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Re: Critique of OA metric

David's post is an interesting one.  He is certainly correct that 
search engines (Google is simply the most prominent, but not the 
only means of discovery) "atomize" collections of papers.  This 
could lead someone to believe that the "wrapper" of an atomized 
article is no longer important, but this overlooks the mattter of 
search engine rank.  It is one thing to find an article about 
hypertension or a specific aspect of materials science, quite 
another for that article to rise to the top of a long list of 
potentially relevant Web sites.  For search engine ranking, such 
matters as brand are very important, as they collect online 
attention and links and lead to higher scoring.

If you don't believe this, try it.  Create a Web site (it takes 
two minutes) using a blogging service such as WordPress.  Post an 
article to it.  Post another article (or the same one) to an 
established online venue.  The article in the established venue 
will show up higher in search engine rankings.

As a footnote, I don't believe David is correct in his discussion 
of PLOS One.  PLOS One is borrowing the brand of the PLOS 
flagship journals.  This is a tricky business.  It works fine 
until it doesn't.  Readers are coming to PLOS One (presumably 
authors, too) thinking they are getting the editorial rigor of 
the PLOS flagships, but they aren't.  Can this go on forever? 
Perhaps.  But consider this:  when you buy a telephone handset 
for a landline phone that bears the AT&T brand, does it matter 
that AT&T has not manufactured handsets in years?  It matters to 

Joe Esposito

On Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 3:54 PM, David Prosser
<david.prosser@bodley.ox.ac.uk> wrote:

> It is simple to conceive of a decoupling between the journal 
> 'quality' brand (is the research correct?) and the journal 
> 'alerting' brand (here is a group of articles that may be of 
> interest to you) as described by Sally.  In the print world 
> grouping papers thematically together made perfect sense; in 
> the online world where people increasing use search engines 
> (whether specific, like Medline, or general, like Google) to 
> find papers it is perhaps less useful.
> So, a journal table of contents e-mail may be useful, but 
> equally I may be more interested in seeing the daily digest of 
> papers with a particular tag in Connotea, say. That way the 
> community would define its own interests rather than having the 
> collection codified by an editor.  And different communities 
> could combine the content of different journals in different 
> ways.  This to me is what PLoS One has done - provide the 
> quality brand, but leave the 'what's this journal about' to the 
> readers.  It seems inevitable (and was once titles and 
> abstracts went online!) that the 'alerting' brand is going to 
> become less and less within the control of publishers and more 
> in the control of users.
> David
> David Prosser
> SPARC Europe