Re: Proposed update of BOAI definition of OA: Immediate and Permanent

From: Imre Simon <is_at_IME.USP.BR>
Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 05:17:35 -0300

If I may add my two cents to this discussion, what is needed is not a
revision of this or that definition but an unequivocal legal license by
which the author permits the perpetual distribution of his/her work and
of derivative works on the Internet. Immediately and irrevocably.

Next thing needed is the technological realization of a universal open
access library on the Internet, where everyone can distribute the works
one finds worth of investing the corresponding resources. There is no
such thing as a permanent access to anything. It only exists as far as
there are interested parties in preserving the access. The technology
should make it easy for anyone to add his or her resources to preserve
any given publication. I believe that the OAI protocol is a very good
first step in this direction, but it is not at all completely satisfactory.

Third and most difficult of all, what is needed is the articulation of a
social movement by which authors get sufficiently motivated to give top
priority to the use of said license (or one of a set of said licenses)
in publishing their works. This movement should be strong enough to
convince the publishers, for profit companies, not for profit university
publishers or scientific societies to accept processing and printing the
papers under such a license and without the authors transferring their
copyrights integrally. Eventually, an exclusive right to a printed
edition may be part of said license. Of course, something like this is
already done by some OA journals but the community needs to extend this
to all publishers!

This might sound very far fetched but I would like to call your
attention that some authors are making progress along these legal lines
and I believe that a license like that would be essential at this time
for the OA movement. I just wish the lawyers could soon come up with
something capable of obtaining the enthusiasm and compromise of our
academic communities. Such a license should be a social contract
clearly regulating the rights and obligations of all the interested
parties in the publication process: authors, employers, founders,
editors, peer-reviewers, readers, etc.

I wish to finish with two examples I alluded to before. Larry Lessig
published his last book, Free Culture, <>
under a Creative Commons license which allows unlimited non-commercial
distribution of derivative works. Yochai Benkler published his seminal
paper "Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm"
<> in the Yale Law Journal,
retaining the copyright. Concomitantly he published his paper on the
Internet using a Creative Commons license. For more details, see the
following errata:

       Copyright notice reading, "Copyright [c] 2002 by The Yale Law
       Journal Company, Inc.," should read,
       "Yochai Benkler, Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the
       Firm, 112 YALE L.J. 369 (2002)
       copyright [c] 2002 by Yochai Benkler. All other pieces herein
       copyright [c] 2002 by The Yale Law Journal Company, Inc."

Just my two cents. Of course, a zillion details are missing from this
scheme and should be filled-in in due time. But my third cent, if I may
be allowed, is that it is not only worth working along these lines while
building up OA but indeed, these lines are essential for the success and
widespread adoption of OA by the academic community.


Imre Simon
Received on Mon Mar 14 2005 - 08:17:35 GMT

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