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Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
  If "notes" or "letters" take a year to publish, do scientists have an obligation to self-archive?
In many established science journals, there's a letters or notes section which is less thoroughly peer-reviewed, is some what preliminary, short, and is supposed to discuss new developments and preliminary reports of completed work. Some organizations have publications that consist only of these things.

Ok, so I was doing a little search today and ran across a "note" from the current issue of Journal of Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer. Woo-hoo, I thought... this must be new stuff. Cutting edge and all that.

So the "note" was received Jan 2006 and accepted April 2006. What? That's craziness. No doubt the in-group - the peers of the researchers and the more prestigious in that field - know about the work and have received updates through informal channels. The rest of the world, however, needs to hear about it in a journal.

I haven't looked into the policies of this particular publication -- but I think that you should only have an embargo from the date of acceptance, not the date of publication. Aren't some of the SAMPE journals like 2-3 years behind? I also think that the right thing to do is to self-archive the article with the citation and the accepted copy if the journal won't publish it for a year.

For publishers that put things online in advance of print this isn't really a big deal, of course, unless you're from another local institution here that gets journals only through database aggregators (w/12 month embargoes) and don't have access to the journal home pages -- but I digress.

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

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