Journals, copyright and open access archiving

From: Subbiah Arunachalam <arun_at_MSSRF.RES.IN>
Date: Thu, 7 Dec 2006 18:15:11 +0530

Here is a message I received from another list. It tells you about the
difficulties faced by developing country librarians who want to bring the
complete works of great scientists into public domain through open access
repositories. Surprisingly, some publishers - in this case Taylor &
Francis - are unwilling to grant permission to place papers published in
their journals several decades ago in an institutional open access
archive. While one may find a way out and get these papers accessible to
anyone who wants to read them, the true face of such publishers are
exposed by such incidents.

 Dear all,

We are very keen to make open access not only the papers of C.V. Raman
but also any other articles/talks by him or on him. We have already made
available on our digital repository the newspaper clippings on him. All
the 6 volumes of his collected papers have been scanned and we have the
pdf files ready. Now only the publishers permission is needed to make
them open access. We have written to all of them but getting all their
permission is not assured. Already Taylor & Francis have declined to
give permission to make their articles open access.

Publisher's copyright policies may in fact be the biggest barrier to
making this entire collection open access. However, the Indian Academy
of Sciences and the American Physical Society have given us permission to
begin with. Our plan in these circumstances is to make articles open
access wherever permission is clearly given and to make the rest
restricted access. At least the metadata will then be freely available
for all. Anyone interested can email us for a copy.

I am sure that those who have established repositories are facing
similar problems. But we are doing our best.

With best wishes,
Girija Srinivasan

Raman Research Institute Library, Tel:+91 80 2361 0122 / Extn 250

For those of you who may not know Sir C V Raman, he was a leading
physicist of his generation and the only Indian to have won a science
Nobel Prize. [Prof. Amartya Sen won in Economics, and Mother Teresa for
Peace. Prof. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar and Prof. Har Gobind Khorana were
US citizens when they won the Nobel Prize.] Prof. Raman was Director of
the Indian Institute of Science, Founder-Director of the Raman Research
Institute and the Founder-President of the Indian Academy of Sciences. He
passed away in November 1970 at the age of 82.
Scientists should refrain from signing publishers' agreements without
reading them carefully. They should never surrender copyright to their
creative works - resaerch papers. Many journals agree to make changes in
the standard copyright transfer form they use. Over 90% of about 9,000
journals surveyed allow archiving of papers published in them. The rest
of the journals should be persuaded to fall in line, and if they refuse
scientists around the world should boycott them - they shoud refrain from
publishing in them, should not act as referees for those journals and
should not be members of their editorial boards.
As most research is performed with public support - research grants from
governments and other donors - it is not proper on the part of
researchers to sign away copyright to journal publishers. One can only
give first (or even exclusive) right to publish the papers. Authors and
their institutions should retain all rights to use the material
subsequently in whatever way they want to.
If journals can claim copyright to articles simply because they publish,
should not the funding agencies claim copyright to work produced with
their money and should not the authors retain the copyright simply
because the paper is their creative work?
Subbiah Arunachalam
Received on Thu Dec 07 2006 - 14:01:38 GMT

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