Re: Alternative publishing models - was: Scholar's Forum: A New Model...

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 16:24:53 -0400

On Sun, 2 May 1999 23:17:16 +0100, Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGLIT.ECS.SOTON.AC.UK> wrote:

>On Sun, 2 May 1999, J.W.T.Smith <>

Hi John - no relation, though we did meet recently at a very interesting seminar
sponsored by the UK's Association of Professional and Learned Society Publishers -
see <> for a brief report on the meeting,
and<< for my notes.
I was actually called to speak at the last minute in place of Bob Kelly (who
Mark Doyle and I work for here) on our journals as overlays of e-prints.
It turned out that almost all the speakers, who ranged from a consultant
predicting the demise of journals to us regular publishers, seemed to
be converging on a few central themes that are exemplified by John's
proposal - at least some journals will survive, perhaps many of them,
but they will have to do so by recognizing their strengths and responsibilities
and taking on the role of something like John's Independent Evaluators.
Journals will relinquish some of their current-content and distribution
roles to things like the preprint archives, but will be taking on new
responsibilities also in areas traditionally dominated by abstracting
and indexing services (through interlinking, subject-focused
searching and browsing, and the like). Maybe we were all being misled,
but I thought the degree of agreement on the future quite remarkable.

Just a couple of comments on your discussion:

>> The LANL model is centralised... Any centralised model is vulnerable to
>> control - who shall say you can deposit your work here? Just like the
>> journal. The net is distributed and any publishing model based on it
>> should take advantage of this.
>The LANL model is based on public SELF-ARCHIVING. No physicists are
>complaining that their work is being blocked from LANL.

Well - a few have been sent my way :-) but I agree this is not
the problem.

> [...]
>So central vs. distributed archives is a pseudo-issue: Nothing of
>substance hangs on it.

Well, you could also say the whole web acts like a central archive (or several)
 - that's the "web portal" model, and in part that's John's SFP model. I
 think the actual details of implementation (in particular the degree to
which ease of access to subject-related material is available)
is important. Critical features are the archiving itself, and
searching/indexing - these are a lot easier to implement for a centralized site.

>> there is nothing in the DJ model to prevent an author having his or her
>> work evaluated by more than one evaluator...
>You are very generous with referees' services. Multiple submission
>(whether parallel or serial) is already the bane of the current
>overloaded referee system. You propose to overload it still further.
>Articles rejected by one journal are certainly submitted to another
>(and just about everything is eventually published somewhere), but
>surely once a paper is accepted ONCE by a journal, no further
>refereeing is called for.

Stevan - a very good point, and one that I believe has been neglected
by a lot of the proposals for new kinds of peer review (like some of the
stuff in the Caltech Scholarly Forum proposal). However, if
it is funded by the author, then I think John's idea is quite workable -
most authors will probably not feel the need to pay for multiple
evaluations, and those with very limited resources could perhaps pay for
only the barest evaluation. If we are to go to a system where the author
pays for peer review (as you have been advocating) I think multiple
evaluations are going to be inevitable one way or another.

 Arthur Smith (
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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