Re: Journal Publishing and Author Self-Archiving: Complementary Or Competitive?

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2005 12:27:09 +0100

On 24 Aug 2005, at 11:21, Matthew Cockerill wrote:

> I do find this position perplexing. Stevan is fond of saying that
> self-archiving of the authors final version is a complete solution,
> addressing all concerns that there could possibly be about access
> to the literature. Nothing more is necessary, in his view. But he
> then follows that by, effectively, saying that access to the self-
> archived copy is a less-than-adequate replacement for the toll-
> access version, and gives second-class access to those second-class
> citizens of the scientific community who can't afford access to the
> official version of record.
> You can't have your cake and eat it:
> Either
> (a) the OA author's copy is a fully adequate, equally good
> substitute for the offical version.
> In which case, as long as effective discovery is in place, there is
> no reason to subscribe to a toll access journal.
> or
> (b) the OA author's copy is better than nothing, but not as good as
> having access to the official version.

It depends "who" wants to do "what" with "your cake".
For most purposes and for some communities (e.g. physics), a preprint
is sufficient for reading and citation.
For others (e.g. medicine) the mere possibility that some inaccuracy
or deviation has emerged in the author's copy as opposed to the
certified publishers copy is unthinkable and alarming.

> If (a) is true, then ultimately subscriptions will surely decline,
> and if open access is to continue, publishers will need to evolve
> towards a mode of cost recovery other than toll access.
I don't agree with this wholeheartedly, because I (as a researcher)
am interested in "the literature" and not "just a specific paper".
Publishers (and societies) have an opportunity to provide better
services and facilities over a coherent collection of papers than a
repository. That is one of the reasons why I stick with my society
and its digital library!

(Of course, anyone can come along and build a citeseer / google
scholar / OAI citebase service on the free, open access literature,
but then they have become a commercial publisher of sorts.)

> If (b) is true, then OA self-archiving of the author's final
> version, while a hugely important step forward, is not an optimal,
> unimprovable solution. If full open access to the official version
> is possible, then that is clearly preferable and would better serve
> the needs of the research community.
This is an issue raised by the potential use of Institutional
Repositories in the UK's Research Assessment activity in 2008. The
assessing panels for each subject need access to all the papers that
their assessees have written, but of course they don't have the
subscriptions that they need to read the papers that they need to
assess. Although Institutional Repositories are potentially an
answer, these issues of trust and versioning are not yet solved to
anyone's satisfaction. And part of the reason that they are not
solved is that no-one has really thought through the implications of
trust in different tasks where different kinds of guarantees are
needed. A word-for-word or byte-for-byte equivalence is not necessary
for al purposes (see above).
Les Carr
Received on Wed Aug 24 2005 - 14:04:25 BST

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