Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, April 13, 2007

ACS claims copyright on author data files

Peter Murray-Rust, Copyrighted data, A scientist and the web, April 12, 2007.  Excerpt:

As I have blogged I shall be presenting at the JISC/NSF meeting on data-driven science....

Chemistry is one of the saddest sciences in this respect. It is hypopublished, but worse, the data are often copyrighted. Yes, you tell me, facts (data) cannot be copyrighted. Have a look at the rubric for supporting information (facts, facts, facts) accompanying Amer. Chem. Soc. (ACS) publications.

Permissible Use of Supporting Information

Electronic Supporting Information files are available without a subscription to ACS Web Editions. All files are copyrighted by the American Chemical Society. Files may be downloaded for personal use; users are not permitted to reproduce, republish, redistribute, or resell any Supporting Information, either in whole or in part, in either machine-readable form or any other form....

I approached a senior representative of Wiley at the ACS meeting (whom I already know and have good relations with). I asked him why Wiley copyrighted factual data accompanying publications. He said because “they wished to sell it” (and he willingly gave me permission to quote his answer).

I do not know what Springer do. Supplemental data for their publications are not usually visible. Because of this I do not read their publications....

Even the rather conservative STM publishers association has said this copyrighting is unacceptable. So why does it still happen? I have banged on about this for a year or two including the SPARC Open Data mailing list, but I have seen no response from senior academia - they don’t care. Some funders (Wellcome, and some of the RCUK - but not all) DO care, but I suspect they are a minority.

So, funders and academia, your acquiescence to non-Open Data is destroying large areas of potential data-driven science.