Re: ACS meeting comments on e-prints

From: Albert Henderson <NobleStation_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Tue, 4 Apr 2000 23:56:07 -0400

on Tue, 4 Apr 2000 Stevan Harnad <> wrote:
> On Tue, 4 Apr 2000, Dr. Stephen R. Heller wrote:
> > At the ACS meeting last week theer were some interesting comments on the
> > many activities discussed in this forum. A write up on this is available
> > at:
> >
> >
> >
> > The opening paragraph says:
> >
> > The message from scientific publishers was clear. Government
> > intervention in the field of journals and databases is not only
> > unwelcome, but possibly unconstitutional too. This was one of
> > many fascinating topics discussed as part of the popular CIN
> > session at the ACS Spring Meeting in San Francisco this week.
> It will be interesting to see how government intervention in providing
> researchers with the means to publicly disseminate their research findings
> -- often funded by government research grants that mandate public
> dissemination, and always given away by their authors for free --
> can be construed as unconstitutional.

Floyd E Bloom quoted a Senate advisory panel's
observation from 40 years ago: "The case for a
Government-operated, highly centralized type of
center can be no better defended for scientific
information services than it could be for
automobile agencies, delicatessens, or barber
shops." (Science 285:197 1999)

The point is that scientists exchange their
work for dissemination and recognition by
their peers. It is best done in the private
sector. Government management always looses
any hint of excellence, particularly in the
information area. Look, for instance, at
Index Medicus. Coverage originally took in the
entire field of biomedicine. Now it covers about
10 percent according to its own estimates. Or
look at the stagnating database used by the
National Science Board to create tables for
in the world it is supposed to indicate. Or see
how the government has run NTIS into the ground.

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

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