Licence to publish – the boot is on the wrong foot | Plan S

peter.suber's bookmarks 2021-12-02


"It is precisely because the author is the copyright holder that they have the right to assign a licence to publish. The UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) states this clearly:

You can license the use of your work if you own the copyright. You can also decide how your work is used.

In some cases, permission to publish is at the submission stage. Note that in all cases, the author is the one granting the LTP. However, you would never think that this is the case when you see what actually happens in practice. It appears I am not the only one – see, for example, the excellent NC State University ReproducibiliTea discussion.

But…who is actually in control?

In practice, the LTP is written by and presented to the author by the publisher. Note the direction of travel here – the publisher asks the author to sign a LTP that the publisher has written. An example of a publishers’ LTP is Wiley’s sample Exclusive Licence Agreement. I find it interesting that in this LTP example, the author is referred to not as the legally titled ‘Licensor‘, but merely the submissive ‘Contributor,’ whilst Wiley/Journal are referred to not as the ‘Licensee,’ but as the more dominant ‘Owner.’ Is this a subtle power assertion tactic by the publisher?

With an exclusive agreement, the right to publish is granted to that publisher alone for the term of the licence (which may be perpetual). An exclusive licence means that the author is granting permission for that specific publisher to not only publish, but reproduce, distribute, make available, copy, communicate, display publicly, sell, or rent – and probably more uses that publishers include in their LTPs. The exclusivity assigned to this particular publisher means that the author – the copyright holder – cannot do any of these things without seeking the publisher’s permission once the licence has been granted.

Nevertheless, even publishers realise that completely barricading articles is not beneficial, so they commonly licence back some rights to the author. Authors may be granted rights of use for purposes of teaching or presentation at conferences. However, such licenced rights are often restrictive and can include terms such as when, where and how an AAM, i.e. the author’s content, can be made available, and with whom, i.e. limited sharing and dissemination. ..."


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Tags: oa.publishing oa.licensing oa.authors oa.copyright oa.rights-retention oa.libre oa.plan_s oa.recommendations

Date tagged:

12/02/2021, 09:26

Date published:

12/02/2021, 04:27