Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Progress report 1: open CG journal

After a bit of work and a lot of help from Pat we've made some progress.

- The Open Journal System seems to be a usable journal management system (although far from optimal). To get it going one needs to rewrite most of the information pages and pre-prepared mails, but it's possible.

- The most suitable copyright agreement we could find is the Creative Common Attribution 3.0. The only restriction is "Whenever a work is copied or redistributed under a Creative Commons licence, credit must always be given to the creator.".

- We need a latex style file. Any suggestions on what needs to be included in the style file? Theorem-environments, paper size, font size, font, figures...

- Name of the journal? Any suggestions? Journal on Computational Geometry (JoCG)? When the name has been decided we can easily get a domain name and an ISSN.

Anything else?


  1. For your Creative Commons licence, you might want to consider the no-derivatives version, which makes sense given that you don't want people to reproduce modified versions of your journal articles. If you're adverse to those walled gardens taking your content and then purporting to sell it, then you might also want to consider the non-commercial version of the CC licence as well.

  2. There are some other intellectual property issues that I can think of on the top of my head. 1) If a computer scientist employed by a University writes an article, the copyright of that article subsists in the University. The computer scientist cannot grant you a CC or other open source licence because he/she does not have the copyright. They will need explicit permission from the University to do so. 2) Copyright also subsists in the *collection* of articles. You should also consider licensing this under CC.

  3. The papers are freely available, anyone can download them and do whatever they want with them as long as the source is references.

    (1) This is the same for all publications. I don't know how this is handled legally. At NICTA we have to get permission to publish every paper.

  4. I also looked at the no derivatives version and non-commericial versions of the CC license. As far as I can tell, these would interfere with a situation in which an author of a paper who later writes a book wants to include (a large part of) their paper as a section in the book.

    This is a problem because its a derivative (some modifications will probably have to be made to the original text) and it's commercial (the book is being sold for profit). As long as the book cites the original journal paper and the publisher is willing to accept the fact that the content appears online I don't see a problem.

    Of course, a publisher could simply collect good papers and try to publish them as a collection in a book (with a citation to the original journal) but I also don't have a problem with this. In any case, I doubt the publisher would get many book sales since the contents of the book are freely-available online and the book itself explains where to get it.

    Note, publishers already do stuff like this. For a time, ProQuest would let you buy a PDF of my PhD thesis for $75. This has something to do with my having given permission to the Library of Canada to archive and distribute my work. In any case, I don't think they sold too many copies since my thesis has always been available online for free. I think that free availability is the best-defense against commercial exploitation of your work.

  5. As a rule, American universities allow faculty to keep the copyright on any text they write: research papers, textbooks, lecture notes, etc. Do Australian universities have a different standard policy?

  6. Since NICTA is an independent research company we are not allowed to keep the copyright. I don't know what the rule is for Australian universities. Anyone?

  7. About "As far as I can tell, these would interfere with a situation in which an author of a paper who later writes a book wants to include (a large part of) their paper as a section in the book.":

    As long as the copyright is not transferred (and that would be best, since not all countries allow that), the restrictions do not apply to the authors, of course: granting a licence does not deprive the authors of the right to do whatever they want with their work!

    Is there any reason why you would prefer the copyright to be transfered? The CC licence would allow the site to reproduce the work anyway...