Re: Zen response to e-Archiving Challenge

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 09:04:03 -0400

on Fri, 25 May 2001 Charles Oppenheim <> wrote:

> >Re Reinhard Wentz's challenge [copied below]:
> >
> >Fallacies abound in this forum. We should all be able to
> >identify many of them, asserted and implied, without
> >needing to read the New Scientist.
> >
> >The following come to mind:
> >
> >FALLACY 2. Authors can legally leave the preprint version
> >of an article up by adding "corrigenda" after transferring
> >copyright to the publisher.
> >
> >No copyright attorney that I know would agree with this. It
> >is a clear case of wilfull infringment. Having transferred
> >copyright, the author is obligated to delete the preprint
> >or be a party to Napster-like infringment. Moreover, the
> >preprint server is probably also liable.
> You've been talking to the wrong copyright attorneys! Since the preprint
> version PREDATES the version supplied to the publisher, the author (or the
> server) preprint cannot be accused of copyright infringement, which of
> course requires someone to have copied the publisher's copyright material.
> The author can be accused of breach of contract in that the contract (s)he
> signed promised that the material had not been published previously
> elsewhere. The argument would revolve around whether the item published in
> the journal is the "same" as the preprint item. And what would be the
> consequence if indeed it was found that the author was in breach of
> contract? The author would no doubt not be welcome by the publisher again,
> but unless the publisher could actually DEMONSTRATE that it had lost
> business as a result of the breach of contract, it could not recover
> damages.
> >
        First, the transfer of copyright covers all copies
        before and after. Copyright does not differ much
        from the cake you cannot eat and then have.

        Second, AGU et al. v. Texaco proved infringement all
        the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. This is no different.

> >FALLACY 3. Use of the word "archive" to describe unreviewed preprints.
> >
> >"Archive" has long been associated with peer-reviewed journals
> >such as Archives of Internal Medicine and with research libraries that
> >are selective about what they keep. This usage is a pathetic plea for
> >status, much like sewage processors claiming to be "water recovery plants."
> >
> >Speaking of sewage, the problem with the usage is that mixing unreviewed
> >preprints with published papers will confuse readers. You wouldn't offer
> >sewer water side by side with 7-up and Coke and offer it to your trusting
> >children, would you? The misleading usage is an open invitation for
> >fraudulent promotion of unsafe and ineffective products presented as
> >"research." Freedom of speech issues do not excuse the reckless and
> >uncaring mixing of dangerous material with original research.
> >
> >Another problem is that the word "archive" is being used to market the
> >displacement of libraries, librarians, editors, and publishers with the
> >notion that a computer can replace them all, and very cheaply.
> The English language is constantly changing. If a word is well understood
> by many people as to its meaning, that's good enough for me. "Archive" has
> entered the scientists' world meaning a repository of high quality papers,
> and no amount of huffing and puffing can stop that use. The point about
> mixing unrefereed and refereed papers in one place is valid, but this can
> surely be addressed by marking the papers accordingly, and letting readers
> decide to search for one type or both as they see fit.

        Examining sponsorships by pharmaceutical manufacturers of seminars
        and reprints that reported experimental uses of their drugs., the
        U.S. Food & Drug Administration found that most PHYSICIANS are not
        equipped to recognize misleading claims of effectiveness.

        I don't believe you can inflate the prestige of a distribution
        channel and promote it in The New York Times without misleading
        readers, perhaps to their peril. Popular expectations are guided
        by entertainment writers. The lives of TV characters are saved
        repeatedly by experimental drugs that always seem to be safe and

> >FALLACY 4. Peer review is certification of quality.
> >
> >But not of results. Most peer review of published articles is
> >done in a few hours and without examining the authors' original
> >data. Because of the impoverishment of their libraries and the
> >slowness of interlibrary loan, referees are unable to check
> >unfamiliar works cited in a paper under review. Yes, referees
> >are not likely to be experts on the topic they review according
> >to one study published recently.
> Many studies show that refereed material is higher quality than
> unrefereed. I do agree that the refereeing system is full of flaws though.
> >
        Moreover, the appreciation of research changes
        over time, with much being recognized as duplicative,
        poorly prepared, or wrong.

> >FALLACY 5. "Do-it-yourself" Self-archiving by authors will solve
> >scientists' communication problems.
> >
> >Even Paul Ginsparg has noted that an intellectual non-automated
> >approach is needed. The literature is too massive and chaotic,
> >the scientific community is too broad and unruly, and the ability
> >of any individual (no matter how large the ego) to keep on top
> >is doubtful. Like the responsibility for workers' safety, the
> >burden of intelligence must be supported from the top. Like
> >the issue of safety, the people at the top would just rather
> >save money. Sputnik, like the Shirtwaist factory fire, shook
> >them out of this groove for a while.
> I agree with this comment, but hope that novel techniques, such as proposed
> in the Semantic Web, will address this issue in the future.
        A well-established technique is called the review article.
        In order to prepare one properly, one must have full
        access and financial support. Medical editors' CONSORT
        standards have called for authors to assess the results
        of clinical trials "in light of the totality of the
        available evidence." (According to a report at the
        Prague meeting on peer review, authors seem to ignore
        this demand.)

> >FALLACY 6. Authors' income results from the impact of their
> >findings.
> >
> >While publication helps substantiate a scientists capcity for
> >research, there is no provable relationship between authorship
> >and income. The most prolific authors achieve tenure early on.
> >Most gainfully employed authors produce only 1 or 2 papers in
> >their lifetime. Many scientists and engineers publish nothing
> >at all. Well-paid industrial technical consulting is more
> >likely to involve trade secrets rather than open communications.
> >
> >I recall that the Association of Research Libraries Serials Prices
> >Project also stepped in this hold, accusing researchers of
> >excessive publishing!
> Blaise Cronin did some important research about ten years ago that showed
> that US academics' salaries were directly correlated with their citation
> counts. Since citation counts are (it is universally agreed) a measure of
> a scientist's impact, I think the relationship IS proved - unless Albert
> has evidence contradicting Cronin's results?
        Cronin and Overfelt focused on a single SLIS department
        and produced a table that compared full professors
        with assistants and associates on a given day. They
        did not set out to study the relationship of cites
        to income, nor did they do so with their data. Their
        aim was elsewhere. They emphasized, "The conclusion
        must be that most other top-ranking library and
        information science schools have less impressive track
        records than Indiana ...." and so on. (JASIS 45:61-72 1994)
        They also pointed out that the most highly-cited LIS
        journals are not refereed. Is that the work you had
        in mind??

        The application of Lotka's law by Price, which I
        referred to above, would seem to stand.

Thanks for responding.

Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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