Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on the APS licensing terms

Stevan Harnad, The American Physical Society Is Not The Culprit: We Are, Open Access Archivangelism, March 27, 2008.

Summary.  A journal's copyright transfer agreement is too restrictive only if it tries to disallow author self-archiving of the accepted, refereed final draft (the "postprint"), free for all on the Web, where any user webwide can access, read, download, print-out, store, and data-mine that full-text for any research purpose whatsoever. The American Physical Society (APS) was always the most progressive of the established subscription-based publishers, and the very first to adopt a Green policy on author OA self-archiving. Today, 62% of journals are Green, but only about 15% of articles are being self-archived. Hence the first and foremost priority today is to get all authors self-archiving and all journals Green. Institutional and funder OA self-archiving mandates can and will ensure that both these things come to pass. This is not the time to be pursuing still more rights from Green publishers, particularly the most progressive one of all, APS. It's the time to self-archive and mandate self-archiving. The rest will take care of itself, but not if we keep chasing after what we don't need instead of grasping what is already within our reach....

PS:  For my comments on the same controversy, see my post from March 14.

Update (4/2/08).  Stevan has posted a follow-up to his original post:

Summary:  I agree completely with Jonathan Oppenheim's and Bill Unruh's ends: (1) that authors should be able to publish and post derivative works and (2) that they should be able to adopt the Creative Commons license of their choice. I disagree only with their means: The American Physical Society (APS), the most progressive and adaptable of traditional journal publishers and the first to have adopted a formal policy endorsing Green OA self-archiving after the practice had evolved among its authors, should not now be publicly pressured into making further formal changes as if it were the villain, while so many other publishers still aren't even Green. Evolving practice should precede formal precept in the online age, when the research community is still discovering and exploring the potential of the new medium. The APS would no more try to prevent its authors from posting derivative works than it did in the case of the posting of their preprints and postprints. The practice (and mandating) of Green OA self-archiving, once it has generated universal OA, will effectively moot everything that stands in the way of CC licensing too....