THES article on research access Friday June 6 2003

Stevan Harnad harnad at
Tue Jun 10 12:26:36 EST 2003

> Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 09:19:45 +0100
> From: [identity deleted]
>>		RE: THES article on research access Friday June 6 2003
>> 		"All UK research output should be online"
>> 		Details:
> Interesting, and a little ahead of its time. I am sure that citations
> will play an increasingly important role in the judgements of some
> [UK Research Assessment] panels next time. But to go the whole way you
> suggest requires a number of other things to be in place, not least 
> [1] new copyright arrangements, and confidence that other academics 
> everywhere else in the world are [2] able to be made aware of and then 
> [3] access the research publications in question. We are not there yet.

It is certainly true that we are not there yet, but we are much, much
closer than it may appear. And the outcome is both inevitable and optimal
for research, researchers, their institutions, their research funders, and
the funders of their funders (tax-paying society). What needs to be done
is to hasten and facilitate it, and the UK is in a unique position to
do this.

[1] Regarding copyright, see the Table of Publishers' Policies on
Self-Archiving maintained by JISC's Project Romeo (Rights Metadata for
Open Archiving):

Of the over 7000 journals so far surveyed, 55% already formally support
self-archiving, and most of the remaining 45% (perhaps 30%) will agree
on an individual-paper basis if asked. And there are even legal means of
self-archiving the remaining 15%:

So, depending on which way we decide to reckon it, we are at least 55%,
probably 85% and potentially 100% there already, insofar as copyright
arrangements are concerned. 

So copyright is certainly not the problem.

[2] Regarding international awareness of self-archived open-access
research, both the awareness and the evidence of the incomparably
higher visibility and usage of open-access research is already there
in abundance: It has been reported in Nature that research that is
freely accessible online is cited 336% as much as equivalent research
that is not:
There are also search engines such as poised to become the
googles of the refereed research literature as soon as that research
is self-archived, and webmetric search engines ready to monitor and
quantify impact, in many rich new ways:

So worldwide awareness certainly is not the problem.

[3] International access certainly is not the problem either: That is
what open-access self-archiving is all about!

No, everything is in place and ready. The only thing that is missing
(and hence the only problem) is the research itself! Researchers (and
their institutions) have not yet realised that the way to maximise their
work's impact is to make it open-access by self-archiving it.

It is precisely for this reason that it is so important that
research-funders should help them realise the importance of maximising
their research's impact, by the simple and eminently natural extension of
the "publish or perish" rule to: "publish with maximal impact (through

And it is for this reason that HEFCE and RAE and the UK Research Funding
Councils are in a position to hasten and facilitate the optimal and
inevitable, thereby leading the way for the rest of the research world,
while, paradoxically, simplifying their own lives, insofar as research
assessment is concerned, even while increasing the predictive power and
validity of the RAE!

You are right that we are not there yet. To get there we need to go the
whole way. And the time for that is now. (Indeed, it is overdue, as
research impact is being needlessly lost daily, and assessment effort is
being needlessly expended, while we wait.)

Stevan Harnad

(i) The standardised online RAE-CV can include not only refereed
journal papers and their webmetric impact measures but all other
performance indicators too, tailored to each discipline.

(ii) Book-based disciplines can self-archive their book's metadata
(author, title, date, publisher) and reference list to derive the
full benefit of these new measures of impact even if they prefer not
to self-archive the full-text.

(iii) And even research data (normally is too voluminous to be
co-published with the research papers based on it) can be self-archived,
and benefit from measures of its citation and usage:

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