Re: Nihil obstat

From: <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 2 Oct 2008 08:18:11 +0100

In my view, it would be better if Stevan stood down as moderator and made his contributions just like any other member of the list. Moderators of lists typically rarely post to their list at all. Their job is to vet people wishing to join the list (or let anyone on if that is the policy) and to only intervene in debates (by saying "this correspondence is now closed") when the debate is off topic, becoming tedious for readers or when flaming is taking place.

Stevan submits numerous postings which are highly critical of others' postings. This is a good reason to have a different moderator.


Professor Charles Oppenheim
Department of Information Science
Loughborough University
Leics LE11 3TU

Tel 01509-223065
Fax 01509 223053
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-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum [mailto:AMERICAN-SCIENTIST-OPEN-ACCESS-FORUM_at_LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG] On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 02 October 2008 01:21
Subject: Nihil obstat


(1) For some odd reason, Jean-Claude is accusing me of censorship: I wonder why? since every single one of his postings to the AmSci Forum has appeared, in full, as he can confirm by consulting the archive:

(2) Everyone, including the moderator, has the right to post replies to the AmSci Forum, just as Jean-Claude does. The moderator's replies have no special status, one way or the other, other than what status they may earn through their substance.

(3) My own frequent strategy in these exchanges with Jean-Claude (as anyone who looks over those sad sections of the AmSci Archive can
confirm) has been to cease replying once Jean-Claude lapses into flaming, as he alas almost invariably does, at least in his exchanges with me. (I was on the verge of prepending that caveat to my own first reply in this latest series, to the effect that I would reply for the moment, but if and when Jean-Claude started flaming again, the floor was his alone. Well, I hereby postpend that now. The Forum is all yours, Jean-Claude.)

Imprimi potest!

Stephanus Primus

On Wed, Oct 1, 2008 at 1:06 PM, Jean-Claude Guédon <> wrote:
> I find this form of behaviour unacceptable. It borders on
> unacknowledged censorship.
> Let me give a quick example: I never conflated citability and
> branding, but Stevan does in his "summary". So beware of Stevan's
> "summaries". They read more like polemical devices or editorials.
> It also and clearly illustrates how he often misreads what people write.
> I call on Stevan simply to post the whole message I sent last night.
> It is not very long and it points out how Stevan does not dialogue well.
> It is not for him, as moderator, to judge what is tedious or not,
> monumentally trivial or not. A moderator should address the issue of
> relevance, not tediousness. He or she should also carefully
> distinguish between his (her) role as moderator and as party in a discussion.
> Perhaps Stevan should give up the moderation of this list and thus
> enjoy greater polemical freedom.
> Jean-Claude Guédon
> Le mercredi 01 octobre 2008 à 09:19 -0400, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
> I think AmSci Forum readers may be finding this exchange rather
> tedious. I will summarize, and then let Jean-Claude have the last word.
> (1) Jean-Claude thinks there is a problem for specifying the locus of
> quoted passages when citing a work if the pagination of the OA
> postprint one has accessed differs from the pagination of the
> publisher's PDF.
> (2) He does not like the solution of citing the published work, as
> usual, linking the postprint's URL, for quote-checking, and specifying
> the locus of the quote by paragraph number instead of page number.
> (3) He prefers to upgrade the status of the postprint in some way, so
> as to "brand" it as "citable," and then citing the postprint instead
> of citing the published work.
> Judicat Emptor. This strikes me as a monumentally trivial non-problem
> and an unnecessary and incoherent proposed solution.
> Stevan Harnad
> On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 10:02 PM, Jean-Claude Guédon
> <> wrote:
>> Sigh... I will respond below
>> Le mardi 30 septembre 2008 à 17:48 -0400, Stevan Harnad a écrit :
>> Jean-Claude Guedon thinks that because an article published by Joe
>> Bloggs in Nature (2008, volume X, Number Y, pp NN-MM) is not OA, and
>> Joe Bloggs's OA postprint of the final, refereed draft of his Nature
>> article, self-archived in his Institional Repository (IR), is
>> unpaginated, hence one cannot specify the location of a quoted
>> passage in the Nature version except by paragraph number, one should
>> not cite the Nature version, but the self-archived postprint.
>> 1. I am not going to introduce a new way of locating quotations by
>> using paragraph numbers. I do not even feel like counting paragraphs.
>> 2. I never said that the archived article was unpaginated; I said it
>> may be paginated differently from the journal pagination.
>> 3. It is not that one should not cite the Nature version; it is that
>> one cannot cite the Nature version completely.
>> What I ask is: What does it mean to "cite" the postprint of a
>> published Nature article? I would think you cite the publication, the
>> Nature article, and give the URL of the postprint for access purposes.
>> So I have a quote and I refer to the journal article and its general
>> citation, and then I send the reader to the archived version and
>> explain how to find the exact passage in the archived version? This
>> is quite complicated, it seems to me.
>> Jean-Claude seems to think the postprint itself should be upgraded
>> into a "publication" in its own right: How? And what does that mean?
>> It is not upgraded into a publication. It is de facto a publication.
>> The article has been peer reviewed and it is publicly accessible.
>> That instead of proudly listing his paper in his CV as having been
>> published by Nature, a peer-reviewed journal of some repute, Joe
>> Bloggs should list it as having been published by his own
>> Institutional Repository?
>> That again is stretching my words in strange directions. I am
>> pointing to something lacking in referring precisely to a quotation.
>> This does not prevent me from putting the journal reference (and the
>> repository
>> reference)
>> in my cv. I dom not even begin to understand how that issue ever arose.
>> And what does "published" mean under these circumstances? With
>> Nature, it means Nature conducted a peer review, to determine whether
>> the article met Nature's quality standards.
>> the self-archived article is the same as the peer reviewed article in
>> the journal. The archived article will also mention the general
>> citation from the journal. It may even link to that journal. This
>> still does not allow me to clarify completely a specific quotation
>> from the journal. But the article in the repository has clearly been
>> perr reviewed. No problem there.
>> Is
>> the author's institution to conduct yet another "peer review" on the
>> same peer-reviewed article, to determine whether it has met that
>> institution's quality standards? Why?
>> I never said that.
>> And would this mean that all
>> postprints in that IR meet the same quality standards (Nature's)?
>> I never even began to come close to this issue. Please read what I
>> write carefully.
>> Sounds closer to in-house vanity publishing to me, except that it's
>> more like in-house vanity RE-publishing.
>> I suppose so, but it does not concern me. I never said that. This is
>> science-fiction.
>> I think this line of thinking is not only unrealistic but incoherent
>> -- and, most of all, unnecessary, since it is trying to "solve" a
>> non-existent problem: What work to cite when you have access only to
>> the OA postprint of a published article? The answer is obvious: You
>> cite the *published article*, and add the OA postprint's URL to the
>> citation for those who cannot afford access to the publisher's
>> proprietary version. (And quote passages by paragraph number.)
>> The proposed solution is not satisfactory. It is not satisfactory
>> because, when I give a reference to a precise quote, I must add the page number.
>> Now,
>> this page number may mean nothing to citation calculators, but it
>> means a whole lot to the reader and to the conventions carefully
>> taught in class about ways to cite a quotation in a scholarly piece
>> of work. Adding a URL is not enough. For example, if someone wants to
>> quote my quotation, that person should be able to quote an original
>> source, not a derivative. If that person does not have access to the
>> journal either, the problem I initially encountered recurs for that
>> second author.
>> Jean-Claude Guédon
>> Stevan Harnad
>> On Tue, Sep 30, 2008 at 4:54 PM, Jean-Claude Guédon
>> <> wrote:
>>> Quoting means extracting a passage from a text and inserting it
>>> within another text one is writing. It is often placed within
>>> quotation marks, but not always as quoting conventions obey complex
>>> and variable rules. Citing means giving a reference for a quoted
>>> text, or for some facts or opinions found in another article, book,
>>> etc. This distinction has been dealt with repeatedly in the past.
>>> Even if I follow Stevan's distinction, I need both to quote and cite
>>> (in Stevan's sense of the words) when I work and I cannot be
>>> satisfied with only citing. I am not the only to have this need.
>>> Consequently, not having access to the citable version prevents me
>>> from doing all of my work because the precise location of what I
>>> need remains unknown to me. However, if an IR declares that an
>>> article under its stewardship is also citable, then, I can do all my
>>> work, including giving a precise location for a quotation, or a
>>> fact, or an opinion, etc. This simply means that I recognize the IR
>>> as a publication instrument, i.e. it makes documents public and not
>>> simply as a collection of texts open to reading and nothing else. In
>>> fact, limiting IR texts only to reading would contravene the
>>> requirements for something to be truly in open access.
>>> At this junction, the question of which version(s) is (are)
>>> reference versions emerges. I submit that articles archived in IR's
>>> can become references as much as the version appearing in a journal.
>>> There is a well-known precedent for this. Articles are sometimes
>>> reprinted in a different journal or an anthology. Once this is done,
>>> either version can be cited and is cited. Sometimes, it is the
>>> reprinted version that becomes the better known citation.
>>> Stevan may not like this line of reasoning because it blurs the
>>> distinction he tries so hard to maintain between journals and IR's.
>>> His thesis is that IR's and journals can coexist simply because they
>>> do not fulfil at all the same functions. However, this is Stevan's
>>> thesis, not a universally accepted situation and it cannot be
>>> mistaken for a fact. A more sensible representation of reality is to
>>> state that the functions of journals and IR's, although not
>>> identical, overlap. We can then discuss the amount of overlap.
>>> To say this amounts to claim a publishing role for IR's and for
>>> self-archiving. I claim that role. The fact that IR's can be
>>> harvested by powerful search engines supports the thesis that
>>> depositing an article in an IR is a form of publishing. Only if IR's
>>> worked like the drawer of my desk (which I gladly leave in open
>>> access to anyone wanting to access it), could we say that it is not
>>> a form of publishing. IR's are not shy silos of knowledge that just
>>> sit there, in open access, but with no way to attract attentiuon to
>>> themselves. on the contrary, they can be found and used thanks to
>>> some Google scholar or OAIster.
>>> The relationship between an article published in a journal and
>>> another version residing in a repository is quite different from
>>> that between an original piece of art and a copy. I believe Walter
>>> Benjamin has meditated significantly on this topic (The Work of Art
>>> in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility). The article in the
>>> repository is not a copy of an original article; it is a version of
>>> an article. The journal article is also a version, another version,
>>> and nothing more. The article is identified by its title XXXX and
>>> its author(s) YYYYY and its content. This is how copyright law would
>>> identify it. The ways in which a given version is branded depends on
>>> a number of variables (authors' names, authors' institutions,
>>> journal titles, etc. ). For the moment, IR's do not yet know very
>>> well how to brand, but nothing prevents thinking about ways to achieve this result.
>>> Personally, I believe we should be thinking hard about this precise
>>> issue.
>> Jean-Claude Guédon
>> Université de Montréal
> Jean-Claude Guédon
> Université de Montréal
Received on Fri Oct 03 2008 - 11:43:00 BST

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