Re: Non-Discoverability or Non-Existence?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2007 13:25:43 +0100 (BST)

On Wed, 25 Jul 2007, John Smith wrote:

> Stevan,
> There is no clash between your aims and mine. A pool of freely
> accessible good quality material is a prerequisite for the distributed
> publishing model. The overlay or virtual journals have no (or little)
> full text content to link to until this happens.
> Further, the presence of these new alerting and review services should
> provide a 'pull' effect in support of your 'push' pressure to populate
> repositories. If researchers know that their articles are not only
> available to be found by searchers if they are in the local or subject
> repository but may also be promoted by one of these services this would
> be an additional encouragement for them to self-archive their work.
> For clarification: The overlay/virtual journal is not intended to
> provide the certification role, it provides the subject alerting role.

John, thanks for the clarification, but I am still confused. If the O/V
journal is not the peer-review service-provider/certifier, then it is
a journal alerting portal and the peer-review service-provider/certifiers
are (as always) the journals. (Why call a journal alerting service a

I think what you mean is that mandates "push" OA-provision and
alerting "pulls" it. I agree that everything that enhances visibility,
accessibility, and impact pulls (in fact it's that pull that is pulling
the pushes -- the mandates), but I think the lion's share of that pull
comes from OA itself! It is OA that maximises visibility, accessibility
and impact, and a researcher gets that by depositing his journal
postprints in his Institutional Repository (IR) (and his institution
and funder gets it by pushing him to deposit them).

Further enhancements of visibility are always welcome, but at this point
they have next to nothing to make still more visible, because 85% of
OA's target content is still not being deposited! And if this 15% OA's
existing visibility -- which is already dramatic, and has already been
shown to double impact -- is not "pull" enough to get the other 85%,
it certainly won't become enough if it is enhanced by an epsilon more
visibility by an alerting service.

But you are quite right that there is no clash between pushes and pulls
as long as the enhanced-pull contingent does not give the incorrect
impression that the unenhanced pull (visibility) of OA alone is somehow
not pull enough! It is pulling itself that has alas proved -- after
13 long years -- to be not enough, hence the need for the push too
(institution/funder deposit mandates).

I do think, though, that there is another form of pull that can help
motivate pushes from universities and funders, and that is OA impact
metrics: objective, quantitative, and ongoing feedback on the enhanced
visibility, usage and impact actually being provided by OA. But these
are pulls to the OA-providers (researchers as authors) rather than the
OA-consumers (researchers as users), making OA's extant visibility more
visible to them (rather than merely enhancing it by an epsilon more):

   Making Visibility Visible: OA Metrics of Productivity and Prestige

Stevan Harnad

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Repositories discussion list [mailto:JISC-
> > REPOSITORIES_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
> > Sent: 24 July 2007 11:58
> > Subject: Re: Non-Discoverability or Non-Existence?
> >
> >
> > But the trick is not to let hypothetical beginnings obscure or
> > obstruct
> > actual ends! (The immediate task is depositing journal articles,
> > not
> > deconstructing journals.)
> >
> > Once every peer-reviewed journal article is mandatorily self-
> > archived,
> > hence OA, it matters little what we elect to call the peer-review
> > service-provider and tag. (I personally think "journal" continues
> > to
> > be a perfectly good name, regardless of how long the paper edition
> > or the subscription model persist.)
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
Received on Wed Jul 25 2007 - 13:25:54 BST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:49:01 GMT