Re: What if it's peer-review versus free-access?

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 11:23:37 -0500

I agree with Stevan's argument that free is intrinsically an all or
nothing matter, and that is another good reason why, if it came to it I
would implement free, and not worry about peer review one way or the
other, in addition to my
> > pragmatic grounds that it will be easier to accomplish both if we start there..

I'm not concerned with lower quality, because where quality really
matters in my subject is the illustrations, and links to the author's
original illustrations on the web offer better quality than any
publisher can provide. (It's reducing the dynamic range to print on
paper that causes the problems. Some publishers do quite well at it, but
it's intrinsically very expensive.)

I suspect than Stevan grossly underestimates the number of people in
various fields greatly interested in reforming peer review. I do not
regard their view as irrational: the quality of much of what gets
published in many fields is so low that it is reasonable to think that
peer review should either be improved or given up on.
But, like Stevan, I do not want to discuss details--there are too many
problems to work on them all. As for copyright, again I reluctantly
leave this to others to work on for the same reason.

Whether it will be easier to persuade researches to self-archive
unreviewed mss. than reviewed ones neither of us can possibly know.
Precisely because, as you say,
> Nor ... should the delay till researchers at last have free access
> be allowed to stretch on indefinitely....
I may differ from you in that I would most certainly regard the
establishment of a system of free access as a worthwhile goal even if it
came without peer review.

Stevan, where do you stand on that?


Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Sun, 16 Dec 2001, David Goodman wrote:
> > Stevan, which do you regard as more important:
> >
> > 1/ achieving free access to scientific research even if it means relaxing
> > the standards or changing the methods of peer review
> > or
> > 2/ Maintaining the system of peer review even if it means postponing the
> > freeing of the journal literature?

> Stevan Harnad

David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Digital Resources Researcher
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Mon Dec 17 2001 - 18:22:51 GMT

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