#openaccess; Let’s get rid of “Green” “Gold” and use precise language such as “CC-BY”. And be joyous.

Cameron Neylon has written a compelling article http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/comment/opinion/lets-get-this-straight/2002789.article and why we should get rid of “Green” “Gold” “Open Access” as meaningful labels. Because they no longer mean anything. They are as useful as “healthy” in a burger advertisement. I’m not going to repeat Cameron’s arguments – just read them yourself and redistribute.

Most publishers now produce inconsistent quasi-legal rubbish on their web pages. The try to write terms and conditions that are meaningful and normally they aren’t. They are almost an insult to readers (most of whom are actually intelligent knowledgeable humans). There is a spectrum of rubbish, varying from specialist departments of “Universal Access” whose business is in producing platitudes and not answering questions, to others that think that “all-rights-reserved” means something.

I was alerted to an article in IOP http://iopscience.iop.org/1367-2630/15/3/033037/article (Don’t switch off – it’s about building Klingon-like cloaking devices)

New Journal of Physics
Volume 15 March 2013

J C Soric et al 2013 New J. Phys.
15 033037 doi:10.1088/1367-2630/15/3/033037

Demonstration of an ultralow profile cloak for scattering suppression of a finite-length rod in free space


And I could READ it! It proclaims:

Great – it’s CC-BY. I can download it and feed it to #ami2 – our semantic program for extracting science from PDFs. But can #ami2 use it? I’d better check…

I look for the terms that refer to an individual http://iopscience.iop.org/page/terms_individual like me – and my #ami2. I don’t seem to have many rights (my emphasis):

You may access, download, store, search and print hard copy of text.  Copying must be limited to making a single printed copy or electronic copies of a reasonable number of individual articles or other similar items.  No text accessed via the Service may be made available to a third party, either for commercial reward or free of charge, except that for inter-library loan purposes a single paper copy of an electronic original may be made and sent non-digitally to a library in the same country as you under fair dealing/use exemptions.  In addition, for inter-library loan purposes, you may make a single paper copy of an electronic original available to a library in the same country by secure transmission using Ariel (or its equivalent) whereby that electronic file is deleted immediately after printing.  Such supply must be for the purpose of research or private study and not for commercial use or onward transmission or distribution.  In the USA, such copies may only be made in compliance with Section 108 of the Copyright Act of the USA and within CONTU guidelines.

[#ami2 asks me what an “Interlibrary loan” is. I tell her it’s a piece of paper. She crashes.]

So these TaC forbid me to (say) redistribute this article by posting it in a text-corpus – on Bitbucket – for mining. (That’s a really important activity, BTW).

We have a contradiction. And physics hates contradictions. I have always thought of the IoP as reasonably good guys (not all scientific societies fall into this classification). I think something needs fixing.

There is a spectrum of publisher attitudes to licences. At one end we have BMC, PLoS, eLife, peerJ Charlie, and Tim Gowers initiatives and Ubiquity Press and… They positively WANT people to re-use material. It’s honest. At the other end we have unnamed (because I will get sued) publishers who state they are “incredibly helpful” to people like me and somehow seem to make re-use impossible through fudge, inconsistency deliberately unhelpful licences, bad or non-existent labelling etc. Phrases on Open Access papers like “This journal is Copyright XYZ”. Yes, the *journal* is copyright but the paper is APC-paid Open Access and you haven’t the decency to tell the world. That’s weasel words and an insult to the authors and readers. Be honest and say

“This article is CC-BY”. Revere the authors. They want you to acknowledge them and use the article or bits of it for anything anywhere for any legal purpose and they rejoice in people making money out of it without their explicit permission because the more this happens the prouder they feel and the more others value them.

So maybe we need a joyous declaration on scholarly papers. After all Open Access is good and wonderful.

A; Open access means people can live and make a better planet. Not-A: Closed access means people die. A OR not-A ?

I agree there are technical difficulties in some of this. So why doesn’t OASPA produce a simple template for its OA publishers (the ones that actually believe in OA) making a clear positive statement that can be stuck on web pages. You are welcome to mine as a starting point.