Re: May 12 CERN meeting on implementing the Berlin Declaration

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Tue, 25 May 2004 22:27:55 +0100

Helene asks why she perceived an emphasis on OA journals

I think the emphasis on OA journals is due to 2 factors:

1. The probability of OA journals succeeding is perceived to be much
greater than most people would have said a year ago.

2. The repository model (self-archiving) has now been understood.
I suggest (though Stevan will strongly disagree) that it is best suited
for a secondary position. If the publication system is able to shift
to OA journals and if the relatively small costs savings is sufficient,
then they are probably far superior for at least the immediate future. The
reason for the superiority is not necessary their intrinsic merits, but
their familiarity: everyone already knows how the citation, archiving,
refereeing, and tenure systems work with journals.

2A. The repository model has one immense advantage: it costs much
less. If it turns out that the OA alternative cannot be widely or
universally adopted because of financial consideration, we have an
excellent alternative.

2B. Although I have no doubt whatsoever that we will soon work out all
the problems of citation, archiving, refereeing, and tenure systems
for self-archiving, it is still premature to claim that we have already
done this.

In particular, I at least (and possibly a few other people) regard
self-archiving on individual servers as intrinsically unreliable,
since it is based on the active human lifespan. Once all universities
have suitable archives, and all people use them, it will be another
matter. But, once more, we aren't quite there yet.

2C. AND this one I think Stevan will agree with:

While we are working out the details and getting the supporters for
better eventual systems of either sort,

ALL researchers should use what we have now, and get their friends and
colleagues to do the same.

Only a few of us really want to work on improving the publishing system
as a primary activity--most researchers would much rather work in their
subject, and publish as effectively as possible. For those who do want
to work--as I do-- on the publishing system primarily, there are three
equally desirable routes:

1. To persuade everyone working in any field of scholarship to archive
immediately, as best and as fast as possible

2. To further develop the repository (self-archiving) system in any of
its aspects.

3. To persuade publishers of the advantage of converting to OA
journals--or starting new ones.

I seem to have chosen no.3; Stevan no.1. There's a lot of work ahead
for all. I do not see the Roadmap as concentrating excessively on any
one of them.

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer Library School, LIU
and, formerly,
Princeton University Library
Received on Tue May 25 2004 - 22:27:55 BST

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