[open-science] SPARC author addendum uses CC-NC licence and now all hybrid publishers have followed

Heather Morrison heatherm at eln.bc.ca
Sun Dec 11 17:08:28 UTC 2011

Some further thoughts on CC licenses and open access:

Scholars need and want to disseminate their work, and for others to  
build on it. Open access is awesome for that. However, scholars are  
also human beings who need food and shelter. Peter Murray-Rust, may I  
assume  that you have a secure, tenured position and financial  
security for your retirement? If so, this is great, but you should be  
aware that this not true for an increasing percentage of scholars  
today. In the U.S., for example, my understanding is that 75% of  
courses are now taught by sessionals.

 From the American Association of University Professors FAQ, here are  
some of measures being taken to address the financial crisis in  
academia: "hiring and salary freezes, furloughs, salary cuts, layoffs,  
nonrenewals, reduction and elimination of academic programs and  
colleges, revision of curricula, changes in academic policy,  
elimination of tenure, substantial changes in workload"...

As a personal story, lack of financial security is one of the reasons  
why I use CC-NC. The vast majority of my own work is not funded at  
all. This is increasingly common in the social sciences and  
humanities. There could be a point in time where I might have good  
reason to want to try to sell some of my work, to pay my rent and  
grocery bills. Not that I personally am that important, but the  
measures mentioned above indicate that I have plenty of company. Like  
most scholars and publishers, I am the 99%.

If I gave away my work and saw that someone else had sold it and kept  
the profits for themselves, I would be MAD. Not only at them - but  
also at anyone who told me that I should give away my work. If I was  
among those who were recently laid off, and I saw someone else  
profiting off my work, I would be REALLY REALLY MAD. Wouldn't you?

Publishers also need resources in order to produce work, whether this  
is paid, volunteer, or in-kind. There are some areas where funding is  
generous and full support for OA via article processing fees may well  
be feasible. However, in many scholarly areas funding is much less  
generous, and publishers may NEED to reserve commercial rights. Even  
with the well-funded areas, if publishers develop hybrid revenue  
streams by reserving commercial rights, that might well make it  
possible to offer more affordable article processing fees to academia.

Regarding CC abandoning NC: I am trying to recommend to CC (if I can  
get registered to speak) that they adjust the licenses rather than  
abandoning NC. For example, if there is concern that people are  
interpreting NC as not including educational rights, then add a  
statement to the NC license along the lines of "Education is not  
commercial". Not only would this improve the NC license, in the long  
term I believe that this will add to support for good overall  
copyright licensing on an international level, as education should be  
understood as noncommercial, period. If CC abandons NC, I would have  
to abandon CC. (I would like to note that I am a strong supporter of  
CC today - I speak out for CC, use the licenses, encourage others to  
do so, and contribute to the annual donation campaign).

While we are on the topic of CC licensing, some comments about the  
other elements:

SA: this is necessary to ensure that authors, their publishers and  
institutions, who give away their works have access to derivatives  
built on them. This is not just a third-world problem. I hear that  
there have been severe funding cuts to higher education even in the UK.

Noderivatives: there are valid scholarly reasons why noderivatives may  
sometimes be a superior license. One example is the area at the  
boundary of pharmacology and toxicology. Here, relying on an imperfect  
translation could kill people. Another is that in some scholarly  
areas, such as literature and art, creative expression is the very  
heart of the scholarship. It strikes me that many scholars would be  
more likely to share their work if they felt comfortable that they had  
the right to insist on no derivatives.

I hope this message gets through to the list - my last two messages to  
the open science list don't seem to have gone through.


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

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