Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"Retaining copyright" may not be enough: look at the fine print

Since 2002, Nature has not asked authors to transfer copyright, but only an exclusive license-to-publish. Now Alexei Koudinov reports that Science Magazine has adopted a similar policy. See the Science contributors FAQ, especially the question whether Science requires authors to transfer copyright.

(PS: The Science pages are not dated and I can't tell how new or old its policy is. These policies look progressive, but study the details. For example, normally authors who retain copyright have all the rights they need to self-archive their postprints in any kind of repository without any kind of delay. But while Nature lets authors retain copyright, its license to publish asks for exclusive rights to "publish, reproduce, distribute, display and store" the article "in all forms, formats and media" "for the full term of copyright" and specifically builds in a six-month embargo on self-archiving. The license to publish at Science has all the terms just mentioned from the Nature license except that Science allows self-archiving without an embargo, though only to personal web sites, not repositories. One nice feature of the Science license, especially if it is new, is that it retroactively extends the author re-use rights to all authors of previously published papers in Science. Let's hope that one day Science retroactively recognizes the right of author self-archiving where self-archiving is most useful to them and their readers, in interoperable repositories.)