a DOI to manage a resource regardless of its content, but is it not the core advantage of an open archive to deposit a version incorporating the correction ? Especially if the corrections are light and do not impact the reading of the results but relate to small things like the omission of a funder, a change of order of the authors or errors of the editor. The recommended typology therefore does not include this type of document.

A draft version of the report was presented to the various bodies represented in the working group. The work was unanimously praised. The absence of certain types of documents (annotation, clinical article, software paper) was however regretted. The working group notes that annotations and clinical articles are discipline-specific, which it tried to avoid. Software papers can already be found in HAL as journal article, conference paper or technical report. The working group therefore proposes that the publication medium determines the type of document to be used, this remark is the same for annotations. The type of document “norms and standards”, used in IT and telecommunications, was mentioned: the working group thinks that including this type of document is risky because it exposes HAL to administrative documents.

The working group led by the CCSD (Agnès Magron) is composed of Brigitte Bidegaray-Fesquet (Grenoble Alpes University, representative of the Casuhal user club), Michèle Dassa (CNRS-INSHS, in charge of Ribac), Francine Delmas (IRD, representative of EPRIST), François Donzel (CCSD, user support and assistance team), Clotilde Nicol (INRAE), and Sandrine Mouret (Ecole des Mines de Paris, representative of ADBU).

The CCSD is making the report open to comment until May 21, 2021 to publicize this  work carried out with representatives of HAL users. This gives the opportunity  for researchers to provide feedback in order to consolidate the typology before its implementation.