Re: Medical journals are dead. Long live medical journals

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 20:40:33 +0000

On Thu, 24 Feb 2000, Peter Singer wrote:

> > [sh] And it is unrealistic to imagine that authors will choose their
> > [sh] journal by its web policy (or price) rather than its prestige
> > [sh] quality and impact factor.
> PAS: I understand the allure of brand name of the journal, but I dont think
> the scenario is so unrealistic. Researchers want to communicate with each
> other. It sometimes takes many months for some high profile medical
> journals to review articles, and the articles may then ultimately be
> rejected. Submission to more than one journal may be required before an
> article is available to peers. Many journals will not accept articles that
> have been posted as eprints. So, faced with the choice of a low probability
> of publication in a prestigious journal and a long wait (often involving
> submission to more than one prestigious journal) vs. immediate "publication"
> as an eprint, authors with good work they want to disseminate may choose the
> latter path especially if they have already jumped through the hoops of
> academic promotion.

That is the vanity press option and it has severe disadvantages both for
the author-researcher (credibility, career) and the reader-researcher
(what to trust). See:

    Harnad, S. (1998) The invisible hand of peer review. Nature
    [online] (5 Nov. 1998)
    Longer version:

> > [sh] Impact
> > [sh] factors will not converge on the free journals; they will stay with the
> > [sh] high-quality journals. But self-archiving will force the high quality
> > [sh] journals to downsize to QC/C and become free on the reader-end.
> PAS: Free and high quality "journals" may not be mutually exclusive. The
> Los Alamos physics archive is arguably both.

It is both because virtually all the unrefereed preprints in it are
also submitted to refereed journals, and the refereed final drafts
appear there too, once available.

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
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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