Many non-OA publishers still require authors to transfer copyright upon acceptance of an article for publication. Some permit authors to retain the right to self-archive their articles in an OA repository (Green OA), and some do not. A way of dealing with those publishers who don’t currently have policies that permit Green OA is to add an Author Addendum to the publisher’s existing publication agreement.
I’m one of those non-experts on copyright who has been wary about adding an addendum to publication agreements. Why? Mainly, because it’s unfamiliar territory. There’s probably legal quicksand there somewhere, and I won’t realize it’s there until I’ve fallen into it. In particular, which addendum to select? And, where to obtain credible advice?
Many sources of advice are available. For example, Heather Morrison, in a message sent on Feb. 21, 2007 to the AmSci OA Forum, recommended an Author’s Agreement [PDF] that’s available via the College & Research Libraries News section of the website of the American Library Association. Heather likes this model “because of the support for authors’ rights, but also because of the clarity and brevity“. The first two (of three) paragraphs of the agreement:
1. In consideration of the Publisher’s agreement to publish the Work, Author hereby grants and assigns to Publisher the right to print, publish, reproduce, or distribute the Work throughout the world in all means of expression by any method now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format, and to market or sell the Work or any part of it as it sees fit. Author further grants Publisher the right to use Author’s name in association with the Work in published form and in advertising and promotional materials. Copyright of the Work remains in Author’s name.
2. Author agrees not to publish the Work in print form prior to publication of the Work by the Publisher. [ALA requests that should you publish the Work elsewhere, you cite the publication in ALA’s Publication, by author, title, and publisher, through a tagline, author bibliography, or similar means.]
Thus, the author retains copyright, but only agrees not to publish the work in print form prior to publication by the publisher. All other rights are retained by the author (so, Green OA is permitted).
Next, I followed up on an item posted in Peter Suber’s OA News blog on April 12, 2007: OA law program spreads to Canada. This item led me to an item, Open Access Law Canada, posted in Michael Geist’s blog on April 11, 2007. This item, in turn, led me to a webpage for the The University of Ottawa Law and Technology Journal (UOLTJ). The Copyright section provides access to the UOLTJ Publication agreement and copyright licence [PDF]. Section 1.2 of this legal-language document is interesting:
1.2. In addition to the nonexclusive rights granted above, the UOLTJ shall have the exclusive right to publish the Article in the UOLTJ, in print or electronic form, for a period beginning when this Agreement is executed and ending twelve (12) months after publication of the Article in the UOLTJ. During this period of exclusivity, the UOLTJ expressly consents herein that the author may publish the Article on the author’s own website or the SSRN or similar scholarly forum that publishes working draft versions of academic papers, providing that the author indicates, on or in association with the first page of the article, that the article is scheduled for publication, or has been published, in the UOLTJ. The Author agrees not to publish the Article, or any substantially similar article, in any other location until the expiry of the exclusivity period.
Not only does this agreement permit Green OA, but, after a year, all rights are retained by the author.
A Google HTML version of the licence is also available.
Access to the PDF version of this same licence is also available via the Licences page of Open Access Law Canada. This program is part of the Science Commons Scholar’s Copyright Project, which provides access to Creative Commons Licenses and to the very interesting Science Commons Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine. An excerpt from the latter webpage:
Using a simple Web form, authors choose the rights they want to retain and enter basic information like the name of the publisher and the title of the article. The Addendum Engine then generates a completed PDF copy of a one-page standard addendum allowing them to retain rights over the work that would otherwise be wholly forfeited.
“Immediate Access”, “Delayed Access” (6-month embargo), “Access-Reuse” and “MIT Amendment” options are available. The latter is an addendum specifically intended for use by MIT authors. An excerpt:
b. Once the Article has been published by Publisher, the Author shall also have all the non-exclusive rights necessary to make, or to authorize others to make, the final published version of the Article available in digital form over the Internet, including but not limited to a website under the control of the Author or the Author’s employer or through any digital repository, such as MIT’s DSpace or the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central database.
Green OA in various kinds of repositories is permitted. With minor modifications, the MIT Amendment could easily be adapted for use by authors based at other institutions.
3. Repositories. The Author shall retain the right to deposit the published version of the Article in an open-access digital repository maintained by the Author’s employing institution, such as University of Michigan’s “Deep Blue”, by an academic consortium to which the employing institution belongs, such as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), by a non-profit scholarly society, and/or by a governmental funding agency. At the Publisher’s written request, open access to the Article may be delayed for a period not to exceed 12 months from the date of publication.
4. Personal Website. The Author shall retain the right to post the published version of the Article on the Author’s personal website.
Various routes to Green OA are identified and permitted.
For another recent example, see: FAQ on Minnesota’s author addendum, posted by Peter Suber to OA News on June 19, 2007. A CIC Author Addendum [PDF] was adopted on May 3, 2007 by the University of Minnesota. It’s a delayed access addendum. The relevant excerpt:
2. After a period of six(6) months from the date of publication of the article, the Author shall also have all the non-exclusive rights necessary to make, or to authorize others to make, the final published version of the Article available in digital form over the Internet, including but not limited to a website under the control of the Author or the Author’s employer or through digital repositories including, but not limited to, those maintained by CIC institutions, scholarly societies or funding agencies.
So, Green OA (to the final published version) in various types of repositories is permitted, after a 6-month embargo. Perhaps non-OA publishers may be much more willing to accept an addendum that permits Green OA in such a wide variety of repositories if there’s a 6-month embargo?
What about an example of a licence that’s based on the perspective of a journal publisher? Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). The ALPSP Licence to Publish [PDF] allows authors to retain copyright. An excerpt:
Copyright remains yours, and we will acknowledge this in the copyright line which appears on your article. However, you authorise us to act on your behalf to defend your copyright if anyone should infringe it, and to retain half of any damages awarded, after deducting our costs. You also retain the right to use your own article as follows (provided you acknowledge the published original in standard bibliographic citation form), as long as you do not sell it in ways which would conflict directly with our commercial business interests. You are free to use your article for the internal educational or other purposes of your own institution or company; you may mount the pre -publication version (after peer review, but not the published article/PDF) on your own or your institution’s website and post it to free public servers of preprints and/or articles in your subject area; or you may use it, in whole or in part, as the basis for your own further publications or spoken presentations.
This licence permits Green OA to the final pre-publication version (after peer review), with no embargo.
The examples described above provide a range of options. Similarly, if one browses the Green publishers segment of the SHERPA/RoMEO database, it quickly becomes apparent how much policies related to Green OA vary among different publishers. However, the main relevant variables are also highlighted. They include: a) where the publication may be self-archived (e.g. personal website, subject-based or institutional repositories); b) which version may be self-archived (e.g. pre-refereeing preprint, author’s own version of final article, publisher’s version/PDF); c) duration of any post-publication embargo (e.g. none, 6 months, 12 months); d) whether authors may retain copyright (and transfer to the publisher only specified aspects of a bundle of rights, for a specified period). The number of possible permutations and combinations of these variables is quite large.
The question remains: how to select an appropriate Author Addendum? Obviously, it must be one that both the journal publisher and the author(s) will accept. Negotiation with the publisher is required. Negotiations are probably pointless unless authors are willing to change publishers if the negotiations are unsuccessful. I know of no source of information about which particular non-OA publishers have a track record of refusing to accept an Author Addendum (such as, for example, the MIT Amendment).
Is it likely that negotiations among publishers, individual authors, institutions and funding agencies, will soon lead to convergence, so that the number of options is minimized? Perhaps not soon. Publishers of journals that currently enjoy high impact factors, and also have low acceptance rates, are likely to resist any changes as vigorously as is possible without losing credibility. Publishers that are actively attempting to increase the impact factors of their journals, and also the number of submissions, may be more willing to propose or accept changes. Evolution seems inevitable, but it may be slow.