Taylor and Francis “open access” licence is yet another toll-access publisher train-crash

I love Milvus milvus. (The image from the Wikipedia article CC-BY-SA))


A beautiful bird – extinct in UK in England (sic) when I grew up – we travelled to a remote part of Wales in the hope of seeing them. Now happily flourishing e.g. circling on the north of the M40 from London-Oxford. Unfortunately I can’t stop as this would cause a car crash.

So when I saw there was an Open Access article blurbed by Taylor and Francis on twitter as “open access” I went to look. And found


Which contains the text – my emphasis:

This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any
form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http:// www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditions

Taylor & Francis and Routledge Open articles are normally published under a Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/. However, authors may opt to publish under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ Taylor & Francis and Routledge Open Select articles are currently published under a license to publish, which is based upon the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial No-Derivatives License, but allows for text and data mining of work. Authors also have the option of publishing an Open Select article under the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/.

It is essential that you check the license status of any given Open and Open Select article to confirm conditions of access and use. 

Now what would you conclude from this? Make your decision before reading on. At “best” the article is “CC-NC” which – according to Taylor and Francis in their own unreviewed author survey is “what most authors want . You cannot re-use this article effectively for many (most) purposes.

How do you “check the license” status. This is the infamous “null” metadata from Toll-Access publishers. You can’t.

Now I happened to come to this by another route http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00063657.2014.885491#.UxmxoXlLHwI . This copy of the article also does not contain any licence information – it contains pointers. So if, for example, you print it out there is no licence. In fact using the links here it appears to be CC-BY.

The licence info is therefore inconsistent and hidden. I havetwo explanations – take your pick.

  • Taylor and Francis publication workflow is not competent in providing licence information (this is Elsevier’s position about their workflow when I challenged them).
  • Taylor and Francis regard licence information as so unimportant it is effectively hidden and decoupled from the manuscript.

I expect that the authors have spent a lot of money on Open Access APCs. They have a RIGHT to have precise public high-profile licence information. Taylor and Francis should get their act together and admit in their corporate soul that CC-BY with prominent display is the only ethical and moral way to provide “open access”