Speaking out on Elsevier’s Article “Sharing” Policy

Heather Joseph, SPARC, May 21, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

About three weeks ago, Elsevier released a new policy governing open access publication. The response from the academic community was immediate and unfavourable, including this statement, signed by a couple dozen groups, criticizing the policy. More. SPARC argued that "Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite." The Elsevier policy extends the embargo period to as much as 48 months, and requires that authors apply a "non-commercial and no derivative works" license to self-archived work. Elsevier responded to the criticism today. Meanwhile Emerald is going after harvesting itself, requiring authors agree that "I/We will not permit others to electronically gather or harvest and save to a separate server my/our Work." The backstory here is that publishers are facing a threat from services like Academia and ResearchGate, which harvest and store works from wherever they can be found, and compile a list of publications for each author. The aggressively seek to upload versions of the works, provide access only to versions on their own website, and do not link back to original copies. The perfect walled garden.

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