Re: Economic effects of link-based search engines on e-journals

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 15:30:58 +0100

On Tue, 3 Oct 2000, Marvin wrote:

> > At 05:10 PM 10/1/00 +0100, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> > >it seems to me that the idea that
> > >google itself, searching web-wide, is any sort of a solution for
> > >researchers who want to search all and only the refereed journal
> > >literature, is erroneous.
> There is such a search engine at It is a
> commercial venture and charges for copies of aticles, including a fee to the
> copyright owner. That won't be to the liking of those who want to get
> something they think is important without paying for it. The site includes
> 20,000 journals and only the years 1999 and 2000. It also includes an area
> for submitting articles for online publication after review, with the
> authors retaining copyright.

I have duly visited the cite, and found the following article:

    Title: Integrating, navigating, and analysing
    open Eprint archives through open citation
    linking (the OpCit project)

    Author: Harnad, S.; Carr, L.

    Article Fee: $12.00 Copyright Fee: $3.75

I am pleased to inform anyone interested that they can save themselves
the $12.00 S/L/P fee by simply going to the free version:

Marvin continues to resist noting the distinction, without which none of
this makes sense, between that small portion of the literature that
is author-give-away (refereed journal papers) and the rest, the lion's
share, which is NON-author-give-away (books, magazine articles,
everything written for royalty, fee or commission).

If he does not make the distinction, then he can continue seeing the
crusade to free the refereed literature as a quixotic assault on
capitalism itself, the benighted belief in getting something for

But the truth is that this literature is fundamentally different from
all the rest, and always has been; it is just that in the Gutenberg
Era, with its ineluctable costs, there was no way to treat it any
differently from the rest. Now there is.

I assure Marvin that all the authors of all the articles in all the
20,000 journals FEEL the same way that I do, and are happy to keep
giving their papers away. (The prospect of a $3.75 "cut" for them is a
new one, but I am sure it will not cut any ice, in a choice between that
and the elimination of all access/impact barriers.)

The only difference between all those other authors and me (and the
authors of 130,000 self-archived papers in the Physics Archive, 1000 in
the CogPrints Archive, and many others) is that for the former the
token has not yet dropped. It will, and the outcome is optimal, and

The next time you are tempted to invoke the fallacy of "something for
nothing," ponder why advertisers would never dream of charging
potential customers for access to their adverts. The motivation
in both cases is similar.

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 the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online 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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