Volume 33, Issue 6, June 2006
Index of content:
- Professional Symposium: Room 230A
- Intellectual Property
33(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.2241462View Description Hide Description
Research plays a prime role in the professional lives of many medical physicists, especially those in academic institutions. The prime goal of this research is to acquire new knowledge. Acquiring the knowledge, however, is not sufficient, in that the information must also be disseminated to the community.
The standard vehicle for dissemination of research knowledge is the peer‐reviewed journal. In fact, a medical physicist's academic advancement is often based on the number of papers that have appeared in a peer‐reviewed journal. However, publication in a journal introduces significant restriction on the ability for subsequent dissemination of the research information. Prior to publication, the producer of the information is the complete owner of the information. Researchers may disseminate the information to anyone they please in any form they please. Publication, however, places significant limitations as to how information may be disseminated because of the existence of copyright laws. Often, the individual who has generated the information has turned over ownership of the information to the publisher of the journal and no longer has complete control over how the information may be distributed to others.
Limits exist, however, on the extent that a publisher may control dissemination of the information in a journal article. In the distant past (>40 yr ago) the publisher exercised significant control over dissemination. If an author wished to provide others with copies of a paper, the author would have to purchase reprints of the article from the publisher and deliver the reprint to the recipient. In the more recent past, the author of the article, or anyone else for that matter, may photocopy the article from the journal. The ease of photocopying has established some principles of “fair use,” that is, scenarios where photocopying lies within the limitations of copyright restrictions, and other scenarios where photocopying violates copyright. For example, individuals may copy an article from a journal for their own use, but to make a large number of copies without permission for distribution to a class may violate copyright restrictions. Presently, most journal articles appear in electronic form, typically as a PDF file that can be downloaded and stored on an individual's computer. The same file can be emailed to many recipients. Because of the ease of dissemination of this information, a new paradigm for dissemination is necessary. It is necessary to balance the need to disseminate information against the need for the journal to recoup the expenses of publication and dissemination and, when appropriate, make sufficient profit to warrant remaining in business.
33(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.2241463View Description Hide Description
Every medically‐oriented scientific journal is confronted with a fundamental conflict. The journal exists for the purpose of disseminating information produced by authors to others who may be able to use the information to enhance their own research, education programs or clinical practices. Journals and the information they disseminate contribute in a substantial way to progress in science, education and the clinical practice of medicine. Articles published in a legitimate scientific journal have high credibility because they are from identified authors, are peer‐reviewed, and are integrated within the literature related to the topics of the articles. The conflict in this process arises because articles contain information that belongs to the authors and the authors' institutions, and may represent intellectual property that will ultimately be marketed commercially. The journal has an obligation to protect this property and its potential value to the authors and institutions. This protection is provided by the journal's copyright over the information. When this protection is compromised by plagiarism of the article's information by another author, the journal must be prepared to act through enactment of a plagiarism policy approved, in the case of Medical Physics, by the journal's Board of Editors and by the sponsoring society (American Association of Physicists in Medicine). It is possible for authors to plagiarize their own work, through duplicate publication in more than one journal. For this purpose, Medical Physics requires submission of a Conflict of Interest statement that includes disclosure of an article's publication elsewhere before submission to Medical Physics.
33(2006); http://dx.doi.org/10.1118/1.2241464View Description Hide Description
Publication, or dissemination of knowledge, is an essential component of scholarly activity. However, the money and profit associated with access to scholarly information is the source of both a crisis and a revolution to address that crisis. It is most common for the author to lose ownership, copyright, other property rights and control over the information. Unfortunately, these problems are not recognized as public policy issues. Public policy is important because access to print journal information has traditionally been through publicly funded libraries, and libraries are in a long, downward crisis. Universities pay scholars, usually through income derived from governmental grants, grants from non‐profit and for‐profit corporations, tuition, fund‐raising, corporate participation, etc. The majority of funding for scholarly activities comes from public sources. Scholars produce scholarly articles, and then universities pay for their libraries and scholars to have access to these scholarly articles. When scholars give up copyright to creative work, they have no say about how their research is disseminated and priced. The Journal of Applied Clinical Medical Physics is part of the open‐source publication revolution. The author retains the copyright and retains full control over the dissemination of the scholarly contribution. The key for the JACMP was to lower transaction and production costs by a factor of four below the cost of providing a subscription‐based print journal with restricted online access. The JACMP is squarely in the middle of the open‐source publication revolution as it offers scholarly articles to the worldwide medical physics community without cost.
Objectives: 1. Understand the history and importance of the open‐source publication revolution. 2. Understand the role of the JACMP in the dissemination of scholarly activity to the worldwide medical physics community.