Proposed change in copyright transfer practice

T80SMS1 at NIU.bitnet T80SMS1 at NIU.bitnet
Tue Sep 22 10:43:00 EST 1992

RE: Retention of copyright by academics

This afternoon I have the unenviable task of sitting on a
committee charged with slashing 15% of our department's
journal budget, and this will probably be only the first
step.  In looking over the cost for some of those journals
I was SHOCKED at some of the prices.  However, let me play
devil's advocate for a moment.

(1) Where is the evidence that assignment of copyright has
any relationship to journal cost?  Society run journals, almost
always much cheaper than private ones, have identical policies.

(2) Where is the evidence that private publishers are making
oodles of money?  Society journals are cheaper because they
are often run on a semi-volunteer basis.

(3) When has copyright assignment ever affected your ability to
further disseminate your results?  I am not talking about making
copies of a particular paper, but rather using or reporting those
results (or a summary thereof) in other papers.

(4) Are YOU prepared to handle all of the paperwork involved
in copy requests that would now come to you personally?  It seems
as if this new clearinghouse set-up for rights to reproduce
articles solves many of the apparant problems.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

* Samuel M. Scheiner                 +                            *
* Department of Biological Sciences  +    The purpose of an       *
* Northern Illinois University       +    education is to turn    *
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* Fax:    (815) 753-0461             +       Malcolm Forbes       *
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