Re: What About the Author Self-Archiving of Books?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 21:54:38 +0100

On Tue, 16 Jul 2002, Thomas Krichel wrote:

> > Not so simple.
> What do you mean? He does not give away, I do not read. Two
> simple choices by two individuals. It has no bearing on the
> general issues.

Then why post it to this Forum, which is concerned with the general

The reason I stress this point is that I don't think it does the cause of
open access any good at all to conflate it with the consumer's understandable
preference not to pay for goods, even when their creator would prefer to
be paid for them. Or the consumer's age-old prerogative not to purchase
what he does not wish to pay for.

That preference and that prerogative are as old as the hills, and have
nothing to do with the radically new open-access possibilities opened
up by the online medium, which pertain only to give-away goods: This
includes all peer-reviewed articles (2 million a year, appearing in
20,000 journals), but it most definitely does not include all books.

Presumably every creator who offers a product for sale knows that
putting a price-tag on it will reduce usage: Most products are not
concerned with maximizing usage but with maximizing sales revenue.

The conflation of the objective of free access to give-away digital
content with the notion that all digital content should be free is as
unhelpful to the cause of open access as are the following:

    the conflation of creator give-away with consumer ripoffs (napster):

    the conflation of gate-keeping (peer review)
    with toll-gating (subscription/license tolls)

    the conflation of impact income (salaries,
    grants, prizes) with imprint income (toll-revenue)

    the conflation of concerns about "fair use"
    with concerns about maximizing research impact

The most fundamental conflation of all, underlying all of this,
is the conflation of the give-away and non-give-away literature

Stevan Harnad
Received on Tue Jul 16 2002 - 21:54:38 BST

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