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

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 09:17:04 +0100


On Wed, 22 Sep 1999, Lee Miller wrote:

> How has the income stream for physics journals been affected by the
> apparently universal use of the LANL archives in physics?

This question has come up before. The authoritative answer will come
from the APS representatives in this Forum (Arthur Smith, Mark Doyle).
I can only say what I have heard, repeatedly:

   (1) No, library cancelations have NOT occurred as a result of the
   free availability of the growing portion of the contents of the
   refereed physical journals literature through author self-archiving
   in LANL since 1991.

   (2) To the extent that subscriptions have shrunk somewhat in
   Physics, this seems to be in pace with similar shrinkages in other
   fields, and is probably owing to the universal institutional journal
   budget crunch rather than to the free archive at LANL.

It would be a mistake, however, in my opinion, for journal publishers
to become too complacent about this inertia:

The self-archiving effect has only made itself felt in Physics so far.
Libraries, and library policy, are multidisciplinary. Hence they are
unlikely to take the risk of cancelling subscriptions, even where the
literature has been partially freed by self-archiving (and even where
faculty agree that cancellation would be alright -- and they have NOT
yet agreed, as they too balk at the risk). Everyone is still waiting
for the phenomenon to generalize stably beyond just Physics (and
portions of Maths).

And it is indeed in the process of generalizing:

So just a little more patience is in order...

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

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Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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