As I was editing Open Access: What You Need to Know Now, I wanted to check something online and did a poorly-formulated initial search, “validation through linking.” (I was using a blind quote and should be naming the writer.)
Much to my surprise, the second of two Bing results is “Libre accès & bibliothèques: 2001-2009 (W. Crawford),” pointing to Scribd. Huh? Sure, there may be lots of other W. Crawfords, but there was something awfully familiar about that title.
So I clicked on the link and, lo, what do I see but Open Access and Libraries: Essays from Cites & Insights, 2001-2009–uploaded by one Fabrizio Tinti and given an Italian title.
I’m not sure just where this came from. I don’t think it’s the final, free PDF that’s available from Lulu; the typography’s wrong–and I see that right apostrophes (that is, apostrophes) are being rendered as oddly misplaced left quotes, which is garbage. There are spacing problems and other issues. (Oh, wait: If I allow Scribd to set typeface, the apostrophes show up as apostrophes and italics are once again italics, but there’s still some odd spacing. Maybe it is the PDF and Scribd just treats it oddly.)
On one hand…
The PDF is explicitly labeled as having a Creative Commons BY-NC license. I’m assuming Tinti isn’t getting any revenue from this, so there’s nothing illegal here. (Well, the title simply isn’t the title of the book, so in that sense it’s a misattribution…)
I suppose I could be flattered that Tinti went to the trouble and appreciate the extra readership–it’s apparently been “read” more than 80 times, although I doubt that any sane person would read a 513-page book on Scribd.
On the other…
- Tinti never told me that this upload was taking place. That’s certainly not illegal, but it’s not particularly polite.
- Scribd lards the free book with a lot of ads. A lot of ads. Two display ads and a whole shitload of Google ads on the frame, and more ads–sigh, many of them for “online schools”–in between pages. I find that a terribly distracting way to read something, and am a little offended that my document is being used to display all those ads. Actually, from that perspective, this is a violation of my Creative Commons license: Effectively, the book is being used for commercial purposes. (The sidebar ads are one thing. Those damn banners after every other page–quite another.)
Lean back and enjoy it?
Maybe I have no right to complain here. I don’t see any function on Scribd to complain. I don’t know that I’d actually ask to have this removed–the book is, in fact, OA by intention. But the lack of notification and the sheer volume of ads both bother me.
Or maybe I’m just getting old and grumpy?
Oh, maybe I should add: The Bing summary is “Excluding the poor from accessing biomedical literature: a rights violation that impedes global health 180 reads”–and, you know, “rights violation” just doesn’t appear in the book. I know: I wrote it–and I just checked the .docx file. This does not make me jump with joy.