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[BOAI] A proposal for evaluating and rewarding the impact of research articles

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Wed Sep 3 15:34:09 EST 2003

On Wed, 3 Sep 2003, Etienne Joly wrote:

> http://www.biomedcentral.com/openaccess/forum/?letter=20030722ej

> For the benefit of the scientific community, completely Open Access
> to all primary scientific articles is clearly the only way to go....
> I believe... that it would be possible to set up a system 
> whereby papers would get evaluated for publication solely on their 
> scientific soundness, whilst the best papers would still get recognised 
> and their authors rewarded for making important contributions. For 
> example I would envisage that the amount charged for the publication of 
> their manuscript would be inversely related to the scientific impact of 
> that paper. The ground basis of this proposal is that papers would be 
> rated retroactively, and this rating would provide the authors with a 
> quotable evaluation of their publications that could be used on their 
> CVs or their grant applications.

What the peer-reviewed research literature needs (urgently) today is
to become freely accessible to all of its potential users worldwide,
online, today. This does not call for any tampering with peer review on
the basis of untested (and often very unrealistic) speculations. It only
calls for free online access to the peer-reviewed research literature.

The true cost of *implementing* peer review (referees referee for free),
whatever that cost turns out to be, can and will be paid for in advance,
by the researcher's institution or research-funder, *if and when that
becomes necessary.* At the moment, it is necessary only for
at most five percent (5%) -- http://www.doaj.org/ -- of the 24,000 peer-reviewed
journals (3-4 million annual articles) that exist today:
http://www.ulrichsweb.com/ulrichsweb/analysis/ These 24,000 journals and
their 3-4 million annual articles are what we are talking about freeing
online access *to* here. http://www.ulrichsweb.com/ulrichsweb/analysis/

For the remaining ninety-five percent (95%) of those 24,000 journals
and 3-4 million annual articles, all that is needed in order to make
them freely accessible online today is for their authors to continue to
publish them in the journals of their choice -- as well as to self-archive
them in their own institutional eprint archives.

No need to implement any speculative changes whatosever in either peer
review or its funding.

    The Invisible Hand of Peer Review.

    Peer Review Reform Hypothesis-Testing

    A Note of Caution About "Reforming the System"

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research literature online is available at
the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01 & 02 & 03):


Discussion can be posted to: september98-forum at amsci-forum.amsci.org 

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