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RE: Why Cornell's Institutional Repository Is Near-Empty

Rick Anderson wrote:

For what it's worth, here's my evidence-based prediction: if and when an entire journal's content is made publicly available at no charge and with no embargo, only a fool will continue to pay for a subscription to it.
I probably won't be the first to bring up examples from astrophysics and other disciplines that are fully (or nearly completely) represented in the arXiv. Their continued existence poses a conundrum if we view the journal solely as a vehicle for disseminating research findings. All articles can find a journal that will publish them.

The most valuable function of the journal is in the evaluation and reward system. Journals, by their degree of selectivity and exclusion, concentrate high-quality articles in a small number of publications, and signal to the readers what is important and should be attended to. As authors give away freely their work to be published, there is a transfer of prestige back to the author. The more selective the journal, the more prestige is transferred in return.

Like a parasite that must keep its host alive, repositories are dependent upon the evaluation system of the journal. Kill the host, and self-archiving becomes meaningless. Coexistence is possible, but we should not view this relationship as a peaceful coexistence. It is a parasitic relationship.

--Phil Davis