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Re: Science Commons, SPARC Announce New Tools for Scholarly Publishing

First I will beg the indulgence of the moderator of this list and 
its readers to accept a flurry of postings from me. I have 
dutifully downloaded the postings for the past six weeks but had 
such a busy schedule that I have had to postpone to this weekend 
responding to any. So here I begin....

I have a simple question to ask those who stand behind and 
support this initiative (and others similar to it, like the one 
proposed by the CIC provosts): how does it help universities that 
pay for their presses to publish journals to create a lot of 
extra work for their staffs explaining to authors why they cannot 
accept all of the proposed clauses in the addendum? This is a 
real cost, which will add to the burden of already understaffed 
university presses (like mine).

A university press (like mine) that relies for a very substantial 
part of its journal income from participation in Project Muse 
simply cannot afford to sign an agreement that would have the 
effect of undermining Project Muse. A clause that allows authors, 
or others, to post on the open Internet the final peer-reviewed 
and copyedited version of their articles, with or without a 
six-month delay, is very likely to lead eventually to the demise 
of Muse-which, may I remind you all, was established with the 
support of a Mellon grant jointly to the press and library at 
Johns Hopkins and was developed from the beginning to be a 
library-friendly, reasonably priced resource.

If Muse disappears, then so too do all of the ten journals that 
we currently publish and have enrolled in Muse, including such 
long-established leading journals in their fields as Philosophy & 
Rhetoric, The Chaucer Review, and Comparative Literature Studies 
and such newer journals as Book History (the official journal of 
the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and 
Publishing). It has long since passed the time when their print 
subscriptions alone could sustain the cost of publishing them.

I am also curious as to the legality of this further strategy 
proposed by SPARC and adopted by the University of Wisconsin 
Faculty Senate on May 7 when it approved the CIC initiative:

The Library Committee amended the original CIC addendum 
distributed by the CIC provosts to include subsection 4 that was 
derived from ARL's Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources 
Coalition (SPARC). ARL/SPARC has been an international leader in 
the discussion of author rights and scholarly communications. 
This sub-section is a default clause that states that in the 
event that the publisher publishes the article in the journal 
without signing a copy of the addendum, the publisher will be 
deemed to have assented to the terms of the addendum.

Not being a lawyer, I'm no expert on the validity of such 
"default" clauses, but I would bet that they are unenforceable. A 
license is a license, and if the publisher does not agree to 
terms explicitly in writing, no "default" is going to compel the 
publisher to do anything it doesn't want to do. Other opinions, 

As for the general approach of Creative Commons (copied in this 
Science Commons version) to provide a means for authors to 
license any uses that are "noncommercial,"  I would appreciate 
knowing what "noncommercial" means. If it is meant to be the 
equivalent of "educational," then it is as vacuous and unhelpful 
as the view that "fair use" sanctions any "educational" 
use-which, as we all know from a variety of Supreme Court cases, 
is not the view of the highest court in the land. For the vast 
majority of the specialized scholarly writing that is the subject 
of journal licensing agreements, there is NO market outside of 
higher education-which is, by the way, the reason that university 
presses were established in the first place. Is "noncommercial" 
then supposed to be a synonym for "nonprofit"? But university 
presses are nonprofit entities. Thus, are we permitted by 
Creative Commons licenses to republish any articles or book 
chapters whose authors have signed such a license? It would be 
nice to know so that we don't have to bother paying them any 
permission fees. The same, of course, would hold for "nonprofit" 
society publishers. Our missions are, of course, to serve 
scholarship, so we would be happy to accept this interpretation 
of "noncommercial." I'm not sure its creators intended for it to 
be interpreted in that way. On the other hand, I really haven't a 
clue about how they did intend it to be construed, since it is 
inherently a slippery concept. And the whole edifice of CC 
licensing is built upon this shaky commercial/noncommercial 
distinction, is it not?

As in much else that is going on now, every step forward in one 
arena seems to entail a step backward in another. If universities 
were thinking systematically about this issue instead of narrowly 
focusing on the STM journal problem, they would realize that 
proposals like these are at least partly self-defeating.

Sandy Thatcher
Penn State Press

>For Immediate Release
>Thursday, May 17, 2007
>Contact: Kaitlin Thaney
>Fax: (617) 532-0025
>E-mail: kaitlin@creativecommons.org
>Washington, DC and Cambridge, MA - May 17, 2007
>Today, Science Commons and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic 
>Resources Coalition (SPARC) announce the release of new online 
>tools to help authors exercise choice in retaining critical 
>rights in their scholarly articles, including the rights to 
>reuse their scholarly articles and to post them in online 
>The new tools include the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine, 
>an online tool created by Science Commons to simplify the 
>process of choosing and implementing an addendum to retain 
>scholarly rights. By selecting from among four addenda offered, 
>any author can fill in a form to generate and print a completed 
>amendment that can be attached to a publisher's copyright 
>assignment agreement to retain critical rights to reuse and 
>offer their works online.
>The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will be offered through 
>the Science Commons, SPARC, the Massachusetts Institute of 
>Technology (MIT), and the Carnegie Mellon University Web sites, 
>and it will be freely available to other institutions that wish 
>to host it. It may be accessed on the Science Commons Web site 
>at http://scholars.sciencecommons.org.
>Also available for the first time is a new addendum from Science 
>Commons and SPARC, named 'Access-Reuse,' that represents a 
>collaboration to simplify choices for scholars by combining two 
>existing addenda, the SPARC Author Addendum and the Science 
>Commons Open Access-Creative Commons Addendum. This new addendum 
>will ensure that authors not only retain the rights to reuse 
>their own work and post them on online depositories, but also to 
>grant a non-exclusive license, such as the Creative Commons 
>Attribution-Non-Commercial license, to the public to reuse and 
>distribute the work. In addition, Science Commons will be 
>offering two other addenda, called 'Immediate Access' and 
>'Delayed Access,' representing alternative arrangements that 
>authors can choose.
>"The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will enable authors to 
>maximize the reach of their work," said Heather Joseph, 
>Executive Director of SPARC.  "It's a significant leap forward 
>in making it easier for authors to effectively manage their 
>publication rights."
>In addition, MIT has contributed to this effort by including its 
>MIT Copyright Agreement Amendment in the choices available 
>through the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine. The MIT 
>Copyright Amendment has been available since the spring of 2006 
>and allows authors to retain specific rights to deposit articles 
>in MIT Libraries' DSpace repository, and to deposit any 
>NIH-funded manuscripts on the National Library of Medicine's 
>PubMed Central database.
>"The cumulative nature of scientific discovery makes it 
>imperative that unnecessary barriers to the timely sharing of 
>results of research should be eliminated wherever possible," 
>said Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries for MIT. "The MIT 
>Libraries applauds Science Commons for its development of tools 
>such as the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine, which enables 
>authors of scholarly articles to ensure that they can later 
>reuse their works and make them widely accessible to other 
>researchers and the public. Timely and broad access to the 
>scholarly literature and research results is key to the 
>advancement of science, and we are pleased to participate in 
>this important Science Commons initiative by offering MIT's 
>Copyright Amendment for inclusion in the Scholar's Copyright 
>Addendum Engine."
>"Scientists in many fields believe that progress can best be 
>achieved by sharing scientific information. Carnegie Mellon is 
>delighted to be able to host the addendum generator to help 
>faculty balance their rights as authors with those of their 
>scholarly publishers," said Dr. David Yaron, Faculty Senate 
>Library Committee Chair of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon 
>SPARC offers a suite of materials, including a full color 
>brochure and poster, that introduce the topic of author rights 
>on campuses and complement the new SPARC-Science Commons 
>'Access-Reuse' addendum. See http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/.
>"This is about authors' rights," said John Wilbanks, Vice 
>President of Science Commons, a project of Creative Commons. 
>"Right now, authors trade the most important rights - like the 
>right to make copies of their own scholarly works - to 
>traditional publishers. That trade has led to an imbalanced 
>world of restricted access to knowledge, skyrocketing journal 
>prices, and an inability to apply new technologies to the 
>scholarly canon of knowledge. Our Scholar's Copyright project 
>addresses this imbalance. Working with libraries and 
>universities, we are providing the Scholar's Copyright Addendum 
>Engine so that scholars can retain rights to make copies of 
>their own writings available on the Web."