Journal Publisher Copyright Assignment Policies

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 12:51:27 +0100

This is a reply to a query that might be of more general interest.
I have deleted identifiers:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
On Fri, 13 Oct 2000 XXX wrote:

> Dear Dr. Harnad,
> XXX and I have been discussing how to get
> academics to contribute to a scholarly archive. Recently XXX
> came to XXX and told us about your recent work.
> Perhaps I have misunderstood the story,
> but I believe he said that you gave them a list of
> publishers which had been approached on this issue, and which said that
> for articles to be published in the print organs of those publishers, it
> is ok for those articles to also be put into pre- and post-print servers.
> If I have somehow mangled the true version of events, please forgive me.
> On the other hand, if there is such a list, XXX and I would dearly
> love to see it..; and could you please share it with us?

It is a bit mangled. Here it is, correctly sorted out:

(1) There are now Online Archives that specialize in archiving the
contents of refereed journals, deposited by the journal publishers
themselves. The most prominent example is PubMed Central, which
archives, for example, the Proceedings of the National Academy of

(2) There are other Archives that specialize in archiving the
pre-refereeing and post-refereeing drafts of papers in refereed
journals, but self-archived by the author (not the publisher):

(3) My estimate is that about 70% of journals will today agree to
changing their copyright agreements, if authors explicitly request it,
such that all rights to sell the paper, on-line and on-paper, are
transfered to the publishers, reserving for the author only the right
to publicly self-archive it online; 10% of journals (e.g., all the
journals of the American Physical Society
<>) already have copyright
agreements that explicitly allow online self-archiving by their
authors. About 20% of journals would NOT agree to such a copyright
agreement, but this can be legally circumvented anyway, by simply
self-archiving the pre-refereeing preprint before submission, and
linking a "corrigenda" file afterward. (I have dubbed this the
"Harnad/Oppenheim" strategy):

(4) Free OAI-compliant, <>
hence interoperable eprint archive-creating software is now
available so that all universities can immediately install eprint
archives in which all their researchers in all disciplines can
self-archive all their papers, preprint and postprint (or preprint +

Being interoperable, and sharing the critical metadata tags (title,
author, etc.) the contents of these distributed eprint archives will
then be harvested into global meta-archives which can then be
searched, and any paper freely retrieved, by anyone, anywhere, as if
they had the entire refereed journal literature on their desktops, for


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 the ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature online is available at the
American Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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

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