Re: ACS meeting comments on e-prints

From: Albert Henderson <NobleStation_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 20:50:34 -0400

on 5 Apr 2000 Stevan Harnad <> wrote:


> And Floyd Bloom (and Albert Henderson, who apparently like to quote
> one another) have been answered, both in this Forum, and in print:
> Henderson/Bloom/Henderson:
> "It may be instructive to recall an earlier congressional
> reaction, as Albert Henderson, editor of Publishing Research
> Quarterly did in his response to E-biomed on 6 May. In the
> Sputnik aftermath, an E-biomed-like proposal was made that
> Congress accelerate U.S. scientific research by establishing a
> unified information system similar to what had been created in
> the Soviet Union. The Senate's advisory panel responded: "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." Surely other creative solutions can be found to
> what NIH considers problems. Are they prepared to listen, or is
> this a done deal?
> Reply:
> "Both Dr. Henderson and Dr. Bloom might benefit from being reminded...
> that unlike the producers of cars, bagels and haircuts, the producers
> of refereed journal articles wish to give them away for free. And there
> is no earthly reason why any government should not wish to help them do
> so, to the eternal benefit of science and society worldwide."

If this were true in the Western world, life would
be much different.

Dr Harnad confuses the absence of cash with "giving
away for free."

Authors get value in return for their work. They
compete for dissemination and recognition afforded by
publication in journals. Their behavior, which
includes paying subsidies for publication under
desirable imprints, makes this very clear.

What is more aggravating is that U.S. universities begging
for free dissemination are very rich. The goverment pays
them $5 billion this year in "reimbursements" for overhead
connected with research, including libraries. Universities
then record huge profits and hoard financial assets at the
expense of excellence. Library patrons go begging ...

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

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