Re: Captured product vs. service

From: Michael Eisen <>
Date: Sat, 20 Feb 2010 10:35:46 -0800

Asking the question of who should hold copyright assumes that someone should own
it. They shouldn't. If the works are in the public domain, then the journals and
the authors can do whatever they need to with their articles and nobody ever
needs to ask anyone's permission. Win-Win.
On Sat, Feb 20, 2010 at 9:54 AM, Steve Berry <> wrote:
      Dear Paul and Colleagues,
Just one point regarding the issue of who should hold the copyright; this
is something I learned from the then Editor-in-Chief of the American
Physical Society, Martin Blume.  He pointed out that if the journal that
published the article wants to make back issues available in some new
format, e.g. some new electronic means, and the authors hold the
copyrights, then the journal must get permission from every author to put
their articles in the new format.  Instead, the APS now holds the
copyrights but gives authors full permission to distribute their articles
with no constraint. This seems to achieve the situation for authors that
we'd like to see, yet does not constrain the publisher.  But this is quite
a different matter from what is in Paul's point about ownership of data.

Best to all,

On Feb 18, 2010, at 8:54 AM, Uhlir, Paul wrote:

      Jean-Claude makes an important point about publishing as a
      service vs the "productization" and proprietary control of the
      fruits of the freely contributed research results. The
      publishers then control and exploit the donated knowledge on
      "behalf" of the researchers, who amazingly still usually sign
      away their copyright.
I have written elsewhere about a similar practice by commercial data
providers vis-a-vis the U.S. federal government. For example, in the
U.S., the Commercial Space Act of 1998 directed the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration to purchase space and earth
science data collection and dissemination services from the private
sector and to treat data as commercial commodities under federal
procurement regulations, rather than to buy the data collection
platforms and own the data as a public good. The meteorological data
value-adding industry has directed similar lobbying pressures at the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The photogrammetric
industry has likewise indicated a desire to expand the licensing of
data products to the U.S. Geological Survey and to other federal
agencies. This has huge implications for access, use, and reuse
terms and conditions, since information produced by or owned by the
federal government is in the public domain, without copyright
restrictions on reuse. Thus, if the government asserts ownership of
the data, it can be freely (re)disseminated and used, whereas if the
government licenses ("rents") the data from private sector
providers, the government becomes a huge cash cow. The public domain
status of vast data collections with great research and public
interest applications is thereby severely compromised at the expense
of the public that paid for it.

From: American Scientist Open Access Forum on behalf of Guédon
Sent: Wed 2/17/2010 6:24 AM
Subject: Re: OA's Three Bogeymen

Alas, this whole discussion continues to assume that publishing must
rest mainly on organizations that behave like businesses (hence the
call for sustainability) and often are busineses. Why should they
not be treated as services integral to the research cycle of
activities (which should include publishing)? If so, they should
simply be supported by public money. Research is supported by public
money and publishing is an integral part of research. No one asks if
research is sustainable, and they do not for a good reason: it is
not! If publishing is an integral part of research, it follows that
publishing should be supported by public money and not be submitted
to market rules which, in any case, can only distort the "great
conversation"of science and of scholarship more generally.

The discussion below is also about one kind of Gold Publishing, the
so-called "author-pay model". Personally, I am very skeptical about
this model, and increasingly so. It solves access for third world
countries only through humiliating, piecemeal, requests, and it has
opened the door to devious practices, some of which are precisely
being discussed below. Yet,I believe the Gold Road is viable if
constructed correctly. Once again, allow me to point to SciELO. To
my mind, this is the best and most coherent strategy for the Gold
road. It also coincides well with national science policies trying
to promote science and, as SciELO's Abel Packer would say, provide a
place in the sun for Third World scientists.

This is why I support a public option for scientific and scholarly
publishing, but this public option should be international in nature
to avoid being too vulnerable to national politics. This said, I
would rather be vulnerable to national politics than to Elsevier or
any other large, private, publisher. I can vote in my country but I
have no voice inside the Elsevier  (or Springer, or ...) structure.

Jean-Claude Guédon

PS And, as a reminder, this statement is not in support of the Gold
Road as the exclusive way to reach OA; it simply tries to tweak the
Gold Road to make it more viable. This is also and exactly what I do
when I try tweaking the Green Road by saying that repositories must
get involved in the generation of symbolic value. Both roads are
needed, but they must be conceived coherently and correctly.


Van: American Scientist Open Access Forum namens Richard Poynder
Verzonden: di 16-2-2010 11:59
Onderwerp: OA's Three Bogeymen

I am inclined to agree with Keith. However, it needs to be
acknowledged that researchers are not always very discerning when
choosing a publisher. I have had some say to me, "In an ideal world
I would not opt to pay to publish with this or that particular
publisher, but I need to get my work published urgently, so I am
just going to bite the bullet."

For that reason some OA publishers seem quite content not to be part
of the OASPA community, and happy to operate by their own rules --
in the knowledge that there is a ready market for their services. So
while one might argue that the research community can afford to
ignore these companies and simply carry on using subscription
publishers and Green OA, in the hope that the market will somehow
create an optimal OA publishing ecosystem, I am less confident.

From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Behalf Of keith.jeffery_at_STFC.AC.UK
Sent: 16 February 2010 12:00
Subject: Interview with Open Access publisher In-Tech/Sciy

All -
Richard Poynder recently suggested that there were three bogeymen
haunting the OA movement: (1) asking authors to pay to publish could
turn scholarly publishing into a vanity press; (2) OA publishing
will in any case inevitably lead to lax or even non-existent peer
review; (3) OA publishing is not financially sustainable.

In my opinion.....

There is already evidence of (1) with various publishers trying to
scam payment for publishing (fortunately very few cases to date).

As a consequence of (1), (2) inevitably happens - but hopefully only
in the case of a small number of so-called journals.

It may be that (3) is true; with all information to date indicating
gold OA costs 3 to 4 times more than current subscription models
(the figure of 3 comes from our own estimates at STFC, 4 comes from
the recent posting on AMSCI concerning the ACM article).

But of course if current subscription models (maintaining peer
review) are backed up by green OA via IRs then everyone has the
benefit of OA at a much reduced cost.

In my opinion, the answer for academics - especially in these days
of financial stringency - is to keep with the subscription model and
go green OA and let future scholarship ecosystems develop.

Happy to discuss further...

Prof Keith G Jeffery   E:
Director Information Technology & International Strategy
Science and Technology Facilities Council
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory          
Harwell Science and Innovation Campus
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Michael Eisen, Ph.D.
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California, Berkeley
Received on Sun Feb 21 2010 - 02:06:09 GMT

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