Manifestos are all the rage. They have advantages: manifestos briefly summarize what people expect and thereby facilitate focused action. Recent manifestos, boycotts, and statements of principle in scholarly communication have articulated various aspects of what researchers expect researchers to do (Panton Principles, The Cost of Knowledge, Science Code Manifesto).
The time has come for researchers to clearly state how we expect to be able to use the already-published literature. Here’s a start:
We, researchers of the world, expect to be able to *use* the research literature to which we have access.
- We expect to access and process the full text of the research literature with our computer programs
- We expect to disseminate aggregate statistical results as facts and context text as fair use excerpts, openly with no restrictions other than attribution
- We expect these rights without further cost when papers are accessed through researcher-provided tools, and with (at most) a transparent per-api-call fee when accessed through publisher-supplied programmatic interfaces
Publishers who facilitate these terms now in all subscription agreements (or for everyone, where appropriate): PLoS, BMC, other pure OA publishers.
Publishers who facilitate these terms now in subscription agreements with some institutions: Elsevier.
Note these expectations are restricted to literature to which scholars have access, through subscription agreements or OA. Dissemination expectations are also limited to what is already allowed for facts and fair use. This is not a trojan horse for OA.
In case you weren’t aware: amazingly most standard subscription agreements currently prohibit the actions described above.
Thoughts? Suggested improvements?