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

Egon Willighagen egon.willighagen at gmail.com
Mon Dec 12 07:16:47 UTC 2011

Dear Heather, others,

> 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.

I do not have a secure position, yet I do not feel the NC clause is
useful. There is no cause-effect relation any need and the use of NC.

In fact, I think removal of the NC clause is a opportunity for these
untenured scientists, as it allows them to set up a business around
non-NC content, as it may fit their need.

For example, the NC clause is incompatible with the Debian Free
Software Guidelines, meaning that any NC material is a no-go area for
mixing with Open Source tools I am working on. It means I cannot use
NC material to create better application. So, closed area to such

And that means, very much reduced changes for me to get enough funding
to get tenured.

On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 6:40 AM, Heather Morrison <heatherm at eln.bc.ca> wrote:
> On 11-Dec-11, at 9:15 PM, Michael Nielsen wrote:
>> I don't see how a journal article can be regarded as fully open when it
>> can't be reused for commercial purposes.  It's such a huge restriction, as
>> others have pointed out.
> Let's agree to disagree on this. I am aware that there are many who think
> that open access is equivalent to CC-BY.

I agree Open Access is a bad term, and used for completely different
concepts. I prefer not to use it.

> I hope that after this discussion,
> all are aware that there is no consensus on this point among open access
> advocates. To be clear, I do not merely mean to say that sometimes we must
> compromise. From my perspective, CC-BY is a weaker form of open access, that
> superficially appears to map to the BOAI definition, but this will not work
> out in practice because of the world that we live and the things that people
> must do to survive in it.

The Open Source community has struggled this for years, yet, the NC
clause is not used there. Companies have been very successful, and
many survive in that environment. In your opinion, what aspects of
publishing papers and software being different mean that a world
without NC works for software but not for publishing?

> Here is where I think we differ a little in perspective. Perhaps this could
> be because I come from a less intensively capitalist country? It would
> rarely make sense to me to refer to individuals as privately funded.

I believe all current generation scientists are running a one-man
business: they sell there services to the higher bidder (not
necessarily financially; yeah, I am looking at you, University of X!),
while keeping their on interest in mind, besides that of the group
they work in (they are expected to show independence!). So, I rather
see myself as a self-funded scientist, who just gets funding from
different universities.

This situation is not rare, and is the only thing I see around me.

My point is... the NC clause / tenure / finance situation is not a
directed dependencies. It both makes it harder and simpler... neither
really matters, it's the eco system that can be created without the NC
clause that really matters. Open Source has shown this to work, and I
have not seen arguments why this would not work for publications


Dr E.L. Willighagen
Postdoctoral Researcher
Institutet för miljömedicin
Karolinska Institutet (http://ki.se/imm)
Homepage: http://egonw.github.com/
LinkedIn: http://se.linkedin.com/in/egonw
Blog: http://chem-bla-ics.blogspot.com/
PubList: http://www.citeulike.org/user/egonw/tag/papers

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