What About the Author Self-Archiving of Books?

From: Stevan Harnad <harnad_at_coglit.ecs.soton.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 17:33:37 +0000

See Thread:
"Journal Papers vs. Books: The Direct/Indirect Income Trade-off"

sh> Note that we are not talking about "the publishing of articles" in the
sh> Open Archive: It is the self-archiving of (published and unpublished)
sh> articles...
> Yes.. I know. What I am interested in in ADDITION to the
> self-archiving, is the idea of "publishing" in the sense that we have
> lecturers here who have written text books, had them published, then
> got into trouble with the publishers for distributing electronic copies
> of their own work to their students of the work... So if the information
> was "published" electronically locally, then they would be able to make
> it available to their own students for no cost other than the cost of
> printing etc.. This is something else that we are working on here.. ie
> the idea of print on demand. I am working on a prototype system... to
> allow "information providers" to place information on, "information
> consumers" to retrieve information and will tie together the various
> resources such as Prospero (Ariel Documents), web pages, documents
> the idea of print on demand. I am working on a prototype system to
> place online, electronic articles etc etc so that a "publication" can
> be created and then downloaded as a PDF file (generated on the fly) or
> printed and bound at the local on-campus book-shop at a cost less than
> photostating..
> I would of course like the Archive to be a resource that would tie
> into this system..

Be careful because you may needlessly be running afoul of some natural
and potentially helpful fault-lines here:

The monograph and textbook literature is FUNDAMENTALLY different from
the refereed journal literature. In the case of the former, authors are
SELLING their words; in the latter, they are GIVING them away.

Book authors want royalties, and that's why they sign over copyright.
They do not want their work pirated by others, because that steals from
their potential revenue. This is not true of journal-article authors.

Hence journal-article authors want to give their papers away free for
all; book authors do not.

The special case of using one's own books to teach one's own course can
be handled by placing the book in a hidden, password-protected local,
closed-archive, and providing the URL and password only to the students
in one's course; this is exactly the same as xeroxing it for one's own
students -- a practise that falls within an author's "fair use"
guidelines for his own work.

But such a book could not and should not be put in an Open Archive, of
the kind we are discussing for preprints and journal reprints. For if it
were, it would not only violate copyright but it would undercut sales of
the book.

On the other hand, Open Archives are perfectly fine as a place to
publish (sic) a book openly (INSTEAD of conventional publication):
that is, without a publisher, without royalties.

The updated CogPrints Archive and its genericized Eprints Archive
counterpart (and indeed the present CogPrints Archive) are all capable
of publishing monographs in this way, if that's what their authors wish
to do.

Moreover, I don't doubt that once the Open Archives become the mainstay,
there will be (non-vanity) publisher "overlays" for monographs that are of
high enough quality to merit a prestigious publisher's imprimatur (after
formal peer review and acceptance by the publisher), but are unlikely to
have enough of a market to warrant trying to sell it, either on paper or

These book accreditation "overlays" will work much as the
refereed-journal accreditation overlays will work (once refereed
journals have down-sized to becoming quality-controller/certifiers only,
and not distributors).

Stevan Harnad harnad_at_cogsci.soton.ac.uk
Professor of Cognitive Science harnad_at_princeton.edu
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk/~harnad/
Highfield, Southampton http://www.princeton.edu/~harnad/
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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