Chronicle of Higher Education Article on "Self-Publication"

Stevan Harnad harnad at
Wed Nov 20 15:43:49 EST 2002

On Wed, 20 Nov 2002 agrimwade at wrote:

>   Scholarly Publishers Aim to Woo Librarians Away From
>   Self-Published Research
>   By SCOTT CARLSON (Chronicle of Higher Education)
>   ...The [publishers'] campaign aims, in
>   part, to quash a newfound enthusiasm among some librarians for
>   self-publishing research results online, a practice that lets
>   scholars bypass academic journals that many researchers say
>   are too slow and too costly.

Ah me, what unremitting confusion!

(1) Researchers are not self-PUBLISHING, they are self-ARCHIVING their
research, both before (preprints) and after publishing it in
peer-reviewed journals (postprints).

(2) There is no point wooing librarians! The problem is not in
librarians' relationships with publishers, nor does any solution lie
there. The problem is with research accessibility and impact. It is
all in the hands of researchers, their institutions, and their

(3) Self-archiving of published, refereed research is unstoppable because
(a) it is at long-last, with the coming of the online digital age,
possible, (b) it is also optimal for research and researchers, their
institutions and their research funders, and (c) there is no earthly
reason NOT to do it, now that it is possible.

(4) Nevertheless, nothing will change for journal publishers in the
short-term because of self-archiving; but in the long-term they will
probably have to downsize to become open-access journal publishers,
charging the author/institution only (once) for the peer review service
($500 per paper), with the journal-certified outcome (the refereed
research) thereafter accessible for free for all.

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02):

Discussion can be posted to: september98-forum at 

See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:

the Free Online Scholarship Movement:

the SPARC position paper on institutional repositories:

the OAI site:

and the free OAI institutional archiving software site:

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