Re: Scientific publishing is not just about administering peer-review

From: Rebecca Kennison <rkennison_at_PLOS.ORG>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 12:28:09 -0700

I'm not sure what you might mean by "In contrast, the various free open
access schemes leave readers entirely on their own. No service, no

What services to readers do you think, for example, PLoS Biology or the
BMC journals are lacking that we should be providing? We organize our
material in a pretty traditional manner (tables of contents, editorials
and other front matter, etc.); we are listed in PubMed and indexed by
all the major indexers, which then readily provide a link to the full
text (thereby going one step further than most journals); we send out
electronic TOC announcements whenever an issue or an article of special
interest comes out; we provide very thorough and compliant metadata for
searching and harvesting. I'd say the success of our launch, in which we
were swamped by more than 500,000 hits within our first few hours, and
that people looking for one particular article announced as part of that
launch, the one on brain-machine interface, the PDF of which has been
downloaded more than 60,000 times in three days, indicate that once
people know the article exists, they have no problem finding it -- and
using it -- and that open-access journals have no difficulty at all in
getting the word out about their contents.

Best regards,
Rebecca Kennison
Public Library of Science

-----Original Message-----
From: Albert Henderson [mailto:chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM]
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 4:19 AM
Subject: Re: Scientific publishing is not just about administering

on Thu, 16 Oct 2003 Fytton Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK> wrote:
> I haven't reposted Etienne's post ans Stevan's answers, but I'd just
> to say that I think we are getting to the heart of the matter now. If
> mostly agree that peer review (including within that term the
activities of
> the academic editor, the editorial board, and the referees of a
> must remain, and that the administration of peer review has a cost,
> remaining activity of professional, paid editors is copy-editing. Is
> editing necessary?
> I think it is useful to have focussed in on this as a key issue within
> question of "the cost of the essentials".

        Copy editing is an important function for some
        journals and not for others.

        The essential element missing from the discussion
        is that of delivery. Journals deliver content
        to subscribers/readers on a regular basis. They
        may also put research into context with editorials,
        letters, comments, notices of meetings, abstracts,
        reviews, and so on. There is a cost of maintaining
        subscriber lists.

        In contrast, the various free open access schemes
        leave readers entirely on their own. No service,
        no cost.

        The major cost of the journal system, documented by
        Donald King et al., is not the cost of producing
        journals. It is the cost of finding and reading
        information. The major information challenge of
        science for over a century has been the abundance
        of public reports of discovery. It has been the job
        of the journals to organize, present, and deliver
        according to special interests of readers.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Pres., Chess Combination Inc.
POB 2423 Bridgeport CT 06608-0423

Received on Thu Oct 16 2003 - 20:28:09 BST

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