The more we understand about science and its complexities, the more important it is for scientific data to be shared openly. It’s not useful to have ten different labs doing the same research and not sharing their results; likewise, we’re much more likely to be able to pinpoint diseases if we have genomic data from a large pool of individuals. Creative Commons
Managing copyright wisely can significantly enhance scientific endeavors. Decisions about copyright can:
- Provide the widest possible freedom and flexibility for researchers and others to employ their work for teaching, learning, and research in a fast-changing technological environment.
- Foster the Constitutionally defined purpose of the copyright law--the encouragement of learning--through the minimally constrained use of copyrighted material in teaching, learning and research.
The fundamental business of the Woods Hole scientific community is to create and share knowledge. However, the effective sharing of knowledge is sometimes jeopardized in the case of specialized scholarly monographs and journal articles, where reading audiences are relatively small and publishing outlets limited in number.
Especially with regard to journal articles, authors commonly give away their ownership rights in exchange for prestigious publication. As a result, publishers are at liberty to control the use of the author's work, sometimes imposing significant costs and administrative burdens on using the work for non-commercial education and research purposes. Rarely does the author have any voice in deciding how the work will be used.
Authors should read and understand the agreements they sign with publishers.