Science Commons was re-integrated with Creative Commons. This content is no longer maintained and remains only for reference.

Scholar’s Copyright Project

Access Drives Innovation

Access to the digital knowledge and content is critical to Science Commons’ work in the life sciences. The Scholar’s Copyright Project encompasses this push to make content available under Open Access. Be it through licensing, author addenda or other mechanisms, our tools are all designed for adapting scientific communication to a digital environment. In this area, our primary goal is to use scholarly norms, not contracts, to encourage sharing and attribution, creating an environment in which there are “no lawsuits over integration”.

Primary Activities and Achievements

Released Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data

– Protocol was released on December 16, 2007

– Provides information for the Internet community interested in distributing data or databases under an “open access” structure

– Outlines the risks of Open Access (OA) policies built on contracts and licensing

• Category errors
• False expectations
• Attribution “stacking”

– Articulates key principles for data sharing policies

• Promote legal predictability and certainty
• Lower barriers to use and understanding
• Impose the lowest possible transaction cost on users

– Develops methodology for implementing policy

• Waive all relevant intellectual property rights on the database (typically copyright)
• Waive other statutory rights in non-US jurisdictions (such as the European Union’s “sui generis” law on databases)
• Impose no contractual controls on the database (no “click-through” contracts, even if those attempt to enforce further sharing)

– Outlines strategy to identify and link databases under legal terms that conform to the protocol for easy discoverability

• Does not require a single license adoption by database providers – “roll your own” terms of use and apply for certification of compliance
• Uses Creative Commons “metadata” tag system to label compliant databases as Open Access
• Search engines and software applications can rapidly identify databases with “freedom to integrate”

Developed Resources for Easy Compliance with Funder / University Open Access policies

– Created and launched Scholars Copyright Addendum Engine (SCAE) on (date)

– SCAE provides a point-and-click way for scholars to retain rights over their published material that otherwise transfer to the publisher

– Distributed using “iFrame” technology that allows for universities to run the engine remotely

• Installed and running at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Association of Research Libraries
• Generated to date more than 1,000 addenda in six months

– Released Funder Mandates White Paper

– Paper is available at

– Written for policymaking staff in universities and other institutional recipients of NIH support who are responsible for ensuring compliance with the Public Access Policy

– Articulates six options for grantees to comply with the policy:

• Option 1. Rely on individual authors to satisfy grantee’s obligation under the award
• Option 2. Assist authors with copyright management
• Option 3. The Grantee License
• Option 4. The Grantee License – Plus
• Option 5. Negotiate directly with publishers
• Option 6. Pre-clear journals

– Provides cover letter for authors to retain enough rights to comply

Analyzes selected biomedical publishers’ copyright policies with regard to NIH policy compatibility

– University policies Whitepaper

– A collaborative effort between the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) and Science Commons

– Provides a guide to University faculty on how to ensure their scholarly work is made Open Access through their universities

– Continued our work with SPARC, developed by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) for policy development and marketing

– Jointly released two whitepapers, one on complying with the NIH’s Public Access Policy and the other as a guide for university faculty on how to ensure Open Access to their scholarly work

– Continue to work closely with them on Open Access front

– Co-sponsoring a satellite event on “Open Science” this July in Barcelona, Spain as part of the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF)

Support the conversion to Open Access using CC Licenses

– Publishing under CC BY

– More than 450 peer-reviewed journals worldwide under the CC-BY license, including the high-impact journals from the Public Library of Science and profitable publishers BioMed Central and Hindawi Publishing

– Actively supporting the conversion of the SciELO regional journal aggregator to CC-BY (520 additional journals)

– By the end of 2008, more than 1,000 journals will be under CC-BY – approximately 30 percent of all global Open Access titles according to the Directory of Open Access journals

– More traditional publishers exploring CC licenses

– Nature Publishing Group

• CC-BY licenses on Nature Preceedings pre-print archive
• CC licensing for all Nature articles publishing the primary sequence of an organism’s genome for the first time
• CC licensing for Nature’s Open Access journal Molecular Systems Biology

– Springer Verlag

• CC licenses available to authors for purchase under the Author Choice program at time of submission

o $3,000 per article

Current Activities and Future Achievements

– Implementing Creative Commons licensing as a part of NIH compliance

– Generating standard language for funders wanting to implement Open Access policies