Ingenta replies; suggestions for the future

I have blogged about how our Open Access paper was offered for sale by Ingenta, and how they had removed our copyright on the abstract and replaced it by their own. I am pleased to see we have a reply:

  1. Louise Tutton Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 6:05 pm eIn response to recent blog postings I’d like to confirm that we (Ingenta) are working closely with our publisher customers to ensure that OA articles are correctly reflected on IngentaConnect. To give you some background, there are currently almost 600 titles with freely available OA content available via the site and this number is steadily growing as more and more publishers experiment with this model. I should emphasize that the current system for flagging OA content isn’t perfect and we are working to improve this. We are also reliant on publishers to provide us with information on which content is OA and the process of flagging OA access rights is at times manual, particularly in the case of titles with hybrid models. Perhaps one answer is the development of an industry standard on the flagging of OA articles within metadata, which would then automate the process and avoid oversights such as those reported here.

PMR: Thanks Louise.
I revisited the Ingenta site and found that the Nucleic Acids Research TOC now had little flags showing the articles were free. I can’t be sure that this is completely new, so I suspect so – i.e. Ingenta were charging for every paper in NAR until I pointed out the problem.
They haven’t removed their copyright notice from OUR abstract.
This blog tries to be reasonably fair and I am happy to accept that there are oversights. There are some significant points which need to be addressed:

  • My general experience over the last 2-3 months is that the publishing industry does not take the rights of the Open Access author seriously enough. The author(s) or their funders have paid a LOT of money for the right to have their product exposed and re-used in a certain manner and if any part of the process is less than perfect the author can feel – as one correspondent put it – “pissed”. I don’t believe their is a campaign among most publishers to make Open Access unattractive to authors by failing to honour obligations, but I DO believe there is a systemic failure – Open Access is clearly not given priority by many of those who build
    web sites. This leads to a way of thinking and practice where there is no pro-action. Everyone involved should treat Open Access content with the same concern as pornography, libel, third-party rights, etc.
  • Yes, there should be standards. I know standards take time, but if the will was there it would be relatively easy. We have several models to go on. I don’t hear publishers debating their merits other than to discredit Open Access. The software industry has largely solved the problem – publisher should be capable of doing so. However the will isn’t there yet. I have likened publishers’ labels to food labels – “open access” ccan mean anything the publisher wants it to mean.

So, Ingenta, here is a serious and constructive suggestion. By oversight or otherwise a large number of people have paid you for material to which they had free access. You may, of course, intend to find out who  some of them are and return it.
But there will be a lot left over. Why don’t you fund a public project as you suggested – say through JISC and or academia – to prepare the basis for industry standards in publishing. We might be able to give you some ideas…

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2 Responses to Ingenta replies; suggestions for the future

  1. I appreciate your concerns in this area and would like to share our plans for improvement:
    *Agreed the copyright message on the abstract page is not as clear as it could be. The message here is intended to reflect copyright of the website itself rather than the journal or book content displayed on the page. We’re in the process of updating the message on IngentaConnect to make it clear that the copyright of the article is retained by the author(s), publisher or society as specified within the full-text.
    *To ensure industry wide adoption of a standard in this area we really need an independent body to lead this type of project – although Ingenta would be happy to be involved in this. Initial suggestions are that perhaps CrossRef, NISO or the NLM (via the NLM DTD) may be well placed to lead such a project.
    *Nucleic Acids Research was correctly flagged as an OA title on IngentaConnect. The areas we are in the process of correcting and updating relate more to titles which have a mix of OA articles and those accessible to subscribers only. We are investigating any transactions which were undertaken in error and will be following up with the relevant publishers to determine next steps.

  2. pm286 says:

    (2) Many thanks Louise and Ingenta, and I am very happy to see this progress. I appreciate the difficulty of mixed OA/TA in a single journal.

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