If you're into science, and especially physics, you've heard of arXiv, which has revolutionized how research in physics is shared. BioarXiv, SocArXiv and PaleorXiv followed, among others*.

Well get excited, because today, at last, there is an open preprint server especially for earth science — EarthArXiv has landed!

I could write a long essay about how great this news is, but the best way to get the full story is to listen to two of the founders — Chris Jackson (Imperial College London and fellow University of Manchester alum) and Tom Narock (University of Maryland, Baltimore) — on Undersampled Radio this morning:

Congratulations to Chris and Tom, and everyone involved in EarthArXiv!

• Friedrich Hawemann, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
• Daniel Ibarra, Earth System Science, Standford University, USA
• Sabine Lengger, University of Plymouth, UK
• Andelo Pio Rossi, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany
• Divyesh Varade, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India
• Chris Waigl, University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA
• Sara Bosshart, International Water Association, UK
• Alodie Bubeck, University of Leicester, UK
• Allison Enright, Rutgers - Newark, USA
• Jamie Farquharson, Université de Strasbourg, France
• Alfonso Fernandez, Universidad de Concepcion, Chile
• Stéphane Girardclos, University of Geneva, Switzerland
• Surabhi Gupta, UGC, India

Don't underestimate how important this is for earth science. Indeed, there's another new preprint server coming to the earth sciences in 2018, as the AGU — with Wiley! — prepare to launch ESSOAr. Not as a competitor for EarthArXiv (I hope), but as another piece in the rich open-access ecosystem of reproducible geoscience that's developing. (By the way, AAPG, SEG, SPE: you need to support these initiatives. They want to make your content more relevant and accessible!)

It's very, very exciting to see this new piece of infrastructure for open access publishing. I urge you to join in! You can submit all your published work to EarthArXiv — as long as the journal's policy allows it — so you should make sure your research gets into the hands of the people who need it.

I hope every conference from now on has an EarthArXiv Your Papers party.

* Including snarXiv, don't miss that one!

Comment

### Matt Hall

Matt is a geoscientist in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founder of Agile Scientific, co-founder of The HUB South Shore. Matt is into geology, geophysics, and machine learning.

This morning a friend of mine, Fernando Enrique Ziegler, a pore pressure researcher and practitioner in Houston, let me know about an "interesting" new book from Elsevier: Practical Solutions to Integrated Oil and Gas Reservoir Analysis, by Enwenode Onajite, a geophysicist in Nigeria... And about 350 other people.

What's interesting about the book is that the majority of the content was not written by Onajite, but was copy-and-pasted from discussions on LinkedIn. A novel way to produce a book, certainly, but is it... legal?

### Who owns the content?

Before you read on, you might want to take a quick look at the way the book presents the LinkedIn material. Check it out, then come back here. By the way, if LinkedIn wasn't so damn difficult to search, or if the book included a link or some kind of proper citation of the discussion, I'd show you a conversation in LinkedIn too. But everything is completely untraceable, so I'll leave it as an exercise to the reader.

LinkedIn's User Agreement is crystal clear about the ownership of content its users post there:

[...] you own the content and information that you submit or post to the Services and you are only granting LinkedIn and our affiliates the following non-exclusive license: A worldwide, transferable and sublicensable right to use, copy, modify, distribute, publish, and process, information and content that you provide through our Services [...]

This is a good user agreement [Edit: see UPDATE, below]. It means everything you write on LinkedIn is © You — unless you choose to license it to others, e.g. under the terms of Creative Commons (please do!).

Fernando — whose material was used in the book — tells me that none of the several other authors he has asked gave, or were even asked for, permission to re-use their work. So I think we can say that this book represents a comprehensive infringement of copyright of the respective authors of the discussions on LinkedIn.

### Roles and reponsibilities

Given the scale of this infringement, I think there's a clear lack of due diligence here on the part of the publisher and the editors. Having said that, while publishers are quick to establish their copyright on the material they publish, I would say that this lack of diligence is fairly normal. Publishers tend to leave this sort of thing to the author, hence the standard "Every effort has been made..." disclaimer you often find in non-fiction books... though not, apparently, in this book (perhaps because zero effort has been made!).

But this defence doesn't wash: Elsevier is the copyright holder here (Onajite signed it over to them, as most authors do), so I think the buck stops with them. Indeed, you can be sure that the company will make most of the money from the sale of this book — the author will be lucky to get 5% of gross sales, so the buck is both figurative and literal.

Incidentally, in Agile's publishing house, Agile Libre, authors retain copyright, but we take on the responsibility (and cost!) of seeking permissions for re-use. We do this because I consider it to be our reputation at stake, as much as the author's.

OK, so we should blame Elsevier for this book. Could Elsevier argue that it's really no different from quoting from a published research paper, say? Few researchers ask publishers or authors if they can do this — especially in the classroom, "for educational purposes", as if it is somehow exempt from copyright rules (it isn't). It's just part of the culture — an extension of the uneducated (uninterested?) attitude towards copyright that prevails in academia and industry. Until someone infringes your copyright, at least.

### Seek permission not forgiveness

I notice that in the Acknowledgments section of the book, Onajite does what many people do — he gives acknowledgement ("for their contributions", he doesn't say they were unwitting) to some the authors of the content. Asking for forgiveness, as it were (but not really). He lists the rest at the back. It's normal to see this sort of casual hat tip in presentations at conferences — someone shows an unlicensed image they got from Google Images, slaps "Courtesy of A Scientist" or a URL at the bottom, and calls it a day. It isn't good enough: attribution is not permission. The word "courtesy" implies that you had some.

Indeed, most of the figures in Onajite's book seem to have been procured from elsewhere, with "Courtesy ExxonMobil" or whatever passing as a pseudolicense. If I was a gambler, I would bet that the large majority were used without permission.

OK, you're thinking, where's this going? Is it just a rant? Here's the bottom line:

The only courteous, professional and, yes, legal way to re-use copyrighted material — which is "anything someone created", more or less — is to seek written permission. It's that simple.

A bit of a hassle? Indeed it is. Time-consuming? Yep. The good news is that you'll usually get a "Sure! Thanks for asking". I can count on one hand the number of times I've been refused.

The only exceptions to the rule are when:

• The copyright owner explicitly allows re-use in their terms and conditions (for example, allowing the re-publication of single figures, as some journals do).
• The law allows for some kind of fair use, e.g. for the purposes of criticism.

In these cases, you do not need to ask, just be sure to attribute everything diligently.

### A new low in scientific publishing?

What now? I believe Elsevier should retract this potentially useful book and begin the long process of asking the 350 authors for permission to re-use the content. But I'm not holding my breath.

By a very rough count of the preview of this $130 volume in Google Books, it looks like the ratio of LinkedIn chat to original text is about 2:1. Whatever the copyright situation, the book is definitely an uninspiring turn for scientific publishing. I hope we don't see more like it, but let's face it: if a massive publishing conglomerate can make$87 from comments on LinkedIn, it's gonna happen.

What do you think about all this? Does it matter? Should Elsevier do something about it? Let us know in the comments.

### UPDATE Friday 1 September

Since this is a rather delicate issue, and events are still unfolding, I thought I'd post some updates from Twitter and the comments on this post:

• Elsevier is aware of these questions and is looking into it.
• Re-read the user agreement quote carefully. As Ronald points out below, I was too hasty — it's really not a good user agreement, LinkedIn have a lot of scope to re-use what you post there.
• It turns out that some people were asked for permission, though it seems it was unclear what they were agreeing to. So the author knew that seeking permission was a good idea.
• It also turns out that at least one SPE paper was reproduced in the book, in a rather inconspicuous way. I don't know if SPE granted rights for this, but the author at least was not identified.
• Some people are throwing the word 'plagiarism' around, which is rather a serious word. I'm personally willing to ascribe it to 'normal industry practices' and sloppy editing and reviewing (the book was apparently reviewed by no fewer than 5 people!). And, at least in the case of the LinkedIn content, proper attribution was made. For me, this is more about honesty, quality, and value in scientific publishing than about misconduct per se.
• It's worth reading the comments on this post. People are raising good points.

Part of the thumbnail image was created by Jannoon028 — Freepik.com — and licensed CC-BY.

### Matt Hall

Matt is a geoscientist in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founder of Agile Scientific, co-founder of The HUB South Shore. Matt is into geology, geophysics, and machine learning.

# Hooke's oolite

52 Things You Should Know About Rock Physics came out last week. For the first, and possibly the last, time a Fellow of the Royal Society — the most exclusive science club in the UK — drew the picture on the cover. The 353-year-old drawing was made by none other than Robert Hooke

The title page from Micrographia, and part of the dedication to Charles II. You can browse the entire book at archive.org.

The drawing, or rather the engraving that was made from it, appears on page 92 of Micrographia, Hooke's groundbreaking 1665 work on microscopy. In between discovering and publishing his eponymous law of elasticity (which Evan wrote about in connection with Lamé's $$\lambda$$), he drew and wrote about his observations of a huge range of natural specimens under the microscope. It was the first time anyone had recorded such things, and it was years before its accuracy and detail were surpassed. The book established the science of microscopy, and also coined the word cell, in its biological context.

Sadly, the original drawing, along with every other drawing but one from the volume, was lost in the Great Fire of London, 350 years ago almost to the day.

### Ketton stone

The drawing on the cover of the new book is of the fractured surface of Ketton stone, a Middle Jurassic oolite from central England. Hooke's own description of the rock, which he mistakenly called Kettering Stone, is rather wonderful:

I wonder if anyone else has ever described oolite as looking like the ovary of a herring?

These thoughtful descriptions, revealing a profundly learned scientist, hint at why Hooke has been called 'England's Leonardo'. It seems likely that he came by the stone via his interest in architecture, and especially through his friendsip with Christopher Wren. By 1663, when it's likely Hooke made his observations, Wren had used the stone in the façades of several Cambridge colleges, including the chapels of Pembroke and Emmanuel, and the Wren Library at Trinity (shown here). Masons call porous, isotropic rock like Ketton stone 'freestone', because they can carve it freely to make ornate designs. Rock physics in action!

You can read more about Hooke's oolite, and the geological significance of his observations, in an excellent short paper by material scientist Derek Hull (1997). It includes these images of Ketton stone, for comparison with Hooke's drawing:

Reflected light photomicrograph (left) and backscatter scanning electron microscope image (right) of Ketton Stone. Adapted from figures 2 and 3 of Hull (1997). Images are © Royal Society and used in accordance with their terms.

I love that this book, which is mostly about the elastic behaviour of rocks, bears an illustration by the man that first described elasticity. Better still, the illustration is of a fractured rock — making it the perfect preface.

References

Hall, M & E Bianco (eds.) (2016). 52 Things You Should Know About Rock Physics. Nova Scotia: Agile Libre, 134 pp.

Hooke, R (1665). Micrographia: or some Physiological Descriptions of Minute Bodies made by Magnifying Glasses, pp. 93–100. The Royal Society, London, 1665.

Hull, D (1997). Robert Hooke: A fractographic study of Kettering-stone. Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 51, p 45-55. DOI: 10.1098/rsnr.1997.0005.

1 Comment

### Matt Hall

Matt is a geoscientist in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founder of Agile Scientific, co-founder of The HUB South Shore. Matt is into geology, geophysics, and machine learning.

# A fossil book

We're proud to announce the latest book from Agile Libre. Woot!

I can't take a lot of credit for this book... The idea came from 52 Things stalwart Alex Cullum, a biostratigrapher I met at Statoil in Stavanger in my first proper job. A fellow Brit, he has a profound enthusiasm for all things outside, and for writing and publishing. With able help from Allard Martinius, also a Statoil scientist and a 52 Things author from the Geology book, Alex generously undertook the task of inviting dozens of awesome palaeontologists, biostratigraphers, palynologists, and palaeobotanists from all over the world, and keeping in touch as the essays came in. Kara and I took care of the fiddly bits, and now it's all nearly done. It is super-exciting. Just check out some of the titles:

• A trace fossil primer by Dirk Knaust
• Bioastronomy by Simon Conway Morris
• Ichnology and the minor phyla by S George Pemberton
• A walk through time by Felix Gradstein
• Can you catch criminals with pollen? by Julia Webb
• Quantitative palaeontology by Ben Sloan

It's a pretty mouthwatering selection, even for someone like me who mostly thinks about seismic these days. There are another 46 like this. I can't wait to read them, and I've read them twice already.

### Help a micropalaeontologist

The words in these books are a gift from the authors — 48 of them in this book! — to the community. We cherish the privilege of reading them before anyone else, and of putting them out into the world. We hope they reach far and have impact, inspiring people and starting conversations. But we want these books to give back to the community in other ways too, so from each sale we are again donating to a charity. This time it's the Educational Trust of The Micropalaeontological Society. I read about this initiative in a great piece for Geoscientist by Haydon Bailey, one of our authors: Micropalaeontology under threat!. They need our community's support and I'm excited about donating to them.

The book is in the late stages of preparation, and will appear in the flesh in about the middle of November. To make sure you get yours as soon as it's ready, you can pre-order it now.

Pre-order now from Amazon.com
Save almost 25% off the cover price!

### Matt Hall

Matt is a geoscientist in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founder of Agile Scientific, co-founder of The HUB South Shore. Matt is into geology, geophysics, and machine learning.

# What is Creative Commons?

Not a comprehensive answer either, but much more brilliantI just found myself typing a long email in reply to the question, "What is a Creative Commons license and how do I use it?" Instead, I thought I'd post it here. Note: I am not a lawyer, and this is not a comprehensive answer.

### Creative Commons depends on copyright

There is no relinquishment of copyright. This is important. In the case of 52 Things, Agile Geoscience is the copyright holder. In the case of an article, it's the authors themselves, unless the publisher gets them to sign a form relinquishing it. Copyright is an automatic, moral right (under the Berne Convention), and boils down to the right to be identified as the authors of the work ('attribution').

Most copyright holders grant licenses to re-use their work. For instance, you can pay hundreds of dollars to reproduce a couple of pages from an SPE manual for a classroom of students (if you are insane). You can reprint material from a book or journal article — again, usually for a fee. These licenses are usually non-exclusive, non-transferable, and use-specific. And the licensee must (a) ask and (b) pay the licensor (that is, the copyright holder). This is 'the traditional model'.

### Obscurity is a greater threat than piracy

Some copyright holders are even more awesome. They recognize that (a) it's a hassle to always have to ask, and (b) they'd rather have the work spread than charge for it and stop it spreading. They wish to publish 'open' content. It's exactly like open source software. Creative Commons is one, very widespread, license you can apply to your work that means (a) they don't have to ask to re-use it, and (b) they don't have to pay. You can impose various restrictions if you must.

Creative Commons licenses are everywhere. You can apply Creative Commons licenses at will, to anything you like. For example, you can CC-license your YouTube videos or Flickr photos. We CC-license our blog posts. Almost everything in Wikipedia is CC-licensed. You could CC-license a single article in a magazine (in fact, I somewhat sneakily did this last February). You could even CC-license a scientific journal (imagine!). Just look at all the open content in the world!

I recommend CC-BY licenses. There are lots of open licenses, but CC-BY strikes a good balance between being well-documented and trusted, and being truly open (though it is not recognized as such, on a technicality, by copyfree.org). The main point is that they are very open, allowing anyone to use the work in any way, provided they attribute it to the author and copyright holder — it's just like scientific citation, in a way.

Do you openly license your work? Or do you wish more people did? Do you notice open licenses?

Creative Commons graphic by Flickr user Michael Porter. The cartoon is from Nerdson, and licensed CC-BY. 'Obscurity is a greater threat than piracy' is paraphrased from a quote by Tim O'Reilly, publishing 2.0 legend.

1 Comment

### Matt Hall

Matt is a geoscientist in Nova Scotia, Canada. Founder of Agile Scientific, co-founder of The HUB South Shore. Matt is into geology, geophysics, and machine learning.

# News of the month

Our more-or-less regular news round-up is here again. News tips?

### Log analysis in OpendTect

We've written before about CLAS, a new OpendTect plug-in for well logs and petrophysics. It's now called CLAS Lite, and is advertised as being 'by Sitfal', though it was previously 'by Geoinfo'. We haven't tried it yet, but the screenshots look very promising.

This regular news feature is for information only. We aren't connected with any of these organizations, and don't necessarily endorse their products or services. Except OpendTect, which we definitely do endorse.