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RE: BioMed Central Authors to retain copyright

Scott says,

> In my case, as someone who buys the stuff (at a rate of 
> about $1,000,000/year), the money comes straight out of 
> state tax dollars -- the same pool out of which we pay 
> faculty salaries.  So, tax revenue (either state for 
> salaries or federal for research) pays the faculty to
> write the stuff, they send it off to the journals 
> (often paying page charges for the privilege) and then 
> more tax revenue pays to buy it back.  And when the 
> faculty fuss (legitimately) about their salaries, the 
> money comes right out of the library budget.  So in that 
> sense, the money to pay for the publications _does_ come 
> from research grants and faculty salaries.

Maybe I'm not following well, but it sounds to me like you're describing
the opposite scenario -- one in which the materials budget ends up
subsidizing faculty salaries.  Be that as it may, it has more to do with
budget and pricing questions than with copyright.  The fact remains that
if publishers can't rely on copyright protection, many of them will go
away and will stop publishing those (publicly-funded) research articles
and selling them back to our (publicly-funded) institutions. I contend
that this would be a bad thing for academics, both as writers and as
readers/researchers; the process may sound like parasitism on the
publishers' part, but it might be better to think of it as outsourcing --
until the State of North Carolina wants to publish LCATS itself, I'm glad
that Pergamon does.  That's why I cringe when I hear librarians arguing
for weaker copyright protection, especially in the context of the
Internet.  Yes, we get gouged on pricing.  That's a bad thing.  But it
means that publishers shouldn't gouge us, not that there shouldn't be
publishers.  (And without strong copyright protection, there wouldn't be

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