Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 23:25:32 +0000

On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Mark Doyle [APS] wrote:

>sh> Nature, outpacing even the highly progressive American Physical Society
>sh> (APS), has once again led the planet's 20,000 peer-reviewed journals in
>sh> introducing the optimal and inevitable copyright policy for the online
>sh> era: (Many thanks to APS's Mark
>sh> Doyle for pointing this out!)
> Not so fast...
> As I said, the exclusive, open-ended license isn't enforceable in all
> countries.

Yes, but I'm *sure* that technicality can and will be ironed out...

> Also, where in the sample does it say the author can put the published
> content (the author's own format) onto an e-print server (the license
> is ambiguous regarding Nature's formatted version vs. the author
> formatted version). It only speaks of the "Contribution". It seems much
> more restrictive to me than the rights APS grants back to the authors.

(1) First, both Nature's and APS's copyright policy are exemplary and
sufficient. Once the rest of the journals follow suit, there will be
nothing more to quibble about, and everything else will fall in place.

(2) I'm *certain* that Nature's license, which allows self-archiving
of Nature's formatted final product -- which, after all, is *more*
than I would ask! -- a fortiori also allows the self-archiving of *less*
than the final product! Nature's preprint policy already allowed that:

(3) Although you and I know perfectly well that any distinction between an
author's "personal website" and a "public website" is competely spurious
(for self-archiving -- but obviously not when *you* are allo-archiving
*my* work when I don't want it publicly archived!), hence nothing much
is at issue here, I would nevertheless have to add that I am no longer
thinking much in terms of central, discipline-based e-print archives any
more (for a number of reasons), but in terms of authors self-archiving in
their own institutions' Eprint archives (distributed, but OAI-compliant
and interoperable, hence harvestable and integrable). (But, again, I'm
*sure* Nature's generous license was not intended to be construed as
allowing me to self-archive in my Institutional Eprint Archive but not
in, say, ArXiv!)

(I am branching this to Philip Campbell at Nature, for clarification.)

Stevan Harnad
Received on Thu Jan 09 2003 - 23:25:32 GMT

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