[Lingtyp] European Commission on authorship transfer agreements

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Tue Dec 22 17:48:37 UTC 2015


Sorry if there was a misunderstanding: I meant to talk about the general 
case, using LT only as an illustration. And of course we shouldn't cite 
"strategically", but scientifically.

However, it's an economic fact that if a commercially owned journal is 
prestigious, it will be more profitable – regardless of whether the 
income is from subscriptions or from author fees. "Nature" will be able 
to charge authors much higher fees (in a future open-access author-pays 
world), and likewise LT will be able to charge higher fees than less 
renowned journals 
<http://www.frank-m-richter.de/freescienceblog/2012/10/30/the-prestige-of-the-publishers-brand-name-an-underestimated-factor-in-science-book-publication-costs/>, 
independently of the costs to the publisher.

De Gruyter is not in an enviable position, because they are struggling 
to survive in a world of increasing concentration of publishing giants, 
and they have my sympathies.

But since there is no real competition, journal titles should not be 
owned privately, but should be under the control of the scholars, so 
that the profit from a successful journal is not reaped by those who 
merely provide the technical infrastructure.

Since Frans didn't comment on this aspect: I seriously wonder whether 
the title "Linguistic Typology" is now owned by De Gruyter, so that ALT 
basically has no choice but to stick with De Gruyter. This is a real 
question, because as far as I am aware, the Societas Linguistica 
Europaea (SLE) gave away its rights to the title in return for better 
conditions, so that SLE is now basically providing content for "Folia 
Linguistica" for De Gruyter, rather than De Gruyter publishing "Folia 
Linguistica" for SLE. I hope that De Gruyter is still publishing 
"Linguistic Typology" for ALT, so that its new editor can switch to a 
better publisher if necessary (maybe Ubiquity Press?, cf. 
(Lingua>)Glossa's new setup: http://www.glossa-journal.org/about/)

Martin


On 22.12.15 17:51, Plank wrote:
> 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
>
> On 22 Dec 2015, at 15:49, Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de 
> <mailto: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 <mailto:haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>)
>> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
>> Kahlaische Strasse 10
>> D-07745 Jena
>> &
>> Leipzig University
>> Beethovenstrasse 15
>> D-04107 Leipzig
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>

-- 
Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10	
D-07745 Jena
&
Leipzig University
Beethovenstrasse 15
D-04107 Leipzig





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