@Body:A BRAND-NEW PhD from the University of X proudly tells his mother he's just published his first refereed journal article. She asks him how much he was paid for it. He makes a face: "Nothing," and then begins a long, complicated explanation.
A fellow researcher at the same university sees a reference to the article. He goes to the library to get it, only to meet the response: "Not subscribed to here. Can't afford that journal. The subscription/licence budget is already overspent."
Meanwhile, an undergraduate sees the article cited on the Web and clicks on it. The publisher's website demands a password: "Access denied: only subscribing institutions have access to this journal." The undergraduate loses patience, gets bored, and clicks on Napster to grab an MP3 file of his favourite bootleg CD.
Years later, the somewhat older PhD is being considered for tenure. His publications are good, but they're not cited enough, haven't made enough of a "research impact". Tenure denied.
So it's back to applying for research grants. But his research findings just haven't had enough impact: not enough researchers have read, built upon and cited them. Funding denied.
In despair, he decides to write a book. Publishers say it's interesting work, but decline to publish it. "Wouldn't sell enough copies. Not enough universities have enough money to pay for it. Their purchasing budgets are tied up in their inflating annual journal costs..."
He tries to put his articles on the Web, free for all, to increase their impact. The journal that originally published them threatens to sue him and his service provider for violation of copyright. He asks his publisher: "Who is this copyright intended to protect?" The publisher replies: "You!"
Clearly something is badly wrong. The researcher has given away his work, and wants and many people as possible to read it for free.[we could not really see the need for the mothers/...it felt as if we were getting distanced from our primary focusè è ]Yet he's ended up in the same boat as lumped in with the recording artist, who wants to earn royalties from his work and is mightily annoyed that people are downloading MP3s of his music for free.
When print was the only medium, there was no way out of this mess.But now, with the World Wide Web, we academic researchers can at last liberate our work. There's a solution that is swift and certain, tried and true, well within reach and long overdue. It's the self-archiving initiative you'll find at www.cogsci.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Tp/resolution.htm.
All authors need do to free their literature virtually overnight is to self-archive their own portion of it online in their institution's Web archive. Free archive-creating software (www.eprints.org) is available to make all institutional e-print archives "interoperable" (www.openarchives.org), hence "harvestable" into one global virtual archive (http://cite-base.ecs.soton.ac.uk/cgi-bin/search).
And this is free for everyone, everywhere, forever.