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

From: Fytton Rowland <J.F.Rowland_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 00:55:17 +0100

This is fair comment, but many of the desirable features mentioned by
Albert are provided by retaining the identity of individual journals, with
their named academic editors and editorial boards, in the online Open
Access era. The cost of maintaining a subscriber list, on the other hand,
disappears if a journal is operated on an Open Access basis. Not many of
us are advocating a bare depository system in which every paper is an
individual stand-alone entity - I certainly am not.

Another element of the system for helping people cope with information
overload, and find the items that they need, is the abstracting and
indexing databases. Nothing in the Open Access movement would prevent
these services from continuing (on a commercial basis - they are not
primary research journals), though there might be debate amongst us on the
question of how necessary they are. I am one who believes the need for
them will not disappear.

Fytton Rowland.

Quoting Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>:

> 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.
Received on Fri Oct 17 2003 - 00:55:17 BST

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