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The Plight of University Presses

Here is a very good article in The Nation outlining some of the challenges faced by university presses:

http://www.thenation.com/article/179712/university-presses-under-fire?page=0,0

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Altmetrics: Jonesing for Attention?

Here is a link to an interesting post on the Scholarly Kitchen (dated 5/1) by David Crotty.   What really constitutes a “use” of a scholarly work?  Be sure and take a look at the comments.

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Publishing Agreements, Nature, and Moral Rights of Authorship

Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group

Nature Publishing Group (NPG), a prestigious journal publisher for the Environmental, Life, and Physical sciences, has been receiving attention for language included in the publishing contracts they require authors to sign once a research paper has been accepted. Kevin Smith, the director of the Office of Copyright and Scholarly Communication at Duke University, noticed that, in addition signing away the economic rights to their articles, authors are asked to waive their “moral rights” to their work. From the license:

“The Author(s) hereby waive or agree not to assert (where such waiver is not possible at law) any and all moral rights they may now or in the future hold in connection with the Contribution and the  supplementary Information.” [NPG License to Publish, Clause 7]

Mr. Smith argues that this clause threatens the core scholarly principle of an author to be attributed to her work. NPG has responded to this by clarifying their reasoning for the clause: “The “moral rights” language included in our license to publish is there to ensure that the journal and its publisher are free to publish formal corrections or retractions of articles where the integrity of the scientific record may be compromised by the disagreement of authors.” While retractions are not uncommon in scientific literature, it is unclear why licenses to publish do not explicitly assert a right to correct or remove fraudulent or erroneous research findings.

As the creator of an original work, you have the right to make sure that your publishing agreements reflect your best interests. For assistance with publishing agreements, contact your department’s librarian or read more about retaining your Author’s Rights.

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Visualizing Impact with IRO’s Readership Activity Map

readership-map

Readership Map: Real-time Visualization of Full-text Downloads

The homepage of Iowa Research Online has a whole new look with a Readership Activity Map. This new tool allows visitors to see full-text downloads from all over the world as they happen. When someone visits the site and downloads a Master’s Thesis or research article or any other scholarly work in the Iowa Research Online collection, a dot will appear on the map showing the user’s location and the box on the left will show what document is being downloaded. With every passing minute, readers everywhere can access and benefit from the research coming from the University of Iowa. Visit the site and see for yourself!

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Appropriations Bill Expands Open Access to Federally Funded Research

President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 last Friday (1/17/2014) to fund the activities of the federal government for the 2014 fiscal year. The $1.1 trillion dollar budget includes the requirement that federal agencies providing $100 million or more in annual research funding to make the resulting peer-reviewed research papers publicly available within 12 months of publication. This provision is an expansion of the Open Access policy of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to cover agencies within the purview of the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. Here is an excerpt of the bill that details this provision:

Sec. 527. Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication; and

(3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

Like the NIH Public Access Policy, this will require recipients of federal research funding to deposit their final research papers to an Open Access repository like PubMed Central or Iowa Research Online. Details of specific public access policies have yet to be released.

[Washington Post | SPARC]

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Nobel Laureate Participates in a Reddit Ask Me Anything

Randy Schekman, a co-recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, participated in an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) session on Reddit this weekend. Schekman, a Cell Biologist at the University of California, Berkeley, was jointly awarded a Nobel Prize for his work in understanding the transport mechanisms involved in the export of proteins from cells. Last week, he authored an editorial in the Guardian that accused the practices of journals like Cell, Nature, and Science of distorting science and has been the subject of both criticism and praise in the scholarly publishing world.

In his editorial, Schekman specifically calls out Cell, Nature, and Science (C/N/S) who are among the most prestigious journals in the biological and medical sciences.

“These journals aggressively curate their brands, in ways more conducive to selling subscriptions than to stimulating the most important research. Like fashion designers who create limited-edition handbags or suits, they know scarcity stokes demand, so they artificially restrict the number of papers they accept.” [Source]

From the Reddit AMA, the focus of Schekman’s criticism of C/N/S is the artificial restriction of publishing only the papers that fit in the print run of these journals. “Why should we have such a limitation in the 21st century?” he asks. Schekman marks this practice as a distinguishing characteristic of a “luxury” journal as well as the use of a professional editorial staff rather than working scientists in the field. This combination of management priorities, Schekman argues, distorts scientific discourse by emphasizing fashionable topics at the expense of good science.

Schekman is a supporter of the open access movement and is the Editor-in-Chief of eLife, an open access journal of life sciences papers. His boycott of C/N/S has drawn criticism for his eLife affiliation and his previous 46 publications in these journals.  [Read the AMA here]

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UI Libraries Join Knowledge Unlatched to Support Open Access Books in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The University of Iowa Libraries has signed up to support Knowledge Unlatched, a collaborative initiative to make scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences available open access. Knowledge Unlatched uses a model that brings library funds together to a set of books that academic publishers have agreed to make open access with a Creative Commons license.

Open-access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions. -Peter Suber [source]

The first collection of books in this pilot collection cover History, Political Science, Literary Studies, Anthropology and Communications  [The full title list is here]. This project is the first of its kind and is expected to pave the way for more scholarly books to be freely available online without the usual licensing restrictions of eBooks. If 200 libraries sign up by January 31st, these books will be “unlatched” and future collections will be expected to emerge in 2014.

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Elsevier Issues Take Down Notices to Academia.edu for Breach of Copyright

Academia.edu has received roughly 2,800 takedown notices from Elsevier for copyright infringement, reported by The Chronicle of Higher Education late last week. Academia.edu is a social network for academics to “share research papers” and has over 6 million registered users. Users of the site can create a profile, identify their institution and research interests, and upload their papers and CV to share among their peers. However, when an author publishes a paper in a journal, the journal publisher oftentimes requires an agreement that transfers copyright ownership of the paper to the publisher and restricts the unauthorized distribution of that paper. In this case, Elsevier, a major academic publisher, is compelling Academic.edu to remove papers for which Elsevier owns the copyright.

This incident is part of a larger conflict in scholarship between authors and publishers over the issue of copyright. When the business interests of publishers interfere with the scholarly interests of authors, there needs to be a negotiation toward a middle ground. A useful tool in this negotiation is the Author’s Addendum. The addendum stipulates:

“The Author shall, without limitation, have the non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, and create derivative works including update, perform, and display publicly, the Article in electronic, digital or print form in connection with the Author’s teaching, conference presentations, lectures, other scholarly works, and for all of Author’s academic and professional activities.” [Download PDF]

This addendum can be attached to any publishing agreement that requires the transfer of copyright for a scholarly journal article. The agreement is similar to the licensing agreements that are freely available from Creative Commons and are commonly applied by Open Access publishers like the Public Library of Science, PeerJ, and Open Humanities Press. For more information about the Author’s Addendum or Open Access publishing, contact your department librarian. The sharing of research is fundamental to the advancement of ideas and negotiating for more equitable rights to your work helps ensure that this practice continues in your favor.

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Publish in PeerJ for Free Until 2014

PeerJ Logo. License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Available: https://peerj.com/about/press/

PeerJ Logo. License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0. Available: https://peerj.com/about/press/

PeerJ will publish any accepted article that was submitted for review before January 1st, 2014. PeerJ is an open access publisher of peer-reviewed articles in the biological and medical sciences [full list of subject areas]. From the statement:

[a]s we approach the end of our first calendar year of publication, we want to open up the PeerJ experience to as many researchers as possible. By doing so, we also want researchers like you to experience the benefits that our ‘end-to-end process’ provides (i.e. the close integration of PeerJ PrePrints with PeerJ).

As a result, we are pleased to announce that from now through the end of 2013, any article that is submitted to PeerJ PrePrints (including any articles which have already been submitted there) can go on to be published in PeerJ (the journal) entirely for free (assuming it passes peer review and assuming you initiate the PeerJ submission process before Jan 1st 2014)*.

As we celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Berlin Declaration (one of the seminal moments in the history of Open Access), we want to make sure that researchers realize that Open Access publishing has evolved, and we want as many as possible to experience what it has become!

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Note: * For the sake of clarification, your preprint must be posted to PeerJ PrePrints before the associated PeerJ submission is editorially Accepted, or before Jan 1st 2014 (whichever comes first). Ideally, of course, you should submit the PrePrint first, and then submit the same article to PeerJ. Your resulting PeerJ submission must be initiated before Jan 1st 2014
Normally, PeerJ operates on a membership model, where authors pay a one-time fee to publish in the journal. Any interested University of Iowa authors are encouraged to apply for the Open Access Fund to have the membership fee covered.
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Six Common Myths About Open Access

The Guardian’s Higher Education Network recently published a guest blog post by Peter Suber, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and author of Open Access (MIT Press, 2012).  The post debunks six common myths about open access for this year’s Open Access Week.

Here are the myths about open access, briefly noted:

  1. The only way to provide open access to peer-reviewed journal articles is to publish in open access journals.
  2. All or more open access journals charge publication fees.
  3. Most author-side fees are paid by the authors themselves.
  4. Publishing in a conventional journal closes the door on making the same work open access.
  5. Open access journals are intrinsically low in quality.
  6. Open access mandates infringe academic freedom.

As Suber notes in the post, the topic of open access is becoming a mainstream issue in higher education and public policy. Given the complexity of the issue, it is important to know that facts when considering if open access is the right model for sharing scholarship. Read the post here.