In an editorial entitled "You wrote it, you own it", Emma Hill and Mike Rossner (Executive Editor of The Journal of Cell Biology and Executive Director of The Rockefeller University Press, respectively) announced in the Journal of Cell Biology, April 30, 2008 that the Rockefeller University Press, rather than requiring that authors assign their their copyrights to the Press, they would henceforth just grant the Press an exclusive license for 6 months. The authors who publish in the three Press journals, The Journal of Cell Biology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, or The Journal of General Physiology will henceforth be allowed to keep their copyrights.
Excerpts of the editorial:
This permits authors to reuse their own work in any way, as long as they attribute it to the original publication. Third parties may use our published materials under a Creative Commons license, six months after publication...
In 1787, the Copyright Clause of the United States Constitution gave the United States Congress the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." For more than two centuries, however, authors of scientific papers have been giving up that right. ... On the positive side, the publisher defended against improper use of the authors' work; on the negative side, restrictions were placed on authors (and third parties) that limited the reuse of the published work.
In a further step to enhance the utility of scientific content, we have now decided to return copyright to our authors. In return, however, we require authors to make their work available for reuse by the public. Instead of relinquishing copyright, our authors will now provide us with a license to publish their work. This license, however, places no restrictions on how authors can reuse their own work; we only require them to attribute the work to its original publication. Six months after publication, third parties (that is, anyone who is not an author) can use the material we publish under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0).
The Creative Commons License will apply retroactively to all work published by The Rockefeller University Press before November 1, 2007... Authors who previously assigned their copyright to the Press are now granted the right to use their own work in any way they like, as long as they acknowledge the original publication.
We are pleased to finally comply with the original spirit of copyright in our continuing effort to promote public access to the published biomedical literature.
Full text of our new copyright policy is available here: http://www.jcb.org/misc/terms.shtml.
Posted by Katie Newman at May 6, 2008 12:40 PM