14.0388 e-publishing: Self-Archiving Why's

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 10/20/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 388.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 08:52:51 +0100
             From: Stevan Harnad <harnad@COGLIT.ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
             Subject: Self-Archiving Why's
    [The following forwarded from the Electronic Journal Publishing List
    <VPIEJ-L@LISTSERV.VT.EDU> with thanks. --WM]
     >[These are excerpts from an interview to appear shortly; URL
     >to come when known.]
     > > Why do you feel so strongly about open archiving online?
     >Unlike most books and magazine articles, scholarly and scientific
     >research papers are written to make an impact on research and
     >researchers, not to earn royalty income or fees from sales of the
     >text. Hence fee-based access barriers (subscription, site-license,
     >pay-per-view [S/L/P]) are impact barriers. Researchers would prefer,
     >and would always have preferred, full free access to their research
     >reports for everyone. In the paper era, with its expenses, this was not
     >possible; the true costs of that means of dissemination had to be paid,
     >and they were high. In the on-line era it is possible to free this
     >special literature at last, through self-archiving by authors in
     >interoperable Eprint Archives.  See:
     > > Do you feel that research is or will be conducted differently with
     > > the use on the Internet and these archives?
     >Research can only benefit from the much wider, unobstructed reach a
     >freed online refereed corpus will provide. Researchers will be far more
     >up to date and informed and research will have a much broader impact.
     >In addition, the online medium is much more interactive, allowing
     >commentaries and responses and updates to be linked to the archived
     >literature, both pre- and port-refereeing. Citation linking and
     >analysis (http://opcit.eprints.org), linked data-sets, and enhanced
     >resources for online collaboration are among the other benefits of an
     >online digital research corpus.
     > > When was CogPrints: The Cognitive Sciences Eprint Archive, set up?
     >Two years ago. First it was a centralized, multi-disciplinary eprint
     >archive. Then, with the Open Archives Initiative (OAI)
     >(http://www.openarchives.org), which provided meta-data tagging
     >standards to ensure cross-archive interoperability, CogPrints was
     >upgraded this year into one of the first registered OAI-compliant
     >Archives (http://cogprints.soton.ac.uk). The archive-creation software
     >was also generalized and made generic so OAI-compliant Eprints Archives
     >can now be mounted, registered and filled by any institution
     > > How successful is it?
     >The Los Alamos Physics Archive (http://arxiv.org), up since 1991, has
     >130,000 papers; CogPrints, in its 3rd year, has only 1,000. Something
     >was needed to accelerate us toward the optimal and inevitable (the
     >entire refereed literature online and free), and the hope is that the
     >eprints.org software will be adopted by more and more institutions to
     >create distributed, OAU-compliant Eprints Archives. Being
     >interoperable, these can all be harvested into one global "virtual"
     >archive, with papers searchable and retrievable by everyone, with no
     >need for users to know in advance which of the Eprint Archives a
     >particular paper actually happens to be archived in
     > > Your vision for the future is to have unlimited online access to all
     > > research articles in all disciplines for everyone. How far do you think
     > > this ideal has been achieved?
     >I think that posterity will laugh at us for taking as long as we
     >have been taking (http://www.dlib.org/dlib/december99/12harnad.html),
     >because we could already have done it a half decade ago
     >(http://www.arl.org/scomm/subversive/toc.html). But I think we are at
     >last getting around to it now...
     > > What do you see as the major barriers to achieving these goals?
     >Chiefly is the sluggishness of human nature, tending to cling to
     >old ways even when they are no longer optimal, and easily updated.
     >That's the main retardant. Others include the (understandable) wish of
     >journal publishers to protect their current revenue streams and modera
     >operandi by preserving the status quo as long as possible.
     >There is no point waiting for publishers to scale down to what is the
     >optimal and inevitable solution for research: Researchers can take
     >matters into their own hands by self-archiving. And this can be done
     >legally, now, even if authors are obliged to sign the most restrictive
     >copyright transfer agreements
     >There is also still confusion (some of it inherent in the questions
     >being asked here) about what needs to be freed, and how, confusion
     >between the non-give-away literature (books) and the give-away
     >literature (refereed research papers), between electronic archiving and
     >electronic publication (vanity press), between preprints and
     >postprints, between copyright protection from theft-of-text (relevant
     >only to non-give-away authors) and copyright protection from theft of
     >authorship (relevant to all authors).
     >But by dint of tireless repetition, these confusions seem to be
     >dissipating now.
     > > What, in your opinion, can be attributed to the success of the Los
     > > Alamos Physics archive for unrefereed preprint literature?
     >Physicists set off on the road to the optimal and inevitable first.
     >They still haven't gotten all the way (the Los Alamos Archive is still
     >growing only linearly, which would still mean a decade or more before
     >it captured the entire refereed literature of Physics), but I hope that
     >a proliferation of new interoperable, institution-based Eprint Archives
     >will help propel the growth rate into the exponential range.
     >It will remain an undeniable historical fact, however, that Physicists
     >did it first -- not, I think, because self-archiving is more suited to
     >Physics in some way, or because Physics benefits more from the freeing
     >of its refereed literature than any other discipline: I think
     >Physicists did it first simply because they are smarter then the rest
     >of us, and more serious about their research, and hence they have much
     >less patience with the status quo. We can even estimate how much
     >smarter/faster they are by dividing the ten-year contents of the
     >Physics Archive by the three-year contents of the CogPrints Archive:
     >(130,000/10) / (1000/3) = 39 times as smart/fast...
     > > Why do you think that other disciplines are slow to follow the
     > > CogPrints and Los Alamos archives?
     >See above. But I think that with distributed, institution-based Eprint
     >Archives supplementing central ones, the momentum will now transfer
     >across fields -- especially with the help of pressure on researchers by
     >their institutions to self-archive their work to maximize its impact
     >(and to eventually lighten the institution's serials S/L/P burden).
     > > Could it be that scientists in other disciplines simply communicate
     > > in different ways?
     >Not in any relevantly different ways. All rely on their respective
     >refereed journal literature. No institution can afford S/L/P access to
     >it ALL, or even to most of it. So all researchers in all disciplines have
     >access to much less than they would use if they could. Moreover,
     >on-line access to it all is infinitely better for everyone than
     >on-paper access to just an affordable portion of it (on-line includes
     >on-paper, because you can always print-off whenever on-screen surfing
     >is not enough).
     >So there are no discipline differences whatsoever here. The reason
     >people ask the question has specifically to do with PREprints (i.e.,
     >physicists' heavy use and reliance on pre-refereeing drafts of their
     >papers). This is irrelevant, because what we are talking about here is
     >much bigger than just the preprint question: We are talking about
     >Eprints, which includes both pre-refereeing preprints and refereed
     >postprints, with the emphasis on the latter, because the latter is the
     >refereed literature that self-archiving is intended to liberate!
     >So just as it makes no difference how much of its free on-line
     >literature a discipline prefers to read on-screen or on-paper (the
     >essential thing is that it all be on-line and free), so it makes no
     >difference how much a discipline prefers to read its literature in
     >preprint or postprint form: the essential thing is again that it all be
     >on-line and free.
     >In short: No pertinent discipline-differences at all here.
     > > Once preprint servers are setup in other disciplines, do you think
     > > they will be as successful as the Los Alamos Server?
     >Yes, and all of them will be more successful than even Los Alamos is
     >now, because they will fill exponentially until the entire refereed
     >corpus is in there. But (to repeat) we are not talking about "preprint"
     >archives, but about EPRINT archives (eprints = preprints +
     >postprints). Moreover, we are talking about both Los-Alamos-style,
     >centralized, discipline-based archives and distributed,
     >multidisciplinary, institution-based archives (eprints.org). The
     >essential thing is that they be OAI-compliant, hence fully
     > > Have you seen the Chemistry Preprint Server hosted by ChemWeb.com?
     >Yes. All players are welcome (but they are most welcome when they
     >archive both preprints and postprints, and archive them all
     >permenently, interoperably, for free for all).
     > > Do you have any tips to anyone wanting to start up an archive?
     >Yes, go to eprints.org, pick up the (free) self-archiving software,
     >install it at your institution, and have all researchers self-archive
     >all their preprints and postprints in it, now. If everyone did that
     >today, we would be instantly fast-forwarded to the optimal and
     >inevitable: http://www.dlib.org/dlib/october00/10inbrief.html#HARNAD
     > > How would you like to be remembered?
     >For the remarkable work I will be able to do once the refereed corpus
     >on which it draws is all on-line and freely accessible to me -- and
     >to all other researchers.
     >Stevan Harnad                     harnad@cogsci.soton.ac.uk
     >Professor of Cognitive Science    harnad@princeton.edu
     >Department of Electronics and     phone: +44 23-80 592-582
     >              Computer Science     fax:   +44 23-80 592-865
     >University of Southampton         http://www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/
     >Highfield, Southampton            http://www.princeton.edu/~harnad/
     >NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing free
     >access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
     >American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):
     >     http://amsci-forum.amsci.org/archives/september98-forum.html
     >You may join the list at the site above.
     >Discussion can be posted to:
     >     september98-forum@amsci-forum.amsci.org

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