Unintended Consequences of Open Access Publishing Policies

Open Access PublishingRick Anderson at The Scholarly Kitchen has a thought-provoking article regarding the pressure on authors to publish their academic articles under the most permissive open access licenses available. See Rick Anderson, CC-BY, Copyright, and Stolen Advocacy, The Scholarly Kitchen (Mar. 31, 2014).¬†¬†Generally, this means the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. The CC-BY license grants the world the right to do essentially anything with the copyrighted work–including sell, translate, edit, or rewrite it–without obtaining further permission from the copyright owner, so long as the original author is given attribution. As Anderson notes, this exceptionally broad advance grant of permission can have unintended consequences, including uses of the author’s creative work in ways diametrically opposed to the intention of the author. For the most fervent advocates of open access, it is worth considering whether the absence of any restrictions on use of copyrighted content is always the ideal outcome and whether insisting on the CC-BY license may cause injustice to the author.

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