Friday, 27 February 2009

Conference papers and copyright

There is an interesting blog by Jack Caldwell relating to the quality of conference papers and copyright.

Basically he argues why would any intelligent person work to produce a nice paper that becomes the property of another, when they can post the same material on their own website for nothing and potentially for greater gain than will come from the loss of that effort in a dusty, forgotten volume from a foreign potentate?

I agree with him, and this is why MEI Conferences take the following approach: we ask authors to submit draft papers prior to the conference. These are not refereed- they are essentially discussion documents, but they go into the Proceedings- not a hard copy volume which nobody wants to lug around, but a much more utilitarian CD, which can easily be searched.

The authors of the papers have the copyright on their articles, so they are free to do what they wish with them- publish again on the web, at other events, or submit to journals. In fact we encourage authors to edit their drafts after the conference (to take into account conference discussions and criticisms) and then submit the final versions for peer-review in special issues of Minerals Engineering- but whether or not they do so is entirely up to them.

I would welcome any comments on this.

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