sh: "Stevan Harnad" <har...@Princeton.EDU>
lse: "Lloyd S. Etheredge" <lete...@access.digex.net>
Subject: Re: Possible Strategy re shift to electronic publishing
To: Stevan Harnad <har...@Princeton.EDU>
sh> There is no single person or organization "in charge" of the current
sh> flotilla of paper journals. One can of course talk to individual
sh> authors, publishers, or societies, but the reason there is not much
sh> headway to be made there is that they wouldn't really know what to do.
sh> At the agency level, the best strategy is to encourage funders to
sh> encourage electronic "PREpublication," and to cover the expense in the
sh> research grant.
In my experience of trying to promote a change, those "in charge"
are liable to be the least susceptable to persuasion. Change spreads
from the grass roots -- to get from one state of society to
another you have to make a path each step of which is taken by a
different person somewhere, and each step of which is downhill.
In the case of high energy physics, for example, scientists resorted
to the net because they needed the speed of publication. There was no mandate
from above. A way that you could expedite such a move in
other disciplines would be for example to set up a free preprint repository
which would accept papers in whatever form it is easiest for the author
to provide, for example in postscript by email, and make them
easisly findable by providing good indexing. Put a cheerful front page
to the archive: put some graphics in at the top to encourage readers.
Let the thing run with a few gigabytes of disk space, and see whether
society responds. You will have to jump start it probably with an
injection of existing archives of papers, or pointers to them:
otherwise, you will never get a critical product of readership and
sh> At the individual scholar level, as I said, by far the best strategy is
sh> public ftp/http archives for all preprints. This could be supplemented by
sh> encouraging learned societies to bundle and mirror their members'
sh> archives in a central repository (even just links and pointers to the
sh> home archives would do);
Yes -- though of course the societies may see this as being in
competition to their own journals. The interests of their members
should be pointed out.
sh> the idea is to have high-profile global access
sh> TO all scientists' and scholars' work FOR all scientists/scholars.
sh> Scholars' societies, universities and other learned and scientific
sh> organizations can scale up the individual ftp/http archive visibility
sh> (already a huge step forward) by providing centralized subject-coded
sh> indices, etc.
I see this as one excelent role for the academies of science -- to
provide indexes of the works of their members, and of their memebers.
sh> This should have low-end versions (ftp, archie, gopher)
sh> and high-end as well (www, mosaic, hytelnet), to include the full range
sh> of Internet users.
Given lynx, the www client for the vt100, one hardly has
to be a "high-end" user to use www. WWW was designed to cover the range.
(Terms: archie is an indx of ftp sites, and so is not appropriate
to this set of retrieval systems. "www" is a line-mode interface
to the WWW, and mosaic is one of the graphic user interfaces to WWW.
Hytelnet is a database of telnet sites, and so is not appropriate to
>lse> A quick & practical solution might be to suggest a change in federal Possible -- though federal policy change is not alwaysthe quickest and
>lse> policy. The Clinton Administration could welcome the opportunity to
>lse> leading role in developing the benefits of the Information Age in this
>lse> area - and change the outmoded policies it inherited.
>lse> E.g., What would you think about requiring that all publications based
>lse> research underwritten by public funds should, within one year of any
>lse> initial publication in printed form, be made publicly available in (a
>lse> standard) electronic form?
sh> In brief: Paper means substantial expense. Substantial expense means
sh> copyright protection. Copyright protection means fees. Fees mean
sh> "protection" of the scholars work from nonpaying eyeballs. THAT is
sh> precisely what the scholar does NOT want. Hence the conflict of interest
sh> in the Faustian alliance. Solution: Break out of the paper mold
sh> entirely, not by brute force, but by the gentle force of the push of
sh> scholarly inquiry itself. With the preprint (and eventually the reprint)
sh> universally available for free electronically, the rest of the
sh> unnecessary edifice will peacefully vanish in the "perestroika"
sh> quietly occasioned by the ftp/http subversion...
You might find it is already happening anyway...
(But when it has happened, you may want to pay for the filtering
done by a good review system, I suspect!)
CERN, Geneva, Switzerland