Legal ways around copyright for one's own giveaway texts (fwd)

Stevan Harnad harnad at cogito.ecs.soton.ac.uk
Sun Jul 9 03:52:38 EST 2000



---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 8 Jul 2000 16:21:45 -0400
From: "Christopher D. Green" <christo at YORKU.CA>
Reply-To: September 1998 American Scientist Forum
     <SEPTEMBER98-FORUM at LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG>
To: SEPTEMBER98-FORUM at LISTSERVER.SIGMAXI.ORG
Subject: Re: Legal ways around copyright for one's own giveaway texts

Stevan Harnad wrote:

> Here is quick synopsis of the steps/logic involved:
>
> (1) Self-archive all pre-refereeing preprints. These precede submission
> and are not bound by any prior legal agreement.

The American Psychological Association (and I assume most other traditional
publishers) have explicitly stated that they will not consider submissions that
have been previously published elsewhere, and that they consider web-posting to
constitute a form of publication. So self-archiving pre-prints would make them
ineligible submissions to APA journals.

> (2) After refereeing, revision, and acceptance, if the copyright
> transfer agreement asks for a transfer of all rights for the final
> refereed draft to the publisher, first propose modifying the wording of
> the agreement: Agree to transfer to the publisher all rights to SELL
> the paper, on-paper or on-line; retain only your right to self-archive
> it for free on-line.

Fine, but this is completely dependent on the publisher's willingness to
cooperate. APA will not.

> (3) If the modified agreement is accepted by your publisher,
> self-archive the post-refereeing postprint.
>
> (4) If the modified agreement is not accepted by your publisher, sign
> the original agreement and self-archive only a list of the changes that
> have to be made in the (already-archived) preprint to transform it into
> the postprint.

Usually these agreements say something like "substantively" in them to block one
from changing a single word (or a few words), and then publishing them
elsewhere.

> Why is it so simple to do this legally? Because copyright is designed
> to protect intellectual property from theft; your paper is your
> intellectual property. If you want to give it away, that is your
> prerogative. Copyright agreements were never designed with give-away
> work in mind; they were designed for royalty/fee-based work where the
> author and the publisher have a common stake in the sales, and in
> preventing theft.

Perhaps, but that doesn't keep people (publishers) from exploiting the
advantages the law gives them, even if unintentionally.

Regards,
--
Christopher D. Green
Department of Psychology
York University
Toronto, Ontario M3J 1P3

e-mail: christo at yorku.ca
phone:  (416) 736-5115 ext. 66164
fax:    (416) 736-5814
http://www.yorku.ca/christo






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