The CUP website for Medical History is now offering digitised back issues of the journal.
|Not paid for|
The expression "Digitised Archive" is not explained.
Here's the thing
All the PDF files that are being offered here by CUP are copied directly from the PubMed Central archive of the journal that ran up to 2011, when the journal was still Open Access, and authors still owned the copyright of their articles. I have checked individual files. They are the same files, byte-for-byte. In the image below, you can see the PMC file on the left, and the CUP file on the right. The date of creation is "6 March 2007" in each case.
The byte sizes are identical too.
Okay. CUP has copied the free PDFs from PubMed Central to its own website, where it is distributing them for a fee under its bundled licensing scheme for universities. Is this not wrong? The PMC copyright notice says clearly:
All of the material available from the PMC site is provided by the respective publishers or authors. Almost all of it is protected by U.S. and/or foreign copyright laws, even though PMC provides free access to it. (See Public Domain Material below, for one exception.) The respective copyright holders retain rights for reproduction, redistribution and reuse. Users of PMC are directly and solely responsible for compliance with copyright restrictions and are expected to adhere to the terms and conditions defined by the copyright holder. Transmission, reproduction, or reuse of protected material, beyond that allowed by the fair use principles of the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners. U.S. fair use guidelines are available from the Copyright Office at the Library of Congress.
This is an important issue. The authors of articles in Medical History from 2005-2011 retained copyright of their own work. In the article above, by me, you'll see clearly at the bottom of the page, in the first footnote position, it says "(C) Dominik Wujastyk". I own the copyright. Nobody can copy that article without my permission. Now, I knew that my article would be Open Access and freely downloadable from PMC; that's one of the reasons I wanted to publish with Medical History. But I did not agree that anybody else could republish or sell my article. And that is what CUP is now doing. Individuals at home can't buy it, but CUP is implicitly selling my article to universities and other license-holders by including it in their bundled commercial offering.
I do not want that. CUP has not sought my permission, nor offered to negotiate a copyright fee with me.
Even worse, CUP has slapped their own copyright statement on my article! As you can see in the image below, CUP claims copyright for my article, dating from 2007, and says that it was published online in May 2012 (which is untrue, since it appeared online and in print in 2007).
Just to make it clear that CUP is making money from my copyrighted article, here is the "request permissions" screen.
These are all matters for me, as copyright-holder, not for CUP. If someone wants to reprint my article in a book, or make a Hollywood film from it, I expect to be contacted and, with any luck, offered money for it.
I am writing a letter of complaint to CUP about this breach of my legal rights.
The matter is more complicated, for another reason. When I wrote this article, I had a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow contract with the Wellcome Trust that included the requirement that all my articles should be published under Open Access terms. This I did. In some cases, the Wellcome Trust, through UCL, paid substantial sums of money for my articles to appear as Open Access publications. But now, CUP has asserted that it owns my copyright, and has placed my article in a closed-access publication website. This causes a breach of the terms of my research fellowship contract with the Wellcome Trust, and a clear breach of the intention of the Wellcome Trust to further Open Access publication for the research that it funds.