Re: 2.0K vs. 0.2K

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 10 May 1999 18:59:20 +0100

On Mon, 10 May 1999, Thomas J. Walker wrote:

> Do you mean that you do not want authors to pay a little now for a service
> that you expect them to pay more for later?

No, I do not want authors to pay anything now for what they can do by
themselves for free, now. They can self-archive their own papers
without having to pay anyone to do so. All they need is an Archive
(like LANL -- and soon, one hopes -- E-biomed, and Scholar's Forum).

Or, for that matter, CogPrints, now:



The eventual page charges are for the day when the availability of the
literature to everyone for free in the Archive puts an end to demand
for the version accessible only by paying S/L/P tolls. Then (and only
then), funds will be needed to cover the sole remaining but essential
service that journals will be providing: quality control. That is what the
page charges will cover; but by that time the much larger savings from
S/L/P will be there to pay them.

So it is not about paying a little now for something that will cost
more later. Self-archiving, now and later, will be free for the author
(and reader). Quality control is now being subsidized, at greatly
enhanced cost, by authors' instititutions' S/L/P budgets. It will
continue to be subsidized by those institutions later, through the page
charges, but the cost will be much more modest (and the literature will
be free).

> To put the formatted, archived version of a refereed article on the Web
> server that is most convenient to those who might want to access the
> article is a service that is surely worth something to authors.

The PDF page-image is a needless frill that the users of the literature
can live quite happily without. The full, final, refereed, accepted
text and figures will do.

(This is a prediction, not a law of nature. Anyone can do the
experiment, offering authors the choice of paying to have the PDF
version archived for them, or just letting them archive the reformatted
text and images themselves. You are making another prediction. Those who
implement your proposal will test the prediction. Those who don't, may,
like me, feel the outcome is obvious.)

> (That is why I don't understand why APS doesn't offer it, while at the
> same time requiring authors to sign away their right to do it
> themselves.)

Perhaps it is partly because APS are making the same prediction I am
making, and partly because they are contemplating allowing authors to
self-archive the PDF version too, if they like, thereby putting an end
to speculation altogether.

> Authors cannot yet expect other researchers to look for their work
> where they have signed an agreement not to put it.

APS authors sign no such agreement. Soon all publishers will have to
allow their authors self-archiving rights:

Excerpted from: <>

    The APS author(s) shall have the following rights:

    (3) The right, after publication by APS, to use all or part of
    the article and abstract, without revision or modification, in
    personal compilations or other publications of the author's own
    works, including the author's personal web home page, and to make
    copies of all or part of such materials for the author's use for
    lecture or classroom purposes, provided that the first page of such
    use or copy prominently displays the bibliographic data and the
    following copyright notice: ``Copyright 19XX by The American
    Physical Society.''

    (4) The right to post and update the article on e-print servers as long
    as files prepared and/or formatted by APS or its vendors are not
    used for that purpose, and as long as access to the server does not
    depend on payment of access, subscription, or membership fees. Any
    such posting made or updated after acceptance of the article for
    publication shall include a copyright notice as in (3).

> sh> The exact PDF page images are not worth the extra money. The (refereed,
> sh> accepted) figures and text, reformatted without pages for online
> sh> self-archiving, are just fine.
> Under my plan, authors would be able to decide this themselves. Do those
> using the physics literature not want to know what page particular text is
> on and don't they feel that the equivalent of a photocopy of the archived
> version is more reliable than with any lesser representation of the final
> refereed version?

Rather than know what "page" it was on, and what its paleolithic page
image looked like in 1999, they would rather know exactly which section
and paragraph it's in, with the possibility of retrieving the exact
words always at their fingertips, sitting on their desk-tops. (Alas,
Tom, you seem to be stuck in a papyrocentric time-warp!)

In the logic-of-page-charges thread of this discussion you will see
Steve Hitchcock making predictions similar to yours -- but not about
author preference for paid rather than free archiving, but about reader
preference for a paid rather than free literature. Again, the
self-archiving option need only be made available and clear to all, and
market preferences can decide the rest.

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

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:31 GMT