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Brown and Daguid (2000) begin their paper with the call,

As one English academic said to us when we suggested a new approach, "We've done things this way for the past 500 years; why should we change now?" The remark reminds us that universities are one of the few institutions that have been around throughout the last millenium. It also indicates why some doubt whether they will make it very far into the next. Peter Drucker, the management theorist, has given them thirty years. (p. 208)

Of many researchers working in the area of remaking academics for the Internet, one particularly stands out, at least in the area of OpenAcademics. Steven Harnad has been the most active voice in trying to free academic journals from the old system. He has pushed forward a number of initiatives, such as OpenPeerReview?, Cogprints, and the OpenArchivesInitiative?.

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From http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/Temp/timOA.doc:

One of the many misconceptions about the OA debate is that it is primarily about economics. Although the journal pricing/affordability problem certainly helped draw attention to OA, it has now become a distraction from the deeper problem: the research access/impact problem: No institution has the funds to subscribe to every journal that is published (there are about 24,000 according to Ulrich’s Directory); most institutions can only afford to purchase access to a small proportion of them for their researchers (see ARL statistics). This would be true even if every journal were sold at-cost, zero-profit. Yet every potential user that an article loses is lost potential impact for its author, its author’s institution, its research-funder, and for research itself. This lost impact is the access/impact problem, and the advent of the Web itself has provided the solution (Harnad et al. 2004).


Harnad, S. (1990). Scholarly skywriting and the prepublication continuum of scientific inquiry. Psychological Science, 1, 342-343.

Harnad, S. (1991). Post-gutenberg galaxy: The fourth revolution in the means of production of knowledge. Public-Access Computer Systems Review, 2(1), 39-53.

Harnad, S. (1994). Scholarly journals at the crossroads: A subversive proposal for electronic publishing. Retrieved December 17, 2004 from http://www.arl.org/scomm/subversive/toc.html

Harnad, S. (1998). On-line journals and financial fire-walls. Nature, 395, 127-128.

Harnad, S. (1998). The invisible hand of peer review. Nature: Web matters. Retrieved December 17 from http://www.nature.com/nature/webmatters/invisible/invisible.html

Harnad, S., Brody, T., Vallieres, F., Carr, L., Hitchcock, S., Gingras, Y, Oppenheim, C., Stamerjohanns, H., & Hilf, E. (2004) The access/impact problem and the green and gold roads to open access. Serials Review 30. http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/%7Eharnad/Temp/impact.html


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