Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain

It has come to the attention of Creative Commons that there is an increased use of CC licenses by cultural heritage institutions on photographic reproductions and 3D scans of objects such as sculptures, busts, engravings, and inscriptions, among others, that are indisputably in the public domain worldwide. A recent example is the 3000-year-old Nefertiti bust … Read More “Reproductions of Public Domain Works Should Remain in the Public Domain”

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Don’t Let Science Publisher Elsevier Hold Knowledge for Ransom

It’s Open Access Week and we’re joining SPARC and dozens of other organizations this week to discuss the importance of open access to scientific research publications. 

An academic publisher should widely disseminate the knowledge produced by scholars, not hold it for ransom. But ransoming scientific research back to the academic community is essentially the business model of the world’s largest publisher of scientific journals: Elsevier.

In February of this year, after drawn-out negotiations broke down, the University of California terminated its subscription with Elsevier. A central sticking point in these negotiations was around open access: specifically Elsevier’s refusal to provide universal open access to UC research, a problem exacerbated by skyrocketing subscription fees.

This has been an ongoing fight, not just in California. Many academics (and EFF) believe that scholarly research most effectively advances scientific progress when it is widely available to the public, and not subject to the paywalls erected by publishers. Scientific research is a driving force behind technological innovations, medical breakthroughs, and policy decisions, and the bulk of it in the U.S. is publicly funded. When libraries, universities, individuals, and even researchers themselves have to pay to access academic work, we all suffer.

Elsevier boasts profit margins in excess of 30%, much of it derived from taxpayer dollars. Academics effectively volunteer their time to publishers to write articles, conduct peer review, and sit on editorial boards, and then publishers demand ownership of the copyright and control over dissemination. Universities and other institutions fund these researchers, and a mega-publisher like Elsevier reaps the benefits while trapping all of that work behind a paywall.

In response to this outdated and deleterious system, two UCSF researchers have started a petition to boycott Elsevier, calling on all academics to refuse to publish in Elsevier journals, peer-review their articles, or sit on their editorial boards (as many already have). They’ve also written a piece calling for a wider re-imagining of the academic publishing system, that’s more in line with an open access model. A large and growing number of scholars have signed the petition already.

This is far from the first time someone has called for a boycott of Elsevier. Efforts go back to 2012 with a call to action from mathematician Timothy Gowers which led to the “The Cost of Knowledge” campaign. Since then, boycotts have extended across entire countries, across Asia, Europe, and

Looking ahead: EIFL’s plans for open access

“Open scholarship is growing in importance as a way of ensuring that there is global participation in research, improved quality and efficiency of education and science, and faster economic and social progress.

Over the next two years, the EIFL Open Access Programme will support open scholarship by focusing on four key areas: open access policies, open science training for early career researchers, sustainable open access journals and repositories, and Open Educational Resources….”

Ubiquity Press to Pilot Open Source Repository Services

“We’re excited to announce that we are expanding our commitment to open access by providing hosted repositories. Starting in January 2018, we will be piloting two full-featured repository systems: Hyku and Invenio. Hyku is community-developed as a turnkey Samvera application and Invenio is developed by CERN. Our repositories will be open source, cloud-based, and fully integrated with our publishing and conference systems.”