Re: For Whom the Gate Tolls?

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 02:02:42 -0500

On Sun, 11 Feb 2001, Stevan Harnad wrote [in part]:

>[sh] Patented findings are of course non-give-away. Authors who wish to
>[sh] protect their priority will not want to submit their unpatented
>{sh] findings even to the referees of refereed journals, let alone to
>[sh] have them published, until and unless they are sure the findings
>[sh] have patent protection.
>[sh] So they simply don't submit or publish them, of course! That's not
>[sh] the concern of the self-archiving initiative, which is dedicated to
>[sh] freeing from needless access barriers those papers that the author
>[sh] DOES wish to make public. Papers that the author has reason NOT to
>[sh] make public are simply not relevant.

I suspect that it's not unusual for researchers in the biotechnology field
to submit a manuscript for peer review, and, at the same time, to begin
the process of filing for patent protection. The process of filing for
patent protection can be completed during the time that the manuscript is
being considered for publication (and *isn't* in the public domain yet).

Of course, if the results are deemed to be really 'hot', then the editor
of a journal may expedite publication, and the time available for filing
for patent protection may be much shorter than is usually available during
the conventional peer-review process. And, if the author plans to
self-archive a preprint prior to submission for peer-review (and thus, to
post the results in the public domain prior to formal publication), then
the sequence would need to be:

File for patent protection -> self-archive a preprint -> submit for peer
review -> publish in a peer-reviewed journal (one that doesn't prohibit
the prior self-archiving of preprints).

If one would like to see more of the research literature freed of needless
access barriers, then it seems to me that this issue *is* a relevant one
(although only for those working in fields, such as biotechnology, that
may yield patentable inventions ... but a lot of young biomedical
researchers seem to be entering such fields!).

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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