Re: Garfield: "Acknowledged Self-Archiving is Not Prior Publication"

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 19:24:36 +0100

On Mon, 9 Sep 2002, Joseph J. Esposito wrote:

> Well, isn't this the whole point? I mean the ENTIRE point? The issue of
> intellectual property (or knowledge or whatever you want to call it)
> dissemination has only a teeny weeny bit to do with its creation and a huge
> amount with actually calling things to people's attention. This is what
> publishers do. Only in exceptional cases do authors do this. And that is
> why publishers work with copyright.
> Find another way to call things to people's attention and copyright
> and publishers will disappear. I mean REALLY call things to people's
> attention. Niche stuff is different and not hard (I can always walk
> next door to talk to my neighbor), but reaching mass market audiences is
> terribly difficult. The field of dreams is a dream. It doesn't matter how
> open your eyes and minds are if the information doesn't reach your senses.
> Joseph J. Esposito
> Portable CEO
> 613 Spring St.
> Santa Cruz, CA 95060

I wish it were that simple! But we are talking here about peer-reviewed
research. And peer-reviewed research publication is not just
vanity-press self-publication and self-advertising! There's still the
matter of quality-control and certification -- both for the sake of
the user, who must somehow navigate the mass of what has been written,
and for the sake of the author's employers and funders, who need more
than a self-publication bean-count in order to assess the importance
and impact of his work. And peer-review is needed not just for these
navigational and evaluational purposes; it is also needed to maximize
(and not just to mark) the quality of the research itself: It is part
of science and scholarship's self-corrective mechanism.

Please see:

  Harnad, S. (1998) The invisible hand of peer review. Nature [online]
  Exploit Interactive, issue 5, April 2000

Having been through this so many times before, it is fairly predictable
that the next response will be:

    "Well then replace peer review and journalname certification by open
    peer commentary plus citation/hit impact polls."

That option is as yet untested, and there are many a priori reasons
why it would be unlikely to succeed in generating a research literature at
the level of quality, navigability and usability that we have currently.
This too is discussed in the above article and also on these threads:

  "Peer Review Reform Hypothesis-Testing"

  The relevant google search here is:
  (harnad peer review commentary supplement substitute)

So, yes, maximizing visibility and accessibility is a necessary condition
for maximizing research usage and uptake, but it is not a sufficient
condition. Peer-review and the certification of its outcome (by what we
currently call the journal-name) is a necessary condition too.

The way to maximize accessibility is of course through open access.

But the give-away authors of (the peer-reviewed research subset) of the
give-away open-access literature still need more than that. They still
need protection (currently called "copyright" protection, but call it
what you like!) for the authorship and integrity of their texts. Public
dissemination itself alone provides some protection, but not enough.

Stevan Harnad

> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Stevan Harnad" <>
> To: <>
> Cc: <>; "Digital Copyright"
> <>; "Gene Garfield ISI"
> <>
> Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 10:02 AM
> Subject: Re: Garfield: "Acknowledged Self-Archiving is Not Prior
> Publication"
> > On Mon, 9 Sep 2002, [identity removed] wrote:
> >
> > >sh> Currently, copyright law is doing double duty, (1) protecting
> > >sh> copyright-holders from users who would make copies of their
> > >sh> texts without paying for them (give-away authors do not want this
> > >sh> protection) and (2) protecting copyright-holders from users who
> > >sh> would make corrupted copies of their texts (including copies in
> > >sh> which someone else is listed as the author). Almost all authors
> > >sh> still want protection from the latter.
> >
> > > [identity removed]: This is, I think, a material point that has
> > > otherwise been overlooked in the debate.
> >
> > Agreed. But "overlooked" is an operational matter! It's not as if this
> > point has not been made, in writing (and skywriting), repeatedly, to be
> > looked over (by those with eyes open to see and minds open to understand!)
> > See:
> >
> > "PostGutenberg Copyright Concerns"
> >
> >
> > [or just do a google search on: (harnad copyright protection authorship)]
> >
> > 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 & 02):
> >
> >
> > or
> >
> >
> > Discussion can be posted to:
> >
> > See also the Budapest Open Access Initiative:
> >
> >
> > and the Free Online Scholarship Movement:
> >
> >
Received on Mon Sep 09 2002 - 19:24:36 BST

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