As well as the recording above, please find panelist’s slides and responses to unanswered attendee questions below.
Date: Wednesday November 23, 2022
Time: 4 – 5 pm UK/UTC
Other timezones: 8.00 am Pacific Time | 10.00 am Central Time | 11.00 am Eastern Time | 12.00 pm Brasilia Time | 5.00 pm Central European Time | 4.00 pm West Africa Time | 5.00 pm South Africa Standard Time | 8.30 pm India Standard Time | 11 pm Central Indonesia Time (Time converter tool)
Rights retention is gaining traction as a way to achieve open access without having to pay author-facing publication charges, for example by enabling the distribution of manuscripts
through institutional repositories.
There are at least two common methods of rights retention – the Harvard approach (first adopted in 2008) and the Plan S approach (first announced in 2020)– practised by institutions or individual authors worldwide. A more recent development is the national implementation of rights retention, such as the 2022 decree in the Republic of Slovenia stipulating that exclusive authors’ rights of publicly funded research can no longer be transferred to publishers.
The focus of such rights retention policies tends to be on articles in scholarly journals. Is there a good reason why we would not consider doing the same for the manuscripts of books or book
chapters? Do publishers object more to rights retention for these types of publication than for article manuscripts? Would it not be a good idea to make haste with a more general rights retention policy for books and book chapters now that more and more funders demand open access for other publication types than journal articles?
The webinar will be chaired by Sally Rumsey (cOAlition S) and speakers include Lucy Barnes (Open Book Publishers), Per Pippin Aspaas (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway) and Peter Suber (Harvard University).
Webinar structure (60 minutes)
1. Introduction by chair, Sally Rumsey
2. Panelist presentations
a. Peter Suber (Harvard University)
b. Per Pippin Aspaas (University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway)
c. Lucy Barnes (Open Book Publishers)
3. Discussion and Q&A
Please join us live for this free webinar and contribute to the discussion.
Link to registration page: bit.ly/November22-OASPAWebinar. Please share with your networks.
Please note that views expressed in OASPA webinars are those of the individual speaker and do not represent the view of OASPA
Sally Rumsey, Lucy Barnes, and Per Pippin Aspaas
Peter Suber’s handout on Harvard-style rights-retention OA policies https://bit.ly/rightsretention
Responses to unanswered attendee questions
Q. The Plan S approach is more of an assumption than a legal given, right? So far we do not have precedence – and if publisher would sue – how would that pan out? The institutions who run the repositories (and go on the assumption that the funder’s policy supercedes that of the publishers)? The funders – who put out that requirement or the author who tries to comply and take advantage of this rights retention stipulation? Is the key the faculty-adoption on the institutional level?
LB: I am not well versed in the detail of hypothetical legal questions around rights retention, but I would suggest that a publisher suing an author for attempting to comply with a funder policy would look absolutely terrible and for that reason I suspect would be unlikely. However, one of the advantages the Harvard model has over the Plan S model (as I see it) is the collective aspect — an entire faculty has agreed to it and the institution is involved — which I think might help to protect an individual author from being targeted by a publisher (albeit potentially making an institution more of a target?) But in any case, if the rights retention is made clear by the author when they submit their proposal or manuscript, I think there would only be a legal question if they also signed something given to them by the publisher that gave away their rights, thus creating a conflict. Publishers are not entitled to ownership of an author’s rights.
PPA: not being a lawyer myself, I hesitate to answer, but LB’s line of reasoning is similar to mine.
SR: I agree with LB. Plan S RRS is far from an assumption. My understanding is that under most jurisdictions’ copyright law the method is watertight. However, I believe that institutional policies are even stronger. In both cases authors can have a prior contract, and a publishler may be getting into procuring a breach of contract territory with some of their actions. This was described in the University of Edinburgh update at https://libraryblogs.is.ed.ac.uk/openscholarship/2022/10/14/rights-retention-policy-an-update-after-9-months/
Q. Responding to Johan Rooryck’s comment in Q&A, at John Benjamins, we are seeing that print sales of academic books is plummeting and not fully compensated by the increase in ebook sales. For OA books, there may be some marketing effect of the ebook being Open, but nowhere near enough to cover the whole costs. When we determine the BPC for a book, we take the expected revenue from print sales into account as well.
LB: This is maybe more of a response to the discussion than a question, but: the fact that print sales of academic books are in decline is, to our minds at OBP, an argument *for* OA and not against it (see e.g. https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0018). In terms of whether OA affects book sales, research by Ronald Snijder has suggested that the effect may be limited (e.g. https://library.oapen.org/handle/20.500.12657/25287) although I would agree that as OA for books becomes more common, more research is needed into this question. We would suggest that more resilient models for OA books are those that don’t rely on one source of revenue (e.g. sales) or attempt to substitute that with a single fee, which is highly inequitable and probably economically unsustainable in terms of supporting a wholesale shift to OA for books. There are now some really interesting experiments going on with collective funding models, including COPIM’s Opening the Future and Open Book Collective, as well as MIT’s Direct2Open, Michigan University Press’s Fund to Mission, and OBP’s own Library Membership programme, which has been running since 2015 and is vital for our ability to publish OA books without charging BPCs, along with other sources of revenue such as sales (and it’s worth pointing out that sales are our largest revenue stream, despite the fact that we publish all our books OA without an embargo and despite the fact that our prices are substantially cheaper than the typical price of an academic monograph — around £20 for a paperback and £35 for a hardback).
PPA: I fully agree with LB here. I could add that OA for books is one of the topics for discussion during the Munin Conference 2022, e.g. in this video presentation by Martin Paul Eve: https://doi.org/10.7557/5.6633
SR: I bow to the greater knowledge of my colleagues. Just to add that OA model that can include print copies, for example UCL Press https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/global-dissemination-and-impact See also the figures for UCL press at https://www.uclpress.co.uk/pages/statistics that provide print copy figures. Print On Demand can be an added extra for eBooks. I think I’m correct in remembering from my library days that the print run of scholarly monographs is often very small (c. 400 copies) so OA+POD may be a good solution. Plus monograph price is often high – and therefore purchase can be a casualty of library budget cuts in hard times which may also be a contributing factor to plummeting book sales.
Q. An unusual question: monographs are long living forms, and can ‘live’ longer than their authors. Doesn’t retaining rights by authors make it more complicated to get permissions for reuse/commercial use of works of deceased authors? Are there good ways of dealing with author rights postmortem?
LB: I would have thought that, as with other created works, an author’s rights, if retained, would be passed to whoever they nominated in their will — either a nomination to a specific person, perhaps with particular stipulations about how to handle reuse requests, or simply as part of the author’s general estate for the person who inherits to deal with as they see fit. Of course, not having to worry about this question might be one argument publishers would make for an author to sign away their rights — so much easier to let the publisher deal with these questions! — but I don’t think it would be a difficult problem.
PPA: In the case an author has published a book under a CC BY license, others can reuse their work without asking permission, I guess that would solve the problem?
PS: Agree with both the above. Will only add that the main purpose of retaining rights is to make work OA under an open license, such as CC-BY. If the author does that, then the license controls permission for use/reuse even after he/she dies. Retaining rights without applying an open license would be a missed opportunity to make life simpler for everyone.
SR: I agree with my colleagues. this is not a reason that authors should give away their rights. It’s also worth remembering that even with CC BY NC ND and author retaining copyright, sometimes, when the publisher assigns the licence as they prescribe in their Licence to Publish (instead of the author and copyright holder), the author becomes subject to those same terms. See https://www.coalition-s.org/blog/exclusive-licence-to-publish-now-heres-a-thing/
Q. Are the details of institutional rights retention policies (e.g. Harvard, Tromso, Cambridge) being recorded in any central tool/location such as ROARMAP?
PPA: to be honest, I had never heard of the ROARMAP service until now. I see that some body named EOS has registered some information on UiT’s institutional archive in 2010. Any info about contact points and procedures for updating the entry in ROARMAP would be helpful.
PS: At Harvard we don’t keep track of ALL rights-retention policies. But we do keep track of Harvard-style rights-retention policies. See our list: https://cyber.harvard.edu/hoap/Additional_resources#Policies_of_the_kind_recommended_in_the_guide.
SR: cOAlition S looked into this but decided that cOAlition S is not the right organisation to do this for institutions. Having spoken to Peter about the Harvard list which, as he says, is not exhaustive, a couple of other ideas emerged 1) a Wikipedia page or 2) enquiring whether Jisc/SHERPA might consider hosting such a service. There may of course be other potential solutions. Key factors being reliable and up to date information and someone/body to monitor and manage the service/page.
Q. We allow rights retention for books published under a traditional sales model upon request, but it is complicated as we put a huge amount of work into shaping our books with authors to get them to an AAM stage and into marketing them when they are published. This all costs and we do not have the money for a diamond OA model
PPA: I have the impression that publishers tend to do quite a lot of work for a book to bring it to the AAM stage. It takes considerable efforts edit a book from beginning to end, far more than it takes to set up a digital journal and let it roll, often relying on voluntary work from editors and peer reviewers. In this sense, I am inclined to agree that publishers are morally entitled to ask for compensation for their work and effort. This is another reason why I would personally recommend policies mandating Gold (BPC-based or preferably Diamond) OA for books, instead of going via the cumbersome Green OA route and contentious RRS.
SR: I think there are two different things here. I agree that final version can have a lot of enhancements over the AAM (whatever one defines that as) and therefore the gold model is a good one. However, I believe that authors should always retain their rights to the content that they contribute and that is a separate matter. As discussed at the webinar, the publishers’ version is the one that arguably most people, including the author will want – BUT the author should be free to use any part of their own content should they choose, whatever the publishing model. Perhaps there is a difference in attitudes on wide distribution of any AAM between full long-form works and book chapters/sections/contributions. My experience with a repository is that we had lots of book chapters/sections deposited and made freely available. One of the advantages for the author is that their specific section gets its own publicity – rather than being ‘hidden’ inside an edited volume.
Sally Rumsey (Chair) (@SallyRumsey1)
Sally Rumsey was Jisc’s OA Expert working as support for cOAlition S in all areas covered by Plan S, especially the Plan S Rights Retention Strategy. Prior to that, she was Head of Scholarly Communications & RDM, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford, and e-Services Librarian and manager of the repository at the London School of Economics. She has now formally retired, but remains a cOAlition S Ambassador.
Lucy Barnes (@alittleroad)
Lucy Barnes is Editor and Outreach Coordinator at Open Book Publishers, a leading independent Open Access book publisher. She also works on outreach for the COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) project and for the ScholarLed consortium. She coordinates the Open Access Books Network (oabooksnetwork.org) in collaboration with OAPEN, OPERAS, ScholarLed and Sparc Europe, and she is on the Editorial Advisory Board for the OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit. She is also (slowly but surely) completing a PhD on nineteenth-century theatrical adaptations of novels and poetry.
Per Pippin Aspaas (@AspaasPer)
Per Pippin Aspaas holds a PhD in history and is an active researcher in fields such as early-modern intellectual history and Latin philology. Since 2009, he has worked at the University Library of the University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), where he is head of library research and publishing support. In this capacity, he is involved in various Open Science activities, such as: DataverseNO, a collaborative service for open research data archiving at Norwegian institutions; the institutional repository for green open access at UiT (the Munin Archive); and the institutional service provider for diamond open access publishing, known as Septentrio Academic Publishing. Since 1 Jan 2022, UiT has a Rights Retention policy in place applying to all journal articles and book chapters written by UiT-affiliated researchers. Aspaas is the host of the Open Science Talk podcast series, where UiT’s policy is explained in episode 40.
Peter Suber (@petersuber)
Peter Suber is the Senior Advisor for Open Access (in the Harvard Library) and Director of the Harvard Open Access Project (in the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society). By training he’s a philosopher and lawyer, and stepped down from his position as a tenured professor of philosophy in 2003 to work full-time on open access. He was the principal drafter of the Budapest Open Access Initiative (2002), serves on the boards of many groups devoted to open access and scholarly communication, and has been active in fostering open access for many years through his research, speaking, and writing. For more information, see his home page bit.ly/petersuber
Leave a Comment