London, March 17 : A group of physicists are at loggerheads with a publisher because it has banned them from posting parts of their work to Wikipedia - the online encylopedia, blogs and other forums.
According to a report in New Scientist, the physicists were upset after the American Physical Society (APS) withdrew its offer to publish two studies in Physical Review Letters because the authors had asked for a rights agreement compatible with Wikipedia.
The APS asks scientists to transfer their copyright to the society before they can publish in an APS journal. This prevents scientists contributing illustrations or other "derivative works" of their papers to many websites without explicit permission.
The authors of the cancelled papers and 38 other physicists are calling for the APS to change its policy.
"It is unreasonable and completely at odds with the practice in the field. Scientists want as broad an audience for their papers as possible," said Bill Unruh at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who has been lobbying separately against strict copyright rules.
"To tell us what we can do with our paper is completely at odds with practice in the field," he added.
According to Gene Sprouse, editor-in-chief of the APS journals, the society plans to review its copyright policy at a meeting in May.
"A group of excellent scientists has asked us to consider revising our copyright, and we take them seriously," he said.