A recent federal court copyright decision should help protect the publishers of scientific and technical journals, according to those involved in the case and other observers.

The court's decision in American Geophysical Union, et al. v. Texaco Inc., a test case brought by a group of academic publishers, mandates that permission fees be paid for photocopying done by research scientists in profit-making settings--revenues to which the publishers have long felt entitled. The case will result in long-term benefits to scientists, the sources say, in the form of continuing, even expanded, access to publishing outlets for their work because journal publishers will be more secure financially with the additional permission income.

At the same time, investigators in private research environments will still be able to get the copies of journal articles they need for their work, although at a cost to their companies, say these sources.

In his July 22 opinion,...

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