Re: PostGutenberg Copyrights and Wrongs for Give-Away Research

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_COGPRINTS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 13:36:32 +0100

Unfortunately, Albert Henderson's suggestions are so repetitive and
predictable that they can be responded to by number. These responses
are themselves equally predictable (and a fortiori, repetitive), but
they differ from the points to which they are responses in that they
take the point into account, and advance the analysis one step further,
whereas alas Albert simply takes a step back every time, and simply
reiterates, without processing or reflecting on the substantive
responses he has received repeatedly -- indeed, without giving any sign
of their having entered his sensorium at all.

Two algorithms will generate just about every point Albert keeps
making in this Forum (and the points both keep generating are just
plain incorrect):

(1) The serials crisis is an artifact of (conspiratorial)
underfunding of libraries, and would be solved if this underfunding
were terminated. [Fallacy: No conspiracy; no underfunding; no funds
available or deliberately withheld.]

(2) Nothing relevant has changed since the Gutenberg [print on-paper
dissemination] Era. [Fallacy: everything has changed; authors can now
disseminate their REFEREED {sic} research for free for all, online, by
self-archiving {sic}]

On Mon, 25 Jun 2001, Albert Henderson wrote:

> Money is not the only token of value. One of the key
> fallacies that burdens this forum is the failure to
> recognize the economic exchanges that course through
> the research communication process. Publishers exchange
> recognition and dissemination services for the copyrights
> of the articles they publish. Every economist I know agrees.

In the PostGutenberg Galaxy, that "service" is no longer needed; it is
now merely an option. Dissemination is available by other means. The
only essential service is peer review (implementation), which only
accounts for about 10% of the dollars exchanged, and could easily be paid
up-front out of the 100% annual windfall savings if the freeing of this
(refereed, published) literature on-line by author/institution
self-archiving reduces institutional subscription/license expenditure
and publisher subscription/license revenue sufficiently to make it

In other words, Albert's invariant notion that it is a law of nature
that the economic exchange is all dissemination rights ceded in
exchange for dissemination itself is completely obsolete. It would be
a welcome relief and surprise if Albert were ever to show the
slightest sign of having processed this basic PostGutenberg datum...

Dissemination and peer review need no longer be coupled.

> By the same token, the value of self-publishing is of lesser
> value because it is unselective and offers little archival
> promise in spite of the mis-use of the word by Harnad and
> Gisparg.

It has never been self-publishing! It is the self-archiving of
refereed, published research.

On the lexical quibbles about the term, nolo contendere.

Now can we please stop wasting time on these antedeluvian irrelevancies
and return to the subject matter of this Forum, which is the freeing of
the refereed literature online? There are several substantive discussion
threads in progress and no point in continuing to beat these dead horses
in 2001.

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 the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00 & 01):

You may join the list at the site above.

Discussion can be posted to:
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Fri Dec 10 2010 - 19:46:09 GMT