Preprints, Property, and Epistemology | Sam Popowich
ab1630's bookmarks 2018-08-14
"I don’t normally weigh in on scholcomm discussions, as that isn’t really my area. However, reading Aaron Tay’s interesting blog post “Can posting a preprint be morally wrong?” got me thinking. The issue Tay is investigating is the bioRxiv preprint wall of shame and hinges on questions of what constitutes a preprint, what the purpose of a preprint is, and when is the ethically appropriate point to deposit a preprint (i.e. make it publicly available). None of these questions are settled and they are still points of contention. It seems to me, however, that there are two points which I don’t see discussed in the literature. The first is the question of (private) property, and the second is an epistemological question around texts and truth. These two notions tend to get confused: bioRxiv’s policy of allowing preprints only of articles that haven’t yet been accepted to a journal can be seen as an assurance of quality (peer-review as truth-procedure) but also a protection of a journal’s IP (publishers are always talking about the value they add to an edited, published version of an article or monograph). So by increasing the temporal distance as well as the material qualities between the preprint and the published version, a publisher decreases the competition between manifestations of the same work (to use the vocabulary of FRBR)...."