Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, October 08, 2007

Funders and publishers agree to remove key permission barriers for fee-based OA articles

Statement of principle from the UKPMC Publishers Panel in relation to re-use of documents for which an open access fee has been paid, a joint statement from the UKPMC Publishers Panel (membership described in the statement itself), October 8, 2007.  Here it is in its entirety:


The UKPMC Publishers Panel is made up of representatives of the funders of UK PubMed Central and the following trade associations: The Publishers Association; the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers; and the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers. As such, the UKPMC Publishers Panel has no authority to bind individual rights-holders in relation to the terms governing re-use of content for which an open access fee has been paid. The UKPMC Publishers Panel has, however, agreed the following statement of principle in relation to the re-use of documents for which an open access or sponsorship fee has been paid.

Statement of Principle

1. It is in the interests of fostering and promoting research that such documents may be freely copied and used for text and data mining purposes, provided that such uses are fully attributed, undertaken on a non-commercial basis, and do not interfere with any moral rights of the author(s) of the documents. "Commercial" is taken here to include (but not be limited to) the use of documents by for-profit organisations for promotional purposes, whether for a fee or otherwise.

2. These documents are protected by copyright and/or other applicable law. Where content in the document is identified as belonging to a third party, consent should be obtained from the third party for the right to re-use this content.

3. In addition to making the document openly and freely accessible to all users worldwide at the time of publication, other re-use of the content, including but not limited to further redistribution, adaptation and translation, is encouraged under licence from individual rightsholders.

4. The UKPMC Funders recognise the value that publishers add to the research process and acknowledge that the costs associated with publishing are legitimate research costs and encourage the implementation of clear funding mechanisms for meeting these costs.

Also see today's press release from the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers.  Excerpt:

...In addition to making such papers open and freely accessible to all users worldwide at the time of publication, other re-use of the content ­ such as further redistribution, adaptation and translation ­ is encouraged under licence from individual rights-holders.

Mark Walport, Director of the Wellcome Trust welcomed this agreement. It is essential that full advantage is taken of the opportunities provided by open access to the results of research. Reading the results of the research is only the first step - if an important one! Huge added value can be added to research by linking the text of scientific papers to databases, such as protein sequence and structural databases and genome databases. Sophisticated text mining techniques can link related papers one to another, which may lead to the development of new scientific ideas or, alternatively question the significance of some results. This agreement between funders and publishers will help to maximise the value of research results, an outcome which is good for science and society."

A number of publishers already provide an open access option in accord with the principles agreed here including Springer, OUP and Elsevier....

“This statement demonstrates that funders and publishers can work together constructively for the benefit of scholarly communication”, commented Bob Campbell, Senior Publisher at Wiley-Blackwell....


  • I applaud this agreement.  When a funder pays a publisher to make an article OA, the publisher should remove permission barriers as well as price barriers.  But too often publishers have only removed price barriers.  This agreement to remove a key set of permission barriers is an important step forward that will help users get their work done (both human and machine users), help funders get full value for their investment, and help all players live up to the full BBB definition of OA.
  • For the first specific license to arise from these principles, see the license announced last week by Elsevier, and my comments welcoming it.  The Elsevier license is more progressive than the new statement of principles, explicitly permitting users to "access, download, copy, display and redistribute documents as well as adapt, translate, text and data mine content contained in documents...."  Note the rights to redistribute and translate, which Elsevier allows without restriction but which the statement of principles, in paragraph 3, allows only under a separate, apparently optional license.
  • I would like to see OA articles permit commercial reuse, but I don't expect TA publishers to permit commercial reuse.
  • The statement lists the publisher members of the drafting group but only refers to the funder members as "the funders of UK PubMed Central".  The UKPMC Funders Group consists of eight UK funding agencies, some public and some private, each of which requires OA to the results of the research it funds.

Update. Also see the press release from STM.