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Licensing and open access books

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      Tom Mosterd

      Open access books usually take a Creative Commons (CC) licence which permits authors to retain copyright, whilst allowing readers to redistribute, re-use and adapt the content in new works under the terms of whichever licence is applied.

      Which particular licence is deemed suitable for an open access book can differ depending on the preference and perspective of a publisher, the author or even on the given book.

      Within the wider open access books landscape, concerns and risk around the use of the CC-BY licence for books surfaced and how this relates to reprinting of these books by third-parties. See here for instance. On April 7th, during an online workshop on innovative business models for open access books (recording here), a vivid conversation took place in the chat on this same topic relevant for the OA books community. Below is a short introduction to this topic as shared by one participant.

      “If Jane [not the original publisher] manages to (re-)sell a book [CC-BY OA book] which was free in the first place to Paul, Paul was probably not aware that book was available for free, otherwise he could have chosen not to spend money on it. So Jane has increased outreach’’

      The reprinting and re-selling of CC-BY books may have wider implications. Examples of this were shared, such as: low-quality reproductions of a CC-BY work, author reputation, (future) author perceptions of OA & publisher revenue-loss. We invite anyone to share their experiences and views on this topic via this thread. How significant is this risk (and for whom)? Is revenue-loss significant, and how about arguments around quality and author perception?

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