Steve Hitchcock -


Logic of Page Charges

Hitchcock & Harnad, 4/28/99


Somewhat daunted by the length I nevertheless read your reply to the... proposals and found it very effective. I like the emphasis on changing one variable at a time. A couple of points I want to clarify. How are the physics 'overlay' journals recovering costs, i.e., charging users for the 'refereed reprints'?

Of course you advocate author page charges, but not exclusively I presume. S/L/P are also possible. Can you resolve possible confusion on this in the following two paragraphs?

sh>The ARL initiative is largely backing new forms of licensing. Inasmuch

sh>as these retain the author's right to self-archive for free, they are

sh>commendable; inasmuch as they help to preserve S/L/P barriers -- in the

sh>form of L alone -- they are counterproductive.

sh>I have tried to sketch out a way

sh><> based on switching

sh>to cost-recovery from up-front page-charges, but the promotion of

sh>universal self-archiving by authors does not require a commitment to a

sh>specific transition scenario.


So S/L/P and page charges are all non-exclusive options?

Do we need to make another distinction between refereed reprint (author's version) and the edited version of the same paper? One version can be made available from the archive for free, the other for-pay. If there is no distinction, then author page charges are the only way forward. But then prescribing page charges as the only way goes against the 'one variable at a time' principle.

Which brings us to the role of publishers and existing journals. Your broad advice to the biologists is base the (LANL-like) archive on simple principles and let market forces develop enhancements.

sh>Work out agreements with a sufficient proportion of established

sh>journals, as in the case of APS/LANL, and this will be a highly

sh>attractive feature, and will hasten the success of the ... Archive.

sh>Rather than announce it as a

sh>fait accompli, a priori, that established journals will allow their

sh>authors to self-archive online preprints and to submit to the journal

sh>via the Archive, I suggest you confirm this with a sufficient number of

sh>them so that you have a viable and attractive package to offer

sh>prospective archivers.


sh>Journals just become quality control

sh>tags; otherwise, they are an outmoded concept.


I think all this is possible - free archives with value-adding (for pay) services overlaid - providing the one variable at a time rule is followed and we don't try to prescribe too many features at once.