Virginia Postrel wrote on Dynamist Blog:
One reason working papers take on greater importance in a web-oriented world is that, shockingly, scholars usually do not own the copyrights to their published articles. Journals demand the copyright as a condition of publication. And, of course, scholars exist in a publish-or-perish world. It is usually illegal for a professor to put the final version of a published article on his or her website. Hence the importance of working papers–and the travesty of gated scholarship.
This is one good thing about the Computers and Writing conference. They are getting the working papers out there as an online conference. That means, I expect, that the ideas are available to be reused, even if the bulk of the paper (once it is published by a journal) is not.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, this blog will be the site of multiple blog posts as part of the February online conference.