Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Figures and permissions - Why, AAAS?

Perhaps someone out there can enlighten me. For review articles, if you want to reproduce a figure from someone's published work, you are required to get permission from the copyright holder (e.g., APS for Physical Review, ACS for Nano Letters, etc.). As far as I can tell, the professional societies (APS, ACS) are cool about this, and won't charge you for permission. Even Nature, a for-profit magazine, does not charge for this if all you're doing is using a figure here and there. However, Science, run by the non-profit AAAS, wants to charge $31.25 per figure for permission to reproduce that figure in a review article. Why is Science doing this? Is this some attempt to recoup publication costs? Anyone got an explanation?


Dimetrio said...

Because they can.

Schlupp said...

What Dimetrio said.

More interesting might be why Nature doesn't.

Doug Natelson said...

You might think that a journal would like to encourage the reproduction of figures from its articles. This would increase citations, etc. Science's attitude is doubly mysterious.

Schlupp said...

Doug, yes, the APS journals certainly should think so and apparently do. But journals are largely evaluated by their impact factor and Science might feel they do not have to cooperate given that their IF is so much higher than the competition's anyway. Moreover, citations after the first two years do not count for the IF. So, having papers cited and their results included in a review may not seem all that important to Science. After all, who - when given the choice - would say: uh, come to think of it, I'd rather publish the paper in PRL, because they are cooler with reprinting figures.

PRL, on the other hand, has an IF that is just roughly twice that of PRB of New J. Phys., so other factors might much more easily tip the balance in favor of the competition.