ANNOUNCE: Free Science Campaign

Stefano Ghirlanda stefano at
Mon Jun 22 05:08:34 EST 1998

John MacFarlane wrote:

> 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.
> <snip>
> > 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?

I don't think so, the cake should be public.

> 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.

We do not want to close down the sites that journals run. If they are well
organised,provide additionals services, and so on, people and Institutions
will be happy to pay
the subscription fee. But they should not be _forced_ to do that because the
"own" the articles.

(a related point is that each journal can give access only to a limited
amountof the publications in one field, in the present situation)

For example, the American Physical Society and the America Mathematical
Society have satisfactory copyright policies. It is not impossible for a
publisher to
do that. They have very well organised web sites, too:

> 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.

The preprint databases you mention are explicitly mentioned in the
announceand on the web site.  The copyright  policies of some publishers
explicitely ruleout this possibility.
We do not "attack" the journals, we ask for a renegotiation of their policy.

I do not think this will force them to close down, as I said before.
I apologise if the announcement sounded harsh, it wasn't meant to be.

I hope the goals of this campaign are more clear now.
Thank you for your comments,

sincerely,    Stefano Ghirlanda.

Free Science Campaign:

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