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Re: NEJM editorial on open access

The "this" is the distinction between having no copyright at all and
having the limited copyright that is implicit in the NIH proposal, at
least as I understand it.  The NIH apparently is insisting that for
articles based on NIH-funded research, the authors are free to assign only
NONEXCLUSIVE rights to a publisher after six months have elapsed (but six
months from when?  That is not clear to me).  There is a distinction in
this formulation between this limited copyright and no copyright.  But
there is no practical difference in that libraries and some individuals
will begin cancelling subscriptions when they see more and more articles
becoming available at no charge after six months, accessible to anyone who
can Google for them.  Hence a distinction without a difference.

This is not an argument, incidentally, against either Open Access (of
whatever flavor) or the NIH proposal.  It simply is a plea that we accept
the consequences of our actions, which in this case will be the flight of
capital from scholarly publishing.  Some would say that this is a good

Joe Esposito

On Mon, 18 Oct 2004 18:38:12 EDT, Michael Carroll wrote:

> Joe Esposito wrote:
> <<This is what is known as a distinction without a difference.>>
> What is the "this" to which you refer.  The distinction between having a
> copyright and not having one?