Re: SHERPA will take over the Romeo Publisher Policy Table

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Fri, 9 Apr 2004 10:15:33 +0100

I think Stevan Harnad is right on the button when he says:

>sh> "It is to be regretted that there must now be two Romeo
>sh> sites. (All I had wanted to do was to integrate Romeo, DOAJ and
>sh> OAIster in tracking and comparing *total growth,* not to provide
>sh> a rival version of Romeo itself. But if SHERPA/Romeo declines to
>sh> optimise, preferring to cite precedent instead of considering
>sh> functionality, I do feel that having this functionality at
>sh> another site is preferable to not having it at all.)

Bill Hubbard wrote:

>bh> We understand that this is what Stevan Harnad and his group is now
>bh> going to do as a separate project. We have now given the underlying
>bh> SHERPA/RoMEO data to Stevan Harnad's group at their request for
>bh> this purpose and we look forward to the valuable contribution that
>bh> this new journal based interface will provide.

But he is not right about everything.

The use of colors and similar arbitrary designations is typical of
an in-group, sort of a within-family private language. Sometimes these
things do get accepted and into the mainstream, and stay there forever. I
suppose the best example is from physics: quantum chromodynamics,
(along with the properties of charm and strangeness and the very name
of quark). Or the practice in genetics of naming drosophila genes as
English or Japanese puns. If we think that our field is of similar
status and can count on similiar acceptance, then it will do no harm.
If we need to talk to people in other fields (like physics and biology),
maybe it's another matter.

Stevan as a cognitive scientist should know better than to universalize
what to him are:

>sh> These simple, easy-to-grasp properties are the ones that should
>sh> be clearly reflected in the colour codes, not an arbitrary,
>sh> exhaustive, chromatic nomenclature!

Bill understands better when he says :

>bh> I would like to move on from discussing different colours! Many
>bh> different colour-schemes could be proposed, with different benefits
>bh> and drawbacks.

I am sure by now he wishes they had never been included!

As a librarian, I note some errors and ommissions:

First, publishers subdivisions often have different policies. Though
the list requested groups all of Elsevier together, its division Cell
Press has totally different and less friendly policies than the rest of
the company.

It is remarkably difficult getting an up-to-date and correct statement of
policy: even senior executives are often one policy change behind. The
worst source is the individual journal's instructions to authors: some
have not been updated for 40 years (as shown by internal evidence).
Ulrich's is not definitive about title changes and the like; it relies
upon publisher's information, and can be a year or so behind. On the
other hand, some large publishers are notorious for being unable to
produce correct lists of their own titles.

Maintaining a proper list takes work. If we can do it all together for
one list, maybe we can do it right. If the reason we cannot is merely
disagreement over what codes to use, none of the groups by themselves
may be able to accomplish it.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

(and, formerly: Princeton University Library)
Received on Fri Apr 09 2004 - 10:15:33 BST

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