Re: Draft Policy for Self-Archiving University Research Output

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 22:40:06 +0000

On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Mark Doyle wrote:

> For an interesting twist see Nature's new policy:

Many thanks for drawing Nature's new copyright policy to the attention
if this Forum!

> I may be wrong, but I was under the impression that exclusive licenses
> aren't enforceable in some countries (Germany?).
> This is the main reason APS still asks for copyright.

You are probably right, but it will all be sorted out, and there is no
need to apologize for APS policy, which has always been
super-progressive (and is already more than enough, insofar as
self-archiving and BOAI are concerned!).

>sh> The postprint need not be the publisher's PDF, in this
>sh> day and age. (In fact, it can be much better!)
> That's true, but I should have also included the publisher's XML version
> of the article which can be a much better "archival" object and can
> enable many rich features. Anyway, I know we disagree on the importance of
> this.

No, we don't disagree on its importance; my demurral was always about
whether any of this was grounds for delaying or being sceptical about
self-archiving, right now. Of course enriched XML (or better) will be the
eventual target. But outside your own field of physics, in which
self-archiving is already well underway, and has been for 12 years,
without holding out for XML, there are many other fields who misinterpret
markup and preservation plans as yet another (misguided) reason not to
self-archive yet!

> I view these as tangibles that can be part of the exchange between
> publishers and authors and their institutions for submission side
> payments to cover the costs of peer-review and the production of the
> archive. It is one way to make the transition past the subscription
> model for an established publisher like the APS.

I would be very interested in your response to the figures I recalculated
in the prior posting:

    ---------- annual current annual $500 per article annual
    UNIVERSITY article incoming serials peer review percentage
    ---------- output toll-budget only savings

    Cornell 4848 $5.6 million $2.43 million 57%
    Dartmouth 1492 $3.2 million $0.75 million 77%
    Princeton 3132 $4.7 million $1.57 million 66%
    Yale 4463 $6.4 million $2.23 million 64%

    Throw in $10 per paper annual archiving costs and allow +/- 50% for
    error and it still looks as if open access would bring all its other
    benefits (in terms of impact and access) at considerably less cost.

> My guess is that doesn't always get updated with errata.
> Institutional archives are unlikely to get updated if the erratum
> occurs after an author leaves an institution. Who at the institution
> is going to determine when something warrants a correction and make
> sure that it is available and prominent?

Isn't that one of the things OAI interoperability and version-control is
designed to take care of? If I change institutions, I can still deposit
an update either in my new institution's Eprint Archive, or the old one,
or both. After all, my CV, my reputation, and my scholarliness migrate
with me...

> I was responding to the another participant in this thread who claimed
> that it would be better for institutions (and not the publishers or
> authors) to retain copyright. I don't think researchers would find this
> to be natural. There are other paths to open access that don't require
> institutions to actually hold copyright.

I agree completely.

> I don't think the point is moot because open access doesn't
> necessarily mean that anyone can take a full archive and make it
> available as they see fit. Open access doesn't equal public domain.

Once the OAI-compliant institutional Eprint Archives fill with their
research output, it is a foregone conclusion that mirroring, backup,
caching, perhaps even distributed-coding systems will develop to
preserve and integrate that content.

And I should certainly hope that open-access does not equal public-domain,
as I (and no doubt my institution) would like to preserve the authorship
as well as the integrity of my (our) research output.

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 09 2003 - 22:40:06 GMT

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