Poisonous Science: The Dark Side Of Academic Copyright In The Digital Age

Roberto Caso
2017 Zenodo  
Copyright on academic and scientific publications (papers, articles, essays, books etc.) is the result of the interaction between formal rules (copyright law), social norms (norms of science) and technology (printing press, digital technologies). Prior to the digital age, academic copyright has had two main functions. a) Priority. The acknowledgment of a paternity (or attribution) right on the scientific publication has facilitated the certification of priority of the scientific discovery
more » ... bed in the text. b) Dissemination. The protection of economic rights (reproduction, distribution etc.) has enabled the alliance between scientific authors and publishers finalized to distribute scientific publications to the public. Usually, scientific authors transfer their economic rights to the publisher because the latter has the economic and technological power to disseminate scientific publications. Nevertheless, scientific authors are mostly interested in reputation and not in the economic return derived from the commercialization of copyright. According to Robert Merton's theory, the norms of science are Communism, Universalism, Disinterestedness, and Organized Skepticism (CUDOS). Scientists compete for priority but they put their ideas and information in the public domain. The ultimate scope is to share ideas and information because the progress of science depends on "communism" and "organized skepticism". In other terms, scientific publications are part of the public and critical dialogue. In this perspective, formal law and social norms, normally stating that the original ownership of copyright belongs to the authors and not to their academic or scientific institutions, mirror freedom of speech and academic liberty. The current scenario however seems completely different. In theory, Internet represents an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen the scientific debate. But reality tells a very different story. In the digital age, scientific publications are only "products". The changing nature of scientific [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.803136 fatcat:6xcpfvt63rgk5ef6vnpz7arygm