Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 16:52:49 +0100

On Fri, 5 May 2000, Thomas J. Walker wrote:

> Here is an item from the April 2000 Newsletter of the Entomological Society
> of America (ESA) at
> ESA now offers authors an unlimited supply of electronic reprints
> (e-prints) of their articles for 25% less than the price of 100 paper
> reprints. Authors who purchase e-prints can increase their article's
> readership by giving readers immediate free Web access to the article.

I hate to be a killjoy, but announcements like this cannot go unanswered:

Authors can have exactly the same benefit for free by simply
self-archiving their refereed, final drafts online in an Open Archive.

> Although the item says "perhaps" I believe that ESA is the first and still
> the only journal publisher that facilitates immediate, totally free Web
> access to articles for which the authors have paid a fair price for the
> service.

Open self-archiving requires no "facilitating." And NO price is fair
for something one can have for free. The APS (American Physical Society)
already "facilitates" self-archiving simply by explicitly ALLOWING it;
and the 128,000 self-archived papers in to date attest to its
timeliness and utility:

Once self-archiving is explicitly allowed, all considerations of
fairness are taken care of, and THEN the service of providing
journal-supplied "official" eprints can compete fairly with
author-supplied home-brew.

Until then, however, there already exist completely legal ways of
self-archiving refereed papers even in the face of copyright agreements
designed to try to prevent it. So there is no reason not to self-archive
right now (and there has not been, ever since the early 90's):

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

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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

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