Re: Garfield: "Acknowledged Self-Archiving is Not Prior Publication"

From: Jan Velterop <jan_at_BIOMEDCENTRAL.COM>
Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 09:38:23 +0100

This only serves to show that 'publishing' and 'publication' (and probably
also 'communication') are leftovers from the past and in this day and age
quite probably the wrong notions in this debate. The notion at issue is
recognition and career advancement by means of the acquisition of
'brownie-points' (or even 'bragging-points' for those who have 'arrived')
via the attachment of a (quality, relevance) 'label' to the article in
question, usually the title of a (respected) journal. Copyright is
irrelevant and even moral rights (the latter not recognised in Anglo-Saxon
legal systems, I gather) are of marginal importance.

In the past, publication and labelling were part of the same process -- they
rarely occurred separately -- but the internet has fundamentally changed
that, of course. Unfortunately the term 'publishing' has remained.
Understanding that it isn't really 'publishing' is important if new economic
models for the activity of 'labelling' are to have any chance at all. For
the 'labelling' we still need something like journals (as a concept); for
publishing (dissemination) we don't.

The economic model BioMed Central employs is to charge (if at all possible
the author's institution) only for the organisational efforts of creating,
maintaining, and attaching 'labels' (journal titles) to the article and
those of assisting with efficient maximum dissemination and embedding in the
network of scholarly literature. This model naturally results in open
access. No money comes from the recipient of the peer-reviewed research
articles, the reader. The conventional revenue models (reader pays) are the
main cause of the difficulty, as publishers need to defend this revenue
which is, or at least may be, threatened by prior or uncontrolled
dissemination (even without 'label'), and they rely on copyright to do it.

Jan Velterop

> On Mon, 2 Sep 2002, Joseph Pietro Riolo wrote:
> Apparently, both Stevan Harnad and Eugene Garfield are ignorant of
> the definition of "publication" in the U.S. Copyright Law:
> "Publication" is the distribution of copies or
> phonorecords of a work to the public by sale or other
> transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.
> The offering to distribute copies or phonorecords to a
> group of persons for purposes of further distribution,
> public performance, or public display, constitutes
> publication. A public performance or display of a work
> does not of itself constitute publication.
> (Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 101.)
> Before Internet, submitting an article to a review committee is
> not considered as a publication because the author does not intend
> for the public to see the article and does not allow the committee
> to further distribute copies. However, when an author puts his
> article on Internet without any control over who can see his article
> and distribute copies of his article, his article is considered as
> a publication.
Received on Thu Sep 05 2002 - 09:38:23 BST

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