2008-08-20

My PhD thesis was published today despite copyright screw-ups

Since I embrace the concept of open access very much, I published it on the electronic document server of Humboldt-University Berlin. It can be accessed here. The great advantage of doing it this way lies in the possibility of people finding your work through a google search. By putting the document on an open access server, you make the full text available to the entire internet. Fortunately for me, my science (Psychology) is internet-dominated enough to not devalue this publiation channel. From my perspective, open access has many advataes: It is quick, cheap, and ensures the highest possible range.

However, it comes with at least one issue. My dissertation contains quite a few figures. A lot of those were taken or adapted from other sources. I thus had to seek permission to reprint from the respective copyright owners. I made the worst experience with Oxford University Press. I sent them a request to use a small diagram (boxes with text) from a book they published in 1995. Their very brief reply:
I am afraid that we would not grant permission for this as it is our policy not to allow our material to be placed upon open access websites.
Simple as that, with no further explanation whatsoever. I can understand some of the reservation that copyright owners might have, but forbidding me to use a simple figure that consists of four boxes and a swirl in an academic content just because it is available on the Internet is too much. Screw you, OUP. What year do you think it is?

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