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Re: NEJM editorial on open access

So far as I know, OA and copyright are entirely different issues. Some
journals may want to retain full copyright on everything, yet grant OA;
other journals may be happy with a perpetual, non-exclusive license to
publish and yet not grant OA on their particular publications. For
example, they may restrict self-archiving to some version of the text that
is materially (not textually) different from the published version (no
right to use the publisher's pdf file, for example, as Elsevier does while
formally allowing self-archiving). Incidentally, this apparently liberal
policy creates problems for citing as page numbers will probably not
remain the same from one version to another... You can draw your own
conclusions from there.

Other combinations can easily be imagined. But, generally speaking, OA and
copyright do not, and do not have to, intersect.

NEJM could easily provide perpetual open access - this is important
because you do not want publishers suddenly deciding to pull the plug on
open access previously granted, but without any guarantee as to the future
- to its own electronic file - this is important for the reasons mentioned
above, i.e.  citing - and simultaneously request full ownership of
copyright. Open access is granted by the owner of the copyright and this
is the publisher most of the time as most of our colleagues give away
their right with nonchalant abandon, so it seems. But the author could
retain his/her rights and then choose to grant OA to his/her text. So can
his/her heirs until the terms of copyright expire. One can even imagine a
third party that might have acquired these rights in one manner or another
(bankruptcy, for example).

In short, OA is not public domain even though public domain is always OA.
This is a point worth meditating for a while and it also applies to free
software distributed under GPL (Gnu Public License). This also the whole
point behind Creative Commons launched by Larry Lessig.

Best,  Jean-Claude Gu�don

On Sun October 10 2004 07:02 pm, Sloan, Bernie wrote:

> There's a recent editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine that
> supports the NIH OA proposal, but expresses concern that "The NIH proposal
> is silent on the issue of copyright."
> The PubMed citation for this editorial follows:
> 1: N Engl J Med. 2004 Sep 23;351(13):1343. Public access to biomedical
> research. Drazen JM, Curfman GD. Publication Types: Editorial PMID:
> 15385662 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
> Bernie Sloan
> E-mail: bernies@uillinois.edu