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RE: Monopolies and competition

With all due respect to Anthony Watkinson, but this time he entirely
misses the point. Unlike the example he mentions, BioMed Central journals
are NOT monopoloid, due to the simple fact that whatever is published in
them is freely available world wide at no cost to the reader or library.
That's the beauty of reversing the income streams: from reader/library
(traditional publishing model) to largely from the author (BioMed Central
model, in the future; currently author charges do not yet apply).
Benefits: massively increased circulation and visibility, and -- this
should please librarians, funding bodies and administrators alike --
massively lower cost to the academic world.  I'm attaching the copyright
policy that authors in BioMed Central journals are asked to agree to and
draw special attention to clause 4.

Copyright Agreement

In submitting a research paper ('article') to any of the journals
published by BioMed Central Ltd ('BioMed Central') I agree to the
following terms and conditions:

1. I am authorized by my co-authors to enter into these arrangements;

2. I warrant, on behalf of myself and my co-authors, that:

2.1. the article is original and has not been published or distributed
anywhere else other than as a pre-print and does not infringe any existing
copyright or any other third party rights;

2.2. I am/we are the sole author(s) of the article and have full authority
to enter into this agreement and in granting rights to BioMed Central are
not in breach of any other obligation;

2.3. the article contains nothing that is unlawful, libellous, or which
would, if published, constitute a breach of contract or of confidence or
of commitment given to secrecy;

2.4. all statements contained in the article purporting to be facts are
true and any formula or instruction contained in the article will not, if
followed accurately, cause any injury, illness or damage to the user.

3. I/we retain copyright in the article, if allowed. If the law requires
that the article be published in the public domain, the first sentence in
this clause and the clauses 4 through 6 inclusive do not apply.

4. I/we grant to any third party, in advance and in perpetuity, the right
to use or disseminate the article for any non-commercial purpose, in any
format, in whole or in part, provided that the integrity of the article is
guaranteed and not compromised in any way, that BioMed Central is duly
identified as the original publisher, and that correct citation details
are endorsed on the article or its parts.

5. I/we grant to BioMed Central (its successor and assigns) an exclusive
irrevocable world-wide licence for the full term of copyright in the
article to:

5.1. publish the article online on http://www.biomedcentral.com and
identify itself as the original publisher;

5.2. publish the article for commercial purposes in print (including
reprint) or in any other layout or format, or in any electronic medium and
in any language and in whole or in part (if in part, with due reference to
the full version), alone or in combination with other articles.

6. In consideration for the exclusive license granted herein, BioMed
Central will pay me/us a total of 50% (fifty percent) of net receipts
(revenues less costs) from any commercial transactions in respect of
my/our primary research article. Unless I/we notify BioMed Central at the
time of submission of the article that I/we wish to receive the amount in
full, and if the 50 percent of net receipts mentioned above amounts to
less than 100 pounds sterling in any given calendar year, the proceeds
will be paid into a fund to be used to waive submission charges,
particularly for researchers from developing countries, and, where
appropriate, to support other scientific causes, at the discretion of the
Editorial Directorate. The accounts of this fund will be made public.
Amounts larger than 100 pounds sterling in any given calendar year will be
paid out in full, unless I/we have notified BioMed Central that I/we wish
to donate these proceeds to the fund mentioned above.

7. The fees paid in respect of clause 6 shall fully discharge BioMed
Central from all further liabilities.

8. In the event that the article is not published, these terms and
conditions shall cease to apply and neither I/we nor BioMed Central shall
have any further obligations towards the other in respect of the article
or these terms and conditions.

9. The law that governs these arrangements shall be the law of England and
Wales and I/we agree to submit to the jurisdiction of the courts of
England and Wales.

10. These terms and conditions will apply to any and all primary research
journals published by BioMed Central Ltd, its licensees, assigns and
successors in title.

Jan Velterop

BioMed Central Group
Middlesex House
34-42 Cleveland Street
London W1T 4LB

+44 (0)20 7323 0323

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Watkinson [mailto:anthony.watkinson@btinternet.com]
Sent: 30 August 2001 00:15
To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject: Re: Monopolies and competition

I have some comments to make in response to Jan Velterop's comment and
some follow up questions.

As a sort of academic I submitted four of my publications (the actual
text) to the research assessment exercise (RAE) in the UK. The panel are
said to read all the publications (four allowed for each member of the
academic staff) submitted from the departments they are assessing. They
certainly have long enough to do the reading. Is this sort of procedure
common in other similar exercises in other parts of the world? For an
exercise like this I can see that this sort of thorough investigation is
appropriate and to be welcomed, but surely simple tenure or promotion
decisions cannot all take this route? Senior academics making these sort
of decisions would hardly have time to do anything else!

The object of any journals publisher is to get an ISI ranking. They hope
to do this by attracting good papers. Existing established journals do
have a built-in advantage, but surely there are examples of new journals
rapidly moving up the lists to the top group?  All new journals have the
same problem of building up their good papers in the period before there
can be an ISI ranking. Does ISI have any relevant statistics showing the
speed with which a new journal can get established in their lists?

Academics are capable of changing their behaviour and they are attracted
to new journals given the right sort of investment in speed of refereeing/
publishing etc, a need because of shortage of pages in existing journals
or some other problems with these outlet, a quality editorial group, and
some special backing - perhaps from SPARC and perhaps from a major and
influential society or even a brand (e.g. Nature).

Incidentally I cannot see why a journal published by (say) Elsevier is
more monopoloid than one published by BioMed Central.

Anthony Watkinson
Visiting Professor in Information Science City University London