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Physics Journal May Reconsider Wikipedia Ban

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the mine-mine-mine dept.

Censorship 155

I don't believe in imaginary property writes "The flagship physics journal Physical Review Letters doesn't allow authors to submit material to Wikipedia, or blogs, that is derived from their published work. Recently, the journal withdrew their acceptance of two articles by Jonathan Oppenheim and co-authors because the authors had asked for a rights agreement compatible with Wikipedia and the Quantum Wikipedia. Currently, many scientists 'routinely do things which violate the transfer of copyright agreement of the journal.' Thirty-eight physicists have written to the journal requesting changes in their copyright policies, saying 'It is unreasonable and completely at odds with the practice in the field. Scientists want as broad an audience for their papers as possible.' The protest may be having an effect. The editor-in-chief of the APS journals says the society plans to review its copyright policy at a meeting in May. 'A group of excellent scientists has asked us to consider revising our copyright, and we take them seriously,' he says."

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Rather obvious solution (4, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751202)

Claim that your physics thesis uncovers corruption in the Bush administration and pass it on to Wikileaks! [wikileaks.org]

[OT] New IP Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752820)

I'd just like to welcome the new person submitting as "me" now. I'm glad someone took me up on that offer! Anyone else is welcome to share the I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property name, BTW. It's public domain, as far as I'm concerned :)

Some journals are still milking both ends (5, Insightful)

heteromonomer (698504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751216)

I find it outrageous that some journals are still charging the authors AND the subscribers. As a subscriber I am willing to pay for quality but then don't charge the authors.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (5, Insightful)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751408)

It provides motivation to not submit worthless articles. If there's zero cost for submission, then tons of completely useless articles would be submitted, and the cost for going through all of them would be a problem.

Not that, as an author, I particularly liked the charges for submitting (or the insane charges for subscription), but there is reasonable motivation behind it.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (5, Interesting)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751438)

What about a fairly high cost for submission (no, not that kind of submission) that you would be refunded if the article is accepted and published?

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751500)

Oh, I agree there are certainly more reasonable schemes.

Although, with financial incentive to get a paper accepted on top of the academic incentive, I fear for the grad students. :-)

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (4, Interesting)

DeadPanDan (1165901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751620)

That would give an incentive to reject all submissions. It puts money into the decision making process. Bad bad bad.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (3, Interesting)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752510)

That would give an incentive to reject all submissions.
And how, pray tell, would an academic journal without articles make money?

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (3, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752074)

(Speaking as someone who has reviewed conference submissions) For some good quality (tier 2) computer engineering conferences, only about one in five submissions is accepted. (At tier 1 - ISCA and PLDI, it's like 5%) Often times papers are reject not because they are bad or horribly flawed, but simply that there are better (more important, better conducted, more thorough) papers available. High submission fees discriminate against these papers, and especially against research groups that do not have as much fundings as others.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752102)

Among other things that would be a clear violation of the first, tenth and one hundred and eighty ninth rules of acquisition.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752900)

More of a refundable deposit, then, rather than a cost. Hmmm. Might work. You could also have a sliding scale on refunds depending on actual errors noted for correction during peer review, with some percentage of that retained going to the reviewer finding the errors, to give incentive for more thorough review.

The problem I see with this is that incentive schemes don't work as advertised. From the FSF's article on reward systems to the OLPC founder's comments on such methods, we find that people divert more and more of their attention towards the reward itself, away from whatever the reward was intended for in the first place.

In the case of articles accepted for publication, for example, you'd likely see a move away from a normal distribution of quality over the entire possible spectrum to a much narrower focus on articles just good enough to be accepted - or, in the case of my suggested modification, just good enough to make submitting articles cheap. You'd almost certainly lose the higher-end, high-quality stuff, as the rewards don't cover that and the emphasis has moved to the rewards.

Eliminating the cost of submission would produce more submitted papers, yes, requiring more extensive review practices and possibly generating either more publications or substantially larger publications, which would cost more but generate relatively little extra income. It could also encourage people to get peer reviewers to do more of the mundane work (spellchecking, grammar checking, etc) that authors generally hate to do. On the other hand, improving the circulation of ideas is part of the point in having journals in the first place. There's a decline on returns, as always, so improving circulation beyond a certain point offers no real benefits. But how do you define that point? By immediate cost? By the long-term cost/benefit to academia in general? And if the latter, how would you even measure that?

One of the more "orthodox" ways of measuring benefit is by citation. The more cited a paper is, the greater the impact. However, that's not necessarily true, as one paper refuting another must cite the paper being refuted and any paper based on that refutation is very likely to cite the original. On the other hand, one could argue that refuting one paper with another means the first paper has generated interest and research in a subject, thus still having a benefit. If we work on this strategy, then instead of refunding the cost of submission, one could imagine a royalty-like payment system where an author is payed per citation. There's a risk, though, of people gaming the system by colleagues citing each other not for quality reasons but to generate revenue.

People are so good at finding loopholes that I don't think any system is going to achieve the intended results. There's going to be some unintended negative consequence. The question is, what negative consequences can we live with most easily?

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

elmartinos (228710) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753102)

what about a slashdot or digg like system. Everybody can submit, everybody can vote about the documents quality.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751938)

Zero cost? Then certainly your time must be worthless.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752386)

What are you objecting to? Claiming that there's otherwise zero cost to submission? Creating a paper is time-consuming, but submitting it is not. There are a ton of really worthless papers out there and plenty of people whose time is cheap. Without some cost (whether a transfer of money or some other impediment) associated with submitting a paper, each one of those worthless papers will be submitted to every possible venue, resulting in prohibitively high costs for the journal.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751956)

Some of the steps to publication:

1) Your organization pays to have your paper published.

2) The scientific journal has trees cut to make paper.

3) When the journal gets A Round Tuit [wooden-nickel.com] , which could be months after the paper is accepted, the paper is published in the journal.

4) Subscribers pay an extremely high subscription cost.

5) Subscribers get a printed publication in the mail, when they would rather have text-searchable .PDF files.

The journal says, "We were able to make money this way in the past, why should we change? We will publish papers that a) have merit, and b) make us money. No, wait, that is a) make us money, and b) have merit. Scientific progress should be slowed to accommodate our business model."

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

Miraba (846588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752352)

Except, of course, that journals are publishing PDFs online...

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752200)

Cost does not deter people from submitting worthless articles. The quality of a journal depends on having a good editor and reviewers. They are the ones that separate the wheat from the chafe.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752814)

That's a good point, but then I want at least 200 dollars for every paper I review.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751414)

How much more are you willing to pay?
How much do the authors pay?
How much do the magazine need to maintain quality work so they are taken seriously by the community?

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751508)

And how many of those authors are doing research with grant money? Including a small dollar amount for "submission/publication" doesn't seem that difficult.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (5, Insightful)

tritonman (998572) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751422)

It sounds to me like more people trying to claim intellectual property of something that they did not come up with themselves.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (2, Insightful)

heteromonomer (698504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751644)

Good point! Someone mod parent up. Charge the authors, charge the subscribers, pay the editors pittance, pay the reviewers nothing, and then claim copyright over the material. This is somewhere between lucrative business and highway robbery.

claiming? (2, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752092)

It sounds to me like more people trying to claim intellectual property of something that they did not come up with themselves.

Wrong. The journal is not "claiming" any "intellectual property". The journal is saying that, if you want them to publish your work (which no-one is forcing you to do) then you must assign them the copyright. If you don't like it, publish in a different journal. Since the journal makes money from subscription, they don't want you to benefit from their prestige by getting the paper accepted, and then turning around and posting the content somewhere else so no-one has to subscribe to the journal. Also note that in any case we're only talking about copyright, and hence the text of the paper, not the scientific content.

That said, I think the policy is silly. First of all, APS journals will already accept material that's already been posted on the arXiv [arxiv.org] (compare with Science and Nature which only take stuff that's never been presented before, even in a seminar talk). All the journal needs is a license from the authors. There's nothing wrong with the authors giving the journal an exclusive license to publish the article journal-style, as long as the authors retain the ability to post works derived from the article in other fora.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (5, Insightful)

delt0r (999393) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751428)

Some? try almost all. And its worse than that. The editors are not usually paid. The reviewers (as in peer reviewed journal) are not paid. The authors are not paid. Yet the journals gets the copyright and charge *huge* fees for online and physical subscriptions. Journals like nature are the worst for this and charge by far the most. This is why i try to publish in open access journals only.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22753096)

This is why i try to publish in open access journals only.
And it's also why no one has read your papers or cares about your "research".

Goatse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22751672)

Eat my goatse'd penis! [twofo.co.uk]

You nerds love it.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

kavehkh (725943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751848)

Submission to Physical Review (as far as I know) is free unless you have fancy colorful graphics and even in that case I am not sure if you have to pay. European physics journals are free to read (the prominent ones I think) but they charge for publishing your papers. Reason maybe: Physical review letters is owned by American Physics Society which is a non-profit organization (think of a church) but the european journals are published by corporate publishers.
Of course you can always simply put your paper on the arxiv.org and no one will have to pay.

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

going_the_2Rpi_way (818355) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752376)

I don't understand. Journals are charging you to submit? They're not charging me -- other than my time of course. Don't they just become vanity publications then? Isn't this a sign of a really weak journal (and publication, and author)?

Re:Some journals are still milking both ends (1)

eaolson (153849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752602)

As someone who has published in physics journals (though not PRL), I'd like to point out that page charges are often (usually?) optional. There is an exception of additional charges for color printing, though that seems reasonable to me.

Rewriting (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751228)

At least in linguistics, there's a few scholars who just keep submitting the same research to journal after journal and collection after collection, just rewriting the article each time. If that's tolerated, why isn't putting the information on Wikipedia?

Re:Rewriting (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751566)

That's not tolerated in these physics journals.

Re:Rewriting (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751698)

At least in linguistics, there's a few scholars who just keep submitting the same research to journal after journal and collection after collection, just rewriting the article each time. If that's tolerated, why isn't putting the information on Wikipedia?
Interestingly, though, it's not tolerated by Wikipedia. Journal articles are typically only used to cite the existence of research or the fact that a paper made a claim. Secondary sources that discuss the topic more broadly are considered required for anything more.

Maybe I'm in the wrong field (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751254)

I've published to professional journals (as a academic historian) before, and I've never had to surrender copyright to the journal (agreement was strictly for publishing rights). And I don't know any academics who would tolerate that (especially since the vast majority of academic journals don't pay you to publish your article and many articles lead on to books). Is academic physics THAT different?

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (5, Informative)

rangek (16645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751388)

I've published to professional journals (as a academic historian) before, and I've never had to surrender copyright to the journal (agreement was strictly for publishing rights).

For chemistry:

The undersigned, with the consent of all authors, hereby transfers, to the extent that there is copyright to be transferred, the exclusive copyright interest in the above cited manuscript, including the published version in any format (subsequently called the "work"), to the American Chemical Society....

From http://pubs.acs.org/copyright/forms/copyright.pdf [acs.org]

For physics:

Copyright to the above-listed unpublished and original article submitted by the above author(s), the abstract forming part thereof, and any subsequent errata (collectively, the "Article") is hereby transferred to the American Physical Society (APS)...

From http://forms.aps.org/author/copytrnsfr.pdf [aps.org] , which interestingly enough wouldn't let me cut-and-paste without using a hacked version of xpdf. :P

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751446)

My office is directly across the street from the American Chemical Society. Want me to go have a word with them?

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751510)

Go ring their bell and run away!

That'll show 'em.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (3, Funny)

Slightly Askew (638918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751968)

No, that is only funny if you do it to the American Association of Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (3, Informative)

JoeRandomHacker (983775) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751690)

For Computer Science:

Copyright to the above work (including without limitation, the right to publish the work in whole or in part in any and all forms of media, now or hereafter known) is hereby transferred to the ACM (*for Government work, to the extent transferable -see Part B below) effective as of the date of this agreement, on the understanding that the work has been accepted for publication by ACM.
From http://www.acm.org/pubs/copyright_form.html [acm.org]

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751860)

For chemistry:

The undersigned, with the consent of all authors, hereby transfers, to the extent that there is copyright to be transferred, the exclusive copyright interest in the above cited manuscript, including the published version in any format (subsequently called the "work"), to the American Chemical Society....
Journal of the American Chemical Society, the flagship journal of the ACS, also adheres to an embargo on previously disclosed communications (as opposed to full papers). My professor's communication once got disallowed because Chemistry and Engineering News (another ACS publication) accidentally wrote about the communication before it got to print (before the days of online journals). Of course, the two publications were highly apologetic and accepted the communications as full papers with some additional material added. Interestingly, there is some Corey total synthesis (don't remember which offhand) that was first disclosed as a full paper. I wonder if something similar happened there, if it was leaked for some reason and thus disallowed as a communication.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22751904)

I'd just like to point out that the rest of the APS copyright transfer form allows the author to do just about anything they want with their paper without asking the APS, except publish it in another journal or charge money for it. If they want to charge money, then they have to get permission.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752064)

The ACS, which I am (was? I didn't pay dues lately) a member of requires that they hold the copyright to the articles they publish. They also are one of the most draconian concerning author rights to reproduce their own work. Shoot, they filed suit against Google for their Google Scholar name claiming it hurt their Scifinder Scholar name since it was often called Scholar. Personally, we call it Scifinder. Sorry, but trademarking "scholar" pertaining to scholastic things seems dubious to me. Elsevier, to the best of my knowledge, allows authors to archive a copy of their own work on their departmental webpage. The ACS explicitly forbids this, claiming that it ensures that readers will have the final version of a paper. This supposedly ensures quality. I understand the motives, but it makes it hard on us scientists. At least they have now made articles over a year old available on their website.

What the physical sciences needs is something like pubmed, where we can submit articles for free public consumption about 6 months after publication. That allows the journals a window to make money, and gives the public and other scientists a reasonable means of finding obscure journal entries. At one point, I desperately wanted a copy of an article from the Indian Journal of Chemistry B, but my institution didn't have a subscription. It took forever for our in house ordering service to procure a copy. I must note that they generally find such articles within 48 hours.

What I don't like is the assumption that the journals own anything but a copyright to the current presentation of the material. Ultimately, the article rests on facts, which are not copyrightable. Their presentation is, as are descriptions, images, and all the fluff. From my limited knowledge, they don't own the data, and derivative presentations from the data, and not the article, don't seem to fall under their copyright. Then again, IANAL, and my lawyer (and fiancee) won't even answer copyright questions as it's not her field of expertise.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (2)

omnipresentbob (858376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752652)

No, looks like you're in the right field...

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752948)

For chemistry:

        The undersigned, with the consent of all authors, hereby transfers, to the extent that there is copyright to be transferred, the exclusive copyright interest in the above cited manuscript, including the published version in any format (subsequently called the "work"), to the American Chemical Society....


Ah a loophole. If there is no copyright, it cannot be transferred. So release your papers into the public domain before you submit them to the ACS and you can do whatever you want with them.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (2, Insightful)

rangek (16645) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753122)

Ah a loophole. If there is no copyright, it cannot be transferred. So release your papers into the public domain before you submit them to the ACS and you can do whatever you want with them.

Hrm.... interesting. However:

This manuscript will be considered with the understanding you have submitted it on an exclusive basis.

Now usually I have read that to mean you can't submit to another journal while you are waiting to hear back from ACS (or vice-versa), but perhaps a public domain release may also violate this too. Also see jschen's comment [slashdot.org] about embargo. It might not be possible to make a meaningful "release ... into the public domain" without running afoul of one of both of these stipulations (in as much as they are separate).

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (2, Informative)

san (6716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753082)

On the other hand, the APS journals are OK with you putting your version of your paper on the Arxiv [arxiv.org] preprint server; they even allow submission to their journals by Arxiv article number -- they will then download your manuscript from Arxiv and send it to the editors.

I've always been under the impression that the copyright they hold is only to the specific, printed, version they publish, not to any manuscripts you have.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

leighton (102540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751448)

I just took a look at the contracts for my published articles. With one or two exceptions, they ALL require a transfer of copyright. I don't really own the rights to anything I've written (with some exceptions; I can pass out a single copy to someone, use it in my own teaching, etc.) Of course, academics are notorious for ignoring these agreements. I actually asked the journals for permission to reuse some of my published work in my dissertation. They had no idea what to do--apparently nobody had ever asked them such a thing before. Most people just go ahead and reuse the stuff under the (reasonable but wrong) assumption that they own the material they created.

I don't particularly *like* transferring copyright, but it seems to be necessary if I want to publish in the major journals in my field. I am leaning towards publishing in the PLoS journals next time around, though, since as I recall their copyright/licensing/etc. schemes are much more reasonable.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751524)

As an interesting anecdote, I once asked a German classics journal I'd published in for permission to include the work in my thesis. They were quite amused, since apparently they hadn't required any copyright transfer or publishing exclusivity.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751456)

Most of the physics journals I've submitted to have required copyright transfer or, at the very least, an exclusive publishing agreement.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751470)

As spoken by TFA:

The APS asks scientists to transfer their copyright to the society before they can publish in an APS journal. This prevents scientists contributing illustrations or other "derivative works" of their papers to many websites without explicit permission.
So, in other words, the journal asks scientists to transfer their copyright for the explicit purpose of not allowing them to exercise it. Hmmm...

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751830)

Idea:

- Transfer copyright to a friend you trust
- Have your friend give you an irrevocable, royalty-free license to publish the work anywhere. Make sure the license states that it can never, under any circumstances, be renounced by either you or the copyright holder, and any future agreements that call for you or the copyright holder to renounce the license are null and void.
- Have dated, notarized proof of both actions
- Submit the work to the journal. Don't tell them you don't have the copyright anymore. Even if you say you're transferring the copyright to them, you're not allowed to transfer someone else's copyright.
- Publish the work elsewhere after it gets published in the journal.
- If the journal balks, show them the proof that you gave up the copyright before you sent it to the journal.

An alternative would be to have the friend transfer copyright back to you after giving you the irrevocable license. Get dated, notarized proof of that too. You now have both the copyright and an irrevocable license to publish the work. Even if you transfer copyright to the journal, you still have the irrevocable license.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

torstenvl (769732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751910)

Yeah, there's this little teensy crime called "fraud"...

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752022)

A better idea is to strike out the copyright clause, amend it with an exclusive license to publish the work in a peer-reviewed journal, initial and date the change, and sign and date the document. Most of the time, places won't review the contract.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752830)

Submit the work to the journal. Don't tell them you don't have the copyright anymore.

I would be shocked if they don't require you to sign something that indicates the work belongs to you. However, let's pretend for a moment that you could pull this off, what then? Don't you think that word would get around pretty quickly what you had done, and that in all likelyhood no journal would ever publish your work again? I somehow doubt retaining the copyright of one work would be worth never again being published.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752906)

Congrats, you likely breached your agreement and could be on the hook for damages to both your assignee and the publisher.

Just looking at one of the earlier cited copyright assignments, it contains this phrase:

I hereby warrant that I am the sole owner (or authorized agent of the copyright owner(s)), with the exception of third party material detailed in Part C below. Permission has been obtained for third party material included in this paper.


Also, your initial transfer to your friend would probably not cure. The publisher would probably be a subsequent purchaser in good faith since you failed to mention that your friend registered the copyright assignment. So, as a result, you could be on the hook to your assignee because they are now no longer the owner.

Finally, your assignment to your friend would only be valid if proper consideration were paid. You didn't even mention whether he paid you any money.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

quarrelinastraw (771952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751502)

Surrendering copyright is the typical state of affairs in many disciplines. A handful of publishing houses (e.g. Elsevier) own a ton of journals and they make money by selling subscriptions to academic libraries. If you can post your articles online for free, that cuts into their profit margin. For example Elsevier prohibits sending out articles on email lists or otherwise "systematically" circulating articles.

http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/supportfaq.cws_home/rightsasanauthor

it is the journal not the field (2, Interesting)

sdb16 (1251322) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751994)

Policy on copyright does differ from field to field, but it is more a matter of the journal than the field. Some journals have enlightened practices, some do not. For example, the Royal Society, which is the UK equivalent of the publisher of Physical Review Letters, has a very enlightened policy, and lets you publish under a creative commons license and retain copyright [royalsociety.org] . The American Physical Society has a far more outdated policy, which looks like it will finally change.

Re:Maybe I'm in the wrong field (1)

Huntr (951770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752320)

Wildlife Management

Copyright
If a manuscript not in the public domain is accepted for publication, authors or their employers must transfer copyright to TWS. Publications authored by federal government employees are in the public domain. Manuscript submission implies entrusting copyright (or equivalent trust in public-domain work) to the Editor until the manuscript is rejected, withdrawn, or accepted for publication. If accepted, TWS retains copyright. Copyright forms are available at: http://www.wildlife.org/publications/index.cfm?tname=journal [wildlife.org] .

http://www.wildlifejournals.org/pdf/author_instructions.pdf [wildlifejournals.org]

Quantum Wikipedia (5, Funny)

bluephone (200451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751286)

Quantum Wikipedia is of immeasurable quality.

Re:Quantum Wikipedia (4, Funny)

kclittle (625128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751400)

Well, actually, you can measure its quality to any arbitrary accuracy, but you then cannot measure its quantity to any accuracy whatsoever. The converse holds as well.

Re:Quantum Wikipedia (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751402)

So: the article could either be correct or incorrect, until someone reads it?

Re:Quantum Wikipedia (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751418)

I love that poll on the Quantiki [quantiki.org] page.

What is your favorite entanglement measure?
  1. Negativity
  2. Entropy
  3. Concurrence
  4. Measure of what?
Entropy is kicking ass.

If I had mod points I'd totally mod you up. But don't you mean it's of immeasurable quantity?

Re:Quantum Wikipedia (1)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751818)

I always thought the value of the Quantum Wikipedia was that it is so very discrete

Re:Quantum Wikipedia (1)

saibot834 (1061528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752218)

The name "Quantum Wikipedia" is complete bullshit. There is a huge difference between a Wiki [wikipedia.org] (which is a way of creating content) and Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] (which is a free encyclopedia). The submitter confused those two (the linked website got it right).

Or Better Yet (5, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751318)

Just stop publishing in those journals and create your own. The barriers to entry are pretty low to set up an on-line publication, and even dead tree publishing of scientific papers isn't that expensive.

If any of these journals lose even a fraction of the scientists submitting material in favor of a more-open competitor, then the journal loses, not the scientists.

And never, ever, under any circumstances even consider thinking of assigning copyright to anyone.

Re:Or Better Yet (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751346)

Just stop publishing in those journals and create your own.

The university officials considering granting you tenure have heard of the big-name journals, but they may not have heard of the amateur production on the web you set up because you actually turned down a chance for publication in a reputable forum.

Re:Or Better Yet (1)

brarrr (99867) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751584)

The prestige of the journal has to be considered. I mean prestige as in PRL, APL and other APS journals are peer-reviewed thus the quality of the work is *supposed to be* significantly more relevant and important to the body of knowledge than uncle bob's journal of nukular behaivior. The standards of quality vary by journal, hence science/nature has a different writing style than PRL than JAP than PNAS than....

There *are* more open journals that allow modified copyright transfers and self-hosted online publishing.

I don't disagree that more open is better, but it is unrealistic to expect that quality research would be given due regard if it is not published in a method with reasonable hurdles to overcome.

Re:Or Better Yet (2, Interesting)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751588)

Just stop publishing in those journals and create your own. The barriers to entry are pretty low to set up an on-line publication, and even dead tree publishing of scientific papers isn't that expensive.

This is probably just what the journal is afraid of. While getting published in the major, established, peer reviewed journals, is the current road to tenure, fame, and fortune (except maybe for the fame and fortune), that may not always be the case. One of the most important pieces of the puzzle for the advancement of science itself is the peer review process. If the community respects the peers doing the review, then no one will care whether the paper is published in Phys Rev or on the research group's blog. It's the science that matters.

Physicists can be real rebels at times, so I can imagine a group of respected and talented ones getting fed up with the old system and forming a new review and publication platform. With sufficient star power and good science, there's little that anyone could do to stop them. There are probably already private groups doing just that in addition to seeking publication in the more established journals.

Re:Or Better Yet (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752184)

For obvious reasons, the peers doing reviews are anonymous. It prevents a lot of politics (calling your reviewers and tell them you'll approve theirs if they approve yours). When you publish in PRL, the readers know that the reviewers are coming from a rather well established, scientifically knowledgeable pool. When you publish in Joe's Research Pamphlet, that's not the case. If you break anonymity, then the reviewer name under the authors' names is going to basically look like a co-author, and not seem neutral to the reader who is used to the anonymous, well regarded pool.

Re:Or Better Yet (2, Funny)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752850)

not a physicist, but nearly as clever:
Stanford algorithms expert, Donald Knuth [stanford.edu] (pdf) doesn't like nasty closed-up journals either. As he said when I asked him about it; "Who are you? How did you get in my house?".

Re:Or Better Yet (1)

jschen (1249578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751946)

Just stop publishing in those journals and create your own. The barriers to entry are pretty low to set up an on-line publication, and even dead tree publishing of scientific papers isn't that expensive.

Who is going to peer review the thing to help ensure the reader that it isn't a waste of time to read? How do we know where to look? Are we to scan everybody's website daily rather than look at a few centralized journal websites?

And even if you manage to get your paper noticed and to have people care about your self-published paper, who is going to ensure that the original, unedited paper is available for access in perpetuity, and indeed, that the paper is the real thing? The top journals I peruse on a daily basis have 100+ year histories, and I can readily access any paper ever published there. Even papers from the 1800s have been converted into PDF. (It's just scans of the printed version, but it will do.) I can also get supplemental information files that are many decades old by simply asking for them (and possibly paying a nominal fee). And if I download a PDF from the journal, I can be assured that what I am downloading is the real deal.

Re:Or Better Yet (1)

Zibblsnrt (125875) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752672)

For tenure and evaluation purposes, a lot of universities are, uh, somewhat hostile to anything resembling self-publication. Hell, they're hostile to non-academic publishing at all sometimes; there was a prospective hire eval at the university I'm at where the guy got shredded for publishing a children's book on the side.

Add to that a lot of the faculty who are going to be in a decision to Decide Your Career are still going to be the type that assume "online source = intrinsically bad" for the forseeable future, and the idea of starting one's own journal is a no-starter unless they pull off something legendary to pre-fill it with prestige first.

Re:Or Better Yet (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22753080)

The journals have prestige value. Getting your name into Nature or Lancet is a holy grail for most scientists.

Starting your own is about as cool as starting a new Nobel Prize foundation - just not the same.

Journal elitism (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751328)

While I think this is a pretty stupid move, I suppose I could see that they want to retain an air of elitism with the content that they publish. Scientific journals do reek of elitism but are gradually breaking away from the notion that the material is private. I know some journals are providing content free of charge, which is a great way to get more material out in the open. However long-time editors and publishers may have objections to that method since they are used to the prestige that the little private club offers, so younger authors will probably be more inclined to an open journal.

Personally as a recently graduated biologist I've had doubts of getting into graduate school simply because I don't have anything published, or original primary research. Fortunately I've been in contact with a professor who thinks I'd be a good fit for his lab, so I may eventually get a chance to get some work published, that I wouldn't mind being offered freely.

Re:Journal elitism (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752974)

Don't worry, grad students are in high demand. They're cheap labor. It's faculty positions that are in very limited supply.

Self-preservation (3, Insightful)

fropenn (1116699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751482)

Why would you pay to read an article in a journal if that same information or report were available elsewhere? It is a case of self-preservation on the part of the journal to protect itself from competition.

The internet has dramatically changed how information is accessible, and journals must respond to this new paradigm. The idea of a journal still plays an important role - by providing a process of peer review and editing for quality - but it seems the days of paying for paper copies and journals holding sole copyright of individual articles are waning.

Finally, on a related issue, as a taxpayer, why should I have to pay to read about research that I already supported through my tax dollars?

Re:Self-preservation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22751828)

So you don't have the assurance of the journal. A wiki page can get corrupted or can change so that you miss the past mistake because the mistake has been overwritten. If you dig for it, maybe you can see it.

That has an advantage that you can't converse with the planet via the books you print for them but you can with a wiki.

Different strokes.

Did anyone else notice... (1)

arotenbe (1203922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751504)

...that Wikipedia has policies against publishing research on it [wikipedia.org] ? You are allowed to cite your own work [wikipedia.org] , so why not just reference the version the journal published?

Re:Did anyone else notice... (1)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751888)

Wikipedia only prohibits original research. Citing your own work is simply proof that your research isn't original to Wikipedia. Describing the version in the journal would violate the copyright transfer agreement, since you're still writing about your discovery.

Keeping the buggy whip manufactures alive. (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751520)

Like the MPAA, RIAA and other businesses built up around forming monopolies of information distribution the world is changing around them and they are failing to adapt, just like many a buggy whip manufacturer of old. When distributing one's information had a significant cost (printing, transport etc) and bandwidth was low i.e. a monthly journal then these models of doing business made sense. In the 21st Century information distribution costs are effectively reaching zero and so monopolies based on reproduction and distribution increasingly don't make sense, unless of course your living is making money from this monopoly at the expense of everyone else.

The APS should be embracing this lowering cost trend in keeping with their mission statement, "In the firm belief that an understanding of the nature of the physical universe will be of benefit to all humanity, the Society shall have as its objective the advancement and diffusion of the knowledge of physics." don't you think. Even if there is value in a physical journal being printed and distributed then a licence from the author granting non revocable usage rights is sufficient.

Wikipedia:No_Original_Research (1)

scaryjohn (120394) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751532)

I don't know about Quantumn Wikipedia's policies, but Wikipedia itself doesn't take kindly to people publishing original research.

*hears whispers from offstage*

Well, yes, I guess they can cite themselves if they get published, pursuant to the conflict of interest policy and all that.

It's like how slashdot always tells people who were libeled to just fix the article. You're not supposed to edit information about yourself.

Re:Wikipedia:No_Original_Research (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751812)

It's like how slashdot always tells people who were libeled to just fix the article. You're not supposed to edit information about yourself.
Libel is covered by the biographies of living persons [wikipedia.org] policy (BLP), and the conflict of interest [wikipedia.org] policy (COI) defers to BLP where they conflict. From COI:

Editors who may have a conflict of interest are allowed to make certain kinds of non-controversial edits, such as:

2. Deleting content that violates Wikipedia's biography of living persons policy.

USENIX just made access to its proceedings free (3, Informative)

al1984 (1256376) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751570)

PhysRevLet is behind the times. The trend is for open access. This week, USENIX [usenix.org] , the computing systems association and sponsor of many major conferences, is making access to all its published papers and conference proceedings free to the world. This blog [crypto.com] has details.

Start their own (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751574)

Look, all science article have to go through peer review. These guys get paid NOTHING for doing this (just their name on the review). If instead an site is started up, and the same ppl review the article PRIOR to going to the wiki, then it is about the same. From there, paper printing can occur if desired. All that is needed is for these guys to work together to decide to build the site up. Pretty trivial thing to do.

Re:Start their own (1)

leighton (102540) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751920)

Actually, you don't even get your name on the review in any meaningful way. Peer review is usually anonymous--the author never officially knows who reviewed the article (but can sometimes guess), and the reviewers' names generally don't appear on the published manuscript.

The editor knows, of course, and can invite you to join the editorial board if you consistently provide good reviews, but that's about the only benefit there is. Then again, it's a "benefit" that requires you to spend even more time issuing reviews and pissing off authors by rejecting their articles.

I find it fun, to be honest. If it weren't, I'm not sure I'd spend a minute of my time doing it. I suppose the editor of a journal might get pissed off if you *never* agreed to review anything, but there are so many journals in my field that you could always find another outlet if you needed to.

This is stupid. (2, Informative)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751578)

Okay, the blog thing seems like something that might make sense, but Wikipedia, WTF?

Publishing information to WP based on your own work would probably be original research according to WP. Which WP doesn't allow.

Secondly, WP doesn't allow copyrighted work like journals to be posted verbatim on the site--even IF the author grants explicit permission signed in blood and double-notarized to have the material published there too. For WP, it's basically 100% Free or no deal. So, the ONLY way this material could be posted on Wikipedia and stay up for more than 7 minutes with the WP Copyright Police would be if the author released it under GFDL. Which no one wants to do with anything, especially if it's their livelyhood. (I could see licensing a work of mine to Wikipedia, a donation to a nonprofit, but it would piss me off to see that work all over retarded AdSense farms that (legally) steal the content for profit [all-scienc...ojects.com] .

And finally, since just posting full text of journal articles is not what WP does (or allows), this whole discussion is stupid. They don't accept full-text of newspaper columns, magazines, or your diary either. It's not a knowledge collective, it's a Freer-than-thou encyclopedia.

What WP does allow is citing these journal articles, and that's something that even our ludicrous current copyright laws has yet to forbid.

Though you can be sure that when citing copyrighted works does get forbidden WP will be the first to knuckle under and ban it, because they have shown in the past that they have no balls to stand up against unjust and overly-broad-interpreted IP laws, for example their complete denial that fair use rights exist.

Fair use laws vary across jurisdictions (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751916)

Publishing information to WP based on your own work would probably be original research according to WP. Which WP doesn't allow.
In some cases, it does. See Citing oneself [wikipedia.org] :

If an editor has published the results of his or her research in a reliable publication, the editor may cite that source while writing in the third person and complying with our NPOV policy. See also Wikipedia's guidelines on conflict of interest.
Is there anything about this on which you need further clarification?

Though you can be sure that when citing copyrighted works does get forbidden WP will be the first to knuckle under and ban it, because they have shown in the past that they have no balls to stand up against unjust and overly-broad-interpreted IP laws
Copyright paranoia happens for two reasons: 1. Wikimedia Foundation does not retain legal counsel who specialize in the laws of every jurisdiction on the planet, and 2. Wikimedia Foundation's legal department is orders of magnitude smaller than those of established publishers of non-free mass media.

for example their complete denial that fair use rights exist.
Wikimedia projects are hosted in the United States but read worldwide. On whose laws do you think Wikimedia projects should base their policies for non-free content?

Re:Fair use laws vary across jurisdictions (1)

danielsfca2 (696792) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752110)

Wikimedia projects are hosted in the United States but read worldwide. On whose laws do you think Wikimedia projects should base their policies for non-free content?
US laws would be a start. These laws allow fair use, for example, of images to illustrate the person in question. I love how you can have a WP article about a model, which is someone famous specifically because of his/her looks, and have no image on the page at all. This is someone of whom thousands of photographs have been taken, and hundreds of them have been uploaded to WP, and they've all been "Speedy-deleted" because WP is in denial that fair-use is an acceptable justification for displaying one low-resolution image of a public personality.

And don't give me crap like "Oh but they would get sued." Bullshit. There are millions of websites with pictures of celebrities, that sell ads and just haphazardly swipe the images uncredited from wherever they find them. I mean, do a Google Image Search for any hot female celebrity. It just leads to my main gripe about WP: Why do they have to make it "opt-in"? 99% of the "technically copyrighted" crap that gets deleted from WP every day is crap that the technical copyright holder doesn't care about, because they don't have any reason to care about it. For example, a photographer takes a picture in 2000, sells it to a magazine. The magazine publishes the photo and sells a bunch of ads. Both of them are happy. So if in 2004 somebody scans that picture in and puts it on their fan site, and that picture finds its way onto WP to illustrate the subject, who is being harmed? No one. Everybody got paid. No one's claiming the work as their original work. Maybe all this explains why nobody has ever sued Wikipedia for having a copyrighted photo posted.

Now the other 1% of this fair-use content belongs to people who are viciously protective of it, and they have lawyers who can serve a DMCA when needed. That should be fine. But what happens today is WP editors will delete things when the owner of the copyright is a company that's been out of business for 30 years. What is the benefit of doing this?

Fair use content should be allowed to stay until someone who holds the copyright has an objection to its use. (like "innocent until proven guilty," heard of it?) I can see not putting up a fight once a rights-holder complains and/or threatens--it's pointless when you could just remove it, send a form apology email, and find something whose author doesn't mind. But the way the WP editors play right into the hands of the IP-law-strengthening jackass contingent by waiving all fair use rights is stupid and self-destructive.

Re:Fair use laws vary across jurisdictions (-1, Troll)

Quattro Vezina (714892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752774)

Copyright paranoia happens for two reasons: 1. Wikimedia Foundation does not retain legal counsel who specialize in the laws of every jurisdiction on the planet, and 2. Wikimedia Foundation's legal department is orders of magnitude smaller than those of established publishers of non-free mass media.
No, Wikipedia's copyright paranoia is because Wikipedia is dominated by free-software zealots who crusade against fair-use images for religious reasons.

I used to support the free-software movement. Thanks to Wikipedia's free-software zealots, I now despise the entire free-software movement.

Re:This is stupid. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752112)

If you read the original article (not the New Scientist piece, but the statement of the authors), it is not that they want to put their work on Wikipedia. This is just used as an example -- they want to release their work under a creative commons license. Mostly for other specialized services. I guess this may include the Quantum Wikipedia.

Re:This is stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752982)

Publishing information to WP based on your own work would probably be original research according to WP. Which WP doesn't allow.

In theory. In practice (like so much else of WP) It Depends. I lost an edit was because the opposing party could point to a web page (which as part of an organization he had authored) and all I had was 'what everyone in the field knows'. (So not only is the material now present in that article wrong, it is biased as hell - but subtly such that someone not familiar with the field could detect it.)
 
 

And finally, since just posting full text of journal articles is not what WP does (or allows), this whole discussion is stupid. They don't accept full-text of newspaper columns, magazines, or your diary either. It's not a knowledge collective, it's a Freer-than-thou encyclopedia.

No, the whole text isn't accepted - but barely disguised paraphrasing is. (And again, an edit war was lost and incorrect information retained because the opponent could point to a web page, but I was the only one with access to the dead tree journal with the correct information.)
 
 

Though you can be sure that when citing copyrighted works does get forbidden WP will be the first to knuckle under and ban it, because they have shown in the past that they have no balls to stand up against unjust and overly-broad-interpreted IP laws, for example their complete denial that fair use rights exist.

That would be why Wikipedia has numerous images whose fair use rationale amounts to "we couldn't find a free image, so we'll use this non free one and declare it fair use.)

Reminds one of the MAFIAA (2, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751632)

The people who publish scientific journals have been mining a lucrative seam for years.
Now, just as with music and video, they see their business model, and fat associated monopoly rents, being threatened.

Just as with the music and video industries, their efforts to stop the rot so far have been risible.

Their case has even less merit since, unlike the music and video inductries, the original authors of the works:
1. Have usually already been paid for their work, and
2. Actively want it be distributed as widely and freely as possible
Indeed, since a lot of (published) science is paid for by our taxes, one could argue 'the public' already owns it / the right to read it freely.

The argument that reputable journals provide a robust peer-review function withers somewhat in the light of many recent scandals that have 'slipped through the net'. The comparison with 'many eyes' from open source sprngs to mind. How long before something really poor or inaccurate is challenged on Wikipedia? Minutes?

Still, that's enough analogies - better stop before I try and slip in a car one, too...

More discussion on topic here:
http://www.nature.com/nature/debates/e-access/Articles/Eisen.htm [nature.com]

The role of academic presses in the age of tubes (1)

quarrelinastraw (771952) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751678)

I'm not going to say that Internets will replace academic publishing houses, but they are in somewhat of a precarious position. I imagine they are facing pressure to be open more than would publishers in other fields, since openness can rightly be claimed as essential to the scientific process. And the Internets were at least partially created to publish scientific research in a useful and organized way, and people seem to be using it for that (albeit by posting pdfs rather than writing articles in HTML). So it's not clear to me what these publishing houses do (other of course than conferring prestige on authors) that is essential to the scientific process these days.

I imagine the publishing houses make a lot of their money from licensing access to their online databases of articles, which tend to have terrible user interfaces and be disconnected from each other (e.g. each database has a fixed number of journals that it serves). But Google scholar is much more pleasant to use than these databases so many scholars may not even be aware of which database Google draws the articles from. If enough people routinely post PDFs of their articles online, Google may preferentially link to these (since you don't have to have a subscription to read those versions) which might further dig into profits for the publishers.

Also free pre-print servers like arxiv.org seem to doing just fine in terms of fueling scientific progress. In some cases, posting to arxiv.org is done instead of publishing in a paper journal. There are even some questions about how important peer-review as practiced by journals really is. E.g.: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0040058&ct=1 [plosjournals.org]

All your papers are belong to us (1)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751724)

Any scientific journal should, imho, understand that they root in the Bazaar, not the Cathedral, and there's no such thing like a Cathedral in the scientific community.

I think it's good to review this [cornell.edu] speech by Ginsparg in 1996. As long as the well-respected journals as PRL allow authors to upload their works to ArXiv [arxiv.org] they should also permit similar uses, especially made by the authors themselves. (Many of the papers from ArXiv are preprints, but there are also a lot of them are uploaded after being accepted or published in a journal.)

The perplexing bit is this... (1)

CupBeEmpty (720791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751894)

...the Wikipedia cites copyrighted works ALL THE TIME. I am not clear on exactly what the publisher believes to have. Take a look at any science related page (for example: Interferon Alpha Receptor 1 [wikipedia.org] ) and you will see a whole raft of copyrighted citations. Fair use allows for paraphrasing, quoting, and citation, especially in an academic context (or at least that is what I have always understood). What is it exactly that publishers are preventing? Citation? Paraphrase? Quotation?

legality versus reality (4, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22751980)

I've published in PRL, back in the 90's. Basically what happened around then was that physicists were some of the earliest adopters of the internet and the web, and as soon as those tools became available, physicists started making their papers available to their colleagues for free in digital form. They still usually referred to them as "preprints," but in fact they'd still be sending them out after the paper had been accepted by the journal, the copyright transfer had been signed, and the paper had come out in print. Also in that era, arxiv.org was set up to archive preprints systematically. For decades now, arxiv has been a vital, ubiquitous part of the infrastructure of physics research; if arxiv is illegal, then I guess every single working physicist in the world is breaking the law every single working day of their career, because that's how much it gets used. The whole thing was sort of a blindingly obvious application for the internet. As an academic, what you care about is getting your research out there so that people know about it -- that's what builds your career. Nobody ever saw any conflict between the fact that (a) you assigned the copyright to the journal, and (b) you were still giving away copies. You might be able to argue that there was no legal conflict, because fair use applied, but realistically everybody saw it as a nonissue, because it was your own work you were giving out, and the journals were nonprofit entities.

What PRL should really reconsider is its whole policy of demanding copyright transfers. All they really need is a license from the author. This is a case where the legalities have lagged a couple of decades behind real-world practices. PRL is the most prestigious journal to get your work published in, but I think they realize that they're essentially expendable at this point at an institution; the minute a sufficient number of physicists get sufficiently upset with them, print journals can find itself replaced rapidly by open-access journals.

Virtually all submissions to PRL are done in LaTeX format, so there is no cost associated with typesetting. All the referees, and nearly all the editors, are unpaid. The printed format is basically obsolete, and the prices charged to libraries are simply ridiculous. This is a classic case where you just have an ossified institution that refuses to change.

Re:legality versus reality (5, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752796)

PRL persists despite the fact that it has no identifiable purpose. At one time, the idea of a "Letters" journal was for rapid publication of select short articles. Letters journals needed to be selective, so they could operate in an efficient fashion. Ironically, in practice it typically takes much longer to get a paper published in a rapid-publication journal like PRL than in a regular journal like Physical Review, because the referee process is so ponderous. Papers always go to at least two referees, sometimes three or more. In my experience (I have published in and refereed for PRL), this does little to improve the quality of the referee process: it simply makes it more capricious.

Meanwhile, with the advent of arXiv, rapid publication is no longer an issue: by the time a high-quality paper makes it through the review process, it has already been cited a dozen times, and the citing articles have themselves been read and cited. Likewise, there is no longer any point whatsoever to a four-page limit like that imposed by PRL: who cares?

The only reason PRL still exists is the perceived prestige. Having a dozen PRL publications is a gold star on your job application or tenure portfolio, even if those papers are wrong, or poorly cited. Meanwhile, more modern, efficient and useful open access and online journals are poorly indexed by commercial citation services such as ISI Web of Science: even influential, highly cited papers published in these journals count for relatively little with university administration bean counters. And tenure is no insulation from the pressure to publish in letters journals: tenured faculty frequently publish with students and postdocs, and recognize the need for their more junior collaborators to count the proper coup. And so the system perpetuates itself. PRL will continue to matter until the old guys (and they're almost all male) who think it matters die off. Which will be a while.

Science is essentially blocked from the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752266)

I often find I need information in a paper but am locked out due to fees and membership requirements. I am not affiliated w/ any University. Have limited funds.
Imagine a bright student on his own at a library or at home having to pay $40 USD for a pdf whitepaper of a subject of interest to him/her? Think it's going to happen?
easier to get pron, it's free. It's easier to get junk science, it's free. Real science? It's locked away.

Re:Science is essentially blocked from the masses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22752918)

Somebody wasted mod points to mod you down, AC. And... you're 100% correct. I say make the science as available as possible, the social/cultural benefit should be pretty good in a countrie of fundies.

I work on a journal [non science] (2, Insightful)

tony1343 (910042) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752642)

I'm fairly high up in a non-science journal (law). In the past it was quite common to ask for a complete transfer [author would no longer own the copyright and journal would]. Most authors have increasingly become less and less comfortable with this. I imagine this is true in non-law journals especially as copyright has become a bigger issue, making authors aware of it.

My journal recently switched from such an outright transfer to something along the lines of an exclusive license for 1 year and license after [with attribution to us afterwards]. So basically we want to be the first to publish it and we don't want it to be anywhere for a limited period of time. I think something along these lines is fair. Obviously, its the authors work, but the journals do a ton of work. Authors don't just submit and then journals publish. The articles are edited intensely and all the citations are checked to make sure the author is quoting correctly and drawing correct conclusions. This process I guess would be different with science journals, but they have to get the article peer-reviewed and I imagine there still would be intensive editing, since often scientists are not the best writers or are foreign, which my journal deals with quite often [though I doubt that the articles will have 300-800 footnotes like non-science articles do].

Anyway, some type of middle ground needs to be reached. Obviously, the journal doesn't want the same article to be published in a different journal 2 months later (at least not without its permission). If an author simply takes the paper after its gone through the extensive editing process and posts it on Wikipedia or wherever, that takes away the incentive for anyone to subscribe and the process isn't free (well law journals are done by students for free usually, but not all are and there are still many costs). But I definitely support the author being able to post his article after a certain amount of time (in fact most authors have their articles as a "working paper" online before we publish it and we don't care).

I think the license approach works pretty well. Also, remember that whether the journal likes it or not there is "fair use" and the science itself is not copyrightable just the expression (though I doubt the author is going to want to write the same thing twice). "Fair use" is often difficult because huge corporations will sue anyway and that is expensive, but I doubt this would be the case with academic journals, which don't have that type of budget.

So I'd just like to dispel any myth that journals do nothing. It's a give and take relationship. Journals need good authors to exist and become more prestigious and get more subscribers. But authors need journals so they can become well published, and thus become tenured, respected in the field, and reach an audience.

Open-access physics journals... (1)

tenco (773732) | more than 6 years ago | (#22752748)

...already exist. This one [iop.org] is backed by the DPG [wikipedia.org] and IOP [wikipedia.org] .
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