Copyright issues for scientific authors

Published on
July 29, 2005

The transfer of copyright to commercial publishers by scientific authors makes it more difficult to find their electronic publications and have access to them.

Wageningen UR Library regularly faces this problem when collecting publications and dissertations for the Wageningen Yield Database (WAY). Especially teachers are emphatically confronted with the restrictions as the result of Copyrights when compiling readers.

Stichting Surf, the joint organisation of Higher Education, has started a number of activities which should contribute to offering better information to authors on Copyright Management and a joint policy at Universities regarding authors' copyrights.

The report  "Towards good practices of copyright in Open Access Journals’ is the first result of the project "JISC-SURF partnering on copyright". The object of this project is, among other things, to complete an analysis on the aspects of copyrights of authors in the Netherlands and Great-Britain in relation to Open Access: the free availability of scientific information through  the Internet.

The report says that the main problems regarding the authors' copyright occur with re(use) of published articles. Furthermore it identifies and investigates the four models based on 'good practices' regarding copyright of authors and Open Access Journals. The most ideal model according to most respondents is the model in which the author retains all rights for reuse of the article for education, research or commercial purposes.

The interviews show that many Open Access authors are involved with the publication of traditional journals, e.g. as information specialist or  as member of an editorial staff committee. Instead of transferring the rights to publishers most authors wish to retain the copyright  and handle requests for reuse of the article themselves.

The most important recommendation of the report is that authors should be made aware of the author's copyright by presenting the subject matter in a conveniently arranged way - through models for instance.  Members  of editorial staff committees are an important target group.

The complete raport can be downloaded. Surf has a website where all aspects of "Copyright Management for Scholarship" are discussed.

(newsletter 9-2005)