[open-science] How CC-BY can become TA

Heather Morrison heatherm at eln.bc.ca
Wed Dec 14 18:01:00 UTC 2011

The following is meant as just one example of what I see as a serious vulnerability that CC-BY brings to OA, and why I so strongly oppose defining OA as CC-BY.

There are businesses that sell academic jounal articles on a for-profit basis (document delivery services). Here is just one example:

If a journal or author uses the CC-BY license, these services can sell these articles, too. If anything happens to the original OA copy, then there is a realistic possibility that the only way to access the copy will be to pay these charges. 

These businesses have every incentive to work to eliminate the free competition. This is how businesses work! Businesses like this (and our regular commercial for-profit scholarly publishers) are lobbying at an international level to eliminate traditional library interlibrary loan services, for example. They can use business-friendly trade agreements to challenge any public support for open access. If we can be sure that there is a strong and healthy public sector into the future, public and academic libraries with a mission of public service, there would be no worries, as this sector could look after ensuring ongoing OA. However, libraries and public services everywhere are under threat as well. Canada's national science library, for example (CISTI), recently underwent a 70% cut, including the provision of cost-recovery document delivery, on the grounds that the commercial sector can provide this service. 

This is just one example of how CC-BY can become TA.

Heather Morrison, MLIS
Doctoral Candidate, Simon Fraser University School of Communication
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics

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