Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

From: Steve Hitchcock <sh94r_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2002 12:03:47 +0100

At 22:58 11/04/02 +0100, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>Factor 3. The sluggishness of researchers in self-archiving so far:
>The 3rd reason publishers do not try to oppose self-archiving despite
>the potential risk to their eventual revenues is that it is a (sad)
>fact that few researchers have yet begun to self-archive, and that what
>self-archiving there has been has not affected publishers' revenues at

It is true that relatively few authors (across the whole scholarly
community) self-archive their papers in disciplinary or OAI-compliant
institutional archives, due to lack of awareness or perhaps because no such
facility is available to them. These are the organised services that Sally
Morris refers to. The number of authors who self-archive on personal
servers is likely to be much higher, although I'm not sure we can quantify
this. The best evidence we have is that ResearchIndex has found over half a
million such papers in computer science, which would otherwise have been
largely invisible to users - the DISorganised self-archiving that Sally
refers to, but as RI shows, in the end the distinction becomes irrelevant.

> > 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.
>What on earth does "emulate the original journal" mean?

Sorry to preempt, but I think I can answer this one. This means tables of
contents. If open archives are complete, or complete as far as a given
journal is concerned, as long as journal-refs are added (not currently
standard practice for self-archiving authors even in physics, but there is
good reason to assume that when self-archiving becomes established this
will become so), then if you search an OAI service by journal title you
will be able to list all of its contents and access the author versions.

What does a journal offer beyond peer review, which is a precondition of
publication and is also contained in the journal-ref tag in the OAI
service? A table of contents giving access to the listed papers, which is
now emulated. What the journal offers beyond the OAI service is, variously,
editing, formatting, layout, print. It's not surprising that *some*
publishers are concerned that an organised self-archived literature might
pose a threat to these value-adding features, because such publishers lack
confidence themselves, typically working on a lowest-cost approach to
implementing these features. Others offer high-value production - I think
readers can fairly easily tell the difference. Ironically, those publishers
who invest more in production may be better able to compete with open
access via archives because there is such a differentiation.

The prospect of journal emulation by self-archiving is why I argued in a
talk to an ALPSP meeting on Friday
that journal publishers should be moving away from a content-based business
model to a services-based model, so they can find new ways of
differentiating their offerings (sorry, it's just
in ppt for now).
There are signs, such as CrossRef, that this is beginning to happen.

Publishers don't need to make political statements about whether they
support self-archiving or not - whether they wish to collaborate or compete
with self-archiving is implicit in their copyright statements. But for
those publishers that want to collaborate, such as those that the ALPSP
copyright formula appears to target, it is not for archives to facilitate
business plans for them - self-archiving already has a clear and simple
agenda - but for them to anticipate what full archives will offer and move
their plans accordingly. Those that want to compete will have to take their
chances, but my guess is that choosing to compete will ensure a continuing
focus on content and exclusivity to the detriment of services, and those
who do that risk falling behind their more enlightened colleagues.

Steve Hitchcock
Open Citation (OpCit) Project <>
IAM Research Group, Department of Electronics and Computer Science
University of Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)23 8059 3256 Fax: +44 (0)23 8059 2865
Received on Mon Apr 15 2002 - 13:09:02 BST

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