Re: The July 6-7 NYAM "Freedom of Information" Meeting

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 2000 08:41:54 +0100

On Tue, 18 Jul 2000, ransdell, joseph m. wrote:

> Steve Hitchcock wrote:
> > If . . . all academic journals could be
> > subscribed to by all academic libraries, what would we have? Almost the
> > ideal open archive.
> For academicians, that is. I have heard a rumor, though, to the effect
> that intelligent life -- including scientific and intellectual life --
> actually exists outside of academia. But then I have also heard it
> rumored that intelligent life exists within academia, too, though I've
> not seen much evidence for that as regards networking.
> But seriously, isn't distribution by academic subscription actually a
> more exclusionary and hence more reactionary form of distribution than
> what presently exists? I can see no reason for thinking it is even "a
> step in the right direction" unless one perceives something else being
> done which indicates that people actually understand what the right
> direction is and are moving toward it.

I agree with Joseph, but I think he might have misinterpreted Steve
Hitchcock's subtle message: Steve Hitchcock was simply trying to take
Pieter Bolman of Academic Press at his word that every researcher
should have full access to every journal. Hitchcock was pointing out that if
the PREMISE that EVERY institution can afford to purchase online access
to EVERY journal for EVERY one of its researchers were met, then there
would indeed be access for EVERY (institutional) researchers.

You are quite right to point out that this would not cover
non-institutional researchers. But Steve's point (I think) was that the
premise is not, cannot, and will not be met, because there is not faintly
enough money for EVERY institution to be able to afford it.

Hence the very same desideratum that Pieter was explicitly endorsing --
full access for every researcher to every journal -- can be met another
way: through open archiving by every researcher.

This is not a point about mode-of-payment -- whether, Subscription,
Site-License, or Pay-Per-View -- for all three are access-blockers. It
is a point about doing away with the access blockage altogether (and
that would transcend institutional/noninstitutional barriers en

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 Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:45:48 GMT