Openness of Spanish scholarly journals as measured by access and rights

Authors : Remedios Melero, Mikael Laakso, Miguel Navas-Fernández

Metrics regarding Open Access (OA) availability for readers and the enablers of redistribution of content published in scholarly journals, i.e. content licenses, copyright ownership, and publisher-stipulated self-archiving permissions are still scarce.

This study implements the four core variables (reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights) of the recently published Open Access Spectrum (OAS) to measure the level of openness in all 1728 Spanish scholarly journals listed in the Spanish national DULCINEA database at the end of 2015.

In order to conduct the analysis additional data has been aggregated from other bibliographic databases and through manual data collection (such data includes the journal research area, type of publisher, type of access, self-archiving and reuse policy, and potential type of Creative Commons (CC) licence used).

79% of journals allowed self-archiving in some form, 13.5% did not specify any copyright terms and 37% used CC licenses. From the total journals (1728), 1285 (74.5%) received the maximum score of 20 in reader rights. For 72% of journals, authors retain or publishers grant broad rights which include author reuse and authorisation rights (for others to re-use).

The OAS-compliant results of this study enable comparative studies to be conducted on other large populations of journals.


Access, ethics, and piracy

Author : Stuart Lawson

Open access has been progressively making more scholarship openly available. But a majority of journal articles are still behind paywalls so some people have turned to piracy to access them.

While some regard this practice as criminal and unethical, for others ‘liberating’ research is a justified act of civil disobedience.

This article considers both the efficacy and ethics of piracy, placing ‘guerilla open access’ within a longer history of piracy and access to knowledge.

By doing so, we can see that since piracy is not only an inevitable part of the intellectual landscape but can potentially drive progressive developments in communication practices, open access emerges as a contender for moving beyond proprietary forms of commodifying scholarly knowledge.

URL : Access, ethics, and piracy

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Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data

Authors : Willi Egloff, Donat Agosti, Puneet Kishor, David Patterson, Jeremy A. Miller

Taxonomy is the discipline responsible for charting the world’s organismic diversity, understanding ancestor/descendant relationships, and organizing all species according to a unified taxonomic classification system.

Taxonomists document the attributes (characters) of organisms, with emphasis on those can be used to distinguish species from each other. Character information is compiled in the scientific literature as text, tables, and images.

The information is presented according to conventions that vary among taxonomic domains; such conventions facilitate comparison among similar species, even when descriptions are published by different authors.

There is considerable uncertainty within the taxonomic community as to how to re-use images that were included in taxonomic publications, especially in regard to whether copyright applies.

This article deals with the principles and application of copyright law, database protection, and protection against unfair competition, as applied to images.

We conclude that copyright does not apply to most images in taxonomic literature because they are presented in a standardized way and lack the creativity that is required to qualify as ‘copyrightable works’.

There are exceptions, such as wildlife photographs, drawings and artwork produced in a distinctive individual form and intended for other than comparative purposes (such as visual art).

Further exceptions may apply to collections of images that qualify as a database in the sense of European database protection law. In a few European countries, there is legal protection for photographs that do not qualify as works in the usual sense of copyright.

It follows that most images found in taxonomic literature can be re-used for research or many other purposes without seeking permission, regardless of any copyright declaration. In observance of ethical and scholarly standards, re-users are expected to cite the author and original source of any image that they use.

URL : Copyright and the Use of Images as Biodiversity Data


Open Access, Open Science, Open Society

Open Access’ main goal is not the subversion of publishers’ role as driving actors in an oligopolistic market characterised by reduced competition and higher prices. OA’s main function is to be found somewhere else, namely in the ability to subvert the power to control science’s governance and its future directions (Open Science), a power that is more often found within the academic institutions rather than outside.

By decentralising and opening-up not just the way in which scholarship is published but also the way in which it is assessed, OA removes the barriers that helped turn science into an intellectual oligopoly even before an economic one. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that Open Access is a key enabler of Open Science, which in turn will lead to a more Open Society.

Furthermore, the paper argues that while legislative interventions play an important role in the top-down regulation of Open Access, legislators currently lack an informed and systematic vision on the role of Open Access in science and society. In this historical phase, other complementary forms of intervention (bottom-up) appear much more “informed” and effective.

This paper, which intends to set the stage for future research, identifies a few pieces of the puzzle: the relationship between formal and informal norms in the field of Open Science and how these impact on intellectual property rights, the protection of personal data, the assessment of science and the technology employed for the communication of science.


Who Owns This Article? Applying Copyright’s Work-Made- for-Hire Doctrine to Librarians’ Scholarship

The  Copyright  Act  of  1976  provides  that  works—including  scholarship—written within  the  scope  of  employment  belong  to  employers.  But  copyright  law  and  actual practices  widely  diverge.  The  academic  community  generally  allows  librarians  to  claim ownership of their writing, even when that ignores copyright law. Mr. Hellyer supports copyright ownership by librarians, and calls for the law and common practices to be harmonized.


The implications of the new UK Open Access policies on the ownership of copyright in academic publishing

The issue of who owns the copyright in works produced by academics during employment is not new. The practice is that academics, as authors – copyright creators, are routinely assigning the copyright for free to academic publishers in order to have their works published even though the production of such works might be said to be in the course of employment and therefore the copyright belonging to the employer (the university). A literature review will show only one side of the coin where – unsurprisingly – intellectual property (IP) scholars agree that they own the copyright in the works published during employment.

The other side of the coin is not usually discovered because employers are not IP experts and are not in the business of writing academic articles. However, the general belief of the management is that the universities own the copyright as employers. More recently, UK universities have to comply with new Open Access policies which basically requires that publicly-funded research should be freely accessible. The Gold Open Access model is preferred by many academic publishers whose business model relies on academics (actually their funders) paying article processing charges (APCs) while the Green Open Access model is preferred by the universities as being virtually free of any charges.

But since most of the research is publicly-funded, suddenly the issue of who owns the copyright in works produced by academics during employment becomes a very stringent one, not to mention expensive. This paper will discuss the problem of copyright ownership in academia and how the new Open Access policies might affect it. While it is possible to discuss copyright without mentioning Open Access, it would be quite difficult to discuss Open Access without mentioning copyright. A possible solution will be proposed and discussed in order to help universities comply with the new policies by using their preferred Green Open Access route.

URL : The implications of the new UK Open Access policies on the ownership of copyright in academic publishing

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Is Europe Falling Behind in Data Mining? Copyright’s Impact on Data Mining in Academic Research

« This empirical paper discusses how copyright affects data mining (DM) by academic researchers. Based on bibliometric data, we show that where DM for academic research requires the express consent of rights holders: (1) DM makes up a significantly lower share of total research output; and (2) stronger rule-of-law is associated with less DM research. To our knowledge, this is the first time that an empirical study bears out a significant negative association between copyright protection and innovation. »