Copyright: keep or assign to publishers

Subject: Copyright: keep or assign to publishers
From: Barbara Schleihagen (
Date: ti 21 syys   1999 - 10:41:02 EEST

Dear list subscribers,

Please see the request below for further information on the European debate
regarding self-publishing. Maybe you would like to give your view?

Kind regards, Barbara Schleihagen

Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 13:30:11 +0200
From: Denise Nicholson <>
Subject: Copyright: keep or assign to publishers
Content-Length: 2185

I wondered if you could let me have some information and/or your
comments on the subject of copyright management and copyright
ownership. I have read several articles about universities in America
debating the issue as to whether academic authors shouldn't be keeping
their own copyright, rather than assigning it to journal publishers.
Some institutions in the US have proposed various options, one being a
National Electronic Article Repository (NEAR), whereby only the
exclusive right to journal publication of the manuscript would pass to
the journal. The author would retain the right to have the manuscript
included in the NEAR 90 days after it appears in the journal.
The problem is that no one is prepared to take the risk unless everyone
does, as his material may not be published and his career could be
negatively affected. Hence the debate continues until a resolution is

Even in South Africa academics are getting tired of having to assign
their copyright and control of their IP to publishers, as they get no
compensation for this, in fact some journals require authors to pay per
page before publishing their works.

The Association of Learned Authors and Professional Society Publishers
in the UK did a survey earlier this year and the results confirm that
authors would rather keep their own copyright rather than assign it to
publishers. Copyright was low on their list of concerns. They receive
nothing or very little from publishers in the way of copyright

I would like to know whether similar debates are happening in Europe and
whether any policies on this have been made. With the Internet,
obviously, authors are looking at quicker, more efficient ways of
publishing, but they still require a good "peer review" system.

I look forward to hearing from you, as soon as possible. I am preparing
a paper for Academic authors next week and hope to discuss international
trends in this regard.

Denise Nicholson
Copyright Services Librarian,
University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tel. 27-11-716-4446
Fax. 27-11-403-8088

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