SV-POW! is now (finally!) open access
April 28, 2012
Given the huge amount we’ve written about open access on this blog, it may come as a surprise to realise that the blog itself has not been open access until today. It’s been free to read, of course, but in the absence of an explicit licence statement, the default “all rights reserved” has applied, which has meant that technically you’re not supposed to do things like, for example, using SV-POW! material in course notes.
It was never our intention to be so restrictive, of course. We always wanted what we write to be as widely useful as possible; but like most bloggers, we just didn’t think about what that entailed.
So now, belatedly, we are placing SV-POW! under the Creative Commons Attribution licence. This means that you can do anything with our content, subject only to giving us credit. Go nuts. We want our work to be useful. (Our use of this licence is indicated by the CC BY button at top right of all the pages.)
Note that SV-POW! is now compliant with the Budapest Open Access Initiative’s definition of open access — the only definition that matters, really, since it’s where the term “open access” was first coined. That definition is rather noble and striking:
By ‘open access’ to this literature, we mean its free availability on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.”
We are applying this licence restrospectively to all the original content on the site — not just what we write from now on. To ensure that we’re on safe ground doing this, all three of us agreed on this measure, and we also obtained consent from the only (so far) guest-blogger on SV-POW!, Heinrich Mallison.
Finally, we should note the exceptions to the CC BY licence. When we’ve included material from other sources — most often figures from published papers — we do not own the copyright and can’t licence it. Similarly, all photographs of fossils held by the Natural History Museum in London are copyright the museum. If you want to re-use any of the non-original material, you’ll need to track down the copyright holders and negotiate with them.