Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 19:17:30 +0100

On Fri, 26 Sep 2003, Iva Melinscak Zlodi wrote:

> But, there is a large difference between self-archiving on personal web
> sites (we can not expect all personal archives to be OAI-compliant)
> and self-archiving on institutional or public servers. Possibilities
> for finding and retrieving articles from personal web sites are greatly
> reduced.

The answer is very simple, and very decisive: The distinction between
a "personal website" and an "institutional website" is completely
empty, hence untenable. Researchers' websites, provided for them at
their institutions, are simply a disk sector. What the institution
*names* that disk sector is arbitrary: They can call it our website or
they can call it the the university's research archive. It makes
absolutely no difference, either technically, practically, or legally.
So I suggest forgetting about any distinctions that anyone makes, in
speech or writing, that have no logical content:

See how "personal website" is defined in:

All websites that are not password-protected are "public", so that is
a red herring too; but possibly some legal mileage could be gotten out
of the difference between the author's own institutional website and a
3rd-party website (i.e. neither the author's institution's nor the
publisher's). The publisher could argue that archiving there would not
be "self"-archiving but 3rd-party publishing. (That's nonsense too, of
course; and 12 years of uncontested 3rd party central self-archiving
by the physicists in should be evidence enough that
this is a vacuous distinction too, the web being the web, and public
being public), but if you wish, take it as a further reason for
favoring distributed institution-based self-archiving over
discipline-based central self-archiving).

OAI compliance is irrelevant to the distinction, but highly desirable
for functionality.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Sep 26 2003 - 19:17:30 BST

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