Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

Author : Teresa Schultz

The open access movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study open access (OA) continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open.

This project set out to study just how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and how library and information science authors compare to other disciplines researching this field.

Because of the growth of tools available to help researchers find open versions of articles, this study also sought to compare how these new tools compare to Google Scholar in their ability to disseminating OA research.

From a sample collected from Web of Science of articles published since 2010, the study found that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not.

A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In looking at the copyright of these articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors were more likely to retain copyright ownership if they printed in an open journal compared to authors in hybrid journals.

Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

URL : Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research



Resisting the Resistance: Resisting Copyright and Promoting Alternatives

Author : Giancarlo F. Frosio

This article discusses the resistance to the Digital Revolution and the emergence of a social movement “resisting the resistance.” Mass empowerment has political implications that may provoke reactionary counteractions.

Ultimately—as I have discussed elsewhere—resistance to the Digital Revolution can be seen as a response to Baudrillard’s call to a return to prodigality beyond the structural scarcity of the capitalistic market economy.

In Baudrillard’s terms, by increasingly commodifying knowledge and expanding copyright protection, we are taming limitless power with artificial scarcity to keep in place a dialectic of penury and unlimited need.

In this paper, I will focus on certain global movements that do resist copyright expansion, such as creative commons, the open access movement, the Pirate Party, the A2K movement and cultural environmentalism.

A nuanced discussion of these campaigns must account for the irrelevance of copyright in the public mind, the emergence of new economics of digital content distribution in the Internet, the idea of the death of copyright, and the demise of traditional gatekeepers. Scholarly and market alternatives to traditional copyright merit consideration here, as well.

I will conclude my review of this movement “resisting the resistance” to the Digital Revolution by sketching out a roadmap for copyright reform that builds upon its vision..


Les licences Creative Commons et l’accès libre

Lancées à la fin de 2002, les licences Creative Commons (CC) ont connu un succès fulgurant; des centaines de millions d’objets numériques sont maintenant diffusés sous ces licences. Elles sont souvent associées à l’accès libre, en vertu de leur potentiel en matière de réutilisation des œuvres. Mais dans quelle mesure ces licences, dans leurs diverses déclinaisons, conviennent-elles aux objectifs de la publication scientifique en accès libre et aux intérêts des chercheurs ?

Au moyen d’une analyse des textes disponibles dans le site CC, je montrerai comment les conditions ou restrictions optionnelles des licences créent de vastes zones d’incertitude qui nuisent à la réutilisation, ce qui porte à conclure que la licence la moins restrictive, CC BY, demeure la plus indiquée, en dépit des risques associés, à tort ou à raison, à son caractère libéral.

URL : Les licences Creative Commons et l’accès libre

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Better Sharing Through Licenses? Measuring the Influence of Creative Commons Licenses on the Usage of Open Access Monographs

« Introduction :  Open Access and licenses are closely intertwined. Both Creative Commons (CC) and Open Access seek to restore the balance between the owners of creative works and prospective users. Apart from the legal issues around CC licenses, we could look at role of intermediaries whose work is enabled through CC licenses. Does licensing documents under Creative Commons increase access and reuse in a direct way, or is access and reuse amplified by intermediaries?

OAPEN Library and DOAB The OAPEN Library contains books available under both open licenses, for example Creative Commons, as well as books that are published under terms that only allow for personal use. The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) functions as an intermediary, offering aggregation services exclusively focused on books with an open license.

Methods: Downloads are used as a proxy for the use of books in the OAPEN Library. The data set that this paper analyses data that was captured over a period of 33 months. During this time, 1734 different books were made available through the OAPEN Library: 855 books under a Creative Commons license and 879 books under a more restrictive regime. The influence of open licenses, aggregation in DOAB, and subject and language are evaluated.

Results :  Once the effects of subject and language are taken into account, there is no evidence that making books available under open licenses results in more downloads than making books available under licenses that only allow for personal use. Yet, additional aggregation in the DOAB has a large positive effect on the number of times a book is downloaded.

Conclusion : The application of open licenses to books does not, on its own, lead to more downloads. However, open licenses pave the way for intermediaries to offer new discovery and aggregation services. These services play an important role by amplifying the impacts of open access licensing in the case of scholarly books. »

URL : Better Sharing Through Licenses? Measuring the Influence of Creative Commons Licenses on the Usage of Open Access Monographs


Study on the protection of research data and…

Study on the protection of research data and recommendations for access and usage :

« This study is basically divided into four parts. Its objective is to examine the legal requirements for different kinds of usage of research data in an open access infrastructure, such as OpenAIREplus, which links them to publications.
Within the first part, the requirements for legal protection of research data are analysed. In the process, the existing legal framework regarding potentially relevant intellectual property (IP) rights is analysed from different perspectives: first from the general European perspective and subsequently from that of selected EU Member States (France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the UK).
It should be noted that the European legal framework is partly harmonised in the field of copyright and largely harmonised in the field of the sui generis database protection right by EU directives. Thus, the national regulations are quite similar in many respects. National differences are described following the section on national implementation in Chapter 2.5.
Despite European harmonisation, the perhaps surprising outcome of the analysis is that there are some areas of dis-harmonisation between the different Member States. One very significant example of dis-harmonisation is the “exception for scientific research” to the sui generis database right. It is not mandatory for this exception to be introduced into national legislation and it seems that every Member State has its own interpretation of the underlying directive. As it is drafted at the moment, the exception is to all intents and purposes useless.
Another area that causes difficulties is the question of who becomes the rightholder of the sui generis right in a database that is created by a public body or in the course of publicly funded research. Indeed it is far from clear. Some might say the research institution or the funding agency or both become the rightholder. But of the legal regimes under consideration in this study, the only jurisdiction with clear regulation on this matter is the Netherlands and it generally denies a public authority the right to exercise the exclusive database right.
Additionally, it is still unclear whether linking, or at least deep linking, should be seen as a relevant act of communication to the public. There are contradictory judgments at the level of the Member States. However, at least this question will soon be clarified in the scope of an actual reference to the European Court of Justice(ECJ).

The second part of the study is dedicated to the scope of protection of the potentially relevant IP rights. First there is an analysis of whether different types of usage, such as linking, access or mining, infringe the different kinds of IP rights. Secondly, a “legal prototype of an e-infrastructure”, based on selected usage scenarios that may occur during the use of e-infrastructures such as OpenAIREplus, is evaluated in more detail. The main outcome of this second part is that by far the most important IP right in the context of e-infrastructures such as OpenAIREplus is the sui generis database right, and that it is very likely not possible to use all the described einfrastructure features without the consent of the respective rightholder(s).

The third part is an examination of some relevant licensing issues. Within this part of the study, different licence models are analysed in order to identify the licence that is best suited to the aim of Open Access, especially in the context of the infrastructure of OpenAIREplus. The result is that the upcoming CC License version 4.0 will probably be the one best suited to this kind of infrastructure. Within the last part, some recommendations are given on improving the rights situation in relation to research data. To respond to the fact that the scientific research exception as presently formulated is rather useless, it is suggested that a new and broader mandatory research exception be introduced on a European level. To achieve legal interoperability of different databases and e-infrastructures, it is recommended that all of them should license their data under the upcoming CC License version 4.0. »

URL : Study on the protection of research data and recommendations for access and usage

When Copyright Law and Science Collide: Empowering Digitally Integrated Research Methods on a Global Scale

Automated knowledge discovery tools have become central to the scientific enterprise in a growing number of fields and are widely employed in the humanities as well. New scientific methods, and the evolution of entirely new fields of scientific inquiry, have emerged from the integration of digital technologies into scientific research processes that ingest vast amounts of published data and literature. The Article demonstrates that intellectual property laws have not kept pace with these phenomena.

Copyright law and science co-existed for much of their respective histories, with a benign tradition of the former giving way to the needs of the latter. Today, however, the formidable array of legislative maneuvers to tighten the grip of copyright laws in defense of cultural industries whose business models were upended in the online environment have, deliberately or not, undermined the ability of the scientific community to access, use, and reuse vast amounts of basic knowledge inputs. Database protection laws, reinforced by electronic fences and contracts of adhesion, further subject copy-reliant technologies to the whims of publishers and hinder the pooling of publicly funded resources that empower collaborative research networks and the formation of science commons in general.

The authors analyze the different components of a complicated transnational legislative fabric that have changed world copyright law into a science-hostile environment. Given the global nature of digital scientific research, they focus attention on comparative laws that fragment research inputs into diversely accessible territorial compartments. This analysis shows that users of automated knowledge discovery tools will likely become collective infringers of both domestic and international property laws.

In response to this challenge, the authors discuss possible solutions to the problems that intellectual property laws have created for digitally integrated scientific research from two very different angles. First, the authors skeptically consider the kinds of legal reforms that would be needed if commercial publishers continued to act as intermediaries between producers and users of scientific information and data, as they do today, without regard to the likelihood that such reforms would ever be enacted.

The authors then reconsider the role of publishers and ask whether, from a cost-benefit perspective, it should be significantly modified or abandoned altogether. Finally, the authors examine alternative strategies that the scientific community itself could embrace in a concerted effort to manage its own upstream knowledge assets in ways that might avoid, or at least attenuate, the obstacles to digitally empowered scientific research currently flowing from a flawed intellectual property regime.

The Article concludes by stressing the need to bridge the current disconnect between private rights and public science, in the overall interest of both innovation and the advancement of knowledge.


Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes…

Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes :

« This study reports findings from a year-long pilot study during which 991 students in 9 core courses in the Virginia State University School of Business replaced traditional textbooks with openly licensed books and other digital content. The university made a deliberate decision to use open textbooks that were copyrighted under the Creative Commons license. This decision was based on the accessibility and flexibility in the delivery of course content provided by open textbooks. More students accessed digital open textbooks than had previously purchased hard copies of textbooks. Higher grades were correlated with courses that used open textbooks. »