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Princeton bans academics from handing copyright to journal publishers (theconversation.edu.au)
414 points by jamesbritt on Sept 28, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 81 comments



This is an interesting case where you can improve your negotiating leverage by giving up freedom. Consider a researcher who wants their research to be open access. They can attempt to negotiate this every time they send a paper to a journal, but most researchers are not in a very strong negotiating position relative to the journal. Or they can accept a postdoc position at Princeton, which now means that every time they submit a paper, they must inform the journal that unfortunately they cannot assign copyright.

There are many journals who would be willing to decline to publish the papers of an individual intransigent researcher. There are not many journals who would be willing to ban papers from Princeton entirely.

As an example, Dan Bernstein, who is certainly a well-respected researcher in his field, has individually adopted a policy of dedicating his papers to the public domain so that, like researchers employed by the US Government, he cannot assign copyright in them. The IEEE has consequently decided to reject his papers even when its referees accept them, even though they accept papers from US Government researchers: http://cr.yp.to/writing/ieee.html

This kind of phenomenon, where giving up freedom improves your negotiating position, was extensively studied by Schelling in his theory of negotiation.

It's also very relevant to the debate over Treacherous (or "Trusted") Computing, signed bootloaders, and the like. You might prefer not to have the option of cryptographically certifying to Warner Music that your machine is running an approved operating system on approved hardware. That's because if you have that option, they might not sell you music unless you exercise it, probably giving up many of the rights you have under copyright law; while if you don't have that option, they are faced with a less tempting choice of only selling you a CD.

Advocates of these systems sometimes design systems where you have full freedom to run either signed or unsigned software, claiming that this makes their systems safe from abuse. This overlooks this phenomenon, where having a freedom makes you subject to pressure to exercise it.


This is much more like collective bargaining than giving up freedom. If a researcher individually says I will never assign copyright, then they will never get published. If a group of researchers (let's call it a union) bands together, then they get a lot more negotiating power.


> This is much more like collective bargaining than giving up freedom.

Well, it is giving up freedom, regardless of what it is like.

Keep in mind that there is a strong tradition in political discourse (in the U.S. at least) that using the word "freedom" is a signal that we are in favor of something, and thus, that "giving up freedom" is a negative thing. However, "freedom" is a word with a clear definition, and we can use it without intending the above signal.

So, it seems to me that this policy of Princeton's is a fine idea. It is nonetheless a reduction in the freedom of Princeton's faculty.

In contrast, at my own university the faculty contract explicitly assigns rights in their research to the researcher. The university gets a royalty-free license, but that's it. I have never had occasion to consider this contractual clause in a negative light, but here it is: my university could not enact a policy like Princeton's without violating the contract. (OTOH, my university is not nearly as big of a player as Princeton; at present such a policy would probably not be helpful.)


Keep in mind that there is a strong tradition in political discourse (in the U.S. at least) that using the word "freedom" is a signal that we are in favor of something, and thus, that "giving up freedom" is a negative thing.

While that's true, this is a discussion about negotiating in a game-theoretic context. "Giving up freedom" is usually associated with the game of chicken, whereby one party improves their outcomes by "removing their freedom" to select the chicken option. The ggp implies that this was the operating principle, when it in fact is not.

Saying that I have given up the freedom to give other people the copyright to my research, when that was precisely my goal in the first place, is IMHO a clear abuse of language. It's like saying a superbowl team has given up their freedom to lose the playoffs because they decided to practice too much. It's just ridiculous.


Then there's irony afoot - because by 'giving up freedom', they're gaining more freedom to do what they want to do.

Couching this in terms of freedom is the wrong way to think about the issue, methinks - it detracts from the real issue. Freedom in the US is a very politically charged word - as an outsider visiting the US, I could hear a capital F in the word almost every time I heard it in public.


It's politically charged but has little meaning. "They hate us for our Freedom" and "They hate us for being American" are virtually synonymous.

As such I welcome someone using the word correctly for once.


In real terms, in the modern day, Americans are no freer than their contemporaries. They're a bit freer here and a bit less free there, but there's a lot of equivalence in the limitations of what you can do, both legally and culturally.

I certainly found when I visited the US for a while that there was nothing I felt I was freer to do legally (tourists don't really get to 'bear arms'), but plenty I couldn't do culturally - ironically mostly about speaking freely in public. I imagine an American visiting Australia would feel similar cultural restrictions, but again, no particular activity they're used to would be forbidden them legally.

I guess it just irritates when you run into those particular folks who define themselves as 'free' and making you out to be 'not free' by comparison.


But collective bargaining is giving up freedom to get more negotiating power. The union prevents its members from, e.g., working more than a certain number of hours; without that restriction, the members find themselves compelled to do so. Of course, the restriction couldn't exist without the union -- that you have a lot of people acting in concert here is important (since otherwise the restriction couldn't be enforced, and more imporantly for these purposes, would be seen as unenforceable). So in that sense it's not like the case where you deliberately break a machine you own to prevent yourself from having to use it. But both cases make use of this principle.


"A union of researchers" is a pretty good description of a research university, I think.

As others have pointed out, collective bargaining is a particular way of giving up individual freedom.


I quite agree, and think that anyone who participates on Hacker News would probably get a lot out of reading Schelling's book The Strategy of Conflict.


Indeed. However, it's probably worth pointing out that Schelling's approach didn't work very well for the US in Vietnam. That old bastard McNamara, reflecting on the same period in The Fog of War, suggests that understanding your opponent's feelings is a lot more important than understanding the negotiation in a game-theoretic way.


Well, not knowing what your opponents payoff matrix looks like or not even knowing how many separate opponents you have sort of precludes doing much in an abstract game-theoretic way.


A little known fact: the vast majority of grants (by volume of cash) are technically awarded to the professor's university rather than to the professor him/herself, giving the university broad control over the product of the professor's research. At least, this is the case in the life sciences.

From time to time, this yields something good. Props to the grad school I dropped out of :)


This is because to be eligible for a grant, you need to be certified to comply with the federal rules. In most cases, this is done by the university getting the grant, but there are companies that will do this for you for a fee, and even examples where independent researchers have started an "institute" that has been certified. The advantage of the latter alternatives is of course that the administrative overhead is a small fraction of what a large research university charges.


And don't forget about the 40% the university skims off the top (aka "indirect costs").


Overhead on grants is > 50%. The exact rate is negotiated between your university and its major funding agency (NSF or NIH), depending on which provides more grant money in total to your institution. That rate is then used uniformly across all grants.


Yes, Universities have become fiscalized to an extent. They increasingly behave more like businesses whose purpose is to extract grant money from the government than institutions committed to learning and research.

"The Heart of Research is Sick" http://www.labtimes.org/labtimes/issues/lt2011/lt02/lt_2011_...

  Essentially, it’s the publication process.  It has become a system of
  collecting counters for particular purposes – to get grants, to get
  tenure, etc. – rather than to communicate and illuminate findings to
  other people.  The literature is, by and large, unreadable.  It’s all
  written in a kind of code, with inappropriate data in large amounts,
  and the storyline is becoming increasingly orchestrated by this need
  to publish. We all know it. We all suffer from it. I think the changes
  to the scientific enterprise have been inexorable and progressive. The
  deterioration has been so steady that people don’t really realise how
  much things have changed.


A problem for many universities is that they don't even really succeed at it. This grant-sucking infrastructure isn't free, and apart from the direct costs of grantwriting / paperwork / etc., universities sometimes even undertake major expenditures with a view towards making themselves more attractive to grants, e.g. tailoring construction or hiring towards grant opportunities, flying people around and hosting events to oil the gears of potential partnerships, etc., etc.

The top research universities pull in enough grants to make that all worth it, but many smaller universities don't ever come out ahead, though they like to pretend they do. There are small schools where they consider it a huge success that they land a $1m NSF grant now and then, but they are almost certainly spending more than $1m every few years to do so. In addition, even when you do land grants, co-financing is becoming more popular, so the university ends up having to kick in even more money in the successful case.

A bit more on that from Georgia Tech's former CS dean: http://innovate-wwc.com/2011/05/18/if-you-have-to-ask-ten-su...


I always find "50% F&A" to be misleading. You add 50% to the grant budget to figure out how much money to ask for. Therefore, the actual amount of the grant that goes to overhead is more like 33%.


From my understanding working in research (I don't touch grants, though), universities are not supposed to take any administrative fees for small expenditures (I believe my PI said it was $5k here, but it was a while ago that I heard this).


It's actually the opposite, I believe--- equipment expenditures over $5k with expected lifetime >1 yr are considered capital purchases improving the university's facilities, rather than expenses, and not subject to overhead.

It leads to weird situations where it's actually cheaper to load up your $4k server with $1k in crap you don't really need, to turn it into a capital improvement.


That's actually very curious, because the stories I've heard are exactly the opposite of that -- building $100k servers $1k at a time, etc. Perhaps every school skims off the top in a different way.


I have seen substantial Federal grants that restrict overhead a university can take to ~20%. These grants were tied to the PI and the money follows the PI if they change institutions.


Clicking through to the response from Wiley and Elsevier is interesting.

Wiley: "Naturally, we are concerned that posting the final versions of published articles in Open Access and institutional repositories lacking viable business models may have an adverse impact on the business of scholarly communication."

TL;DR: Universities should continue to pay us, because otherwise we won't make any money.


From a student point of view, this is great news. If you don't have a personal subscription to the digital libraries of IEEE/ACM, the amount of hoops that one has to go through to access a research paper, is apalling. I believe that a peer review system used by journals is beneficial, but putting the papers behind a paywall is obstructing access to knowledge.

If anyone has a reference which justifies the paywall charges, please share it.


The peer review system isn't something that the journals provide. All the review work is done by academics who don't get paid a cent for it. Peer review could be done just as easily if papers were published on free web sites like arxiv.org.


I think "appalling" is a bit of hyperbole. I'm for open access, but students at almost every major university can get all the journal articles they want for free at their library. In addition, many/most school have a proxy system so the student can access these resources from home.

The situation is a lot worse for the general public, although even then many public libraries have subscriptions to the largest journals.


students at almost every major university can get all the journal articles they want for free at their library.

Some of us have finished school and left the academy, but would still like to read an journal article from time to time.


movingahead's comment started with "From a student point of view...", and that was the area I was discussing.


From context, he appears to mean "one who studies", rather than "one who's in school."


> although even then many public libraries have subscriptions to the largest journals.

Maybe public libraries in the largest of cities but I've never seen this in libraries in medium-sized (100,000-250,000 people) Massachusetts cities.


"for free at their library" really means paid for by a perhaps non-trivial portion of their tuition


The University of California has ~190k students, and pays $24.3M per year for online journals.

http://www.physorg.com/news195486711.html

Even if this cost were spread over just the students this would be only $100 per student per year. And given that the grant-funded professors use the journals orders of magnitude more, the student's proportional burden is probably less than a dollar. Yes, the cost should be zero, but we're talking about access to all the world's scientific knowledge. This cost is hardly "appalling".


That's only the case if you look at it from the supplier's perspective: "We're giving you so much! So you should give us every last penny you can afford," or (more hyperbolically) "It'd be a shame if something happened to your business here in our territory. Want insurance?" The research has already been paid for by its initial funding. Why should we have to pay an intermediary to access it?

In other words, the question is not how much access to all the world's scientific knowledge is worth, but whether it's acceptable for an entity that had no hand in creating that knowledge to control access to it.


I'm not arguing that this price is correct, just that the OP was over the top. (In fact, I'm a strong believer that the correct economic equilibrium is for the grants to pay for the publication process, with all publications being available free of charge.) If Six Flags amusement park takes advantage of their local-monopoly by charging $3 for a Coke on a hot day, this is an inefficient situation but it isn't appalling. A bit of perspective!

On the other hand, if the university was charging the students $10/hour to access journals they needed to read to graduate, that might indeed be appalling. But, as I originally emphasized, students don't have it that bad!


Ok, I see your point. Still, I can't help but feel like your original counterargument (and the position of the journals) is similar to the argument that getting hit in the head every day with a spoon is better than getting hit every day with a club. It's a tactic used by the copyright industry, for example. They'll say, "Don't like being sued for $1.92mil? How about we shut off your Internet access instead?" Internet disconnection seems a lot less bad than being sued into oblivion, but it's not the only other option (e.g. copyright owners could leave TV shows on Hulu and Netflix instead of teasing with one season, then taking them down).

So to sum up, I'm just trying to avoid and counteract the use of some rhetorical techniques I find off-putting, such as

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Door-in-the-f...

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/False_dilemma


I can't say how much I like this ban. For so many times since I left school and wanted to read an article or so, and be greeted with "summary" of that article. I don't really need to pay $25, for the fact that the journal may have obtained the copyright and sold it to some journal sites.

We could use some open-source concepts for paper publishing.


arxiv.org has >700,000 open access articles in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics. It's a great resource.

The major cost of a journal is the peer review process, editing, and printing. This can really take a substantial portion of someones time. I don't think it justifies a $25 (sometimes over $40) fee to see an article printed 8 years ago though.


> The major cost of a journal is the peer review process, editing, and printing.

Nope, just printing.

Peer review is unpaid. In technical fields, at least, editing these days is done by the author (and/or whoever assists at the author's institution) and sometimes by peer reviewers. With LaTeX being standard, the author even does the great majority of the typesetting work. None of these people are funded by the journal. So you are certainly right about the time required; but the people who spend all this time never see that money.

Now forget the paper version and just put it all on the web, and we see that an academic journal can be run very cheaply indeed.


I phrased that poorly. You are absolutely right, peer reviewers are unpaid.

I also have a big problem with the fact that journals receive a perpetual copyright to the work instead of it becoming an open license 6-months to a year after publication.

Returning to the cost issue. The cost I am referring to comes from paying for the software to manage the peer review process and the time it takes to build the relationships to have enough reviewers available to deal with the first submission and the revision that will almost likely occur.

To put out a single issue with 20 articles can easily involve 50 reviewers and at least 40 authors.

It is the social science and humanities journals that have real problems with getting papers ready for print. It's easy to only think about scientific journals but the reality is a great deal of researchers only have sufficient computer skills. They will write a professional paper and do the best they can to format it but it isn't anywhere near ready to send to the printers.

Large journals can easily cover these costs. Small journals are really struggling to get by. I hear small journal editors talking about how long they will be able to survive. They want to make it work but just don't know how.

It's not an easy problem to solve.


Having articles edited and organized for peer review would then make users of those materials pay for a large sum is still unjustified, given that the cost of producing the material is largely not paid by the publisher.

You may say that the cost of getting an article for $25 is fair given the amount of work done by the publisher is fair, but the author, to my knowledge (since I am not an author of any sorts) they don't receive any payment due to these transactions. I am noy paying for the editing and publishing, I am only paying for the content (more true to CS / science fields, where TeX stuff are pretty common)

What really need to change is the journal oriented way of publishing papers, we don't need to have stuff printed these days, as far as my university life went, I have only read one or two articles in printed form because I happened to be inside the library.

As much as computerized content goes, layout and stuff are much more automatic, and by providing writers with better and simplier tools, we may be able to save more trees by going digital.


What journal pays scientists to peer review?


Creative Commons?


The problem with this approach is that smaller universities can't afford to do this.

I think this problem needs to be adressed at funding agency level, with funding agencies requiring that all publication be made available on the agency's website.


+1 to you, but somebody needed to make the first move, and I think most professors at smaller universities would be happy to publish wherever professors at Princeton are publishing.


In some fields, I think this may have huge impact. No math or CS journal would want to be unable to accept Princeton publications.

Even if publishers make exemptions rather than change their policies, it sets a precedent that exemptions can be made for institutional requirements.


You might be interested in a rather spirited debate with the head of the ACM here:

https://plus.google.com/117898054357703859389/posts/b783VnN4...


Why? What are the costs, aside from an http server that hosts PDFs?


The cost is that if Podunk University in Podunk, Texas adopts Princeton's policy, Elsevier and Wiley can simply decline to publish anything written by the three Ph.D.s on their faculty. That will make it difficult for Podunk to attract a fourth Ph.D., and even the three it has may choose to give up tenure there in search of someplace they can publish.

However, if a few big universities follow Princeton's lead here, that cost will disappear.


From Springer's "copyright transer statement": An author may self-archive an author-created version of his/her article on his/her own website. He/she may also deposit this version on his/her institution's and funder's repository at the funder request or as a result of a legal obligation...

Many publishers have a similar clause. My institution (a french research institute) also requires me to put my publications on their public repository and it does not create problems for journals in CS.

Non-false title may be "Princeton bans publishers from handling copyright to journal publishers who ban authors from publishing their articles on their website."


The key word here is "author-created version". After publication you are allowed to put a preprint version of your manuscript on your website but you can't upload the PDF of your final paper. Most people do that anyway but it's technically not allowed.

Princeton wants to stop this.


Again, it varies by publisher. For instance, CUP (at least for the type of journals that I read) allows the author to put up a preprint (before peer review) or a postprint (after review but before editing) on a personal page or the institutional repository immediately on acceptance; once the final version is available on their website (I think), you can also put it up on your own page; and once a year has passed after publication, you can also upload it to the repository. It's not optimal, but it's much better than nothing.


It does vary widely from publisher to publisher. Here is a database of publisher policies on this issue: http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/


So that means Princeton requires publishers to hand all their copyright to Princeton? Not that it adds much value but the published article contains the logo of the publisher, some work done by the publisher's typesetters and occasionnaly other copyrighted materials.


It's my understanding that research done at government labs comes with a similar restriction, and that it's been standard practice for years for these researchers to reserve copyright on their publications. If that's true, then this will give Princeton researchers the leverage they need to retain copyright to their publications. Even though there's theoretically a waiver process, I'm going to bet that most authors won't want to go through that process, since the work is more valuable to them if they retain the ability to distribute it themselves.


Government employees' work by law is in the public domain:

"Copyright protection under this title is not available for any work of the United States Government, but the United States Government is not precluded from receiving and holding copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise." (17 U.S.C. § 105)

"A 'work of the United States Government' is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties." (17 U.S.C. § 101)

...although I disagree that the pressure to give away copyright is weak. At least in the life sciences, the prestige you get from a publication in, say, Nature or Science is far more valuable than the work alone.


...The policy authors acknowledged that this may make the rule toothless in practice...

Er, hello? If the policy is just a paper tiger, perhaps that fact should go in the title?

I think this is a great step, but if it's largely symbolic, that's a pretty important part of the story and doesn't deserve to be in paragraph 10

I'm left questioning how much is real and how much is spin, which is not where I want to be as a reader.


Sometimes I think the academic publishing mechanisms are broken. It takes so much time for your idea and research to be visible... you write the paper, it get reviewed, presented on a conference, published in journals and then months/years later someone actually sees it.

Compare that to the web, where an elaborate blog post and a project on GitHub is enough to become visible to the entire world within hours.

Percentage wise, how much influence did academic papers have on your day to day work in the last year compared to new stuff you found on the web?


I'm trying to understand your concern. While the general public may not interface with new research until it gets published, the researcher's colleagues typically hear about big findings within weeks, or at worst months (conferences).

If you're not in field X, you won't hear about new research until later. But if you're not in field X, how often does it matter that you weren't on the bleeding edge of something in that field?


Is there any reason why publications can't be publicly available before they are reviewed? The journals could still play the same role, highlighting the most significant publications. I'm not an academic so I'm not familiar with the feedback process between a journal and a paper's author. Is there any reason that any refinements couldn't take place in public. A version of github focused on academic papers would seem like a good model.


When a paper fits into one of the categories arXiv accepts, that's more or less what happens (modulo the cranks who claim to prove Riemann's hypothesis every now and then, but that's a whole different topic :)

The difficulty is that some publishers don't allow you to make pdfs of the final versions of papers freely available. Of course, you can always publish draft versions, which is not entirely a bad thing.


There's nothing preventing professors from posting papers to their website or the arXiv.

I imagine you could incorporate revisions if you liked. (And my "I imagine", I mean "I did this when I published papers in the past".) This is probably against the letter of the copyright agreement, but I don't give a damn, and AFAIK publishers don't dare go after people who do this.


Perhaps as a counterexample: in my day to day work, I write numerical code. Academic papers are still a better influence as compared to stuff that can be found directly on the web. To be fair, given that a lot more academics are making their work available on their websites, and I can see where this situation might reverse in the not-so-distant future.


It is as bad as you say in many of the humanities, but the sciences have a preprint culture that makes ideas visible as soon as they are written up.


Sounds good, but a truck-sized loophole?

In cases where the journal refuses to publish their article without the academic handing all copyright to the publisher, the academic can seek a waiver from the open access policy from the University.

The policy authors acknowledged that this may make the rule toothless in practice but said open access policies can be used “to lean on the journals to adjust their standard contracts so that waivers are not required, or with a limited waiver that simply delays open access for a few months.”


Make the application procedure time and effort consuming (Although I can't imagine how university policies could be anything but) and hope to induce researchers to submit to publications that don't require the waiver.

It's a bit unfair to the actual researchers, but if they start putting pressure on the journal publishers -- "Sorry, you've got a high impact factor and I'd love to publish with you, but I can't justify the 2 weeks of fighting with the bureaucracy about a waiver" -- and you might see some progress.

Or their grad students will get another shitty task piled on their list. Hmmmmm.


It's not as good as the title says. The journal publishers will still own the copyright, they will just have to license some rights to the university.


From the article: "academic staff will grant to The Trustees of Princeton University “a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all copyrights in his or her scholarly articles published in any medium, whether now known or later invented, provided the articles are not sold by the University for a profit, and to authorise others to do the same.”"

That means unless a waiver is given, it doesn't matter what the journal does or thinks, the university can publish the material anyway it likes. A compromise of sorts, but the effect is that more people potentially have access.


If more universities support this kind of policies, the momentum could break the current problem of priced access to results of research that are not in any way, paid by the journal publishers. As indicated by the article, peer reviewers are not paid for that, and so merely the editors are paid in due course. However, charging for the price of what an article needs, is far from what the cost could really justify itself with.

Just have a thought, do we really need journal publishers these days? It was once a time we don't have any means than print publishing to exchange views, now we have the series of tubes to do so.


The main thing the journals produce is prestige.


That, and reliability. You're assured that some kind of peer-review happened, at some point, and that some standards were met. What standards, and what kind of peer review, will differ per journal.


I think there still definitely needs to be some sort of filter for academic research. Probably not the journal system anymore but something has to replace it, as most don't have time to trawl through things of questionable quality in the hope of finding something useful.


What I think might be good would be something like this. It's based on the notion that being a good researcher and being good at reading and reviewing research papers are not necessarily the same skill.

1. Have a place for open publication, like arxiv.org, but with a system of non-anonymous commenting and rating. So if someone puts a paper there, others can comment on it and rate it. Ratings could include several categories, such as clarity, importance, rigor, and so on.

2. There should be a system to rate the reviewers.

3. Out of this would emerge a growing collection of reviewers who are recognized as being very good at reviewing papers.

4. Reviewers would start publishing lists of papers they have recently reviewed, broken down by field.

5. Scientists would subscribe to these lists from the top reviewers in their field.

6. Reviewing could become a profession. A researcher who wants to make sure his paper gets attention could pay one or more high rated reviewers to review it. Note that for reviewers it is important to maintain a reputation as an accurate and honest reviewer, which I think would be enough of a safe guard against authors being able to buy good reviews for bad papers.


This is a good idea, but I think even something much simpler along these lines would work.

If arXiv allowed for signed comments, then famous people could say as little as "This is an interesting paper, and everyone interested in X should read it", and that would do a lot for the reputations of unknown people who are doing good work.


The existing academic journals could certify only the works that meet their existing publishing criteria, and charge for this service, whilst making all works freely available.

No one is restricted, and everyone knows where to go to avoid having to trawl through the dross themselves.


With much the same effect, MIT and Harvard have demand the right to make available their researcher's publications, with a similar opt-out clause.

The experience is that the opt-out does get used a fair bit in biomed.


Princeton is not the first institution to do this, and many publishers have been flexible if you don't want to handle copyright for your work. I think this won't change much because academics are still required to publish in the same journals, and references are made to journal publications instead of web sites. Even today one can easily post papers in their personal website without problems.


I tend to grab the paper title and search for it as a literal string, and in the majority of cases, the only full version available is behind a journal paywall.

Sometimes, especially in CS, you get lucky and find a citeseer or personal-page copy, but anything IEE(E) is pretty rare IME.


What other institutions do this?


I know about AT&T Labs. There are others with similar requirements, and publishers know this.


LIKE ITS HARVARD MODEL, PRINCETON'S OPEN ACCESS POLICY NEEDS TO ADD AN IMMEDIATE-DEPOSIT REQUIREMENT, WITH NO WAIVER OPTION

http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/844-guid.h...

1. First, congratulations to Princeton University (my graduate alma mater!) for adopting an open access mandate: a copyright-reservation policy, adopted by unanimous faculty vote.

2. Princeton is following in the footsteps of Harvard in adopting the copyright-reservation policy pioneered by Stuart Shieber and Peter Suber.

4. I hope that Princeton will now also follow in the footsteps of Harvard by adding an immediate-deposit requirement with no waiver option to its copyright-reservation mandate, as Harvard has done.

5. The Princeton copyright-reservation policy, like the Harvard copyright-reservation policy, can be waived if the author wishes: This is to allow authors to retain the freedom to choose where to publish, even if the journal does not agree to the copyright-reservation.

6. Adding an immediate-deposit clause, with no opt-out waiver option, retains all the properties and benefits of the copyright-reservation policy while ensuring that all articles are nevertheless deposited in the institutional repository upon publication, with no exceptions: Access to the deposited article can be embargoed, but deposit itself cannot; access is a copyright matter, deposit is not.

7. Depositing all articles upon publication, without exception, is crucial to reaching 100% open access with certainty, and as soon as possible; hence it is the right example to set for the many other universities worldwide that are now contemplating emulating Harvard and Princeton by adopting open access policies of their own; copyright reservation alone, with opt-out, is not.

8. The reason it is imperative that the deposit clause must be immediate and without a waiver option is that, without that, both when and whether articles are deposited at all is indeterminate: With the added deposit requirement the policy is a mandate; without it, it is just a gentleman/scholar's agreement.

[Footnote: Princeton's open access policy is also unusual in having been adopted before Princeton has created an open access repository for its authors to deposit in: It might be a good idea to create the repository as soon as possible so Princeton authors can get into the habit of practising what they pledge from the outset...]

Stevan Harnad EnablingOpenScholarship




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