Re: Rename Forum: Author Auto-Archiving Forum

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 09:45:44 -0500

At 10:31 AM 2/21/00 +0000, you wrote:
>Dear Ros,
>As the impact of the American Scientist September98 forum is still
>growing rather than shrinking, would it be possible to rename it so as
>to reflect its content and currency? I note that other Amsci Forums
>have since divereged from the month-based nomenclature too.
>I would like to re-name it the (American Scientist) "Author
>Auto-Archiving" Forum, as that is precisely the topic on which it has
>long since converged, and the one that is most timely and likely to
>steer developments at the present time.

As the author of the September98 article that initiated this forum, I would
like to see a name that allows discussion of other means of achieving
Stevan's "all papers in all fields, systematically interconnected,
effortlessly accessible and rationally navigable, from any researcherís
desk, worldwide for free."

How about an "Immediate Free Web Access" Forum (=the IFWA Forum)?

I am not convinced that auto-archiving will, by itself, crumble the dikes
of S/S/P. It requires more effort on the part of authors and is more
confrontational than an alternative suggested in my Sept98 article--namely,
that members of societies that publish journals should demand that their
societies allow authors that want Immediate Free Web Access (IFWA) to their
articles be allowed to pay a fair price for it. A price equal to that of
100 paper reprints would seem a bargain to authors and would be a
(temporary) windfall for publishers. [A publisher can post an article on
PubMed Central for substantially less than the cost of printing and mailing
100 paper reprints.] The extra profits from selling IFWA might even
please society executives and governing bodies, who are looking for ways to
pay for the expensive, restricted-access e-versions they have started.

As subscriptions begin their inevitable decline as more and more authors
buy IFWA, the fair price of IFWA will increase. Members will learn that
their societies must continue to pay the costs of quality assurance and of
continuing to publish paper issues (until members are willing to forego
them). However, so long as paper issues are published and many libraries
and members are subscribing to them, the fair price of IFWA should no more
than double.

Two of the attractive things about this scenario are

(1) It is market driven. Authors who don't want IFWA don't buy it.
Societies who sell it can profit from it, but they must convince their
members and their authors that the price they charge is fair.

(2) It provides a smooth transition to e-only publication. Societies need
not abandon paper and subscription revenues until they see a way to
fiscally survive without them. If commercial publishers don't begin to
offer IFWA, authors who want it can choose society-published journals or
violate the copyright releases they have signed and self archive.

In my Sept98 article, I used the term "electronic reprints" rather than
IFWA. Perhaps that was that why earlier efforts to get this forum to
address the desirability and/or possibility of an e-reprint transition
failed. I'll soon try again and use IFWA instead.

The idea of a transition to all-e journals by authors buying e-reprints
(IFWA) was originally advanced in 1996 as a "Viewpoint" in BioScience (vol
45, p. 171;

>If the Forum could be aliassed to that name, the old URL could continue
>to lead to it too (as many published citations have that URL), but the
>Forum would be a lot more transparent and useable; people are a bit
>perplexed by its generic and somewhat anachronous name at the moment!

I agree that the present name is perplexing to those who do not know its

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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