Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

From: Sally Morris <sec-gen_at_ALPSP.ORG>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 16:49:13 +0100

Stevan, why not wait to criticise our new questionnaire until you have seen

Your earlier question was about our attitude to OAI. Briefly, the problem
is this. While DISorganised self-archiving, or even institutional
archiving, need not threaten the survival of the journals on which (as you
agree) it parasitizes, organised cross-searchable archives are considerably
more alarming. Thus the development of OAI is actually making a number of
publishers, who were previously relatively relaxed, considerably more
concerned. If search tools in effect allow a user to emulate the original
journal without having to pay for it, then all the added value - which, as
we have shown, authors and readers do in fact value highly - will disappear
because it will no longer be paid for.

Hence our emphasis on developing robust new economic models (and a migration
path towards them) before, and not after, damaging or even destroying what
is valuable about traditional journals.

However, perhaps this will turn out to be a non-problem given the widespread
total ignorance of eprint and preprint archives which we have found outside
the very specific world of physics!


Sally Morris, Secretary-General
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK

Phone: 01903 871686 Fax: 01903 871457 E-mail:
ALPSP Website

Learned Publishing is now online, free of charge, at

----- Original Message -----
From: "Stevan Harnad" <>
Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 8:40 PM
Subject: Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

> On Mon, 8 Apr 2002, Sally Morris wrote:
> > There have been various comments on our Association's reaction to the
> > Budapest Open Access Initiative. Our response seems to have been
> > somewhat misunderstood: we do not oppose initiatives which advocate the
> > widest possible access to information - far from it, since dissemination
> > is part of the mission of most of our member societies. However, we
> > believe that it is essential that a business model is first found which
> > will pay for all the elements which researchers value.
> I have twice tried to state the question that it would be very helpful
> if Sally would answer. I shall state again here:
> ALPSP says it is for the widest possible access to information.
> Open access (i.e., free online access to all) is the widest possible
> access. Open access can be achieved immediately by self-archiving.
> ALPSP's recommended copyright transfer statements seem to explicitly
> allow self-archiving.
> So what does Sally mean that "it is essential that a business model is
> first found"?
> Does she mean it has to be found BEFORE authors exercise the prerogative
> to self-archive that ALPSP specifically allows?
> (This the ambivalence or ambiguity I was asking Sally to resolve.)
> > Contrary to
> > Stevan's view, researchers - as authors and as readers - do value very
> > highly the whole spectrum of functions which publishers traditionally
> > perform, and not just peer review itself.
> That is, as I have likewise stated, not the way to put it. The way to put
> it is to make the possibilities clear, and let authors then rank them.
> Not "Do you value feature X," but "Do you value feature X higher than
> open access" (possibly without feature X, or possibly with feature X
> payable as an option)?
> In other words, the ALPSP questionnaires are, as stated several times
> before, self-serving, if not biassed. They do not present the options and
> their respective trade-offs. They are merely product-satisfaction
> questionnaires: "Do you like feature X?"
> The old Maine joke is the relevant one here:
> Jake: "How's yir woife?"
> Clem: "C'mpayured ti whot?"
> See: "ALPSP Research study on academic journal authors"
> In other words, peer-review is, by definition, an essential, if we are
> talking about open access to the peer-reviewed literature (and not
> something else). But all other features are options, and the right way
> to put the question is whether they should be offered as options or
> continue to be bundled in obligately, at the expense of open access,
> as they are now.
> > Our latest, recently
> > completed, research study established very high ratings for all of the
> > following (listed in order of importance): management (as distinct from
> > execution) of the peer review process;
> What on earth does that mean? The peers review for free, so
> management/implementation IS the process we are talking about paying for,
> as peer review.
> And what do "high ratings" mean, if the trade-offs (c'mpayured ti whot?)
> are not made explicit?
> > selection of relevant and quality-controlled content;
> Again sounds like 100% redundancy with peer review: Those are the quality
> labels. What further "selection" is meant here?
> (Sounds like asking about how high people rate having cops on the beat,
> and then further asking them how high they rate their doing their work,
> and how high they rate the results of having them do their work...)
> If some other form of selection is meant here, other than the selection
> inherent in peer review itself, say so explicitly, and ask them to rate
> it relative to open access (from both the reader's point of view, i.e.,
> your own potential access to everything, and from the author's point of
> view, i.e., potential impact to your work when there are no more
> toll-barriers).
> "Would you rather (as author and reader) do without open access in
> exchange for X, or would you rather have open access, with X sold as an
> option for those who want it (and their institutions can afford it)?"
> It is hard to set up an unbiassed questionnaire like this, and even
> then the results are of limited value, because often respondents cannot
> weigh how they would actually value options that they have never
> actually had a chance to try. (We will return for this below, with the
> nonphysicists.)
> > gathering articles together to enable
> > browsing of relevant and quality-controlled content;
> Same as above.
> > content editing and improvement of articles; language or copy-editing;
> Editing and copy-editing need to be considered in their own right, apart
> from peer review, to see how much value they add, as weighed against open
> access. To the extent it is judged essential, editing can be added into
> peer-review price, but this will vary greatly from field to field, and
> again is hard for a user to judge hypothetically.
> > checking of citations/adding citation links;
> This is becoming a separable module if ever there was one (and an
> increasingly automatable one). Again, needs to be weighed, alone or in
> combination, against open access, rather than in isolation. See wording
> for feature "X" above.
> > and (even) marketing (maximising visibility of journal).
> I'd love to see how much of their research impact authors think
> actually comes from journal marketing! and how highly they would weight
> that, relative to open online access, in today's online age. -- But it
> wouldn't hurt if the respondents supplemented their intuitions with
> some actual data on this too...:
> "Online or Invisible"
> > Respondents predominantly believe that
> > libraries should continue to pay for these processes in some way,
> And they would rather themselves (and their would-be readers) have no
> access at all to whatever their libraries cannot afford, then? For the
> sake of the citation-checking, perhaps, or the citation-checking plus
> the "marketing"?
> You see what I mean?
> > and
> > clearly more thinking and experimentation is urgently needed both on
> > viable alternative business models, and on the potential migration path
> > towards these.
> Indeed, but in the meanwhile, while all this urgent thinking and
> experimentation is going on, should they or should they not generate
> immediate open access by self-archiving (or publishing in open-access
> journals)? (In other words, how urgent is open access? to authors? to
> readers? how important is lost potential impact?)
> Open-ended positive ratings, not weighted or informed by the trade-offs,
> are merely recipes for reaffirming the status quo.
> > Interestingly, other than in physics, respondents mostly
> > had little or no idea what we meant by preprint or eprint archives.
> And was there perhaps a difference between the pattern of preferences
> expressed by the physicists, who have direct experience with open
> access, and the rest of your respondents? Objectivity would make one
> curious to examine this more informed sub-population...
> > The full results of the study, Authors and Electronic Publishing, will
> > be available for sale very shortly and details will appear on our
> > website,
> Here's another survey, on users and nonusers of archives. And the full
> results are available free...:
> > One small clarification - Bernard Lang was under the impression that
> > members only permitted free archival access to authors. This is not
> > what I meant; a growing number of our member publishers make their
> > online archival volumes freely accessible to all after a certain period.
> Research is not conducted and published in order to be embargoed for "a
> certain period" so as to keep paying for features that are no longer
> needed. Open access to peer-reviewed research means open access from the
> moment of acceptance (and indeed before it, for the pre-peer-review
> preprints):
> Harnad, S. (2001) AAAS's Response: Too Little, Too Late. Science
> [online] 2 April 2001.
> Fuller version:
> 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
> Discussion can be posted to:
> See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
> and the Free Online Scholarship Movement:
Received on Wed Apr 10 2002 - 21:59:52 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:30 GMT