Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Eric Hellman <>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 19:45:17 +0100


You're typing too fast.

This is a business model that should be thoughtfully considered. It
is closely related to the free-to-read, pay-to-publish model
pioneered by journals such as the MRS Internet Journal of Nitride
Semiconductor Research ( The pay-to-unfetter
model is attractive to publishers that want to transition their
existing journals to free, unfettered access business models but
don't have the financial and technical ability to do so right away.
It is attractive to authors who believe in free, unfettered access to
their work, but see value in traditional "brand names" and the
accompanying prestige. It is attractive to readers for obvious
reasons. Most importantly, it has the potential to change the
mind-sets of important academic communities. Once they see the
benefits of free, unfettered access, they will insist on it.

With regard to Open Archives, I note that there is absolutely nothing
to stop the Entomological Society from becoming a participating
archive. If you believe that Open Archives are valuable then you must
recognize that smart publishers will try to add value like that to
the package of services that they offer their authors.

>And NO price is fair for something one can have for free.

You have perhaps purchased a bottle of water in your life? Or hired
someone to do something that you could do yourself FOR FREE!? The
price is of course always an issue. $50 for a bottle of Perrier is
excessive, even at 25% off.

By the way, have you tried Napster?


At 4:52 PM +0100 5/5/00, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>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):

Eric Hellman
Openly Informatics, Inc. 21st Century Information Infrastructure
LinkBaton: Your Shortcuts to Information
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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