Today and tomorrow mark the 10 years of Berlin open access conference. The declaration can be read here and the list of 469 signatories are here. Oddly, very few US organizations signed it, Harvard University being the most notable exception.
Open access contributions must satisfy two conditions: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.
A complete version of the work and all supplemental materials, including a copy of the permission as stated above, in an appropriate standard electronic format is deposited (and thus published) in at least one online repository using suitable technical standards (such as the Open Archive definitions) that is supported and maintained by an academic institution, scholarly society, government agency, or other well-established organization that seeks to enable open access, unrestricted distribution, inter operability, and long-term archiving.
For those interested in historical development of open access of scientific publications, Budapest Open Access Initiative came first (2001-2002) and was signed by both Europeans and Americans. Then they seemed to have split on how to attribute derivative work. Americans went ahead with their 2013 “Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing” signed by Patrick O. Brown, Diane Cabell, Aravinda Chakravarti, Barbara Cohen, Tony Delamothe, Michael Eisen, Les Grivell, Jean-Claude Gudon, R. Scott Hawley, Richard K. Johnson, Marc W. Kirschner, David Lipman, Arnold P. Lutzker, Elizabeth Marincola, Richard J. Roberts, Gerald M. Rubin, Robert Schloegl, Vivian Siegel, Anthony D. So, Peter Suber, Harold E. Varmus, Jan Velterop, Mark J. Walport, and Linda Watson, whereas the rest of the world chose the Berlin version.
The Bethesda Statement builds on the BOAI by saying how users will enact open access. Specifically, open access practitioners will put content online with a license granting rights for reuse including the right to make derivative works. The BOAI does not mention derivative works.
For those interested in learning more, a page maintained by Peter Suber of Harvard provides the most comprehensive overview. On the legal aspects -
Because OA uses copyright-holder consent or the expiration of copyright, it does not require the reform, abolition, or infringement of copyright law.
One easy, effective, and increasingly common way for copyright holders to manifest their consent to OA is to use one of the Creative Commons licenses. Many other open-content licenses will also work. Copyright holders could also compose their own licenses or permission statements and attach them to their works (though there are good reasons not to do so without legal advice).
When copyright holders consent to OA, what are they consenting to? Usually they consent in advance to the unrestricted reading, downloading, copying, sharing, storing, printing, searching, linking, and crawling of the full-text of the work. Most authors choose to retain the right to block the distribution of mangled or misattributed copies. Some choose to block commercial re-use of the work. Essentially, these conditions block plagiarism, misrepresentation, and sometimes commercial re-use, and authorize all the uses required by legitimate scholarship, including those required by the technologies that facilitate online scholarly research.
For works not in the public domain, OA depends on copyright-holder consent. Two related conclusions follow: (1) OA is not Napster for science. It’s about lawful sharing, not sharing in disregard of law. (2) OA to copyrighted works is voluntary, even if it is sometimes a condition of a voluntary contract, such as an employment or funding contract. There is no vigilante OA, no infringing, expropriating, or piratical OA.
Of course OA can be implemented badly so that it infringes copyright. But so can ordinary publishing. With a little care it can be implemented well so that doesn’t infringe copyright. Just like ordinary publishing.
If you are looking for the rules for copying and reposting our blog posts, they are summarized in the following link (CC BY-NC).