Re: Council of Engineering and Scientific Society Executives '99

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 18:04:20 +0100

On Sat, 10 Jul 1999, Hal Varian wrote:

> ...I would claim that most authors write
> to present their ideas and visions, not to make money...
> ...only a very, very small fraction of trade authors make money from
> their writing. I conjecture that their motivation is more often glory or
> recognition, just like academics....
> Freelance writers earn much, much less
> on average than professional authors; they can't be in it for the money.

Eppur, eppur... And yet I doubt that they would want to lock themselves
into giving it away for life! To start with, by way of promo, perhaps,
but forever? Is that really what you think? (Where there's life, there's

Whereas refereed journal article authors do not have the slightest
desire to deter a single pair of potential eye-balls for their findings
on the off-chance there might be gate-receipts to be made! They never
have, and they never will. There is a profound and significant divide
here, despite the statistics on the earnings and success of the average
trade author.

> ...if the rest of your
> argument is right it will apply more broadly than just to academic
> authors.

Online self-archiving may be a means for authors to launch their trade,
but I doubt you'll find many for whom it's an end in itself (apart from
the ones who were only destined for a Vanity Press anyway)...

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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