Re: Central versus institutional self-archiving

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 2004 16:27:35 +0100

On Mon, 30 Aug 2004, Richard Poynder wrote:

> > Ann Okerson wrote:
> > Copyright: I've wondered how US legislation will be rewritten, as it
> > would need to be. At this point, Section 105 of the US Copyright Act
> > declares that the created work of government employees on government
> > time is in the public domain. In this case, Section 105 language will
> > need a significant adjustment: (1) either government funded work, even
> > when not performed by government employees, will be "government work" by
> > definition; or (2) private researchers, when working under government
> > funding, become at that time government employees. (This is a variant
> > of the Martin Sabo bill of last year, showing up in a different way.)
> > The legislation would need to be clear both when the articles come into
> > the public domain and that authors' moral rights are being retained even
> > as the other basic rights of copyright would not be. (I think this kind
> > of legislation could be a real issue for institutions benefitting from
> > government funding -- universities, for example.)
> I wonder if a change in copyright legislation would indeed be necessary.
> Is not the recommendation simply that the published output of all
> NIH-funded research be archived in PMC? If so, does this inevitably mean
> that the research has to be formally placed into the public domain, or
> that the authors (or their institutions, or the publisher, or whoever the
> copyright is vested in) will have to give up copyright? Perhaps a more
> flexible approach would be to utilise some form of Creative Commons
> licence?

I agree with Richard Poynder. OA is not about about changing copyright
legislation; it is about providing immediate, permanent, toll-free
full-text online access webwide (aka, Open Access, OA).

And the House/NIH recommendation is not about changing copyright
legislation but about mandating that the fundee must provide OA for all
NIH-funded research, by self-archiving all resulting journal-article
full-texts toll-free online.

The one small thing that needs to be amended in the eventual US Bill
is that it should not stipulate that the self-archiving *must* be in
PMC. All that is necessary is to mandate that every article must be
self-archived in an OAI-compliant OA archive. All OAI-compliant OA
archives are interoperable.

Hence it does not matter which OA archive contains the article; it is as
if they all did. Moreover, the interoperability means that their metadata
(author, title, journal, date) are all harvestable, so PMC too can harvest
the metadata of all NIH-funded in OAI-compliant OA archives automatically
(or can even stipulate that the researcher must deposit the article's
*metadata* in PMC directly).

But the full-texts themselves need not be self-archived
in PMC, and it is in fact preferable that they should be
self-archived in the author's own institutional OA archives,
as stipulated by the UK's recommended legistlation.

This small but important amendment will then allow the US self-archiving
mandate to propagate naturally beyond the NIH mandate's remit (NIH-funded
biomedical research) to all research output, in all of each institution's

The amendment will also prevent it from running needlessly
counter to publishers' concerns about authorizing 3rd-party
self-archiving (hence potentially authorizing free-riding 3rd-party
rival-publishers). Ninety-two percent of the nearly 9000 journals sampled
to date (including all of the core journals) have given their green light
to author self-archiving, but a number of publishers specify institutional
rather than central self-archiving.

Stevan Harnad


    "Public Access to Science Act (Sabo Bill, H.R. 2613)"

    "Central versus institutional self-archiving" (Aug 8)

    "AAU misinterprets House Appropriations
    Committee Recommendation" (Aug 3)

    "Re: Mandating OA around the corner?"
Received on Mon Aug 30 2004 - 16:27:35 BST

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