Re: Publishing Reform, University Self-Publishing and Open Access

From: guedon <>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 2006 18:04:45 -0500

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I have the feeling we are turning in circles, but let me try one last

If scientists, by distinguishing between publishing and self-archiving,
keep on complaining they have to publish in journals, it shows that they
believe that only journal publishing is worth doing while self-archiving
appears useless, superfluous, strange, whatever else, to their eyes.

Refusing any publishing value in the self-archiving move amounts to
downgrading the value of self-archiving. Yet, we all agree on the fact
that self-archiving affects impact - and impact is a variable difficult
to conceive outside publishing (i.e. making public). The mystery

Stevan Harnad, and apparently Alma Swan too, do not seem to realize
that, by disconnecting self-archiving from publishing, they are making
self-archiving less attractive, not more attractive. If you do
disconnect self-archiving from publishing, how do you help your 97% of
authors reconcile the "need" to self-archive with their perceived need
to publish? For them, the only need, the only objective is to "publish".
If one begins by stating that self-archiving is not really publishing,
it is not surprising that scientists should wonder why self-archiving is
worthwhile if it is not publishing. And the plot must thicken in their
heads if they are told that self-archiving is nevertheless supposed to
generate good, publishing-style, effects on their publications (for
example, improved impact , etc). It walks like a duck, it quacks like a
duck but we should nonetheless argue that it is not a duck? Hmmmmm No
perversity here? hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

If, on the other hand, a scientist or a scholar sees that the
traditional form of publishing (in a peer-reviewed journal) can be
enhanced by secondary forms of publishing such as self-archiving, that
all these parallel forms of publishing contribute to impact, etc., that
scientist or scholar will begin to understand better what is in his

Far from fielding a "perverse" definition of publishing, treating
self-archiving as a form of publishing provides a coherent vision that,
IMHO, will be clearer, simpler, and ultimately more convincing than the
Harnadian rhetoric.

Jean-Claude Guédon

Le jeudi 19 janvier 2006 à 18:31 +0000, Alma Swan a écrit :
> Alma Swan wrote:
> > > Perhaps Stevan also finds, as I do when out in the author community
> > > discussing open access, that for every 3 authors who understand the
> > > distinction between publishing their work as usual and indulging in
> > > open access archiving, there are 97 who do not. Those 97
> > instinctively
> > > cry 'But I need to publish my work in journals'.
> Jean-Claude Guedon replied:
> > But these 97, then, behave exactly as Stevan would want them
> > to behave:
> > in Stevan's terminology, they publish (only) in journals and
> > they provide access in open-access repositories.
> Er, that was the point I was making. That is the simplest, clearest,
> least-confusable terminology that can be used. Whereas Jean-Claude wishes
> the word 'publish' to be extended to all and sundry activities associated
> with scholarly communication. A recipe for confusion and misunderstanding.
> And it's not about what Stevan *wants*, it's what authors understand and do
> that we are talking about.
> > > The word 'publish', despite the OED's estimable definition, has a
> > > specific meaning to scholarly authors, as Jean-Claude must
> > appreciate.
> > > To them it means getting their research articles in
> > journals (gold or not) or books.
> > > Using the word for any additional activities confuses and
> > confounds,
> > > and plays to the fears of authors rather than providing
> > clarification
> > > and encouragement to engage in the new communication
> > methods available to them.
> >
> > Perhaps, but then do not get confused yourself.
> I think my exposition was perfectly clair et net. The people who confuse the
> issue are those who persist in applying the word 'publish' to myriad
> activities that scholars do not in general associate with the word. There
> are many difficulties with terminology in this arena - the word 'archive'
> has just as many problematical connotations - but deliberately confounding
> them instead of striving to make things as simple as possible in order to
> progress is just plain perverse.
> Alma Swan
> Key Perspectives Ltd
> Truro, UK
Received on Fri Jan 20 2006 - 02:33:38 GMT

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