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<nettime> reed elsevier OKs refereed draft paper net-publication
nettime's_roving_reporter on Fri, 4 Jun 2004 20:10:23 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> reed elsevier OKs refereed draft paper net-publication


     [ via <tbyfield {AT} panix.com>]

< http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/news/0,12597,1230217,00.html >

   Reed allows academics free web access
   200,000 articles may be available on the net but competitors accuse
   publisher of making token effort

   Richard Wray
   Thursday June 3, 2004

   Reed Elsevier is allowing academics to put papers that have been
   accepted for publication in its print and online journals on to the
   internet, breaking with years of tradition and reigniting the debate
   over open access to academic thinking.

   Until now the world's largest academic publisher has been a staunch
   opponent of open access, saying it poses a threat to the quality of
   academic research.

   But it is now letting academics put a text version of their accepted
   articles on to their own websites, or sites operated by their
   institutions.

   The move could make the 200,000 articles Reed Elsevier publishes every
   year freely available on the internet.

   Karen Hunter, Elsevier senior vice-president, strategy, explained:
   "There was a desire in the market from many authors and many
   institutions to have an official record of their institution's
   intellectual output. We have listened and we have responded."

   But rival publishers who have fully embraced the open access model and
   charge academics to publish their papers and then make them freely
   available to all over the internet, described the move as a cynical
   piece of public relations as Reed tries to defend its lucrative
   business.

   Reed Elsevier has come under fire recently for the high subscriptions
   it charges universities and libraries for its 1,800 journals.

   In March, chief executive Crispin Davies was forced to defend the
   firm's subscriptions in the face of critical questioning from the
   Commons science and technology committee.

   Deborah Cockerill, assistant publisher at rival open access publisher
   BioMed Central, said Reed's move "merely scratches the surface of the
   fundamental problem with the traditional publishing model which is
   based on controlling access".

   "They are offering a series of limited forms of access - so partial
   compared with open access so that it won't threaten the subscription
   model."

   BioMed Central, in contrast, produces 110 journals in the fields of
   biology and medicine. It charges academics to publish their articles
   but access to the journal itself is free to everyone.

   Reed, which has spent millions of pounds developing an online database
   of its journals known as Science Direct, is allowing authors to post
   only a text version of their published articles on the internet.

   In addition each posting must include a link to the journal's home
   page - which operates almost as free advertising. Crucially, academics
   will not be allowed to put links to their papers in central academic
   databases, making it very difficult for anyone else to find the paper.

   Ms Cockerill said these restrictions would counteract any potential
   benefit to the wider research community from Reed's decision.

   "This kind of archiving is in many ways useless to the majority of
   scientists, mainly because no one will know the copies exist at all or
   where to find them," she said. In fact, Ms Hunter said, Reed does not
   expect the move to hit revenues.

   "Science Direct is the official archive and the official source for
   the final article. That's the place that researchers should go."

   Reed's change of heart was warmly welcomed by Stevan Harnad, professor
   of cognitive science at the University of Southampton and a leading
   proponent of open access.

   "There will be the predictable cavils from the pedants and those who
   have never understood the real meaning and nature of open access:
   'It's only the final refereed draft, not the publisher's PDF; It does
   not include republishing rights; Elsevier is still not an open access
   publisher.'

   "I, for one, am prepared to stoutly defend Elsevier on all these
   counts, and to say that one could not have asked for more, and that
   the full benefits of open access require not one bit more - from the
   publisher."

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