Open Access stands for unrestricted access and unrestricted reuse. ((Definition by Public Library of Science (PLoS)))

As discussed earlier in this blog it is obvious that non-commercial and non-derivatives licenses do not comply with the requirements of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, the RCUK Open Access policy and the Berlin Declaration. All these licences have to be considered as totally incompatible with “Open Access” publishing.

If you look at the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the new Directory of Open Access Monographs (DOAB), you will find most of the publications listed are using non-commercial and non-derivatives licenses which are not open in Terms of the Definition of “Open”. Even if the metadata in DOAJ and DOAB is licensed under an open license (CC-BY-SA), they do not list true “Open Access” publications as they promise. These two open access directories are just two of many examples of an ongoing threat of the idea of unrestricted access and reuse of academic publications.

Examples for true open licenses for content are:

This is a fundamental issue on how all of us present, practice and communicate Open Access. Be aware of that and if you do Open Access publishing, do it with a real open license! That is the only way to promote Open Access as it was intended. CC-NC and all the other non-derivate and non-commercial (like CC-ND, De Gruyter Open Library license…) licenses are totally incompatible with the idea of “Open Access” publishing and just help publishers to save their odd business models. Please consider this before you just pretend to publish “open”…

Christian Heise


Research Associate at the Hybrid Publishing Lab and Member of Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, currently working on his Ph.D thesis about Open Science. More about me...

3 responses to

  1. Mike Lawrence July 28, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    I wonder if CC-BY-SA can truly be considered “open” insofar as the share-alike provision might make some commercial re-use inherently impossible. Thoughts?

  2. Christian Heise July 29, 2013 at 9:43 am


    thank you for your comment.

    There has been a debate on why Share-Alike Licenses (like CC-BY-SA) are “Open” but Non-Commercial are not:

    Share-alike or attribution requirements are allowed within the definition precisely because they do not break the interoperability (and may even help promote the commons by ensuring material is “shared back”). Non-commercial provisions are not permitted because they fundamentally break the commons, not only through being incompatible with other licenses but because they overtly discriminate against particular types of users.

    I totally agree with that citation from

    Can you say, of what exact “commercial re-use” you think of, when you say it “could be inherently impossible” by using SA?


    Disclaimer: I am also Member of Board of the german Chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF).

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  1. CC-BY dominates under the CC-licensed journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) › Hybrid Publishing Lab Notepad - February 12, 2014

    […] issue on how all of us present, practice and communicate Open Access. Please be aware of open washing and consider this before you just pretend to publish […]

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