Re: The Logic of Page Charges to Free the Journal Literature

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGLIT.ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 29 Apr 1999 14:58:09 +0100

> From: "Marvin Margoshes" <>
> It is sensible to ask why a reader would pay for information he can get
> free. It is equally sensible to ask why an author would pay if there is a
> free alternative.

Fair question!


(1) Learned-journal authors, unlike normal authors, publish, not to
make money from the sales of their texts, but to maximize the potential
impact of their ideas and findings on the course of knowledge by
reaching the eyes and hence the minds of all their potebtially
interested peers. This strange breed of nontrade authors is even ready
to pay for paper offprint charges and postage to maximize that reach. A
free online Archive will infinitize their reach; a toll-based one will
not. That too must be reckoned in weighing the alternatives.

(2) In my proposal authors do not pay from their pockets, but from a
small portion of their institution's annual windfall S/L/P savings. In
other words, the literature is already completely subsidized by our
institutions in the form of S/L/P: Up front page-charges will be a much
more economical and an infinitely more effective way of subsidizing it.

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 1703 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 1703 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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