Re: E-Biomed: Very important NIH Proposal

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 16:00:59 +0100

On Thu, 10 Jun 1999, D. R. Forsdyke wrote:

>sh> Archives are archives, a reliable, permanent place where all authors
>sh> can self-archive their journal articles on-line for free for all.
> The key here is "permanent". Files can be deleted and interfered with.
> Could you spell out what you mean by permanent?

Los Alamos is good enough for now. When the world's authors' eggs are
all in the same virtual basket, collective interests will ensure that
they are reliably upgraded in perpetuo. There is NOTHING here to detain

>sh> the only function left for the journals to perform will be
>sh> quality control and certification.
> You might point out two kinds of for potential
> readers who are unable for themselves to sort out the "good"
> to help those who judge the authors as meriting appointment, tenure,
> promotion and research funding. In the former case, I think better
> search-engines (see latest Scientific American) and a new class of
> professional sifters/reviewers) reporting directly to the internet, will
> replace journals. In the latter case, merit assessors ("peers") will
> really have to do their the author's application, not
> just skim through his/her publications and tick off how many are in
> Nature or Cell. (see

Nothing at all to point out along those lines:

Both peer review and tenure review could certainly do with some
reform. But that has nothing WHATSOEVER to do with my one specific
goal, which is to FREE the peer-reviewed journal literature, such as it
is, not to "FIX" it.

The main point of my recommendations about self-archiving has been that
these two agendas should not be conflated. Free the peer-reviewed
literature (through author self-archiving via E-biomed) OR fix peer
review, but do not hold the fate of one hostage to the other,
especially given that the benefits of freeing the literature are
already dramatically demonstrated whereas the reform schemes are all
still untested pigs-in-pokes.

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 2380 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 2380 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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