Re: Should Publishers Offer Free-Access Services?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 24 Dec 2001 12:51:43 +0000

On Sun, 23 Dec 2001, Thomas J. Walker wrote:

> >PhysNet for the EPS:
> ...PhysNet is designed to make it easy to (among other
> things) harvest what is on the home pages of members of physics
> institutions...
> ...
> I then tested (2) with this sample of three papers and failed to find any
> of the papers by using PhysNet--either by searching for the papers directly
> or by using PhysNet to go directly to the authors' home pages.
> ...
> Although I failed to find any of the papers with PhysNet, I quickly found
> two with Google ( Google displayed a URL for the
> PDF file of the third paper as well, but it was no longer the correct one.

To draw any conclusions from this, it is necessary to put it into

I will do this in a moment, but first let me point out some remarkable
and highly relevant new resources under development by Xiaoming Liu at
Old Dominion University:

(1) ARC a cross-archive harvester for
OAI-compliant Eprint Archives and

(2) DP9 an OAI gateway service
for web crawlers.

Now the context:

We must distinguish between actual services that are available
right now, and services that could readily be built once more of
the full-text refereed literature is available in OAI-compliant Eprints
Archives to build those services on top of and to apply them to. ARC,
DP9, and CITE-BASE are
examples of such services, already within reach and under development.

It is in this light that the alternative strategies for increasing the
free-access full-text content should be weighed, for otherwise our
judgment is biassed by the undeniable but readily remediable (and one
hopes temporary) fact that there is as yet still so little full-text
refereed-article content archived and freely accessible on-line.

The alternatives that we are weighing concern how to accelerate the
free accessibility of more and more of that full-text content. Spawning
the requisite services on top of the content is NOT the problem.

    Harnad, S. (2001) Six Proposals for Freeing the Refereed Literature
    Ariadne 28 June 2001.

Stevan Harnad

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 amsci site.

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Received on Mon Dec 24 2001 - 12:51:56 GMT

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