SPARC requires CC-BY for their "OA Seal"

I missed this announcement from SPARC or I would certainly have trumpeted it… Comments at end…

From: David Prosser [email]
23 April 2008 17:18
To: ‘’
Subject: Launch of the SPARC
Europe Seal for Open Access Journal

Lund, Sweden23 April 2008

SPARC Europe and the Directory of Open Access Journals Announce the Launch of the SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals

Seal to Set Standards for Open Access Journals

For more information, contact: David Prosser, [email] or Lars Björnshauge, [email]

Oxford, UK and Lund, Sweden — SPARC Europe (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), a leading organization of European research libraries, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Lund University Libraries today announced the launch of the SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access journals.  Growing numbers of peer-reviewed research journals are opening-up their content online, removing access barriers and allowing all interested readers the opportunity of reading the papers online, with over 3300 such journals listed in the DOAJ, hosted by Lund University Libraries in Sweden.

However, the maximum benefit from this wonderful resource is not being realised as confusion surrounds the use and reuse of material published in such journals.    Increasingly, researchers wish to mine large segments of the literature to discover new, unimagined connections and relationships.  Librarians wish to host material locally for preservation purposes.  Greater clarity will bring benefits to authors, users, and journals.

In order for open access journals to be even more useful and thus receive more exposure and provide more value to the research community it is very important that open access journals offer standardized, easily retrievable information about what kinds of reuse are allowed.  Therefore, we are advising that all journals provide clear and unambiguous statements regarding the copyright statement of the papers they publish.  To qualify for the SPARC Europe Seal a journal must use the Creative Commons By (CC-BY) license which is the most user-friendly license and corresponds to the ethos of the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

The second strand of the Seal is that journals should provide metadata for all their articles to the DOAJ, who will then make the metadata OAI-compliant.  This will increase the visibility of the papers and allow OAI-harvesters to include details of the journal articles in their services.

‘We want to build on the great work already done by the publishers of many open access journals and improve the standards of open access titles,’ said David Prosser, Director of SPARC Europe.  ‘Working with the DOAJ means that we can provide help and guidance to journals who wish to move beyond the first step of free access to full open access and our long-term aim is to ensure that all journals listed in the DOAJ can attain the standards expressed within the Seal’

‘Improving the standards of the rapidly increasing numbers of open access and contributing to the widest possible visibility, dissemination  and readership of the journals is very much in line with our mission, ‘ said Lars Björnshauge, Director of Libraries at Lund University. ‘We are very happy to see the enormous usage of the DOAJ and the support from our membership’

`Legal certainty is essential to the emergence of an internet that supports research. The proliferation of license terms forces researchers to act like lawyers, and slows innovative educational and scientific uses of the scholarly canon` said Johan Wilbanks, Executive Director of Science Commons. `Using a seal to reward the journals who choose to adopt policies that ensure users’ rights to innovate is a great idea. It builds on a culture of trust rather than a culture of control, and it will make it easy to find the open access journals with the best policies.’

‘This is an excellent program with two important recommendations.  CC-BY licenses make OA journals more useful, and interoperable metadata make them more discoverable.  The recommendations are easy to adopt and will accelerate research, facilitate preservation, and make OA journal policies more open and more predictable for users.  I hope all OA journals will adopt them –not to get the Seal  from SPARC Europe and the DOAJ, but for the same reasons that moved these organizations to launch the program:  to make OA journals more visible and useful than they already are,` said Peter Suber, Open Access Advocate & Author of Open Access News.

PMR: I don’t know how I missed this… it’s exactly what I want. [Does “Europe” mean that only European journals or publishers qualify – I assume not.]

So it solves most of my problems:

  • an organisation I respect and which has the guts and perspicacity to take on difficult problems.
  • clear-thinking and language
  • concern about the needs of (scientific) scholars

So the operational borderline is BBB-OA == CC-BY. Simple.
Doubtless with a few tweaks it could be applied to papers in hybrid journals (though the sooner they go the better) and theses.
CC-BY is simple. It’s 2 letters, a hyphen-minus and 2 more letters. People know what it means. If they don’t it’s the top-hit in Google (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic). Pronounce it “see-see-by”. It takes less than a second to utter it.
And since SPARC is the central organisation handing out OA gongs, then shortly everyone will start to see them.

  • “What’s this?”
  • “it’s the SPARC OA seal”
  • “What does it mean?”
  • “It means you don’t have to worry. You can do what you like”.
  • “Does our Institutional Repository have them? Can I put one on my thesis?”

… but that’s another part of the story.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *