Re: Apercus of WOS Meeting: Making Ends Meet in the Creative Commons

From: Richard Poynder <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 00:36:11 +0100

It is my belief that the boundary between give-away and non-give-away is not
as clear-cut as you imply Stevan. I, for instance, have been paid by
peer-review journals for articles I have contributed to them. Academics tell
me that it is also not unknown for them to receive payment for publishing in
peer-review journals. In other words, publications ostensibly operating as
vehicles for give-away content alone will sometimes supplement that
give-away content with non-give-away content; and academics themselves will
sometimes provide this (on a non-give-away basis).

Additionally, of course, academics also frequently produce articles and
papers for other types of publications/other venues for a fee. The reverse
also occurs: as a freelance journalist trying to place articles in
non-give-away publications I sometimes find I am competing against academics
willing to provide "copy" on a give-away basis.

Maybe such incidents are not the norm, but it does lead me to believe that
the boundary between give-away and non-give-away is fuzzier than you
suggest, and therefore researchers and research publications could benefit
from being better able to distinguish between give-away and non-give-away
material - one of the primary purposes of the CC licences.

Perhaps the bigger point here is that the internet has proved a catalyst for
change in all areas of content creation, and therefore introduced the
opportunity - in some cases necessity - for new/different methods/ business
models. OA would not be possible without the web, and OA publishing, which
sees a shift from a reader-pays to an author-pays model, is a good example
of a new business model made possible by it. Similarly radical changes are
taking place in many areas of non-give-away creative endeavour, not least in
the music industry. We can expect some of these new approaches to look very
similar to the traditional give-away model of peer-reviewed journals,
suggesting that the boundary between give-away and non-give-away will become
fuzzier as time passes.

Indeed, as governments and research institutions seek (for good or bad) to
better "exploit" the intellectual property generated by researchers, we may
even see attempts to move some of the traditional give-away output of
scholarly publishing into the non-give-away arena - which might or might not
prove successful.

What is surely certain is that many of the new methods for content
distribution thrown up by the internet need new, more flexible ways of
expressing the altered relationships that this introduces between creators
and those who distribute and consume their creations. As such new licenses
like those of the CC - along with the FDL, OPL etc. - look set to become
increasingly popular, both in the traditional non-give-away world and, I
would suggest, in the traditional give-away arena of scholarly publishing

Richard Poynder
Freelance Journalist
Received on Fri Jun 18 2004 - 00:36:11 BST

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