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The Max Planck Society eDoc Server - Innovation in Scholarly Communication

The Max Planck Society is dedicated to the realization of open access to make its research output widely available. For the first time ever, the Internet now offers the chance to constitute a global and interactive representation of human knowledge, including cultural heritage and the guarantee of worldwide access.

Joining efforts undertaken also by other major institutions like CERN, MIT, University of California, Lund University etc., the MPS is contributing to a sustainable, distributed, global knowledge space and pioneering new models of scholarly communication.

In this context the eDoc-Server is aimed specifically at:

  • Institutional Memory and Showcase:
    eDoc shall serve as a comprehensive resource of scientific information produced by the Max Planck Institutes, providing a stable location for its preservation and dissemination. Thus, it functions as an institutional memory and allows Institutes to create showcases to demonstrate research productivity, excellence and immediate access to research results.
  • Innovative Models of Scholarly Communication:
    eDoc should serve as a backbone for initiatives by scientists and scholars in the MPS who want to make use of the full potential of the internet and establish new models for scholarly communication.
  • Open Access:
    At a time where sky-rocketing journal prices and restrictive publishers policies undermine the wide dissemination and persistent accessibility to research output, eDoc is introduced and will be further promoted as the self-archiving tool for publications produced by Max Planck researchers to provide immediate and global access. [more on the MPS and Open Access]

It follows that the eDoc-Server project cannot be seen as a software project alone, but rather as a project which is developing and introducing a new software but is integrated in a comprehensive program to promote the idea of open access and a paradigm shift regarding the dissemination and evaluation of scientific information in the Max Planck Society.

eDoc Material / Publications

eDoc wants to provide access to all scientific output of Max Planck researchers, independent of publication types or file formats. The institutes decide what material (peer-reviewed or not peer-reviewed) they want to store and disseminate via eDoc according to their own approach to the communication of research and the practices of their discipline. Each collection should have a defined policy which provides explanations on the scope of the collection (see info link at the right side of the collection name). All institutes are invited rather than obliged to use the eDoc Server, which leads to a dynamically growing number of institutes making full use of the potentials of providing open access to research results and thus increasing impact of research.

eDoc Concepts

The concepts applied to eDoc have to take into account the different traditions, aims and habits of scientific and scholarly communication established in the various disciplines. The aim of the eDoc project is to provide a central service and software for all these different communities within the MPS. Bearing in mind that a central service for such a diverse environment might not meet all the needs of the institutes, the focus was placed equally on the development of a central system and services as on provision of interfaces and configuration possibilities to allow customization of the system to local and discipline specific needs. These concepts will further be developed together with the advisory boards, pilot institutes and end users to ensure that eDoc will meet the needs of an active, multidisciplinary research community. Input and requirements from Institutes on how to fulfill this claim is always welcome.

eDoc Development

From 2001 to 2006, the eDoc Server is a service developed and provided by the Heinz Nixdorf Center for Information Management (ZIM) in the Max Planck Society.
The effort was strongly supported by a number of pilot Institutes: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Fritz-Haber-Institute, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Max Planck Institute Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems.
The initial code was contributed by Mike Wesemann & Heinz Junkes from PP&B Department at Fritz-Haber-Institute and further developed by Vijaya Dasari (ZIM). There were also other note worthy contributions.

The eDoc server was developed only as a rapid prototype solution to find out more about the needs for an institutional repository for a heterogeneous research organization. Therefore, the software is not suitable for an open source distribution. Since 2007, the Max Planck Digital Library (MPDL) is in charge for maintenance.

eDoc Future

The experiences the MPS made in introducing an institutional repository to 80 heterogeneous institutes was the basis for building a second generation of the eDoc software, PubMan, which will be part of the larger information service framework provided by the MPS. Further information can be found on the PubMan Wiki. This second generation will cover all aspects of the current system as well as new functionalities and a much more flexible architecture to enable the system for different usage scenarios.

Further Information and Material

Read more about Open Access and the Max Planck Society
Read more about Open Access


For any further information, please contact the support team

Last changed: 13 February 2010