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

Carl Boettiger cboettig at gmail.com
Tue Dec 13 00:55:20 UTC 2011

On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 4:35 PM, Heather Morrison <heatherm at eln.bc.ca> wrote:
> On 2011-12-12, at 4:09 PM, Carl Boettiger wrote:
> Do we agree that publishers cannot profit directly by having NC and do it only out of the sense of injustice Marcus outlines?
> Comments:
> Good question, Carl. Most scholarly journals today still rely primarily on subscriptions revenue - and all hybrid journals are by definition subscriptions journals. Giving away your journal for commercial purposes means that someone else can sell subscriptions to your journal, quite possibly at a lower price.

Sorry, I should have clarified.  Under Peter's description, I think
we're only discussing publications that are already view-able for
free, (what some call "open access").  Someone could already mirror
the paper for free, the difference between NC then and non-NC is
whether that other person could make money in so doing.  I'm curious
if the journal just doesn't want others making that money, (a sense of
"injustice," but not an economic incentive to keep NC) or if they
actually lose potential profit.  I doubt highly that they'd lose
profits based on lost subscription revenue based solely on mirrors of
their content driving down subscriptions.  I presume that bundled
journals are the main reason they don't lose subscription costs (the
sell to the library a subscription for many journals at a single
price, which includes a mix of stuff that is accessible and isn't),
and that protection has nothing to do with whether the elements that
are freely view-able have NC protection.

I'm curious if the journal hopes to leverage some added-value product
itself by carrying NC licenses, rather than what I see as an
economically irrelevant motive of "injustice."  For instance, if they
not only had but owned the NC license & not the author, they could
sell added value services such as text-mining, while still claiming to
provide "Open Access" (gratis access) publications (which presumably
has market value in boosting image and attracting those extensive fees
from grant agencies to "cover costs").

As a side note, I'm entertained to see that the most expensive open
access fees are charged by journals using NC licenses, which suggests
that a more permissive BY license is not necessarily more "expensive"
in terms of opportunity cost for the journal. But then the prices are
so arbitrary, only an economist could believe they have any signal of
actual costs to the journals...

> best,
> Heather Morrison, MLIS
> hgmorris at sfu.ca
> Doctoral Candidate, Simon Fraser University School of Communication
> http://pages.cmns.sfu.ca/heather-morrison/
> The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
> http://poeticeconomics.blogspot.com

Carl Boettiger
UC Davis

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