Friday, April 05, 2013

Elsevier's twist on open access and Creative Commons includes exclusive license to publish

It should come as no surprise that Elsevier's venture into "open access" involves creating a new hybrid of free and toll access. In brief, authors publishing in Elsevier's new open access journals have an option of Creative Commons licenses (good), but are also expected to sign an exclusive license agreement granting Elsevier publishing and distribution rights and leaving authors and their institutions with "copyright" and a range of scholarly use rights which is the same limited range of options available to subscription-based authors. At best, this is confusing and conflicting and should be regarded as a new form of pseudo open access.

From the Elsevier explanation of Open Access Journals:

All articles published in Elsevier Open Access Journals are peer reviewed and upon acceptance will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. Permitted reuse is defined by your choice of user license.

Authors publishing in these journals will use an exclusive licensing agreement, where they will retain copyright alongside scholarly usage rights and Elsevier will be granted publishing and distribution rights.
The new open access journal Climate Risk Management's Guide for Authors page which points (through one intermediary step) to this Rights & Responsibilities page.

At Elsevier, we request transfers of copyright, or in some cases exclusive rights, from our journal authors in order to ensure that we have the rights necessary for the proper administration of electronic rights and online dissemination of journal articles. Authors and their employers retain (or are granted/transferred back) significant scholarly rights in their work.    
How authors can use their own journal articles
Authors publishing in Elsevier journals have wide rights to use their works for teaching and scholarly purposes without needing to seek permission.
Summary: Elsevier has created a new form of pseudo-open-access combining Creative Commons licensing with exclusive copyright transfer with authors supposedly retaining "copyright" but actually retaining only very limited rights to use their own work.

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