The Evolving Role of Commercial Publishers and the Future of Online Access Repositories

The Evolving Role of Commercial Publishers and the Future of Online Access Repositories

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1131-2.ch006

Abstract

Since the modes of publishing content have changed in the digital age, OA practice could be an effective response towards the challenges generated by the ongoing technological advancements. It could respond to the competing concerns of copyright protection and equitable access to information, simultaneously. This final chapter analyzes the interconnections between commercial publisher and author interests and argues that OARs could be considered as an instrument towards common benefits. In the context of continuous technological growth, OA could also be seen as an alternative instrument for the protection of intellectual property to facilitate modern or digital publishing and benefit publisher and intellectual creator, as well. Traditionally, commercial publishers are gatekeepers of the standards of merit of academic works even though they get almost all of the profits. However, while they rely on academics' expertise to remain commercially viable, they do not pay for this expertise, appropriately. In contemporary days it is feasible for authors to not rely on commercial publishers. It is, therefore, in the interests of commercial publishers that academics keep publishing with them. As gatekeepers of standards of merit, they can benefit the academic world and remain viable themselves. This claim will be substantiated with examples of relevant licensing forms and other initiatives of OA.
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Introduction

The preceding chapters established that primarily for digital publishing OA is one of the distinctive manifestations of technological developments (Laakso et al., 2011). Therefore, the fundamental question for this book is whether the previous regulatory framework for the ownership of intellectual property rights is adequate to deal with the current situation and whether it can adequately regulate issues arising out of OA.

Initially, there was a short discussion about the history of copyright before OA, and the background context for addressing this issue was set. This historical account helps explain the significance of OARs. As explained in preceding chapters, the OA phenomenon considered as a tool for social justice and social cohesion that could enhance copyright regimes and make access to information more widely available. Hence, OARs in the digital age could be seen as a contemporary response for sharing and dissemination of information resources. Nowadays, the end users of knowledge should have the widest possible access to knowledge. An examination of the governance framework of OARs in the European Union and in Greece examined the examples of OARs that could enhance the dissemination and spread of information. In this chapter, the issue of OA is analysed from the perspective of the producers of knowledge: authors, publishers and, more specifically, commercial publishing firms.

The most desirable regulatory regime for OARs is the “just” green agreement. It has three components, sequentially explaining what just access is, what green OA is (also known as self-archiving) and the agreement involving the interests of all three stakeholders (authors, publishers, and users). This argument addresses the issues that authors, publishers, and users all benefit by appropriate regulation of access. On the one hand, authors can adopt online publishing, but they cannot effectively enforce their IPRs. On the other hand, publishers can claim IPRs in the traditional form, but it would be almost impossible to enforce them in the context of online publishing. Therefore, authors and publishers both need to respond to these changes. If publishers do not join the online revolution, potentially they become irrelevant from a commercial perspective. If they become part of such a revolution, they should not be obliged to disregard their commercial interests in IPRs. However, to pursue their commercial interests, it is evident that they would need to modify their business models. So too do authors need the commercial publishers, at least in the academic world. This is for a few reasons, including that in academic scholarship, it is desirable to publish through commercial and reputable publishers. In such cases, IPRs are usually given to the publishers. Hence, even though the authors possess a few more choices since the arrival of digital and online publishing, they still need publishers. In other words, there is always an inevitable link between academic authors and commercial publishers.

Therefore, in this chapter, the first part discusses the contemporary developments in publishing practices, including Creative Commons and OARs. The second part undertakes an analysis of the implications of these technological changes for commercial publishing. The third part discusses the response of publishers to OA practice with the example of soft regulation introduced by the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). In this part, there is also an analysis of the practices of the Emerald publishing house to examine how OA has been practised. In the last part, a critique of the contemporary regulations and practices will yield a model for the future regulation of OARs.

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