Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Agreement with Springer
Following license discussions that began in the summer of 2008, MIT has signed
a three-year agreement with Springer that includes language that gives MIT
authors rights to flexibly reuse and post their work. MIT-authored articles
published in a Springer journal that MIT subscribes to can be posted anywhere
on the Web, including institutional, disciplinary, and other open-access
repositories as well as on the author’s Web page. The version of the article
expected to be targeted is the author's final version, after peer review, which is
also the focus of the MIT Faculty Open-Access Policy.
The language is written not as a direct extension of rights to authors, but in
such a way that MIT retains certain rights, including the right to extend those
rights to the authors of the articles. MIT considered a number of options in
developing wording for the agreement, including the third-party beneficiary
issue, which would allow MIT authors to benefit by a contract between MIT
and a publisher. MIT decided it was cleaner to have the rights go directly to
MIT because the authors are not direct parties to the agreement.
The aim was to begin with a set of terms that would allow MIT-authored
work to be widely shared, without the need for individuals to negotiate such
rights for each paper. The agreement was developed in a spirit of joint
exploration and innovative partnership with Springer.
Conclusion
MIT’s and University of California’s efforts represent different approaches to
including author-rights language in content licenses, highlighting the potential
for universities and publishers to benefit from the availability of standard
language that could be used in carving out agreements. Certain common
principles are suggested by these case studies, and offer a framework for
universities seeking to work with publishers on new models. Several institutions
represented at the ARL meeting in January have begun discussions aimed at
addressing these concerns.
Defining the principles underlying such agreements is a useful first step in
creating standard language. For example, assuring that the language allows for
making articles available under Creative Commons licensing clearly offers a
substantial benefit to scholars, opening up the possibility of using new data-
mining and filtering tools, a desirable—even necessary—step forward in
RLI 263 36
Author-Rights Language in Library Content Licenses
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C O N T I N U E D
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APRIL 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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