Re: Chronicle of Higher Education Article on "Self-Publication"

From: Laurence Bebbington <Laurence.Bebbington_at_NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK>
Date: Fri, 22 Nov 2002 20:49:50 +0000

>>> harnad_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK 20/11/02 20:43:49 >>>
On Wed, 20 Nov 2002 wrote:

> Scholarly Publishers Aim to Woo Librarians Away From
> Self-Published Research
> By SCOTT CARLSON (Chronicle of Higher Education)
> ...The [publishers'] campaign aims, in
> part, to quash a newfound enthusiasm among some librarians for
> self-publishing research results online, a practice that lets
> scholars bypass academic journals that many researchers say
> are too slow and too costly.

Ah me, what unremitting confusion!

(1) Researchers are not self-PUBLISHING, they are self-ARCHIVING their
research, both before (preprints) and after publishing it in
peer-reviewed journals (postprints).

You may consider that the posting of a pre-print is self-archiving rather than self-publishing and you are perfectly entitled to argue for your distinction. I appreciate your views on copyright etc. but it might be mentioned that s.175 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 states quite clearly that:
" ... "publication", in relation to a work--

(a) means the issue of copies to the public, and
(b) includes, in the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, making it available to the public by means of an electronic retrieval system;
and related expressions shall be construed accordingly."
Quite clearly, whatever distinctions you wish to make, it would seem that the mounting of a literary work on a pre-print server constitutes "publishing" in law, since a literary work is being made available to the public by means of an electronic retrieval system. It seems to me that this is quite an important point. In a purely legal sense the work is "published" and certain consequences inevitably flow from that fact.
Laurence W. Bebbington
Law Librarian
Information Services
The University of Nottingham
University Park
Received on Fri Nov 22 2002 - 20:49:50 GMT

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