Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjwalker_at_MAIL.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 09:30:27 -0500

[See below for the context of this posting.]

The current problem with the self-archiving of refereed articles is that it
requires some effort on the part of the researcher and produces little
benefit. Therefore, few researchers do it. On the other hand, many
researchers will pay a fair price for immediate free Web access to their
articles, and the more convenient the access is made, the more the
researchers will value the service.

It is easy to understand why commercially published journals do not offer
their authors the service, but it is not at all clear why society-published
journals do not. The members of the societies would approve, and the
society's journals would gain in value because their authors would gain in

Tom Walker

At 12:51 PM 12/24/2001 +0000, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>On Sun, 23 Dec 2001, Thomas J. Walker wrote:
> > >PhysNet for the EPS:
> >
> > ...PhysNet is designed to make it easy to (among other
> > things) harvest what is on the home pages of members of physics
> > institutions...
> > ...
> > I then tested (2) with this sample of three papers and failed to find any
> > of the papers by using PhysNet--either by searching for the papers directly
> > or by using PhysNet to go directly to the authors' home pages.
> > ...
> > Although I failed to find any of the papers with PhysNet, I quickly found
> > two with Google ( Google displayed a URL for the
> > PDF file of the third paper as well, but it was no longer the correct one.
>To draw any conclusions from this, it is necessary to put it into
>I will do this in a moment, but first let me point out some remarkable
>and highly relevant new resources under development by Xiaoming Liu at
>Old Dominion University:
>(1) ARC a cross-archive harvester for
>OAI-compliant Eprint Archives and
>(2) DP9 an OAI gateway service
>for web crawlers.
>Now the context:
>We must distinguish between actual services that are available
>right now, and services that could readily be built once more of
>the full-text refereed literature is available in OAI-compliant Eprints
>Archives to build those services on top of and to apply them to. ARC,
>DP9, and CITE-BASE are
>examples of such services, already within reach and under development.
>It is in this light that the alternative strategies for increasing the
>free-access full-text content should be weighed, for otherwise our
>judgment is biassed by the undeniable but readily remediable (and one
>hopes temporary) fact that there is as yet still so little full-text
>refereed-article content archived and freely accessible on-line.
>The alternatives that we are weighing concern how to accelerate the
>free accessibility of more and more of that full-text content. Spawning
>the requisite services on top of the content is NOT the problem.
> Harnad, S. (2001) Six Proposals for Freeing the Refereed Literature
> Ariadne 28 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):
> or
>You may join the list at the amsci site.
>Discussion can be posted to:

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
PO Box 110620 (or Natural Area Drive)
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: (or
FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Mon Dec 24 2001 - 15:12:54 GMT

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