ANNOUNCE: Free Science Campaign

John MacFarlane jmacfarl at
Mon Jun 22 04:03:42 EST 1998

On Sat, 20 Jun 1998, Stefano Ghirlanda wrote:

> --- Free Science Campaign ---
> I am pleased to announce the start of a volunteer-based
> campaign aimed at obtaining less restrictive copyright
> agreements on scientific works.


> For example, everyone should be allowed to post their own
> work on the web. It should be allowed to create databases
> of scientific papers, provided no fees are requested to
> access the papers.

Isn't this a classic you want to have your cake and eat it situation?

The most forward thinking journals have spent hundreds of thousands of
dollars on their own web sites, creating enhancements that attract more
readers and giving you a bigger audience for the paper that you have
submitted -a gain for you and your work. You then want to be able to
publish your work on your own web site -a loss for the journal. They lose
on the money they've spent on web development and the costs of formating,
editing and peer reviewing your paper. 

I don't think that you'll get very far with that argument. Rather than
attacking the journals' copyright woudln't you be better to inverstigate
new paradigms of publishing? Eg the pre-print publication network that
some areas of physics use.

John MacFarlane

PS I've no idea why anyone would want a cake and not be able to eat it.

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