Copyright, Embargo, and the Ingelfinger Rule

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 12:38:17 +0000

[Sender identity not posted as permission not requested or granted]

> Congratulations on your award! It's great news, not only for you but for
> the scientific enterprise in general. I'm for open publication any day.
> I would certainly like to archive my work in CogPrints, but I'm unclear
> about the copyright issues. Are APA and Psychonomic journals giving
> permission to post articles that were published a while back? Would posting
> a manuscript jeopardise later publication in one of these journals?

Thanks for the kind words.

Journals vary in their current copyright and embargo policies, but they
are changing in these rapidly changing times, and I believe that the
ultimate outcome is inevitable, which is that providing the SERVICE of
Quality Control/Certification (QC/C) (peer review) will be dissociated
from providing the PRODUCT in the form of a text (whether paper or
online). The QC/C service will be paid for by author-institutions out
of a small portion of their vast savings from cancelling the payment
for the text/product (through Subscription/Site-License/Pay-Per-View
[S/L/P]) -- and the texts will instead all be self-archived, free for
all, by the author-institution in the Open Archives (such as

That is the optimal and inevitable outcome, but we are not there yet.
Do individual authors need to wait? I strongly believe they do not, and
should not, and I sketch the obvious ways around the status quo below.

There are progressive publishers and there are more regressive ones.
The American Physical Society, publisher of the highest impact and
most prestigious refereed journals in Physics, is one of the most
progressive of publishers -- but their policies have been well
"prepared" by almost a decade of de facto self-archiving on the
part physicists worldwide.

Our APA happens to be one of the most regressive of publishers at the
moment, but they are still a Learned Society, and they will see the
light -- but we must first take the initiative by actually doing the
self-archiving, as the physicists did. If we wait for the APA's advance
blessing, we will have a long, long wait!

With that, I draw your attention to the strategies recommended below.

Best wishes,

Prof. Stevan Harnad
Editor, Psycoloquy phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Department of Electronics & fax: +44 23-80 593-281
Computer Science
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
SO17 1BJ UNITED KINGDOM news:sci.psychology.journals.psycoloquy
                    Sponsored by the American Psychological Association (APA)

Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 20:46:49 +0000
From: Stevan Harnad <>

> Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:17:52 +0000 (GMT)
> From: Clifford B. Saper <>
> Clifford B. Saper, MD, PhD
> James Jackson Putnam Professor of Neurology and Neuroscience
> Harvard Medical School
> Chairman, Department of Neurology
> Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
> 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215 USA
> Phone: 617-667-2622 Fax: 617-975-5161
> I hope you will also make clear to those on your mailing list that the
> Journal of Comparative Neurology (and most currently published
> journals) will not consider papers for publication that have already
> been published (which posting on a website is).

Dear Professor Saper,

The CogPrints copyright FAQ <>
does point out that journals differ in their copyright policies; and in
an excerpt below, differences in journal embargo policies ("The
Ingelfinger Rule") are discussed.

But I must also point out that these policies never had any scientific
justification, and now (in the PostGutenberg era) they no longer have
any economic justification either. And that although Journals like
Science, New England Journal of Medicine and Journal of the American
Medical Association, still have such policies, they have counterparts,
like Nature, Lancet, and British Medical Journal, that do not. And it
is only a matter of time before good sense -- and good science --
prevails, and these arbitrary access barriers, which exist only to
protect current journal revenue streams (once justified, but now no
longer necessary) will all fade away.

I have written critiques of Floyd Bloom's position (on behalf of
Science) in Science:

    Harnad, S. (1999) Advancing Science By Self-Archiving Refereed
    Research. Science dEbates [online] 31 July 1999.

As well as in the American Scientist Forum:

    Harnad, S. (1998) For whom the gate tolls?
    Free the on-line-only refereed journal literature

In D-Lib I describe an interim alternative strategy for authors:

    Harnad, S. (1999) Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed
    Journals. D-Lib Magazine 5(12) December 1999

     "So authors should transfer to their publishers all the rights
     to sell their papers, in paper or online, but they should
     retain the right to self-archive them online for free for all.
     Many publishers will agree (the American Physical Society
     <> being a model in
     this respect) because their scholarly/scientific goals are in
     harmony with those of their authors and readers. But with
     those publishers whose copyright agreement explicitly forbids
     the public self-archiving of the peer-reviewed final draft,
     the solution is to self-archive the preprint at the time it is
     first submitted for publication, and then once it is accepted,
     simply to archive a list of the changes that went into the
     revised final draft; alternatively, a further revised,
     enhanced draft, going substantively beyond the accepted, final
     draft, with a fuller reference list, Hyperlinks, more data and
     figures added, etc., can be self-archived, together with a
     list of what in this new edition was not in the final accepted
     draft. Either way, the handwriting (or rather the skywriting)
     is on the wall.

     "This gets around copyright restrictions (note that analogies with
     online piracy of text, music and software are irrelevant because
     we are speaking of "self-piracy" here). A further potential
     obstacle is an embargo policy like the one the New England Journal
     of Medicine (see <
     Hypermail/Author.Eprint.Archives/0019.html>) practises under the
     name of the "Ingelfinger Rule" (see
     and that journals like Science,
     likewise practise. I don't think I need to spell out for Web-savvy
     authors how easily arbitrary and self-serving policies like this
     can be gotten around by suitable cosmetic measures on one's
     self-archived preprint. In any case, I doubt that journal editors
     and referees (who, after all, are us), will long collaborate with
     policies that are no longer either justified or necessary, being
     now so clearly designed solely in the interest of protecting
     current S/L/P revenue streams rather than in the interest of
     disseminating research. Besides, journal embargo policies, unlike
     copyright agreements, are not even legal matters."

Regarding alternative economic models for refereed journal publishing,
see, in Nature:

    Harnad, S. (1998) On-Line Journals and Financial Fire-Walls.
    Nature 395(6698): 127-128.

    Harnad, S. (1998g) The invisible hand of peer review. Nature
    [online] ( 5 Nov. 1998)
    Longer version:

The New England Journal of Medicine declined to publish my reply to
Arnold Relman (URL in exceerpt above) but it will shortly appear in a
Law journal.

I invite you to consider the question of embargo policy and exclusive
copyright policy, and if you can think of any non-economic
justification for them, I would be very grateful to hear it.


Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of "Freeing the
Refereed Journal Literature Through Online Self-Archiving" is
at the American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99):
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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