Scholar’s Copyright Project. Open Access Data Protocol

Open Access Data Protocol

The Science Commons Open Access Data Protocol is a method for ensuring that scientific databases can be legally integrated with one another. The protocol is not a license or legal tool, but instead a methodology and best practices document for creating such legal tools in the future, and marking data in the public domain for machine-assisted discovery.

For more information about the Protocol and our stance on Databases, visit our FAQ page, where you can read our new FAQ on the Database Protocol. Also, click here to read the official announcement of the Protocol, issued in concordance with the 5th anniversary of Creative Commons’ licenses.


freedom to archive and reuse scholarly works on the Internet

Applying traditional copyright metaphors to digital scientific communication restricts the number of opportunities afforded by the networked world. Translations of language and file format are banned. Intrepid scientists can’t aggregate a set of interesting articles into a PDF file for distribution to their colleagues. And new technologies like text mining can’t help scientists understand the 16,000,000 articles currently indexed for biomedical science.

Increased Open Access to peer-reviewed scholarly literature is essential. The network culture opens up enormous possibilities for discovery and research - more knowledge, distributed across the world at the speed of fiber, stored in digital formats accessible to machines for indexing, search, and innovative research such as our Neurocommons project. The benefits of Open Access are many, and have been well documented. The question that remains, though, is how.

There are two ways to go OA - publishing in an Open Access journal or self-archiving. Science Commons provides resources in support of both.


Through the Scholar’s Copyright project, Science Commons offers a spectrum of tools and resources catering to both methods of achieving Open Access. Here is a glimpse of our efforts and successes to date.

OA Publishing and CC Licensing

One road to Open Access is to publish in an OA journal. More than 250 peer-reviewed scholarly journals implement their OA philosophy using Creative Commons licensing. Key adopters include the Public Library of Science (PLoS), Hindawi, and BioMed Central.

Each uses the Creative Commons Attribution License, which is a legal implementation of the Open Access vision as laid out be the Budapest Open Access Initiative. The result - more information is made freely available for public consumption, and without unintended consequences of applying at least 70 years’ worth of control to scientific knowledge.

For more information about Creative Commons licenses, visit our FAQ or Creative Commons’ licenses page. And if you have a journal under CC licensing, send us an e-mail so we can add you to our list.

Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine (SCAE)

(For more background information on SCAE, visit the project page.)

Another road to OA is to put an archive copy of the peer-reviewed article on the Web (”self-archiving”) after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. This approach is gaining significant traction as well, with the European Union, US National Institutes of Health, and the Wellcome Trust adopting policy initiatives based on archives.

Although most journals support some form of self-archiving, the number of variables in their policies create real confusion among authors. The Science Commons Author Addenda help scholars negotiate the rights they need to use and distribute their work via self-archiving, eliminating confusion and doubt as to when, where, and how authors can make their work available to the world.

The Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine (SCAE) is a simple interface for generating a signature-ready Addendum. The SCAE generates the one page document, amending the copyright transfer agreements issued by publishers. This ensures that the author can make their work freely available on the public Internet whether upon publication, pre-publication (in the form of the author’s final manuscript), or after a certain period of time. Our FAQ walks you through step-by-step how to do this.

For more information on how you can integrate the Addendum Engine into your Web site, visit this page.

Open Access Law Program

Over 35 law journals have committed to the Open Access Law program since launch.

The Open Access Law (OAL) Program provides a comprehensive set of resources promoting open access in legal scholarship. The program relies on self-assessment and self-reporting, arming the editorial boards of law journals with the means to go OA.

The OAL program consists of a set of principles of Open Access, committing both author and journal to basic tenets of OA, and a free model agreement between authors and journals that implements the principles in contract.

Visit our Web site to see what journals are already on board.

Original text: Science Commons

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