The bizarre world of Copyright transfer or… A contract is a contract is a contract

To the non academic reader: you are going to discover one of the oddities of academic publishing. To the academic reader: you should know all this stuff, but then, why isn’t it fixed?

The academic world is just like any other social world: it has its secrets, its dark corners, the things we sweep under the carpet. But it also has, in full light an incredible practice summed up below in 4 consecutive points.
1/ Despite being employees of a university, a research institution or public servants, almost all academcis own their written signed works (articles, chapters, books, communications…).
2/ Academics usually give that property away, with no financial retribution for their work, to publishers
3/ To do so, they sign “contracts” such as “exclusive licence” or “copyright transfer form”
4/ Then, the access to this publisher-owned content is sold back to authors’ intitutions, at a rapidly rising price.


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