51.2 RESPONSE TO TRLN MODEL COPYRIGHT DOCUMENT
Marcia Tuttle, email@example.com.
In this newsletter we present the first of the responses and reactions to the Triangle University Libraries Network Model Copyright Document, distributed in issue 46. To no one's surprise, publishers are anticopyright retention and librarians tend to be pro. The document was a topic of hot conversation at the Society for Scholarly Publishing seminar in Boston on September 16-17, and several persons who were there have promised to respond to the document, with copies for the newsletter. The purpose of this document was to generate discussion, and it appears to be fulfilling that purpose with gusto. Expect more response in the next few newsletters.
51.2 RESPONSE TO TRLN MODEL COPYRIGHT DOCUMENT
>From Everett C. Wilkie, Jr., Editor of the _Bulletin_, The Connecticut Historical Society, firstname.lastname@example.org [Reprinted with author's permission, from cni-copyright.]:
As the editor of an academic quarterly publication published by our historical society for over 50 years now, I can understand how authors may wish to keep copyright to their own articles. However, as publisher, I have some interest in retaining this right for myself.
Our current policy is that the Society copyrights all copyrightable material in our _Bulletin_. We will, as it states in the publication contract, reassign rights to the author if he wishes to use the material in another publication consisting primarily of his or her own work. This provision is included to encourage authors to publish chapters from forthcoming books, for example, or to ensure that if the author wishes to publish a volume of his or her own essays, for example, that he or she may without interference.
We also include a statement in the publication contract that the author will recieve 10 copies of the _Bulletin_ in which the article appears and that those 10 copies are the entire compensation. In other words, we pay for the article.
My problem in permitting authors to maintain copyright in his or her article would be completely obviated if the author would pay my production costs for producing the article. I have fairly hefty bills for each issue I produce, and there is no profit in this publication for the Society, although we do manage to keep it self-sustaining. But it is kept that way only because the Society has restricted certain endowment funds the income from which must be used solely to support the _Bulletin_. Thus, we feel that if there is going to be further income from the article because of fees to reprint it in other sources, we have earned that income.
I am a little disturbed, as well, by the Research Traingle's implication that there is something wrong with journals earning a profit. I certainly do not agree with price gouging, as is practiced by some, but am filled with envy at journals that are truly self supporting; i. e., their income exceeds their expenses. If such journals must charge high prices and make lucrative deals in reprint fees, more power to them.
I certainly have no objection to any author cutting the best deal possible concerning rights, whatever the author's motivation may be. But, I don't think an author should be too surprised to discover that not too many journals are going to be interested in agreeing to the proposed langauges in the policy draft. I know we wouldn't agree to any of them.
>From Linda J. Pike, Managing Editor, _Administrative Science Quarterly_, Cornell University, Ithaca NY.
Dear Dr. Byrd:
I have just received a copy of the draft policy statement on faculty members' assigning copyrights to journals. As the managing editor of _Administrative Science Quarterly_, which asks authors to assign copyrights but which operates on a break-even budget (in a good year), I disagree with what you and your colleagues are trying to do, and I wonder if you have thought through the implications of what the implementation of such a policy might entail.
We have done our best to keep the costs of publication as low as possible. We are considered one of the top journals in the field of organizational theory, in part because we invest considerable time and money in the articles we publish, both in editorial time (we do extensive copy editing in house) and in high-quality production. For new assistant professors we give more help than most other journals in turning thesis work into a publishable article. We could not afford to do this without the income that we generate through copyright fees, which supplements what we get from subscriptions.
When we ask the author to transfer copyright, we give him or her the right to use the work in classes, publish the work in any book of which he or she is an author. In short, the author still has rights to the work. In addition, we allow libraries, or anyone else, for that matter, to make up to 10 copies of the work for scholarly purposes or to put on reserve in the library. It's difficult to see how authors' retaining copyright would give them much more scholarly benefit than they now have from our journal.
The problem that this policy is meant to address -- the ever-increasing costs of journal subscriptions -- will not be solved by implementing this policy. In fact, I would expect that journals would further increase their subscription costs as a result, to offset the lost income. _Administrative Science Quarterly_ is owned by the Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, but I have been approached by a number of commercial journal publishers (who are charging the high subscription costs you mention), who want to take on the financial management of the journal. As long as we have been able to keep costs down, we have not been forced to accept their offers. If our costs exceed our income, we will have no choice but to cut back our staff and allow a commercial publisher to take on the tasks that we now do in-house. We would then have no control over how high the subscription fees would go.
The other alternatives open to journals with limited resources are two: They can charge submission fees to authors -- which is common in some fields but is not done now in the field of organizational theory -- for which faculty members and their institutions would pay directly. Or, they will cease operations. This will finally limit the outlets that faculty members have available to them for publication.
I sincerely hope that the policy you advocate does not become common practice. I have fought the financial battles of the journal with the administration of the Graduate School here for 12 years. When I took over the management of the journal in 1980 it was operating at a loss of $20,000 per year. That is a loss that the School will not tolerate today, now that the journal has been operating on a break-even budget for a number of years.
I would appreciate your keeping me informed of your work so that I can plan my own and our journal's future.
>From Fred Friend, Librarian, University College London, email@example.com.
I was very pleased to read the draft document from the Triangle Research Libraries Network. If only we could get all universities world-wide to adopt such a statement. I have already copied it to my Provost.
>From From Mark Funk, Cornell University Medical Library, Mark_Funk@QMCUMC. MAIL.CORNELL.EDU:
I just read the model copyright statement that the TRLN has produced. Quite impressive. As I read it, and thought of things it should contain, the next section contained it.
It will be very interesting to see the commercial publishers' response to such a statement. At first, with very few authors submitting such a statement, publishers could probably afford to reject those articles. However, if this catches on, there would be too many articles to reject, since publishers would be losing good articles to rival journals. In order to maintain a steady flow of articles, publishers would have to accept such statements. While this would certainly lead to wider dissemination of knowledge, I fear that publishers will only react with even higher subscription prices, arguing that they are losing revenue because of rampant photocopying by libraries and other institutions. Then we're right back in our current death spiral of price increases leading to cancellations leading to more price increases.
I think the only solution is for university presses and scientific societies to "take back" the publishing of scientific articles. Within a few years, technological developments in computer-based publishing (both print and electronic) should make even small presses able to produce high quality journals. For the most part, university faculty are already producing the articles and reviewing the articles -- the intellectual aspects. Why should the merely mechanical aspects -- printing -- be done by outsiders at tremendous profits? And why should these outsiders be the gatekeepers of intellectual progress?
>From Ann Schaffner, Brandeis University, firstname.lastname@example.org:
Thanks for sharing the text of your statement. I would like to discuss it at the upcoming meeting of my Science Library Faculty Committee next week - - will report back on the outcome! ....
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