Re: When is an MP3 file like a lighthouse?

From: Smigrodzki, Rafal (SmigrodzkiR@MSX.UPMC.EDU)
Date: Thu Oct 25 2001 - 12:16:33 MDT

Alex Bokov wrote:

Actually, a surprising amount of that work is already not directly
paid for by the end user. Rafal, when you publish your papers in
certain journals, *you* pay a small fee for the priviledge of doing
so, don't you? If you could choose to make your paper available for
free online to anybody who wants it, wouldn't you choose to do so on
the premise that it would increase the number of times you are cited
by colleagues?

### Scientific journals are so very different from MP3's. The main source of
funding for their content providers is the government. The main producers of
the added value of the journals are the usually unpaid peer reviewers. Yet
most of the income generated from them goes to the publishers. This is a
perverse system. Personally I would be happy if the few articles I authored
were freely downloadable but without the cachet of a peer-review board and
the brand name of an authority to support them, they would be less valuable.
I hope that some day the age of the $ 5000 subscription fee to a journal
will be over, with cheaper electronic journals replacing existing paper
ones. Their content will not be adversely affected by downloading as long as
there are scientists willing to publish and review, and institutions willing
to fund them.

One method to get there faster would be for the sponsors of science, to
require that all the sponsored work be made freely available and to actually
prohibit the transfer of copyright to other entities. If the NIH instituted
such a requirement, all bioscience journals would have to adapt to survive,
and the overhead of doing science would be lowered.

Rafal Smigrodzki, MD-PhD


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