An argument that I see as important but missing: is CC-BY even an appropriate goal for open access at all? This is a separate question from whether it should be a short or long-term priority.
that CC-BY is NOT an appropriate goal for open access. There are many
reasons for this argument, too many for one post, so I'll start off by
challenging the assumption that CC-BY is what is needed for data and
1. CC-BY is not necessary for data and
text-mining. Internet search engines such as google and social media
companies do extensive data and text mining, and they do not limit
themselves to CC-BY material. This is true even in the EU, so is not
prevented by the EU's support for copyright of data. To illustrate: if
data and text-mining is not permissible without CC-BY, then Google must
shut down, immediately.
2. CC-BY is not sufficient for data and
text-mining. The Creative Commons licenses are designed as a means for
creators to waive rights that they would otherwise have under copyright;
they do not place any obligations on the Licensor. There is nothing to
stop a creator from using a CC-BY license with a locked-down PDF with
extra DRM designed to prevent data and text-mining.
One of the
reasons that it is important to begin giving such questions greater
attention and analysis is funders' policies requiring CC-BY. If authors
and their publishers adopt CC-BY through coercion rather than choice,
the actual practice may differ considerably from earlier open access
initiatives involving voluntary use of this license.
argument leaves aside the question of whether allowing for ubiquitous
data and text-mining is actually beneficial for scholarship. My
perspective is that this is unknown, and it is premature to prescribe
data and text-mining for all scholarly works until after a fuller
exploration of this question. As one counter-example, consider that
allowing data-mining and remix of health information can compromise
This is one of the topics that I begin to address in my
draft dissertation, Freedom for Scholarship in the Internet Age. The
defence draft is available for download from here:
chapter 4 on open access and chapter 8, conclusions. These arguments
are not meant to be exhaustive, but rather an illustration of the
potential of the societal trend that I call irrational rationality to
actually make things worse for scholars and scholarly communication in
the transition to open access.
Heather G. Morrison
Open Access Advocate / Opponent of CC-BY Coercion
The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics
This was posted today to the GOAL Open Access List.