The journal online give-away model

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 11:16:20 +0100

On Wed, 25 Oct 2006, Sally Morris (ALPSP) wrote (in JISC-REPOSITORIES):

> Subject: Re: Harnad model
> Arthur [Sale] asks for examples of journals where free access has driven
> print subscriptions down, not up. I am sure many publishers could
> share their experience (it was certainly ours with our little journal,
> Learned Publishing) but perhaps the most publicly known (and recent -
> most moved away from completely free online versions years ago) is the BMJ
> [British Medical Journal]

(1) Ceterum censeo: There is no "Harnad Model" (just perhaps a [trivial]
Harnad dictum: "Self-Archive Unto Others as you Would Have Others
Self-Archive Unto You", which I would rather call the "Raincoat Dictum,"
since it is the intellectual equivalent of "Look kids, it's raining outside:
Time to put on the ol' raincoats!").

(2) Self-archiving is anarchic, being done by each author, preferably in his own
institutional IR, and preferably his own peer-reviewed final draft (not the
publisher's PDF).

(3) Hence it is uncertain whether and when 100% of a particular journal's
contents are available online free (and the contents are not especially
the publisher's PDFs).

(4) It is (1)-(3) that has so far failed to generate any detectable
cancellations, even in fields that have been at or near 100% for years.

(5) Of course journals that immediately give away their own full contents
online for free today risk losing subscriptions. (The surprising thing
is that many that do this nevertheless either do not lose subscriptions,
or do not lose enough subscriptions to induce them to stop doing it:
BMJ happens to be one that tried it and then stopped. It's much easier
to find cases in DOAJ that tried it and then just kept on doing it,
year after year.)

(6) Ceterum censeo: There is no "Harnad Model" and publishers giving
away their journals free online is not what I have been advocating for
over a decade (q.v.).

Stevan Harnad

    Re: BMJ/Stanford Pre-Empts E-Biomed? (Jun 30 1999)
Received on Wed Oct 25 2006 - 11:20:59 BST

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