Where are we now?

“The results of publicly funded research must be freely available to all. By 2020, universities want to make all peer-reviewed articles by Dutch researchers open-access publications as standard. Following a request by the government, in 2013 the VSNU formulated a plan to achieve this goal.

‘The Dutch universities’ strategy is unique on the international stage,’ says Koen Becking, executive open-access negotiator for the VSNU and Executive Board President at Tilburg University. Together with Tim van der Hagen, Executive Board President at Delft University of Technology, and Anton Pijpers, Executive Board President at Utrecht University, he leads executive negotiations with the major publishing houses….

The Dutch approach is such a success because the universities have formed a single negotiating body and are supported by the government. In this regard, Becking refers to the government’s open-access policy, which was continued by the new government in 2017….”


Open Access 2018: A Year of Funders and Universities Drawing Lines in the Sand | Absolutely Maybe

This is the sixth year I’ve rounded up the year in open access – and it was the most remarkable. When the year began, the world’s largest academic publisher, Elsevier, had increased their annual profits, with an operating profit approaching US$1.2 billion in science, technology, and medicine – a profit margin of over 36%. [PDF] By year’s end, a hefty chunk of the world’s research community was walking away from big subscription deals with Elsevier and others.

That was a last resort after years of hard bargaining. While we could never be sure one or other side wouldn’t blink before it came to this, this didn’t seem to come out of the blue. What did, was a dramatic announcement from Europe in September that could usher in immediate open access to much publicly-funded research – not just after a one-year embargo….

Here are my month-by-month highlights of an action-packed year in open access to the scientific literature…..”

Scholarly Communication Practices in Humanities and Social Sciences: A Study of Researchers’ Attitudes and Awareness of Open Access : Open Information Science

Abstract:  This paper examines issues relating to the perceptions and adoption of open access (OA) and institutional repositories. Using a survey research design, we collected data from academics and other researchers in the humanities, arts and social sciences (HASS) at a university in Australia. We looked at factors influencing choice of publishers and journal outlets, as well as the use of social media and nontraditional channels for scholarly communication. We used an online questionnaire to collect data and used descriptive statistics to analyse the data. Our findings suggest that researchers are highly influenced by traditional measures of quality, such as journal impact factor, and are less concerned with making their work more findable and promoting it through social media. This highlights a disconnect between researchers’ desired outcomes and the efforts that they put in toward the same. Our findings also suggest that institutional policies have the potential to increase OA awareness and adoption. This study contributes to the growing literature on scholarly communication by offering evidence from the HASS field, where limited studies have been conducted. Based on the findings, we recommend that academic librarians engage with faculty through outreach and workshops to change perceptions of OA and the institutional repository. 

“Copyright and the Harvard Open Access Mandate” by Eric Priest


Open access proponents argue that scholars are far more likely to make their articles freely available online if they are required to do so by their university or funding institution. Therefore, if the open access movement is to achieve anything close to its goal of seeing all scholarly articles freely available online, mandates will likely play a significant role. In 2008, the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted a policy that purports not only to require scholars to deposit their works in open access repositories, but also to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses to archive and publicly distribute all faculty-produced scholarly articles. A number of other American universities have since adopted similar policies. The principal aim of this Article is to analyze the legal effect of these Harvard-style open access “permission” mandates.

By invoking copyright law terminology in permission mandates, schools might intend that they have the legal effect of transferring nonexclusive rights to the school, thereby clarifying and fortifying the school’s rights to reproduce and publicly disseminate faculty works. However, the legal effect of these mandates is uncertain for several reasons. First, it is unsettled whether scholars or their university employers are the authors and initial owners of scholarly articles under U.S. copyright law’s work-made-for-hire rules, which vest authorship and copyright ownership in the employer for works created by employees within the scope of employment. Second, the mandates are broad university policies that purport to grant the university nonexclusive copyright licenses in every scholarly article unless a faculty member affirmatively opts out on a per-article basis. Are the policies specific enough to provide the essential terms of the grant? Furthermore, can the mere adoption of a school policy, without some additional affirmative act by the author, effectuate such a grant without unduly encroaching upon the author’s autonomy interests? Lastly, even if the policies effectuate nonexclusive license grants, will the licenses survive after the author transfers copyright ownership to a journal publisher as per common practice? Section 205(e) of the Copyright Act provides that a prior nonexclusive license evidenced in a writing signed by the right holder prevails over a subsequent conflicting transfer of copyright ownership, so the answer appears to turn on whether permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e).

This Article argues that permission mandates can create legally enforceable, durable nonexclusive licenses. First, it argues that although there are important justifications, including academic freedom concerns, for recognizing the controversial “teacher exception” to the work for hire rules for scholarly articles, such an exception may be unnecessary because a strong argument also exists that much scholarship is produced outside the scope of employment for work for hire purposes. Second, it argues that permission mandates provide sufficient evidence of the grantor’s intent and the rights granted to create effective nonexclusive licenses. Third, permission mandates satisfy the requirements of § 205(e) and establish the license’s priority over the subsequent transfer of copyright ownership largely because they fulfill the underlying purposes of § 205(e) by providing sufficient evidence and notice of the license to potential copyright transferees (typically academic publishers). In reaching these conclusions, this Article emphasizes that Courts should consider the uniformity costs (social costs resulting from applying uniform rules and granting uniform entitlements across diverse conditions) that arise from applying to scholarly articles copyright rules developed to address proprietary models of information production. Applying the relevant copyright rules in a manner sensitive to the nonmarket nature of scholarly production is the most effective way to reduce these social costs, and reinforces the conclusion that mandate licenses are enforceable.

Lastly, the Article considers whether the opt-out nature of permission mandates offends notions of authorial autonomy in copyright. It compares permission mandates with another high profile opt-out licensing regime: the proposed Google Books settlement agreement, which the court rejected partly because of authorial autonomy concerns. However, authorial autonomy is far less of a concern for scholarly articles than for the books at issue in the Google Books case, due to the nonmarket nature of scholarly article production coupled with academic community norms. Accordingly, it does not substantially interfere with authors’ autonomy interests to find that the opt-out structure of permission mandates creates valid nonexclusive licenses in universities.

Science ouverte, le défi de la transparence

From Google’s English: “A new way of conceiving scientific research, open science, was born with the computer revolution. In the wake of Open Access (free access to the results of research funded by public money), it accompanies the great ideal of transparency that today invades all spheres of life in society. This book [by Bernard Rentier] describes its origins, perspectives and objectives, and reveals the obstacles and obstacles to private profit and academic conservatism. …”

10 ans d’Open Access à l’Université de Liège – YouTube

From Google’s English: “Il y a 10 ans naissait ORBi (Open Repository and Bibliography), un répertoire institutionnel qui vise à collecter, préserver et diffuser la production scientifique des membres de l’Université de Liège. “

Science ouverte le défi de la transparence, Bernard Rentier (Open Science The Challenge of Transparency, Bernard Rentier)

From Google’s English:

“Bernard Rentier, Open Science, the challenge of transparency, Preface by Philippe Busquin, Royal Academy of Belgium, L’Académie en Poche Collection n ° 114, Dec.2018, 152 p. ISBN / EAN: 978-2-8031-0659-2

A new way of conceiving scientific research, open science, was born with the computer revolution. In the wake of Open Access (free access to the results of research funded by public money), it accompanies the great ideal of transparency that today invades all spheres of life in society. This book describes its origins, perspectives and objectives, and reveals the obstacles and obstacles to private profit and academic conservatism.”

The Conflict over Open Access between Elsevier and German Academic Institutions Shows the Importance of Journal Subscriptions | Open Science

As an agreement on terms of access to paywall-protected journals between Germany’s educational and scientific organizations and the international publishing house Elsevier continues to elude the negotiating parties, a growing criticism from the side of scholarly publishers and university representatives indicates that journal subscriptions are critical for scientific research and publication processes, in spite of the expected transition to Open Access….”