Re: Authors "Victorious" in UnCover Copyright Suit

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 07:41:56 +0100

On Mon, 14 Aug 2000, Albert Henderson wrote:

> on Sat, 12 Aug 2000 Stevan Harnad <> wrote:
>sh> (1) I've always argued that give-away refereed research reports are
>sh> indeed more like self-advertising than anything else (but it
>sh> accordingly follows that it makes no more sense that readers should be
>sh> charged for access to them than it does to charge for access to any
>sh> other ad!).
> That is an interesting idea, but advertising is very different
> in its essential details. The publishing cost of advertising
> is paid by the advertiser. Thus the advertising model is more
> like the "subversive proposal," where the author bears the
> burden of dissemination, than it is the traditional journal
> publishing process.

Correct. Please see what I have repeatedly written in this Forum about
the author-institution covering its authors' annual QC/C [Quality
Control & Certification] costs out of a small fraction of its annual
S/L/P [Subscription/Site-License/Pay-per-View] savings.

But the Subversive Proposal PRECEDES all this; self-archiving will have
the eventual EFFECT of driving the system toward the above outcome
(because it will never move there on its own).

Necessity is the Mother of Invention: S/L/P revenue-loss as a result
of user preference for the free, self-archived versions will inspire
journals to scale down to their one remaining essential function, QC/C
service-provision, and the S/L/P savings will be there to meet the cost
(not before).

[The Give-Away/Non-Give-Away distinction is absolutely critical here:
The reason this "subversion" can be and is being done with the refereed
research literature is that this literature -- and this literature
alone -- is an author give-away (the author wants to maximize research
impact, not text-sales income), whereas books written for royalty and
magazine-articles written for fees are NOT author give-aways: their
benefits to the author are based on text-sales income). Hence
non-give-away authors have no interest whatsoever in self-archiving,
subversion, or getting around copyright so as to give away their

    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)

> Three elements differentiate formal publication from
> advertising:

> (A) the investment of a third party, the publisher,

Correct. That investment is for providing the QC/C service, and it will
be paid for out of the S/L/P savings.

> (B) justified by peer review and

That's QC/C.

> (C) the purchase for dissemination purposes by libraries or by
> individuals.

That is what is no longer justified or necessary when all journal
papers can be self-archived on-line by their authors in interoperable,
distributed Eprint Archives ( mounted at each
research institution and automatically harvested into one global,
virtual collection, free for all.

> In addition, the publishers' ability to recover their
> investments is (D) secured by copyright.

The investment in providing the essential SERVICE of QC/C will be fully

The investment in providing the INessential on-paper and on-line
PRODUCT by the publisher will either cease altogether, or will become
an optional add-on:

The author-institution covers the essential QC/C and the
reader-institution and individuals have the option of also buying the
publisher's proprietary version, rather than just using the free
on-line version in the global Eprint system, if they prefer. THAT can
be resolved by the market.

But buying that add-on product must be made optional, rather than
obligate as it is now, with copyright currently being used to try to
hold the paper hostage to S/L/P.

Separating and paying for QC/C up-front will release the paper, but the
self-archiving that will force the system into this optimal and
inevitable solution needs to be done first. And, as repeatedly
described in this Forum, it can be (and is being) done, legally, right
now, despite even the most restrictive copyright transfer agreement.

> These factors do not appear in advertising and are rejected by
> the self-archiving model.

I don't understand this part at all. I have said that refereed research
publication is LIKE advertising; I did not say it WAS advertising. The
QC/C is unique to research reporting; Madison Avenue ads are not peer
reviewed, so no one has to pay for peer review.

But nothing is "rejected" by self-archiving -- except the prospect of
allowing these give-away, QC-certified "ads" to continue to be held
hostage to S/L/P.

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

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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

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