Should Intellectual Property Be Disseminated by "Forwarding" Rejected Letters Without Permission?
Gupta, Vinod Kumar
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1996 Aug; 22(4): 243-244.
Substantive scientific letter writing is a cost-effective mode of complementing observational and experimental research. The value of such philosophically uncommitted and unsponsored well-balanced scientific activity has been relegated. Critical letter writing entails the abilities to: maintain rational scepticism; refuse to conform in order to explain data; persist in keeping common sense centre-stage; exercise logic to evaluate the biological significance of mathematical figures, including statistics, and the ability to sustain the will to share insights regarding disease mechanisms on an ostensibly lower research platform. During peer review, innovative letter writing may share the occasionally unfortunate fate of innovative research. Rejected scientific letters do not automatically lose copyright. Periodicals with high letter loads will see some valuable contributions wasted, but that is the price for maintaining autonomy in scientific publication. The scientific community is an integrated whole that must respect the rights of authors at all levels. Unauthorised forwarding of rejected letters sets the dangerous precedent of justifying unjust means.
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