4.1323 Copyright (4/127)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 6 May 91 09:16:16 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 1323. Monday, 6 May 1991.

(1) Date: Sun, 5 May 91 00:09:21 EDT (24 lines)
From: Robert Hollander <bobh@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.1315 Copyright I: Publishers' Ownership...

(2) Date: Sun, 5 May 91 12:43:49 CDT (43 lines)
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: parasites (aka publishers)

(3) Date: Sun, 5 May 1991 14:49 EST (23 lines)
From: Prof Norm Coombs <NRCGSH@RITVAX>
Subject: Copyright and electronic classroom

(4) Date: Mon, 6 May 91 06:56:09 -0400 (37 lines)
From: nsmith@polar.bowdoin.edu (Neel Smith)
Subject: re: Copyright

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sun, 5 May 91 00:09:21 EDT
From: Robert Hollander <bobh@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Re: 4.1315 Copyright I: Publishers' Ownership... (1/171)

Before reading Robin Cover's second installment I'd like to make two
brief observations. First, most of us write books/articles that are of
interest to from two dozen to two thousand (a hopeful figure) readers.
Most academic publishers take a bath publishing us. Second, we are
_now_ able to bypass hard-copy publication should we but choose to.
Not many of us do so. Thus, while I am not a "fan" of the ways most
scholarly publishers run their operations, I have a good deal of
sympathy with their desire to make a nickel or a dime when we write
something that anyone actually wants to use. Vanity is the major
force behind our own decisions, whether this is "practical vanity"
(getting or keeping a job) or the plain vanilla kind, to seek the
_imprimatur_ of publication in print. (I used to toy with the notion
of taking a half-page adv. in _Dante Studies_ describing a new work
and saying it was available in photocopy from me for a couple of
dollars; I knew almost no one would request it. In more recent times
I've thought of making the same offer over the Internet, with similar
reasons for not doing so.) Thus I am disturbed by the high moral
tone of Cover's communication, while I am much drawn to the notion
of serious use of the electronic means now available to us. All
for now.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------31----
Date: Sun, 5 May 91 12:43:49 CDT
From: Richard Goerwitz <goer@sophist.uchicago.edu>
Subject: parasites (aka publishers)

Robin's frightening portrait of the status quo in scholarly publishing
raises a number of practical issues that I am now in the process of con-
fronting, and I'd appreciate some input from others on this list on how
to deal with them.

I am quite conscious now of the need to publish. I just finished up my
coursework, and took some comprehensive examinations to prove it, last
November. (Old hands on Humanist might think I'm older than I am; SUB-
SCRIBEing, though, was one of the first important :-) things I did when
I started graduate school at the U. of Chicago.) Obviously, I need to
be able to point to articles I've written in journals. But what is the
status of the ones I've already submitted? What should I do with ones
I am planning on submitting?

I recall hearing that, by some sort of international agreement, there
exists a default copyright on anything I might choose to write. I have no
idea whether this is correct. I also have no idea how this would interact
with publication in scholarly journals. What exactly is that status of
my articles? Can I distribute electronic versions if I want to? If I
distribute electronic versions before publication, what is the status
of the published document? Neither of the two publishers who have accepted
my submissions so far have mentioned anything along these lines to me. I
guess I might have been naive in not asking.

Now that I am busy writing my dissertation I wonder: If it's recommended
for publication, should I be obstinate about retaining the right to publish
it electronically? What if publishers will not go along with this idea?
Is there a "list" of cooperative publishers available now?

So far, I have been concerned enough about just getting my work in print
without having to worry about my precise legal rights once it gets there!
Should I be worried about them? Or should I focus my energy solely on
getting my best work into print, without straining over matters that tra-
ditionally have not been in scholars' hands?

-Richard L. Goerwitz goer%sophist@uchicago.bitnet
goer@sophist.uchicago.edu rutgers!oddjob!gide!sophist!goer

(3) --------------------------------------------------------------31----
Date: Sun, 5 May 1991 14:49 EST
From: Prof Norm Coombs <NRCGSH@RITVAX>
Subject: Copyright and electronic classroom

I do not pretent to have an;ything new nor profound to add to the complex
discussion of copyright issues. but, I thought I would pass along one personal
experience for what it might be worth.
I teach a distance history telecourse using a computer conference system.
I like to make history relevant to the day and tie it to the news. I had been
taking some news stories from the Dow Jones system and posting them. Then, I
got worried about copyrights. Most electronic text distributors seem quite
nervous on the topic. We contacted Dow Jones legal department and got
permission for my particular use. We pointed out that the law would let me
display a copy on an overhead in a classroom. We noted that this computer
conference was restricted to class members and was not public. They agreed
with us that it was similar to displaying it in a classroom. They only
requested that I erase it at the end of the course.
I was pleased with their ability to make, what I viewed as, intelligent
comparisons between electronic use and classroom use.
Norman Coombs
Rochester Institute of Technology

(4) --------------------------------------------------------------45----
Date: Mon, 6 May 91 06:56:09 -0400
From: nsmith@polar.bowdoin.edu (Neel Smith)
Subject: re: Copyright

In response to Robin Cover's discussion of copyright issues:

I think he accurately describes the advantages of on-line resources
over printed books, but I would qualify his descripton of parasitic
publishers in one important respect. We (academics, scholars) have
relegated to the publishers control over our work in exchange not
only for the distribution of our work, but also for an important part
of its institutional evaluation. A book from a "good" press will
automatically carry a certain weight at the time of tenure decision
(or is my limited experience atypical...?), and even if you argue that
the press relies on the reviews of recognized scholars to arrive at a
decision, the fact remains that the press makes the decision. Should
editors at a commerical press have this kind of influence on
academic affairs?

And a depressing anecdote: a project I've worked with for some
time is publishing a CD-ROM, but has had trouble finding reviewers
to referee submissions to the publication. Refereeing publications is
time consuming, and does not greatly improve one's tenure dossier,
but the innumerable printed journals manage to find reviewers.
Are we happier avoiding the problems of evaluating new forms of
publication? (At least until we see a few examples published by
good presses that earn someone tenure?)

The presses are not entirely parasitic; perhaps the relation
between scholars and presses is more of an unhealthy symbiosis,
and will remain so until the academic community recognizes the
validity of electronic publications, and accepts the (onerous?)
responsibility of evaluating them.

Neel Smith
disclaimer: all just a personal opinion