Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ

From: David Goodman <>
Date: Sun, 14 Nov 2004 23:37:52 +0000

Even with the dictionary definitions, there are many variants.
We are dealing with some quite different and quite specific areas of meaning

 the legal and commercial as used in contracts and copyright (and the somewhat
different meanings used with respect to patents--where publication has an extremely
broad meaning.

the academic establishment area,
the standards used by universities in making appointments: this will
vary from university to university, but typically means some sort of formal publication in
a particular set of accepted media with a specific set of quality control criteria.
Besides university -specific differences, there are subject-specific differences. For example,
many university humanities departments do not consider the publication of journal articles as
meaningful publications. Few in any field would accept messages on this list--even if
they were somehow peer-reviewed.

the specific scholarly areas, through which one gains informal recognition by
one's colleagues Few university administrations would
accepts journal articles in Scientific American--yet in my field of molecular biology
there as a period of about a year where the only accessible presentation of the
assembly of bacteriophage T4 (a key model organism) was in that journal.

The definitions of "publication" for biological nomenclature
are both complicated, and vary for different sorts of organism, e.g.,
the definition for bacteria requires publication in one specific journal;
the definition for plants requires the description (though not the whole article) to be
written in Latin. (I may be less than up-to-date on these examples--they are not my

There are many applied fields--even academic fields--
where one is not judged by publications at all in the usual sense: Fame as a surgeon or a musical performer
is not achieved by writing articles.

I suggest that there is already developed the acceptance of less-than-formal publication,
in which a posting in arXiv or a respected series of economics working papers matters
at least as much as a journal article. I confess that if formal articles were not required for
promotion, I would not write them--and I suspect I am not unique among the contributors to this list.

For the moment, we must observe the current legal requirements;
and many of us must also observe the formal academic ones. Thus most of the discussions on this list have
concerned how to keep the current formal requirements et, while also communicating
effectively. (communicating effectively, in the present environment, requires OA
--indeed, the assumption of OA is basic to this whole discussion.)
Hence the appropriate repeated insistence on this list that we are
dealing with the current functionality;
how to use the existing or immediately possible means, not what we
hope for the future.
(This includes how best to use the existing copyright possibilities,)
 We cannot stop communicating until we figure out how to communicate best.

Ultimately, we can have the copyright laws we want; we can have the academic
establishment we want; we can have the publication system(s) we want.
(There are limitations set by available resources, and by technology, and by
existing interests--but all of these have changed in the past and will in the future.)

Dr. David Goodman
Associate Professor
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
Long Island University

-----Original Message-----
From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Leslie Carr
Sent: Sun 11/14/2004 5:18 AM
Subject: Re: Self-Archiving vs. Self-Publishing FAQ
On 13 Nov 2004, at 06:54, Rick Anderson wrote:

> Look, obviously we're proceeding from a different set of definitions
> here.

> My point is simply that the word "publish" has a real-world definition
> that is far different from the artificially narrow one created by the
> OA establishment.
It may have many real-world definitions or uses, and in fact the OED
lists several ...
Received on Sun Nov 14 2004 - 23:37:52 GMT

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