Discussing is Ok, but what should we do in practice?

From: Antonella Pavese <pavese_at_SHRSYS.HSLC.ORG>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 15:25:57 -0500

Dear Stevan Harnard,

I have been following the discussion of the September98 forum with
great interest for quite a while, and I am trying hard, as a young
scientist, to work in a way that can sustain your initiative. My
papers are on your Cogprint server. I discuss with my colleagues
about these issues. However, when it comes to publish a paper, things
become very difficult.

I would like to emphasize how bad this system is for young
scientists. One very visible problem is that scientific information
produced by us is hidden and sold only to institutions that can
afford to buy it (I am sensitive to this issue, because I am
currently working in a small research institute with limited
resources and no possibility to buy expensive subscriptions to many
important journals). I found myself in the ridiculous situation of
not being able to read a paper that I wrote because my institution
did not have a subscription for that journal!

Another very serious issue associated with our current publishing
system, however, is that of the geological times required to publish
any work. If one wants to publish in one of the leading journals in
our area, for example the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human
Perception and Performance, it may take many months just to receive
the reviews, and even after complete acceptance, the waiting time for
publication is more than one year. This means that it takes AT LEAST
three years of work to see your work published. Reading the current
literature is like to watch a far star: what you see is what happened
many years ago.
(I know that this is not an issue this forum should discuss, but
waiting times for reviews are becoming so ridiculously long that I
cannot resist to mention it: I personally waited more than seven
months for a review in Neuropsychologia, and a colleague of mine is
still waiting for feedback from the Psychological Review after ELEVEN
months. It takes less time to make a child....)

In conclusion, making the paper immediately available on the internet
would also solve the problem of the temporal delay between the moment
a work is completed and the time it is available for the scientific

I just want to mention that these delays create a lot of problems to
young scientists that are trying to look for a job.

Anyway, the reason I am writing is to ask advice on how to escape the
strict rules that govern our publications. I have a paper that I am
thinking to submit to one of the APA (American PSYCHOLOGICAL
This is a literal citation from the instructions to authors of
Neuropsychology, an APA Journal:

        Under copyright law, the transfer of copyright from author to
        publisher must be completed before any article can be published
        in Neuropsychology. The transfer of copyright enables the
        publisher to assure maximum dissemination of the author's
        work (SIC!). Copyright forms are sent to all authors prior
        to acceptance and must be signed and returned to the Editor's
        office immediately. U.S. government employees must sign the
        section of the form stating exemption from copyright laws.
        Alterations to or substitution for the form are not acceptable.
        All authors must sign this form to verify authorship.

I am not the only author in the paper, and I have to follow the
suggestions of my advisor, who thinks that Neuropsychology is a good
fit for our paper. It does not seem to me that we have much choice.
If we want our article to be published we HAVE to sign the copyright
transfer and we CANNOT alter or substitute the form. I guess one way
is to choose another journal, but unfortunately this type of policy
is enforced by all the major journals in psychology.

Any suggestions?

Antonella Pavese


  Antonella Pavese, PhD ph: (215) 456-5887
  Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute Fax: (215) 456-5926
  Korman Bldg., Suite 203
  1200 West Tabor Road mailto:pavese_at_hslc.org
  Philadelphia, PA 19141 http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Ithaca/2797/

Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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