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RE: Publication Validity (was: Re: Cretaceous Wars - The Revenge of the Rat...uh...I mean Mammal)

To address both Jeff's and Tom's comments simultaneously:

>I think the usage comes from how the journals handle the matter.

>Paleontology lists the paper as "Early View (Articles online in advance of 

    True...but I read this as "an article like any other article (hence both 
being called "articles") that happens to be presented on-line before it shows 
up on paper."  "Early" and "in advance" describe only the presentation of the 
article and its content, but say nothing about the content itself.  
Wiley/Blackwell, the current publisher of _Palaeontology_, has a rather 
uninformative description of their use and perception of DOIs 
(http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/doiinfo.html), but they do say "Publishing 
on the Internet requires new tools for managing content. Where traditional 
printed texts such as books and journals provided a title page or a cover for 
specific identifying information, digital content needs its own form of unique 
identifier. This is important for both internal management of content within a 
publishing house and for dissemination on electronic network," which I read as 
saying that they perceive that the DOI number is directory information -- it 
"points the way" to the content of the article in the same way that a title 
page, cover, volume or issue number, or page numbers do.  More to the point, 
and far less ambiguously, Wiley/Blackwell also says: "Once all corrections have 
been communicated to the production editor, and if the Editor has given 
approval (this depends on each journal’s specific policy), the production 
editor arranges to have the article corrected and subsequently posted on our 
website. Online publication constitutes official publication, so there are no 
further opportunities for ‘checking’ proofs" 
(http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/postsubmiss.asp)," which I think is a 
pretty clear indicator that they, as the publisher, consider the electronic 
version, "early" as it is," is official and final. Other journals say similar 

Nature: "Advance online publication. Articles published in an NPG journal are 
usually published online ahead of publication in the print issue, ensuring the 
research is made publicly available and can be cited as soon as possible after 
acceptance for publication. The online version of the paper is identical to the 
printed version and is not a preliminary, unedited version, which maintains the 
integrity of the published record" 
(http://www.nature.com/authors/author_benefits/author_benefits.html) and "[Q:] 
Is the AOP version of the article definitive? A. Yes. Only the final version of 
the paper is published AOP, exactly as it will be published in the printed 
edition. The paper is thus complete in every respect except that instead of 
having a volume/issue/page number, it has a DOI (digital object identifier). 
This means that the paper can be referenced as soon as it appears on the AOP 
site by using the DOI" 

Science: "Science Express papers are considered to be published on the day they 
are posted, and are citable from that date. The online publication date appears 
in the print version of the paper...Papers posted in Science Express are 
considered published on the date that they are posted. The print version of a 
Science Express paper indicates the date when the paper was published online 
and gives access and citation information. Please cite papers that have been 
published in Science Express as follows: In citing a paper that has been 
published in Science Express but has not yet appeared in print, include the 
name of the journal Science, the date, and the DOI in the citation " 

Springer: "The Online First service lets users access peer reviewed articles 
well before print publication. These articles are searchable and citeable by 
their DOI (Digital Object Identifier) and hence significantly reduce the time 
it takes for critical discoveries to reach the research community" 

     As both Jeff and Tom noted, Elsevier is kind of funky in this department, 
I personally do not like their particular philosophy.  They themselves state 
(at the bottom of the "Articles in Press" page for any of their journals):

 "Note to users: The section "Articles in Press" contains peer reviewed 
accepted articles to be published in this journal. When the final article is 
assigned to an issue of the journal, the "Article in Press" version will be 
removed from this section and will appear in the associated published journal 
issue. The date it was first made available online will be carried over. Please 
be aware that although "Articles in Press" do not have all bibliographic 
details available yet, they can already be cited using the year of online 
availability and the DOI as follows: Author(s), Article Title, Journal (Year), 
Please consult the journal's reference style for the exact appearance of these 
elements, abbreviation of journal names and the use of punctuation.
There are three types of "Articles in Press":

    * Accepted manuscripts: these are articles that have been peer reviewed and 
accepted for publication by the Editorial Board. The articles have not yet been 
copy edited and/or formatted in the journal house style.
    * Uncorrected proofs: these are copy edited and formatted articles that are 
not yet finalized and that will be corrected by the authors. Therefore the text 
could change before final publication.
    * Corrected proofs: these are articles containing the authors' corrections 
and may, or may not yet have specific issue and page numbers assigned."

Of these, their "Corrected proofs" category seems closest to Wiley/Blackwell's 
"Early View" or Nature's "Articles in Press" categories in the sense that 
they're page-set; their "Accepted manuscripts" are, I think, fixed in terms of 
content but not page set (or otherwise correctable...otherwise they'd violate 
the DOI). Elsevier is inconsistent, though, because while they say "they can 
already be cited using the year of online availability and the DOI as follows: 
Author(s), Article Title, Journal (Year), DOI," these same papers are still 
listed on their pages as "in press."  Weird.  I don't like or condone making 
uncorrected proofs available...I don't see that as being any better (or 
different) than just making a non-peer-reviewed manuscript available on a 
personal web site, or mailing copies to select people.

>It's not an ICZN stranglehold; it's the journal publishers still thinking that 
>print is the definitive edition. In the case of accepted manuscripts, that may 
>be true, because the editors may question some wording or the authors may 
>correct mistakes they catch.

     Well, as above, I think the publishers themselves are generally saying 
quite the opposite -- they're saying that their on-line "pre-print" versions 
_are_ official, definitive, and identical to the later paper versions.  But I 
also agree that there absolutely needs to be some consistency in what an 
acceptable "pre-print" is -- what is must contain, whether or not it is 
editable, etc.  In theory, by DOI rules and conventions, the content of a 
document cannot be altered once a DOI has been assigned to it; any changes 
require assigning a new DOI (because the DOI points to a particular body of 
content -- note that page layout and the like are irrelevant as far as this is 
concerned).  Except for Elsevier, I think all the others very clearly meet this 

Jerry D. Harris
Director of Paleontology
Dixie State College
Science Building
225 South 700 East
St. George, UT  84770   USA
Phone: (435) 652-7758
Fax: (435) 656-4022
E-mail: jharris@dixie.edu
 and     dinogami@gmail.com

"I have noticed even people who
claim everything is predestined, and
that we can do nothing to change it,
look before they cross the road."

                   -- Stephen Hawking

"Prediction is very difficult,
especially of the future."

                   -- Niels Bohr