The final event of Oxford’s Open Access week 2019 was to play the ‘Publishing Trap’ board game. We were delighted to welcome Jane Secker and Chris Morrison of UK Copyright Literacy to direct their game about author copyright and open access. The four teams comprised a mixture of researchers, research students and librarians. Teamsters faced decisions that would occur in real life to researchers at different stages of their career from early career researcher to seasoned eminent professor. They earn rewards such as prestige and reputation and have to live with later consequences of their decisions.
Rights and permissions is a topic that affects all researchers who publish their research findings in any format. However most researchers are unaware of their rights, and more importantly, of how different policies, permissions and publishing agreements affect them. This game aims to open up discussions on these thorny topics and to encourage participants to consider carefully the permissions decisions they take in future. Questions that researchers were faced with included whether or not to embargo their PhD thesis, which licence to assign to their work, whether to modify a copyright transfer agreement and whether to seek permission for 3rd party content in their book or rely on copyright exceptions.
There were useful reminders of some helpful websites and tools: Sherpa Romeo (to check if a journal allows the accepted manuscript to be made available through the institutional repository, possibly with an embargo period), plus the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and the Directory of Open Access books (DOAB).
Tea and biscuits helped the game along nicely, and everyone felt they had learnt something by the end.