Peter Suber reports:
Neuroethics is a new peer-reviewed journal from Springer. Instead of using Springer’s Open Choice hybrid model, it will offer free online access to all its articles, at least for 2008 and 2009.
The page on instructions for authors says nothing about publication fees. It does, however, require authors to transfer copyright to Springer, which it justifies by saying, “This will ensure the widest possible dissemination of information under copyright laws.” For the moment I’m less interested in the incorrectness of this statement than in the fact that Springer’s hybrid journals use an equivalent of the CC-BY license. It looks like Springer is experimenting with a new access model: free online access for all articles in a journal (hence, not hybrid); no publication fees; but no reuse rights beyond fair use. The copyright transfer agreement permits self-archiving of the published version of the text but not the published PDF.
Also see my post last week on Springer’s new Evolution: Education and Outreach, with a similar access policy but a few confusing wrinkles of its own.
PMR: Whatever the rights and wrongs of this approach – I accept PeterS’s analysis of most situations – it represents one of my fears – the increasing complexity of per-publisher offerings. Springer now has at least 3 models – Closed, OpenChoice and FreeOnlineAccess. Even for the expert it will be non-trivial to decide what can and cannot be done, what should and should not be done. If all the major closed publishers do this, each with a slightly different model where the licence matters, we have chaos. This type of licence proliferation makes it harder to work towards common agreements for access to data (it seems clear that the present one is a step away from Open Data).
I used to think instrument manufacturers were bad, bringing out a different data format with every new machine. I still do. Now they have been joined by publishers.