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

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 12:16:16 +0100

On Mon, 23 Oct 2006, Thomas Krichel wrote:

> > SH:
> > 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!
> TK:
> They could also stop buying journals. Then the toll-gated
> system would collapse.

And along with it would collapse (1) the research community's access
to its own published literature, immediately (by definition), and by
the same stroke, the collapse of (2) that literature itself (journals,
peer review, preservation, etc.), *exactly* as foretold by the publishers.

    Berners-Lee, T., De Roure, D., Harnad, S. and Shadbolt, N. (2005)
    Journal publishing and author self-archiving: Peaceful Co-Existence
    and Fruitful Collaboration.

The difference is that the publishers foretell this doomsday outcome
not as a consequence of librarians all cancelling merely out of pique
over journal prices, but as a consequence of the free availability of
the entire literature via author self-archiving mandates -- which would
not only prevent (1) (by definition) but it would protect against (2),
generating the (cancellation) funds (if and when subscription collapse
ever actually does occur, as it may or may not do) for a transition
to full reliance on an OA literature and OA publishing only *after*
the alternative means of access is already in place via self-archiving,
rather than merely cancelling all now and hoping for the best!

So publishers are wrong about (1) and (2), but they would certainly be
perfectly right if Thomas's proposal -- worthy of the 2001 PLoS boycott
threat -- were the one that was followed (as the threatened PLoS boycott,
of course, was not):

    Harnad, S. (2006) Opening Access by Overcoming Zeno's Paralysis, in
    Jacobs, N., Eds. Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic
    Aspects, chapter 8. Chandos.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Oct 24 2006 - 13:18:22 BST

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