It may be a first for scientific journals that are not published under an open-access philosophy: Rockefeller University Press has announced that it will allow authors to retain copyright to the papers they publish in its three journals.
Under the new policy, instead of giving up their copyrights to the journals, authors will now provide the journals with licenses to publish their papers. The authors may reuse their work any way they like, as long as they provide attribution to the journals. Six months after publication, third parties may use and redistribute the papers under a Creative Commons license.
The press places one thing off-limits: creating Web sites that mirror the contents of a journal within six months of its publication. The press hopes to retain subscribers because of that six-month delay.
In the world of scientific publishing, the three journals — The Journal of Cell Biology, The Journal of Experimental Medicine, and The Journal of General Physiology — may be unique in that they are maintaining subscription access but are giving up copyright. Many open-access scientific journals also allow authors to keep copyright. —Lila Guterman