Among the changes they make and some of the reasons why
- Giving copyright to the authors.
- This is a good thing and about time for them to do it. They say: "Preying on authors' desire to publish, and thus their willingness to sign virtually any form placed in front of them, scientific publishers have traditionally required authors to sign over the copyright to their work before publication. "
- Adopting a Creative Commons license.
- They say "What does this Creative Commons License mean? It means that our published content will be open for reuse, distribution, data mining, etc., by anyone, as long as attribution is made to the original work. Share-alike means that any subsequent distribution must follow the rules set out in this license. Non-commercial means that published work can be reused without permission, as long as it is for noncommercial purposes."
- This to me is the most important part of their policy. CC licenses change everything - they make it easy for everyone to use the material.
- They retain an exclusive license for 6 months. After the 6 months, the material has the full CC license and can be distributed anywhere as long as it is attributed and not for commercial use.
On extra nice thing about the policy is they are making it retroactive for all their publications in the past. So lots of Rockefeller press stuff from the past has now become much more open.