Why are e-prints not rivals to journals?

From: Rune Dalgaard <runed_at_IMV.AU.DK>
Date: Fri, 3 Nov 2000 11:19:48 +0100

I am having some troubles with an argument I have seen repeated in this
mailing list (in the few months I have been reading it). I hope someone can
enlighten me, and apologize if the theme has been rehearsed before.

It is repeated that 'freeing the refereed literature' is not a rival or
substitute for refereeed journals as stated below.

> Greg also seems to conflate, at some junctures, the self-archiving of
> unrefereed preprints with the self-archiving of refereed postprints,
> as if self-archiving were in some sense a rival to or substitute for
> refereed publication (which I certainly do not think it is);
> self-archiving is merely a way to free the refereed literature.

But who will pay for refereed journals if all their content is available for
free? What library will pay for a journal if its not read because the
articles are accessed by other means (e-print archives)? In other words,
while the referee process, as agreed by most, is necessary, it is unclear
how the institutions (journal publishers) that at present coordinates and
administrate this process, will be able to maintain a profitable business if
the core part of their product is given away.

I am not sure I see this as a major problem since I find scholarly
communication more important than its institutions, but it can hardly be
said not to rival or substitute refereed journals. Also, it raises the
question, whether the e-print model is a self-sufficient solution or it is
parasitic to a parallel system of refereeing that it might be undermining or
reforming? Perhaps, journals and e-print archives can even co-exist but that
seems to me an open question and not an evident outcome.


Rune Dalgaard, MA, Doctoral Scholar
Dept. of Information and Media Studies, Aarhus University
Address: Niels Juels Gade 84, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark
Phone: (+45) 89 42 19 48 / Fax: (+45) 89 42 19 52
E-mail: runed_at_imv.aau.dk / Web: www.imv.au.dk/runed
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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