Over the last few months, we've been hearing more and more stories concerning some of the ridiculous levels of control that academic journals exert over the copyrights on the various papers and research they publish. Since many of those journals are ridiculously expensive, much of this important research is basically locked up entirely. This is especially troublesome when it comes to publicly funded research, which you would think should be available to the taxpayers who paid for it. While we've definitely seen a trend
towards more open rules to publishing, many journals are still behind the curve. Reader parsko
writes in to alert us to the news of the American Physical Society, which withdrew the offer to publish two recent studies in the Physical Review Letters
because the authors wanted to be able to publish parts of the study in Wikipedia. Since the APS requires you hand over the rights to the study, they wouldn't allow it, and turned down the papers because of it. Not surprisingly, various scientists are upset about this, pointing out that it seems totally contrary to the purpose of the journal to hide such information using copyright claims. The APS has now said that it will reconsider the policy at its next meeting, but the fact that it even got this far suggests how locked down many of these journals are.