Re: Les Carr's accusation

From: Leslie Carr <>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 08:42:42 +0100

On 14 May 2007, at 09:14, Nick Evans wrote:

> A much misunderstood and misquoted man, King Canute. His effort to
> 'turn back the tide' was actually an attempt to show the
> sycophantic people surrounding him that he was not all-powerful. I
> find it ironic that a similar misconception continues to follow the
> debate on institutional repositories.

You are quite correct to call me out for glossing over King Canute's
motives for trying to turn back the tide. (I suppose that we could
both be criticised for taking this tale seriously - it is unlikely to
ever have happened in reality.) But the moral of the story stays the
same - tides can't be controlled!

> IPR, in all of its manifestations, is always a balance. If
> scholarship wishes to continue to benefit from the value added by
> publishers - which is not by any means, Les, limited to the
> distribution of journal articles as little electronic artifacts -
> then there needs to be a mechanism to reward publishers for the
> work they put in and the value that they add.
I absolutely and completely agree with you - and it is the issue of
partnership, value and balance that we both wish to highlight. It is
my understanding that publishers administer/facilitate the quality
assurance process (peer review), organise distribution and determine
the "official publication record" . but I do not believe that the
value inherent in these processes warrants wholesale divesting of
rights from authors and institutions.

> If you struggle to appreciate the value added by publishers,
> perhaps you will only miss it when it isn't there!
Ah, somewhat like housework you mean? But there is already something
that isn't there! That's the articles and papers that scientists and
scholars need access to. And we do miss them. But I would be happier
if I could see some objective data on the subject (publisher added
value), to compare my opinions against! Can anyone help?

> Almost all publishers allow authors to do whatever they like with
> the pre-print version of the article (i.e. the version of the
> article before the publisher has added any value) so the accusation
> that this document amounts to 'a proposal that researchers should
> not be allowed to share their work with people outside their
> institution' is, like Canute's myth, unfair and untrue.

But I am reporting EXACTLY what the PSP/ALPSP report says:
> Academic research authors and their institutions should be able to
> use and post
> the content that such authors and institutions themselves provide
> (as noted
> above, most publishers already provide for this) for internal
> institutional non-
> commercial research and education purposes;
ie what is CREATED BY the institution STAYS IN the institution.
Perhaps my interpretation is wrong. Or perhaps the document is
misworded. Can you clarify on behalf of ALPSP? It would seem to be a
crucial point!
Received on Tue May 15 2007 - 11:21:32 BST

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