Elsevier guides its “author communities” to use CC-NC rather than CC-BY

There’s a hashtag #openaccess which I follow. It started by marking useful comments and resources in “open access” but is increasingly being used by (mainly commercial legacy) publishers to promote their offerings in this area. Nothing wrong with that, though it gets congested. So from time to time I follow these to see what the publisher means by OA and what their practices are. Her’s one today:

Elsevier Surgery @ELSSurgery


Publish #openaccess in “The American Journal of #Surgery” – ow.ly/nKie6


Which points to http://www.elsevier.com/journals/the-american-journal-of-surgery/0002-9610/open-access-options. This is APC-paid access, remember.

I’m selecting the options that authors are offered:

User Rights
All articles published Open Access will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download. We offer authors a choice of user licenses, which define the permitted reuse of articles (see http://www.elsevier.com/openaccesslicenses). We are continuously working with our author communities to select the best choice of license options, currently being defined for this journal as follows:
• Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)
• Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC-BY-NC-ND)
• And if you need to comply with your funding body policy you can apply for the CC-BY license after your manuscript is accepted for publication.

Read the bullet points carefully and ask whether they are objective. What Elsevier is saying is that they have “author communities” and that by some form of process (? Is it open) these communities and Elsevier have agreed that CC-NC options are “the best choice”.

I remain to be convinced of the objectiveness of this process. Elsevier have had a default CC-NC for some time (it benefits them as they have effectively a monopoly right of re-use). When funders started to insist on CC-BY, Elsevier had to comply.

But the options above suggest that Elsevier and their authors know best and that these funders have made life difficult by introducing an option which you have to choose if you have to choose but we’ll all rather not, wouldn’t we.

Other publishers have been straightforward. Springer and Wiley are CC-BY only.

Elsevier should to change to CC-BY only as the simple honest straightforward option that makes OA easy for everyone instead of muddying the waters yet again.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Elsevier guides its “author communities” to use CC-NC rather than CC-BY

  1. andrew gray says:

    I’ve just been in touch with Elsevier regarding the fact that one of our Wellcome Trust authors had the wrong license applied to their paper. When I enquired as to why they applied the wrong license when they know that Wellcome mandated CC-BY, they said that it was up to the author to choose, even though the author is now non compliant with their funder. Many of the authors will not examine closely what they need to do and really Elsevier should be telling them what their funder requires, if not they should not be taking the money when the paper is not released under the correct license
    in this particular situation they have agreed to correct the license information on the website but not on the pdf, so the pdf will be out there stating NC

    • pm286 says:

      Thanks. I am going to blog why CC-NC is so attractive to publishers. Do you have a link to the article so I can use it as an example.

  2. Pingback: A Note on NonCommercial Licenses » Data Ab Initio

Leave a Reply

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