Re: Bean Counting

From: David Goodman <David.Goodman_at_LIU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 14:04:29 -0500

Dear Stevan,

The great strength of OA as you have always propounded it is that it deals with the needs of the
reader/author in smaller schools as well, the ones that cannot afford all the subscriptions.
The same is true when those people are authors. Just as one does not want to put handicaps in the
way of their reading, one does not want to add further difficulties to their publishing.

You will recall the early finding of bibiometrics that the majority of people who publish
have published just once. (And similiarly along the Zipf distribution).

I would perhaps have thought as you do if my only experience had been universities like
Princeton and Berkeley and Montreal and their European equivalents.
Most academics and most colleges and universities are not in this position.
For most of the departments
at many places I know (I do not want to mention names, as it might be taken wrong) the
requirement is 1 or 2 or 3 papers in refereed journals of any sort for tenure, or for subsequent promotion.
Of course more subtle measures are avaolable and can be used; the more sophisticated
schools use them . But we are dealing with reality here.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Stevan Harnad
Sent: Wed 3/9/2005 7:13 AM
Subject: Bean Counting
On Wed, 9 Mar 2005, Michel Petitjean wrote:

> Many authors do not care to be read. and often even do not care
> to read what write their colleagues.
> All they want to do is:
> <<publish or perish: add +1 in the paper count in the CV>>

It would be interesting to affix actual quantitative figures to these
guesstimates! My own anecdotal experience is that

(1) "Many" institutional performance evaluation committees have graduated from
naive bean-counting (counting publications), to slightly less naive bean-counting,
weighting the beans with the "impact factor" (average citation count) of the
journal in which the publications appeared. Slightly less naive again is to
consider also the direct citation count for each of the candidate's beans. Under
these material circumstances, insouciance about the impact weight of
one's beans would seem rather unrealistic.

(2) "Many" authors I know (myself not excepted), when they open a text in their
own research area, immediately do a "vanity check" -- to see whether they
themselves have been cited. This too suggests something less than
utter insouciance about being read.

(3) In the online age, vanity-checks have also extended to a marked interest in
the download counts for one's publications.

(4) Last, and perhaps least, surely there are *some* researchers who still care
about whether or not their research is making an *impact*, in the sense that it is
being used and built upon. Otherwise they might just as well have put it in a
desk-drawer (having duly registered it as yet another bean, sprouted), rather than
bothering with PUBLICation at all...)

> So they prefer journals without page charge rather than OA journals.

This is a (regrettably rather common) non-sequitur: One can maximizing
one's research impact by maximizing access to one's papers in *two*
ways. The 5% ("golden") way is to try to find a suitable OA journal to
publish one's research in (5% of journals are gold: )
and the funds to pay the charges. The 95% way is to publish one's
research in the most suitable journal, regardless of whether or not
it is gold, but also to make it OA by self-archiving it in one's own
institutional repository. (92% of journals are already "green" in that
they have given their official green light to author self-archiving: ).

Stevan Harnad

Received on Wed Mar 09 2005 - 19:04:29 GMT

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