Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

From: Alan Story <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 16:17:38 -0000

I agree that there are distinctions to be made between the two systems,

What I object to is one system that charges for the ability to be "speak"
dissing a system that charges for the right to "listen"( or perhaps more
accurately, the right to produce and read accessible information)on the
grounds that the former is in favour of open access and that the latter is
not. Both are against it, albeit in different ways.

Many researchers, academic and otherwise, in many parts of the world have
lots worth saying, but simply cannot "stump up" $US500 each time that
they --- and peer reviewers ----agree they have something
worthwhile/important to say as the BioMed model requires. Sitting here in
our well-funded universities in the US and Europe -- or well-founded
compared to many parts of the world -- we tend to forget that many such
researchers work at institutions where "of course" they don't have the funds
to pay their staff for access to BioMed as a contributor...and not merely as
a reader.

Alan Story
Kent Law School

-----Original Message-----
From: September 1998 American Scientist Forum
Sent: Friday 10 January 2003 15:33
Subject: Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

Every information system has to be paid for somehow, since it has
unavoidable costs. The only way that you can (appear to) charge nobody is
to have some kind of operating subsidy from somewhere. In discussion and
analysis, it is helpful, in my view, to make a clear distinction between
systems that charge the creator of the information and systems that charge
the reader (or their respective institutions, of course). So I find the
rather negative comment below a bit unhelpful.

Fytton Rowland.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan Story" <a.c.story_at_UKC.AC.UK>
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2003 1:21 PM
Subject: Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy

> Yes, but speaking of "nothing new at all": how can BioMed claim to be the
> "gold standard" and say it believes in "open access" when there is a flat
> fee of US$500 ( a.k.a. the article-processing charge) for admission to the
> "open access" club in the first place. BioMed's user-pay toll-gate has
> been moved further up the information superhighway.
> Alan Story
> Kent Law School
> Canterbury UK
> -----Original Message-----
> From: September 1998 American Scientist Forum
> Velterop
> Sent: Friday 10 January 2003 10:06
> Subject: Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy
> I agree with Mike. Nature's new 'licence' is a
> 'pull-the-wool-over-your-eyes' version of what Elsevier calls the
> 'give-backs' and is nothing new at all, just a new PR exercise. Clever PR,
> to be sure, but certainly nothing like the "[Nature]...again led the
> planet's 20,000 peer-reviewed journals in introducing the optimal and
> inevitable copyright policy for the online era..." as Stevan would have
> For a start, the 90 or so peer-reviewed journals published by BioMed
> have a copyright and licensing policy that can truly be seen as leading:
> No restrictions on
> self-archiving and further dissemination whatsoever. That should be the
> 'gold-standard', not Nature's feeble attempt to look good without
> any substance worth mentioning. Congratulating Nature for putting a new
> gloss on basically an old stance seems unnecessary sycophancy to me.
> Decribing the new Nature licence as a 'gift horse' that shouldn't be
> in the mouth (in one of Stevan's earlier messages on this topic) is giving
> the wrong impression that the scholarly community should really sit back,
> patient, shut up, swim on, wait what's being given to them and then be
> grateful for beads and mirrors. They should simply expect more from
> publishing, and demand the right to self-determination of what can be done
> with their articles. Besides, there would be no point in looking a dead
> horse in the mouth anyway, apart from performing an autopsy.
> Of course, authors could always re-format their papers and flip into
> 'subversive mode' again. They could always do that anyway, and Nature's
> formulation of their restrictions doesn't make that any different.
> There is a lot to be cheerful and optimistic about with regard to open
> access, but Nature's copyright licence ain't amongst it. The question
> remains, if Nature really permits self-archiving (which is what Stevan
> to believe), why don't they make their research papers available in open
> access or at least freely available after a short time (say a month or
> There's nothing to be lost for them that cannot be compensated by the
> they could make from such a policy, in my view. Open access advocates
> keep up the pressure instead of relenting when offered a cigar from their
> own box.
> Jan
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Stevan Harnad []
> > Sent: 10 January 2003 03:32
> > Subject: Re: Nature's vs. Science's Embargo Policy
> >
> >
> > On Thu, 9 Jan 2003, Michael Eisen wrote:
> >
> > > NATURE: "How can I show my article to my colleagues? By
> > sending a link
> > > to the paper on your website. You may not distribute the
> > PDF by email,
> > > on listservs or on open archives. Please remember that
> > although the
> > > content of the article is your copyright, its
> > presentation (i.e. its
> > > typographical layout as a printed page) remains our copyright."
> >
> > That's just fine! Run the PDF through a PDF-to-HTML
> > converter, reformat it
> > trivially, and the layout is yours! (These details are
> > utterly *trivial*,
> > Mike, whereas the nontrivial, substantive part -- you may put your
> > refereed postprint on the web -- is *all* that was ever needed!)
> >
> > But I do believe they must have stopped giving lawyers logic
> > courses any
> > more as part of their degree! "You may not distribute the PDF
> > by email.
> > Send a link to it on your website instead." Gimme a break!
> >
> > And "You may not put it in an 'open archive' but only on a personal
> > website?" So my personal website is not allowed to be OAI-compliant?
> >
> > This is all papyrophilic juribabble based on defunct anlogies
> > with bygone
> > days and ways! It makes no sense. It is as technologically innocent
> > as it is blissfully free of logic. How can anyone even pretend to take
> > it seriously?
> >
> > "Your honour, the defendant's computer transferred this
> > open-access document
> > through the asynchronous sendmail protocol instead of synchronous
> > HTTP: Throw the book at him please." (Not to mention that this level
> > of monitoring would require something even more intrusive than the
> > Patriot Act!)
> >
> > > If somehow authors construe this as a license to
> > self-archive, that's great.
> > > But lets not give Nature credit for something they have not done.
> >
> > On the contrary, I think it's a very *good* strategy to give
> > Nature full
> > credit for what they have done -- to encourage the other journals to
> > hurry up and do likewise!
> >
> > Cheers (and cheer up!),
> >
> > Stevan
> >
Received on Fri Jan 10 2003 - 16:17:38 GMT

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