Re: Free Online Access After One Year?

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 08:20:27 -0400

At 10:44 AM 9/27/00 +0100, you wrote:
>On Wed, 27 Sep 2000, Richard Gordon wrote:
> > I understand your arguments on making online access to the scientific
> > literature free. However, I'd like to suggest a compromise, which
> > some publishers might be willing to implement right away:
> >
> > All online journal articles will become accessible for free at a
> > fixed interval after publication.
> >
> > A reasonable interval might be one year. Few sales of printed
> > journals occur after a year, so only those people needing rapid
> > access (and not willing to do the work of writing for reprints or
> > accessing preprint depositories) would pay.
>I'm not sure in what sense you suggest this as a compromise. If what
>you mean is that it would be very helpful if journal publishers freed
>their contents on their own websites a year after publication, then of
>course it certainly would be very helpful (and indeed a number of
>journal publishers are contemplating doing so already, and even

Seventy-two of the journals that publish the e-version of their journals
through HighWire Press are already doing this, in most cases after 1 yr.

>For those who are not content with just the self-archived "vanilla"
>version of the refereed report, and are willing and able to pay (or
>wait) for the publisher's "deluxe" version, let that be available as an
>OPTION for as long as there is a market for it (whether it is a year
>from publication or even longer).
>But certainly no "compromise" should be considered that entails
>continuing to needlessly holding the refereed reports hostage to the
>deluxe add-ons and their tolls -- not even for a minute. (The immediate
>availability of their refereed research is as important to researchers
>as the immediate availability of their funds is to investors: an
>"embargo" of even a day amounts to a pure, and gratuitous, loss.)

The free Web access to their articles after 1 year (or more, or less) will
whet the appetites of authors and their sponsors for _immediate_ free Web
access, with the same convenience to the authors, with the same well-known
place of access, and in the archived format (currently paper). This will
create a demand from authors and their sponsors that publishers provide
this service (IFWA) at a fair price. Currently a fair price, as
demonstrated by the Entomological Society of America, is no more than 75%
of the price of 100 paper reprints.

Should this scenario prove true, publishers (at least society ones) and
their authors may smoothly transition to what Stevan and I agree is inevitable.

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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