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Pierre Divenyi: Fwd: Re: Stevan Harnad: CogPrints: Archive ...

Dear List -

I'm posting this for Pierre, who's having problems with direct


------- Forwarded Message
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 1999 10:43:12 -0700
From: Pierre Divenyi <pdivenyi@marva4.ebire.org>
Subject: Re: Stevan Harnad: CogPrints: Archive of Articles in Psychology...
In-Reply-To: <370EEF11.6D714366@lscp.ehess.fr>
References: <199904092207.PAA06774@marva4.ebire.org>

Cher Christophe,

You have completely missed the point of my comment to Stevan Harnad's
suggestion on electronic publication. The main reason is that you see the
situation from your own environment which, thanks to a slew of built-in
protection for academics and researchers that you benefit from in France as
well as in the majority of Western European countries, makes the question
of whether to publish or not by-and-large optional. Let me tell you that in
the U.S. it is not. In other words, you are quite pampered-spoiled by our
standards. Maybe you should also be informed that the majority of American
contributors to the auditory list is able to do research through the sole
support of government agencies that adhere to the publication policies I
outlined in my note. Thus, you should not try to admonish those of us for
whom there is no alternative but to adhere to these policies. If you want
the policies to change, address your criticism to the agencies.

For your information, personally I would be quite in favor of having all
publications available electronically. My private opinion, however, weighs
very little in this matter which amounts to fighting windmills stronger
than even Stevan Harnad's personal opinion: according to what I gathered
from the information on the web pages he wanted us to see, his many years
of effort, alas, have accomplished very little. The establishment is strong
and you guys in France are unlikely to be able to export a second French
Revolution to conquer it.

Pierre Divenyi
>This kind of short-term, individualistic rationale distresses me.
>If we all shoot, then the bullets may not reach our feet but,
>hopefully, the heart (or rather the wallet) of the sharks of scientific
>True: If only a small proportion of us follows Harnad's lead, we might end
>up in
>It is a case of the well-know prisoners' game: if we cooperate, we all win
>(maybe less than if we play alone), but if we don't cooperate, some,
>maybe the majority, will lose a lot.
>It doesn't take a complex demonstration to be convinced that now that the
>cost of publishing scientific results has dramatically dropped, the
>existence of publishers who charge huge prices and prevent widespread
>dissemination of the papers, is an anomaly.
>It seems obvious that a very small amount of the funds that are devoted
>to research could be invested in paying the few people needed to
>maintain scientific electronic journals, which content could be accessed
>freely by anyone. I am not against private enterprise and indeed, this
>job might very well be done by private publishers, if they can offer a
>better service than public agencies. (Why not have the source, that is
>the author(s) pay a reasonable amount to have the paper published. The
>price would pay for the few hours (or less) of work needed to format the
>paper for electronic publication, and maintain servers).
>Note that in this scheme, there is of course no reasons why the
>reviewing process should be any different for these journals than for
>the ones we currently have.
>I am unsure whether this will ever happen: current publishers don't want
>to lose the goose with the golden eggs, and are fighting hard to prevent
>this from happening. Rather, some of them try to install a kind a
>pay-per-view system. This makes me sick...
>At this point, we have the choice between two attitudes:
>1) an egoistic attitude: putting our career
>before our scientific ideals, and not caring about this issue:
>just compete to publish in the "best" journals.
>The tax-payers will pay the costs, and what's the problem if our
>colleagues can't access the information?...
>2) a responsible attitude:
>  - refuse to submit or review papers in journals handled by publishers
>that refuse to allow free access to the papers (either on the authors'
>web site or on their own).
>  - fight to convince journals editors to change publishers: why a journal
>couldn't move to cogprints? The journal may consists of a web page
>with links to the accepted papers.
>If, as an author, this is impractical right now, the correct stance is to
>*disobey inane copyright laws* (and convince your peers to do so):
>publish accepted papers on servers like cogprints.
>It is only if the scientific community does this massively
>that we have a chance to prevent the pay-per-view system
>to win.
>By the way: a few month ago, there were (apparently serious) rumors
>about the intention of Microsoft to buy Elsevier. Does this surprise
>you? Would you like this to happen?
>They are people who try to make a better world happen. Why not take the
>example of the Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org) to create
>a Free Science Foundation?
>Christophe Pallier

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