Re: Author Publication Charge Debate

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 03:16:17 +0000

On Wed, 14 Jan 2004, Markus Schneider wrote:

> "...Each publisher could track the links that arrive at its own
> site, and would thus know which publications were linking to its own"
> CrossRef after three years Amy Brand, Director of Business Development
> (
> Couldn't this citation tracking-functionality be used to allow high
> profile journals to build a business model based on usage and research
> impact (i.e. the number of citations) rather than on plain, flat-rate
> subscription access (that OA considerably increases research impact
> and increases the number of citations has already been shown (e.g.
> )?

It is not clear what is being proposed here. Citations are already
tracked, by both TA journals and OA journals. That's partly how
libraries decide which TA journals to subscribe to and which to cancel.
And that's partly how authors decide which TA or OA journals to publish

So what is being proposed? That TA journals should charge more if their
citation rates are higher? That OA journals should charge more if their
citation rates are higher? Why? And how would either of these help OA?

The only relevant fact is that OA enhances citation rates. That is not a
basis for a new business model, either TA or OA.

> Wouldn't such a citation based remuneration system (perhaps in addition to
> some minor author-input-fees) be an incentive for high profile journals
> to make the OA switch since those journals are generating a lot of this
> potential currency?

Who is paying whom for what? Authors pay journals for being cited?
Authors pay journals in order to cite? It is not at all clear what is
being proposed here. But if authors have to pay to cite or be cited,
that's bad news, and is again just another form of access/usage toll,
which is exactly what OA is meant to remedy.

That OA generates more citations is already known, and is the incentive
for OA provision, whether by publishing in an OA journal or
self-archiving one's TA articles. What else is being proposed here?

The only thing that has to be paid for for sure, one way or the other,
is the implementation of peer review.

Authors are already rewarded for being cited more: through salary and
promotion from their institutions and through grants from their research
funding agencies.

> (Given the bundling strategy of elsevier perhaps
> not the biggest ones, but at least smaller, not-for-profit high profile
> journals??? they are already under some pressure due to the big deals
> between the elsevier's and libraries)

What is being proposed? That small TA journals should switch to OA and
meet costs by charging their authors for being cited?

> Such a citation based remuneration model would link the economic value
> to the research value. plus, it would provide the OAI network with very
> needed and valuable quality articles (nodes) against the sciencedirects
> and springerlinks.

Both TA and OA journals already have their economic value linked to
their citation impact. What's new here, other than that OA articles
-- whether published in OA journals or published in TA journals and
self-archived in OA eprint archives -- are likely to have higher impact,
and that OA articles can be citation-linked and this can be used to
navigate and rank them (as it already is)?

> Hoping to hear many objections...

Perhaps one will be sufficient...

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online (1998-2004)
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Unified Dual Open-Access-Provision Policy:
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Received on Thu Jan 15 2004 - 03:16:17 GMT

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