Re: NIH's Public Archive for the Refereed Literature: PUBMED CENTRAL

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 10:30:58 +0100

On Mon, 13 Sep 1999, sterling stoudenmire wrote:

> What bothers me about this email is that it suggests that if enough good
> journals.. it is my contention that there are many, many good journals; the
> problem is, they have, until the ebiomed been dwarfed by the thinking of
> good vs bad journals.. please define a bad journal. thanks.

"Good" journals are the ones that report work that is worth doing, reading
and, most important, building upon. This is (imperfectly) correlated
with things like the journal's citation impact factor, rejection rate,
and the research calibre (somewhat circular) of its authors, editors and
referees, hence its articles.

There are over 14,000 refereed journals indexed by Ulrich's, 6,500 of
them indexed by Science Citation Index. Most published articles are
uncited (except perhaps by their own authors), and many probably unread.
Just about everything that gets submitted, gets published somewhere in
the hierarchy, from the most rigorously refereed journals at the top to
the vanity press at the bottom.

If you don't like the shorthand of "strong/weak" (I didn't use
"good/bad"), pick some other term correlated (imperfectly) with this
hierarchy of quality and quality-control-rigour. My point was that the
for-fee vs. for-free dichotomy should NOT be correlated with that
dimension. My worry was that PubMed Central might inadvertently make it
so; my hope is that it will not -- and all of our efforts will be in
the latter direction.

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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