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Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works 82

Posted by timothy
from the your-aesthetic-and-gustatory-rights-are-next dept.
cranky_chemist (1592441) writes "Megan O'Neil has published a story on the Chronicle of Higher Education's website noting some unusual language in the license agreement between authors and Nature Publishing Group. 'Faculty authors who contract to write for the publisher of Nature, Scientific American, and many other journals should know that they could be signing away more than just the economic rights to their work, according to the director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University. Kevin Smith, the Duke official, said he stumbled across a clause in the Nature Publishing Group's license agreement last week that states that authors waive or agree not to assert "any and all moral rights they may now or in the future hold" related to their work. In the context of scholarly publishing, "moral rights" include the right of the author always to have his or her name associated with the work and the right to have the integrity of the work protected such that it is not changed in a way that could result in reputational harm.'

Nature Publishing Group claims the waivers are required to ensure the journal's ability to publish formal retractions and/or corrections. However, the story further notes that Nature Publishing Group is requiring authors at institutions with open-access policies to sign waivers that exempt their work from such policies."
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Nature Publisher Requires Authors To Waive "Moral Rights" To Works

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  • by davide marney (231845) <(davide.marney) (at) (netmedia.org)> on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @09:46AM (#46629811) Journal

    From http://blogs.nature.com/ofsche... [nature.com]

    "...NPG’s commitment to open access has been questioned, following our request that authors provide a formal waiver of Duke University’s open access policy. NPG is supportive of open access. We encourage self-archiving, and have done so since we implemented our policy in 2005:

    'When a manuscript is accepted for publication in an NPG journal, authors are encouraged to submit the author’s version of the accepted paper (the unedited manuscript) to PubMedCentral or other appropriate funding body’s archive, for public release six months after publication. In addition, authors are encouraged to archive this version of the manuscript in their institution’s repositories and, if they wish, on their personal websites, also six months after the original publication. ' ...
    We are requesting waivers from Duke University authors, because of the grant of rights asserted in its open access policy: 'In legal terms, each Faculty member grants to Duke University a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do so, provided that the articles are not sold. The Duke faculty author remains the copyright owner unless that author chooses to transfer the copyright to a publisher.'

    If we do not request a waiver, the general language of this policy means that Duke University has the rights not only to archive the manuscript in Dukespace, but also to distribute and publish to the world at large the final version of a subscription article freely, in any medium, immediately on publication. We started requesting waivers recently, following an enquiry from a Duke University author." [emphasis added]

    Since the issue seems to be about publishing in the open immediately vs. waiting 6 months, asking for a waiver of all moral rights seems like using a cannon to swat a fly.

  • by hubie (108345) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @12:53PM (#46631465)
    Kevin, I’m posting this as a comment here to provide clarity for all, given the interest this has generated. I’ve also written to you to suggest a conversation. I am sorry that we didn’t talk with you before we started requesting waivers from authors at Duke University, that would have been better all round. You raise two concerns: about our requesting that authors provide formal waivers of Duke University open access policy; and the ‘moral rights’ statement in our license to publish. I’ll start with the second. We take seriously our responsibility for the integrity of the scientific record. The “moral rights” language included in the license to publish is there to ensure that the journal and its publisher are free to publish formal corrections or retractions of articles where the integrity of the scientific record may be compromised by the disagreement of authors. This is not our preferred approach to dealing with corrections and retractions, and we work with authors and institutions to seek consensus first. We always attribute articles to authors, we have clear contribution policies. See: http://www.nature.com/nature/j... [nature.com] and http://www.nature.com/authors/... [nature.com] We believe researchers should be credited for their work, and as a founding member of ORCID, we have implemented ORCID integration on nature.com to foster disambiguated accreditation. We are requesting waivers from Duke University authors, because of the wide grant of rights as per your open access policy. If we do not request a waiver, Duke University has the rights not only to archive in Dukespace, but to publish and distribute the final version of a subscription article freely to the world at large, in any medium, immediately on publication. We started requesting waivers recently, following an enquiry from a Duke University author. NPG is supportive of open access. We have no problem with you archiving accepted manuscripts in DukeSpace, for public access six months after publication. We encourage self-archiving, and have done so since we implemented our policy in 2005: http://www.nature.com/authors/... [nature.com] This is in addition to open access publication options available on many journals we publish. We are happy to try to answer further questions, and would welcome a discussion with you. We have worked constructively with PubMed Central and institutional repositories for many years, and do not want our intentions and commitment to academic integrity and open access to be misunderstood. Grace Baynes Head of Communications, Nature Publishing Group
  • by Immerman (2627577) on Tuesday April 01, 2014 @12:58PM (#46631497)

    Actually moral rights [wikipedia.org] are concerned with primarily three things, the first two of which are *very* relevant to academia, and the last of which is particularly important politically:
    Attribution - no stripping of the author's credit, and
    Integrity - no rewriting the article and leaving the original authors name on it
    Anonymity - the right to publish a work anonymously or pseudonymously

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