Re: The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)

From: Mark Doyle <doyle_at_APS.ORG>
Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 12:18:24 -0500


I'm going to be brief in my response since I don't really have much time
devote this. Stevan keeps misrepresenting what I have said. I have
not advocated waiting on self-archiving at all. Only that in parallel and
as part of initiatives that create self-archiving or alternative journal
attention should be paid to true electronic archiving. It doesn't matter
this is "relatively new" - it is a cost today and anyone serious about
advantage of electronic publishing to revolutionize scholarly
communication knows that is important. My only interest is in getting
cost recognized and true archiving implemented widely so that such
costs can be externalized by publishers like the APS so that we can
make a transition to open access. The soapbox (and resources) of
like BOAI should be used do something concrete beyond just
creating free PDF or HTML archives which we all know how to do and we
all know
are cheap.

The current economic model for peer review and archiving is very much
still tied tightly
to publisher restricted access to the article content. Undermining this
developing a true alternative to what the current system provides is
naive and may lead to a true loss for the scholarly community. Open
access is an APS objective, but it is nigh impossible until there is
an alternative economic model in place for doing the two things we deem
most important - peer review and creating a true electronic archive
(note that
disseminating that archive is not a requirement, but again there are no
viable alternatives at this point). If the costs continue to go
or are omitted in the debate, then it is impossible for us to make a
without throwing away some aspects that we (as representatives of our
members) already know to be essential.

The projects Stevan points to are quite admirable. But they are an 80/20
approach - 80% of the linking etc. is trivial, the remaining 20% quite
difficult. The last 5% is usually impossible without labor. With a proper
XML archive, you get a 100% solution all at once. Publishers already
automate what they can.

Stevan argues that only open access and peer review are essential and the
rest is details about implementation. I find this incredibly naive and
for me
to believe this I would have to throw away my last eight years of
both working on and at a publisher. Implementation is much more
difficult and costly without proper infrastructure. Advocating partial
to the full problem (i.e., just focusing on open access) will not lead
to the proper infrastructure and it ironically makes it much harder for
publishers like the APS to develop and move to an open access model.


Mark Doyle
Manager, Product Development
The American Physical Society
Received on Mon Apr 01 2002 - 20:50:46 BST

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