Friday, 25 November 2011

Copyright, data and academia

The latest ‘things’ relate to copyright and data.

Unfortunately publishers have found that they can make easy profits from academia by taking over journals. Journals are a crucial issue for academia because it is where peer reviewed work gets published. Academics are judged on their research, which means that they need to get their work in the best journals. Academics and students need access to these journals, and academics receive credit and so on for editing and refereeing journals. For publishers this means the cost is cheap because they get the labour for free – academics want/need to publish and contribute. Furthermore, libraries have to subscribe to the journals, meaning that publishers can charge obscene amounts and libraries have to pay.

George Monbiot had aLink good article about this in the summer.

This means it is a good idea for academic writers to make their work available online where possible, in order to make academic work available to a wider audience. Unfortunately, this might mean people could abuse or make money out of your work, and the “creative commons” idea seems to be a good way to get around this problem. This is where authors waive certain of their rights, but not all of them, in order to allow “fair use” for non-profit purposes.

However, I’ll have a difficult choice as to whether to make my thesis openly available when the time comes. I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed for my department on the Warwick Open Access Portal (WRAP), and could make my thesis available on there. The 14th bloggy thing was about raw data availability, which doesn't affect me as my work is philosophical and normative.

1 comment:

Yvonne Budden said...

Thanks for the comments and for the thoughts about authors rights and protections. Creative Commons licenses are a good idea for PhD students to consider but there are complications which is why I advised people to get in touch if that was something they wanted to do. Using a CC license is something that you will need to bear in mind when you are requesting permissions to use any 3rd party copyright material as you will need the rights holders permission to make their work available in this way as the license will apply to the whole work. Which is one of the reasons why we can't automatically use CC licenses for all theses. You might also need to bear in mind what you later plan to do with your work, for example if you add a NC (non-commercial) exception to your CC license this also applies to you so you would not be able to sell any books based on the thesis. Feel free to drop me a line if you want to discuss this in more depth (!

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