Re: Scholar's Forum: A New Model For Scholarly Communication

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 13:20:46 +0000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 13:06:36 +0000 (GMT)
From: Stevan Harnad <>
To: Ira Fuchs VP CIT <>,
    Steve Koonin <>,
    Charles Phelps <>
Cc: David Shulenburger <>
Subject: Free the Journal Literature in 2000: Please Reply

Dear Steve, Charles, David and Ira:

(and others interested in implementing the Scholars Forum Initiative)

I will make this brief:

If you are indeed serious about wanting to do it, we can now implement
Scholars Forum and the recommendations we made to the AAU in 1997


within 2-3 months, and the freeing of the entire journal literature
should then not lag far behind. Our 1997 consensus was:

            1) The AAU would play a central role in leading member
            universities towards forming a multi-national consortium
            focused on key issues such as certification and reliable
            electronic access to scholarly results

            2) Attendees would stimulate further discussion of key
            issues on their campuses and among themselves.

            3) Academic administrators would encourage and support
            promising) initiatives and share outcomes with attendees.

As a result of the recent meeting of the Open Archive Initiative and
the adoption of the Santa Fe Convention


we are at the moment redesigning the CogPrints Archive Software to make
it Santa-Fe-compliant and generic, so that every university will be able
to mount it, free, to establish its own open archives for all its
disciplines. All the open archives will be interoperable and integrated
seamlessly via the NCSTRL gateway into a global virtual archive.


The key to the success of this initiative is

    (1) broad (and prompt) adoption of the interoperable archives by
    universities worldwide and

    (2) a strong incentive to each university's authors to self-archive
    their papers in them.

All copyright problems can be avoided by adopting the following policy:

    (a) All authors are strongly encouraged to strike out any passage
    that would cede their right to self-archive their final, accepted
    draft online before signing their copyright transfer agreement with
    their publishers.

    (b) If they have already signed a copyright transfer agreement that
    denies their right to self-archive their final, accepted draft
    online, they should either

            (i) self-archive a penultimate draft (pre-refereeing
            preprint) and append a list of all the changes that were
            made to turn it into the final accepted draft, or they

            (ii) self-archive a revised, expanded (post-publication)
            draft and append a list of the changes that were made to
            the final accepted draft.

University administrators and librarians (and library users) are all
asking what they can do to resolve the serials crisis. Here is a way
that could resolve it almost instantly, if only we go ahead and do it!

Important suggestion: Have a slush fund available to help out authors
who -- once they have come to understand the critical causal link
between (I) their self-archiving of their own papers in the open
archives, and (II) the freeing of the journal literature for one and
all (along with the increased impact the open access will give to their
published research) -- reply to you:

    "I'd like to do it, but I'm too busy/nontechnical/old! Here's the
    disk with my papers: YOU archive it for me."

A modest slush fund to pay Web-savvy students to archive the first
wave of papers on behalf of their authors will be a HUGE facilitator in
getting the whole project over the top. (The archive is being designed
to be exceedingly easy and friendly: only a few minutes for the first
paper by an author, and even fewer from then onward for all the rest.)

You four (Steve, Charles, David and Ira) have been involved in the
Scholars Forum Initiative since it started as the Conference on the
Future of Scholarly Communication at the Cal Tech in March, 1997.

Please let me know if you are willing to carry the initiative further,
now, in the spirit of that conference's consensus, by promoting the
adoption (and use!) of the generic open archives in the next few months.

(All others who are in a position to facilitate open archives at their
universities are also encouraged to contact me if they are interested.)

Best wishes,

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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