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

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:49:45 +0100 (BST)

Don Sannella (DS) makes several points:

> DS: "Researchers can and do cite and use research they have not read."

This is undoubtedly true, but it is not at all clear whether this fact is
something to be proud of or tout. And what fraction of the total research access
problem does anyone seriously imagine that this iffy practice takes care of?

> DS: "Those without access can go to a library."

Is DS seriously proposing that in the Internet age -- when researchers' fingers
are doing the walking and all research articles can be at their fingertips
instantly -- the researcher whose institution cannot afford a subscription should
walk to a library (somewhere) for every click performed by the researcher whose
institution can afford a subscription? (Another suggestion worthy of Marie

> DS: "In some narrow specialities, most researchers might have access."

How much of the total research article literature do you really think that covers
(and what about the rest)?

> DS: "How can we be sure scholars will cite the right version, and that
statistics will be pooled and credited to the published version"

Leave it to the research community. They stand to lose even more than publishers
if wrong versions are cited and citations are not credited to their publications.

> DS: "Publishers giving away the full contents of the journal version is not
the same as authors self-archiving their final drafts, but is it really true these
have "nothing whatosever" to do with each other?"

On all the evidence to date, the answer is indeed, nothing. No cancellation
effects from self-archiving, even in the few subfields where it has been going on
for fifteen years and is near or at 100%. And the effects of journal give-aways is
mixed: Some report increased cancellations, some report increased subscriptions.

The picture may (or may not) change when we are near 100% self-archiving for 100%
of the literature. No one knows. What is already known, however, is that
self-archiving provides dramatic benefits for research and researchers. It is
certain that free access to the author's version is optimal for research. If it
should ever turn out not to be optimal for publishing, publishing can and will

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Aug 30 2005 - 11:48:57 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:47:59 GMT