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.
Labels: science communication, science publishing, self archiving