Re: Authors "Victorious" in UnCover Copyright Suit

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2000 17:03:05 +0100

On Thu, 10 Aug 2000, Albert Henderson wrote:

> sh> Journal articles are author GIVE-AWAYS;
> Harnad confuses the exchange of copyright for
> valuable recognition and dissemination with the
> fact that money does not change hands. Authors
> work hard for acceptance and each has a selection
> hierarchy for submissions if the first choice
> will not publish.

Authors work hard for recognition and certification by their PEERS, and
it is the service of peer-review (refereeing) that a refereed journal
implements (the peers review for free too!). The implementation of that
Quality-Control/Certification (QC/C) SERVICE will be paid for, as a
service, but it costs only a tiny fraction of the price the world now
pays for access to a PRODUCT, which is the QC/C'd paper itself. THAT
will be disseminated free, through self-archiving.

> R. K. Merton has made this
> point at length. I believe any economist would
> agree that an exchange, not a give-away, takes
> place.

RK Merton was writing in the Gutenberg Era. For the view of Economists
in the PostGutenberg Era, see:

Harnad, S., Varian, H. & Parks, R. (2000) Academic publishing in the
online era: What Will Be For-Fee And What Will Be
For-Free? Culture Machine 2 (Online Journal)

> sh> the average refereed journal
> sh> article (this is a free estimate, but unlikely to be far from the
> sh> truth) has, let's say, 25 readers, and zero citations (apart from
> sh> self-citations), in its entire life-cycle. (Authors for whom UnCover
> sh> raises that number by 1 or 2 are not "abused"!)
> Not relevant to "hot papers" that score hundreds
> or thousands of readings and citations -- the
> latter a regular feature in THE SCIENTIST.


But even the happy authors of the "hot papers" would, I assure you, be
quite happy to increase their impact still further; and for that, the
needless impact-barriers need to go.

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

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Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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