helenlt on May 4th, 2012
Recently, I received this email:
I like to know about new innovations like this. I’m always on the lookout for resources and tools that will make it easier for staff and students to be copyright compliant. Inevitably, though we will get an email or a phone call from an academic or a student wanting to know “if this is legitimate?”. Its always possible that this could be the next Facebook or Youtube. I figured that this was worth a bit of research. So to paraphrase Batman, “To the Google!”.
I didn’t have to search too hard before I found this blog post Noto-are version of open access- read the fine print and think spam analysing Noto-are and it’s worth a read. From a copyright point of view, my main issues with Noto-are are that they require authors to assign copyright to them and they don’t grant users any rights to reuse the material apart from those already granted under copyright law. To me, this means that the agreement is very much in Noto-are’s favour rather than the author. It also rather defeats the point of open access. Open access generally has two goals – one is removing cost barriers to material and the second is about allow material to be freely used, usually for non-commercial purposes. Although Noto-are doesn’t currently charge for people to access it website, there is nothing in the agreement to prevent them from doing so in the future.
If you receive emails like this soliciting your work for publication, I would strongly recommend that you:
- Read the publishing/author/user agreement carefully and make sure you understand it. In particular make sure you know what rights you are giving the publishers to your work and what they intend to do with it.
- Be careful of agreement that requires you assign away copyright, especially if they don’t grant you any rights back.
- Choose a publisher that allows others to use your work the way that you would like. If you want other people to be able to use your work for educational purposes or other non-commercial uses then make sure you choose a publisher that allows this.
- Keep a copy of any agreements that you have signed.
There are an increasing variety of publishing options available to academics. For more information on the different publishing options available see our webpage on Publishing. We also have a page on Understanding Publishing Agreements.