220.127.116.11 Creative Commons Licensing
The Creative Commons organisation has developed a set of licences from which authors or publishers can choose. Some Open Access publishers use Creative Commons licences to ensure that the content of the articles published in their journals are reusable in the widest (libre Open Access) sense: that is, they can be reproduced, abstracted, ‘mashed up’ with other material to produce new information, crawled by text-mining and data-mining tools and so on.
Creative Commons has designed a collection of licences to ensure that there is a suitable licence for every purpose. The explanation of these licences and how they can be used to best effect is provided on the Creative Commons 119 The Directory of Open Access Journals lists 1535 (22% of the total 6873) (note the link show shows: 2162 as of 8 April, 2012) using some kind of Creative Commons licence: http://www.doaj.org/?func=
Where publishers and authors wish to make their work as freely reusable as possible, including by other parties who may develop new products to sell by reusing the material in some way, the most appropriate licence for the publisher to use in this instance is the Creative Commons ‘Attribution’ licence (commonly referred to as ‘CC-BY’), a tool that requires the creator of the work to be acknowledged when the work is re-used but does not restrict the re-use in any way.
Where publishers and authors may wish to restrict some forms of re-use, such as not permitting commercial derivatives to be made, there is a Creative Commons licence for these possibilities, too. The key terms of CC licences are Attribution, No Commercial, No Derivatives and Share Alike.
The advantages of using a Creative Commons licence over a custom one are:
◾ There is almost certainly a ready-made licence that will suit the publisher’s requirements, saving time and effort in drawing up a custom licence
◾ Creative Commons licences are easily understood and commonly used, so that a potential reader or re-user of a work will immediately understand the conditions of the licence
◾ The licences have machine-readable metadata, simplifying processes where applications such as harvesters and text-mining tools carry out automated tasks: these tools can recognise, by the machine readable licence, which content they are permitted to gather and work upon
Summary points on copyright
▶ Open Access requires the copyright holder’s consent
▶ Copyright is a bundle of rights
▶ The norm is to sign the whole bundle of rights over to the journal publisher, though it is not necessary to do this in most cases: publishers can go about their work so long as the author signs over the them the right to publish the work
▶ Authors and other copyright holders (employers and funders) can retain the rights they need to make the work Open Access
▶ A premeditated retention of sufficient rights to enable Open Access is the preferable course of action rather than seeking permission post-publication
▶ Licensing scientific works is good practice because it makes clear to the user what can be done with the work and by that can encourage use
▶ Only a minor part of the Open Access literature is formally licensed at present: this is the case even for Open Access journal content
▶ Creative Commons licensing is best practice because the system is well-understood, provides a suite of licences that cover all needs, and the licences are machine-readable ▶ Otherwise, legal amendments to copyright law will be necessary in most jurisdictions to enable text-mining and data-mining for material without an appropriate Creative Commons licence