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Researchers Opt To Limit Uses of Open-access Publications 172

ananyo writes "How open do researchers want open-access papers to be? Apparently, not that open — when given a choice of licenses, most opt to limit the use of data and words in their open-access publications, according to figures released by the open-access journal Scientific Reports. Since July 2012 the journal has been offering researchers a choice of three types of license. The first, most liberal license, CC-BY, allows anyone, even commercial organizations, to re-use it. A more restrictive version, CC-BY-NC-SA, lets others remix, tweak and build on work if they give credit to the original author, but only for non-commercial (NC) purposes, and only if they license what they produce under the same terms (SA, or 'share-alike'). A third licence, CC-BY-NC-ND, is the most restrictive, allowing others to download and share work, but not to change it in any way (ND, 'no derivative works'), or use it commercially. The results from Scientific Reports shows that, for the 685 papers accepted by the journal, authors chose either of the more restrictive licences 95% of the time — and the most restrictive, CC-BY-NC-ND, 68% of the time."
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Researchers Opt To Limit Uses of Open-access Publications

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  • That makes sense (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:56AM (#42819541)

    In, say, Linux, you have the ability to modify the source and create a completely new ability by manipulating the functions presented to you. We call this programming.

    If you take an open research article and modify it, then republish it with attribution given to the original author, it turns what is (supposedly) reliable scientific information into a potential weapon against the author, with various elements citing it against the author in other publications.

    Imagine what the strict use of CC-BY-SA would be if used by a modern fundamentalist anti-science group against climate change researchers, for instance.

  • by Nick Fel ( 1320709 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @09:58AM (#42819563)
    Why is this surprising? Open access, which most scientists support in principle, is not the same as open source. It's about making sure that research outputs (particularly those that are government-funded) are made available for everyone to read, not just those with an expensive subscription. Access to that knowledge support innovation. It doesn't mean being able to reuse the original material however you like.
  • by niftydude ( 1745144 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:20AM (#42819719)

    Researchers don't generally care about their papers being open access or not.

    I'd like to use open access journals, but there are two things stopping me. Other people's money and my money.

    1) Other people's money: Most open access journals I've come across in my field charge >$1000 to let you publish in them (as opposed to traditional journals which generally charge nothing). This is pretty much not an option in the current cash-strapped academic environment, funding bodies don't like to see their money spent on things like this, they want to pay for research.

    2) My money: Most open access journals are newish, and so have a lower impact factor than traditional journals. The university I do work for remunerates researchers based on a sliding scale based on the impact factor of the journals they publish in, so publishing an article in a lower impact factor journal results in substantially less take-home pay for me.

    All things being equal, I would certainly lean towards using open access journals, simply because I prefer my work to get as much exposure as possible, but all things are not equal.

  • Re:CC-BY-ND (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:37AM (#42819875)

    Citing is covered by the fair use rationale and not revoke-able with a license.

  • by paiute ( 550198 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:37AM (#42819877)

    Not true at all. Most researchers (I would say it's a large majority) prefer open-access because of the better exposure of their work, and because of an innate desire to share their science with everybody. There are scientists with views differing from this, but they are, as far as I could see (and I, as a researcher that travels a lot to conferences and does research abroad often, have met a huge number of my colleagues) a small minority.

    Not always true in my experience. One's enthusiasm for open access scientific publishing changes radically depending on whether you are publishing a paper or trying to access a paper. If you are publishing a paper then you want to have it in the most prestigious vehicle you can get into. It looks better on the CV come tenure or job interview time. For chemistry, say, you want to publish in JACS or JOC. But if I am reading the literature then I curse the bastards who published in JACS and JOC because I might not have free access to those journals.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:41AM (#42819923)

    Thank you! Open-access has NOTHING to do with these three license forms. As I scientist (and fan of Arxiv) I was puzzled by the headline until I read the paragraph and realized this has nothing to do with open access. This almost makes no sense. The headline of this is completely wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2013 @10:47AM (#42819983)

    And -ND makes citations impossible (so you can at most use references), so using it shows misunderstanding of these licenses.


    -ND lets you do exactly the same things that you could do with an old-style journal article, where you didn't have a license at all. This includes limited quotation, because that falls under fair use. You also have one additional option, which is to republish the article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes.

    That is the whole point of open-access.

    What -ND actually doesn't allow is extension or modification of the original work, so you couldn't produce "version 2" of my journal article, with my introduction and methods sections, but your data and conclusions, or something like that. But that is not considered good academic practice anyway, so nothing is lost here.

  • by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Thursday February 07, 2013 @08:07PM (#42827143) Journal

    As I said its about impact factor. If and when open access journals get decent impact factors, researchers will be more inclined to use them.

    It is not just about impact factor. I would not want to release a paper without a ND licence because a scientific paper is not the same as a book or manual. It is essentially scientific "speech" where you communicate your ideas to others. They are then free to take that idea and run with it but I do not want some random stranger downloading the paper, editing it to change those ideas and conclusions, and then resubmitting it with my name associated with it. If they want to write their own paper then great - use the data, argue that my conclusions are wrong etc. but you don't get to edit my paper even if you willingly acknowledge I wrote it you have to write your own so it is clear whose opinion is being expressed.

    This is particularly true in more controversial fields - imagine what would happen in climate change or evolutionary fields if anyone can download, edit and then resubmit papers. You could completely alter the meaning of the paper and resubmit it with credit given to the original authors who, by implication, will appear to be supporting whatever you wrote.

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