UoL Library Blog

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Creative Commons and Open Access Repositories

Posted by gazjjohnson on 22 March, 2011

I had an email conversation with Gabi and Terese in our BDRA Dept yesterday, as a result of their recent blog post Opening the ‘doar’ to Open Research Archives.  Their question was “I assume the LRA policies don’t preclude a depositing author from allocating a Creative Commons licence to the article

An interesting question, and while Gabi and Terese are perhaps more interested in OER’s than IRRs it was something that the Copyright Administrator and I discussed for a few minutes.  As a repository manager I have a slightly different viewpoint on the copyright situation to my colleague, given that open access as a whole operates in a somewhat gray and uncertain rights environment (my team endeavour to make it as risk free and safe as we possibly can though!)

There are a very few items on the LRA, a thesis springs to mind as the only absolutely clear example we’ve had to date, where the depositor has expressly requested a CC license on the item. Now with a thesis this is a little more clear-cut as the text remains the IPR/(c) of the author.  On the other hand for the post-review/author’s final copy of a book chapter or article while the general understanding is that the IPR is retained by the author, I’d personally be a little more reticent to deposit into the LRA with a CC license appended as a matter of course.

Not that I wouldn’t consider it at all, but it would probably be something I’d need to talk over with the author and potentially the publishing body as well to make sure that all appropriate rights had been observed.  Not to mention picking the brains of my fellow UKCoRR members to see if any of them have any clearer views on the subject.

Conference papers are a little easier as my current understanding  suggests that unless the organising body explicitly gains the economic rights for publishing (e.g. you actually sign something that gifts the rights to the organising body or a publisher) that all rights remain with the author.  In which case they’d be quite able to place an appropriate CC license on their work in my personal opinion – although we’d still take it slow for the first few of them that come along!

So the short answer is: No our policies don’t preclude CC, but we’d need to consider any requests carefully.

Happy to hear what my repository manager colleagues across the country have to say on the subject!

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