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U of California policy extends free access to all articles by UC employees (universityofcalifornia.edu)
119 points by benbreen on Oct 27, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 12 comments

I am a graduate student at UC Davis and a member of the GSA, and while I am very glad this is and has been happening, I have a long-standing complaint: These policies are not Open Access policies.

They facilitate and encourage open access and availability, but does not require it; that is an Open Access Option, not Policy. This is essentially an opt-out system (good!) but the opt-out waiver is very easy. We can all imagine certain publishers demanding proof of an opt-out waiver before accepting a paper. It's unclear to me how they deal with multiple authors differing on opinion, or from different institutions, but those are thorny issues.

Additionally, users can choose from any CreativeCommons license. I love CC, but CC-BY-NC-ND is VERY different from CC-BY. Both OA? Maybe, under a fairly narrow definition of access; PLOS defines open access as "unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse"[1], so to them this isn't OA.

It is a fine policy and a net-positive, but it's not an Open Access policy.

1: https://www.plos.org/open-access/

> I love CC, but CC-BY-NC-ND is VERY different from CC-BY. Both OA? Maybe, under a fairly narrow definition of access;

CC-BY-NC-ND is just fine, and it seems entirely reasonable to call it “open access”. By far the most important thing the public can do with scientific papers is read them.

Obviously it can sometimes be nice to allow translations to other languages, interpretations in other media, bundling of collections of papers, reuse of the figures in other people’s works, copy/pasting the text into Wikipedia, or whatever.

But if folks need to get separate dispensation from the author/publisher for such additional uses, I have no problem with that.

It does meet the most basic requirement of being free to read. That's a huge improvement.

I've no problem with BY, but NC and ND are quite restrictive. ND particularly as the license says I can't "build upon" the material. What does that mean in a scientific paper, I can't replicate your experiment? I can't create improvements to your algorithm and publish a new paper?

It's not that bad. Copyright covers the publication, in this case the written paper, not the technique; that could be covered by a patent, but is unlikely. For basic, wet-lab bench research, traditional copyright has for example permitted replication forever - no issue there.

Code is a trickier issue, but generally no, you could not publish derivative code. Not that you generally can under traditional copyright.

The UC FAQ about the policies anticipates and acknowledges one such issue:

>My publisher’s policy says _____________, which is different from UC’s OA policies.

>Publishers’ policies will not, by default, represent the terms of institutional open access policies. You should read, and keep, any agreement you sign. In particular, you may want to look out for rare contract terms asking you to affirm that you have obtained a waiver of any institutional open access policy, or that you have not previously licensed any rights in your article to anyone besides your publisher.

I am confused by this. In CS, at least, on publication the ACM generally receives the copyright to the paper, so I don't understand how any faculty or students could actually change the terms of the license.

Don't you post your papers on the arxiv? That's basically the same thing. You put the paper in the UC eScholarship repository in addition to publishing it as you normally would. If the publisher complains, then there will be a problem. But they are already dealing with the arxiv without issues.

Not in CS, but there is a strong tradition of hosting copies on personal websites. The ACM is generally pretty lax on that, but technically they own the copyright.

According to the ACM copyright policy at http://www.acm.org/publications/policies/copyright_policy#Re..., the transfer agreement states that the author retains the right to publish on their home page and on an institutional repository.

There is also similar language in the licensing agreement used when authors choose to exclusively license to ACM rather than transfer copyright to ACM [1].

Under both agreements the author also has the right to publish, before peer review commences, a copy of the submitted version to non-peer servers, which would cover things like arXiv.org.

[1] http://www.acm.org/publications/ACM-PubLicenseAgreement.pdf

There seems to be a lot of CS papers on arxiv: http://arxiv.org/corr/home

It looks like this extends the right for the author to decide on an open access publication from those who are "part of a faculty governance system" to "everyone who authors scholarly articles while employed by UC", including 'eScholarship', which is their own "Open-Access scholarly publishing services".

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