Re: Science Article (Roberts et al.) and Science Editorial

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PHOENIX.PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001 17:10:28 -0500

This is yet another example of an unnecessary debate between two
compatible approaches.

Having free access after a year is clearly not as good as having it
immediately. But it is better than never having it. Its intended
beneficiaries are not those active researchers in the primary field of the
journal. Its intended beneficiaries include: people in underdeveloped
countries, students and faculty in small colleges who will see the items
referred to in indexes and later articles, and people in other fields who
will see an occasional later reference. These are important groups,
comprising many more people than the active workers in a specialty.

I cannot see how one approach will harm the other. Of course we should
have free universal archiving, both discipline and university based. But
while we have the existing journals as they are, let's make
the best use of them we can. People will publish in whatever way
gives their work best exposure to those who matter to them, and that
carry the highest prestige. The balance of these two factors will vary
from person to person, as well as from field to field.

Let's all stop saying that any approach that isn't the same as one's own
must have fatal defects, and that victory will go to the person who is the
cleverest at presenting them. (Though I will say that reading the
messages in this and previous controversies has given me a very good
appreciation of skillful argumentative prose style.)

 David Goodman, Princeton University Biology
Library 609-258-3235
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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