Discussion on Impact moving to another list

From: adam hodgkin <adam.hodgkin_at_gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 2005 12:23:35 +0000

The Moderator has reminded me that this list is not for general and
theoretical (or ideological) discussions. This policy was articulated
first here:


Accordingly I am cc-ing it to the BOAI forum where any follow up should appear.


Professor Harnad says:

> The problem OA is intended to remedy is not loss of author
> revenue, since these authors don't *seek* revenue. The problem OA is
> intended to remedy is loss of author impact, for which the only remedy
> is to make sure that every would-be user can access the research.

Are we sure that 'loss of author impact' is the only problem OA is
intended to remedy? Increased impact may be one of several goals. But we can
agree that increased author impact is part of the intended outcome.
If impact matters so also citations matter.....

In modern biology, one of the ways that increased authour impact
becomes visible is through the incorporation of citations (Citations
to Published Literature) in databases such as

Wormbase http://www.wormbase.org/
Ensembl http://www.ensembl.org/
UNIPROT (used to be SWISSProt) http://www.ebi.uniprot.org/index.shtm

These databases are full of thousands of authoritative citations. Such
databases are really the modern equivalent of a scientific reference
book, and as such quasi-literature

So any sensible metric which measures the impact of modern biology
will pay a lot of attention to the citations which appear in these
databases. For a worm researcher, being cited in Wormbase is
absolutely part of the impact of publishing research on C.elegans.
Since these important databases are gradually becoming 'the
publication of record' for modern biology, and since they are
refereed, revised, curated and authoritative, I dont think it makes
sense, in the post-Gutenberg-era, to classify them as quite irrelevant
to the OA issue for conventional journals. This was one of the points
that Cockerill was driving at in his original posting.

Harnad says that its an empty ideological cliche to say "publishing
the results of research is itself a part of the research process" .
But its clear that many funders of research are coming to the same
conclusion, perhaps it is not such an empty cliche when they take that

'Ideological'? Yes, but how can an Open Access proponent/opponent
avoid ideology?

Received on Fri Mar 11 2005 - 12:23:35 GMT

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