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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Forget Green and Gold Open Access: I only care about Copper Open Access

Update: because titanium OA, platinum OS, even white OA, were all already used (my apologies that I did not my googling well enough), it is Copper Open Access: because it conducts knowledge so well.

I do not regularly attend Open Access publishing conferences. Not that I do not care, but more that I don't have the time. But I care enough to know about the Berlin Declaration (22 October 2003). Meetings like that set my Open Access mind set. Sadly, many publishers have fucked up the term Open Access. Pardon my strong language, but we all strongly suspect some publishers have done so deliberately. And not because they care about scientific dissemination and communication, although they will claim so.

The Berlin Declaration about Open Access (OA) is close to that of other Open things, and here are some critical lines (emphasis mine):

The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship (community standards, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now), as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.

Yeah, that does read a lot like a CC-BY license. We all know what Open Access means today: pretty much nothing, and once again we must look up the license of papers to see what the journal really is up to.

Now, because people starting messing with with the meaning, some terms were introduced: green OA and gold OA. This was after I thought the community had settled on things, and never had to do much with it. I though green was about self-archiving, and gold was about having a proper Open license.

However, as Andrea Scharnhorst pointed out, my understanding of gold OA was wrong. Apparently, the gold OA definition is now ambiguous too. For example, this page writes that with gold OA the author or author institution can pay a fee to the publisher at publication time, the publisher thereafter making the material available 'free' at the point of access (the 'gold' route). The two are not, of course, incompatible and can co-exist. Nothing here about a Open license. WikiPedia is closer too my impression, in that it says that OA often also comes without fees, but points to a vague Open Access Journal page, which means anything again. (Does anyone have texts for the original definitions of green and gold OA?) This mess is for the Blue Obelisk movement to not include Open Access as a goal, where Open Data, Open Source, and Open Standards are.

So, forget Green and Gold Open Access: only care about Copper Open Access. Hereby, Copper Open Access is defined as:
  1. the author(s) remain copyright owners,
  2. the work is made available under an Open license to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works in any digital medium for any purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship, as well as any further rights we associate with Open as outlined by, for example, the Debian Free Software Guidelines.
If you agree with this definition, please support it, and leave a comment your approve, link to this blog, etc, etc. This definition is available under CC-BY.