What is wrong with this picture? (Refereed Journal Publishing)
harnad at cogito.ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Jun 18 05:14:37 EST 2000
[The following concerns refereed research report publication.]
What is wrong with the following picture?
(1) A brand-new PhD recipient proudly tells his mother he has just
published his first article. She asks him how much he was paid for
it. He makes a face and tells her "nothing," and then begins a long
(2) A fellow-researcher at that same university sees a reference to
that same article. He goes to their library to get it: It's not
subscribed to here; can't afford that journal; subscription budget
(3) An undergraduate, same university, sees the same article
cited on the Web; clicks on it. The publisher's website demands a
password: only paid subscribing institutions can have access.
(4) The undergraduate loses patience, gets bored, and clicks on
napster to grab an MP3 file of his favorite bootleg music CD to
console him in his sorrows.
(5) Years later, the same PhD is being considered for tenure; his
publications are good, but they're not cited enough; they have not
made enough of a research impact. Tenure denied.
(6) Same thing happens when he tries to get a research grant: his
research findings have not had enough of an impact: not enough
researchers have read and cited them.
(7) He decides to write a book instead. Publisher declines to
publish it: It wouldn't sell enough copies because not enough
universities have enough money to pay for it -- their purchasing
budgets are tied up paying for their inflating annual journal
(8) He tries to put his articles up on the Web, free for all, to
increase their impact; his publisher threatens to sue him for
violation of copyright.
(9) He asks his publisher who the copyright is intended to protect.
(10) His publisher replies: You!
What is wrong with this picture? (And why is the mother of the PhD
whose give-away work people cannot steal, even though he wants them
to, in the same boat as the mother of the recording artist whose
non-give-away work they can and do steal, even though he does not
want them to?)
Stevan Harnad harnad at cogsci.soton.ac.uk
Professor of Cognitive Science harnad at 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/
SO17 1BJ UNITED KINGDOM
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Means of Production of Knowledge. Public-Access Computer Systems Review
2 (1): 39 - 53 (also reprinted in PACS Annual Review Volume 2 1992; and
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Publishers, 1992; and in: M. Strangelove & D. Kovacs: Directory of
Electronic Journals, Newsletters, and Academic Discussion Lists (A.
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Libraries, Office of Scientific & Academic Publishing, 1992); and in
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(Eds.) Scholarly Journals at the Crossroads; A Subversive Proposal for
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Harnad, S. (1998) The invisible hand of peer review. Nature [online]
(5 Nov. 1998)
Harnad, S. (1999) Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed Journals.
D-Lib Magazine 5(12) December 1999
Harnad, S., Varian, H. & Parks, R. (2000) Academic publishing in the
online era. Culture Machine 2 (Online Journal)
Harnad, S. (2000) E-Knowledge: Freeing the Refereed Journal Corpus
Online. Computer Law & Security Report 16(2)
78-87. [Rebuttal to Bloom Editorial in Science and Relman Editorial in
New England Journal of Medicine]
NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):
You may join the list at the site above.
Discussion can be posted to:
september98-forum at amsci-forum.amsci.org
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