For a very different approach to scholarly publishing, take a look at the inaugural articles in PeerJ: https://peerj.com/
Be sure to read this news story from Inside Higher Ed about an ambitious new plan from Amherst College.
Amherst will emphasize high quality, peer-reviewed monographs in its new endeavor. They are currently hiring a press director and two editors to staff the press. Much of the initiative is coming from the Amherst College Librarian, Bryn Geffert.
“My grand dream — quixotic though may be — is that if enough libraries begin doing what we’re doing, at some point there is going to be a critical mass of freely available scholarly literature — literature that libraries don’t have to purchase. And if they use those savings to publish more material, you reach a tipping point.”
Chronicle of Higher Education, Nov. 19, 2012
The NIH, in a statement issued on Friday, said that beginning in about five months, it would block the renewal of grant awards in cases where journal publications arising from the award do not comply with its open-access rule.
The NIH’s online database, PubMed Central, has some 260,000 papers collected under the policy, or about three-fourths of the eligible publicly financed research, an agency official said.
“While compliance to the policy currently stands at 75 percent and continues to edge upward,” said Neil M. Thakur, program manager for the public-access policy in Ms. Rockey’s office, the “NIH believes that four years has been sufficient time for NIH grantees to adjust to the requirement.”
Don Share will be at the University of Iowa on Monday, speaking in the afternoon about open access publishing and contemporary literature and the humanities. Poetry, the magazine that Share has a hand in editing, is an open access literary journal, and it is not the only one: in the past ten years open access has been an increasingly popular publishing model for poetry journals, and the Australian-based Jacket was arguably the first to utilize open access in reaching a global audience with massive, diverse issues that traditional publishing methods were unable to accommodate.
Jacket was founded by the Australian poet John Tranter in 1997, and Tranter has recently published ” ‘The Elephant Has Left the Room’, Jacket magazine and the Internet”, a brief memoir in which he explains how Jacket came about, what kinds of things the internet makes possible in poetry publishing that are impossible with print, and how the unusual success Jacket attained made it difficult to find support among advocates of literature not accustomed to the journal’s approach to poetry:
“[Jacket's] international focus made it ineligible for Literature Board grants. This is not just a peculiar irony; it is a corollary of parochialism. When you publish a parish newsletter in an Australian community, it will not be widely read in that community if most of the articles are about events in Rome or Canterbury. You need to draw your material from the local parish if you want the local parishioners to take an interest in it.
So the greater Jacket’s success on the international stage—and it was successful immediately—the less ‘Australian’ it was, and the less interest it held for Australian scholars and cultural bureaucrats. In the thirteen years of its existence, Jacket never had a grant from the Literature Board, and was never the subject of a paper presented at an Association for the Study of Australian Literature conference, for example. Jacket, however, was the subject of a lively and well-attended panel discussion at the 2011 US Modern Languages Association convention in Los Angeles.”
Read Tranter’s full account of how he managed to produce the world’s most widely-read poetry publication. Jacket2, the current incarnation of Jacket produced under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania, provides an introduction to Tranter’s memoir.
With an eye to Open Access Week, here’s a post by Transitions guest-blogger Kembrew McLeod, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. If you’d like to learn more about the issues of author’s rights and copyright discussed in this post, take a look at the University of Iowa’s Author’s Rights and Copyright library guides.
Digital Rights Management and Scholarship: What Could Go Wrong?
Over the past quarter-century, private companies like Blackwell and Taylor & Francis have taken control of journal publishing. Before that, scholarly societies like the National Communication Association handled this task. Professors gave away their work to journals for free, something that was often referred to as a “contribution to the field.” But today, this kind of academic gift economy is being threatened. Contrary to what free-marketeers assume, the privatization of knowledge has created more economic inefficiencies. Typically, universities pay professors not only to teach, but also to produce scholarship; it’s part of the job description. When researchers sign over their copyrights to journal conglomerates like Blackwell (again, for free), college libraries are then required to purchase the right to view those articles at inflated prices (especially compared to previous decades). In other words, schools are paying twice—to produce, and then rent—the same product. What’s more disturbing is that these publishing companies often use technological means, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM), to block unauthorized access to articles.
DRM can, for instance, restrict the number of times one can view a PDF document file or print out a hard copy. I found this out the hard way when I e-mailed a PDF of my first academic article, published in the Journal of Communication, to students in an honors thesis writing class I taught in 2007. I wanted to have a discussion with them about the process of researching this article, but I didn’t anticipate a major problem. It turned out that Blackwell, the company to which I stupidly signed away my copyrights when I was a grad student, placed DRM restrictions on the digital file. After the second student printed out a hard copy of the article from the same PDF, the rest of my class was blocked from doing so. Their computers would only allow them to print out blank sheets of paper, save for Blackwell’s copyright notice at the bottom. In other words, I was prevented from sharing my own writing with my own class, an ironic and idiotic situation that runs counter to the principles of sharing and exchange that have traditionally characterized academia. I can’t think of a more poetic expression of what is wrong with academic publishing than a blank sheet of paper where words and ideas should be. It’s also a demonstration of how over-commercialization can generate economic friction (universities paying for the products of academic labor twice) and pedagogical disasters (my derailed class discussion).
Kembrew McLeod, Associate Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa, independent documentary filmmaker, and music critic, frequently writes on intellectual property law and the influence it has on contemporary culture. His book Freedom of Expression®: Overzealous Copyright Bozos and Other Enemies of Creativity (2nd ed., University of Minnesota Press, 2007) received the American Libraries Association Oboler Award for Best Scholarship in the Area of Intellectual Freedom. He is also the author, with Peter DiCola, of Creative License: the Law and Culture of Digital Sampling (Duke University Press, 2011) and the editor, with Rudolf Kuenzli, of Cutting Across Media: Appropriation Art, Interventionist Collage, and Copyright Law (Duke University Press, 2011). Follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/kembrew
Open access publishing’s place in the humanities is uncertain at the moment, and knowledge of it will be important going forward in resolving inequitable relationships between presses and authors, journal vendors and libraries, and publishers and readers.
Monday, October 29th at 3pm
Illinois Room of the Iowa Memorial Union
(Share will also be giving a poetry reading at Prairie Lights in the evening, at 7 pm.)
In 2002, Ruth Lilly, heiress to the Lilly pharmaceutical fortune, left Poetry magazine 100 million dollars upon her death, and among the things Poetry has done with the Lilly bequest is go open access. Each month the magazine publishes a print issue, as it has been doing for 100 years, and since 2003 it has simultaneously made each issue’s contents freely available on its website (see http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine). Don Share was one of the principle architects of this initiative, and he is in a unique position to discuss how literature and humanities scholarship function on an open access platform.
As reported by the New York Times and other news outlets, the American Association of Publishers (AAP) and associated plaintiffs have reached a legal settlement with Google regarding its digitization effort, which makes books available in Google Books and HathiTrust.
The New York Times account is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/technology/google-and-publishers-settle-over-digital-books.html
In a posting from Scholarly Kitchen, Kent Anderson notes that while the movement to open access could affect Elsevier’s bottom line (and presumably that of some other large commercial publishers) it’s not likely to be the end of them. Read the full post here.
From Bernie Sloan in Publishers Weekly:
“The three publisher plaintiffs in the Georgia State University e-reserve case yesterday lodged an appeal with the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, seeking to overturn one of the most significant fair use rulings in decades.”
Full text at: http://bit.ly/OdNDbb
Cornell University Library has announced a major grant from the Simons Foundation to support the costs of operating arXiv. The grant will provide up to $300,000 per year to match contributions from institutions which have supported arXiv since 2010. From the announcement:
arXiv, the free repository that has revolutionized the way scientists share information, is adopting a new governance and business model that will allow it to grow and succeed in the future….As an open-access service, [arXiv] allows scientists to share “preprint” research before publication and boasts hundreds of thousands of contributors. In 2011 alone, arXiv saw close to 50 million downloads from all over the world and received more than 76,000 new submissions.
Iowa–through the University Libraries–has committed to providing annual support for arXiv since a call for support went out from Cornell. It is an especially important resource for researchers in physics, mathematics, and computer science, among others. It has been hosted at Cornell since 2001, when its founder, Paul Ginsparg, joined the faculty. See also the article by Jennifer Howard in the Chronicle.