Re: HighWire Press's Free Online Archive

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2001 19:59:11 +0000

On Fri, 16 Nov 2001, Peter Suber wrote:

> * HighWire Press is now the world's largest free online archive of articles
> in the life sciences and overall second only on to the NASA's Astrophysics
> Data System. HighWire now hosts 100 journals that provide free online
> access to their full-texts, including back issues, and it recently hosted
> its 330,000th free online article. Fifty HighWire journals are planning to
> add free online access to their back issues in the near future.

All news of free online access to the refereed journal literature
is good news, and welcome news.

And if it should turn out that the HighWire Press model catches
on (with all of its own journals -- many of which still do not give
free online access to their full-text contents) to the rest of
the 20,000 refereed journals, then our work is done, and we can
retire to our tents (to surf the contents of this invaluable online
resource for research and researchers).

But will the model catch on? Will all or many or most refereed
journals give free online access to their full-text contents?
and how soon?

Researchers have to decide where to place their confidence and
efforts. In my opinion (and on all the quantitative evidence
so far) the journal-based freeing of access is still just a flash
in the pan. Please, let it not make us be complacent, and assume
the problem is on the way to solving itself.

The only sure way to free access to the entire refereed research
literature online, right now, is for researchers themselves to take the
initiative and self-archive it (in their own institutions' OAI-compliant
Eprint Archives: )

We have already waited far too long. Are we going to wait still
longer, in the hope that eventually all 20,000 journals may see their
way to getting around to it?

Harnad, S. (2001) Six Proposals for Freeing the Refereed Literature
Ariadne28 June 2001.

Stevan Harnad

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 amsci site.

Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Fri Nov 16 2001 - 19:59:46 GMT

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