Discussing is Ok, but what should we do in practice?

From: Albert Henderson <NobleStation_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2000 18:12:24 -0500

on 2/15/00 Antonella Pavese wrote:

> I have been following the discussion of the September98 forum with
> great interest for quite a while, and I am trying hard, as a young
> scientist, to work in a way that can sustain your initiative. My
> papers are on your Cogprint server. I discuss with my colleagues
> about these issues. However, when it comes to publish a paper, things
> become very difficult.
> I would like to emphasize how bad this system is for young
> scientists. One very visible problem is that scientific information
> produced by us is hidden and sold only to institutions that can
> afford to buy it (I am sensitive to this issue, because I am
> currently working in a small research institute with limited
> resources and no possibility to buy expensive subscriptions to many
> important journals). I found myself in the ridiculous situation of
> not being able to read a paper that I wrote because my institution
> did not have a subscription for that journal!

        Your institution probably located itself in Philadelphia
        because of the tremendous intellectual resources available
        there. You should be able to use local libraries. Your
        librarian should be able to get photocopies via interlibrary
        loan at no cost to you.

> Another very serious issue associated with our current publishing
> system, however, is that of the geological times required to publish
> any work. If one wants to publish in one of the leading journals in
> our area, for example the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human
> Perception and Performance, it may take many months just to receive
> the reviews, and even after complete acceptance, the waiting time for
> publication is more than one year. This means that it takes AT LEAST
> three years of work to see your work published. Reading the current
> literature is like to watch a far star: what you see is what happened
> many years ago.
> (I know that this is not an issue this forum should discuss, but
> waiting times for reviews are becoming so ridiculously long that I
> cannot resist to mention it: I personally waited more than seven
> months for a review in Neuropsychologia, and a colleague of mine is
> still waiting for feedback from the Psychological Review after ELEVEN
> months. It takes less time to make a child....)

        I recently wrote an article on journal backlogs and how
        they are related to universities' collectively cutting
        library spending while promoting increases in research
        (PUBLISHING RESEARCH QUARTERLY 15(2);1999:30-36) The
        problem is systemic across all disciplines. University
        managers appear to be interested only in increasing their
        profits, (AGAINST THE GRAIN Dec 1999/Jan 2000:32)

> In conclusion, making the paper immediately available on the internet
> would also solve the problem of the temporal delay between the moment
> a work is completed and the time it is available for the scientific
> community.

        Have you thought of presenting your paper at a meeting?
        That is how dissemination of research has been speeded
        since before the Royal Society started.

> I just want to mention that these delays create a lot of problems to
> young scientists that are trying to look for a job.
> Anyway, the reason I am writing is to ask advice on how to escape the
> strict rules that govern our publications. I have a paper that I am
> thinking to submit to one of the APA (American PSYCHOLOGICAL
> Association)journal.
> This is a literal citation from the instructions to authors of
> Neuropsychology, an APA Journal:
> Under copyright law, the transfer of copyright from author to
> publisher must be completed before any article can be published
> in Neuropsychology. The transfer of copyright enables the
> publisher to assure maximum dissemination of the author's
> work (SIC!). Copyright forms are sent to all authors prior
> to acceptance and must be signed and returned to the Editor's
> office immediately. U.S. government employees must sign the
> section of the form stating exemption from copyright laws.
> Alterations to or substitution for the form are not acceptable.
> All authors must sign this form to verify authorship.
> I am not the only author in the paper, and I have to follow the
> suggestions of my advisor, who thinks that Neuropsychology is a good
> fit for our paper. It does not seem to me that we have much choice.
> If we want our article to be published we HAVE to sign the copyright
> transfer and we CANNOT alter or substitute the form. I guess one way
> is to choose another journal, but unfortunately this type of policy
> is enforced by all the major journals in psychology.
> Any suggestions?

        If you want the recognition of your peers, you have to
        recognize their interests in protecting publishers' investment
        in formal dissemination that will be covered by indexes and
        abstracts for many years.

Good luck,

Albert Henderson
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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