Springer badges more “Springer Images” – this time from PLoS. It looks like systematic rebadging/copyrighting of global Open material.

Here’s another “technical bug” from Springer. Rebadging of PLoS content as “Springer Images”, under CC-NC and for re-sale.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auric_Goldfinger said:

“Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.”

There are too many different sources to assume it’s a glitch. It looks like a systematic attempt to copyright Open material. Note that there is NOTHING in this material that highlights PLoS’ copyright and CC-BY licence. (Lesson: It’s a very good idea to stamp all OA material everywhere to prevent predatory companies like Springer).



Fig 2 

Map of sampling sites. From: Rusch, D. B., Halpern, A. L., Sutton, G., Heidelberg, K. B., Williamson, S., et al. (2007). The Sorcerer II global ocean sampling expedition: Northwest Atlantic through Eastern Tropical Pacific. PLoS Biology, 5(3), e77 DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.0050077

Extracts from the Article What’s this?

12.2 ). .

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‘A Map of Lewis and Clark’s Track, Across the Western Portion of North America from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean.’ Copied by Samuel Lewis from the original drawing by William Clark. Published in 1814


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One thought on “Springer badges more “Springer Images” – this time from PLoS. It looks like systematic rebadging/copyrighting of global Open material.

  1. Matthew Cockerill

    “There are too many different sources to assume it’s a glitch.”

    I don’t think that follows. The fact that there is mislabelling across many images and sources if anything confirms it is a glitch, and it’s relatively easy to see how the (highly unfortunate) glitch arose. Originally, all the OA content within SpringerImages was Springer OpenChoice content and Springer OpenChoice content was (C) Springer, and CC-BY-NC licensed. It looks like that assumption was ‘baked in’ to some aspects of the SpringerImages code. A classic bug scenario.

    Subsequently, Springer has (a) liberalized its OA policy for Springer OpenChoice, and (b) incorporated additional openly-licensed content within SpringerImages, demonstrating the reuse benefits of open access.

    However, the code did not keep up with these changes (but kept defaulting to the assumption that for OA content, copyright is with the publisher and the license is BY-BY-NC) and that needs fixing as a matter of urgency. From the moment this discrepancy came to light, it has been given the highest priority to be fixed.

    But both (a) and (b) are positive underlying developments with respect to open access, I hope you agree.

    ***As long as correctly attributed***, the incorporation of CC-BY content within a paid-access subscription resource such as SpringerImages is 100% in line with the letter and spirit of the CC-BY license – that fact that this is allowed what distinguishes CC-BY from CC-BY-NC, and OASPA, PLoS and BioMed Central all strongly advocate the CC-BY license for this very reason.

    Now that Springer OpenChoice articles are published under CC-BY, any organization (including other publishers, Google, Mendeley etc) is welcome to incorporate them (and PLoS and BioMed Central articles) into an added-value, paid-for product.

    Of course, the problem here is that SpringerImages does not get the attribution right on all images.This is a serious problem, and is receiving serious attention.

    But it is vital to be clear that in incorporating CC-BY content from BioMed Central and PLoS into Springer Images is not inherently wrong, and nor is making money from doing so wrong. That is what CC-BY is designed to enable. You can make money from the articles. Anyone can make money from the articles. The articles are a common resource for reuse (including commercial resale in derivative or compilation form such as an image database) as long as they are correctly attributed.

    OA seeks to enable all forms of reuse. The more the merrier. Anyone is free to use the same OA content to create a free rival to SpringerImages, and actually at least one such free image database has been built from PLoS and BioMedCentral content: http://www.biomed-search.com/

    (BioMed-Search, as it happens, doesn’t list any CC license information at all, which may be wise as it thereby avoids the risk of getting it wrong!)

    Once again, be assured that the incorrect labelling of the CC-BY content in SpringerImagesis taken seriously and will be corrected rapidly.



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