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Authors' Rights as Evaluation Criteria

Many research funding agencies, universities, and now faculty, 
are requiring open access to the results of research.  Recent 
examples include the NIH Public Access policy, which for most 
grantees becomes a requirement this April; the European 
Universities Association has unanimously endorsed a 
recommendation calling for European-wide institutional open 
access mandates; and the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences are 
giving Harvard a nonexclusive license for their works.

Many publishers are adjusting to the open access environment. 
For example, the recent SURFfoundation report indicates that 
about a third of publishers now look for a license to publish, 
rather than transfer of copyright.

Perhaps it is timely for collections librarians to add Author's 
Rights as a key criterion, when evaluating journal subscriptions 
to add, or to cancel?

A journal that is Authors'-Rights friendly is more valuable than 
one that is not, for two reasons.  The difference in value seems 
very likely to increase over time.

For faculty and researchers:  an Authors'-Rights friendly journal 
makes it easy to comply with the requirements of research funders 
and universities, as well as to benefit from the OA impact 

For libraries:  an Authors' Rights-friendly journal is more 
likely to be able to delivery quality.  To put this another way, 
a journal that refuses to publish research funding by any one of 
a long and growing list of funding agencies requiring open 
access, or conducted at any one of the long and growing list of 
universities requiring open access, may be said to be Aiming for 

For a definition of Aiming for Obscurity, please see my 
blogposting at: 

How do you know if a journal is Author's-Rights' friendly?  One 
simple way is to include language specifiying rights for your 
authors, in your license agreement.

Here is some sample language, originally from the JISC Model 
License: Authorized Users may save and/or deposit in perpetuity 
parts of the Licensed Material of which they are the authors on 
any network including networks open to the public and to 
communicate to the public such parts via any electronic network, 
including without limitation the Internet and the World Wide Web, 
and any other distribution medium now in existence or hereinafter 

For the lists of funding agency policies, see Sherpa Juliet: 

For institutional mandates, see the Registry of Open Access 
Material Archiving Policies (ROARMAP), at: 

SPARC Author Rights http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/addendum.html

Science Commons Scholars Copyright Project 

Canadian Association of Research Libraries Author Resources 

SURFoundation Report 

Any opinion expressed in this e-mail is that of the author alone, 
and does not represent the opinion or policy of BC Electronic 
Library Network or Simon Fraser University Library.

Heather Morrison, MLIS
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics