Re: Recent Comments by Albert Henderson

From: J Adrian Pickering <jap_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Sat, 16 Sep 2000 13:41:56 +0100

At 10:37 15/09/00 -0400, you wrote:

>technology to "free" the scholarly literature. A modest way to begin
>breaking down that resistance, I believe, might be the following: the
>establishment by professional societies of servers that would make all the
>conference papers produced at their meetings freely available electronically
>to all who need them--and in a timely fashion! This would pre-empt the
>present one year or more lag in the publication of conference papers in
>print journals.

Absolutely agree. The professional societies *are* supposed to be
furthering their profession - that is their raison d'etre. I have always
felt that learned publications belong in the hands of the profession they
support. Personally, I'm not very sympathetic to commercial-publisher run
journals. If the profession believe a particular major 'thread' of their
activities requires learned communications then they should sponsor it.

However, many professional bodies have slipped into bad habits (overseen by
the professions themselves) where they have become dependent on the income
generated by their publishing (and conference) activities. This is going to
be very difficult to reverse.

A sea change in the views of the membership would be required. The members
may have to pay more in subscriptions as a result. The cycle *could*
complete satisfactorily if the employer then paid (a proportion of) the
professional society fees of its employees? The funding route would then
be: institution, member, society, society publications instead of
institution, library, society, society publications. It is possible that
the cost of running the society publications may drop if it becomes fully
electronic. It should certainly become faster, which is what we all want.

Adrian Pickering/
ECS, University of Southampton, UK
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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