Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 5 May 2000 20:56:17 +0100

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

> The APS does not seem to allow the posting of its PDF files (which are
> equivalent to the archived version of the articles):
> "The author(s) shall have the following rights:
> ....
> (4) The right to post and update the article on e-print servers as long as
> files prepared and/or formatted by APS or its vendors are not used for
> that purpose, and as long as access to the server does not depend on
> payment of access, subscription, or membership fees. Any such posting
> made or updated after acceptance of the article for publication shall
> include a copyright notice as in (3)."
> [from]

Arthur Smith of APS indicated earlier in this Forum that that APS
restriction is currently under review. But never mind. It is not the
PDF page-images that need to be liberated from all access-tolls: it is
the refereed text.

If all publishers adopted the above policy, that would certainly be 100%
fine with me. Page images are an arbitrary papyrocentric artefact.
Paragraphs, for example, are much less arbitrary textual elements, and
online-only journals like Psycoloquy reflect this in having them all
paragraphs consecutively numbered:

Papyrocentric premises always lead to papyrocentric conclusions.

The page-image is a hold-over from the Gutenberg Era, but that era is
now over. PDF will survive for printing-out for close reading (as
opposed to surfing) until on-screen viewing becomes better for and
easier on the eye, hence printing out is no longer necessary. I for
one would rather have my text just (tagged and) digitized, rather than
locked into a paginator in perpetuo.

Stevan Harnad

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):

You may join the list at the site above.

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

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