[IRTalk] Academics and Copyright Ownership: Ignorant, Confused or Misled?

Nason Bimbe nasonbimbe at gmail.com
Wed Nov 1 14:47:28 SAST 2017

The recent law suit against ResearchGate brought by Elsevier and the
American Chemical Society follows hard upon the $15 million damages awarded
to Elsevier in their recent case against Sci-Hub. These are just the latest
actions in a long line of scholarly copyright wars. As far back as 2001,
Stephen Pinfield found that academics were illegally posting publisher’s
copyright content on ArXiv — a practice since dubbed ‘Black Open Access’
(Bjork, 2017). A series of subsequent studies have reported a similar
disregard for publisher copyright policies (e.g., Antelmann, 2006; Troll
Covey, 2009) culminating in Jamali’s 2017 study that suggested just over
half of all papers on ResearchGate were illegally posted publisher PDFs.
This has led to a perception that academics just don’t care about or
understand copyright and that someone needs to take responsibility for
getting those academics a copyright education. There is no doubt some truth
in this, but I think the situation is slightly more complex than that. In
fact, I think that the keys to resolving this may rest in the hands of
publishers, but in using those keys publishers may pay a high price.


Nason Bimbe
3 Brownleaf Road
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 (0)7535 250339
Email. nasonbimbe at gmail.com
Skype. bimben
Twitter. @nbimbe
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