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Scholarly Author Rights: Copyright and Open Access

Definition of Open Access Publication:

An Open Access Publication[1] is one that meets the following two conditions:
1. The author(s) and copyright holder(s) grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship[2], as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.
2. A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in a suitable standard electronic format is deposited immediately upon initial publication in at least one online repository that is supported by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, interoperability, and long-term archiving (for the biomedical sciences, PubMed Central is such a repository).
1. Open access is a property of individual works, not necessarily journals or publishers.
2. Community standards, rather than copyright law, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now.��? Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing Released June 20, 2003

Open Access is a growing international movement that uses the Internet to distribute scholarly publications freely as a public good. It encourages the unrestricted sharing of research results with everyone, everywhere, rather than the use of copyright to restrict access only to those who will pay for it as a commodity owned exclusive by a commercial enterprise.

Open Access is the principle that all research should be freely accessible online, immediately after publication, and it’s gaining ever more momentum around the world as research funders and policy makers throw their weight behind it.

The Open Access philosophy was firmly articulated in 2002, when the Budapest Open Access Initiative was introduced. The BOAI, as it is known, includes these basic ideas:

To achieve open access to scholarly journal literature, we recommend two complementary strategies. I. Self-Archiving: First, scholars need the tools and assistance to deposit their refereed journal articles in open electronic archives, a practice commonly called, self-archiving. When these archives conform to standards created by the Open Archives Initiative, then search engines and other tools can treat the separate archives as one. Users then need not know which archives exist or where they are located in order to find and make use of their contents.

II. Open-access Journals: Second, scholars need the means to launch a new generation of journals committed to open access, and to help existing journals that elect to make the transition to open access. Because journal articles should be disseminated as widely as possible, these new journals will no longer invoke copyright to restrict access to and use of the material they publish. Instead they will use copyright and other tools to ensure permanent open access to all the articles they publish. Because price is a barrier to access, these new journals will not charge subscription or access fees, and will turn to other methods for covering their expenses. There are many alternative sources of funds for this purpose, including the foundations and governments that fund research, the universities and laboratories that employ researchers, endowments set up by discipline or institution, friends of the cause of open access, profits from the sale of add-ons to the basic texts, funds freed up by the demise or cancellation of journals charging traditional subscription or access fees, or even contributions from the researchers themselves. There is no need to favor one of these solutions over the others for all disciplines or nations, and no need to stop looking for other, creative alternatives. http://www.soros.org/openaccess/read.shtml

The idea that scholarly publications would be distributed freely rather than be distributed by commercial publishers for a price includes many complicated changes in the culture of scholarly communication. Publishers are very concerned about continued revenues. Scholars are concerned about the value that publishers add to scholarly publication, such as copy editing and management of the peer review process. These concerns must be discussed among various stakeholders in the scholarly communications community to ensure that quality publications are distributed with access to the greatest possible readership.

For further reading concerning open access and shifts in scholarly communication, see this Library Guide: Scholarly Communication and Open Access. For other questions, contact the library's copyright maven, Lorre Smith: (lsmith@uamail.albany.edu).

Blog post created by Lorre Smith