Re: The July 6-7 NYAM "Freedom of Information" Meeting

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2000 12:20:42 +0100

On Thu, 20 Jul 2000, John Peel wrote:

> Stevan, you said:
> 'Hence the very same desideratum that Pieter was explicitly endorsing --
> full access for every researcher to every journal -- can be met another
> way: through open archiving by every researcher.'
> I don't claim to speak for Pieter but I'm pretty sure he was NOT endorsing
> an open archive. What he did endorse was a paid-for distributed network,
> the CrossRef model, but it he didn't say anything about it being open. In
> his view publishers would still retain the copyright to the work and they
> would still set tariffs if they chose to. I inferred from what he said that
> they would also oppose self-archiving. Perhaps we could call on Pieter to
> clarify that position?

Happy to ask Pieter Bolman to clarify, but I am sure you are right, and
I think Steve Hitchcock's point (which I was merely trying to explicate
to Joseph Ransdell in that posting) was not that Pieter was endorsing
open archiving, but that he was endorsing an outcome (online access to
all refereed research for all researchers) that could not be even
remotely realized by the avenue Pieter himself is advocating -- a
click-through online oligopoly of publishers providing access
to the refereed research corpus FOR-FEE, for the simple reason that
there isn't faintly enough money to pay for all of that for all
researchers) -- whereas the exact same outcome could indeed be
realized, and realized immediately, through open self-archiving by all
researchers, now.

To anticipate your own reply, John, you will add that that same outcome
could also be realized immediately another way, through all reseachers'
switching their allegiance from the established journals that don't
allow free access to their contents, to new journals like BioMed
Central, that do.

The empirical and practical question, then, is which of these options
for freeing online access to the refereed literature will prove simpler
and more attractive to researchers: self-archiving or giving up their
established journals?

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

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