Survey: How many refereed journals can your library NOT afford?

Stevan Harnad harnad at cogprints.soton.ac.uk
Sun Jan 14 22:33:46 EST 2001


It would be very helpful if those of you who have access to the data
could reply to the following 3 questions:

(1) How many refereed journals does your library subscribe to? (By
"subscribe," I mean either Subscription (S) or License (L), on-paper or
on-line, or both.)

(2) What proportion is that, of the total number of refereed journals
that are published (anywhere) that could conceivably be relevant to the
researchers (in all fields) at your institution?

(3) If we now add in your total potential annual budget for
Pay-Per-View (P), in addition to the prior annual figures for S and L:
What proportion of all the published papers in all the refereed
journals of potential relevance to your researchers can you afford to
purchase through Pay-Per-View?

The reason I have requested the S/L/P data in this rather
counterintuitive form is that I think these figures will prove to be
very revealing. And it is precisely these figures -- the figures for
all the papers your researchers MIGHT have wanted to read, if only they
could access and afford them all -- that tell the true story of what
the current status quo is costing research and researchers in lost
impact and access. And what freeing it all would gain them.

We are all too accustomed to think in terms of the journals our
institutions CAN afford to access, rather than the ones they cannot.
This short-sighted reckoning might be what is holding us back --  or
preventing us from seeing the urgency and advantages of -- freeing this
literature immediately through self-archiving.

Here is a prediction: The data will show that even the very richest
institutions, with the biggest S/L/P budgets (e.g., Harvard), will only
be able to afford a minority of the total relevant annual corpus. And
most institutions will be able to afford much less. 

This means that MOST of the refereed research literature is
inaccessible to MOST researchers on the planet -- which is particularly
scandalous, given that ALL of that literature is a give-away FROM all
those researchers, and that there is no longer any reason, hence any
justification, whatsoever, for ALL of them not having access to ALL of
it, for free, right now.

Here's hoping that the data you provide in response to these three
questions (plus the January 23 release of the Eprints 1.1
institutional archive-creating software
<http://www.eprints.org>, compliant with the January 23 release of the
OAI 1.0 Open Archives protocol <http://www.openarchives.org>) will at
last get us all to the optimal and inevitable in 2001!

--------------------------------------------------------------------
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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