[Air-l] Re: Conference papers online

Bram Dov Abramson bda at bazu.org
Sun Nov 3 17:37:18 PST 2002

>Interesting idea, but how do we solve the free rider problem?

I think there are two questions on the table.

One is as to feasability -- whether or not papers can be made 
available online to non-AoIR members, without coercing anyone.

The other is as to desireability -- whether or not it's wise to do so.

1) I addressed the first, not the second:

>Despite some assertions on this list to the contrary, it takes Work 
>to put papers online or on a CD.

Yup.  Far as I understand, Work is already undertaken to put papers 
online, in a manner that allows AoIR members to look at them.  How 
much extra work is required to allow non-AoIR members to look at some 
of them, where the authors have so designated?  Well, there are a lot 
of variables, but it's certainly a rather different proposition than 
starting from scratch.

2) Now, whether or not doing this unspecified amount of extra Work is 
a, uh, Good Thing -- that's quite different.  You write:

>To add on to the Work and the expense without contributing dues to the clube

... and so the assumption is that, were some papers available widely 
and some only to members -- instead of all papers available only to 
members -- less people would contribute dues.  I think you may be 

Others might disagree, and point to give-some-away-for-free as a 
strategy that's worked better than don't-show-anything for 
pay-for-content sites.  Which may or may not be a valid point of 

The point being, the question of whether or not this is a Good Thing 
is much more interesting than whether or not it's a do-able thing. 
If authors are already submitting papers for publication online 
behind a password-protected site, then allowing authors to bring some 
of their papers out in front of the point of authentication is 
do-able.  Being do-able doesn't mean it's what should be done, but 
let's separate the two.

So, facilitating a public archive of AoIR conference papers on behalf 
of their authors, versus possible loss of the revenues required to be 
able to do that kind of facilitation...


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