Re: Workshop on Open Archives Initiative in Europe

From: J.W.T.Smith <J.W.T.Smith_at_UKC.AC.UK>
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 2000 18:04:49 +0000

Prof Harnad,

As usual much of your reply is well thought out and has weight, however
there is one important misunderstanding I must clear up - see below.

On Tue, 31 Oct 2000, Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Your approach does require first freeing the literature from peer review
> and publishers. Well, to a first approximation (conditional on the
> eventual outcome of your experiment), that means we are no longer even
> talking about the same literature! I am talking about freeing the
> current, actual, refereed literature; you are talking about freeing a
> hypothetical future literature, no longer peer reviewed or published by
> the journals.

I do not (and never have) argued for the abandoning of peer-review - I
believe it is absolutely essential. I have only ever argued that it could
(maybe should) be carried out by entities separate from current journal
publishers. My main reason for this has been to break what I see as the
'ownership' link between the journal and the article. I want the world you
argue for - where articles are free to readers and have proposed the
'author pays' approach to pay for the certification activity. Once the
certification process is clearly not linked to a 'journal' other journals
(or Subject Focal Points, or whatever they will be called) can point to or
recommend any article to their subscribers. Yes, I still believe there
will be subscription services but these services will be paid for their
skills in locating and organising relevant information for their
subscribers not because they 'own' any of this information.

Let us follow the path you advocate as long as we can break the strong
ownership link between the article and the journal/certification agency.
There will then be an opportunity for the para-journals to come into
existence (as I predict they will) and the current journals may find their
making aware role shrinks to the point where they really do become no more
than certification agents.


John Smith,
University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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