Stevan Harnad harnad at
Wed Sep 22 03:17:04 EST 1999

Note: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of "Freeing the
Refereed Journal Literature Through Online Self-Archiving" is available
at the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99):

On Wed, 22 Sep 1999, Lee Miller wrote:

> How has the income stream for physics journals been affected by the
> apparently universal use of the LANL archives in physics?

This question has come up before. The authoritative answer will come
from the APS representatives in this Forum (Arthur Smith, Mark Doyle).
I can only say what I have heard, repeatedly:

   (1) No, library cancelations have NOT occurred as a result of the
   free availability of the growing portion of the contents of the
   refereed physical journals literature through author self-archiving
   in LANL since 1991.

   (2) To the extent that subscriptions have shrunk somewhat in
   Physics, this seems to be in pace with similar shrinkages in other
   fields, and is probably owing to the universal institutional journal
   budget crunch rather than to the free archive at LANL.

It would be a mistake, however, in my opinion, for journal publishers
to become too complacent about this inertia: 

The self-archiving effect has only made itself felt in Physics so far.
Libraries, and library policy, are multidisciplinary. Hence they are
unlikely to take the risk of cancelling subscriptions, even where the
literature has been partially freed by self-archiving (and even where
faculty agree that cancellation would be alright -- and they have NOT
yet agreed, as they too balk at the risk). Everyone is still waiting
for the phenomenon to generalize stably beyond just Physics (and
portions of Maths).

And it is indeed in the process of generalizing:

So just a little more patience is in order...

Stevan Harnad                     harnad at
Professor of Cognitive Science    harnad at
Department of Electronics and     phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science                  fax:   +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton  
SO17 1BJ UNITED KINGDOM           

Full Archive of this discussion is at:

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