From: Chris Armstrong <>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 16:15:42 +0100


Your points 1 to 4 do NOT answer my worries, they simply brush them

>(1) Self-archiving is a transitional phase in the
>freeing of the refereed literature online.
>(2) It occurs IN PARALLEL with the continuing existence
>of the official "copy of record" (the refereed journal).

YES. I DO understand all this. Transitional it may be, but you have
acknowledged that the transition may be long(ish), so, MEANWHILE, users
are faced with the quality judgements - the kinds of worries I have
already spelled out - on authority, version and usability.

To say that "archives are not publishers; they are archives" is pure
semantics when at the same time you are explaining that the archives
exist to get papers to a wider audience. If the archives are accessible
to the world at large, the archive owner has "published" the papers he
or she adds to it. Thus, the same strictures that relate to convention
publishing must relate to archiving. Access and control go hand in

Something IS better than nothing so long as the user is aware of the
kind of deal s/he is getting.

>And adults are capable of taking both differences into

Yes - but evidence shows that frequently adults (and students!) fail to
do so. Caveat emptor is all very well, but somewhere in the information
chain someone has to take responsibility (for ensuring and labelling
quality) for what I insist on calling the PUBLICATION of papers. They
may well even be liable (in legal terms) should the paper cause 'harm'.
Just as ISP are frequently held to account for the content of email
passing through their servers and publishers for the content of their
books, archive publishers will be a liable party: I think that they
will find they need the kind of expertise traditionally associated with
a conventional publisher - and that this brings with it the need for
publisher-like roles such as editors. You talk of self-archiving but in
reality, this will be done on a university/institution computer/network
and the institution will be culpable.

>Much money (S/L/P) will be saved, not spent.

Yes but the money saved will probably come from the library journals
purse while the money spent will be computer services who will need to
administer the archives (in most cases). I would bet that these are too
far apart to balance!

'To imagine that we need to abstain from self-archiving because the
self-archived refereed draft is not yet the authenticated refereed
draft' may well be "Zeno's Paralysis" but to imagine that
self-archiving is SO different from publishing - different enough that
the established management models/rules need not apply - is surely
Zeno's Folly.

>Please, let's not keep confusing LIBERATION with

Please, let's not keep pretending that we are NOT talking about
PUBLICATION and that LIBERATION makes everything OK. LIBERATION may be
good, but it does not absolve the publishers (quasi-publishers, if you
will) of their responsibilities.

Chris Armstrong
Centre for Information Quality Management (CIQM)
(+44) 1974 251441
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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