Research Remix

March 24, 2008

Preprints of conference submissions?

Filed under: Open Notebook Science, Policies — Tags: , , , , — Heather Piwowar @ 12:45 pm

It continues to surprise me how hard [1, 2] it is to figure out the rules for publishing in most journals, particularly with respect to preprints. I’m finding the policies for publishing in conferences are just as ill-defined. This is a shame because it surely decreases sharing.

I’ve been putting my work up on Nature Precedings. I submitted a poster a few days before the ISMB conference. Nature Precedings asked me if I knew whether ISMB would permit this. I emailed to ask: they quickly responded that it was no problem. I’ve since asked PSB and ELPUB: again, no problem. I think that ELPUB did make state this during in the submission process, but in all three cases it would be great if they wrote this explictly on their websites so that people could feel free to post and discuss draft submissions… I’ll send a few emails to suggest it.

I recently asked AMIA. I was pointed to the contributor license agreement [below], which left me guessing. What does “publish” mean? For most publishers I’ve talked to it means “published in an official capacity” and they don’t count blogs or pre-print servers. Yet clearly the journals who disallow preprints disagree with this definition [quick list for Clinical Medicine, or Sherpa/RoMEO for an extensive list]. JAMIA, the official journal of AMIA, does not allow preprints. So I guess I should email AMIA again and ask for further clarification.

ETA:  I emailed again and quickly got a very clear response: Preposting is fine so long as the other sites don’t formally publish the work.”   Great news, thanks AMIA.

I’d like to “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” but the potential down-side is too great in this case. Student publication in AMIA is highly-valued in my department.

I wonder if author copyright addenda can apply to conference submissions??? I don’t see why not. Will have to keep that in mind next time.

AMIA Annual Symposium 2008 license agreement:

Contributor License Agreement This is a License Agreement between the contributor and the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA). This License Agreement is binding and enforceable beginning on August 1, 2008 until terminated by the mutual agreement of both parties. Contributor grants to AMIA the right to publish and republish the written work (including any subsequent changes in the title or authors) attached to this Agreement (hereinafter the ‘Contribution’), in a publication entitled, Proceedings: AMIA 2008 Annual Meeting, which shall be available on a CD-ROM and/or in any other format or medium at the discretion of AMIA. Contributor also grants certain other publication rights described below. Authors may reproduce without permission copies of their papers for use in their own classes. In consideration of the mutual covenants and agreements contained herein, the parties agree to the following:Contributor’s Warranty

The Contributor represents and warrants to AMIA that the Contributor has full power and authority to enter into this License Agreement, on behalf of himself/herself and any other author, and that the Contribution is an original work except for material in the public domain and such excerpts from other works as may be included with the written permission of the copyright owners, which has been obtained and shall be submitted with the Contribution. The Contributor also represents and warrants that the work has not been published previously, is not subject to copyright or other rights of a person other than the author(s), and has not been offered for publication elsewhere.

Publication License

In the event that this work is published by AMIA, and in consideration for the editing and publication of this work, the contributor(s) hereby grant(s) to AMIA an exclusive royalty free license to publish and republish the Contribution, including any and all rights incidental thereto. AMIA shall have the right to: (1) permit others to republish the article in whole or in part, with or without fee; (2) produce preprints or reprints; (3) translate the Contribution into any language other than English for sale or free distribution; and (4) publish the work in a collection of articles in any form or medium.


  1. It is very useful for you and others to report on this as they get feedback from the publishers. There are probably unwritten rules that can only be discovered by trying to actually do it.

    Comment by Jean-Claude Bradley — March 24, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

  2. […] data reuse, data sharing, nlp — Heather Piwowar @ 12:04 pm I emailed AMIA again to ask for clarification on their preprint policy, and quickly received this encouraging response: “Preposting is fine so long as the other sites […]

    Pingback by Identifying Data Sharing in Biomedical Literature « Research Remix — March 25, 2008 @ 12:04 pm

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