THES article on research access Friday June 6 2003

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sat Jun 7 18:56:00 EST 2003


On Sat, 7 Jun 2003 [identity removed] wrote:

> > The brief article, Friday June 6, 2003,
> > in the Times Higher Education Supplement.
> >                 http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/theshort.html
> > In Ariadne 35,  http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue35/harnad/ Harnad writes:
> >       The Funding Councils should mandate that in order to be eligible
> >       for Research Assessment and funding, all UK research-active
> >       university staff must maintain (I) a standardised online RAE-CV,
> >       including all designated RAE performance indicators, chief among
> >       them being (II) the full text of every refereed research paper,
> >       publicly self-archived in the university's online Eprint Archive
> >       and linked to the CV for online harvesting, scientometric analysis
> >       and assessment.
> 
> How will this affect people who move (a) between industry and 
> academia, and (b) between countries?  It sounds to me as if it would
> work only for people who stay all their life in the place they were born.

Institutional Eprint Archives are OAI-compliant:
http://www.openarchives.org/. That means they are all interoperable. One
continues to get credit for one's publications even when one changes
employment. And all research institutions, not just universities,
are encouraged to create institutional Eprint Archives to maximize the
impact of their research publications. The only institutions to which
this would not apply would be those that do not publish their research
output at all. (There, for the researcher contemplating transfering
to a university, "publish or perish" is the familiar rule to consider;
self-archiving is merely to maximize the impact of published research. For
unpublished research, nolo contendere -- though if there are other forms
of quantifiable performance indicators for such unpublished industrial
research, they could certainly be listed in the researcher's standardized
online CV http://paracite.eprints.org/cgi-bin/rae_front.cgi which can
also be made OAI-compliant and interoperable with all other such CVs
and CV-assessors.)

> Or does "every refereed research paper" only mean those papers written
> under the councils' funding?  I absolutely agree that as long as they
> pay, they can (and should) set the rules.

It means every refereed paper, whether council-funded or not. The
research-funders are in a position to mandate not only the publishing
of the research output, but the maximizing of its impact. So are the
researcher's employers (particularly as they are the co-beneficiaries
of both the research funding and the research impact). It is merely a
natural extension of the existing carrot/stick system we call "publish
or perish" to "publish with maximal impact."

> I personally think the issue should address the individual interest
> ("how you can improve your academic career") rather than centralized
> regulation ("the council should mandate...").

The main interest is of course that of research itself, and the reason
we conduct and fund it. But the interests of an individual research
career depend on employment and research-funding. So it all boils down
to the same thing. (There is nothing new here, as noted: Whatever was
"mandated" under the classical and uncontroversial "publish-or-perish"
rule is simply given a natural extension here into the online age:
If "publish" simply means "maximize user access to your peer-reviewed
research findings by publishing them in a paper journal" then its
natural PostGutenberg generalization is "maximize user access to your
peer-reviewed research findings by publishing them in a paper journal
*and* self-archive them online to make them openly accessible to all
would-be users and not just those whose institutions can afford the
access-tolls of the journal in which it is published." )

Or, for short: Publish with Maximal Access (= open access).
http://www.soros.org/openaccess/

Stevan Harnad




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