Re: More thoughts on Impact Factors & Open Access journal publishing

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 02:47:08 +0100

Dana Roth's posting below takes my breath away: Dana, are you serious? (I
honestly can't tell whether it was posted as a joke!)

On Mon, 23 Oct 2006, Dana Roth (Cal Tech) wrote (commenting on
a quote from an ESI editorial):

> ESI:
> "for publicly funded research... public access to the
> information should be taken into account... that means
> selecting a responsible publisher who strives to make the
> information available at an economical rate, guarantees that
> the publication is truly archival, and doesn't manipulate the
> market to eliminate competition."
> DR:
> This makes excellent sense to me ... especially since the ECS'
> flagship journal ... Journal of the Electrochemical Society published
> 6080 pages last year with only a $761 institutional subscription ... yes,
> less than 13 cents per page ... presumably because they also ask for
> a $75/page charge from their authors. Compare this with the typical
> commercial journal which is priced at over $1/page, albeit without author
> page charges.
> The Electrochemical Society approach seems like an excellent compromise
> between 'OA author pays' and 'non-OA library pays' ... and this approach
> is also followed by J. Biol. Chem. and J. Neuroscience among others ...

This is the absolute antithesis of OA and everything it stands for!
It reduces everything to the tired old SPARC goal of trying to get
lower journal prices (except it adds the new twist that this
better deal for libraries should be subsidised by the author!).
But SPARC has since begun to wake from its torpid slumber,
and after several years of ineffectual gold (OA publishing)
fever, SPARC has gotten a half-grip on IRs, and is strongly
backing the FRPAA (green) OA self-archiving mandate:

OA is about providing free online access to all users, to maximise
research usage and impact, not about minimising subscription costs
for libraries.

And what is needed is not a "compromise between 'OA author pays' and
'non-OA library pays'. What is needed is OA: 100% OA. And the way to
get that is via self-archiving. And the way to get 100% self-archiving
is for institutions and funders to mandate it (as the FRPAA is
proposing, and as 6 funders and 7 institutions have already done).

I realise librarians can't mandate self-archiving -- but they can help,
if they can get their minds off journal prices long enough to make the
case to their provosts! Eloy Rodrigues succeeded in Portugal (U Minho),
and in Australia it was QUT's pro-vice-chancellor who proposed the
mandate and the brilliant work of librarian Paula Callan that helped
make it work. Same thing at CERN.

Cal Tech has some of the earliest and most numerous IRs. Isn't it time
it now mandated that its researchers fill them?

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Oct 24 2006 - 03:10:42 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:33 GMT