Re: UC Announces Electronic Publications Program for International and Area Studies

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 18:38:22 +0000

On Fri, 1 Nov 2002, Roy Tennant wrote:

> UCIAS ( publishes
> peer-reviewed articles, books and edited collections of papers...
> All publications are peer reviewed according to standards set by an
> interdisciplinary UCIAS editorial board. The digital versions will be
> available free of charge...

The University of California initiatives in the new world of online
research dissemination are commendable and very welcome. I have only
one recommendation: Carefully avoid conflating archiving and publishing
agendas. Conflating them will work to the disadvantage of both. That is the
reason the two have been explicitly distinguished in the BOAI as distinct
open-access strategies:

BOAI-1: Institutional Self-Archiving of Peer-Reviewed Research Output
BOAI-2: Open-Access Peer-Reviewed Research Journals

Note the common element: peer review. In general, peer-review has to be
outsourced by institutions to independent, established 3rd-party
peer-review service providers. (The first party is the researcher
and the researcher's institution, the second party is the user (reader)
of the research. The third party is normally an independent peer-reviewed
journal, and the peer reviewers it consults, who are chosen by the
journal editors for their expertise and may be anywhere in the world.)

If the peer review is not outsourced to independent peer-review services
(normally peer-reviewed journals) but is instead implemented in-house,
then the process runs a real risk of being seen as -- and indeed being
-- vanity-press self-publication rather than true independently validated
peer-reviewed publication.

Even among paper journals, institutional "house journals" are not seen
as having the same reliability and authority as independent journals.

Conflating institutional self-archiving and institutional self-publishing
invites concerns like this.

University of California should accordingly clearly separate its
electronic initiative into two independent components:

(1) The self-archiving of UofC research output -- both before and after
peer review by independent peer-reviewed journals -- so as to make the
research open-access (BOAI-1).


(2) The peer-review and publication (on-paper and on-line), by
UofC-Press journals, of the research output of other institutions
(including potentially some of its own, as appropriate) (BOAI-2).

My three questions to Roy Tennant about UCIAS are accordingly these:

    (a) Is UCIAS to be only or primarily for UC research output, or is
    it for any research output, from anywhere, meeting its peer-review
    standards and content area specifications?

    (b) Is the peer-review to be independent, or is it to be implemented
    by UC for UC research?

    (c) What about all the UC research output that appears in independent
    peer-reviewed journals?

If UCIAS is intended for any appropriate research in its content area,
from any institution, then it is a BOAI-2 journal. If it provides
open-access to UC research output peer-reviewed and published anywhere,
then it is a BOAI-1 archive. If it does both, independently, that's
fine. But if it does neither, or a conflation of the two, then I think
it may run into some difficulties in establishing its quality standards,
both with potential authors and potential users.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Nov 01 2002 - 18:38:22 GMT

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