Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 22:08:30 -0400

on 24 Jul 2001 Stevan Harnad <> wrote:
> On Mon, 23 Jul 2001, Sally Morris wrote:
> > I was particularly interested in what Stevan said about journals: "We have
> > the established journal, with its reliable, known, quality-control "tag,"
> > its name, associated until now with articles of a known kind and quality."
> >
> > I think this is an enormously important aspect of what journals (and those
> > who create and publish them) actually do. The journal is a kind of
> > 'envelope' in which readers can be reasonably confident of finding content
> > on a particular subject, possibly with a particular editorial slant or
> > article type, and of a certain general quality standard.
> But let us not forget that the quality of a journal is owed entirely to
> the quality of its peer reviewing (and peers review for free).
> So whereas it is indeed the journal's quality tag, certifying the
> quality level of its contents, that authors and users need, the two
> critical, substantive components on which it is based -- the research
> report itself, and the referee reports on it -- are always provided
> gratis by researchers. The journal merely implements this peer review
> process (processes the manuscript, selects the referees, processes
> their reports) -- an essential service, but a highly circumscribed
> one.

        Referees don't review for free. They get something
        of greater value than money. Behind the scenes, each
        journal organizes activities which are as vital to
        the development of top scientists as publication.
        Closely related, often under the aegis of the publisher,
        are conferences, meetings, seminars, and other
        volunteer participation.

        Moreover, each journal brings order out of chaos
        by selecting, vetting, and rejecting. It supplies
        a coherent flow of information related by its aim,
        scope and point of view. A specialized reader will
        find not only reports of primary research but meeting
        notices, comments, reviews, abstracts of papers and
        other items of particular interest.

        The chaos proposed by 'self-archiving' serves no one
        well but the university manager obsessed with


Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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