According to Reuters, judge Vince Chhabria said the authors’ allegations that text generated by Llama infringes their copyrights simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. "When I make a query of Llama, I’m not asking for a copy of Sarah Silverman’s book—I’m not even asking for an excerpt," Chhabria observed, noting that, under the authors’ theory, a side-by-side comparison of text generated by the AI application and Silverman’s book would have to show they are similar.
However, the judge said he will not dismiss the case with prejudice, meaning the authors will be allowed to amend and refile their claims.
Current estimates suggest that more than 50% of the world’s research articles are published open access and that there are around 20,000 fully OA journals. Data also indicates that publishing OA is, on average, cheaper than publishing in subscription journals. For example, an analysis by Delta Think shows that around 45% of all scholarly articles were published as paid-for open access in 2021, but this accounted for just under 15% of the total journal publishing revenue.
However, after two decades of discussions, advocacy, policy development and strategy, can this level of OA be considered a success, particularly when half of all research articles published today is hidden behind a paywall? I think not.
Although the existing, somewhat messy, maze of institutional IP policies, publishing agreements, and OA policies can seem daunting, understanding their terms is important for authors who want to see their works made openly available. I’ll leave for another day to explore whether it’s a good thing that the rights situation is so complex. In many situations, rights thickets like these can be a real detriment to authors and access to their works. In this case the situation is at least nuanced such that authors are able to leverage pre-existing licenses to avoid negotiating away the bundle of rights they need to see their works made available openly.
"We have learned that many publishers are requiring UC authors to sign misleading License to Publish agreements, which undermine the spirit and intent of [UC’s open access policies]," wrote Susan Cochran, Chair of the faculty Academic Senate PDF.
By purporting to restrict an author’s abilities to reuse their own work, "these agreements essentially turn faculty authors into readers, as opposed to creators and owners of their own work," the Academic Senate chair concludes.
The team that leads negotiations with scholarly publishers on behalf of the university, including representatives from UC’s California Digital Library, the 10 campus libraries, and the Academic Senate, is now taking up the charge, making author rights the next frontier in advocating for the UC research community.
Neither Meta nor OpenAI has yet responded to the author suits. But multiple copyright lawyers told PW on background that the claims likely face an uphill battle in court. Even if the suits get past the threshold issues associated with the alleged copying at issue and how AI training actually works—which is no sure thing—lawyers say there is ample case law to suggest fair use. For example, a recent case against plagiarism detector TurnItIn.com held that works could be ingested to create a database used to expose plagiarism by students. The landmark Kelly v. Arriba Soft case held that the reproduction and display of photos as thumbnails was fair use.
Those publishing agreements do provide what many authors want in OA publishing—free online access and broad reuse rights to users. But, if authors select the wrong option, they are also giving away their own residual rights while granting Elsevier or Wiley the exclusive right to commercially exploit their work. That includes the right for those publishers to exclude the author herself from making or authorizing even the most basic of commercial uses, such as posting the article to a for-profit repository like Researchgate or even SSRN. This is not a result I think most authors intend, but it’s hard to spot the problem unless you read these publication agreements carefully.
Author contracts in scholarly publishing serve to outline the rights and permissions for each party in the use and redistribution of a work throughout the life of its copyright term. Although rights and licensing expectations for open access publishing—the “open access ethos”—have been detailed in the Budapest Declaration, Plan S Principles, and other documentation, studies that explore the implementation of these ideals in contracts between authors and publishers have been limited in focus and scope. This study seeks to initiate a holistic approach toward evaluating open access journal agreements that is not limited by region or discipline, with the aim of discerning best practices as well as delineating common points of deviation. The authors distributed a survey to contacts from journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), including both journals with and without a DOAJ Seal. The results suggest that DOAJ Seal status is central to alignment with the open access ethos and that there is more misunderstanding about the importance of copyright and licensing terms than shown in previous research. This research contributes to discussions pursuing a future of open access publishing that supports authors’ rights as a central tenet.
This report investigates the current landscape of non-legislative policy practices affecting researchers and authors in the authors’ rights and licensing domain. It is an outcome of research conducted by Project Retain led by SPARC Europe, as part of the Knowledge Rights 21 programme. The report concludes with a set of recommendations for institutional policymakers, funders and legislators, and publishers. It is accompanied by the study dataset.
Julie Baldwin and Stephen Pinfield have published "The UK Scholarly Communication Licence: Attempting to Cut through the Gordian Knot of the Complexities of Funder Mandates, Publisher Embargoes and Researcher Caution in Achieving Open Access" in Publications.
Here's an excerpt:
Whilst take-up of open access (OA) in the UK is growing rapidly due partly to a number of funder mandates, managing the complexities of balancing compliance with these mandates against restrictive publisher policies and ingrained academic priorities, has resulted in UK higher education institutions (HEIs) often struggling with confused researchers, complex workflows, and rising costs. In order to try to address this situation, the UK Scholarly Communication Licence (UK-SCL) was formulated to bypass the root causes of many of these challenges by implementing a licensing mechanism for multiple-mandate compliance in one single policy. This is the first empirical study to focus on the genesis of the UK-SCL and how its implementation has been conceived thus far. A qualitative research method was used, taking the form of 14 semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders from the initiative across the UK. The results indicate that those working within UK HEIs are concerned with the complexity of the current OA policy landscape and are frustrated with the inertia within the current system, which has resulted in higher costs, further publisher restrictions, and has not addressed the underlying tensions in academic culture. The UK-SCL is seen by its initiators as a way to achieve further transition towards OA and take back some element of control of the content produced at their institutions. The study concludes by modelling the ways in which the UK-SCL is intended to impact relationships between key stakeholders, and discussing possible implementation futures.
There have been several reports stating that the editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration has resigned. The Journal of Library Administration is published by Taylor & Francis, which publishes a number of library and information science journals.
Here's an excerpt from Brian Mathews's "So I'm Editing This Journal Issue and . . ." in which he quotes an e-mail from Damon Jaggars:
"The Board believes that the licensing terms in the Taylor & Francis author agreement are too restrictive and out-of-step with the expectations of authors in the LIS community."
"A large and growing number of current and potential authors to JLA have pushed back on the licensing terms included in the Taylor & Francis author agreement. Several authors have refused to publish with the journal under the current licensing terms."
"Authors find the author agreement unclear and too restrictive and have repeatedly requested some form of Creative Commons license in its place."
"After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2995 per article fee to be paid by the author. As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community who are generally not conducting research under large grants."
"Thus, the Board came to the conclusion that it is not possible to produce a quality journal under the current licensing terms offered by Taylor & Francis and chose to collectively resign."
The Editorial Board members are:
Damon Jaggars (Editor)
Fred M. Heath
Paula T. Kaufman
Deanna B. Marcum
Sarah C. Michalak
James G. Neal
Ann J. Wolpert
Birgit Schmidt and Kathleen Shearer have published "Licensing Revisited: Open Access Clauses in Practice" in the Future Issue section of LIBER Quarterly.
Here's an excerpt:
Open access increases the visibility and use of research outputs and promises to maximize the return on our public investment in research. However, only a minority of researchers will "spontaneously" deposit their articles into an open access repository. Even with the growing number of institutional and funding agency mandates requiring the deposit of papers into the university repository, deposit rates have remained stubbornly low. As a result, the responsibility for populating repositories often falls onto the shoulders of library staff and/or repository managers. Populating repositories in this way—which involves obtaining the articles, checking the rights, and depositing articles into the repository—is time consuming and resource intensive work.
The Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), a global association of repository initiatives and networks, is promoting a new strategy for addressing some of the barriers to populating repositories, involving the use of open access archiving clauses in publisher licenses. These types of clauses are being considered by consortia and licensing agencies around the world as a way of ensuring that all the papers published by a given publisher are cleared for deposit into the institutional repository. This paper presents some use cases of open access archiving clauses, discusses the major barriers to implementing archiving language into licenses, and describes some strategies that organizations can adopt in order to include such clauses into publisher licenses.
| Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography: "This work gives an outstanding overview of scholarship relating to the growing Open Access movement." — George Machovec, The Charleston Advisor 12, no. 2 (2010): 3. | Digital Scholarship |
The Harvard Open Access Project has released Good Practices For University Open-Access Policies.
Here's an excerpt:
This is a guide to good practices for university open-access (OA) policies. It’s based on the type of policy adopted at Harvard, Stanford, MIT, U of Kansas, U of Oregon, Trinity, Oberlin, Rollins, Wake Forest, Duke, U of Puerto Rico, Hawaii-Manoa, Columbia, Strathmore U, Emory, Princeton, Jomo Kenyatta, Utah State, Bifrõst, Miami, California-San Francisco, and the U Massachusetts Medical School (listing some but not all, and in chronological order). However, it includes recommendations that should be useful to institutions with other sorts of OA policy as well.
The guide is designed to evolve. No early version will cover every point on which good practices would be desirable or might be discernible. We plan to revise and enlarge it over time, building on our own experience and the experience of colleagues elsewhere. We welcome suggestions.
David R. Hansen has published "Understanding and Making Use of Academic Authors' Open Access Rights" in the latest issue of the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication.
Here's an excerpt:
METHODS To understand the scope of author-retained rights (including the right to purchase hybrid or other open access options) at some sample universities, author-rights data through the SHERPA/RoMEO API was combined with individual article citations (from Thomson Reuters' Web of Science) for works published over a one-year period (2011) and authored by individuals affiliated with five major U.S. research universities. RESULTS Authors retain significant rights in the articles that they create. Of the 29,322 unique articles authored over the one year period at the five universities, 28.83 percent could be archived in final PDF form and 87.95 percent could be archived as the post-print version. Nearly 43.47 percent also provided authors the choice of purchasing a hybrid paid open access option. DISCUSSION A significant percentage of current published output could be archived with little or no author intervention. With prior approval through an open access policy or otherwise, article manuscripts or final PDFs can be obtained and archived by library staff, and hybrid paid-OA options could be negotiated and exploited by library administrators.
Micah Vandegrift and Gloria Colvin have published "Relational Communications: Developing Key Connections" in the latest issue of College & Research Libraries News.
Here's an excerpt:
Two years ago use of the terms scholarly communication and open access on the Florida State University (FSU) campus was limited primarily to library administrators and a few library and teaching faculty. But, in a relatively short time, we have dramatically increased awareness of these topics on our campus and accomplished many of our goals. Our focus has been on promoting authors' rights, the option to archive publications in open access repositories, and the evolution of scholarly publication in a digital environment, rather than a focus on the serials crisis facing libraries. Looking back over these past two years, the relationships that we developed along the way have been foundational to our success. Here, we discuss development of the FSU program and key steps we took, which we hope are instructive to others in developing a scholarly communication program.
MIT has established an Open Access Working Group in response to Elsevier's new article posting policies.
Here's an excerpt from the "New Open Access Working Group Formed: Formulating Response to Elsevier's Policy Change":
The wording [of the Elsevier posting policy] is very unclear; no one is quite sure what a "systematic posting mandate" is. Duke, for one, who has an open access policy very much like ours, has concluded that such policies aren't "mandates" since they allow people to opt out, and hence that they are not covered by the new Elsevier posting policy. But it is clear that Elsevier is trying to do what it can to undermine such policies, and to confuse faculty about what they are and are not allowed to do. Certainly that is the interpretation of the Coalition for Open Access Repositories, who, in their response, "strongly oppose the changes made by Elsevier to its article posting policies" and "join the research community in condemning Elsevier for its recent business practices and lobbying that undermine policies and activities promoting open access to scholarly literature."
According to a library staff member, the Utah State Faculty Senate passed a proposed "Retention of Authors Copyright to Scholarly Articles and Deposit in the University's Open Access Repository" policy yesterday (see section 3:40, item 1). The policy will be sent next to the Human Resources department for further consideration since it is a proposed personnel policy.
Here's an excerpt:
(1) Author's Rights
The University recognizes the importance of copyright and urges faculty members to retain rights to their own scholarly articles. Therefore, if a publisher's standard contract requires the transfer of copyright and/or does not allow deposit in the University's open access repository, the University expects faculty authors to negotiate the terms of the publisher's contract by attaching an addendum to the contract asserting the author's right to retain the copyright and/or the right to deposit the published version or pre-print version of the scholarly article in the University's open access repository. Should a publisher insist on the transfer of copyright as a condition of publication or refuse to permit the deposition of the published version or preprint version of the scholarly article in the University's open access repository, it is at the faculty author's discretion whether or not to continue with the publication, which will invoke an automatic waiver to this policy (see 5.2(2)).
(2) Deposit in the University's Open Access Repository
Each faculty member grants permission to the University to post in the University's open access repository all of his or her scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles published while employed by the University. In legal terms each faculty member grants to the University a nonexclusive license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for profit, and to authorize others to do the same. This license in no way interferes with the rights of a faculty author as the copyright holder of the work but instead promotes a wide distribution and increased impact of the author's work. If a faculty author's attempt to retain full rights is unsuccessful, the author may proceed with publication, thereby invoking an automatic waiver for that particular article. While it is not necessary in these situations to formally request a waiver, it is recommended that the author send the bibliographic citation to the Library, alerting librarians that a waiver is being invoked and that the publication may not be posted in the University's open access repository.
Routledge has announced a two-year trial of a new author rights policy for library and information science journals.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
Routledge, the social science and humanities imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, is pleased to announce a two-year pilot initiative for the library and information science research community, allowing contributors to its library and information science journals to retain the copyright to their work and to post it within their institutional repository without an embargo period.
This initiative applies to any of Routledge's 35 library and information science journals published from Taylor & Francis' Philadelphia office. Under this scheme, an author may post the peer-reviewed version of his or her article (although not the published pdf.) into their institutional or subject repository (although not commercial servers or for resale) immediately following publication, so long as the original place of publication is referenced and a URL link is made to the Version of Record on Routledge's website. To view a list of included titles please go to: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/pdf/author/lis-journals.pdf