Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI/strategic considerations

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 17:50:49 -0400

Yes, Stevan, these matters are, as you say, obstacles. Of course not
because they would actually interfere with BOAI, or with almost any
other system of publication, or that BOAI and other systems would
interfere with them. You have given fully convincing examples of how
they could be handled.
I am not as sure as you are about what will prove to be the best
arrangement, but these factors are in reality irrelevant.

The problem is that, just as you say, many people don't regard them as
trivial. There are therefore two parallel courses of action needed, and
you only accept one of them. Obviously, the key one is to continue the
positive development of the archives. The other course, the one it
seems you do not accept, is to counter the arguments of those who do not
yet understand.

There are significant forces working against us. There is first of all
the economic strength of the publishing industry--now increasingly
linked with the much greater strength of the media industry, and the
perversions of copyright that they promote. Another is the extraordinary
resistance to change of most academic and related institutions. Most
directly important is the resistance by many senior faculty, whose
typical argument is that things work well enough for me: I can get my
articles published where I want, and someone always gets me any article
I might need. I and undoubtedly you consider this position antisocial,
but it's there, and the people holding it are in policy-making

Yes, we can ignore all this and just go ahead as we can, ignoring the
opposing forces because we are sure that the logic of our position will
overwhelm them. I am not that much of an optimist: we will overcome
them, but by talking to them as well as to ourselves.

I do not ask you personally to do this. Obviously what you want to work
on is developing the new system, and that's a very good thing for all of
us. But if some of us want to contend directly with the other side in
coordination with your efforts, you should at least not discourage us.
Ignore us if you like, but I do not think you should call us completely
wrong. There are people who are completely wrong about these matters,
but they should not be confused with friends with a different style of

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Mon, 22 Apr 2002, David Goodman wrote:
> > Although I agree these are trivial matters, it is just such matters that
> > may well affect the success of initiatives such as BOAI. The publication
> > of scientific articles is interwoven with the pattern of academic
> > affairs in general.
> I regret to have to keep disagreeing with my comrade-at-arms, David
> Goodman, but in the interests of our joint goal -- which it is neither
> he nor I who are holding us all back from -- I have to reiterate that
> not only are these matters trivial, but they are obstacles. They are
> obstacles because many people don't see them as trivial, and assign them
> all kinds of far-fetched causal roles, with the result that instead of
> doing, or helping to do, the simple, obvious things that need to be done
> in order to usher in the open-access era, those who do not discern
> what is trivial and what is significant, what is an obstacle and what is
> merely a mirage, remain part of the problem instead of the solution.
> Be it ever so interwoven in people's minds, open access to the peer
> reviewed literature, and what must be done to bring it about, has
> NOTHING to do with evaluation/assessment procedures -- apart from the
> fact that those procedures will continue to rely on the peer reviewed
> literature even after it is open-access.
> To give or feed the impression that there is some contingency between
> university evaluation policies and the open access initiative is
> simply incorrect, and I have stated the reasons why. If David is under
> the impression that this reasoning is itself incorrect, he needs to
> reply specifically how and why. It will not do to simply say that
> publication and academic affairs are "interwoven." Well, yes; but ours
> is to sort out which aspects of the interweaving, if any, are causally
> relevant to open access. I have argued that David's candidate, namely
> academic evaluation policy, is not, and for the reasons I have stated.
> David, along with many others, has a hypothesis that this is incorrect,
> that there is still a complex contingency there, and that perhaps it is
> academic evaluation practices that have to change or be changed, somehow,
> before we can have open access.
> I think this is completely wrong, and I have said why. It is for David
> to reply and say why not, if he has further information to add.

> Stevan Harnad
David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Science Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-7785
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Wed Apr 24 2002 - 23:22:52 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:31 GMT