Re: Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2001

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 15:51:40 -0500

Does anyone publishing a thesis in the sciences as a book? In the
humanities it frequently happens that a scholar's first book is a more
or less revised version of the thesis. Unless it is an exact reprint,
which I assume is rarely the case, the two publications would have
separate copyright.
(If a different author were to publish a book "written" as a revision of
someone else's thesis, it would be plagiarism, but I'm talking about the
original author.)

However, out of fear that another person would actually do this, or
--more realistically-- would use the material in the thesis to pre-empt
the original writer in his research field, some electronic theses on
line at some universities are not available to users outside that
particular university campus. (I do not know if this is still true, and
I would appreciate correction or amplification by those who know more.)

This has for years been a problem with many UK theses; they still
require a special signed acknowledgment by the borrower of the author's
rights before they will send a copy. In the past, it was worse--some of
the major UK institutions simply would not make a copy, and would
require the signature of anyone reading the item on site.

This, to my mind, is not publication, but non-publication. It reminds me
of centuries ago when authors established priority by sending notarized
sealed copies of their manuscripts to a trusted colleague, or published
the key results as a cryptogram.

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On Thu, 6 Dec 2001 Deirdre Sharp <> wrote:
> > If you think that this is something worth airing on the
> > DNER list I am happy for you to use the above enquiry.
> >
> > Recalling the discussions about authors
> > retaining their copyright in papers that they put on the
> > Web, and the attitude of publishers to this, it occurs to
> > me that we may be dealing with a related issue if we
> > digitise our theses and put them on an intranet. Your views
> > would be welcome.
> >
> > There is discussion here about keeping future theses in
> > digital form and mounting the collection on the University
> > intranet. I am looking at IPR and the issue of 'prior
> > publication'. Our students, incidentally, are deemed to own
> > the IPR in their theses subject to specific agreements
> > where a research contract/grant is involved.
> >
> > In general, does mounting on an intranet constitute
> > publication, and thus change the status of the thesis from
> > unpublished to published?
> (1) There are two senses of the word "published." For copyright
> purposes, writing it on a single piece of paper with your
> copyright notice is publication, and protected (though vulnerable!).
> (2) But the above technical sense of "published" is certainly not what
> academics and other authors mean by published. They mean published
> in a refereed journal as an article, or published by a publisher
> as a book (preferably not vanity-press, though that too would be
> publication in this substantive sense).
> It would be absurd of a journal or book publisher to try to count (1)
> as prior publication when it involves writing down the manuscript on
> paper and circulating for it feedback to colleagues as a preprint. It
> is nominally feasible, though not less absurd, and certainly not
> enforceable, for a refereed journal to declare the dissemination of the
> unrefereed preprint as "prior publication," regardless of the medium
> (paper, email, web) in which it was disseminated. For refereed
> journals, it is the refereed, accepted, certified draft appearing under
> the publisher's imprimatur that is the publication, and the unrefereed
> preprints are not. The exception is the so-called "Ingelfinger Rule,"
> which some journals (fewer and fewer, as time passes) have tried to invoke in
> order to prevent online self-archiving of the unrefereed preprints.
> 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
> Perspectives 256 (December Supplement): s16.
> The Ingelfinger Rule is unnecessary, unjustifiable, in direct conflict
> with what the interests of research and researchers (and intended only
> to protect publishers' revenue streams in continuing to publish the
> Gutenberg way instead of the PostGutenberg way), not a legal but merely
> a policy matter, invoked by only a smaller and smaller minority of
> journal publishers, and, most important, not enforceable in practise.
> So (in my opinion), the best advice one can give to researchers is
> simply to ignore it completely. Nothing has happened to the countless
> authors who have sensibly ignored it to date; nothing will happen in
> the future either. The Ingelfinger Rule is obsolescent, indefensible,
> unenforceable, and exercises today at most only a superstitious
> subjective deterrent effect on the more naive, gullible and timid among
> researchers.
> > Would a journal reject a paper derived from a thesis
> > disseminated in this way on grounds of having already been
> > published?
> No (apart from those journals that still invoke the Ingelfinger
> Rule, and only if brought explicitly to their attention).
> > So far as you know, what are the attitudes of other bodies
> > where prior publication is a factor to such dissemination?
> >
> > Deirdre Sharp
> >
> There IS an issue about the self-archiving of theses, but it has nothing
> to do with their prospects of being published as subsequent refereed
> journal articles. It concerns their possible future publication as
> royalty-bearing BOOKS. Books, unlike refereed journal articles, are not
> author give-aways. They are potential sources of revenue. I can easily
> see a thesis author balking at being forced to make available online
> for-free a book from which he could perhaps make some royalty revenue.
> If this potential incentive were taken away from authors, it could very
> well lead to certain creative efforts being still-born:
> Harnad, S., Varian, H. & Parks, R. (2000) Academic publishing in
> the online era: What Will Be For-Fee And What Will Be For-Free?
> Culture Machine 2 (Online Journal)
> "What About the Author Self-Archiving of Books?"
> Moreover, in the case of books, as opposed to journal articles, it is
> definitely in publishers' interests, and fully justifiable, that they
> decline to assume the costs of publishing them, on-line and/or on-paper,
> if a free online version is already publicly available. I think it
> is transparent in such cases that the publisher has a right to ask that
> the text not have been made publicly available (whether for-free or for-fee)
> previously, and to decline to publish it if it has been (if the publisher
> does not have an economic model for recovering costs and making a fair
> profit under those conditions -- for esoteric monographs a model may exist
> along the same lines as for refereed journal articles, in the form of
> up-front quality-control costs). This is essential the "price" of
> desiring a non-vanity-press quality-certification and imprimatur for
> one's book, even if one is not seeking author royalties. (But again, new
> publisher cost-recovery models may make some of this possible in future.)
> Last, whereas enforcement of the Ingelfinger Rule (tracking down all
> online lookalikes) is completely unenforceable in the case of refereed
> journal submissions -- as well as being completely at odds with the
> scientific/scholarly motivations of the researchers who are doing the
> refereeing and editing of those journals -- it is enforceable and justifiable
> in the case of book texts; indeed, online theses by the author would be the
> first place a publisher might ask his reviewers of the book proposal to look,
> in deciding whether there would be a potential market for the publication!
> "Copyright, Embargo, and the Ingelfinger Rule"
> "Ingelfinger and physics journals"
> "Ingelfinger rule and the Stokholm Syndrome"
> "Arnold Relman's NEJM Editorial about NIH/E-biomed"
> "Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy"
> "Self-Archiving Vs. Self-Publishing FAQ"
> "Preprint servers and primary publication"
> "Copyright: Form, Content, and Prepublication Incarnations"
> "Journal Papers vs. Books: The Direct/Indirect Income Trade-off"
> "Electronic Theses and Dissertations 2001"
> Stevan Harnad
> 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):
> or
> You may join the list at the amsci site.
> Discussion can be posted to:

David Goodman
Biology Librarian
and Digital Resources Researcher
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-3235
fax: 609-258-2627
Received on Thu Dec 06 2001 - 21:30:42 GMT

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