Re: Journals are Quality Certification Brand-Names

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 2 Jun 1999 21:04:56 +0100

On Wed, 2 Jun 1999, Arthur Smith wrote:

> <>
> the article, by Colin Day, is titled "Digital Alternatives:
> Solving the Problem or Shifting the Costs". The subject was
> academic monographs rather than journal articles, but I think
> many of the same arguments apply in both cases.

Not quite, for two very basic reasons:

(1) Monographs, like most of the rest of the literature -- and
unlike refereed journal articles -- are written to be sold, and the
author hopes for some royalty revenue.

(The royalties are often not much, and the authors of some monographs
that are too esoteric for any market, and hence at some risk of not
getting published at all, would gladly waive royalties just to have them
appear. So in that respect some monographs do fit the no-royalty, no-fee,
give-away criterion that separates the refereed journal literature --
and perhaps also esoteric conference proceedings -- from the normal
trade literature. But this only represents a minority of monographs.)

(2) Self-publishing of monographs (unlike self-archiving or refereed
journals articles) bypasses peer review.

However, those monographs that do fit the give-away formula, if they
are peer reviewed by a reputable monograph series, could indeed benefit
from being self-archived in a free archive rather than remaining stillborn
for want of a market to pay their conventional publication costs. Ditto
for conference proceedings, both refereed and unrefereed.

The work that goes into the creation, revision, mark-up and
self-archiving of 6-12 journal articles is probably equivalent to
the work that goes into doing the same with a monograph. So in that
respect the shoe fits, and I would argue that self-archiving is indeed
the optimal route for give-away monographs of this sort.

There would accordingly probably be a niche for "virtual monograph"
publishers (or a virtual branch of a paper monograph publisher) who
would provide rigorous peer review and a prestigious imprimatur to
virtual monograph series, archived exactly the same way refereed
articles are.

Apart from the quality control, most of the document preparation is
being off-loaded onto authors already anyway. Once on-screen editors
and version-controllers are optimized, and windows-based XML or SGML
tagging platforms are perfected, authors will be able to handle it all
with minimal effort.

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 - 19:45:33 GMT