Re: Update on Public Library of Science Initiative

From: Peter Suber <>
Date: Sun, 2 Sep 2001 14:04:09 +0100

On Fri, 31 Aug 2001, Stevan Harnad wrote:
>On Fri, 31 Aug 2001, Peter Suber wrote:
> > The number of PLoS-compliant journals is about six. The exact number
> > depends on how strictly one interprets compliance, but no matter how
> > one interprets it, the number is small. Hence it appears that one PLoS
> > strategy for moving forward will be to encourage the development of new
> > (free online) journals.
> >
> > This will be the real breakthrough. We never had to wait for the existing
> > journals to see the light, consent to FOS, or change their policies. We
> > always had the option to create new journals... I wonder how long
> > it will take for the number of PLoS compliant journals to rise from six
> > to six hundred.
>I wonder too. But could I make a suggestion? It is not only true that
>we need not sit and wait, wondering, for existing journals to "see the
>light" (i.e., decide, of their own accord, to give away their papers
>online for free); we also need not sit and wait for new journals to be
>created, or adopted by authors in preference to their existing
>established journals.
>Let all those things happen, by all means! But let us not sit and wait
>As researchers, we cannot change existing journal policies (we can only
>sign petitions); nor can we create alternative journals for each of our
>own articles: We must sit and wait for others do it for us.
>But meanwhile, as we sit and wait, there IS something each of us
>individual researchers can do, right now. And if we do it, there will
>be nothing left to wait for, as we will ourselves have set the refereed
>literature free.
>So, while we wait, wondering, may I suggest that we use the time to
>self-archive our research?
> Harnad, S. (2001) For Whom the Gate Tolls? How and Why to Free the
> Refereed Research Literature Online Through Author/Institution
> Self-Archiving, Now.

      Stevan is right that we needn't wait for self-archiving, which is one
of its most conspicuous advantages. Launching new (free, online) journals
will definitely help the cause, but it will take time and self-archiving is
available immediately. I didn't mean to suggest that we should launch new
journals to the exclusion of self-archiving; both are desirable, and as
strategies they complement one another.


Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374

Editor, The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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