[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: BioMed Central Authors to retain copyright

David says:

> I think it's totally absurd when you
> > worry
> > when I hear librarians talking about how information ought to be "free."  
> > It's not free.  It's expensive to create and expensive to publish, and
> > we're dumb to pretend otherwise.  If we work to undermine the strength of
> > copyright protection, we're undermining the ability of people to make a
> > living creating and publishing information.
> The money spent for academic journals and books does not pay for the
> creation of the information--research grants and faculty
> salaries do that.

Well, yes... but once the information is created, it still costs money to
publish and distribute it.  That money comes from those who pay for the
publications or who underwrite them through advertising, not (in most
cases) from research grants and faculty salaries.  And when it comes to
non-academic writing (which forms an essential part of any liberal arts
collection), copyright protection is essential to the creation process

> The lack of copyright protection would hinder no academic author; 

This may become true at some point in the future, but it is most certainly
not true now.  Copyright protection is enormously important to academic
authors -- not so much because it protects our individual rights (as I
observed earlier), but because it makes possible the publishing
infrastructure that currently exists and on which we rely as academics.  
As a tenure-seeking librarian, I must have publishers to assist me in my
career path by publishing and distributing what I write.  Yes, I care
about whether publishers make money -- not out of some altruistic concern
for their individual "lifestyles," but out of a desire for them to keep
existing so that they can publish what I write.  In the long run we may
not need them.  But most of us are up for tenure in the short run.

Rick Anderson
Head Acquisitions Librarian
Jackson Library
UNC Greensboro
(336) 334-5281

"Which is the greater
miracle: to cause a stone
to speak, or a philosopher
to stop speaking?"
  -- Overheard at the
     Council of Nicaea