Researchers Opt To Limit Uses Of Open-Access Publications

Richard Van Noorden | Nature | February 6, 2013

Advocates of open publishing fret that misunderstandings lead scientists to choose restrictive licenses.

Academics are — slowly — adopting the view that publicly funded research should be made freely available. But data released yesterday suggest that, given the choice, even researchers who publish in open-access journals want to place restrictions on how their papers can be re-used — for example, sold by others for commercial profit.

That stance is directly opposed to the views of major funding agencies, such as the seven UK research councils and the Wellcome Trust in London, one of the world's wealthiest biomedical charities. Advocates of open access say this shows that researchers don’t understand how publishing licences affect ‘open’ research papers, and that more work needs to be done to explain why licences matter. But some publishers argue that restrictions are needed.

A paper that is free to read on the Internet is not necessarily legally open to other uses — such as ‘mining’ the text with computer software to draw conclusions and mix it with other work, distributing translations of the text or commercially selling republished versions in derivative publications...