Re: Self-Archiving and the reaction of publishers

From: Bernard Naylor <B.Naylor_at_SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 18:15:07 +0000

I continue to be a bit surprised that this particular issue
is discussed on the basis of whether it is "law" or
"policy". The question of when and where Dr X went public
to "the whole world" on a scientific matter - and I mean
scientific in the broadest sense - seems to me to be an
intrinsic feature of our present system of scholarly
communication. Scholarly communication and the building of
scholarly knowledge assumes that someone makes a "public
statement of position" of this kind and must then accept
that their ideas can be tested in the usual ways which
operate in the various disciplines. Scholarly
communication also assumes that going public in this way
implicitly underpins any future claim to have been the
first to state something, in any future dispute about "who
got there first". Hence, it has always seemed to me to be
essential that we need to be clear whether the deposit of
an article in an e-print archive represents "publication",
not for legal or policy reasons but because of the nature of
scholarship and the way that the corpus of knowledge of any
particular discipline is built up, through the efforts of
individual scholars over time. At present, we do not seem to
be clear - though it looks to me, for all intents and
purposes, as though deposit of an article in an e-print
repository represents "publication" in the scholarly sense.
How would anyone who plagiarised such a deposited
article stand if they claimed that the knowledge they had
plagiarised "had not been published" and therefore that the
intellectual ownership of it had not been established to
the world at large in the traditional scholarly way? It
may be that, in the world of e-repositories, the whole
question of what constitutes "first publication" needs to
be re-examined carefully. My guess is that sooner or later
there will be a row about it, probably between two
ambitious and competitive scholars. It would be better if
we were clear on this point before that happens.

If the conclusion is that prior deposit in an e-archive is
"publication" in the scholarly sense, I should be rather
surprised if publishers don't consider that important.
"You first read it in our pages" is one of the things they
pride themselves on.

Bernard Naylor

On Mon, 6 Nov 2000 17:10:50 +0000 (GMT) Stevan Harnad
<> wrote:

> On Fri, 3 Nov 2000, Martin Melaugh wrote:
> > Has any academic expressed a worry about the possible reaction of a journal
> > publisher if they are made aware that a 'pre-print' version of an article
> > has been made available on the web? A colleague suggested to me that he
> > would be anxious about self-archiving if there was any chance of the
> > publisher refusing to publish the paper version.
> You are asking about the policy often called the "Ingelfinger Rule" and
> practised by some (not all or even most) journals (e.g., The New
> England Journal of Medicine, Science, the journals of the American
> Psychological Association).
> This topic has been discussed before in this Forum (see the Archives)
> and I have written about it in several papers:
> Harnad, S. (2000) E-Knowledge: Freeing the Refereed Journal Corpus
> Online. Computer Law & Security Report 16(2) 78-87. [Rebuttal to
> Bloom Editorial in Science and Relman Editorial in New England
> Journal of Medicine]
> Harnad, S. (2000) Ingelfinger Over-Ruled: The Role of the Web in
> the Future of Refereed Medical Journal Publishing. Lancet (in press)
> Suffice it to say that such policies are not legal matters, like
> copyright, but mere policies. The policies are unjustified and
> unenforceable (editors and referees, all researchers like ourselves,
> have no interest in enforcing such policies, and becoming net-sleuths,
> trawling for look-alikes for every submitted paper from the day it is
> submitted to the day it is accepted, for no reason that serves the
> interests of research); moreover, these policies are changing (Nature,
> unlike Science, has already dropped the Ingelfinger Rule; there are
> indications Science may follow suit.)
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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):
> You may join the list at the site above.
> Discussion can be posted to:

Bernard Naylor Email:
University Librarian Tel: 023 8059 2677
University of Southampton Fax: 023 8059 5451
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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