Re: Scientific publishing is not just about administering peer-review

From: <hbosc_at_TOURS.INRA.FR>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 16:15:54 +0200

A 23:23 15/10/03 +0100, vous avez écrit :
>On Wed, 15 Oct 2003, Etienne Joly wrote:
> > This message is in reaction to the stream of postings by Steven Harnad,
> > and more specifically to the latest one, dated 11 October, stating that
> >
> >sh> The quality of a journal depends on the quality of its submissions
> >sh> and the rigor and selectivity of its peer review. Authors give
> >sh> their papers for free; referees referee for free. The only cost is
> >sh> administering the peer-review service. The highest-end estimate for
> >....
> > On the subject of self-archiving, I find Steve Harnad's efforts
> > laudable, but unfortunately I perceive that they may be aiming slightly
> > off the mark. Firstly, as one says, you can bring a horse to water, but
> > you cannot make it drink. The fact that self-archiving has really not
> > taken off despite being available speaks for itself: Scientists do not
> > necessarily perceive the importance of diffusing their results as
> > broadly as possible. If they did, personal web pages would be updated
> > more often than they actually are ! When scientists try to publish in
> > Nature or Science, it is the notoriety and recognition they seek, much
> > more than the broad readership.
> > Also, the proportion of scientists that are computer literate is
> > actually quite low. And despite what Steve Harnad may affirm on such a
> > regular basis on various forums, self -archiving as it is available
> > today requires a lot more than a few keystrokes: It is completely out
> > of reach for your average bench scientist (and requires specific
> > hardware, and therefore investment of money as well as time).

It is pleasant to read on this list a message not only from a french
compatriot but also from a biologist. A good sign of the growing interest
in the scientific community for the Open Access!

I whish to add some comments to your vision of self-archiving, Etienne and
I whish to give some details about the current situation concerning
self-archiving in France.

You say that scientists do not perceive the importance of diffusing their
results as broadly as possible. Not sure. Some have perceived the real
advantages and have concretly worked for open access. Ask Dan Speber, a
french scientist working at the Institut Jean Nicod why he created an open
archive 2 years ago. Currently about 260 articles are in open access just
for this small lab.

Have you heard of CCSD/CNRS? see
The Jean Nicod Archive was set up with the help of CCSD and investment of
money and time was underwritten by CCSD.

And even if all french scientists do not yet perceive the importance of
disseminating their results maximally as Dan Sperber does, the directors
general of CNRS (CNRS =11 500 researchers) and INSERM recently showed they
have well understood the challenge of Open Access in organizing and
participating in an european conference held in Paris in January 2003 on
"Open access to scientific and technical information".

Working in INSERM I suppose that you have heard of the INSERM Archive. See
the communication presentated by P. Oudet at the conference

See again the closing remarks and prospects in the talk by Geneviève Berger
(director general of CNRS at this time) and Christain Brechot (director
general of INSERM) at the conference held in Paris.

You wrote "you can bring a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink".
I reply, using in my turn a french proverb : " Ne dis pas : " fontaine, je
ne boirai pas de ton eau" * [even though you are not of the equine
species...:-) ]
*("don't say : "fountain, I will not drink your water")


Helene Bosc
Unite Physiologie de la Reproduction
et des Comportements
UMR 6073 INRA-CNRS-Universite de Tours
37380 Nouzilly
TEL : 02 47 42 78 00
FAX : 02 47 42 77 43
Received on Fri Oct 17 2003 - 15:15:54 BST

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