Why is the CC BY licence considered the standard for open access publications?
Open access does not only mean the free availability of scholarly content online but also includes making content as freely reusable as possible. Only then is truly free and open content created. Free and openly published scientific results promote science and research and are an enormous benefit to society. Research is always built on previous work by others, and all scholarly works draw on and cite previous publications and content. Furthermore, free reuse enables the greatest possible dissemination and thus visibility. However, the reuse of much content is only possible to a small extent, not at all or only with great difficulty. Wanting to reuse a nice diagram for a theory, a concept or an experiment from a research article for a textbook or a poster can require time-consuming inquiries with occasionally ambiguous rights holders and without any guarantee of success. This problem is avoided with open access and by granting reuse permissions as freely as possible using open licences. Scientists benefit from openly licensed content for subsequent use in their own works and should therefore also license their own work as freely as possible.
The CC BY licence fully enables such free reuse in the sense of open access. This broad definition of open access was already set out in the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities:
“The author(s) and right holder(s) of such contributions grant(s) to all users a free, irrevocable, worldwide, right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose, subject to proper attribution of authorship (community standards, will continue to provide the mechanism for enforcement of proper attribution and responsible use of the published work, as they do now), as well as the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.”