Re: Self-archiving, academic staff, universities & intellectual property

From: Jim Till <till_at_UHNRES.UTORONTO.CA>
Date: Sun, 23 Jun 2002 09:10:27 -0400

On Sun, 23 Jun 2002, Stevan Harnad wrote [in part, in response to
Richard Poynder]:

> What one wishes to conceal, one does not publish; what one publishes,
> one does not wish to conceal. The only research at issue here is the
> kind researchers wish to publish: the peer-reviewed research
> literature.)

In the biomedical field (and, especially, in the area of biotechnology),
the issue of filing for patent protection of intellectual property prior
to publication in the peer-reviewed research literature can be a
significant one (if a possible "invention" is involved).

At present, I suspect that even academically-oriented research groups,
institutes and networks in this field would expect authors to file for
patent protection of IP before self-archiving a preprint (e.g. one that's
intended for subsequent publication in the peer-reviewed literature).

There can be delays involved in the process of filing for patent
protection. This can be a barrier in Canada, which uses a first-to-file
approach to the protection of IP. The tech-transfer office of the
university (or research institute or research network) needs to be
well-supported, so that a backlog of requests for attention doesn't pile
up, and self-archiving of preprints (or, submission to an open-access
peer-reviewed journal, such as BioMed Central's new Journal of Biology)
isn't unduly delayed (e.g. for some weeks, or even months).

BTW, the Journal of Biology (see: permits copyright
to be retained by the author. The editorial board of the Journal of
Biology includes names of people who've played major roles in efforts to
provide open access to the health-related research literature, such as
Harold Varmus, currently at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, USA.

I have no involvement with BioMed Central or the Journal of Biology
(although I do know, and greatly respect, the latter's Editor-in-Chief,
Martin Raff, of University College London, UK).

Jim Till
University of Toronto
Received on Sun Jun 23 2002 - 14:10:27 BST

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