Re: What Provosts Need to Mandate

From: Ted Bergstrom <>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 09:53:11 +0000

    Provosts' Ears and Red Herrings

Stevan suggests:

> And, yes, it's quite obvious what needs to be done: Have a talk
> with the university's provost. He is the one in the best position to
> weigh the relative merits of the two conflicting university interests:
> (1) to maximize university press journal revenue, on the one hand, and (2)
> to maximize university research impact and income (as well as to invest

It does it does seem like a good idea that somebody should be talking
to university provosts about this. I will take a shot at talking
(actually sending a message to -- he is 250 miles away) the UC provost.
But who do you suggest should be bending the provostial ears at Chicago,
Oxford, MIT, etc.

> But let me add, again, that the publisher's PDF is a red herring and is
> *unnecessary*: Just self-archive the author's postprint and link it to
> the publisher's for-fee website for those who may want the publisher's
> PDF; that's all that's needed -- and a more than fair quid pro quo.)

Stevan, saying things repeatedly does not make them true. And, sadly,
you can't make problems disappear just by calling them red herrings.
I agree that it is better to be able to self-archive one's own version
of the final copy than not to be able to do so at all. But it is even
better, both from the point of view of administrative convenience and
of accuracy of the bibliographic record to be able to post the actual
publishers' pdf file.

As you are well aware, getting faculty to post their work is not as
easy as you and I think it should be. For those publishers who allow
posting of the publishers' pdf, the administrative hassle is almost zero.
A departmental administrator can simply ask the author for permission to
put it on the website and put it up on the archive. It is a lot harder
getting many authors to go to the trouble of assembling the last version
of the paper, incorporating the final corrections, running it through
Word or TeX and making a pdf file. To you or me this may not seem a big
deal. To my colleagues? That is another story.

A final word on this matter. It would be helpful if those publishers
who can not see their way to allow posting of recent pdf's would allow
them to be posted with a lag of, say a year, like MIT Press. There can't
be much gain in prohibiting posting of old articles. There ought to be
some room for negotiation here.

Ted Bergstrom
Received on Sat Dec 11 2004 - 09:53:11 GMT

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