Harnad to Ransdell, 5/6/99

+No matter how warmly one wishes to welcome the articulate comments of Professor Ransdell <bnjmr@ttu.edu>, one keeps coming up against passages like this:

> The Consortium must make choices about who to support and who not to
> support and these are the choices of the privileged avowedly in the
> interest of the superior, who can hardly be adjudged superior while at
> the same time being recognized to be at odds in their standards with
> the people doing the choosing; and thus with every choice the
> Consortium contributes to the development of a continually expanding
> class of outraged enemies, discredited as inferiors by exclusion, not
> to speak of contributing to a continually growing class of sycophants
> as well.

It is beyond my powers to discern what is exercising Professor Ransdell, what he is worrying about, or why, so I will not attempt to comment on most of what he has posted. The only substantive point I found was the following, and unfortunately it is based on a misunderstanding:

> ...it seems to me that Stevan's point that existing
> journals don't need to be subsumed under such an arrangement because
> they are already doing a good job might mistakenly be brushed aside as
> impertinent on the grounds that the question isn't whether they are
> doing okay but whether they are making any moves to go online properly,
> and since there is little indication that they are, why shouldn't the
> prestige of the universities forming the Consortium be used to persuade
> them to get on board The Prestige Express and get the migration to the
> internet started at last?

Most journals ARE already migrating to the internet; that is not the problem. The problem is how to free the online journal literature (from Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View [S/L/P]) access barriers. That is what journals are not doing, and not going to do, except under pressure from the user community, i.e., authors (self-archiving for free) and readers (preferring the free online version to any S/L/P version).

Authors need support in self-archiving: They need a reliable Archive they can trust, backed by Institutions they trust, and protected from copyright restrictions by collective initiatives they trust and can join. That is precisely the critical role the Scholar's Forum can play in this -- without any danger whatsoever of breeding a "class of sycophants"!

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Stevan Harnad harnad@cogsci.soton.ac.uk

Professor of Cognitive Science harnad@princeton.edu

Department of Electronics and phone: +44 1703 592-582