Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 2004 00:02:00 +0000

There are very busy people subscribed to the American Scientist Open
Access Forum -- NIH officials, NSF officials, CNRS officials, Max-Planck
officials, university provosts, research funding council heads, laboratory
directors, worldwide -- who are sincerely interested in providing Open
Access to articles published in Peer-Reviewed Journals. That is what the
Open Access movement is about.

Could we *please* stop posting our opinions on every free association
under the sun? The purpose of this Forum is not to debate the definition
of publishing. It is to discuss ways to provide Open Access to articles
published in Peer-Reviewed Journals. The Open Access movement did not
invent the definition of "publishing in a Peer-Reviewed Journal,"
nor did the Open Access movement mandate what research employers,
research funders and researchers themselves consider a peer-reviewed
journal publication. They inherited all that, and now they are working
on trying to make online access to it free ("Open Access").

Could we please refocus on that? There is important work to do,
and those interested in actually doing it will be driven out of the
Forum if it keeps taking up their time going off on irrelevant tangents.

Surely there are other lists one which the definition of publishing,
the reform of peer review, the reform of university evaluative criteria
can all be discussed -- while this Forum focusses on its designated
topic, which is: providing OpenAccess to articles published in Peer-Reviewed

Stevan Harnad

On Sun, 14 Nov 2004, David Goodman wrote:

> Even with the dictionary definitions, there are many variants.
> We are dealing with some quite different and quite specific areas of meaning
> 1/
> the legal and commercial as used in contracts and copyright (and the somewhat
> different meanings used with respect to patents--where publication has an extremely
> broad meaning.
> 2/
> the academic establishment area,
> the standards used by universities in making appointments: this will
> vary from university to university, but typically means some sort of formal publication in
> a particular set of accepted media with a specific set of quality control criteria.
> Besides university -specific differences, there are subject-specific differences. For example,
> many university humanities departments do not consider the publication of journal articles as
> meaningful publications. Few in any field would accept messages on this list--even if
> they were somehow peer-reviewed.
> 3/
> the specific scholarly areas, through which one gains informal recognition by
> one's colleagues Few university administrations would
> accepts journal articles in Scientific American--yet in my field of molecular biology
> there as a period of about a year where the only accessible presentation of the
> assembly of bacteriophage T4 (a key model organism) was in that journal.
> The definitions of "publication" for biological nomenclature
> are both complicated, and vary for different sorts of organism, e.g.,
> the definition for bacteria requires publication in one specific journal;
> the definition for plants requires the description (though not the whole article) to be
> written in Latin. (I may be less than up-to-date on these examples--they are not my
> specialties.)
> There are many applied fields--even academic fields--
> where one is not judged by publications at all in the usual sense: Fame as a surgeon or a musical performer
> is not achieved by writing articles.
> I suggest that there is already developed the acceptance of less-than-formal publication,
> in which a posting in arXiv or a respected series of economics working papers matters
> at least as much as a journal article. I confess that if formal articles were not required for
> promotion, I would not write them--and I suspect I am not unique among the contributors to this list.
> For the moment, we must observe the current legal requirements;
> and many of us must also observe the formal academic ones. Thus most of the discussions on this list have
> concerned how to keep the current formal requirements et, while also communicating
> effectively. (communicating effectively, in the present environment, requires OA
> --indeed, the assumption of OA is basic to this whole discussion.)
> Hence the appropriate repeated insistence on this list that we are
> dealing with the current functionality;
> how to use the existing or immediately possible means, not what we
> hope for the future.
> (This includes how best to use the existing copyright possibilities,)
> We cannot stop communicating until we figure out how to communicate best.
> Ultimately, we can have the copyright laws we want; we can have the academic
> establishment we want; we can have the publication system(s) we want.
> (There are limitations set by available resources, and by technology, and by
> existing interests--but all of these have changed in the past and will in the future.)
> Dr. David Goodman
> Associate Professor
> Palmer School of Library and Information Science
> Long Island University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Leslie Carr
> Sent: Sun 11/14/2004 5:18 AM
> Subject: Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ
> On 13 Nov 2004, at 06:54, Rick Anderson wrote:
> > Look, obviously we're proceeding from a different set of definitions
> > here.
> indubitably
> > My point is simply that the word "publish" has a real-world definition
> > that is far different from the artificially narrow one created by the
> > OA establishment.
> It may have many real-world definitions or uses, and in fact the OED
> lists several ...
Received on Mon Nov 15 2004 - 00:02:00 GMT

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