Re: Nature 10 September on Public Archiving

From: Tony Barry < > <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 1998 10:03:30 -0400

Tony Barry < >:

At 7:49 AM 1998/09/16, Albert Henderson wrote:

>In spite of the buzz we hear constantly, the effect of ejournals to
>date in terms of citation studies has been minimal. (S.P. Harter. 1998.
>Scholarly Communication and Electronic Journals. JASIS: Journal of the
>American Society for Information Science. 49(6):507-516).

In my area of interest which is digital libraries, electronic publishing
and the networking tools to support them most useful information is online
and I cite the online versions and don't bother to check to see if there is
a print version someplace. But then I don't submit to print journals the
transmission process is too slow.

>distributions. Many readers lack the infrastructure required to
>participate in epublishing.

All it needs is a workstation less than two years old, a network connection
and an up-to-date OS.

>There are more pressing problems flowing from the poor productivity of

If you test a hypothesis and it fails the test or if it passes the test,
either could be unproductive or productive depending on your viewpoint. It
depends if you are a scientist or an economic rationalist.

>A solution to the problems of dissemination would be easily derived by
>financial support of library growth that would keep up with research.
>University provosts and presidents would have to give up some of the
>advantages they gained in the last 30 years. But then I wonder what
>administrators contribute to the effectiveness of instruction and
>research -- compared to good library collections.

Viewed from the antipodes unless library budgets consumed an ever
increasing proportion of university budgets there is no way they could keep
up. For low demand material why subscribe if you can get cheaper access via
document delivery services with direct network delivery of articles?

At 1:24 PM 1998/09/17, Albert Henderson wrote:

>And what will researchers do? If there are no libraries, no databases
>and no journals, we return to pre-1665 chaos of all formal
>communications being nailed to the post, now on the WWW rather than the

Ah, but now you don't have to go to the post or the church door to see the
paper just the library or the workstation on your desk and you can find the
material with difficulty through generalist search engines, but more
significantly specialist disciple based services with give selective access
to quality material in specific areas.

At 1:50 PM 1998/09/19, Stevan Harnad wrote:

>The exchanges with Albert Henderson have rapidly converged on that happy
>asymptote where no further replies are required; the reader need merely
>rewind the thread. An even simpler algorithm for deducing ah's view on
>any of the issues under discussion is simply this: "All problems can
>be solved by giving libraries more money to spend."

My impression has been that there has been a very slight decline in library
budgets as a proportion of university budgets over the last two decades
staying within the range of 10% for small institutions to 5% for large and
this seems to be the case in poor countries as well as rich. The
significant shift within library budgets has been to react to greater serial
inflation by cutting services (staff) and monograph purchases. This has
gone about as far as it can go and the serial publishers should expect a
higher rate of serial cancellations in the future. Its time for a new
economic model and electronic delivery at the article level is a pretty
obvious way to go.

Tony Barry < >
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:27 GMT