Saturday, June 14, 2008

STM Issues Statement on Digital Copyright Exceptions: A Great Case for Author's Rights!

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers has just issued several statements on digital copyright exceptions.

These are disturbing statements. Clearly some of the very wealthy and highly profitable companies behind the STM - noted for their anti-OA lobbying efforts - have plans to make every effort to influence copyright laws, at an international level, for their own private benefit, and to limit uses of material made available through library subscription, both through influencing law and through influencing licensing practise.

One of the disturbing elements of the STM statement is its complete lack of recognition of authors, as well as other contributors to scholarly publishing.

For example, the STM statement says: "For example, journal articles, academic treatises and textbooks are published by STM publishers for the very purpose of contributing to scholarly communication and education", and talks about libraries as consumers with no mention of the scholars that write the journals articles and perform the peer review free of charge, nor the contributions of those who fund the research and/or pay the salaries of the researchers.

Disturbing as this is, there is a bright side: this is the best case for author's rights I have seen so far! Libraries should post this prominently on their scholarly communications websites. When scholars are giving away their copyright, they should be aware of who they are giving it to.