Re: Mandatory Deposit of Published Papers in Repositories (fwd)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 18:00:50 +0100

>Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2005 16:42:12 +0100
>From: Ken Lillywhite, Business Director, Institute of Physics Publishing
>Ever since the launch of the physics e-print archive in 1991, authors
>publishing in IOP Publishing journals have had the choice to post their
>preprints to the service. However, we do note that article downloads from
>our site are significantly lower for those journals whose content is
>substantially replicated in the arXiv repository than for those which are
>not, after usage statistics have been normalized to take account of
>journal size.
>Usage statistics (e.g., ProjectCOUNTER) are now increasingly used as a
>'value for money' measure in the library community and elsewhere. Clearly,
>as usage statistics become more commonplace, it would be only natural for
>cash-strapped librarians to conclude that subscriptions to low-use ?
>albeit high-quality, peer-reviewed ? journals are no longer necessary. In
>this situation subscription-based journals published by a learned society
>such as ourselves would become economically unviable.

This point has already been rebutted in the Open Letter to RCUK:

but here it is again:

(1) This will become a piece of evidence if/when subscriptions -- controlled
for other time-dependent factors -- decline as a function of self-archiving.
So far, in 14 years, they have not.

(2) As self-archived content grows, both download data and citation
data will be pooled. This is in the interests of the author, and the
author's institution, to ensure that usage and impact of their research
output is measured and credited. If there are multiple versions of the
same work, downloads will be pooled, and if multiple versions are cited,
citations will be pooled. It would be the most natural thing in the world
to share those pooled download and citation statistics with the journal
publisher's site, collaboratively (and automatically. The version on
which the counts should and will converge in any case is the official,
published version of record, not the various supplements.

(3) Librarians don't cancel on the basis of COUNTER statistics,
though they take them into account; they cancel on the basis of
relative suggestions from their faculty, budget-multiple-constraint
satisfaction. Researchers are not recommending the canceliation of
good journals (amongst which both the IOPP and APS journals number,
in physics), regardless of where they access their working copies.

(4) If 14 years of concerted self-archiving in physics have not yet
hurt the physics publishers, it is even less likely that the RCUK
self-archiving mandate -- which is equally distributed across *all*
journals, is based only on the UK fraction of their content, and not
focussed on physics journals at all -- will have any such effect.

I note also that IOPP is not recommending that physicists stop self-archiving
because of IOPP's worries about what might or might not result from COUNTER
statistics. A wise bit of restraint, lest the unfortunate impression be
given that physics publishing is not done in the interests of physics,
but vice versa.

The fact is that research publishing will have to adapt to what turns out to be
best for research in the online age, and not vice versa.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Sep 05 2005 - 18:57:42 BST

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