ASLIB Biosciences Group Annual Conference

From: Betsy Anagnostelis <>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 13:46:32 +0000

ASLIB Biosciences Group Annual Conference

Death of the journal: will PubMed Central kill the journal in Health and
Life Sciences?

11th May 2000, 09.45-16.30
Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, Horseferry Road, London

In April 1999 the US National Institutes of Health proposed setting up
PubMed Central (originally E-Biomed), a system that would allow the
world's health and life sciences research community to make their
findings freely available on the Internet. The principal is based on the
e-print server for Physics based at Los Alamos (used by some 50,000
physicists a day), but the proposal has a number of differences that
have generated controversy. This conference will examine some of these
contentious issues.

**Provisional Programme**

Keynote address: The journal is dead: long live the journal!
                 Stevan Harnad, Southampton University

    ABSTRACT: Open Archiving (e.g. PubMed Central) is intended to
    liberate the refereed journal literature, not to lacerate it. It is
    the current peer reviewed corpus that is to be freed from the
    access barriers of paper and its costs. But the refereed journals
    will continue to exist. Journals are quality-controllers and
    certifiers (QC/C). The service they perform is absolutely essential
    to preserving the quality and integrity of the research literature.
    Without QC/C to maintain and mark quality standards, the growing
    research literature would become neither navigable nor worth
    navigating. Nor will Open Archiving give rise to a 0/1,
    "publish/perish" QC/C system in the form of one big generic
    "megajournal." The quality hierarchy and diversity of established
    brand names (and their accompanying editorial boards and impact
    factors), from the most rigorously refereed ones at the top,
    grading into the vanity press at the bottom, will continue to
    perform the triage that is needed so authors and readers can find
    the right level in the work they report and the reports they
    venture to build upon. Nor will peer review itself change with the
    literature online and free; QC/C is medium-independent (and tests
    and improvements constitute a completely different agenda from
    freeing the current corpus, such as it is). The only change will be
    a transition from the current papyrocentric trade model, in which a
    PRODUCT (the paper) was provided to the reader-institution (via
    Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View [S/L/P], to a
    research-centred model, in which the much less costly SERVICE of
    QC/C is provided to the author-institution -- and paid for out of a
    small portion of the S/L/P savings. The research literature, unlike
    the trade literature, was always a give-away from the researchers'
    point of view. Open Archiving at last makes it possible to get rid
    of paper's always unwelcome trade barriers, to the everlasting
    benefit of researchers, research, and society.

Further presentations will then discuss the various aspects and
viewpoints surrounding the controversial subject, and will include:

* E-BioSci - An electronic repository of scientific reports from the
  life sciences.
  Graham Cameron, EMBL, Cambridge
* Implications for BioMedNet and Elsevier.
  Lois Wingerson, BioMedNet
* All change: How the Internet impacts on journal functions.
  Tony Delamothe, Web Editor, British Medical Journal
* BioMed Central - open publishing of biomedical research.
  Matthew Cockerill, BioMed Central
* The Librarian's viewpoint.
  Robert Kiley, Wellcome Trust
* The impact of preprint servers on the physics community.
  Andrew Wray, Institute of Physics Publishing, Bristol

#50 ABG members; #60 non members; #20 unwaged (including lunch and

If you would like to join us and learn more about this topic, please
return the booking form by 1st May 2000 to:

Nigel Robinson, Tel: 01904 642816
ABG Meetings Secretary, Fax: 01904 612793
c/o BIOSIS UK, Email:
54 Micklegate,
York YO1 6WF

Early booking is advised as places are strictly limited.
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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