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Report on Electronic Publishing
Urges More Control for Authors
A committee comprised of a distinguished group of scientists, attorneys, legal scholars, and publishers, and convened by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), issued today a report on intellectual property rights in the information age.
The report, Seizing the Moment: Scientists' Authorship Rights in the Digital Age, reflects the ongoing and highly complex scholarly debate regarding intellectual property law, while calling electronic publishing, "a new and exciting prospect for science and its patrons." But it also notes that the current legal structure may set up roadblocks against the fulfillment of its promise.
Rather than calling for changes in copyright law, characterized as a daunting prospect that would take many years, the report recommends a more immediate step. It calls for authors to use their leverage as creators of a work to negotiate licensing agreements with scientific publishers that will maximize access to and dissemination of their work.
Specifically, the report suggests the following guidelines to scientists in working out licensing agreements with scientific publishers:
- Authors should receive attribution whenever their work is reproduced, redistributed or displayed publicly. If there are no pre-existing restrictions, they should be allowed to disseminate and use their work at no or nominal cost in ways that maximize access to it by others for educational and research purposes.
- Agreements should provide for long-term affordable access to scientific work, while giving publishers the right to receive reasonable return on their investment for any efforts made to add value to the original work.
- Users covered by the licensing agreement should have no barriers to reading, printing, displaying or downloading published work.
- Users not covered by the license should have access to materials on terms compatible with copyright law, including fair use.
The report was produced with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). A complete copy is available at http://www.aaas.org/spp/sfrl/projects/epub/epub.htm.
12 July 2002