Re: Citation-Linking

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 18:23:43 -0400

On Fri, 11 Jun 1999, Thomas J. Walker wrote:

> I've not understood why you seem so opposed to authors/institutions
> paying for free access now, even though you think (and I agree) that
> authors/institutions will ultimately pay publication charges (for free
> access).


And I've never understood why you didn't understand why I was opposed! I
will try to spell it out again in a minimum of words.

(1) Authors can provide free access to their work RIGHT NOW by
self-archiving it all on their institutional servers and/or LANL and/or
CogPrints and/or (eventually) E-biomed/Scholar's-Forum.

(2) This is precisely what 100,000 LANL authors have done already.

(3) Hence there is no earthly reason why they should want to pay anyone
to do that for them.

(4) There is equally no reason why they should want to pay anyone for
reprint rights.

(5) There IS an UNearthly (needless, unconstructive, unjustifiable,
counterproductive) reason authors might feel they HAVE to pay for the
right to self-archive their own papers, given to their journal
publisher for free, and that is if they were foolish enough to sign a
copyright agreement that DENIED them that right (except if they buy it
back again).

But the solution to (5) is for authors to refuse to sign any copyright
agreement denying self-archiving rights, and to self-archive any paper
for which they have not explicitly signed away their right to do so.

And if/when they HAVE inadevrtently signed it away, they should DEMAND it
back, not BUY it back; the latter would be adding insult to injury, and a
horrible precedent for the future. There is no reason (scientific,
moral, logical or practical) why what is permitted to (e.g.) APS
authors should not be permitted to all authors.

And if they cannot get back the right to self-archive the final draft,
they should simply self-archive a penultimate draft, rather than the
final one, incorporating into it whatever there is of scientific
substance that needs be incorporated to make it as archivally useful as
the copyrighted final draft. Self-archiving of the prior unrefereed
preprints is also a good way of asserting this incontestable right.

There is a slippery slope there in favour of the author, in those
anomalous cases where author and publisher are in conflict rather than
in harmony -- as they ought to be, about copyright "protection."
(Copyright law was not drafted to protect authors from themselves!)

For the record: My advocacy of author-instution-end publication charges
is most definitely NOT so that authors can buy back their
self-archiving rights, having given away both their papers and their
rights for free. It is only to pay for peer review and certification --
and that only after S/L/P toll-gate receipts no longer cover that cost,
and all other costs and barriers have been eliminated. And the source
of those funds will be the S/L/P savings themselves; before that, yet
another unnecessary and counterproductive access toll, this time on the
author rather than the reader, would be outrageous.

> Also because, _anything_ that helps researchers learn the benefits of free
> access will accelerate the move to free access to all articles.

That is true, but the full benefits of free access are already available from
free self-archiving. Hence nothing more is to be learnt from adding
needless expenditures to them! We must UNlearn the habit of supporting
needless, access-denying cost-barriers.

> And finally, because allowing publishers to profit during the move to free
> access should make them not fight it so hard.

I disagree. A surcharge for self-archiving would only entrench the status
quo more firmly. The only thing that will convince publishers that they
need to phase out needless services and costs, cede archiving to
self-archiving, and scale down to quality control/certification only
will be clearly disappearing S/L/P revenues as a consequence of user
preference for the free self-archived versions.

Some support is needed during the transition, I agree, but not support
that just entrenches the status quo and weighs it down with yet another
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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