One of the first things I discovered when I started researching academic journals to which I might submit my research for publication was the common assumption that I would transfer exclusive copyright of my work to that journal. For example, here’s a snippet of the ISTE submission guidelines:
Each Author retains the following rights: [...] The right to post the ISTE-published version of the article on the Author’s own Web site, the right to provide photocopies to colleagues, and the right to reuse any portion of the Work without fee in future works of the Author’s own provided that the following citation appears [...]
So I’m allowed to take the word-for-word article that I wrote and put it on my own website, but only after asking for written permission? And, as near as I can tell if I’m reading it correctly, I am not allowed to put a modified or updated version on my site at all. (And I’m not picking on ISTE here, as many of the journals I researched had similar verbiage.)
What utter nonsense. It’s like we’re back to High Priests translating everything to Latin so that the mendicants can’t read it. To be clear: I’m not looking to retain exclusive rights—quite the opposite, I want to give my paper away and don’t want anyone to have exclusive rights. (And certainly not a publisher.) Nor am I opposed to the basic concept of publishing exclusivity—I don’t mind promising that I won’t publish the paper through multiple journals. But that can be granted without a transfer of ownership, and without promising that I won’t publish it anywhere else.
I’ve come across the concept of Open Access, which boils down to allowing authors to keep an archival copy of their work in addition to providing free access on the website of the publisher. I’m not sold on this as a perfect solution, but it does seem to be a step along the correct path.
And yet, we in academia still hold up publishing as the end-all goal of our careers. As if research should be writ down on paper in some perfected form, never to be revised.
Again I say: what utter nonsense.
Someone needs to whack this industry upside the head with the Web2.0 stick.
Rosetta Cash said at 23:47 on November 2nd, 2011: