Friday, January 18, 2008

Reviewed reviews

"Book self-archiving cannot and should not be mandated, for the contrary of much the same reasons peer-reviewed journal articles can and should be."
Stevan Harnad
18 January 2008
contribution to liblicense-l

I agree with him.

I think.

Why I can't be entirely certain is because by peer-reviewed journal articles he may mean the same as the NIH in the description of the types of articles that fall under the mandate, which says:
"The Policy applies to all peer-reviewed journal articles, including research reports and reviews. The Policy does not apply to non-peer-reviewed materials such as correspondence, book chapters, and editorials."
That's a mistake, in my view. Review articles belong in the second sentence, with editorials and the like; not the first. More often than not, review articles are initiated by a publisher, inviting a distinguished author to write one. More often than not the author is offered some payment for writing it. Seldom if ever is a review article the result of a funded research project.

Review articles have a lot in common with books. And if self-archiving of books "cannot and should not be mandated", the same applies, grosso modo, to review articles.

Even OA publisher par excellence, BioMed Central, requires subscriptions to access review articles, for instance in the journal Breast Cancer Research. I think they are right to do that. It will be interesting, though, to see how BMC will deal with the NIH requirement to self-archive review articles. Willl the 12 months' embargo be enough? They currently make these articles freely available after two years ("freely available online to registered users", which isn't quite the same as open access, but maybe that distinction is for pedants only). They could just avoid inviting authors with NIH grants to write review articles, of course.

Jan Velterop

No comments:

Post a Comment