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Dear colleagues,

we publish since 1995 the open-access workshop proceedings series CEUR-WS.org.
The service is free-of-charge for readers and editors of the proceedings.

Some weeks ago I sent a questionnaire to a past editors of workshop proceedings
about their preferences for the licenses for
(1) the meta data of the proceedings, i.e. the bibliographic details
of the papers and the proceedings as a whole
(2) the papers themselves

The relative majority of respondents preferred CC0 (“public domain”) for the meta data
but there was a rather unclear result about the preferred license for the papers.

I would like to raise this question to your attention.

Some OA services prefer a CC-BY license. But the consequence can be harmful!

Suppose that there is a pool of papers, all published with a CC-BY license
and all about some subject, let’s say about R-Trees.

The papers could all come from different sources (OA conference proceedings,
OA journals, OA workshop proceedings).

Now, anyone (let’s call him John Doe) can retrieve a subset of those papers and publish them in
a new book, edited by a person who never talked to the authors or to
the editors of the original publication.

If it is just CC-BY, then John Doe can even slightly change the papers, e.g. omitting
some chapters or some figures. This would nit violate the CC-BY license as long as John Doe
includes in his new book a page with the references to the original papers.

John Dow could also include his own (low quality) papers on R-Tress into his new book,
side by side with the peer-reviewed papers that he downloaded.

Now, this would be morally wrong and a violation of scientific standards.
But it shows that CC-BY is rather inappropriate for scientific papers.
Even CC-BY-ND is problematic, since it still allows to republish without
the consent of the authors.

Likewise CC-BY-NC is not helping. It may prevent commercial players to
make money out of OA papers. But still, a person could corrupt the original
papers by re-pblishing them free-of-charge in a FALSE CONTEXT.

The conclusion is: CEUR-WS.org should keep the existing copyright clause
“Copyright © XXXX for the individual papers by the papers’ authors. Copying permitted for private and academic purposes. This volume is published and copyrighted by its editors.”

This does not license re-publication.

Comments welcome!

Manfred Jeusfeld

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