Improvements: EBL Adopts Creative Commons License

Ethnobiology Letters (EBL) is pleased to announce that it has moved to a new licensing model based on Creative Commons licenses that more fully reflects the journal’s open access vision. A key component of academic open access publishing is allowing others to use and share publications without prior consent. The latest generation of Creative Commons licenses help journals like EBL to fully embrace open access while allowing authors to retain their own copyrights, ensuring proper recognition of our journal’s and Society’s contribution, and discouraging third parties from using our publications for commercial gain. We intend to make this change starting with our first 2016 issue. Additionally, we have also applied this license to all previously published articles.

The traditional licensing model for academic publishing required authors to transfer copyrights to journals ostensibly to protect both parties from misuse by third parties. Until now, EBL retained copyrights and granted back to authors all republication rights. However, third parties were required to request permission for all kinds of reuse. Today, with the predominance of online publishing and development of Creative Commons open access licenses adapted for international use, many journals allow authors to retain copyrights and allow reuse by third parties with few or no restrictions. Such arrangements are considered advantageous for publishers and authors because they promote universal access and increase visibility. They are also necessary for EBL to be considered a gold open access journal.

In order to protect our authors and the Society of Ethnobiology membership from commercial exploitation, we have chosen a Creative commons license that requires permission for commercial reuse by third parties: Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC). As is now standard practice among open access journals, our authors of future articles will retain copyright and grant EBL publishing rights under the CC BY-NC license.

For previously published articles, the licensing will operate in a slightly different manner. Honoring our existing publishing agreements with authors, EBL will continue to retain copyright for articles published from 2010 to 2015. However, we have used our copyright authority to apply the CC BY-NC 4.0 license to these previously published articles, thereby eliminating the requirement that third parties request permission for non-commercial use. Authors will continue to have the freedom to reuse their own material for commercial purposes. We believe this move will not only bring EBL into compliance with open access principles but will also help stimulate scholarship and attract more ethnobiologists to publish in EBL.