[Journal-notes] Re: "Disaggregated Journals"

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Fri Jul 15 10:27:35 EST 2005


On Fri, 15 Jul 2005, J.F.B.Rowland wrote:

> To call John Smith's thought experiment 'untested' is fair and factual.  To
> call it 'incoherent' is totally unfair.  John has developed his ideas, and
> published them, over a number of years, and in my opinion they are well
> thought out.  The question 'How do we get there from here?' does of course
> remain, but his ideas are an interesting contribution to the debate.

The bottom line is this: JS's are untested speculations. Neither their viability
nor their coherence is clear until and unless they are tested. 

More important, they are not relevant to the immediate concern of the Open
Access Movement, which is Open Access, Now. 

Testing speculative hypotheses about ways of reforming the publishing
system is a long-term task. Open Access to research is something that
is already long within reach and long overdue. Self-archiving is a
solution that has been tested and demonstrated to work. It merely needs
to be done.

John Smith (and many others) were speculating in 1999 (when the first
AmSci exchanges on publishing reform proposals began) and they are still
speculating today. Meanwhile precious time is being lost in actually
achieving 100% OA -- which is reachable today and was reachable in 1999
and earlier too, via self-archiving. And daily, monthly, yearly research
impact and progress continued to be needlessly lost.

My critique of the SPARC position paper on "The Case for Institutional
Repositories" http://www.arl.org/sparc/IR/ir.html was that it conflated
the very simple and straightforward case for IRs -- which is that
authors need to self-archive their traditional-journal articles in IRs
in order to make them OA so as to maximise their usage and impact --
with JS's (and others) untested speculations about various ways to reform
traditional journal publishing.

As a result, a clear picture of institutional self-archiving was not
presented by SPARC, and the research community lost yet another three
years of research usage and impact (though certainly not just because
SPARC didn't get it right!).

John Smith's AmSci postings and the comments on them can be reviewed
in the AmSci Forum Archive (see below), but please note that this
Forum is no longer the locus for speculation and counter-speculation
about untested hypotheses for reforming publishing (or peer review,
or copyright, or digital preservation or any of the other distractions
that have vied for our attention all these years). AmSci is now only
accepting postings on practical, implementable policies, resources
and tools for achieving OA, now. (There are other lists and Fora where
thought-experiments can continue to be debated.)

J.W.T.Smith AmSci postings:
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Hypermail/Amsci/author.html
Re: How to compare research impact of toll- vs. open-access research (Fri
    Apr 16 2004)
Re: Prospects for institutional e-print repositories study (Tue Jul 15 2003)
Re: Prospects for institutional e-print repositories study (Tue Jul 15 2003)
Re: Top 10 reasons why print journals have a future (Sat Apr 07 2001)
Re: Workshop on Open Archives Initiative in Europe (Tue Oct 31 2000)
Re: Workshop on Open Archives Initiative in Europe (Tue Oct 31 2000)
Re: Etymology of "Eprint" (Tue Aug 22 2000)
Re: Etymology of "Eprint" (Tue Aug 22 2000)
Re: Separating Quality-Control Service-Providing from Document-Providing
    (Thu Dec 02 1999)
Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review) (Mon Jul 12
    1999)
Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review) (Wed Jul 07
    1999)
Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review) (Tue Jul 06
    1999)
Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review) (Tue Jul 06
    1999)
Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives (Tue Jun 29 1999)
Re: Central vs. Distributed Archives (Tue Jun 29 1999)
Re: Are things otherwise in France? (Tue Jun 01 1999)
Alternative publishing models - was: Scholar's Forum: A New Model... (Sun
    May 02 1999





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