[Humanist] 26.583 open access statement

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Dec 14 07:05:38 CET 2012


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 583.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                              www.dhhumanist.org/
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk>                      (20)
        Subject: Re:  26.575 open access statement

  [2]   From:    Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk>                      (15)
        Subject: Re:  26.575 open access statement


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 12:47:57 +0000
        From: Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  26.575 open access statement
        In-Reply-To: <20121213083047.6CDD7EB8 at digitalhumanities.org>


Greetings.

I was reading the history editors' statement on open access, which recently appeared here <http://www.history.ac.uk/news/2012-12-10/statement-position-relation-open-access>

This is a rather peculiar statement.

Point 2 is:

> 2. We will also offer the possibility of ‘green’ publication, ie where an author does not pay an APC, and there is a period of embargo after publication, and subscriptions are charged. The period of embargo we will offer will be 36 MONTHS. 

I can't find a canonical statement of precisely what constitutes Green OA (the references on  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access  point to a number of half-definitions), but certainly my impression of Green OA is that it has no embargo period at all.  Indeed, since I'm in one of the disciplines covered by arXiv's preprint culture, we have a _negative_ embargo period, in the sense that the preprint will be distributed and read long before the article actually appears, and in extreme cases before the article is even submitted.

Thus the authors of this statement appear to be slightly adrift of where the discussion has actually got to.

Point 4 includes:

> 4. [...] or reuse of parts of an article (text mining).

(that's not what text mining is...)

> The government has specified that ‘gold’ access is to be given on a CCBY licence, the most permissive form of creative commons licence that there is. This however means that commercial re-use, plagiarism, and republication of an author’s work will be possible, subject to the author being ‘credited’ (but it is not clear in what way they would be credited).

Double-dipping, by publishing an article in two places, is generally refused by journals, and not as a matter of copyright.  Plagiarism has always been an academic no-no, and as far as I can see 'credit' implies the completely standard academic practice of citation.

> We believe that this is a serious infringement of intellectual property rights and we do not want our authors to have to sign away their rights in order to publish with us.

Now, I'm not a copyright lawyer, but the point of framing the OA discussion in terms of copyright is precisely so that people can reuse academics' outputs in a non-infringing way -- it uses (almost subversively) the legal technology of IP laws to articulate and enforce the sort of dissemination of their work that most academics surely aspire to.  No rights are being signed away; no rights are being infringed.  The last part of this sentence is bizarre, in that generally an author will have to sign away their rights to the journal, in a very restrictive way, if they want to publish.

I'm not naive about the challenges that the publication world will face as we move in an OA direction -- I'm one of the editors of a journal published by Elsevier (yes, boo hiss etc) which of necessity is arXiv-friendly to the extent of permitting authors to submit to the journal by quoting the arXiv document ID of the article's preprint.  These are clearly Interesting Times for journals, and small humanities journals and big STEM journals are going to have different sets of possibly existential problems, but the argument about OA is not really furthered by statements like this quoted one, which frankly verge on the superstitious.

Best wishes,

Norman

-- 
Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk
SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2012 12:54:24 +0000
        From: Norman Gray <norman at astro.gla.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re:  26.575 open access statement
        In-Reply-To: <20121213083047.6CDD7EB8 at digitalhumanities.org>


Greetings

(open access statement, remark two)

Maurizio Lana wrote:

> why should i give away the results of my research under CC-BY? if those
> results are useless no one has any worries about the license. if those
> results are useful and someone wants to make money using them, then it's
> only fair that s/he is obliged to negotiate with me the terms for reuse, and
> to become aware that my supposedly useless and wasteful research is really
> something good.

This is a very good point, which I haven't seen articulated before.  I also tend to prefer GPL for software and CC-BY-NC for text, not because I want to forbid commercial exploitation, or want to make money out of stuff (fat chance), but because I'd like any commercial users to ask me first.  If there was a CC-BY-free-commercial-licence-automatically-on-application, that's the one I'd go for.

Best wishes,

Norman

-- 
Norman Gray  :  http://nxg.me.uk
SUPA School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, UK





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