Re: The Special Case of Law Reviews

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 02:16:48 +0000

On Thu, 20 Nov 2003, Terry Martin wrote:

>sh> It would be nice to see the actual figures on Law Reviews' self-archiving
>sh> policies, though. Does anyone actually have the data -- or a list of the email
>sh> addresses that I could send a query to?
> I'll save you the trouble. As incoming chair of the committee on libraries
> and technology of the American Association of Law Schools, this was an
> issue I hoped to address in the coming year. I'll report back in a few months.

> Harry S. Martin III
> Henry N. Ess III Librarian & Professor of Law
> Harvard Law School

Hi Terry,

Thanks. May I make a suggestion (based on the experience of the Romeo
survey of the self-archiving policies of 7000+ journals)?

It's important what and how you ask, as many of the Law reviews will not
in fact have an official policy on this yet, will not even have given
it much thought, and how you formulate your questions may well shape
the actual policy they improvise in response!

(1) I suggest starting by defining "preprint" for them as the author's
unrefereed draft and "postprint" as the author's final, revised, refereed,
accepted draft (but not necessarily the journal's PDF!)

(2) Then define self-archiving as making the author's draft publicly
accessible online to all would-be users whose institutions cannot afford
to subscribe to the journal in which it appears, in order to maximize
the article's impact (reading, using, applying, citing).

(3) Then present the Romeo data indicating that of 7000+ journals surveyed,
55% already support author self-archiving (of either preprint, postprint, or

(4) Finally, give an indication of why maximizing access is so important:
because it maximizes the article's research impact, which is the reason
journal authors publish, and which also promotes their careers, rewards
their employing universities, funds their research projects and, most
important, advances knowledge, rewarding the funders of research,
the tax-payers.

Some selection of these might help:

(5) (If you are so inclined, you might mention that in those fields (physics)
where self-archiving is most extensive and has gone on the longest (12
years, and near 100% in some areas), there is no evidence that it has
any effect at all on journal revenues.)

(6) Then ask what their self-archiving policy is (for preprints and postprints).

Sorry to presume to put words in your mouth, but I'm assuming you are as
interested in maximizing the likelihood of a positive outcome among Law
Reviews as I am!

Best wishes,

Received on Fri Nov 21 2003 - 02:16:48 GMT

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