16.561 Lachance on Harnad on Lynch

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty ) (willard@mccarty.me.uk)
Date: Tue Mar 18 2003 - 01:50:08 EST

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 561.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                         Submit to: humanist@princeton.edu

             Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 06:46:58 +0000
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 16.555 Harnad on Lynch on institutional archives


    I want to address some of the points raised by Stevan Harnard's in his
    comments to

            Clifford A. Lynch: "Institutional Repositories:
            Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age"

    I especially want to ask some questions about the statements stacked
    against using the argument of the emergence of new ways of doing
    scholarship [the translation of "forms" into "ways of doing" is mine
    for the particular purposes here] as the rationale for investing in

    Harnard sizes up the production:

    There are 20,000 peer-reviewed research journals, across all disciplines
    worldwide, publishing 2,000,000 articles annually. Almost all of these
    articles are accessible to researchers (i.e., to their potential users)
    only if their institution can afford the toll-access (subscription,
    license) to the journal in which they were published.

    The aggregate number appears daunting. I wonder what the "access" picture
    would look like if the number were broken down on a per capita basis. How
    many journals per discipline? How many articles per journal? How many
    institutionally-backed reseachers per discipline? How many
    corporate-backed researchers per discipline? How many articles with
    multiple authors? How many of those articles represent work presented in
    preliminary form in a variety of fora?

    The networks of communication and production have permeable membranes. I
    do want to emphasize the point that for the advancement of knowledge what
    circulates need not be a complete, finished, peer-reviewed article. Indeed
    such an article will point to other infosets.

    To pick up the McCarty trader-merchant metaphor: it is important to pause
    and think about not only the who we trade with (as does the toll-obsessed
    Harnard) but also what we are trading/acquiring (thenew [or unfamiliar]
    forms of scholarship).

    Harnard himself points to a very important factor in scholarship review:
    archiving the data sets that were not part of a published article.
    Unfortunately this point gets lost in a shuffle around tolls and pitting
    self versus institutional archives.

    Not only is the institutional archive a supplement rather than a
    substitute when it self-archives data that could not be included with
    the published article, but it is a supplement even when it self-archives
    the article: The self-archived open-access version is a supplement to the
    journal's toll-access version, to maximize its research impact. It is not
    a substitute for journal publication -- and certainly not a substitute
    for peer review -- though it might one day become a substitute for
    toll-access (for those who can afford it: for those who cannot, it
    is already a substitute today!).</quote>

    I do want to challenge the notion that access to products is the best way
    for the university community "to make sure [research] findings are put to
    full use". Harnard puts the pro-product position forcefully:

    I agree again. It is not the business of universities to restructure the
    economics of scholarly publishing. It is the business of universities to
    do research, publish their findings, and make sure that those findings are
    put to full use. Maximizing all would-be users' access to them is the
    way to ensure the latter. And that might (but just might) eventually
    have some effects on the economics of refereed journal publication. But
    that would only be a side-effect, not the direct motivation or
    justification at all: That direct motivation and justification is
    to maximize the impact of institutional research output by making it
    open-access -- by self-archiving it in the institutional repository.

    Such dreams of plenitude threaten the univeristy's other critical mission:
    education. The use of findings finds its place in process, in the
    gathering together for exchange, to teach and to learn. Factories for
    knowledge or laboratories for living.

    There is an other set of tolls on the horizon: smart classrooms connecting
    continents 24/7. There is an infrastructure to rent. Smart households -
    there is an infrastructure to tap into. It is very much about
    restructuring economics - what goes around - which is very much about
    politics - who gets around. I don't mind those toll-barriers. It is a
    great incentive for the responsible administrators to askthose paid to
    read those articles to account for the quality of too much too fast.

       -- <sigilla>
    Lachance</civic.name> <self.desig>Scholar-at-large</self.desig>
    <activity>Actively visiting <?insert URN?></activity>
    <motto><w corresp="grok">gork</w> structure, savour <w
    corresp="peace">content</w>, <s ana="play-with-piece">enjoy

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