Re: Open Access vs. NIH Back Access and Nature's Back-Sliding

From: Tim Brody <>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2005 11:28:04 +0000

Brian Simboli wrote:

> (Worries that
> people will merely use OAIster or google to bring up all the articles
> for a given issue can be circumvented if the journal title is suppressed
> in the metadata for the freely available article.)

This wouldn't help citation linking, which is already pretty patchy.
Anyway, I think you'll find autonomous services already get around
missing metadata through triangulation!

> Interestingly, aren't the physics societies right now partially
> committed to something like a de facto subscription overlay model, in
> that many physics peer-reviewed postprints are being archived on
> and are therefore freely accessible? Why shouldn't the physics
> socieities then just directly link to the postprints at,
> obviating the need for authors to engage in duplicative, afterglow
> self-archiving efforts? Or is it the case that, if only a portion of
> articles published by the physics societies have self-archived
> counterparts on arxiv, the "tipping point" has not been reached yet
> where it becomes not in their economic interest to allow access to a
> free copy (via author self-archiving)?

I believe that some physics societies will accept *submissions* from a
pre-print server, but it's not the case that the publisher version gets
pushed back onto an e-print server (unless the author has permission and
does that himself, which I haven't noticed).

Searching for "referee" in arXiv finds only ~1000 matches, "referee or
corrected" only 37,000. So, perhaps:
1) Physicists don't need to make corrections (so only the pre-print is
2) Only the post-refereed version gets archived
3) Physicists don't provide a comment when they do update to reflect
referee's comments

See also Alma Swan's presentation

All the best,

> Alma Swan wrote:
>> In recent days there has been some discussion as to whether NIH's retreat
>> may in fact be due to a fear of adverse effects on the scholarly
>> publishing
>> industry if immediate self-archiving were to be mandated by NIH for its
>> grantholders
>> (
>> And, certainly, the Nature Publishing Group appears to be changing its
>> policy on self-archiving. It is not easy to follow NPG's arguments so far
>> because they are rather complicated, but it appears to be suggesting
>> that it
>> is aiding Open Access by moving from allowing immediate self-archiving by
>> authors in their institutional repositories to allowing it only after a
>> period of six months post-publication of an article. The logic of this is
>> not at all clear. It would be very helpful if NPG would clearly
>> explain the
>> causal inferences and its policy but one has to infer that NPG has
>> apprehensions about a possible adverse effect of self-archiving upon its
>> business.
>> Many publishers, particularly some learned societies, share these
>> apprehensions and that is perfectly understandable if they base their
>> view
>> of the future on imaginings rather than on actual evidence.
>> In the case of self-archiving, there is absolutely no need for this
>> sort of
>> self-terrorising. The experiment has been done and the results are
>> clear-cut. Fourteen years ago the arXiv was set up ( It
>> houses preprints and postprints in physics, predominantly in the areas of
>> high-energy physics, condensed matter physics and astrophysics. It is the
>> norm for researchers in these areas to post their articles either
>> before or
>> after refereeing to this repository. In 2003, the 421 physics journals
>> listed in ISI's SCI published a total of 116,723 articles. The arXiv
>> receives approximately 42,000 articles per annum, meaning that around a
>> third of all physics research articles appear not only in journals but
>> in the arXiv.
>> Have physics publishers gone to the wall in the last 14 years? No,
>> and not
>> only have they continued to survive, they have also continued to
>> thrive. I
>> have recently asked questions about this of two of the big learned
>> society
>> publishers in physics, the American Physical Society in the US and the
>> Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd in the UK. There are two salient
>> points
>> to note:
>> 1. Neither can identify any loss of subscriptions to the journals that
>> they
>> publish as a result of the arXiv.
>> 2. Subscription attrition, where it is occurring, is the same in the
>> areas
>> that match the coverage of the arXiv as it is across any other areas of
>> physics that these societies publish in.
>> Both societies, moreover, see actual benefits for their publishing
>> operations arising from the existence of arXiv. The APS has "cooperated
>> closely with arXiv including establishing a mirror (jointly with
>> Brookhaven
>> National Laboratory)... We also revised our copyright statement to be
>> explicitly in favor of author self-archiving. These efforts strengthened
>> (rather than weakened) Physical Review D [an APS journal that covers
>> high-energy physics] ...I would say it is likely we maintained
>> subscriptions
>> to Physical Review D that we may otherwise have lost if we hadn't been so
>> pro-arXiv .."
>> In answer to the question "Does arXiv worry or threaten your
>> business?" the
>> APS answered: "We don't consider it a threat. We expect to continue to
>> have
>> a symbiotic relationship with arXiv. As long as peer review is valued
>> by the
>> community (and it seems to be), we will be doing peer review. While
>> the APS
>> aspires to open access and is not threatened by, we do have
>> strong
>> reservations about government requirements for open access."
>> The Institute of Physics Publishing's response was: "IOPP's experience
>> as a
>> learned society publisher illustrates the strong synergies and mutual
>> benefits that currently exist between major peer-reviewed journals,
>> such as
>> our Classical and Quantum Gravity, and the arXiv e-print server. Both
>> systems continue to serve the scientific community very effectively.
>> Journals act as the "brand", setting standards for scientific quality.
>> Our
>> authors and editors tell us that they value publishing in a peer-reviewed
>> journal because this continues as an essential requirement for
>> establishing
>> reputation and authority of the research they publish. Whilst posting an
>> pre-print or post-print is becoming more of an essential in some areas of
>> the physics community for immediate and wide dissemination, we do not see
>> the arXiv or repositories threatening our business."
>> Publishers who prefer to base their future strategies on experimental
>> data
>> rather than untested apprehensions may be heartened by these findings.
>> Institutions that prefer explicitly to help their researchers to
>> disseminate
>> their research results should provide archives for the purpose. And
>> researchers who prefer to have their results available to as many
>> people as
>> they
>> are subscription-based publications - should get on with self-archiving
>> their articles.
>> Alma Swan
>> __________________________
>> Alma P Swan, BSc, PhD, MBA
>> Director
>> Key Perspectives Ltd
>> Topsham
>> Devon
>> EX3 0EP
>> United Kingdom
> --
> Brian Simboli
> Science Librarian
> Library & Technology Services
> E.W. Fairchild Martindale
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Received on Fri Feb 04 2005 - 11:28:04 GMT

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