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:


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