Scientists challenge copyright regulations

Scientists challenge copyright regulations

Last month a group of US physicists challenged copyright regulations that placed restriction on sharing their work.

A group of physicists last month challenged the American Physical Society after the APS withdrew two articles, the authors of which indicated an intention to publish some of the work on online-encyclopaedia Wikipedia

The scientists feel that such strict copyright rules place unreasonable restrictions on scientists who want to diseminate their work to as broad an audience as they can. Many scientists include elements of their work in blogs, messageboards, forums, and open information outlets such as Wikipedia. The scientists assert that they should not be forced to choose between publishing in respected peer-reviewed journals and sharing their findings with the public. "It is unreasonable and completely at odds with the practice in the field. Scientists want as broad an audience for their papers as possible," says Bill Unruh at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, quoted in New Scientist, who has also lobbied against such strict copyright rules.

The APS insists that copyright is transferred to them prior to publication in their journals, something the group of physicists want changed. The UK's national academy of science, the Royal Society, while requesting transfer of copyright to them prior to publication, allows authors to publish their works online under a Creative Commons agreement.

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Apr 1 2008 17:52


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Apr 1 2008 19:54

That's kind of weird, I mean most articles have drafts published on arxiv anyway, and that's open to the public.

Apr 2 2008 00:10

yeah because arxiv has a really user-friendly interface, is widely-known to the public unlike that obscure wikipedia roll eyes

the point is they want to be able to publish THEIR OWN WORK in a variety of publicly-accessible mediums (messageboards, blogs, forums, mail-lists whatever)

I don't think it's "weird" at all.

Apr 2 2008 06:22

It is becoming kind of a big deal, especially since there are open access publishers around now such as Public Library of Science and Hindawi Publishing that don't give a toss about whether scientists want to publish their work anywhere else.

Apr 2 2008 07:59

I meant "weird" on the side of the APS, silly. If it's already out on arxiv, what legal or sensible grounds have they not to allow it to be adapted to a more human-readable wikipedia article, other than keeping up their enclosure of intellectual property?

And I'll have you know that arxiv has a great interface, and all the abstracts are so inviting, i.e.:

arxiv wrote:
We consider a two-level atom stimulated by a coherent monochromatic laser and we study how to enhance the squeezing of the fluorescence light and of the atom itself in the presence of a Wiseman-Milburn feedback mechanism, based on the homodyne detection of a fraction of the emitted light. Besides analyzing the effect of the control parameters on the squeezing properties of the light and of the atom, we also discuss the relations among these. The problem is tackled inside the framework of quantum trajectory theory.

How could you read that and not just dive into the article itself? I mean, honestly!

Apr 2 2008 13:32

ah I get you now wink

Also there's a lot of science arxiv doesn't cover, not that it's my area anyway.

Apr 2 2008 13:39

I love PLoS so much.

that is all.

Dec 29 2008 01:43

Well PLoS isn't quite as democratic and open as it sounds. I wasn't aware of this but they charge $1250 to publish articles, which apparently is what keeps them afloat and able to remain 'open'. In 2006 they'd considered upping it to as much as $2500.

This of course means that only those who can afford to publish do, whereas submissions to many other journals do not require authors to pay a fee, or if they do it is substantially lower, but generate income by charging subscription/access fees to readers/institutions.