Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 8 Dec 2003 13:51:27 +0000

[John Unsworth has agreed that our exchange, which he first asked
me to conduct offline, may be posted. The next several postings will
consist of that thread, which is then open for others to add comment
upon as well.]

> I don't disagree on Stevan's point about peer review, below, and
> Stevan, I'd be grateful if you'd point out to me, offline, exactly
> where the conflation appears, so I can correct it.

Hi John:

Here are the 2 ambiguous passages in

    "the internet has made it possible for scholars to self-publish,
    and for peer-reviewed journals to distribute their contents widely
    and quickly--in other words, to make high-quality, peer-reviewed
    information freely available soon after its creation."

    "Self-publishing and self-archiving would moot many of the things on
    that list (for example, the claim to "make available to the broader
    public the full range and value of research generated by university

You do say "and," but for most readers, who will have no clear idea of
the difference between self-publishing (vanity press) and self-archiving
(of refereed publication), they will be read as synonyms or close variants,
whereas in fact they are opposites.

It needs to be made clear that open online access does not mean self-publishing!
It means providing open online access to what one has published (elsewhere).

A distinction also has to be made between publishing in an open-access journal
(such as PostModern Culture
or Psycoloquy ), of which there are still very few
(about 600 to date according to ) and self-archiving
one's toll-access publications (23,400 journals) as the latter represents
over 95% of the literature in question, the one we are trying to provide open
access to!

It's probably clear in your mind but, believe me, everyone else's mind is far
from clear -- on this and many other matters pertaining to open access!

But your proposal to the provosts is a very welcome and timely one. Let's
hope it will set them in motion. (Nothing much has happened since that last
meeting at CalTech, at the provost level, in any case!).

Cheers, Stevan

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Dec 08 2003 - 13:51:27 GMT

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