Thursday, July 26, 2007

Science withdraws from JSTOR

The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the publisher of Science, has broken from JSTOR.

JSTOR's disappointment.

More from the Chronicle of Higher Ed, and Inside Higher Ed.

CNET mindlessly lists JSTOR under "Free information for the taking." Information may want to be free, hard-won knowledge categorically ought to be free. So here's a schedule of JSTOR's non-free fees to participating institutions.

Free JSTOR! Only intellectual property can be captured; intellect, not so easily.

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Blogger Scruggs said...

I reckon there are millions of people who wouldn't mind paying five bucks a month for access. What do you think, Tom? Maybe twenty to thirty million worldwide? More? That's a lot of money to be passing up and contrary to any fiduciary responsibility one might expect from archivists.

Even from a vulgar commercial perspective, those assholes are squatting on a gold mine and shitting down the shaft. I really do think it's more about restricting and tightly controlling access than any of the excuses they've offered.

7/27/2007 4:44 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Yes, or micropayments - JSTOR's body of 900 journals is, or was, a critical enough mass that it could sway the way these things go. By setting a privatized, movingwall approach, by entirely excluding entire classes of people at the very moment that networked computing has made access possible, it has shown a lack of vision that makes one wonder what they've learned from their millions of pages of academese.

7/27/2007 8:13 AM  
Blogger Scruggs said...

From that previous thread, Tom.

"JSTOR hadn't thought of offering a pay-per-view access before Google crawled its archive."

I had something else to say in this one, but I kept tripping over that. Google is a "well behaved" search engine. The crawler bot respects robots.txt exclusion files in htaccess directories. If you don't want something indexed, it won't be. Takes less than a minute and is the simplest tweak there is. In light of that, I find Heterick's response a bit disingenuous. People who are good at formulating queries are going to come up with gold on a regular basis. If you have millions of pages of authoritative texts, you are going to become a top search result -- if you allow indexing.

7/30/2007 7:02 AM  
Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Good point. Google perhaps was played. JSTOR went from nothing to Rock Star nearly instantaneously, but turned out to be Milli Vanilli.

7/30/2007 10:41 AM  

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