Re: Elsevier Still Solidly on the Side of the Angels on Open Access

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 18:23:55 +0100 (BST)

On Wed, 18 Jul 2007, Daniel Mohler wrote:

> First I want to agree with a previous statement:
> >> DG:
> >> After all, many readers
> >> use and cite arXiv as more convenient even
> >> when the published papers are available,
> DM:
> This is surely true. In private correspondence my collegues provide me
> more often with an arXiv citation than a journal citation.

The question was not about what version colleagues point you to in
private correspondence but what they cite in their publications. They of
course cite the journal version. (Whether or not they also add the URL
of the OA version is another matter, but adding it is certainly a good
practice, to be encouraged.)

> > SH:
> > (1) Authors certainly do not *cite* Arxiv after the published version
> > appears. They cite the published version, not the unpublished preprint.
> DM:
> This is not true. there are a considerable amount of publications on my
> desk right now with double citations of published papers. There are
> various good reasons for this. A simple cause might also be a double
> entry in the bibtex and latex references in spires which are widely used
> to avoid typos. With a double citation it is at the readers discretion
> which version he/she will obtain.

Those are not double citations. If they are citations by a published
journal article, they are citing the published journal article (when it
exists) and also adding the OA version's URL (a good practice) when it

The self-archived preprint (minus the journal reference) is only
cited alone when (1) there is no journal reference yet, and/or (2) when
the citing paper is itself still an unpublished preprint: References are
updated in the published version (if the cited paper is published in

This is just obvious, standard scholarly practice. The definitive,
canonical object is the published article. The preprint precedes it and
is superseded by it, and the OA version's URL (whether preprint or
postprint) is just there for access purposes, for those who cannot
afford access to the published version.

> For daily usage the whole question is purely academic, as newly
> "published" papers are mostly obtained from the arxiv anyway - no matter
> which version is cited. By the time the journal version is published,
> its content has already been read, absorbed and if found suitable
> expanded upon and cited.

Distingush between the date the journal version actually appears and the
date it is accepted for publication, and all of this makes simple sense:

Physicists use and cite research as soon as they can access it. They
can first access it in preprint form. They definitely prefer to cite
it in published form as soon as that is available. And they access
whatever version they can afford, preferring the journal version if/when
accessible/affordable, settling for the OA version if/when not, preferring
the OA postprint if/when available, settling for the OA preprint,
if/when not.

Stevan Harnad

If you have adopted or plan to adopt a policy of providing Open Access
to your own research article output, please describe your policy at:

     BOAI-1 ("Green"): Publish your article in a suitable toll-access journal
     BOAI-2 ("Gold"): Publish your article in an open-access journal if/when
     a suitable one exists.
     in BOTH cases self-archive a supplementary version of your article
     in your own institutional repository.
Received on Thu Jul 19 2007 - 21:23:02 BST

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