CFP, and a "Just ask!" story with a not-so-happy ending

The Handbook of Research on Open Source Software: Technological, Economic, and Social Perspectives will be a great collection, but I have some reservations about its publisher, Idea Group, specifically with their copyright policy. They're the same company who's publishing the Encyclopedia of Gender and Information Technology, for which I wrote three articles, two of which will be appearing in the encyclopedia. Their copyright agreement expressly forbids authors to post articles on the web (which isn't all that unusual, but according to earlier correspondence I received, my understanding is that the same goes for drafts of articles). They want articles that have never appeared anywhere before. Had I the chance to do it over, though, I would have been pushy about it, asking about publishing drafts, how different the final draft has to be from the rough draft, etc. From the copyright agreement, in case you want to see the exact language:

4. The Author agrees that until the publication of the manuscript Author will not agree to publish, or furnish to any other publisher, any work on the same subject that will infringe upon or adversely affect the sale of the manuscript. Furthermore, author(s) cannot post the contents of the article on any personal website or other sites, or distribute the work to others in either electronic or print forms.

As I said, two of my three articles will be in the encyclopedia. The third one, on open source, won't be in there, and here's why.

In the post I linked, I explained that the reviewer's comments, while certainly worthy of serious consideration, called for the article to be taken in a different direction, more women in computing in general than women in open source development communities in particular. I had intended to revise and resubmit the article until I realized that the research for the revisions was taking too much time away from my dissertation, plus the implementation of the reviewer's comments would have broadened the scope in such a way as to render the article no longer manageable (there was a 3500-word limit, and that included at least 15-20 bibliographical citations). So I decided to post the article here and notify the editors that I'd be withdrawing it.

I then got an email from one of the editors asking me to reconsider, pointing out that the reviewer's comments were only suggestions -- and in retrospect, I should have emailed the editors and asked them to look at my article and the comments to see what they thought before withdrawing it, but oh well. I figured I'd just ask! and see if they'd let me keep the article up if I reconsidered the withdrawal. I emailed the editors and told them I'd posted the article, and I explained that due to my ethical reservations about depublishing weblog content, and the fact that my article was linked at Linux Weekly News, I didn't intend to take the article down. (I didn't mention my other reservation, the sad irony of signing that kind of agreement for an article about open source.) I would have been fine with signing the copyright over to them as long as I had written permission to keep the article up; I would have added a blurb at the top explaining that the content of this post was (c) Idea Group, Inc. and that it was republished with permission. That's why I have the "unless otherwise noted" with my CC license on the left sidebar. But the editor checked with them, and they said no, they wouldn't publish my article if I intended to keep it on my site.

Maybe they'll modify the copyright agreement for this collection to make it a little less completely at odds with the subject matter; that would be nice. Not absolutely necessary -- lest I be thought some kind of radical -- but nice. This doesn't have to be all or nothing; they could do a Founder's Copyright, an Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivs Creative Commons license, which only allows people to make copies beyond the 10% allotted by fair use, or they could allow authors to publish chapters on their personal websites, something to acknowledge open source/ open access in some way. I doubt seriously that opting for a Founder's Copyright would cause them to lose a dime. Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of what Idea Group is doing -- they're publishing some very interesting work. My criticism is intended to be constructive.