Re: Update on Public Library of Science Initiative

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 14:36:44 -0400

I would also suggest that to consider the number of fully PLoS journals
as 6 is unduly restrictive. PLoS does not include journals, such as the
ASMicrobiol. journals, where the prior content is available on the
publishers site, but not the PLoS site. I am aware of their arguments;
yes it would be better if they met higher standards, but having them
available at all free, even after the delay, is a considerable
improvement over a year ago. This improvement is largely due to the work
done by PLoS, and is very much to their credit. I suggest that they not
be so concerned about deviations from their model, but start with what
there is and work upwards from there.

I share SH's apparent doubt that starting new free journals is the best
way to go.
There is nothing wrong with it, except the amount of work involved, and
those who are brave enough to take on the job should be encouraged.

But in the meantime there are much quicker solutions, and SH's type of
archive is one of them. The pervasive problem is that we have not yet
accumulated a critical mass of free material yet in most subjects. The
need to overcome this is primary, and we do know of solutions that are
at least operable immediately.
This does not mean that I am sure SH's model will ultimately be the
best. How can anyone know? But I will venture to predict that if we
delay we run a grave risk of losing what momentum there is. The best way
to avoid delay is pragmatic use of whatever is available, including self
archiving, and including encouraging -- for now -- journals that give at
least limited free access.

David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Digital Resources Researcher
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Fri, 31 Aug 2001, Peter Suber wrote:
> > The number of PLoS-compliant journals is about six. The exact number
> > depends on how strictly one interprets compliance, but no matter how
> > one interprets it, the number is small. Hence it appears that one PLoS
> > strategy for moving forward will be to encourage the development of new
> > (free online) journals.
> >
> > This will be the real breakthrough. We never had to wait for the existing
> > journals to see the light, consent to FOS, or change their policies. We
> > always had the option to create new journals... I wonder how long
> > it will take for the number of PLoS compliant journals to rise from six
> > to six hundred.
> I wonder too. But could I make a suggestion? It is not only true that
> we need not sit and wait, wondering, for existing journals to "see the
> light" (i.e., decide, of their own accord, to give away their papers
> online for free); we also need not sit and wait for new journals to be
> created, or adopted by authors in preference to their existing
> established journals.
> Let all those things happen, by all means! But let us not sit and wait
> meanwhile!
> As researchers, we cannot change existing journal policies (we can only
> sign petitions); nor can we create alternative journals for each of our
> own articles: We must sit and wait for others do it for us.
> But meanwhile, as we sit and wait, there IS something each of us
> individual researchers can do, right now. And if we do it, there will
> be nothing left to wait for, as we will ourselves have set the refereed
> literature free.
> So, while we wait, wondering, may I suggest that we use the time to
> self-archive our research?
> Harnad, S. (2001) For Whom the Gate Tolls? How and Why to Free the
> Refereed Research Literature Online Through Author/Institution
> Self-Archiving, Now.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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 & 01):
> You may join the list at the site above.
> Discussion can be posted to:

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

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