[Taxacom] author rights

Donat Agosti agosti at amnh.org
Fri Jun 27 02:13:07 CDT 2008

Here is a comment on author rights worthwhile to be studied and implemented
in our community as well to secure open access to all the taxonomic
publications and its content.



Two new policies widen the path to balanced copyright management:
Developments on author rights
C&RL News, July/August 2008
Vol. 69, No. 7

by Karla L. Hahn

A light bulb is going off that is casting the issue of author rights
management into new relief. On January 11, 2008, the National Institutes of
Health (NIH) announced a revision of its Public Access Policy. Effective
April 7, 2008, the agency requires investigators to deposit their articles
stemming from NIH funding in the NIH online archive, PubMed Central.
Librarians have been looking forward to such an announcement, especially
since studies found that the voluntary version of the policy was achieving
deposit rates of affected articles on the order of a few percentage points,
making it impossible to achieve the policy’s goals for broadening access to
funded research and accelerating the pace of research advance.1  

The shift from a request to a requirement comes at a propitious time;
academic libraries already have been building infrastructure to work with
faculty on both rights management and repository deposit. Author rights
management has been the most common focus of faculty outreach on campuses in
recent years.2 The value of digital repositories and preprint and postprint
deposit has also been broadly communicated. The revised policy thus has not
only found a hospitable environment, but it also has effectively catalyzed
ongoing discussions about the obligations of scholars and researchers not
merely to publish, but to act to achieve the broadest possible dissemination
of their findings. 

With opportunity, of course, comes responsibility. It is now apparent that
many leaders on campus, and many faculty, still faced a learning curve as
they prepared for the change in the policy. On many campuses, librarians
have been in a position to exercise leadership by reaching out to key
stakeholders, particularly campus research offices, and clarifying the
implications of the revisions to the policy and enabling the rapid
development of compliance strategies. In the short term, libraries have
built new and very positive relationships on campus as a result of their
contributions in support of grantees and investigators’ meeting the policy’s
Libraries have contributed to the success of the policy by creating
resources, fostering the creation of campus tools, and using and promoting
resources developed by library associations (see sidebar). As the librarian
community has understood from the outset, one of the key transformations the
policy initiates is a shift in researchers’ management of their copyrights
of the works they author. With the article deposit requirement, researchers
can no longer simply sign publication agreements without careful review and,
in some cases, modification of the publisher’s proposed terms. While this
may be perceived as a minor annoyance, it calls attention to the value of
scholarly publications and the necessity to consider carefully whether an
appropriate balance between author and publisher rights and needs is on

As institutions, as grantees, become responsible for ensuring that funded
authors retain the rights they need to meet the NIH public Access Policy
requirements, there is a new incentive for campus leaders to reconsider
institutional policies and local practices relating to faculty copyrights as


Norms are always more difficult to change than technologies. We are now
witnessing a key shift in norms for sharing scholarly work that promises a
giant step forward in leveraging the potential of network technologies and
digital scholarship to advance research, teaching, policy development,
professional practice, and technology transfer. Librarians need to seek and
promote today’s burgeoning opportunities to accelerate these positive
changes toward openness. The next important strategy to pursue is developing
institutional policies that ensure institutions receive limited distribution


Dr. Donat Agosti
Science Consultant
Research Associate, American Museum of Natural History and Naturmuseum der
Burgergemeinde Bern
Email: agosti at amnh.org
Web: http://antbase.org
Blog: http://biodivcontext.blogspot.com/
Skype: agostileu
Current Location
Dalmaziquai 45
3005 Bern
+41-31-351 7152
+1-202-558 0330

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