Re: Elsevier Science Policy on Public Web Archiving Needs Re-Thinking

From: Patrick Wilken <> <harnad_at_COGSCI.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 05:05:29 -0400


>Tony Barry wrote:
>There is a more fundamental question which relates to the concept of a
>"final version". We are so used to the static nature of print that we have
>ingrained into us the concept that a publication _should_ be finalised.

In my own small journal we have a policy of allowing non-substantive
changes to text after publication. So we are happy to fix spelling or
grammatical errors, but nothing that will substantively change the meaning
of the text (of course in some disciplines grammatical changes may well be
regarded as substantive). This is not a matter of hanging on to some
old-fashioned convention. Its important if people are going to discuss an
article its not a moving target. I can think of two Nature articles
published in my own area of interest in recent years that I've had problems
replicating in someway or other. When I present my own data related to
these experiments I want to be able to refer to the one version of the
article everybody knows; I don't want half-a-dozen copies in different
members of the audience.

Stevan's example brings up the absurdity of having two substantively
different versions of an article floating around. I don't think it
really matters whether the print or electronic version is the more
correct one. What's more important is that everyone is discussing the
same mss. It should not be used as an argument that articles published
electronically should become infinitely fluid.

Patrick Wilken
Editor: PSYCHE: An International Journal of Research on Consciousness
Secretary: The Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness
Received on Tue Aug 25 1998 - 19:17:43 BST

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