[Lingtyp] European Commission on authorship transfer agreements

Plank frans.plank at uni-konstanz.de
Tue Dec 22 16:51:11 UTC 2015

Dear Martin,

I've published a few papers in LT over the last 19 years, and I've always cited papers by others in LT that had a good claim to be quoted.  (I don't cite or not-cite strategically.)  I honestly wonder how many bucks I've thus made De Gruyter.  What numbers do you have in mind, Martin?  They must be in the six-figure dimension, close to what they earn through Pschyrembel Klinisches Woerterbuch, since you seem seriously worried.  So worried that you appear to recommend not to publish in LT or cite LT publications in future.  Which isn't really very nice of you -- given the effort on all sides that has gone into producing a decent and modestly-priced typological journal.

Season's Greetings


Frans Plank
Universit├Ąt Konstanz
78457 Konstanz

Tel  +49 (0)7531 88 2656
Fax +49 (0)7531 88 4190
eMail frans.plank at uni-konstanz.de

On 22 Dec 2015, at 15:49, Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de> wrote:

> The statement about ownership of copyright needs to be interpreted in the context of "fair open access" publication. Most publication in linguistics is not (gold) open access, so publishers need to restrict access in order to stay in business. Hence, they need authors to transfer the copyright to them.
> (The case that Dan Everett mentions, where an author gets royalties, is so marginal that we can ignore in on Lingtyp.)
> Frankly, I do not understand why retaining the copyright is important with open access publication. Not owning the copyright is frustrating when the publisher refuses to give access to a work (for example, my 2002 book "Understanding morphology" is no longer available, but the publisher refuses to return the copyright to me, so it's unavailable, at least through normal channels).
> But when the publisher has agreed to make a book available in open access, with a liberal license, then it doesn't really matter who owns the copyright (it seems to me).
> What matters most, it seems to me, is who owns the labels. Is the label "Linguistic Typology" still owned by the Association for Linguistic Typology? Or was it signed over to De Gruyter in exchange for favourable conditions? If the former, then ALT can shop around for even better conditions. If the latter, then each time we publish (or cite) an LT paper, we increase De Gruyter's income, independently of their services.
> Martin
> On 22.12.15 13:49, Sebastian Nordhoff wrote:
>> Dear list,
>> following up on the discussion about copyright and availability, I offer a recent blogpost by the European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/futurium/en/content/fair-open-occess-and-future-scientific-publishing)
>> """
>> * Fair open access could also be seen as a question of ownership. Who owns publications? Who has the copyright? Probably authors. As a matter of principle, copyright should therefore probably not be signed over to other actors such as publishers. Therefore, open access publications should be licenced in adequate ways. Creative Commons licences could be a good way to do this systematically.
>> """
>> Note that you can leave comments on the page, which will actually be read by the relevant people in Brussels, so this is a nice opportunity to make your voice heard.
>> Best wishes
>> Sebastian
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> -- 
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
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