I have been contacted by Bettina Goerner, Springer Science+Business Media, Manager Open Access
who rang me to discuss Springer’s position and explanation. We agreed that everything she and I said was on the record. I said that I would prefer Springer to give the authoritative account of the situation as I was unfamiliar with SpringerImages (and that I found it a very difficult site to understand. I shall give a brief summary here and let her comment further. I am open to corrections.
“SpringerImages republishes images from Springer publications (books , journals). The world can access them for free for non-commercial re-use but has to pay for (access to) the image database for commercial use. [We did not define non-commercial use].”
“The material published in Springer Open Access journals in SpringerImages is meant to be labelled with CC-BY and with the name of the copyright owner /authors.”
“Something has gone wrong. Springer is working very hard. They hope to fix it by July”. They are going to go through all the articles individually. Since there are 2.5 million images that’s an awful lot of articles.
Springer asked me to publish an explanation on this blog. I said I was not competent to do so – that only Springer can do that. They are going to do so. If they let me know where and when I will publish a link here.
They said they will explain why they had content labelled by Wiley and PLoS but we did not discuss that further.
Springer agreed that they receive revenue from the site. I am not clear whether this is licences or access – Springer will have to say.
Springer thanked me for alerting them to problems they were unaware of.
We did not discuss why CC-NC was labelled as “fully open access”.
I have only been acquainted with the site for two days, but I find it poorly laid out and inconsistent. IF, as Springer assert, the content only comes from Springer articles I find it amazing that many of the images have no link back to the article. Where’s this one from, for example? http://www.springerimages.com/Images/ComputerScience/1-10.1007_s11192-011-0362-5-1 Maybe it’s a “metadata glitch”.
It is clear that Springer have problems managing the IPR from this exercise. Managing the downstream re-use of provenance is known to be a hard problem.
I am not imputing motives of any sort to Springer – because that’s something you can do just as well.
WOULDN’T ALL THIS BE MUCH BETTER FOR THE WHOLE WORLD IF SCIENTIFIC IMAGES COULD BE UNIVERSALLY RE-USED WITHOUT FORMAL PERMISSION? CC-BY.
Because Springer have no moral right to these images. They haven’t created them, they haven’t paid for them as a work for hire. They have simply extorted them from the scientific community to protect their brand and to create a cheap and (until now) easy source of revenue.
It’s complete waste of time any money for scientists.