Re: Parallel journals

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 2009 20:36:02 -0400

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Begin forwarded message:

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: October 5, 2009 9:11:36 AM EDT (CA)
Subject: Re: Parallel journals

On 5-Oct-09, at 3:44 AM, Kuil, van der Annemiek wrote:

> Apparently there are differences between countries (although acadamia goes
> beyond borders) and therefore it is difficult to generalise and say that
> ....
> > "(4) The difference between the publisher's PDF and the author's
> > self-archived final refereed, revised draft are completely trivial. This
> > is not something a researcher would worry about. Researchers are worried
> > about access denial, not PDF."
> ... this is certainly not the case in the Netherlands. What I hear from
> people in the field (and among them are important decsionmakers) is that
> a large group of researchers does not want to bother with different
> versions. There is only one version they are concerned with, and that is
> the publisher's PDF.

This fundamental misunderstanding has arisen, and been discussed, many times

There are no differences whatsoever among researchers -- either in terms of
country or in terms of discipline -- when one puts the question correctly
(i.e., in terms of actual access needs, conditions and contingencies today,
rather than some other ideal contingency):


-- INCORRECT USER VERSION: Would you rather have access to the published PDF
or to the author's self-archived final refereed postprint?

-- INCORRECT AUTHOR VERSION: Would you rather users have access to the
published PDF of your article or to your self-archived final refereed draft

It is the above kind of questions that have been asked in the past, and the
replies are predictable and of no particular interest or relevance to Open
Access strategy, policy, or options.


-- CORRECT USER VERSION: If you have no access to the published PDF, would
you rather have access to the author's self-archived final refereed draft
(postprint), or no access at all?

-- CORRECT AUTHOR VERSION: If they have no access to the published PDF,
would you rather users have access to your self-archived final refereed
postprint, or no access at all?

As far as I know, no survey has ever put the questions thus correctly to
authors and users. I am pretty confident about what the outcome will be (the
response is almost as predictable as the response to the irrelevant
questions), but if someone doubts this, let them conduct the survey with the
questions formulated correctly, and post their outcomes. Put correctly, the
questions go the the very heart of the Open Access problem; put incorrectly,
they simply miss both the real problem and its immediately reachable

Aside: The very same user and author questions and contingencies can also be
posed substituting "a Gold OA version" [in place of "the published PDF"] and
"the author's GREEN OA version" [in place of "the author's self-archived
final refereed draft"].

Just as free access to the published PDF of any given article is rare today,
hence for all users who don't have paid subscription access today the only
real choice is between the author's (Green) OA version or waiting in vain
for publishers to provide or allow free access to their PDF, so, because the
option of a Gold OA version of any given article being Gold OA is rare
today, the only real choice is between the author's (Green) OA version
today or waiting in vain for all journals to convert to Gold OA.

In other words, "waiting for the published PDF" and "waiting for Gold" is
not a viable option for the researcher who needs access (or impact!) today.
The issue is not ideal preferences for PDF (or Gold OA), all else being
equal (hence equally available).

Putting the question realistically to researchers is also important because
it makes the real causal contingencies transparent: Providing access to the
published PDF or providing Gold OA are matters that are in the hands of
publishers, and for the 2.5 million articles published annually today, the
proportions are low, as is also their annual rate of growth. (Before someone
cites the "fast rate of growth" in the annual number of Gold OA journals --
now perhaps 20% and perhaps increasing by about 10% per year -- not only are
users who need access today not in a position to wait 7+ years more for a
response to their click, but the percentage of Gold OA is much lower among
the journals that are most in demand by users and authors, and there the
unsettled question of author publication fees also looms large.)

In contrast, providing Green OA today by self-archiving their final refereed
drafts (postprints) is entirely in the hands of authors themselves, today,
and also within the immediate prerogative of their institutions and funders
to mandate that they do it, today.

Based on multiple properly formulated surveys, authors are ready to
self-archive, but because of (groundless) worries (about legality), they are
willing to do it only if their institutions and/or funders mandate it.

These are the real contingencies facing the scholarly and scientific
community today, not red herrings about PDF (or Gold OA).

Stevan Harnad

Ceterum censeo: If one is minded toward wishful thinking rather than
immediate action, there are far better formats to to wish for than the
published PDF!

> Met vriendelijke groet,
> Annemiek
> From: Repositories discussion list
> [mailto:JISC-REPOSITORIES_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of leo waaijers
> Sent: vrijdag 2 oktober 2009 19:24
> Subject: Re: Parallel journals
> Sorry that I did have an idea of my own.
> Stevan Harnad wrote:
> >
> > (1) We don't need "parallel journals": we just need parallel ACCESS to
> > the articles in the journals that already exist.
> >
> > (2) That's what green OA self-archiving of the author's final refereed,
> > revised draft provides.
> >
> > (3) Green OA does not provide "parallel articles" either. It just
> > provides parallel access to the same journals.
> >
> > (4) The difference between the publisher's PDF and the author's
> > self-archived final refereed, revised draft are completely trivial. This
> > is not something a researcher would worry about. Researchers are worried
> > about access denial, not PDF.
> >
> > (5) A journal issue is just a hodge-podge of mostly unrelated articles;
> > no need to "reconstruct" that; open access to all the articles plus good
> > boolean search power is all that's needed.
> >
> > (6) The PostGutenberg journal is just a peer-review service provider,
> > for quality assurance, plus a tag (the journal name) certifying the
> > outcome as having met the quality standards for which the journal has an
> > established track record.
> >
> > (7) The rest is just the journal-tagged, peer-reviewed file, sitting
> > safely in the author's institutional repository (suitably backed up,
> > mirrored, preserved, etc.), plus central harvesters providing powerful
> > search capability across the entire distributed corpus.
> >
> > (8) Gutenberg print editions, and even para-Gutenberg publisher-PDFs
> > will only last as long as there is still a user demand for them; with
> > 100% Green OA, I promise you that that demand will not be coming from
> > researchers, nor from students...
> >
> > Stevan Harnad
> >
> >
> > On 2-Oct-09, at 12:50 PM, J.W.T.Smith wrote:
> >
> > > Leo,
> > > You can approximate this by using Google Scholar Advanced Search.
> > > Search for a specific journal title and limit to a time period.
> > > The result of a search for articles in ?Journal of biological
> > > chemistry? for 2008 looks like this:
> > >
> > >
> > > +of+biological+chemistry%22&as_ylo=2008&as_yhi=2008&btnG=Search
> > >
> > > Of course the results are not clustered by issue but ranked by number
> > > of citations. However I am sure there are people reading this list who
> > > could write some code to reorder this results list and cluster by
> > > issue or page number range. A little more coding and maybe we could
> > > cluster by issue and then by page number within each issue thus giving
> > > exact copies of contents pages.
> > >
> > > What could we call this new form of journal, ah yes, it would be a
> > > ?Reconstructed Journal? :-) .
> > >
> > > John.
> > >
> > > From: Repositories discussion list
> > > [mailto:JISC-REPOSITORIES_at_JISCMAIL.AC.UK] On Behalf Of leo waaijers
> > > Sent: 02 October 2009 14:39
> > > Subject: Parallel journals
> > > Hi,
> > >
> > > Today, thinking hard again about the (dis)advantages of Green OA the
> > > following idea flashed through my mind. Green OA leads to ?parallel
> > > articles?, i.e. the post prints of the pdf?s in official journals. Why
> > > not having ?parallel journals? as well? It?s not so difficult I think.
> > > Someone has to generate a list of journal titles and issues with empty
> > > article records. And then every repository can complete these records
> > > with the metadata of the post prints that they hold. Just like we
> > > created union catalogs in the old days.
> > > As I see it, the main advantage is that we can integrate the worlds of
> > > Gold and Green OA at journal level. Wouldn?t that be a relief to
> > > readers, funders and authors?
> > > Cheers,
> > > Leo.
> > >
> >
Received on Tue Oct 06 2009 - 01:40:28 BST

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