Matt Blaze: Shaking Down Science
Connotea Imports 2012-04-18
“If there is one area where the Web and Internet publishing is truly fulfilling its promise, it has to be the free and open availability of scholarly research from all over the world, to anyone who cares to study it... And many of the most prominent scientific and engineering societies are doing everything in their power to put a stop to it. They want to get paid first... I've written here before about the way certain major technical societies use regressive, coercive copyright policies to obtain from authors exclusive rights to the papers that appear at the conferences and in the journals that they organize... In my field, computer science (the very field which, ironically, created all this new publishing technology in the first place), some of the most restrictive copyright policies can be found in the two largest and oldest professional societies: the ACM and the IEEE... Many academics make their papers available on their personal web sites, a practice that a growing number of university libraries, including my own, have begun to formalize by hosting institution-wide web repositories of faculty papers... But times may be changing, and not for the better. Some time in January, the IEEE apparently quietly revised its copyright policy to explicitly forbid us authors from sharing the "final" versions of our papers on the web, now reserving that privilege to themselves (available to all comers, for the right price). I found out about this policy change in an email sent to all faculty at my school from our librarian this morning... To be fair to IEEE, the ACM's official policy is at least as bad... Enough is enough. A few years ago, I stopped renewing my ACM and IEEE memberships in protest, but that now seems an inadequate gesture. So from now on, I'm adopting my own copyright policies... I will no longer serve as a program chair, program committee member, editorial board member, referee or reviewer for any conference or journal that does not make its papers freely available on the web or at least allow authors to do so themselves. Please join me...
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