Not all publishers require authors to assign copyright in the form that led to Judi Sture's article being sold ("Research for sale: $5.95", November 17). Some ask authors only for a "licence to publish", and hopefully more will do so with the availability of the new licence drafted by the Joint Information Systems Committee and the Dutch Surf foundation.
Authors look to publish in high-quality journals, but perhaps one test of a journal's quality should be whether the publisher has an author-friendly copyright policy. A licence to publish not only protects authors against unfair exploitation of their work but also makes legitimate use - such as for classroom copying - much easier than under a copyright transfer contract.
University College London