Tag Archives: Amazon

Gold OA with CC licence, Green OA without and a lesson from the dispute between Amazon and Hachette

Further are some data along with my speculations, which may be or may be not accurate, due to my limited understanding.

Hey, everybody has a limited understanding, here is mine!

TL;DR> The crux of the matter is in this part of  any recent CC 4.0 licence: in Section 2/Scope/a. Licence grant/5.

  • “5. Downstream recipients.
    1. Offer from the Licensor – Licensed Material. Every recipient of the Licensed Material automatically receives an offer from the Licensor to exercise the Licensed Rights under the terms and conditions of this Public License.
    2. No downstream restrictions. You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, the Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the Licensed Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.”


The new trend in academic publishing is:

  • offer a CC licence for Gold OA (i.e. after the publisher has money in the pocket from the author)
  • or  offer a non-CC licence for Green OA, which does not give the protection of the boldfaced text from the CC licences.

It matters very much because that is what happens in the dispute between Amazon and Hachette, namely Hachette has the copyright of books but Amazon puts downstream restrictions!

Conclusion: never forget about Doctorow’s first law and always ask for a CC licence from any publisher!

Doctorow’s first law:

“Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you the key, you can be sure that the lock isn’t there for your benefit.”

This is from the very clear explanation about the Amazon and Hachette dispute by Cory Doctorow in Locus.


Evidence now.

I made this post on G+, asking for info. I collect here the stuff:

  • In the Open letter to the AAAS about Science Advances, (new OA journal): “The default choice of a non-commercial licence (CC BY-NC) places unnecessary restrictions on reuse and does not meet the standards set out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Many large funders, including Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, do not recognise this as an open license. The adoption of CC BY-NC as the default license means that many researchers will be unable to submit to Science Advances if they are to conform to their funder mandates unless they pay for the upgrade to CC BY. “
  • The Royal Society launches a new journal “Royal Society Open Science”. On the site of the new journal, in the section about licence to publish: they offer a licence different than CC, where they write: “4. If You decide to make the Definitive Published Version of the Article open access, this will be under a Creative Commons BY licence* [i.e. CC-BY-4.0],  You shall pay to Us the relevant fee and We shall make the Article so available from the later of the date of receipt of the relevant fee or the date of first publication of the Article.” They put  downstream restrictions for those who don’t pay them in part 6.
  • the STM new model licences, read by yourself (thanks Richard Poynder for mentioning these).

Other things:

  • the new journals of Cambridge University Press Forum of Mathematics Pi and Sigma offer only Gold OA with CC-BY-3.0, so there is no term of comparison with Green OA. (Have found this by downloading an article, nothing clear which is easy to find on their pages)
  • the new AMS journals are Gold OA, the subscription journals are Green OA.
  • the (greatest of all sites for a math or physics researcher) arXiv offers the choice between a CC-BY licence or a generic one. This is fair, because the choice is completely free left to the author.


UPDATE 16.09.2014: See the post AAAS vies for the title the  “Darth Vadar of publishing” by  longpd. “They  claim to support open access.  They redefine it to be a pay for publishing charge (APC)  of $3,000 USD and that restricts the subsequent use of the information in the article preventing commercial reuses such as publication on some educational blogs, incorporation into educational material, as well the use of this information by small to medium enterprises. If you really meant open access, the way the rest of world defines it, you’ll have to pay a surcharge of an additional $1,000.  But it gets worse.”



A solution for the “Amazon’s war on publishers”

I spent some time thinking about the “Amazon’s war on publishers” (learned via +Tim O’Reilly post https://plus.google.com/u/0/+TimOReilly/posts/WhyyNx7PYnt ) and now I believe that I have a solution.

The publishers and Amazon could behave maturely and use the method of scientific publishers with the researchers!

Step 1.  Amazon should hire some prominent authors or publishing managers

Step 2.  Amazon should ask the publishers to renounce at their rights, should they want their creation to appear on Amazon site

Step 3. The hired prominent authors and managers should make clear to any publisher and author that if their work is not on Amazon then it is probably crap.

You see, scientists are the most clever people, so if they are happy with this system, then  everybody should be happy too!

[There is a false assumption in this text, which is, unfortunately, a pamphlet.]