Re: Open Archiving: What are researchers willing to do?

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1999 15:25:41 +0000

On Fri, 19 Nov 1999, Marvin Margoshes wrote:

> There are individuals who are knowingly pirating copyright materials, such
> as music, writing and software, on the 'Net, and publisher organizations are
> aggressively seeking them out with search engines and going after them.
> Underground groups may feel that they have nothing to lose anyway if they
> are caught, but I doubt that applies to the individuals who would misuse the
> scientific and other scholarly materials this discussion is concerned with.

It is not advancing the thinking on this topic to keep on repeating that
violating copyright is breaking the law, and citing pirated music,
writing and software as examples, when the POINT here is precisely that
the "pirates" in question are the authors themselves, and what they are doing
is GIVING AWAY their own research findings, for which no one has paid
them a penny.

May I suggest that "self-pirating" is what is at issue here, to contrast
it clearly with all those other cases (for which copyright law was designed),
and that "self-pirating" is an incoherent notion?

What IS coherent is the advice to authors (given here repeatedly) not to
sign away their right to give free unto others what they have given free
unto their publishers.

And that if you have foolishly already signed that right away for a
final accepted draft, then simply self-archive instead a penultimate
draft, with an appended list of errata and updates!

Now that (if there were any sense to any of this) would simply be the
end of of this discussion -- unless someone wanted to start haggling
over what the legal distance between the final draft and the penult
must be in order to violate copyright! (But note that plagiarism is not
at issue here, as it would be if someone ELSE were trying to pass off
90% of my words as his own; for, again, we must remind ourselves that
it is "self-piracy" that we are discussing here...)

Stevan Harnad
Professor of Cognitive Science
Department of Electronics and phone: +44 23-80 592-582
Computer Science fax: +44 23-80 592-865
University of Southampton
Highfield, Southampton
Received on Wed Feb 10 1999 - 19:17:43 GMT

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