Re: Reasons for freeing the primary research literature

From: Arthur Smith <apsmith_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 2001 17:58:54 -0400

Jim Till wrote:
> [...]
> My proposed four main reasons why the primary research literature should
> be freed were, in brief:
> (1a) Information gap; (1b) Library crisis; (1c) Public property; and,
> (1d) Academic freedom.
> Re (1d): please bear in mind that a definition of the verb "censor" is
> "make deletions or changes in".
> [...]
> What should the author do, in order to avoid this (cost/revenue-based)
> dissemination barrier? Some possible options: (i) Thank the journal for
> peer-reviewing the preprint, and simply self-archive it in an open
> archive, together with a comment that it was considered to be acceptable
> for publication by the brand-name journal (how to validate such a claim?).
> (ii) Self-archive the preprint, but not inform the brand-name journal
> (requires deception). (iii) Withdraw the submitted preprint, and re-submit
> it to a lower-impact journal that either has a version that's
> freely-available online, or permits open self-archiving of preprints
> and/or postprints.
> [...]

But author self-archiving, in itself, doesn't resolve this problem
either! There IS no solution if the only decision to be made is at the
individual researcher level. But at a higher level the possible
solutions are either (1) a change in journal policy (and the number of
journals with such restrictive policies seems to be dropping gradually)
or (2) a change in the hierarchy of "top brand-name" journals to favor
the ones with more open policies, which seems somewhat less likely, but
still possible. Other than that, there's no (honest) way to resolve this
"censorship" dilemma. So the real place to work on this problem is with
the publishers themselves, somewhat the way the "Public Library of
Science" people are doing.

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

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