Online Self-Archiving: Distinguishing the Optimal from the Optional

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Dec 2 23:07:46 EST 2002


On Mon, 2 Dec 2002, Bob Parks wrote:

> My own thought has been that there will be preprint archiving but
> little change in the journals -- as argued in: The Faustian Grip of
> Academic Publishing http://econwpa.wustl.edu/ewp-mic/0202005.abs

Bob, if I'm not mistaken, most of your predictions in that paper would
apply equally if we substituted "eprint self-archiving" above and took
"eprints" to mean both pre-peer-review preprints and post-peer-review
postprints.

I think your points about the continuing existence of peer-reviewed
journals would remain in force under that interpretation too,
and if so, I would not disagree. It is a distinct possibility
that toll-access versions will continue to have a market,
and will continue to co-exist, even once self-archiving has
provided a parallel open-access incarnation. As I've always said
quite explicitly, my own notions about what might happen next are
merely hypothetical; it is only open access itself that is inevitable
(and optimal): http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Tp/resolution.htm#4.2

But once open access itself has arrived, I shall consider my own activist
work done (and so should all other researchers currently busy in the
open-access movement), as our only objective was and is open access, so
as to maximize the usage and impact of research. There is no intention
(or need) to change journal publishing in any way. Once the full texts of
the annual 2,000,000 articles appearing in the planet's 20,000 toll-access
peer-reviewed journals are all also openly accessible online the optimal
and inevitable outcome for research and researchers will have arrived (and
we can go back to doing full time research, partaking of the openly
accessible literature and enjoying the maximized impact of our own work).

That much is and was in our hands; the rest need not be.

Stevan Harnad




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