Reasons for freeing the primary research literature

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2001 13:19:05 -0400

There's been much discussion, via this forum, about HOW the primary
research literature might be freed. (By "primary" research literature, I
mean original contributions by active and appropriately-qualified
researchers, where new knowledge, such as novel concepts, novel data, or
novel interpretations of existing data, are published).

But, what about reasons WHY the primary research literature should be
freed? Here's my first attempt at a summary of some of the main reasons:

1. It should be done:

     - Information gap: Libraries and researchers in poor countries can't
afford most of the journals that they need.

     - Library crisis: Libraries and researchers in rich countries can't
afford some of the journals that they need.

     - Public property: The results of publicly-funded research should be

     - Academic freedom: Censorship based on cost rather than quality
can't be justified.

2. It can be done:

    - Open archives: Authors can self-archive their publications in open

    - Cost issues: Both electronic journals and open archives can be
funded in a variety of ways.

    - Branding issues: Essential quality control and certification need
not be sacrificed.

    - IP issues: Desirable protection of intellectual property need not
be sacrificed.

What other important reasons have I neglected?

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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