New symbol to denote true open access (e.g. to scholarly literature), analogous to the copyright symbol

Asmus Freytag asmusf at
Fri Mar 21 11:06:59 CDT 2014

On 3/21/2014 8:22 AM, Jan Velterop wrote:
> But are the chances nil? 

Essentially you are trying to create a symbol for "this material is 
placed in the public domain". If you get that symbol adopted by similar 
authorities as those that created ©, then you would see it encoded in 
due time. If not, it would have to become massively adopted to become a 
"de-facto" convention first, but, without an encoded character, that is 
really unlikely. So, if you are serious about his idea, the rout is to 
get the convention formally adopted first.

> It would be a nice complement to the series of ©, ®, ℗, etcetera and 
> perform a similar function. A symbol for Creative Commons, presumably 
> a double c in a circle, would probably indicate the document in 
> question is covered by one of the CC licences, but it wouldn't be 
> clear by which one, which may be an impediment for having a symbol. 
> Similarly, copyleft is also a licensing scheme, and as such is not 
> quite as unambiguous as ©, ®, and ℗ are. Also, neither a cc or a 
> copyleft symbol is in the same 'single encircled letter' convention.
> For the encircled 'a' symbol for open access it is proposed to use 
> this definition:
>     "The symbol for 'open access', if applied to documents and images,
>     indicates their free availability, on the internet or otherwise,
>     permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute,
>     (re)print, search, or link to the full texts of such documents,
>     crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use
>     them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or
>     technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining
>     access to the internet itself or to printing materials and
>     facilities. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution,
>     and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give
>     authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to
>     be properly acknowledged and cited.
> Jan Velterop
> On 21 Mar 2014, at 14:33, Jörg Knappen <jknappen at 
> <mailto:jknappen at>> wrote:
>> Even when this symbol really catches on (what I doubt because it is 
>> too close to the @ sign in the first place) chance are low that it 
>> will be encoded in UNicode. Precedents like the Creative Commons sign 
>> or the Copyleft sign have been discussed on this mailing list (search 
>> the archives for the relevant threads) but were never encoded in UNicode.
>> When the symbol does not catch on, why should it be encoded in UNicode?
>> --Jörg Knappen
>> *Gesendet:* Freitag, 21. März 2014 um 12:14 Uhr
>> *Von:* "Jan Velterop" <velterop at <mailto:velterop at>>
>> *An:* unicode at <mailto:unicode at>
>> *Betreff:* New symbol to denote true open access (e.g. to scholarly 
>> literature), analogous to the copyright symbol
>> May I propose a new Unicode symbol to denote true open access, for 
>> instance applied to scholarly literature, in a similar way that © and 
>> ® denote copyright and registered trademarks respectively? The 
>> proposed symbol is an encircled lower case letter a, in particular in 
>> a font where the a has a 'tail', as in a font like Arial, for 
>> instance, and not as in a font like Century Gothic.
>> A sketch of what I have in mind is here: 
>> The intended use would be for documents and images that have been 
>> published with so-called BOAI-compliant open access 
>> (, meaning that all 
>> reuse is permitted, with the only permissible condition that the 
>> author(s) should be acknowledged (CC_BY licence: 
>> This condition would 
>> not be mandatory, and also public domain, CC-0 licences would be 
>> denoted by the proposed symbol 
>> (
>> I am seeking comments and support for this proposal.
>> Jan Velterop
>> _______________________________________________
>> Unicode mailing list
>> Unicode at <mailto:Unicode at>
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