Shelley Batts, a neuroscience PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, blogged a story about a recent paper on fruit antioxidants. She reproduced a small clip out of a chart from the article, and was threatened by lawyers from the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, one of the Wiley group's journals.
This is, of course, bullshit. Reproducing part of a figure in a critical, scholarly essay is so obviously fair use that it hardly bears discussion. Wiley's lawyers know this. You and I know it too.
Traditional science journals are facing competition from open access journals whose entire contents are licensed Creative Commons, and whose articles are intended to be spread to interested scholars around the world. If scientists send their work to the open access journals, they get more citations and attention from their peers, which leads to more opportunities to present their work, find collaborators and get funded. Traditional journals are scrambling to attract submissions from scientists, adding open access features in a bid to stay relevant to science.
All except Wiley. If there's one lesson to be learned from this debacle (which has aroused the ire of scientists around the world), it's this: don't submit your papers to the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, because they will harass and intimidate people who try to do public scholarship with your work.
(Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)
Update: On Batts's blog, this comment:
Sarah Cooney | April 26, 2007 01:02 PM: I am Director of Publications at the Society of Chemical Industry, owner of the journal in question (JSFA).
There has been a misunderstanding with this issue, inadvertently caused by a junior staff member at our Society. Our official response is below:
'We apologise for any misunderstanding. In this situation the publisher would typically grant permission on request in order to ensure that figures and extracts are properly credited. We do not think there is any need to pursue this matter further.'
I have written to Shelley to clarify that this was a general misunderstanding, and she has been happy with my response.
The journal in question is owned by the Society of Chemical Industry. We work in partnership with Wiley to produce our journals.
Note that Cooney says that they "grant permission" to use the chart; not that using the chart is fair use, requiring no permission. Talk about unclear on the concept. (Thanks, Jenny!
This gadget does exactly as promised: it looks like a thumbdrive (sort of) and fries the circuitry of any computer it’s plugged into. It’s made from camera flash parts, is charged with a standard AA battery, and delivers a 300V zap of DC destruction to the port for all your USB-murdering needs. Note that this […]
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]
You don’t need to get an advanced degree and take out massive loans to become a coder. This bundle of 10 courses was designed to teach anyone to code at home for less than it costs to go out for dinner. I was particularly impressed with this new 2017 bundle because it includes courses on […]