Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, November 23, 2007

More on the chance for OA to German scholarship published before 1995

If you recall, authors of works published in Germany before 1995 have about one year to tell their publishers that they wish to retain electronic rights to those works.  If they do, the rights are theirs and they may use them to authorize OA.  If they don't, the rights will vest in the publishers.  These are the terms a German copyright reform to take effect on January 1, 2008.

Klaus Graf sounded the alarm in August, urging German scholars to retain their rights.  Now he reports that four German universities, as well as some other individuals and organizations, have joined the call.

By email, Klaus adds some extra detail.  According to Eric Steinhauer, authors needn't write to their publishers during 2008 if they transfer non-exclusive rights to an OA repository before the law takes effect in January.  The rector of the University of Stuttgart has written a letter to the Stuttgart faculty (in German) urging them to transfer non-exclusive rights to the Stuttgart institutional repository.  Also see the letter (in German and English) from the Helmholtz OA project to German researchers, suggesting language for transferring "ein einfaches Nutzungsrecht" or "a simple right of use" to their IR.  Scholars everywhere who want to take advantage of this option have just a bit more than one month to act.

Please spread the word to authors who might be affected, and if your rights might be affected, please read the German law itself, not just my imperfect paraphrase.