Legal and policy implications of licenses between LIS open access journal publishers and authors
A qualitative case study
“Open access” (“OA”) refers to research placed online free from all price barriers and from most permission barriers (Suber, 2015). OA may apply to research outputs published traditionally, such as books (Schwartz, 2012) and articles in academic journals (Suber, 2015), and non-traditionally, such as student dissertations and theses (Schöpfel & Prost). The lack of legal barriers is grounded in and given effect through the law of copyright and contract, and the submission of content by authors is often executed through a publication agreement. This paper studies the contract aspects of OA and the open publishing movement in library and information science (“LIS”) scholarly communication. To explore this phenomenon, it undertakes a case study of the publication agreements of five OA LIS journals. The sample consists of a brand-new open journal with an agreements drafted by copyright librarians (journal 1) and top-ranked LIS journals that converted to OA (journals 2 through 5) (Scimago, 2017). With a descriptive data analysis based on that in Lipinski and Copeland (2015; 2013) and Lipinski (2013; 2012), the case study investigates the similarities and differences in the agreements used by the sampled OA LIS journals. The study builds on the best practices from the Harvard Open Access Project (Shieber & Suber, 2016; 2013). It recommends best practices for the drafting and content of OA LIS publication agreements.