Author's advantages

Linear Methods of Applied Mathematics

Evans M. Harrell II and James V. Herod*

© Copyright 1996 by Evans M. Harrell II and James V. Herod. All rights reserved.

version of 8 September 1996

From the author's point of view, Web publishing is also attractive because it makes it easy to retain the copyright. Publishers have become quite assertive in their efforts to own the copyrights for academic publications. The other side of this coin is the aggressiveness of publishers to charge for use, as in the notorious Texaco case (American Geophysical Union v. Texaco Inc., 802 F. Supp. 1, 13 n. 13 (S.D.N.Y. 1992)), which has been interpreted as stating that a researcher's employer owes a copyright fee for even a limited number of copies of his own writing, when that writing appeared in a publication produced by a commercial publisher. While the ruling applied to a researcher at Texaco, the opinion specifically stated that the standards would be the same at academic institutions. In point of fact, the status of the "fair use doctrine" and author's rights are very much uncertain at present.

Clearly, however, a publisher's economic interest can potentially stand in conflict with an author's interest in having a work widely available, as well as the author's own economic interest. Moreover, in the electronic age the author frequently performs almost all of the work, including preparation of the typesetting codes (TeX files), and the publisher offers little more than binding and marketing in return for keeping 90% of the revenues. Even marketing can be done on the Web by an individual.

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