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Traditionally, contributors to scientific journals are not paid. Their rewards are limited to the opportunity to share their findings and to whatever academic kudos may follow. Similarly, the essential contributions of peer reviewers are also not remunerated. In effect, journal publishers bear the costs of the peer review process and, of course, the cost of printing and distributing copy. Following the example of the BMJ, Injury Prevention will, in future, try to redress this imbalance (at least with respect to contributors) by sharing some of the profit from reprint sales.
Although an unlikely event, a small percentage of reprint or translation orders worth more than £1000 will be returned to authors. (It has not yet been decided how large is “small”.)
This new arrangement came about after closer scrutiny of copyright agreements. In the past, these agreements have obliged authors to assign copyright to the publisher. Although many advantages to both the authors and the publishers arose from this arrangement, the alternatives being enacted seem fairer and may prove even more advantageous. In future, Injury Prevention will not ask for copyright but instead will request an exclusive licence. We propose that the rights ceded by the licence would revert to authors if they have not been exploited within one year after publication. Authors no longer need to request permission to use their material for any non-commercial use. The most likely application of this is posting on personal or institutional web sites—a practice we encourage.
Your comments on this decision are welcome. As is true for most decisions, it can be reversed.