Re: Open Archiving: What are researchers willing to do?

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 14:26:13 -0500

At 09:59 AM 11/16/99 -0500, you wrote:
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
>Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 1999 8:46 AM
>Subject: What are researchers willing to do?
>> To find out what those attending my two most recent talks were willing to
>> do to promote free access, I asked in a questionnaire if they would--
>> (3) post their old articles on their home pages without permissions from
>> copyright-holding publishers?
>> [80% would]
>Interesting that 80% said that they will break the law. Is ignorance of the
>law or something else behind this?

I have posted a handout on how to put your own reprints on the Web. It is

Here is some of what I say about the question you raise:

Might illegal posting be ethical?

Asking for permission to post old articles is time consuming and
frustrating. When I tried it several years ago, a common response was no

Authors might judge it ethical to post any of their articles older than 1
or 2 years without asking permission for these two reasons: (1) they are
making the results of publicly supported research public; (2) they are not
reducing the revenues of the publisher.

I have decided that such posting is ethical and have a clickable
bibliography on my home page
( At seminars
that I recently gave to two university life science departments, one item
on a written questionnaire asked if the seminar participants would post,
without getting specific permission, PDF files of their own articles that
were two or more years old. Of the 35 who answered, 28 checked yes

Note: If a publisher asks you to take an article off the Web because it
violates the publisher's copyright, my advice is to obey quickly, tell the
publisher why you thought the posting was ethical and why the publisher
should make it legal, and, in place of the article's clickable link, put a
notice that the article had been posted but was removed at the publisher's

Tom Walker

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
University of Florida, PO Box 110620, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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