Open Access Week 2016: A Drumbeat for ‘Open In Action’

Today kicks off Open Access Week 2016. Open Access Week is an annual week-long event that highlights the importance of sharing scientific and scholarly research and data. Its goal is to educate people on the benefits of open publishing, advocate for changes to policy and practice, and build a community to collaborate on these issues. This year’s theme is open in action.

For nearly 15 years, Creative Commons licenses and legal tools have been used to share scholarly articles and data on more open terms than the standard “all rights reserved” copyright. In addition to the legal machinery that helps communicate the rights to use and reuse open access research, the movement around Creative Commons and open access has spread through academia, libraries, science, education, and public policy.

What’s been going on in Open Access over the last year? Here’s a just a brief sampling:

  • The European Union continues to push ahead in support of open science, and the Commission wants scientific data to be ‘open by default’ as a requirement for future research grants.
  • The Electronic Frontier Foundation launched the Reclaim Invention project to push for reforms in university technology transfer practices. CC is supporting the project as natural complement to related open access and open education initiatives in higher education.
  • OASPA showed increasing growth of fully open access journals, and released an informative guide on best practices in licensing and attribution.
  • More research was published that showed that publishing under open access can help researchers succeed by increasing citations and media attention, inviting potential collaborators, and opening the door to future job and funding opportunities.

Be sure to check out openaccessweek.org for more information on this week’s campaign, and make a commitment to put ‘open in action’.

Follow along with the Creative Commons blogTwitter, and Facebook this week, and be sure to tag and share your posts with the #OAweek hashtag. We’ll be supporting Open Access Week with posts, interviews, and other activities.

Here we go!

California enacts law to increase public access to publicly funded research – Creative Commons

On Monday California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law AB 609–the California Taxpayer Access to Publicly Funded Research Act. The law requires that research articles created with funds from the California Department of Public Health be made publicly available in an online repository no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. AB 609 is described as the first state-level law requiring free access to publicly funded research. It is similar to the federal National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy. The bill has been making its way through the California legislature since being introduced by Assemblyman Brian Nestande in February 2013. Nestande’s office announced the passage yesterday.

The law applies to grantees who receive research funds from the Department of Public Health, and those grantees are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning manuscripts submitted to journals fully comply with AB 609. For an article accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, the grantee must ensure that an electronic version of the peer-reviewed manuscript is available to the department and on an appropriate publicly accessible database approved by the department within 12 months of publication in the journal.

Congratulations to California, the leadership of Assemblyman Nestande, and the coalition of open access supporters who worked hard to make this law a reality.

The beginning of the Authors Alliance – Creative Commons

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Yesterday marked the launch of the Authors Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports authors who want “to harness the potential of digital networks to share their creations more broadly in order to serve the public good.”

In an interview with Publisher’s Weekly, Authors Alliance founder Pamela Samuelson explained that the Authors Alliance will have a few different roles. Inwardly, the group will “provide authors with information about copyrights, licensing agreements, alternative contract terms,” and other practical legal information so that they can make their works widely and openly available. And externally, the Alliance will “represent the interests of authors who want to make their works more widely available in public policy debates,” and advocate for these reforms alongside like-minded public interest organizations.

The Authors Alliance was developed by Samuelson and several of her colleagues at the University of California Berkeley including Molly Van Houweling, Carla Hesse, and Thomas Leonard. The Alliance also has an advisory board made up of pre-eminent scholars, writers, and public interest advocates, including several members of the Creative Commons board of directors. The Authors Alliance is now accepting new members.

The Alliance has already developed a set of copyright reform principles, outlining its vision for changes to copyright law to support authors who write to be read.

We have formed an Authors Alliance to represent authors who create to be read, to be seen, and to be heard. We believe that these authors have not been well served by misguided efforts to strengthen copyright. These efforts have failed to provide meaningful financial returns to most authors, while instead unacceptably compromising the preservation of our own intellectual legacies and our ability to tap our collective cultural heritage. We want to harness the potential of global digital networks to share knowledge and products of the imagination as broadly as possible. We aim to amplify the voices of authors and creators in all media who write and create not only for pay, but above all to make their discoveries, ideas, and creations accessible to the broadest possible audience.

The principles include:

  1. Further empower authors to disseminate their works.
  2. Improve information flows about copyright ownership.
  3. Affirm the vitality of limits on copyright that enable us to do our work and reach our audiences.
  4. Ensure that copyright’s remedies and enforcement mechanisms protect our interests.

At the core, the Authors Alliance and Creative Commons share a similar goal: to provide useful resources and tools for creators who aren’t being served well by the existing copyright system. We’re excited to work with the Alliance on issues that support authors who write to be read–and the public interest for whom these authors create.