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

Michael Nielsen mn at michaelnielsen.org
Mon Dec 12 00:40:47 UTC 2011

On Sun, 11 Dec 2011, Heather Morrison wrote:

> 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?

Personally, if the work is publicly funded then I think CC-BY or public 
domain is appropriate.  The reason is that a major motivator for public 
funding of long-term basic research is that the research can later be used 
by anyone as the basis of commercial products which benefit the broader 
public; the rising tide floats all boats argument for supporting public 
funding of basic research.  If researchers wish not to contribute to a 
broader commons, then I believe they should forfeit the public funding.

On the other hand, if the research is funded in some other way --- by a 
company, or out of the author's own pocket, for example --- then I think 
it's up to the people funding the work to decide under what license it 
should be released.  I certainly have no problem with a CC-BY-NC or more 
restrictive license under those circumstances, for many of the reasons 
Heather describes.


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