Re: The self-archiving sweepstakes

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 16:05:09 +0000

On Fri, 7 Feb 2003, Tom Abeles wrote:

> Harnad's observation is interesting if the prime reason for publishing
> were to share with colleagues. Unfortunately this ideal gets distorted by
> the myriad of reasons to publish or even not to publish, regardless of the
> disciplines. And, as an aside, the reasons can vary across disciplines,
> institutions and faculty. Aye, there's the rub.

Self-archiving is only for what an author elects to publish, not for
what he elects to conceal. And the motivation for publishing research is
not to "share" but to maximise the impact of one's research findings
because, among other things, their impact helps pay one's salary and
fund one's future research, in this publish-or-perish world:

> As Harnad points out, the technical achievements may not be the barrier
> at hand, nor may it be entirely the problems with the publishers.

It is not at all a problem with publishers. It is simply taking the
research community a long time to get its head around the fact that in
the online age removing the obsolete barriers to the impact of their own
research is entirely in their own hands. They need merely go ahead and
do it, by self-archiving their own research, pre- and post-peer-review:

> Perhaps some of the issues come to light when one reads the article,
> Taking on Rational Man, which appeared in the January 24th issue of The
> Chronicle of Higher Education where the battle lines are drawn between
> neoclassical economists and heterodox thinking- and who controls the
> publishing resources.

It has nothing -- repeat, nothing -- to do with either publishers or
economists: It is purely between the research community and itself. The
only "3rd party" involved is whoever implements the peer review
and certifies its outcome
That essential service is currently funded out of journal
publishers' sales revenue, paid by institutions, but it can easily
be funded out of the windfall institutional savings -- if and when
self-archiving ever dries up the demand for journal publishers' other
But until/unless that ever happens, researchers' only concern should be
maximising the impact of their research by self-archiving it, today.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Fri Feb 07 2003 - 16:05:09 GMT

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