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

From: Alma Swan <a.swan_at_TALK21.COM>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 19:51:09 +0100

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> Jan Velterop is certainly right that self-archived articles
> would be far less valuable without the journal-managed
> peer-review -- indeed, they would not be "articles" at all,
> but merely unrefereed preprints. That is why the primary
> target of OA self-archiving is the refereed postprint.
> But the trouble with the (rather pejorative) "parasitical"
> metaphor is that it leave out the fact that the parasitism
> goes both ways here (hence the biological metaphor either
> fails or must be replaced by "symbiosis"):
> Yes, the author's final draft is parasitic on the refereeing
> -- which is performed (for free) by the referees on the text
> provided (for free) by the author, but with the process
> managed by the editor and paid for by the journal. Hence the
> peer-review management process, and its product (the
> published text) is just as parasitic on the author's unpaid
> provision of the text and revisions and the referees' unpaid
> provision of the refereeing!
> So let us not make too much of the parasitism, and rather
> call it complementarity (or symbiosis) all the way down...

The correct biological terms to use here are not parasitism or even
symbiosis (which is an all-encompassing term for living-together
interactions), but commensalism (def: where one species benefits and one is
unaffected) or the one I prefer which is mutualism (def: where both species
benefit) - an altogether much more satisfactory concept, viewpoint, and

Alma Swan
Key Perspectives Ltd
Received on Fri Aug 26 2005 - 20:17:37 BST

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