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No Reply to Next Two Postings

Stevan Harnad harnad at ecs.soton.ac.uk
Mon Oct 4 06:55:16 EST 2004

As I detect signs of a trend toward tumbling into intemperateness if the
exchange continues, I will not reply to the two postings by Jean-Claude Guedon
that follow this one. The attentive reader can, I think, draw his own
conclusions from what has already been said. The rest would just have
been repetition.

One substantive point, however, should be noted. At some point Jean-Claude Guedon
introduces his "overlay journal" notion into the discussion of institutional
self-archiving. It must be pointed out that this notion betrays a profound
misunderstanding of the very nature and essence of institutional self-archiving:

The purpose of institutional self-archiving is to make all the articles
published by the institution's authors in peer-reviewed journals today
Open Access (OA), today. It is the peer-reviewed journal articles
that are self-archived. These have already been peer-reviewed and
published. Hence they are not looking for peer-review, or a publisher,
or an "overlay journal." They are only looking for OA, so that all their
would-be users can access and use them.

Jean-Claude seems to keep thinking of self-archiving as something authors
do with their unpublished, non-peer-reviewed preprints, rather than with
their published, peer-reviewed articles, something that still requires
peer-review and publication by "overlay journals." This is an error,
and it is not what OA is about, or what self-archiving is for.

Self-archiving the various embryological stages of a paper -- including
pre-peer-review drafts and post-publication revisions, corrections and
updates -- is certainly to be encouraged, and one of the added bonusses
of self-archiving, but it is not primarily what self-archiving or OA are
about, or for. OA self-archiving is done in order to make the published
article's contents (not necessarily its form) OA, for all of its potential
users worldwide, whether or not their institutions can afford to pay
for access to the publisher's proprietary version.

Hence the "overlay journals" proposal is really just another speculative
hypothesis about the course that journal publication might or might
not eventually take. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature
and purpose of institutional self-archiving, which is to provide OA to
all articles published by the institution's authors (mostly in non-OA
journals) in order to maximize their usage and impact.

This straightforward, atheoretical, non-hypothetical rationale for
institutional OA self-archiving -- already well-demonstrated empirically
to be both feasible and to produce the desired benefits -- should be
strictly separated from any speculative hypotheses about the future
course that journal publication might or might not one day take.

Stevan Harnad

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