Why cOAlition S’ Rights Retention Strategy Protects Researchers

Last month, cOAlition S released its Rights Retention Strategy to safeguard researchers’ intellectual ownership rights and suppress unreasonable embargo periods—Creative Commons (CC) keenly supports this initiative. 

Modernizing an outdated academic publishing system 

Plan S Rights Retention Strategy ScreenshotcOAlition S’ Rights Retention Strategy was developed “to give researchers supported by a cOAlition S Organisation the freedom to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription journals, whilst remaining fully compliant with Plan S.” Read more.

Under a traditional publishing model, researchers who want to publish their articles in a journal typically need to assign or exclusively license their copyright in the article to the journal publisher. Basically, they hand over their rights to the publisher in exchange for the opportunity to be published in the publisher’s journal. While this model may have worked several decades ago, it is currently unsuitable to the ways in which academic research is funded, conducted, and disseminated. It unjustifiably raises legal, technical, and financial barriers around knowledge and perpetuates unbalanced power relationships among the various players in academia and beyond, from researchers and research institutions to publishers, libraries, and the general public. 

Nowadays, with the help of new technologies and the internet, academic knowledge is produced, shared, and built upon at a pace and through methods that call for a completely different approach to publishing—one that favors access, collaboration, and fairness. Many funders (particularly governments and philanthropic foundations) require that research outputs be published openly to guarantee that the public can access, use, reuse, and build upon the knowledge created. This is where open access (OA) publishing comes into play. 

Open Access and Creative Commons licenses 

OA is a publishing model aimed at making academic and scientific research outputs (publications, data, and software) openly accessible. We are strong supporters of OA and open science and our licenses are the global standard for OA publishing. Our efforts are focused on encouraging and guiding public and private institutions and organizations in creating, adopting, and implementing OA policies. For example, we routinely submit comments to consultations on how to promote better access to publicly funded research, science, and educational content. A few examples include the 2013 White House memorandum on public access to the results of federally funded research, the 2020 US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) consultation on Research Outputs, and the United Kingdom Research and Innovation (UKRI) consultation on its OA policy.

CC consistently advocates for OA policies on publicly funded research outputs; this has been demonstrated to stimulate knowledge creation and sharing, spur innovation, and provide a better return on investment for funders. Specifically, we advise research funders to require that their grantees publish their research results under the following conditions: 

  1. Zero embargo period, so everyone, everywhere can read the research fully and immediately at the moment of publication; 
  2. A CC BY license on article(s), to allow for text and data mining, no-cost access, and 
  3. CC0 on the research data, to be clear that the data is in the worldwide public domain to the fullest extent allowed by law.

The COVID-19 crisis has only reinforced the notion that openly sharing research is the best way to do research. How could anyone justify an embargo period on COVID-19-related research articles? Or impose a NoDerivatives condition, thereby preventing translations and other valuable adaptations of important scientific discoveries? In order to solve this crisis, scientific research must be shared as rapidly and as broadly as possible. 

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and guided by these  “open” values, we helped develop and are leading the Open COVID Pledge: a global initiative that works with organizations around the world to make their patents and copyrights freely available in the fight against COVID-19. We are also working with international organizations such as the World Health Organization in operationalizing the desire of many to freely share their intellectual property related to COVID-19 with anyone who needs it.

Open access and rights retention: the fundamentals 

It’s important to remind ourselves that when researchers publish their articles under an OA model using a CC license, they retain their copyright. They do not give any rights away to anyone, whether it be in the form of an assignment to a publisher, as it is the case under most traditional publishing models, or otherwise. Instead, researchers give several broad permissions to anyone to use and reuse the research article, but they continue to hold their rights and can enforce them in the event the reuser fails to adhere to the license. 

Further, all CC licenses include multiple safeguards against reputational and attribution risks. These safeguards, that are in addition to and not in replacement of academic norms and practices, are in place to provide an additional layer of protection for the original researchers’ reputation and to alleviate their concerns over changes to their works that might be wrongly attributed to them. CC licenses are also non-exclusive, which means that researchers publishing their articles under any CC license remain free and legally authorized to enter into different publishing agreements with different parties. 

Publishing under an OA model and transferring rights over to a publisher are antithetical. The mere suggestion that a researcher would give away their rights to a publisher defeats the whole purpose of what OA aims to achieve. By retaining their rights, as cOAlition S promotes through the aforementioned Rights Retention Strategy, researchers are empowered and keep their freedom to share their research outputs in ways that benefit the academic community and society as a whole. 

?: Featured image titled “2010 PopTech Science and Public Leadership Fellows” sourced from PopTech (CC BY-SA 2.0).

The post Why cOAlition S’ Rights Retention Strategy Protects Researchers appeared first on Creative Commons.

EIFL welcomes Rights Retention Strategy for researchers | EIFL

“EIFL welcomes the Rights Retention Strategy that will make it easier for repositories to provide full and immediate open access, and encourages researchers and publishers to follow it. Creative Commons licences are internationally recognized, well-established, and both human-readable and machine-readable. CC BY 4.0 is the most liberal Creative Commons licence that ensures repositories interoperability and also allows users and machines to re-use content in data analytics, text and data mining, etc. 

EIFL has been working on a campaign called ‘Your Work. Your Rights. KNOW.THINK.RETAIN’, re-using the concept of ‘Think.Check.Submit’ that helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers. When researchers publish their articles in open access journals, they retain their full copyrights. However, if they choose to publish in a subscription access journal, they are required to sign a form transferring some – or all – of their copyrights to the publisher. With our campaign, we want to raise the awareness of researchers about their intellectual ownership rights and power to suppress unreasonable embargo periods.

The cOALition S Rights Retention Strategy now makes it much easier for researchers to retain their copyright and strengthens our campaign. Over the coming weeks, the cOAlition S Office will be hosting a series of webinars to provide further information and to answer any questions publishers and journals editors may have about the Rights Retention Strategy.”

A brief history of open access at Harvard · Harvard Library Office for Scholarly Communication

“This is the first of two related posts. The second will describe our current thinking about open access. (Watch for it around Open Access Week, 2020.) We’re looking forward and want to start by showing where we’ve come from. 

For now, this brief history focuses mostly on Harvard’s thinking about subscription journal prices and Harvard’s open access (OA) policies. There are many other OA initiatives at Harvard we might add later, for example on courseware, data, digitization, open-source software, and publishing, as well as our partnerships with larger, multi-institutional initiatives. …”

Open access is the new normal: it makes more ways to value research | Campus Morning Mail

“Academics have been eagerly assigning copyright to their most precious research findings to private companies for years, in exchange for the opportunity to be published in well-known journals. This has resulted in most research being locked away behind paywalls.

Many research funders now require the work that they support to be published open access, with one group of funders pushing harder than most under an agreement called Plan S. But policing the open access requirements of grant funding has been technically challenging; and individual researchers remain under pressure to publish in high-prestige journals. As a result, progress has been patchy and copyright in research articles continues to be signed over to paywalled journals.

This month, Plan S funders announced that they will require that authors retain the copyright in publications that result from Plan S funded research. This means that authors no longer have the right to sign over copyright in their research outputs to a journal when they publish. It removes one of the last barriers for funders to require that the research they fund must be made open access  immediately upon publication….”

Plan S Rights Retention Publisher webinar

“cOAlition S are organising a number of webinars to highlight the Rights Retention Strategy (https://www.coalition-s.org/rights-retention-strategy) and to answer any questions you may have about this initiative.

The target audience for these webinars is publishers and journal editors. Separate sessions will be organised for researchers and university administrators. If you would like to attend one of the publisher webinars, please complete the form below. Your registration will be confirmed by email along with the videoconferencing call details….”

IARLA Supports cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy – IARLA

“IARLA, representing the research libraries of Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Europe, United Kingdom, and the United States, would like to express support for the new cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy. Under the strategy, participating funders will “require that a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY) is applied to all Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAMs) or Versions of Record (VoR) reporting original research, supported in whole or in part by their funding.

 The cOAlition S funders want to effect a critical shift in the licensing landscape that would ensure that authors are able to publish in their journal of choice while also making their work openly accessible. The strategy overrides the rights transfer requirements that many publishers require as a condition of publishing in their journals.

Research libraries are committed to universal access to scholarly outputs, and believe that COVID-19 has clearly highlighted the inherent value of immediate openness within the scientific process. This cOAlition S strategy strengthens the repository-based route and signals the continued importance of a robust network of open repositories as a viable means to provide access to global scholarship. …”

Surprise and confusion over ERC Council’s Plan S reversal – Research Professional News

“Groups representing young researchers have expressed surprise at the decision of the European Research Council’s governing Scientific Council to withdraw its support from the Plan S open-access initiative.

Under Plan S, a group of funders known as Coalition S will require researchers they support to make their work openly available immediately from 2021 in outlets that meet certain criteria. The requirements are being adopted in the EU’s 2021-27 R&D programme Horizon Europe, including the ERC.

The ERC Council, an independent body of researchers that helps to set the strategic direction of the EU funder, had previously expressed its support for Plan S, but on 20 July it announced a U-turn, saying the impact of Plan S on young researchers and countries with limited funds had been underestimated. In particular, the ERC Council expressed concern about Plan S terms for publication in hybrid journals that offer both subscription and open-access options….”

cOAlition S Response to the ERC Scientific Council’s Statement on Open Access and Plan S | Plan S – [https://www.coalition-s.org/coalition-s-response-to-the-erc-scientific-councils-statement-on-open-access-and-plan-s/]

“cOAlition S remains firm in its view that support for hybrid journals has failed to accelerate the transition to full and immediate Open Access over the past two decades. The already scarce funding in the Horizon Europe Framework Programme should not be used for the payment of publication fees in hybrid journals. Indeed, outside of transformative agreements, the hybrid model has no effective means to keep double-dipping by publishers in check. For this reason, many European countries, from Germany to Hungary, have recently put in place transformative agreements with publishers.

Maintaining the current status quo on hybrid journals will exacerbate inequalities among European researchers, since only those that benefit from generous funding will be able to cover expensive publication fees. In contrast, the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy which provides Open Access in compliance with Plan S via the repository route, will empower all researchers to publish in their journal of choice, including subscription and hybrid journals.

cOAlition S is particularly attentive to the concerns of Early Career Researchers (ECR). We are grateful for the support of many ECR organisations, including the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers (Eurodoc), the Global Young Academy (GYA), the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) and the Young Academy of Europe (YAE). These organisations are closely collaborating with cOAlition S in order to further shape Plan S, to monitor its implementation, and to evaluate potential effects for the next generation of researchers….”

cOAlition S’s Rights Confiscation Strategy Continues – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Late last week, cOAlition S unveiled a new policy, characterized as a “Rights Retention Strategy,” which will apply to all research underwritten by the coalition’s membership of funding agencies. The new policy continues and expands the Plan S requirement that all publications arising from research funded by cOAlition S members be made immediately and freely available to the public under the terms of a Creative Commons attribution-only (CC BY) license or its equivalent.

Though billed misleadingly by cOAlition S as a plan “to safeguard researchers’ intellectual ownership rights,” both the purpose and the effect of this expanded strategy remain — as has always been the case with Plan S publishing requirements — to take intellectual ownership rights away from authors, transferring them to the general public (rather than to publishers)….”

Opinion: the cOAlition S Rights Retention Strategy | Plan S

“For a long time now, researchers have all too easily handed over to academic publishers the rights inherent in their publications. These rights include not only the intellectual ownership of the researcher’s work, but also the permission to freely and immediately disseminate it without embargoes, and thus allow others to quickly build on these results. cOAlition S wants researchers to retain sufficient intellectual ownership rights to their publications. This can be difficult to achieve for individual researchers, since the cOAlition S Open Access requirement may conflict with the demands of the publishers to transfer copyright to them.

cOAlition S, therefore, wants to help researchers to always retain sufficient intellectual ownership of their work after peer review. Ideally, researchers would retain full copyright, but we will allow for copyright transfer if sufficient rights are retained to control a CC BY version of publications. The Rights Retention Strategy is designed to support cOAlition S funded researchers seeking to publish in their journal of choice, including any subscription journal. Researchers only need to fulfil two conditions: First, when they submit their articles to a journal, they have to inform the publisher that their submission is under a CC BY licence. This allows researchers to retain sufficient intellectual ownership rights to their work. Secondly, researchers have to make that work openly available on publication so it is easily accessed and built upon.

The Rights Retention Strategy gives further shape to the Plan S pledge that all scholarly publications resulting from research grants must be immediately available Open Access with a reuse licence upon publication. It makes 100% of cOAlition S funded scholarly publications available Open Access. This policy maps to Route 2 in the implementation guidance and is very close to the Harvard licence model which has been in place since 2008….”