The Genomic Repairman is currently a Ph.D. student who escaped from the deep south, and studies DNA damage and repair through biochemical and genetic approaches. He intends to use pine away about his scientific interests and rant about the things (and there are lots of them) that annoy him.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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So today in the mail, our lab got a reprint request card. I'm going to imagine that if you are under the age of 40 you may have never even seen these before so here is a sample pic of a reprint request card from the internet below.
So basically before institutional access and the digital age this was how you got papers. If say I wanted a paper from Tideliar on the effects of Guiness pickling the livers of some Manc dude or a Geordie that he published. I would scribble in the article details and send it off to the lovely young chap and expect a reprint of the article in the mail sometime later. Now why would someone send you a reprint request in this digital age? In this case its a PI in a foreign country who probably cannot get institutional access to the journal that the article is published in or does not really want to pay the $30 for the article. Either way we will honor their request but I found it sort of charming to get one of these things in the mail again. I'm going to tuck it away into my file to keep because I think it will be something fun to show folks 5 or 10 years down the road.
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You should frame it. I thought I read somewhere that it's against copyright at most publishers for people to send out electronic reprints. But I could be wrong
HAHAH! I got two this year, one from a MAJOR R1 Uni that was marked "hard copy preferred." I was like, you HAVE to be kidding me. In some ways, though, I find them charmingly anachronistic.
I guess your right until that embargo comes off or the point becomes moot when the article goes open access through PubMed. At which point they can download it themselves. I guess this guy just really is hankering for a hard copy with color graphics.
It occurs to me that it may also be a very subtle and polite way to let you know that they are reading you. A small but sincere compliment. It takes more effort to fill out one of those than most of us with great net access would exert for any random thing.
I would guess it has to do with the "copy" part of "copy right". You're allowed to copy an article for study reasons but not allowed to print it in the "class material" afak. And once you send pdfs, it's harder to keep up with "buying pdfs".
After all, asking for a hard copy of a reprint from yourself being sent means that they have really put in an effort to find you and the paper, right?!
As for "OpenAccess through PubMed"; not sure what you mean there GR? Not all articles are accessible through pubmed, it depends on what your institute has for deal with the publishers... even old articles can be blocked if you don't have an agreement.
Agreed. PMC is still lacking a ton of manuscripts. It's heading in the right direction but it's not perfect yet. I'm not sure how the new "must make everything publically available after 1 year" law affects previous publications. is it retroactive? If it is, there's a huge back catalog of papers that need to be uploaded.
Chall: Sorry I'm unclear, the journals we usually publish in push our work out for general public consumption in 6-12 months.
Brian: I don't think public availability requirement is retroactive to old manuscripts but agree that at least we are heading in the right direction.
Early in my grad school, I was getting loads of these. And I was sending loads of these as well (so did my PI). After a while, it slowed to a trickle, mostly from developing countries. And we ourselves switched to digital downloads, asking for PDFs via e-mail, etc. Now I just ask on Twitter and get seven copies within the first two minutes.
Wait, you're not supposed to send those out anymore? My exPI was anal about sending them out, because to her they were also a form of a courtesy/calling/thank you card. I don't send them out as much anymore, but do send a card every now and then to authors/groups I've read heavily.
I guess she was "charmingly anachronistic," though. Meetings were held with afternoon tea service.
Bora, its the same for me, I put out a tweet to get the paper or do institutional interlibrary loan service.
JSD, I don't send those out anymore since we have great institutional access here and I get papers as soon as they come out on my weekly pubmed auto-searches. But for friends and collaborators, I'll pump out a quick email congratulating them on their paper being published.
One of the aspects of reprint requests by mail that I miss the most is the postage stamps from all around the world that I used to receive. Reprint requests also provided me with some sense of how many people out there found my published work, at least from the title and abstract, interesting. There was extra satisfaction that came when the reprint requests originated from scientists that I recognized from the research literature that were leaders in my field. However, direct feedback was somewhat lacking.
The availability of photocopying probably had the first major marked effect on the number of reprints requests that others and I got in the 1970's and 1980's. However, with the Internet and the opportunity to download pdf copies of publications directly from open sources and journals, the direct connection between researchers has been reduced to a trickle by this route. As it turns out, nowadays many academic libraries don't carry printed copies of major scientific journals anymore, so the photocopy option is also disappearing. Environmentally, this is a good thing, as less paper is consumed and less garbage ultimately generated.
The Internet has provided for the extremely rapid exchange of electronic files in various formats including MS-Word, html and pdf documents for dissemination of scientific articles, blogs, private e-mails and more. Instead of waiting weeks for receipt of copy of a scientific article by post from a reprint request, it can be obtained in electronic format within seconds. The $20 to $30 price that many journals charge for a pdf copy is pretty outrageous, but fortunately more scientists are being less concerned about the prestige of the journals that they submit their manuscripts to and opting more for open source publishing. Once it it possible for colleagues to directly add their comments to a greater number of biomedical publications, it will become much easier to judge the impact of one's work to the broader community. In any event, the increased pace and wider dissemination of new scientific knowledge has been a huge boost to biomedical pursuits that will benefit everyone.
To Brian Krueger,
With respect to your comment that appear in GenomeWeb's reference to this blog in which you state:
"I really appreciate the link back, but I think it's proper blogging etiquette to ask the content producer before you cut and paste an entire comment into your blog. Just linking back to Genomic Repairman's post isn't sufficient. You're more than welcome to paraphrase the above comment, but copying it without asking both Genomic Repairman and Dr. Pelech is crossing the line."
It is unclear to me why you are so concerned about GenomeWeb's reference to your blog with a direct quotation from it. In the scientific literature, it is unnecessary to obtain permission from an author to quote their work provided that it is properly referenced.
My understanding of the purpose of blogs is to get ideas widely disseminated and stimulate discussion. This is why it is feasible to add comments to blogs. I am not sure what you are particularly offended by with respect to my comments to your blog. I do not have a connection to Genome Web, but I do find The DailyScan helpful to find out what other scientists may be thinking about that may of interest or concern to them. I am sorry that you are distressed by my comments.
Dr. Pelech, I agree that its pretty novel seeing stamps from all across the world when you get those reprint requests in. I thought it would be fun for the requestor, so I sent them a post card in addition to the reprint.
If you're okay with what was done, then that's fine Dr. Pelech. I just wanted to be sure that everyone was alright with what was done with the comment. I thought it was kind of lazy to just cut and paste it. Please point me to a place in the scietific literature where things are copied word for word with no further comment or analysis. I think most editors would reject such practices without getting permission. I know I would.
It's up to our readers to comment on our blog and we're always happy for Dr. Pelech to post a comment on our site. We are glad to see that he also added that same comment here so that even more people can read about what he thinks.