Re: Momentum for Eprint Archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 26 Aug 2002 17:30:19 +0100

On Sun, 25 Aug 2002, Richard Stallman wrote:

> I saw your note about supporting PubSCIENCE; if the situation is what
> I think it is, I wonder if supporting PubSCIENCE is really going far
> enough.
> From what I can see, PubSCIENCE is just an index--it does not contain
> the papers themselves. To read them, you must subscribe to some
> journal's site. (Please correct me if I am wrong.
> Contrast that with the arXiv site, which contains (for the fields it
> covers) the actual text of papers, openly accessible to all. That is
> what scholars really should have.
> In fields covered by the arXiv, I don't see how PubSCIENCE does any
> good. Why not use the arXiv instead? In other fields, while
> PubSCIENCE is better than nothing, what people really need is
> something like the arXiv.
> What do you think of this point? Is there some important factor I am
> missing?

Far from missing the point, Richard Stallman has put his finger right
on the heart of the matter:

(1) Another gateway pointing to paid access to full-text research is
not really what is urgently needed at this time. What is needed is open
access to those full texts (20,000 peer-reviewed journals-worth, across
all disciplines, 2 million new articles per year).

(2) The Physics Eprint Archive, ( -- in which any
physicist worldwide can self-archive his preprints and postprints --
already provides open access to a growing portion of this full-text
literature in many branches of physics.

(3) What is needed is more Eprint Archives so that researchers in all
disciplines can self-archive their research -- all annual 2 million

(4) The Physics Eprint Archive is growing, but not fast enough. At the
unchanging linear rate at which it has been growing for 10 years, it
will be another 10 years before all annual physics research is being
self-archived therein.

(5) My own hunch as to why centralized, discipline-based self-archiving
is not growing faster is that the discipline as a whole is the wrong
entity for motivating and sustaining self-archiving and open access
across disciplines and around the world.

(6) The entity sharing the same interests in open access as the researcher
(visibility, accessibility, uptake, citations, research impact, and the
further funding, prestige and rewards that they bring) is the researcher's
institution, not the researcher's discipline.

(7) What is needed is distributed, institution-based Eprints
Archives integrated and made interoperable by compliance
with the Open Archives Initiative OAI Meta-data harvesting
along the lines described in SPARC's recent position paper

(8) That is why Southampton University has created the
software for generating immediate OAI-compliant institutional Eprint
Archives (available free to all institutions under Richard Stallman's
GNU license)

(9) That is also why Tim Brody created citebase, the scientometric OAI
search engine for citation-linking, navigating, ranking and analyzing
the open access literature on the basis of classical and novel online
measures of research impact:

(10) And that is also the basis of the Budapest Open Access Initiative's
Strategy 1 (self-archiving)
and the many concurrent efforts ongoing worldwide at this very
moment in order to facilitate and promote universal self-archiving:

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of the ongoing discussion of providing open
access to the peer-reviewed research 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 Aug 26 2002 - 17:30:19 BST

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