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Self-archiving involves depositing a free copy of a digital document on the World Wide Web in order to provide open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer reviewed research journal and conference articles as well as theses, deposited in the author's own Open Archives Initiative-compliant institutional repository or open archive for the purpose of maximizing its accessibility, usage and citation impact factor. Self archiving was first proposed formally in the 1994 Subversive Proposal, but it had already been in practice for years by computer scientists as well as physicists ever since the advent of the usenet, anonymous FTP and eventually the web. Self archiving is the practice in which authors deposit their own work into an electronic archive, usually with reference to an Open Access Eprint Archive (or Institutional Repository. This was suggested by Stevan Harnad in his 1995 article "A Subversive Proposal".

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