Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, July 25, 2003

Starting with the current issue, the Journal of the Medical Library Association has adopted a new copyright policy. Here's how T. Scott Plutchak describes it in an accompanying editorial:

At their January 2003 meeting, the members of the MLA Board of Directors approved a motion to revise the copyright policy for the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA). As is the case with most scholarly journals, the JMLA routinely required authors to sign a form transferring all rights to the association. Late last summer, that policy was challenged by several MLA members who pointed out that it was somewhat contradictory that at a time when we, as a profession, were urging the scholars that we serve to pay more attention to preserving their own copyrights, we, as a professional society, were still demanding that our own authors give up those rights.

During the fall, then, a new copyright policy was devised that acknowledges that JMLA authors retain the rights to their work. MLA is given the right of first publication and the right to republish the work in whatever fashion the JMLA may be republished in the future (for example, as part of an aggregated database). Individuals wishing to make copies of articles for educational, nonprofit purposes are still entitled to. But the authors are now free to make whatever further use of their work they wish, and, if some other person or entity wants to republish or make some other use of the work in the future, they need to get those permissions directly from the authors.

I am very grateful to the members of the JMLA editorial board, the chair and incoming chair of the publications committee, and MLA headquarters staff who helped craft the new policy. And I am especially grateful to those MLA members who challenged us to put our policy where our principles are. The new policy is posted on MLANET and takes effect with this issue.

Kudos to JMLA for this reform!