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[Fwd: Back Issues of Science to be Freely Available]

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  • Subject: [Fwd: Back Issues of Science to be Freely Available]
  • From: Howard Flack <Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch>
  • Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 15:04:49 +0100 (BST)
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Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
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Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 10:00:26 -0400
From: Kent Smith <SMITHK@MAIL.NLM.NIH.GOV>
Subject: Re: Back Issues of Science to be Freely Available
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This is simply Kennedy's way of avoiding putting Science up on PubMed Central which many in the community are encouraging--Our view is there are many repositories and NLM's PMC is just one of them, not the only one. This debate has been in Science over the past few issues--Kent

>>> Gailhodge@aol.com 04/25/01 9:06:56 AM >>>
I thought some of you might be interested in this message from Don Kennedy of
Science regarding its new policy of providing information free via the Web.
I apologize for the double posting and for duplicating information for those
who are on the AAAS list. -- Gail
---------------

To AAAS Members:

As most of you know, Science - through revenue from advertising and
subscriptions - helps to support a wide range of Association activities.
These include strong programs in science and public policy, science
and law, international cooperation, K-12 education, and many others.
And of course Science also serves the entire scientific community more
directly, by providing, in addition to its research reports of new
findings, news and perspectives that place that research in the context
of human needs and public policy.

As the publication of a nonprofit scientific society, we face obligations
that sometimes present us with conflicts. AAAS is really two entities
in one: the publisher of a world-class journal and a nonprofit mission-
driven society with over 130,000 members. These two roles usually
mesh, but sometimes AAAS faces internal conflict. We need adequate
revenues to support the Association's programs, to serve our members,
and to keep Science's world readership. At the same time, we have a
responsibility to serve the broader scientific community and to respond
to its changing needs. In a world in which electronic and print
publications coexist, our financial picture is more complex and riskier.
We have to balance the need for revenue from Science in print against
the need to offer scientists everywhere the advantages that the Internet
can provide.

For example, we have executed site licenses for our online version with
over 500 institutions in the United States and abroad. The list includes
most of the major U.S. research universities as well as research-
intensive companies and many international institutions. This means
that students and fellows, faculty members, and research workers of all
kinds in such places can download any paper-indeed, any part of
Science. We knew all along that this policy would result in the loss of
some personal subscriptions, and it has. Yet we continue because we
believe it is part of a larger service obligation that comes to us
because we are a nonprofit organization.

As of April 23, 2001, we have made our back research content freely
available 12 months after initial publication. By taking this step, we
are responding to strong representations from the scientific community.
Yet this move may involve economic risks for us, through loss of
subscriptions, posing another potential threat to the Association
programs we support.

There is no immediate answer to this dilemma, which in one respect we
welcome because it testifies to the significance of our journal to the
community we serve. It is important, however, for you to appreciate the
tradeoffs involved, because you are both subscribers to Science and
members of the Association. One way in which you can help resolve
the problem is through loyalty to the print version. When the time for
renewal comes, we hope you will consider-in addition to the
convenience and the aesthetic advantages of Science in print-that you
are supporting a broader set of services that it provides to you and
your fellow scientists.

Sincerely,

Don Kennedy
Science's Editor-in-Chief

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