[open-science] Discussion of Open Access and CC licences in science

Heather Morrison heatherm at eln.bc.ca
Mon Dec 12 15:53:14 UTC 2011

hi Peter,

Good points, I agree that the different types are distinct.

On 12-Dec-11, at 1:03 AM, Peter Murray-Rust wrote:

> I am pleased to see strong discussion on OKF lists. Several issues  
> have been raised (some by me). It may be useful to draw some  
> distinctions.
> * The context of the discussion is largely scholarly publication. If  
> we step outside this then I think there will be littel consensus

Even within scholarly journal article publishing, there is no  
consensus on CC licenses.

> * There is a distinction between monographs and articles in serials.  
> Open Access for monographs is much less advanced than for serials.
> * Most scholarly publication occurs in science and most of that is  
> funded directly or indirectly from the public purse (including  
> charities). We can exclude companies publishing their work.

Humanities and social science researchers do a lot of scholarly  
publication, too. I would argue that there should be more humanities  
and social sciences scholarship, and publishing, and funding.

> * The public purse expects "Open" publication. It spends (world  
> wide) about 100,000,000,000 -> 1,000,000,000,000 USD on the research  
> (I have tried to get better figures). The public purse spends about  
> 10,000,000,000 USD on publication (author and reader-sides).
> The particular issue is that funders require Open Access and many  
> publishers resist this. Large amounts are spent on funded Open  
> Access (up to  5000 USD per article). There is no consensus on what  
> funders or authors get for this sum (a wide variety of licences are  
> used - see Ross' fantastic spreadsheet). My personal view is that  
> 5000 USD for a NC licence (as opposed to a free Green copy of the  
> author's manuscript) represents almost no added values.

No one should spend $5,000 USD for article processing fees, period. It  
is important to consider economic sustainability of scholarly  
publishing, not just access. If a publisher asks for $5,000 USD,  
libraries and funders should say either NO, or we'll fund you up to a  
more reasonable limit e.g. $1,500. If scholars wish to publishers who  
behave like this, this is a good illustration of why we need green OA  
for the time being.

> If arts and humanities feel that CC-NC meets their needs - where  
> there is no implicit or explicitly funder - then I probably shan't  
> challenge this. But if CC-NC is used for science we shall have  
> monumentally reduced the value of the work that has been funded.

I don't think that I, or any one person or small group of people, can  
speak for all of the arts and humanities.

> I suggest that we restrict a major part of our discussion to the  
> area I have outlined above - funded research isn scientific serials.  
> If others wish to discuss monographs, etc. then let's label them as  
> separate discussions.

Most of the large commercial publishers have holdings across the  
disciplines. If we tell Springer, for example, that all their OA  
journals should be CC-BY, this impacts arts and humanities as well.  
There is increasing interdisciplinarity in scholarship. Many journals  
publish in areas that encompass sciences and social sciences, for  

> The urgent issue for science is to urge that all funded publication  
> of scientific articles should be CC-BY. The arguments about creative  
> artists protecting their work may be valid elsewhere but should not  
> spill over into science.

I am not sure that I agree with this. The green road may be the best  
approach. Pushing for CC-BY gives the big commercial publishers clout  
to go for the $5,000 license.


Heather Morrison

> -- 
> Peter Murray-Rust
> Reader in Molecular Informatics
> Unilever Centre, Dep. Of Chemistry
> University of Cambridge
> CB2 1EW, UK
> +44-1223-763069

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