Re: Author Self-Archiving versus Author/Institution Self-Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 22:29:17 +0100 (BST)

On Wed, 29 May 2002, Steve Hitchcock wrote:

> All three [open-access] models
> [(1) discipline-based, (2) university-based, and (3) journal-based]
> have the same objective, or at least they should do, which is to provide
> free and open access to the full texts of refereed papers. That objective
> is compromised if costs are too high.
> The pre-eminent model, arXiv, based on author self-archiving, estimates
> costs of less than 5 US dollars per archived paper
> (Figure 1)

I regret to have to point out that this is comparing apples and oranges.

The costs per [peer-reviewed] paper archived are bound to be lower for
(1) central discipline-based archives (like the Physics ArXiv) or for (2)
distributed university-based archives (on the model) than the
costs per [peer-reviewed] paper archived for (3) journal publishers'
archive for the simple reason that the first two kinds of archives are
completely parasitic on an essential service that is provided and paid
for by the journals, and the journals alone, namely [the implementation of]
peer review:

    "Clarification of "parasitism" and copyright"

    "Distinguishing the Essentials from the Optional Add-Ons"

    "The True Cost of the Essentials (Implementing Peer Review)"

The cost OF THE ARCHIVING ALONE will be roughly the same for the three
kinds of archives, but in that sense this does not represent an interesting
figure, nor does it represent three different "models." Because of the
parasitism of both (1) disciplinary and (2) university archiving on (3)
journal-based peer review, what we need a model for is the funding of
the PEER REVIEW (in case it should eventually happen that open-access
eliminates the toll-access revenue base from which this essential cost is
currently being covered), not for the far more trivial cost (per paper)
of archiving itself.

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):

Discussion can be posted to:

See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:

and the Free Online Scholarship Movement:
Received on Mon Jun 03 2002 - 22:29:17 BST

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