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Subject: LITE: various August 1998
From: Arthur Bergen <a.bergen@ioi.knaw.nl>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 11:47:44 MET
Organization: ioi.knaw.nl
Priority: normal

A new LITE(rature) message!
This LITE message contains:

(1) Information on recent Journal TOCs

(2) Embargo's on scientific communication: Do Journals have the right
to tell scientists not to discuss their own work (which is about to
be published in that Journal) in the press?

(3) International  reactions on the HUM-MOLGEN
preprint initiative;

(4) HUM-MOLGEN (pre-)prints

(5) Call for new (pre-)prints

Arthur Bergen
(LITE editor)

An update of  TOCs of allmost any Journal of your interest can be
found in a summarized fashion at:


(2) Embargo's on scientific communication: Do Journals
have the right to tell scientists not to discuss their own work
(which is about to be published in that Journal) in the press?

Leading scientific Journals, such as NEJM, JAMA, Science and Nature
currently use the Inglefinger Rule, which states that scientists are
not allowed to discuss the results of their own work in the press,
before these results have been officially published by the Journal.
Several questions and point of discussion arise directly:
(a) Is such an embargo fair to the scientist(s) involved? In other
words: does the Journal in fact not claim some of the "glory" of the
scientist or scientific discovery to be published, in which they do
not have a part? If the Journal announces the discovery first, could
they likewise also not claim a potential stake in some patents
concerning the discovery?
(b) Can such an embargo be upheld? Is it legal? What can a Journal in
fact do to "punish" scientist who break the embargo? If the embargo
only concerns the press, and for instcance not colleagues, what is
easier to give a friendly scientific colleague a preprint copy of the
paper, with the friendly question to slip it to the press?
(c) Does such a embargo harm the progress of science? Is the embargo,
with the possiblity of direct internet communication completely
out of date?
(d) Finally, would it not be much better if Journals simply request
scientists to mention their Journal (in which the results are
published) in all communications with the press?


We obtained several international comments and reactions on the
HUM-MOLGEN (pre-)print initiative, one of which (Science Netwatch)
can be viewed at:


Questions and remarks asked were, among others:

(a) Why are biologists and clinicans so far behind physicists
concerning preprints?
(b) Given the 80 % support for preprints in our survey of last year,
one would expect a very large number of pre-prints to be submitted
already. So far, only 10 documents in 2 months, including
pre-prints, comments etc. have been submitted.
(c) On the other hand, the submittal of documents to the Ginsparg
archives in physics started very slow, too.
(d) If their is sufficient active interest, it might be a wise idea
to join the Ginsparg archives.

Additional  comments welcome.

(4) HUM-MOLGEN (pre-)prints can be found at


Invitation for (pre-)prints:

Given the succes of pre-prints in other fields of science, and your
positive response to pre-prints in our previous survey, we invite you
to submit pre-prints: preferentially short letters/abstracts. We will
also accept comprehensive reviews.  Your pre-print will be exposed to
over 5000 colleagues at once after low key moderation.

 (we can and will not accept other forms):

(1) State your full name, title and affiliations.
(2) Pre-prints should be no longer than 750 words and could be f.i.
abstracts of your paper to be published.
Alternatively, you may submit concise reviews.
(3) The SUBJECT heading of your E-mail reply should at
least start with: LITE: PRE-PRINT
(4) E-mail your letter/preprint preferentially as an attachment in
Word 6.0 or WordPerfect 6.0.
(5) Send your pre-print to HUM-MOLGEN@nic.surfnet.nl
(6) Indicate at what date your pre-print should be (automatically)
removed, if needed

Thank you in advance for your effort and collaboration

Arthur Bergen


The pre-print serivces are supported by the IWI, the dutch foundation
for innnovative scientific information exchange.


Copyright: HUM-MOLGEN

Dr. Arthur A.B. Bergen
Department of Ophthalmogenetics
The Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute (IOI)
Royal Academy of Sciences of the Netherlands (KNAW)

** Snail-mail: **           ** FAX: **             ** E-mail: **

P.O.Box 12141               (+31)206916521         A.Bergen@IOI.KNAW.NL
1100 AC  Amsterdam
The Netherlands

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