Re: Psychology and self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 14:28:30 +0100

On Sun, 12 Aug 2001, Christopher D. Green wrote:

> I am happy to announce that as of 1 June 2001, the APA has liberalized
> their policy regarding the posting of articles published in their
> journals onto the internet. The full policy can be found at

Yes, the American Psychological Association [APA] are coming around (as
it was confidently predicted in 1996 that they would sooner or later do!):

The present APA policy is still not quite coherent, but it will become
still more sensible with time.

The "Ingelfinger Rule" is over-ruled, as it deserves to be
(whereas the rule that authors are "obligated to inform" is nonsense:
which of us APA Editors would want to call the unrefereed eprint "prior
publication," and why?).

The "other-repository" notion is also incoherent. But "Employer's
server" already covers all the requisite bases, insofar as
the author/institution self-archiving initiative is concerned:

    Harnad, S. (2001) The Self-Archiving Initiative. Nature 410:

> Posting Articles on the Internet
> Update effective June 1, 2001

> If a paper is unpublished, the author may distribute it on the
> Internet or post it on a Web site but should label the paper
> with the date and with a statement that the paper has not (yet)
> been published. (Example: Draft version 1.3, 1/5/99. This paper
> has not been peer reviewed. Please do not copy or cite without
> author's permission.)

Very good policy, and good suggestion.

> Upon submitting the paper for publication, the author is
> obligated to inform the editor if the paper has been or is
> posted on a Web site. Some editors may consider such a Web
> posting to be prior publication and may not review the paper.

Nonsense, and best ignored, by authors as well as editors!

> Authors of articles published in APA journals may post a copy of
> the final manuscript, as a word processing, PDF, or other type
> file, on their Web site or their employer's server after it is
> accepted for publication. The following conditions would
> prevail:

> The posted article must carry an APA copyright notice and
> include a link to the APA journal home page.

Very good policy.

> APA does not permit archiving with any other non-APA
> repositories.

Nonsense. What is a "repository"? And what about all the mirror sites,
caches, and harvesters of websites? This is like saying you may pee in
the ocean here, but it is not allowed to spread beyond its local

(Such absurdities are usually motivated by an incoherent Gutenberg
analogy with secondary publishers. PostGutenberg, once the text is
publicly accessible to everyone online, distinctions like this are
completely empty, and should accordingly be ignored completely, and
allowed to fade away. But the APA's "Employer's server" clause already
covers institutional Eprint Archives, so this is moot in any case.)

> APA does not provide electronic copies of the APA published
> version for this purpose, and authors are not permitted to
> scan in the APA published version.

Fine, but who cares? The above digital versions are just fine, and all
that is wanted or needed!

> See: Previous versions of the APA Publication & Communications
> Board official Web posting policy

Note that the policies of Nature and Science magazine are evolving in
this direction too. And even commercial refereed-journal publishers are
now dropping the silly and untenable distinctions such as
home-website/"public-website" -- as was likewise predicted in this
Forum several years ago.

And as usual, the APS (American Physical Society) is leading the way
with the most sensible and realistic author-self-archiving policy, and
has already had this policy in place for some time. Other publishers
are strongly encouraged to examine and emulate the APS policy, thereby
saving themselves and their authors from needless time-wasting and
confusion over unnecessary and untenable distinctions:

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 & 01):

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

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