Re: Workshop on Open Archives Initiative in Europe

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 17:38:28 -0400

Steve, I know this is not the main topic of this forum, but, since you
discussed it again:

Instead of saying, as you do, that

> Implementing peer review is not the province of archivists, nor of
> universities, research institutions nor libraries. And when Learned
> Societies do it, they do it in their capacity as Publishers.

one could instead say that:

< Implementing peer review is not the province of archivists, libraries, or publishers,
< but that of the scholars themselves, possibly as organized into
universities, research
< institutions, learned societies, or otherwise into less formal groups such
as open forums.

What do publishers have to do with peer review, except for the historical
accident of
having in the print era a limited number of pages they can afford to print,
and thus wanting the best of the available material to put in those pages?
If we freed peer review from the publishers, then this would almost
immediately free the distribution of the material from them as well.

This is in some ways the opposite of the direction you have been proposing,
but I wonder whether it might be a more practical route to accomplish the same
goal. I am sure the progress to open archives in most fields has been
disappointingly slow to you as it has been to all of us who are engaged in it,
and it might now be appropriate to try some additional pathways.

Certainly I agree we should immediately proceed to
> freeing
> the peer-reviewed literature, such as it is, now. The online medium makes
> that immediately attainable WITH NO NEED TO FIRST WAIT TO TEST OUT NEW

But if we don't succeed in freeing the peer-reviewed literature right away,
and surely we haven't succeeded so far, I for one am ready to entertain other approaches.
Perhaps after all we should first reform peer review, and then reform
Even though you and I think it makes more sense the other way round, maybe we
are wrong.
We're scientists, not prophets, and should be prepared to test other theories
than just our own.

> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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):
> You may join the list at the site above.
> Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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