In the 6 months since ERIC removed the the full text of ERIC Documents from the Internet, there have been a lot of questions about what is going on and when we’ll get the documents back.
We now have some clearer answers from ERIC about what is happening, what the wait times are like, and what you should do if there’s a document you need.
As of early February, 2013, more than 6,000 documents have been returned to the Internet (out of a total 350,668 documents under review). Other documents have been released, but the PDFs are low quality, so ERIC is working to get higher quality copies before placing them online.
ERIC is focusing on requested documents. This means that they are only examining documents that have been requested via their request form. Starting in the Summer they will also start releasing PDFs for new items along with the requested older items.
ERIC is working on a search that would ignore items that are not yet released. If they are able to create an effective search function for this, it should be released sometime this Spring or Summer. This would allow searchers to employ a full text limit that includes ERIC Documents that are currently available in PDF form. If you are currently searching ERIC with the full text limit checked, you’ll get results that are in full text as well as results that should be available in full text, but have been removed as part of this ERIC document review.
Requested documents should be returned to the Internet within 6 months to a year. All documents are expected to be released within the next 5 years. As you can see, this is a project with a very long timeline.
What should you do as a student or faculty?
If you want a specific document, REQUEST IT! You may not get it in time for you to use it for your own research, but ERIC is focusing on the requested items exclusively right now. If you want something, chances are good that someone else does as well.
Keep using the ERIC database. This project has affected hundreds of thousands of ERIC documents, but the ERIC database still has hundreds of thousands of full-text articles you can use for your research. If you leave the full text limit checked, your results will include some unavailable ERIC documents. The only way to know which items are available is to click the link to the “Full Text in ERIC.” If you see a PDF link, that is something you can access in full text right now.
Use Google to find alternative sources of Full Text. Many ERIC Documents are posted elsewhere on the Internet. Since so many of these documents come from organizations that want to disseminate their research, they may be in several locations online. ERIC is just one of many sources.
Limit to ERIC Journals to avoid full-text removals. While it’s a shame to miss out on some of the great resources that are available as ERIC Documents, you do have the option of limiting your search to only ERIC Journal items. Since ERIC Journal items are not affected by this project, you will not have full-text access issues. ERIC Journal items are typically published journal articles. If you limit to Peer Reviewed articles when you search, the vast majority of your results are ERIC Journal items. In your list of citations, the ERIC citation number will begin with an EJ instead of an ED.
From Walden Library News, February 15, 2013 blog post.