For Whom the Gate Tolls? How and Why to Free the Refereed Research Literature Now, Through Online Self-Archiving
AbstractAll refereed journals will soon be available online; most of them already are. This means that anyone will be able to access them from any networked desk-top. The literature will all be interconnected by citation, author, and keyword/subject links, allowing for unheard-of power and ease of access and navigability. Successive drafts of pre-refereeing preprints will be linked to the official refereed draft, as well as to any subsequent corrections, revisions, updates, comments, responses, and underlying empirical databases, all enhancing the self-correctiveness, interactivity and productivity of scholarly and scientific research and communication in remarkable new ways. New scientometric indicators of digital impact are also emerging <http://opcit.eprints.org> to chart the online course of knowledge. But there is still one last frontier to cross before science reaches the optimal and the inevitable: Just as there is no longer any need for research or researchers to be constrained by the access-blocking restrictions of paper distribution, there is no longer any need to be constrained by the impact-blocking financial fire-walls of Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View (S/L/P) tolls for this give-away literature. Its author/researchers have always donated their research reports for free (and its referee/researchers have refereed for free), with the sole goal of maximizing their impact on subsequent research (by accessing the eyes and minds of fellow-researchers, present and future) and hence on society. Generic (OAi-compliant) software is now available free so that institutions can immediately create Eprint Archives in which their authors can self-archive all their refereed papers for free for all forever <http://www.eprints.org/>. These interoperable Open Archives <http://www.openarchives.org> will then be harvested into global, jointly searchable "virtual archives" (e.g., <http://arc.cs.odu.edu/>). "Scholarly Skywriting" in this PostGutenberg Galaxy will be dramatically (and measurably) more interactive and productive, spawning its own new digital metrics of productivity and impact, allowing for an online "embryology of knowledge."
Harnad, S. (2001) For Whom the Gate Tolls? How and Why to Free the Refereed Research Literature Now, Through Online Self-Archiving. Technical Report , Electronics and Computer Sciences, University of Southampton.