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Just how 'open' are you? Examining authors' attitudes to licences, reuse and distribution

Date:
October 21, 2014
Source:
Taylor & Francis
Summary:
Understanding how others can use your work and making decisions on the licence you want to apply to your published research is crucial for any author. The open access movement strongly advocates liberal reuse and distribution of content and there has also been a move by UK funders to mandate use of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence when public funds are used to pay for open access publishing. But how does this fit with individual researchers’ attitudes and opinions on licences? Do their preferences vary by gender, age, career stage or discipline? And are the voices advocating liberal reuse and distribution changing the opinions of today’s research community? 
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Understanding how others can use your work and making decisions on the licence you want to apply to your published research is crucial for any author. The open access movement strongly advocates liberal reuse and distribution of content and there has also been a move by UK funders to mandate use of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence when public funds are used to pay for open access publishing. But how does this fit with individual researchers' attitudes and opinions on licences? Do their preferences vary by gender, age, career stage or discipline? And are the voices advocating liberal reuse and distribution changing the opinions of today's research community?

The 2014 Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey sought to answer some of these questions, surveying authors on their licence preferences as part of wider research on open access. Analysis released today further breaks down these initial findings by region, country, discipline, gender, age, and career stage.

Initial results showed that the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND) remained the most preferred licence, with the traditional choices of Exclusive Licence to Publish and Copyright Assignment following behind, at the cost of the remaining Creative Commons Licences. This year's results did however show a softening of attitudes towards CC BY when compared to the 2013 Taylor & Francis Open Access Survey. Although still the least popular licence, CC BY (the least restrictive Creative Commons licence, permitting "unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited") only attracted around a third (35%) of least preferred licence selections in 2014, as opposed to over half (52%) in 2013.

When analysed by career stage, this overall preference for more restrictive or traditional licences remains the same, whether it was those with fewer than 5 years' experience responding or more than 20 years. Would this differ by age though, with younger researchers more accepting of liberal reuse and distribution? Surprisingly, authors who responded to this survey picked similar choices, with those from their 20s to their 50s following the overall preference for CC BY-NC-ND. For those in their 60s and 70s Exclusive Licence to Publish overtook CC BY-NC-ND as the most popular choice, and for those in their 70s a sharp drop in the popularity of CC BY-NC-ND is matched by a rise in the support for CC BY-NC (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial).

These preferences reflect authors' overall views when asking about commercial versus non-commercial reuse, with 65% saying it was unacceptable for their work to be used for commercial gain (down slightly from 67% in 2013). When asked about their attitude to their work being used for non-commercial gain though, 71% believed this was acceptable, an increase of 3% from 2013.

Such responses create an interesting quandary for the open access movement, with even authors from the science, technical and medical fields showing an increase in their preference for the more restrictive and traditional licences. In this survey, only computer scientists showed any significant support for the less restrictive Creative Commons options. According to these responses, reuse and distribution continues to be a challenging subject across the research community, with much work to be done before individuals are comfortable with the most liberal options.

The full analysis on licence preferences is now available on Taylor & Francis Online, with the complete dataset on Figshare.


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Cite This Page:

Taylor & Francis. "Just how 'open' are you? Examining authors' attitudes to licences, reuse and distribution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 October 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141021085112.htm>.
Taylor & Francis. (2014, October 21). Just how 'open' are you? Examining authors' attitudes to licences, reuse and distribution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 28, 2024 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141021085112.htm
Taylor & Francis. "Just how 'open' are you? Examining authors' attitudes to licences, reuse and distribution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141021085112.htm (accessed May 28, 2024).

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