Thursday, July 25, 2013

Commercial reuse of published scientific papers: It's all about reuse

Two books have been recently discussed quite vigorously online: A Rant on Strawberries, Open Access Licenses and the Reuse of Published Papers and Apple Academic Press: Predatory publisher of scholarly books.  The publisher Apple Academic Press (Apple AP) combines freely available open access articles on a common topic into books, which sell for about $100.  Without informing the authors of the papers.

In the first book no citations to the articles appeared anywhere in the book (Apple AP claims that this was a mistake) and in the second the references where given at the end of the book under "Authors Notes".  Much has been written about how sleazy it is in comparison to what commercial publishers do.

However, two important comments in the original blog posts have, in my mind, not really been discussed.

C.W. Schadt writes:
Anyway, Im not sure who to be more upset with.  The editor and publisher that (re)published the article, or myself for not noticing the reuse clause in the open access license.  From now on I vow that I will pay closer attention to this, and it may influence where I end up submitting future papers.
Rosie Redfield writes:
My colleague and her co-authors are outraged; they had no idea that this commercial reuse was permitted by the standard agreements.  In principle the authors should have read the fine print, but as advocates of open-access publishing I think the onus is on us to make sure that the copyright agreements are in accord with authors' reasonable expectations and wishes.
To me this sounds like both fundamentally disagree with the commercial reuse granted by the CC-BY license used by the journals and would rather publish under the CC-BY-SA or CC-BY-NC license.  I hope I am wrong; but in case I am not: publishing under anything other than CC-BY or CC0 is really bad for science and society.  Here are some reasons why:

What is a viral license?
CC-BY and licences; we must not get it wrong. I offer some clarification
Why CC-BY? 

I think this quote sums it nicely:
This just won’t do. It’s not open access. To quote Heather Piwowar’s pithy statement once more, “We do basic research not only to know more, but to do more”. Non-commercial licences impede the use of research, and that’s not to the benefit of wider society.
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