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Subject: VB: Removal of articles from ScienceDirect
From: Linde Krister <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:BIBLIST - Topics in Nordic research library user services <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 7 Nov 2002 17:20:53 +0100

text/plain (103 lines)

Hej alla!
Detta ar ett inlagg i en pagaende diskussion som vi alla borde vara medvetna
Krister Linde

-----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
Fran: [log in to unmask]
[mailto:[log in to unmask]]For Robert Michaelson
Skickat: den 7 november 2002 15:35
Till: [log in to unmask]
Amne: Re: Removal of articles from ScienceDirect

As David notes, in most countries -- other than, say, Stalinist Russia --
print versions could not be deleted after distribution, even in cases of
"plagiarism, scientific misconduct, gross error such that human safety is
at risk".  Instead, other mechanisms were developed: errata (that could be
inserted at the offending article); links in Medline and other abstracting
databases; etc., that allowed for the correction of errors without
distortion of the historical record.

Parallel mechanisms must be used for online publication, or we will not be
able to trust online archives.  This isn't difficult, in fact it should be
much easier than for print publications (I speak as someone who has pasted
in many tip-in errata!).  It is much more a policy decision than a
technical problem.

I am appalled by Elsevier's policy decision to remove material -- albeit a
limited range of materials (though how can we trust publishers to keep it
to that limited range?) -- and replace it with a politically-correct
statement indicating that it has been removed. Only if the original article
stands as first published, together with a linked correction, will we be
secure in the knowledge that nothing is being suppressed.  Moreover, how
can we learn from mistakes (which include, e.g. inadequate protection
against plagiarism) if examples of those mistakes are purged from the

Libraries must feel very insecure about online archives until publishers
are compelled to follow a policy of correction, NOT removal!

Bob Michaelson
Northwestern University Library
Evanston, Illiinois  USA
[log in to unmask]

At 10:35 PM 11/6/2002 -0500, David Goodman wrote:
>I note that among the resons for removing articles is not
>included error where the public safety is not at risk, or the political
>views expressed--relevant or otherwise.
>The merit of the remaining reasons will undoubtedly be further discussed,
>but I also note that a publisher would not have been able to physically
>access to the print versions once distributed even in such cases--at
>least not in all countries..
>I am however very pleased that Elsevier is taking the lead among
>publishers by improving standards in this respect. It has done so in
>other areas of electronic publication, and it befits its stature.
>  On Wed, 6 Nov 2002, Menefee,
>Daviess (ELS) wrote:
> > Dear Readers of this List,
> >
> > Several concerns have been raised recently on this listserve regarding
> > removal of articles from ScienceDirect after they have appeared in
> > electronic format.  These concerns arise in the course of debate over
> > digital archiving and what will be in the archive in the future.
> >
> > To try to address some of these concerns, Elsevier Science has recently
> > established a formal procedure for the removal of articles.  To that end
> > there is now in place a strict internal policy of review before any
> > is removed and that review must include senior publishing management
> and the
> > legal department. Only under extraordinary circumstances can an article
> > removed (e.g., plagiarism, scientific misconduct, gross error such that
> > human safety is at risk) and then a statement is inserted to indicate
> > removal.
> >
> > For the sake of complete digital archiving, Elsevier Science has
> > ALL of its electronically published articles in its recent agreement
> > the Royal Dutch Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek).  As libraries'
> > expectations have risen with respect to digital archiving, Elsevier has
> > in place processes and procedures to meet those expectations.
> >
> > With kind regards,
> > Daviess Menefee
> > Library Relations
> >
> >
>Dr. David Goodman
>Princeton University Library
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