Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New author addenda options and tools from SPARC and Science Commons

SPARC and Science Commons have announced a consolidation and enhancement of their author addenda.  From the announcement

Today, Science Commons and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) announce the release of new online tools to help authors exercise choice in retaining critical rights in their scholarly articles, including the rights to reuse their scholarly articles and to post them in online repositories. 

The new tools include the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine, an online tool created by Science Commons to simplify the process of choosing and implementing an addendum to retain scholarly rights. By selecting from among four addenda offered, any author can fill in a form to generate and print a completed amendment that can be attached to a publisher's copyright assignment agreement to retain critical rights to reuse and offer their works online.

The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will be offered through the Science Commons, SPARC, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Carnegie Mellon University Web sites, and it will be freely available to other institutions that wish to host it.  It may be accessed [here]....

Also available for the first time is a new addendum from Science Commons and SPARC, named "Access-Reuse," that represents a collaboration to simplify choices for scholars by combining two existing addenda, the SPARC Author Addendum and the Science Commons Open Access-Creative Commons Addendum. This new addendum will ensure that authors not only retain the rights to reuse their own work and post them on online depositories, but also to grant a non-exclusive license, such as the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license, to the public to reuse and distribute the work. In addition, Science Commons will be offering two other addenda, called "Immediate Access" and "Delayed Access", representing alternative arrangements that authors can choose.

"The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will enable authors to maximize the reach of their work," said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. "It's a significant leap forward in making it easier for authors to effectively manage their publication rights."

In addition, MIT has contributed to this effort by including its MIT Copyright Agreement Amendment in the choices available through the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine.  The MIT Copyright Amendment has been available since the spring of 2006 and allows authors to retain specific rights to deposit articles in MIT Libraries' DSpace repository, and to deposit any NIH-funded manuscripts on the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central database. 

"The cumulative nature of scientific discovery makes it imperative that unnecessary barriers to the timely sharing of results of research should be eliminated wherever possible," said Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries for MIT. "The MIT Libraries applauds Science Commons for its development of tools such as the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine, which enables authors of scholarly articles to ensure that they can later reuse their works and make them widely accessible to other researchers and the public...."

SPARC offers a suite of materials...that introduce the topic of author rights on campuses and complement the new SPARC-Science Commons "Access-Reuse" addendum....

"This is about authors' rights," said John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science Commons - a project of Creative Commons. "Right now, authors trade the most important rights - like the right to make copies of their own scholarly works - to traditional publishers. That trade has led to an imbalanced world of restricted access to knowledge, skyrocketing journal prices, and an inability to apply new technologies to the scholarly canon of knowledge. Our Scholar's Copyright project addresses this imbalance. Working with libraries and universities, we are providing the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine so that scholars can retain rights to make copies of their own writings available on the Web."

Comment.  There are several welcome developments wrapped up together here.  Author addenda can be customized for individual articles; a customized addendum can be generated automatically; new addenda options are now available; and formerly separate addenda are consolidating, simplifying the process for authors.

Update. Science Commons has posted instructions for other sites wishing to host the Addendum Engine.