[Journal-notes] Re: Green Party Green on Gold but not on Green

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Sep 11 11:56:16 EST 2005


On Sun, 11 Sep 2005, Jan Velterop wrote:

> "Do not say a little in many  words; say a great deal in a few"?).

Vide infra.

> 1. Researchers do not 'give away' their articles, certainly not to  
> publishers, without anything in return. 

Other authors ask royalties/fees; researchers don't.

> They seek something in exchange: recognition and impact: the 'brownie points' 
> they need for their careers. 

Not from their publishers, from their users.

> These things do not just come from making their  
> articles visible, but to a large degree from citations and the  
> 'label' that is the journal title attached to their article. 

The label is the peer-review quality level. The reviewers are unpaid peers.
The publisher implements the peer review: that's why he gets to sell the text
(royalty-free).

> Wanting something in return makes it a trade, commerce. Authors do not  
> 'give'; they 'pay' for what they want in return, either with  
> exclusive rights (to be converted by the publisher into money), or  
> with money. 

The author can and does give away his own drafts online; over 90% of journals
(green) have explicitly blessed this (not that a blessing was needed).

> They could, of course, 'give' their work away, to the  
> world. They don't need journals for that. But they won't get the  
> 'brownie points' without peer-reviewed journals.

Authors need the peer review. Is that your point? So?

> 2. "Being required to give away" is in conflict with being required  
> to publish in a peer-reviewed journal, as that implies a trade.  

The self-archiving mandate applies to the author's drafts, which are given
to the publisher and also given to users (as in reprint days).

> 'Giving away' here is of the same nature as being required to 'give  
> away' money to the taxman. There are plenty of verbs that could  
> describe such a transaction, but 'to give away' isn't usually among  
> them.

I can't follow this semiotics...

> 3. Self-archiving can, of course, be a supplement to formally  
> published articles. Rather in the way that a soup-kitchen is a  
> supplement to bakers, butchers and greengrocers, for those who can't  
> afford to buy food. These traders won't object to a soup kitchen and  
> may even donate their leftover loaves, pig-trotters and kale. But  
> don't ask them to lend their quality reputation, their brand, to the  
> soup kitchen's food. 

No one is asking. It is the author's draft that is self-archived.

> Self-archiving could be a tool to put pressure  
> on publishers to provide open access. 

Self-archiving is a tool to maximise research impact, no more, no less.

> But there is no denying that  
> there is the potential that it substitutes publishing when - not if -  
> it gets organised properly and offers the material with journal  
> 'labels' attached.  Journals (i.e. their publishers and organisers of  
> peer-review) will vanish.

There may or not be the potential, but there is today not a shred of
evidence in that direction.

> Unless they make the transition to viable  
> publishing models that make open access possible. 

Jan is a publisher, concerned about future publishing models. Researchers
are concerned about present access and impact.

> The Green Party  seems to understand that, 

The Green Party understood nothing, and left out the crucial component (green).

> but so did the HoC S&T Committee and the  
> RCUK, if one reads their reports in full, and many others.

The Committee & RCUK mandated the crucial component (and also added a
lot of needless word ballast with no concrete policy implications).
See Berlin 3 for a streamlined version, minus the semiology.

    http://www.eprints.org/berlin3/outcomes.html

Stevan Harnad




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