Re: Journal Publisher Monopoly - cutting it off at source

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 15:20:29 +0000

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 2002 09:13:41 -0500
From: Peter Suber <>
Subject: Re: Journal Publisher Monopoly - cutting it off at source

[Forwarding from Sally Morris of ALPSP. --Peter.]

Sorry to pick up on this so late. There is a suggested form of journal
author/publisher agreement ('Model Grant of Licence'), where the author
retains copyright but the publisher gets all the rights it needs, on our
In the books world, authors quite commonly retain copyright, and this has
never been a problem for most publishers. Actually, I don't think
copyright retention by the author is the heart of the matter - it's the
specific retention of other rights, particularly the right to reuse his/her
own work for educational purposes, and to put it on a website, which really
matters; this can be reflected in the agreement, whether or not copyright
is transferred. First sight of the results of our latest study on 'Authors
and Electronic Publishing' appears to confirm that these are the key issues
for authors - I will let you all know as soon as the final report is available.


Sally Morris, Secretary-General
Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers
South House, The Street, Clapham, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3UU, UK

Phone: 01903 871686 Fax: 01903 871457
E-mail: <>
ALPSP Website <>

Learned Publishing is now online, free of charge, at
----- Original Message -----
From: <>Peter Suber
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, February 03, 2002 2:39 PM
Subject: Re: Journal Publisher Monopoly - cutting it off at source

At 11:46 AM 2/3/2002 -0800, you wrote:
>I'm a relative newcomer to FOS, though I've been somewhat active for a while
>in trying to improve access and reduce costs of educational use of academic
>output. It seems to me that the key is to stop academic authors from handing
>over rights in their work to commercial publishers (usually for no payment).
>Usuall they are so anxious to be published they will sign any kind of
>copyright form, often without even reading it (and this even applies to my
>colleagues in law schools). Is there a website anywhere that gives practical
>advice to academic authors on how to resist this, and alternative
>non-exclusive rights agreements?
>Prof. Sol Picciotto
>Law School
>Lancaster University
>Lancaster LA1 4YN,
>phone: (44)(0)1524-592464
>fax: (44)(0)1524-525212

Sol: Good question. Here are some guidelines and papers from my bookmark
collection. If readers of this forum can suggest other helpful sites, I'll
collect the best of them in a list on my page of FOS Lists.

Advice from "Create Change" (from ARL, ACRL, SPARC) on how authors can
retain copyright to their works.

Advice from the UK Author Licensing and Collecting Society. See especially
the section called "Assign or License"?

North Carolina State University's page of advice to NCSU faculty on how to
negotiate with publishers to retain copyright.

Wilfrid Hodges' checklist of practical advice on what contract terms to
request, and accept, from a publisher (approved by the International
Mathematical Union). Don't be deceived by the fact that Hodges addresses
his advice only to mathematicians; it applies to all academic authors.

Derek Rowntree's 1999 article on his unavailing attempt to retain copyright
in negotiations with a large, inflexible publisher, with some advice for
authors who try to do the same.

Ann Okerson's 1998 article recommending that researchers funded by the US
government retain copyright to their articles and license many kinds of
non-exclusive use to others. More a position paper than practical advice
to authors, but an influential position paper.


Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374

Editor, The Free Online Scholarship Newsletter
Received on Mon Mar 11 2002 - 15:22:15 GMT

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