Re: Les Carr's accusation

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 14 May 2007 11:54:45 +0100

On Mon, 14 May 2007, Ian Russell, Chief Executive, ALPSP, wrote:

> If scholarship wishes to continue to benefit from the value
> added by publishers... then there needs to be a mechanism to reward
> publishers for the work they put in and the value that they add.

It does, and there is. The benefit is the 3rd-party administration of
peer review, and it is rewarded, fully, by the payment of subscriptions.

(If and when there is ever the need or desire for another method
of rewarding the administration of peer review -- i.e., if those
subscriptions are ever cancelled -- then the administration of peer review
can and will be rewarded out of the institutional subscription savings,
on the Open Access Journal publication-fee cost-recovery model.)

Hence the only real issue under discussion (well-concealed under the
vague generalities about "value added") is the publishing industry
lobbying against the self-archiving mandates:

> Almost all publishers allow authors to do whatever they like with the
> pre-print version of the article (i.e. the version of the article
> before the publisher has added any value) so the accusation that
> this document amounts to 'a proposal that researchers should not be
> allowed to share their work with people outside their institution'
> is... unfair and untrue.

But what is true and fair to say is that publishers are lobbying against
mandates to self-archive the author's final peer-reviewed draft (the
postprint), even though the added value -- the peer review -- is being
fully paid for today by subscriptions, and even though the
publication-fee cost-recovery model stands ready should it ever prove
to be needed.

The issue is open access to the final refereed draft. That's what
research needs. That's what (some) publishers are still trying to block.

The attempt to block OA will of course fail, because it is so obviously
against the interests of research. But what has to be admitted is that
the long delay in the inevitable, optimal outcome of all this (OA) is
definitely not the fault of the publishers who oppose it. The research
community is in a position to mandate immediate deposit with or without
the blessing of the publishing community. The delay in doing so is
entirely the fault of the slow thinking and action of the research

One hopes that that thinking will catch up before historians inherit an
even greater embarrassment of riches to chide us about, in retrospect...

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon May 14 2007 - 13:08:33 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:48:55 GMT