Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ

From: Bernard Naylor <>
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2000 11:32:29 +0000

I am not sure that things are as clearcut as Stevan Harnad
appears to suggest so I have appended some notes to this

Bernard Naylor

> Date: Sun, 30 Jan 2000 16:34:54 +0000
> From: Stevan Harnad <>
> On Wed, 20 Feb 1918, Aline PELISSIER wrote:
> ap> I have some problems understanding your message.
> ap> I have to know if this site is an archiving one
> ap> or a publishing one via Internet.
> There are too many preconceptions in your question. There is not an
> "either/or" relation between archiving and publishing (and publishing
> has more than one meaning).
> (1) Everything that appears on the Internet (or on paper,
> for that matter, even once), counts legally as "publication."

This is not true in the domain of paper. If I write to one
individual claiming that the earth is flat, that is not a publication.
If I write a short paper purporting to prove that the earth is flat and
circulate it to a number of my friends on a restricted basis, that is
not a publication. In both of those instances, I do create a document
in which there is copyright but I do not create a publication. If I
write such a paper and circulate it to my friends and make it clear
that it can be circulated as widely as anyone may desire, then I have
probably published it. At least, I suspect the courts might think so.

On the Internet, however, the distinction between "conversation" (in
which I assert something to a chosen, limited number of other parties)
and "publication" (in which I volunteer my assertion for scrutiny by
the whole world) is much more difficult to define and I think the
courts might have a field day. Perhaps they already have.

sh> But that, I
sh> assume, is NOT what you mean by publication here. You mean:
sh> (2) Journal publication (or what used to be meant by journal
sh> publication: acceptance by and appearance in a refereed journal).

The question of whether something has been refereed or not has nothing
to do with whether it is published. If I publish (that is, offer to the
public at large) an unrefereed pamphlet on 1 January, setting out a
proof that the earth is flat, and someone publishes a refereed article
in a scholarly journal six months later setting out the same proof, I
would have strong grounds (at the least) to claim "prior discovery".

Hence I think the jury has to be "still out" on the status of an
article lying in an electronic repository and therefore available to
the whole world - but not refereed. Suppose somebody writes a highly
controversial article (for example, proving that the earth is flat) and
finds that no refereed journal will publish it, I think that if such an
article is lodged in an electronic repository on a recorded date, a
case for "prior discovery" would quite likely stand up because I think
that reasonable people might conclude that, refereed or not, the proof
has been published. I therefore think that the relationship between the
unrefereed article in the electronic repository and the identical
article, subsequently refereed, in a paper or electronic journal is
quite ambiguous and still needs definition. My guess is that, whatever
we might wish to assert, the first occasion on which the article is
offered on unrestricted circulation to the world at large will be
deemed to be the moment of publication. I doubt very much whether the
question of whether it has been refereed or not at some stage will be
found particularly significant in the determination of the matter.

Bernard Naylor Email:
University Librarian Tel: 023 8059 2677
University of Southampton Fax: 023 8059 5451
Southampton, SO17 1BJ

> An online archive is always a site of publication sensu (1), but
> that is trivial. Sensu (2), it can be a site of refereed publication:
> (a) if what is archived therein has been accepted for publication
> by a refereed journal or,
> (b) if the archive is itself a refereed journal.
> Now I can reply clearly to your question:
> CogPrints is NOT a refereed journal. Authors can archive therein both
> (i) papers that have NOT appeared in refereed journals (i.e., unrefereed
> preprints) and (ii) papers that have appeared (or been accepted by)
> refereed journals (i.e., refereed reprints).
> <>
> By archiving a refereed preprint (i) in CogPrints, one does NOT make
> it into a published reprint (ii) sensu (2).
> I do, however, also edit two refereed journals (one paper, BBS, and one
> online, Psycoloquy), both of which have ONLINE archives too. BBS
> (because it still depends on paper journal revenues) archives online
> only the unrefereed version of refereed, accepted papers; Psycoloquy,
> being online-only and free (subsidized by the American Psychological
> Association) archives the final published version of all articles it
> accepts.
> <>
> <>
> > And what about the reviews?
> By reviews do you mean journals? Vide supra.
> Do you mean what do the journals say about authors self-archiving
> papers that they have accepted? That depends on individual journal
> copyright policy. About that topic, see the archive of the ongoing
> discussion of
> "Freeing the Refereed Journal Literature Through Online
> Self-Archiving" at the American Scientist September Forum (98 &
> 99):
> Open Archives like CogPrints are NOT intended as a substitute for
> refereed journals. However, they will probably drive refereed journals
> into downsizing so they are no longer selling a PRODUCT (the refereed
> article, whether paper or online) to the reader-institution, but a
> SERVICE (refereeing and certification) to the author-institution. The
> price will be paid out of institutional savings from the cancellation
> of all annual journal subscriptions.
> > I'am completely lost.....My dear collegues too!!!!
> > Thank you so much...
> > See you soon.
> > Aline
> I hope this helps. But as I cannot repeat this in real-time every time
> anyone emails me, may I ask that you advise colleagues at least to read
> my latest paper on the topic, and the references cited therein?
> Harnad, S. (1999) Free at Last: The Future of Peer-Reviewed
> Journals. D-Lib Magazine 5(12) December 1999
> The world is large, and I am only one, and small, and I have said this
> all before...
> Best wishes, Stevan
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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