Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Elsevier Cell Reports OA: confused or fake?

Update: a closer look suggests genuine confusion.

When I click on the most recent article in Cell Reports, the following picture is what I see - on the left hand side, it says [copyright sign] The Authors 2012. On the right hand side, there is a "Permissions" link which goes to Rightslink. The only other copyright related note I see on this page (not in the picture below) is the [copyright sign] Elsevier 2012. All rights reserved. In the actual article, at the very bottom of the article under "licensing information" is the Creative Commons license. The author copyright notice is also there - at the bottom of the page, not co-located with licensing information.  A google search for a paragraph within the actual text immediately directs me to this article, which suggests that this Elsevier version of a no-derivatives article is available for text mining. (Details below).

 Here is the paragraph within the text that a google search immediately connected with the actual article:

Next, we expressed an AMPAR subunit (GluA1, GluA2, or
GluA3) fused to Super Ecliptic pHluorin (SEP), a pH-sensitive
variant of EGFP, in hippocampal neurons cultured on the NRXcoated
glass in order to observe changes of the subunits during
LTP. SEP fluorescence is quenched by low pH inside cytoplasmic
vesicles such as endosomes

Elsevier's Cell Reports has announced that they are offering authors two options for real open access in the form of two Creative Common license options, CC-BY (attribution only) or CC-BY-NC-ND (attribution- non commercial-no derivatives). In both cases, it is the authors that retain copyright, according to the announcement. This is important, as it signifies that with this journal at least, Elsevier is recognizing their obligation to give up commercial sale rights when paid for article production services. However, when I look at articles in Cell Reports, I see copyright (c sign) Authors, and a permissions link - which goes to Rightslink, not Creative Commons. Is Elsevier confused, or is this more pseudo-OA like Elsevier's sponsored articles?

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