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

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 2005 15:10:21 +0100

On Wed, 31 Aug 2005, Brian Lynch wrote:

> Stevan is not correct to say, regarding BMJ, that "publisher's
> value-added version is given away free online"
> Here is an excerpt from a BMJ Web Page, about access controls
> [i.e., NOT OA!]
> Access controls on from 7 January
> Original research articles will remain completely free from the moment
> of publication. The full text of all other articles appearing in the
> print journal (eg editorials, educational articles, and reviews) will be
> free for the first week after publication and then under access controls
> for the next 51 weeks. After one year, access controls will be lifted,
> and all content will once again be free. Abstracts and extract views of
> all articles will remain free, as will other website content and functions.

I have no idea what point Brian is trying to make here:

(1) It is only BMJ's (and any other journal's) primary research articles
(written by researchers, for research impact) that are the target of
the OA movement, not other kinds of content (such as news reviews or

(2) The version (of those primary research articles) that BMJ makes
accessible for free is BMJ's value-added version, not the author's draft.

(3) Most peer-reviewed journals have only primary research content.

(4) BMJ has both kinds of content.

(5) BMJ formerly made both kinds of content freely accessible online.

(6) They found that this reduced subscriptions.

(7) So in January 2005, apparently, BMJ decided to make only primary research
articles freely accessible online.

(8) BMJ is hence still gold in January 2005 (and of course green on
author self-archiving).

What is Brian's point? That the "value added" is the other (non-research) content?
That is indeed added value, and will help sell the journal, but it is not what was
meant by the value-added, publisher's version of the author's final draft. That
just refers to the published version of the article (copy-edited, marked-up,
reference-linked, PDF in the author's imprimatur -- plus of course the paper

(Brian has, however, drawn our attention to a way that ALPSP -- and
shortly also STM, stay tuned -- have overstated the case concerning
BMJ: It remains to be seen whether BMJ continues to see subscription
decline when only their primary research articles are OA, having so far
only tested the joint effects of making their secondary content freely
accessible too.)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Aug 31 2005 - 15:15:27 BST

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