Preprint license confusion


A new article in Nature highlights the confusion authors experience in choosing a license for preprints submitted to bioRxiv.

According to statistics from bioRxiv, 29% of authors have decided to append no licence at all to their work. On the site, these are labelled: “All rights reserved. No reuse allowed without permission.” Saskia Hagenaars, a geneticist at Kings College London says that her team chose this option because “we don’t want people freely using the non-peer reviewed versions of our papers”.


One reason for researchers’ hesitancy to choose open licences may be that some journals frown on them. Giulio Caravagna, a computational biologist at the University of Edinburgh, UK, decided not to openly licence his bioRxiv preprint because it gave his team “full rights to proceed further with submission to any journal that we want to target”. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS), for instance, says it will only publish papers arising from preprints that don’t have CC licenses, because it feels that these are not compatible with its own licensing terms. But Himmelstein has found a dozen CC-BY preprints that led to work published in PNAS — and the publisher says it has never enforced its rule.

The full article also contains some interesting insights about text mining preprints.

New Bill Would Let Trump Pick the Next Register of Copyrights

From Publisher’s Weekly:

On March 23, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act, which would give the President the power to appoint the Register of Copyrights for a 10 year, renewable term, subject to Senate confirmation. The President would also have the power to fire the Register at any time.
Currently, the Register of Copyrights is appointed by and serves at the sole discretion of the Librarian of Congress, who oversees the Copyright Office.

New Open Access monograph publishing venture

An interesting new publishing venture for open access scholarly monographs, with a new funding model:

The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of American University Presses (AAUP) are implementing a new initiative to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members by publishing free, open access, digital editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.

Publishing costs will be met by university-funded grants and other revenue sources. These publication grants will enable open access publishing and will send a strong signal to humanities and social sciences faculties that universities value and wish to promote their scholarship.

Gates and AAAS agree on Open Access

oa_or_front-3~s600x600This announced today by the Gates Foundation, increasing access to science for all the right reasons:

We are proud to announce a new partnership with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which will allow publishing of Gates Foundation-funded research on open access terms in all of the AAAS’ journals, including Science, Science Translational Medicine, Science Signaling, Science Immunology and Science Robotics. This agreement follows the lead set by AAAS’ Science Advances journal, which publishes all material on full open access terms, and also charts a future course for continued collaboration around models that support open access publishing.

The Gates Foundation is taking these steps because we want to advance the conversation around open access publishing and ultimately find new ways of accelerating impact and saving lives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ensuring high-quality scientific knowledge is widely accessible, and we applaud efforts from Wellcome to former Vice President Joe Biden to the National Institutes of Health who share our commitment to open access and are pursuing additional approaches. In a field where there are no clear answers, experimentation and creative partnerships help advance the sector and accelerate the discovery of new solutions.

Ultimately, we do so because the possibilities are too great not to explore. Open access publishing of peer-reviewed research holds the potential for researchers from diverse backgrounds to come together and accelerate the research process — and in turn, leads to new ways of making people’s lives longer, healthier and more productive.

Copyright reform: wish carefully

copyrightRecent proposals from the House Judiciary Committee and two former Registers of Copyright, advocating reform of the Copyright Office, have received a lot of attention in the Library world. Many of us can see need for reform, but proponents have focused on moving the Copyright Office out of oversight by the Library of Congress. This proposal seems to stem from a perception that librarians are intent on giving content away, to the detriment of content creators.
Brandon Butler and 42 other lawyer/librarians have sent a very articulate letter opposing this view, and a blog post from David Hansen at Duke, reviews the issues and includes this excerpt of a letter sent by the Duke Libraries:

Libraries like ours have perhaps the most well-rounded and balanced relationship with copyright of any group of institutions in the world. Duke Libraries, like many other libraries, spends millions of dollars every year on services for our faculty and students to help them navigate the legal, technological, and economic choices they face as creators. Our libraries partner with those creators . . . on publishing. Duke Libraries also administer the rights to thousands of works for which we own copyright, primarily in our rare book and archival collections. . . .  Duke Libraries also invest millions of dollars each year into the publishing system by purchasing content and supporting new and emerging publishing platforms. . . .[W]e now spend even more money on developing strategies to carefully respect the rights of copyright owners as we seek to preserve and provide access to those materials in forms that are useful to researchers.

A Brief Introduction to Creative Commons

Creative Commons logoAs Open Access Week comes to a close, it is a good time to consider how everyone can put this year’s them of “Open in Action” into practice year round. One of the easiest ways to do this is by offering content that you create under a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses are become more popular all the time and if you’ve used Wikipedia or Flickr you’ve almost certainly encountered them before, but at first glance they can seem confusing since there are so many options. Despite all the possibilities, understanding and using Creative Commons is actually very straightforward.

Though there are six types of Creative Commons licenses, all of them share the same goal of allowing people to share their work with others in a way that both protects their rights and allows others to make use of this work. The differences between the licenses allow you to ensure that these future uses are acceptable to you without future users having to contact you and negotiate individual agreements. The six available Creative Commons licenses are:

  • Creative Commons Attribution (also sometimes called CC BY) – This license allows for any use as long as the person using the item includes proper attribution, a link to the license, and an indication if the item has been modified.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (also sometimes called CC BY-SA) – This license is the same as the CC BY license with the addition that the person using the item must share their own work under a CC BY-SA license as well.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (also sometimes called CC BY-NC) – This license is the same as the CC BY license, but with the additional stipulation that the person using the work may not use it for commercial purposes. (It is worth noting that the meaning of “commercial purposes” has been disputed in some cases).
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives (also sometimes called CC BY-ND) – This license is the same as the CC BY license, but with the addition that the person using the item may not distribute any version of the item that they have changed, remixed, or modified.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (also sometimes called CC BY-NC-SA) – This license requires attribution, prohibits commercial use, and requires that any end product is shared under the same license.
  • Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (also sometimes called CC BY-NC-ND) – This license requires attribution, prohibits commercial use, and does not allow for the distribution of any version of the item that has been changed, remixed, or modified.
  • Creative Commons 0 (also sometimes called CC0) – This license releases an item freely without any restrictions. This means it may be used by anyone, in any matter, for any purpose, and without attribution.

If this sounds interesting, has more information about how to use licenses, including an easy-to-use tool that will help you select the right license for your work with just a few clicks. Or if you still want to learn more, check out the video below!


Open Access eBooks Coming to JSTOR

JSTOR logoThis week JSTOR announced that it will be adding open access monograph titles to its popular platform. In the initial round, 63 new open access titles from several academic publishers will be added to JSTOR and the announcement also noted that they “expect to add several hundred more Open Access titles over the next year.” These ebooks will be presented along with other content in search results, but will also have a green notice stating that they are open access. In all cases these items are offered under a Creative Commons license and DRM-free. Perhaps best of all, the announcement also notes that users will not have to register or log in to access these materials. In addition to the announcement, JSTOR also released additional information for librarians and a list of the 63 titles that will be available initially.

Find an Open Access Copy of a Paper With oaDOI

While the number of academic papers that are freely available through open access is continuously growing, they can still be difficult to find. Impactstory has just released a new tool to streamline this process. Called oaDOI, this new tools lets users search for the open access version of any paper by pasting the DOI of any paper into the search box. If an open access version of the paper is available, oaDOI will take you to it and, if it can’t find one, it will still take you to the paywall page for the paper.

oaDOI screenshot

oaDOI searches across many platforms and data sources, including the Directory of Open Access Journals and the BASE OA search engine, and it is under active development, meaning that improvements are on the way. If you have the DOI for a paper, this is a great tool for ensuring that you are finding and using the open access version of the paper where possible. You can read more about it on the Impactstory blog.