In regards to using the Web as a place to publish content, I sometimes hear people say, “what if someone steals my idea?” And of course the proper response to that is:
Isn’t the whole point of conducting research to develop something that is useful to humankind? If research doesn’t circulate, it’s “protected” but then it doesn’t fulfill its purpose.
Seriously though, when people say this I think what they are really saying is, “what happens if someone uses my idea – and doesn’t give me credit for it.” Now that is an issue. But really, the web is the perfect platform to insure attribution. Once your content is posted, you can prove to the whole world that an idea is yours. It’s fast, searchable, and archived for all time. And scholarly works are exactly the kind of content that’s supposed to be on the web. Most academic works are published to advance knowledge, not to make money. So it makes far more sense to provide Open Access to works, and use a Creative Commons license