[Journal-notes] Re: Leading academics back UK Research Councils on self-archiving

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Tue Aug 23 17:59:43 EST 2005


On Tue, 23 Aug 2005, adam hodgkin wrote:

> I don't see why the proponents of OA should mind recognising that the 
> technology of OA (the internet au fond) is a disruptive technology and will 
> change economic behaviour of libraries, publishers and researchers. That is 
> indeed part of the point.

The RCUK policy is not intended to change the behaviour of libraries and
publishers. It is intended to change the behaviours of researchers --
and not their *economic* behaviour, just their *ergonomic" (keystroking)
behaviour (or that of their designees). And the only "economics" in any
of this is the economics of research usage and impact, and the role those
play in research progress and researchers' careers, salaries and funding.

This pure research issue -- something between researchers and their
fellow-researchers, not the library or publishing community -- has been conflated
with pricing and publishing issues for long enough. It is sinking from the weight!
Forget about publishing models and ensure that every UK researcher maximises the
usage and impact of his own research by self-archiving a draft in his own
institutional repository, exactly as the RCUK is proposing.

> It is odd that we should be arguing that there is no sure fire proof that 
> behaviour will change, when we fully expect that behaviour should change and 
> IS changing the way things are done.

The behaviour that can and will and should change is keystroking -- and the
research usage and access that results from it. But forget about all this
irrelevant (and disruptive) talk about economic behaviour and publishing!

> All sides can also agree that the continuing provision of quality control by 
> editors and referees is also important. This is something no one wants to 
> lose and provides a continuing rationale for the role of the publisher.

The RCUK policy is to self-archive *peer-reviewed* research -- the final
draft that has been revised and accepted for *publication*. The RCUK has
not proposed scuttling peer review or publication; indeed, those are part
of the definition of the target corpus for OA self-archiving. Let us
not box shadows of our own invention.

Stevan Harnad




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