Re: Copyright, Embargo, and the Ingelfinger Rule

From: Peter Singer <peter.singer_at_UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 06:45:11 -0400

SH> Note that the Ingelfinger Rule is NOT a legal matter, and is not a
SH >copyright policy. It is a submission policy.
SH >I agree with David, however, that if George is indeed here endorsing
SH >the Ingelfinger Rule, so construed, then many of us are indeed urging
SH >that this policy be changed. I am also urging that it be ignored, as
SH >it has no legal force, and is unenforceable.

The key to understanding the enforceability of the Ingelfinger rule in
medicine is that it involves a type of Stokholm syndrome -- the hostages to
the rule (i.e., the authors) become their own hostage keepers. The reason
they do so is that author-reseasrchers are so strongly incentivized (for
getting grants, promotion, tenure, awards) to publish in some of the very
brand name journals that strictly enforce the rule. In the short term,
calls to publish in those journals and ignore the rule, or boycott those
journals entirely, are interesting strategies to circumvent the Ingelfinger
rule. In the long term, a sucessful strategy to do so will need to
decouple the brand name of the journal from the measurement of quality of
the article. This will allow for a new set of journal brand name
independent incentives. The literature will never be truly free until the
incentive system in medicine and science is changed to reward, rather than
penalize, open access publication.


Singer PA. When Shall we be free? Journal of Electronic Publishing 2000;
6 (2) (


Peter A. Singer, MD, MPH, FRCPC
Sun Life Chair in Bioethics and Director,
University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics
Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator
Associate Editor, Canadian Medical Association Journal

fax: 416-978-1911
phone: 416-978-4756
mail: 88 College St., Toronto ON Canada M5G-1L4
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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