Re: Mandating OA around the corner?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 2004 21:43:09 +0100 (BST)

On Sun, 11 Jul 2004, Margaret Landesman wrote:

> "About Elsevier: What if the author *scanned* the published version and
> packaged the scan as a PDF? This would not be a download of Elsevier's
> authentic PDF. It would be bulkier and of lower quality, not searchable,
> and so on. But for other scientists (the interested users), it would be
> vastly preferable to the manuscript. No one will go for that idea."

Question is not clear: Scanned and OCR'd full-text plus figures is
*exactly* what users need, and full-text *is* fully searchable "and so
on," irrespective of its provenance.

If I had a penny for all the OA-related niggles about which I have heard
"No one will go for that idea" in the past 15 years -- and that have
since come to pass regardless -- I'd have a full piggy bank by now:

> He's right. No one will go for the manuscript. And how does anyone know
> that the Word document or whatever I send my local repository is really
> the final article? Or really even accepted somewhere for publication?

> How will this be different from our current situation with Physics? The
> faculty say that 95% of the time they don't need the journals - the
> pre-print server works better. But the more punctilious among them feel
> they ought to verify citations and check for changes in the actual journal
> before submitting grant applications or citing other's articles. We seem
> to be operating a $400,000+ a year citation-verification service for
> physics. How will this sort of "green" archiving change that?

Please disentangle the serials budget problem from the access/impact
problem. OA is to solve the latter, not the former (though it might go
on to help with the former too, eventually, but only if if we show some
patience and perspicacity and give it a chance, instead of conflating the
two and delaying the one because it does not immediatly solve the other!).

Stevan Harnad

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Received on Sun Jul 11 2004 - 21:43:09 BST

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