Re: ALPSP statement on BOAI

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_PRINCETON.EDU>
Date: Mon, 22 Apr 2002 18:03:30 -0400

Although I agree these are trivial matters, it is just such matters that
may well affect the success of initiatives such as BOAI. The publication
of scientific articles is interwoven with the pattern of academic
affairs in general.
Stevan, under the facade of maintaining an open position on these, you
are imposing your own particular desired pattern. Follow your own
advice, and concentrate on getting the system working, to be refined as
opportunity permits. Let's all of us not bother the list with more of

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Mon, 22 Apr 2002, David Goodman wrote:
> > ...the insistence of some
> > administrative bodies that the publications be in formal conventional
> > journals, sometimes even requiring that they be in print format...
> > ...has nothing to do with peer review, one way or another. I agree
> > with Stevan on this...
> Let us put this in context, and sort out some of the conflations:
> FACT 1: Virtually all of the important established peer-reviewed
> journals today have an online version too. So "online vs. print" in
> this sense is clearly not the issue, for "administrative bodies."
> FACT 2: Among the new peer-reviewed journal start-ups in the past
> several years -- i.e., among the UNestablished journals -- a
> significant proportion have been online-only (i.e., they have not
> bothered to produce a print version at all, anticipating the future,
> and in order to minimize needless costs).
> FACT 3: Established journals are weighted more heavily by "administrative
> bodies" in academic standing reviews for the very valid reason that they
> are established, they have reputations, track-records, impact-factors.
> There is a known, reliable way of inferring what their quality-standards
> are, hence of what the likely quality of accepted papers will be.
> FACT 4: Papers in new journals in general do not have the above,
> regardless of whether the journals are are print-only, online-only, or
> both. (There are, however, some notable exceptions: Journal of High
> Energy Physics JHEP is online-only and was
> established only four years ago, but rose to a very high impact factor
> within a year or two of its inception.)
> As a consequence, based on the empirical data, it makes eminently good
> sense that universities, in evaluating the research output of
> their faculty, should place much greater weight on journals with
> established quality-standards than on those without them. The odds are
> accordingly that they will place less weight on online-only journals for
> the simple statistical reason that (a) virtually all of them will be new
> start-ups rather than established journals and (b) JHEP is the exception
> rather than the rule (but a clear enough exception so that we can be
> certain that JHEP authors are receiving due credit for their JHEP
> publications, by whatever their university happens to be).
> As to the bureaucratic requirement that the copies of the published papers
> that are physically submitted for assessment to the "administrative
> bodies" must be in "print format" -- that arbitrary and inefficient
> constraint is just too silly and trivial for us to waste time on here.
> We have rather more serious things to worry about than whether
> bureaucrats happen to want our documents in triplicate rather than
> duplicate. The UK's RAE had such a requirement
> last time; I trust that they will be much more sensible next time (if
> there is a next time):
> One thing is sure: None of this has anything to do with the goal
> of the American Scientist Forum
> , the
> Budapest Open Access Initiative , the
> Public Library of Science or the
> Free Online Scholarship Movement ,
> all of which are dedicated to ushering in at last the long overdue era
> of toll-free online access to the entire peer-reviewed research
> literature. The fact that this literature is online rather than just
> in-print is taken for granted in all of this. That foregone conclusion
> is no longer even a matter worth mentioning.
> 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):
> or
> Discussion can be posted to:
> See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
> and the Free Online Scholarship Movement:

David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Science Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-7785
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Mon Apr 22 2002 - 23:26:39 BST

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