We would like to clarify NPG’s support for open access, and our position of the moral rights of authors, following some concerns raised by Kevin Smith, Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer.
We take seriously our responsibility towards the integrity of the scientific record. The “moral rights” language included in our license to publish is there to ensure that the journal and its publisher are free to publish formal corrections or retractions of articles where the integrity of the scientific record may be compromised by the disagreement of authors. This is not our preferred approach to dealing with corrections and retractions, and we work with authors and institutions to try seek consensus first. The right against derogatory treatment is a key aspect of moral rights.
We believe researchers should be credited for their work, and as a founding member of ORCID, we have implemented ORCID integration on nature.com to foster disambiguated accreditation.
NPG’s commitment to open access has been questioned, following our request that authors provide a formal waiver of Duke University’s open access policy. NPG is supportive of open access. We encourage self-archiving, and have done so since we implemented our policy in 2005:
“When a manuscript is accepted for publication in an NPG journal, authors are encouraged to submit the author’s version of the accepted paper (the unedited manuscript) to PubMedCentral or other appropriate funding body’s archive, for public release six months after publication. In addition, authors are encouraged to archive this version of the manuscript in their institution’s repositories and, if they wish, on their personal websites, also six months after the original publication. “
You can find this policy here.
We are requesting waivers from Duke University authors, because of the grant of rights asserted in its open access policy: “In legal terms, each Faculty member grants to Duke University a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do so, provided that the articles are not sold. The Duke faculty author remains the copyright owner unless that author chooses to transfer the copyright to a publisher.”
If we do not request a waiver, the general language of this policy means that Duke University has the rights not only to archive the manuscript in Dukespace, but also to distribute and publish to the world at large the final version of a subscription article freely, in any medium, immediately on publication. We started requesting waivers recently, following an enquiry from a Duke University author.
We have worked constructively with PubMed Central and institutional repositories for many years, and do not want our intentions and commitment to academic integrity and open access to be misunderstood.
Head of Communications, Nature Publishing Group