The Plan S Rights Retention Strategy is an administrative and legal burden, not a sustainable open access solution

Author : Shaun Yon-Seng Khoo

The Plan S Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) requires authors who are submitting to subscription journals to inform publishers that the author accepted manuscript (AAM) will be made available under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.

The laudable stated aim of the RRS is to achieve immediate open access to research outputs, while preserving journal choice for authors. However, proponents of the RRS overlook the significant administrative and legal burdens that the RRS places on authors and readers.

Even though compliance with existing green open access (self-archiving) policies is poor at best, the RRS is likely to rely on authors to successfully execute the CC licensing of their work in the face of publisher resistance.

The complexity of copyright law and CC licensing gives many reasons to doubt the legal validity of an RRS licence grant, which creates legal risk for authors and their institutions. The complexity of RRS CC BY licensing also creates legal risk for readers, who may not be able to fully rely on the reuse rights of a CC BY licence on the AAM.

However, cOAlition S has released no legal advice that explains why the RRS is valid and legally binding. Publishers of legacy subscription journals have already begun implementing strategies that ensure they can protect their revenue streams.

These actions may leave authors having to choose between paying publication fees and complying with their funding agreements. The result is that the RRS increases the complexity of the copyright and licensing landscape in academic publishing, creates legal risk and may not avoid author fees.

Unless increased complexity and conflict between authors and publishers drives open access, the RRS is not fit for its stated purpose as an open access strategy.

URL : The Plan S Rights Retention Strategy is an administrative and legal burden, not a sustainable open access solution


Openness and Licensing

Author : Melanie Dulong de Rosnay

This chapter traces the evolution of legal conditions meant to support the production and flourishing of “commons-based peer production” in a diversity of fields covered by copyright, mostly in the digital realm.

From software to creative works, including scientific articles, cultural heritage, public sector information, and open data, a wealth of digital, knowledge, intellectual or information commons can be peer produced.

The rules which guarantee that they can remain in the commons, under open conditions, have been the subject of heated debates about the politics of technology and heavy legal fine-tuning along the years, opposing different definitions and nuances in openness reflecting underlying philosophies within the peer production political economy, such as liberal and commons-based approaches.


Open Access in developing countries – attitudes and experiences of researchers

Authors : Andy Nobes, Sian Harris

Open Access is often considered as particularly beneficial to researchers in the Global South. However, research into awareness of and attitudes to Open Access has been largely dominated by voices from the Global North.

A survey was conducted of 507 researchers from the developing world and connected to INASP’s AuthorAID project to ascertain experiences and attitudes to Open Access publishing.

The survey revealed problems for the researchers in gaining access to research literature in the first place. There was a very positive attitude to Open Access research and Open Access journals, but when selecting a journal in which to publish, Open Access was seen as a much less important criterion than factors relating to international reputation.

Overall, a majority of respondents had published in an Open Access journal and most of these had paid an article processing charge. Knowledge and use of self-archiving via repositories varied, and only around 20% had deposited their research in an institutional repository.

The study also examined attitudes to copyright, revealing most respondents had heard of Creative Commons licences and were positive about the sharing of research for educational use and dissemination, but there was unease about research being used for commercial purposes.

Respondents revealed a surprisingly positive stance towards openly sharing research data, although many revealed that they would need further guidance on how to do so. The survey also revealed that the majority had received emails from so called ‘predatory’ publishers and that a small minority had published in them.

URL : Open Access in developing countries – attitudes and experiences of researchers

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Les enjeux éthiques et juridiques du dépôts des travaux scientifiques dans une archive ouverte

Auteur/Author : Isabelle Gras

Cette contribution vise à analyser comment la structuration du marché numérique de l’édition scientifique a induit de nouveaux enjeux éthiques et juridiques en matière de diffusion du savoir. Le secteur de l’édition numérique des publications scientifiques se caractérise par une concurrence imparfaite qui menace la circulation des connaissances scientifiques.

Si ce phénomène s’observe tout particulièrement dans le champ des sciences et techniques, il ne faut pas en négliger les conséquences dans le domaine des sciences humaines et sociales.

Le transfert des droits d’auteur en faveur des éditeurs tout comme le diktat du « publish or perish » pèsent sur l’ensemble de la communauté scientifique. Face à cette situation, les chercheurs se tournent vers la voie verte de l’Open Access afin de diffuser leurs travaux scientifiques dans une archive ouverte.

Ils se trouvent alors confrontés à des questions juridiques et éthiques que nous nous proposerons d’analyser afin de dégager des bonnes pratiques. Dans cette optique, cette contribution propose de préciser les nouvelles opportunités offertes par l’article 30 de la loi pour une République numérique.

Enfin, dans la mesure où ils constituent des dispositifs opérants pour repenser les logiques traditionnelles du droit d’auteur, les spécificités des licences creative commons et des epi-revues, étroitement liées aux archives ouvertes, seront soulignées.

URL : Les enjeux éthiques et juridiques du dépôts des travaux scientifiques dans une archive ouverte

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Leveraging Elsevier’s Creative Commons License Requirement to Undermine Embargo

Author : Josh Bolick

In the last round of author-sharing policy revisions, Elsevier created a labyrinthine title-by-title embargo structure requiring embargoes from 12 to 48 months for authors sharing via institutional repository (IR), while permitting immediate sharing via an author’s personal website or blog. At the same time, all prepublication versions are to bear a Creative Commons-Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.

At the time this policy was announced, it was criticized by many in the scholarly communication community as overly complicated and restrictive. However, this CC licensing requirement creates an avenue for subverting an embargo in the IR to achieve quicker and wider open distribution of the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM).

To wit, authors may post an appropriately licensed copy on their personal site or blog, at which point the author’s host institution may deposit without an embargo in the IR, not through the license granted in the publication agreement, but through the CC license on the author’s version, which the sharing policy mandates.

This article outlines the background and rationale of the issue and discusses the benefits, workflows, and remaining questions.

URL : Leveraging Elsevier’s Creative Commons License Requirement to Undermine Embargo


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..