Re: Elsevier Science Policy on Public Web Archiving Needs Re-Thinking

From: Rosalind Reid <> <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 08:46:41 -0400

Rosalind Reid <>:

In this week's snail mail I found a letter from someone at the
Institute of Physics (in the UK) wanting to let us know about a major
new e-journal starting up within the next few weeks, to be funded
entirely by "article charges" and posted on the Web without charge.
This is an experiment that may test many of the hypotheses offered

It's called the New Journal of Physics and will cover all of physics.
The list of editors begins with Nobelist J. G. Bednorz. The two
sponsoring societies, the IOP and Deutzche Physikalische Gesellschaft,
have committed to maintaining the journal's permanent archive "free for
all time."

They appear to have dealt with a large number of the issues mentioned
here, except that I see no mention of support for authors who cannot
afford the "article charge" of US$500. Submission and manuscript
handling will be all-electronic; IOP is able to handle files from
various word processors in addition to TeX, and also accepts e-prints
from xxx. Anne Dixon, IOP's assistant director, proposes that this is
"a way for learned societies to chart a way forward at a time of
upheaval in scientific publishing."

Perhaps I've missed comments from the APS participants about this
initiative, or perhaps no one knows how the economics of the NJP are
going to work out--or for that matter whether it will attract good
articles and citations. Looks like an interesting test, anyway.

Details at (No articles yet, but they promise
immediate publication upon acceptance.)

Rosalind Reid
Editor, American Scientist

   [Moderator's note: The AJP project has been mentioned in several
   postings, most recently by Arthur Smith in the prior one on this
   thread. It may surprise some to hear that I think page-charges for
   that commendable project might be premature! A tide-over subsidy for
   the next few unstable years might be a safer way to ensure its
   survival through the transition period into the online-only era
   supported by author-end page charges n place of reader-end S/SL/PPV.
   As other contributors have noted, an attitude change toward
   page-charges will be needed first, and that will in turn have to be
   preceded by (1) a realisation of the optimality of free online
   access, (2) a substantial migration by authors and readers to that
   mode of access, leading to (3) library serial cancellations and
   hence (4) substantive savings on which to draw to provide support
   for (5) author page charges. But perhaps physicists, already in the
   forefront of revolutiuonary developments with xxx, will be
   forward-looking enough to leap directly from the premises to the
   optimal and inevitable conclusions without need of further cultural
   evolution or subversion! -- Stevan Harnad]
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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