Re: Roundtable Press Release (Access to Research Results)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 2010 20:03:27 EST

On 1/19/10, Sandy Thatcher <> wrote:

> It would be dangerous for the future of scholarship, however,
> to cite anything but the version of record in formal
> publications. Scholars have always exchanged drafts of papers
> in the print world, too, but I daresay they would be reluctant
> to cite drafts in their own papers as published. Let's hope the
> careful habits of the old world are still maintained in the
> new. I'm not optimistic....

Access the version you can access, but cite the published version
(i.e., the version of record). That's what citation means: the
canonical, archival version (if there is one), not the particular
xerox you may have actually passed your eyes over. (But *please*
let's not start again on the subject of possible discrepancies:
The contingency at the heart of OA is when a would-be user has no
access to the version of record. That's when access to an
author's final refereed draft is infinitely better than no access
at all. And infinitely more important than the occasional
discrepancy. Please keep that in mind. And also that the version
of record continues to exist, for those who can afford access. OA
is primarily a supplement for the have-nots, not a substitute for
the version of record. OA will of course evolve into more than
that; but at the core, that's the rationale for OA: to supplement
access for the have-nots, now that the online era has at last
made it possible. OA is not, in the first instance, about
reforming publishing or copyright, though it will no doubt
eventually lead to that too...)

Stevan Harnad

> Sandy Thatcher
> At 6:58 PM -0500 1/18/10, Stevan Harnad wrote:
> >The "version of record" (the publisher's proprietary draft) may
> >well be what librarians prefer, and are willing to wait out an
> >embargo for; it is no doubt also the version publishers prefer
> >we all wait for.
> >
> >But I hope it will be understood that the researchers whose
> >institutions cannot afford access to the version of record would
> >prefer not to wait, and would be perfectly happy with the
> >author's final, peer-reviewed, accepted draft (postprint) during
> >any publisher embargo period, rather than no access at all.
> >Authors too -- if they think it through (many still don't) --
> >would prefer that would-be users had access to their refereed
> >final drafts rather than no access at all during any publisher
> >embargo period. And so would their institutions and funders.
> >Which is why an increasing number of institutions and funders
> >are mandating immediate deposit of the final draft, rather than
> >waiting for the version of record.
> >
> >Prominently missing or minimal about this Roundtable of
> >publishers and librarians were those who represent and
> >understand the needs of active, access-denied researchers (or
> >the funders and institutions of the authors of the works to
> >which they are denied access).
> >
> >Holding out for the version of record is for pedants and
> >preservationists. What research, researchers, their institutions
> >and their funders, students, teachers and the general public
> >need now is access to the refereed research itself, immediately
> >upon acceptance for publication, free for all, and not
> >accessible only to those whose institutions can afford the
> >subscription. If there's any point in publishing the findings at
> >all once they are refereed, revised and accepted, then there's
> >the same point in making them freely accessible to all
> >would-users as soon as they are accepted, no later.
> >
> >Meanwhile, the version of record can wait, and be waited for.
> >
> >Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 21 2010 - 01:50:09 GMT

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