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RE: Versions (& copy-editing)

For a useful discussion about this it would help to have a definition of
what 'copy-editing' actually is. Is seems to me a bit of a vague catch-all
that ranges from linguistic editing, such as spelling and grammar and the
'correct' use of capitals, hyphenation and punctuation, via more
content-related things such as correct and consistent use of italics,
SI-units, and the like, to virtually re-writing.

Much of this happens in the peer-review stages in the case of BioMed
Central journals, and perhaps articles with persistent unsatisfactory and
sloppy language and presentation are more easily rejected than 'salvaged'
(our rejection rate is across the board ca. 50%).

My experience in the traditional system (where every published article is
'worth' quite a lot more in terms of income than it is for BioMed Central
journals) is that the cost of 'salvaging' otherwise unpublishable articles
was well worth it. Call it copy-editing if you wish.

We may in future consider offering such 'salvaging' services at an extra
cost, if the underlying science is good and sound.

With regard to my opinion on versions differing, that depends on what it
is that's different. If 'authantic' is changed into 'authentic' in a
copy-editing process, I wouldn't see that as a substantial difference. The
copy of record is the one we publish and deposit. If an article is
published with full open access, there is much less reason to have
different versions anyway, because the 'official' published version can be
copied as much as one likes, and there's no need to fiddle around with
'author versions incorporating the changes, but not being the official pdf
version' and the like, which is the kind of stipulation typically imposed
by publishers who allow self-archiving.



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anthony Watkinson [mailto:anthony.watkinson@btopenworld.com]
> Sent: 19 June 2004 14:09
> To: liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
> Subject: Re: Versions
> Jan has picked up on an ambiguity in what I wrote. In the case of BMC,
> because they do not copy edit, there is no difference in the content
> At least I thought that was the case but there is now the tantalising
> suggestion of some intervention - "where necessary corrected final
> version".
> How different is this final version and is that the authentic version
> and, if the author has (as urged) deposited the postprint should 
> he or she then replace it?
> I was however not asking Jan about BMC practices but how he viewed the
> version problem that impacts on what other publishers do where the
> deposited version in an institutional repository (if it is the
> postprint) will be different from the final published version.
> The great majority of other publishers, including PLOS, do copy
> editing, not because for some reason they want to add to their costs, 
> but because that is what their editors and authors appear to want. They 
> say they do.
> The editors I work with would probably resign (and even take their
> editorial boards with them) if we dropped this service. I have to say
> "probably" because have not proposed this but editors and editorial
> boards at editorial board meetings seem to equate good copyediting as
> equivalent to added value.BMC experience is clearly different otherwise 
> they would not get editors and authors.
> It may seem that I am trying to score points off OA protagonists but I do
> think there is a question here which is not actually an OA/anti OA
> question. If anyone is interested in problems of authenticity see
> www.bic.org.uk/securing%20authenticity.pdf
> Anthony