On Friday US District Court judge Orinda Evans ruled against publishers seeking an injunction that would have imposed restrictions on faculty wanting to use copyrighted material in courses. She also required the publishers to pay Georgia State’s attorney fees. In a story from Inside Higher Ed Steve Kolowich reports “In the course of explaining her decision to make the publishers foot the bill for the university’s legal defense, the judge declared what observers have been opining for months: “On balance,” she wrote, “the court finds that the defendants are the prevailing party in this case.” For the opinion itself see http://chronicle.com/items/biz/pdf/pdflawsuit.pdf
In a long piece online at its web site, Simon Owens of US News and World Report offers an overview of academic (chiefly scientific) journal publishing and the rise of open access. See “Is the Academic Publishing Industry on the Verge of Disruption?” Starting with the recent Harvard letter on journal prices (see Transitions for April 23, 2012), the article reports on moves toward open access publishing, and resistance from commercial “closed access” publishers.
Through an international effort known as SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consrotium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) a number of key journals in high energy/particle physics are moving towards open access. Journals in this group include Physical Review C and D, Physics Letters B, Nuclear Physics B, and several others. CERN, which is overseeing the process, announced on July 17th that the tendering process was complete. The University of Iowa Libraries has supported SCOAP3 since its earliest days.
Ever since the University of Missouri announced on May 24 that it was closing its Press, university presses have been generating quite a bit of discussion. In the last few days several items of interest have appeared.
On July 6, The Iowa City Press-Citizen interviewed Jim McCoy, the director of The University of Iowa Press, about the future of the UI Press (“University presses seek out new roles and new markets“). McCoy said “we have an incredibly supportive administration who understands that we fill a necessary function. … We bridge the gap between research and teaching.” He also noted that they are very small in terms of people but publish a far higher number of books per staff member each year than other presses. He emphasized the value of working with the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Prairie Lights and The UI Libraries.
Inside Higher Ed published an opinion piece on July 9 by Marshall Poe of Iowa’s history department (“What Can University Presses Do?“). Poe would like to see presses move towards open access publishing and new modes of outreach. This item generated quite a few comments from people familiar with university presses and is worth reading for the responses it has generated.
On July 10, The Chronicle of Higher Education included an interview with Patrick Alexander, the head of the Penn state University Press, by Adeline Koh (“Is Open Access a Moral or a Business Issue? A Conversation with The Pennsylvania State University Press“). This is the 3rd piece Koh has written in her series “Digital Challenges to Academic Publishing”. This interview discusses differences between STEM publishing and humanities publishing
Pamela Samulelson writes about Google books, orphan works, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and the possibility of reforming copyright law in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
“ Copyright should be shorter in duration, more balanced, more comprehensible, and normatively closer to what members of the public think that it means or should mean.
Although we are not likely to get comprehensive reform anytime soon, perhaps we can persuade Congress to make some more modest reforms.
We know it is now possible for the cultural and scientific heritage of humankind to be made available through a universal digital library such as the DPLA. It would be a grievous mistake not to bring that future into being when it is so clearly within our grasp.”
In a recent blog post Kevin Smith of Duke takes up the issue of open access publishers who have been labeled “predatory” for various reasons. Quoting from the post:
In an online age, criteria that are well-established in libraries for avoiding these predatory toll-access journals now must be shared more widely because researchers may unwittingly spend research funds on equally low-quality OA journals. But to call this an open access problem is to blind ourselves to its full scope and is, I fear, often motivated more by the desire to bring OA itself into disrepute, to “scare the children,” as I like to call it, than it is by a desire to protect the entire system of scholarly communications. …The problem we should be addressing is predatory publications, OA and subscription-based, and publishing ethics across the board….
…So I repeat, we should make our decisions about quality on the basis of neutral criteria that can be applied to any business model and not allow the legitimate concern over predatory practices to become a weapon used against only a single publishing option.
Inside Higher Ed reports that the drama over a copyright lawsuit filed by the Association of American Publishers against Georgia State University continues.
Following a ruling largely negative to the AAP, the plaintiffs have proposed an injunction which “…would prohibit Georgia State professors from making unauthorized copies that are not “narrowly tailored to accomplish the instructor’s educational objectives” and do not “constitute the ‘heart of the work’ ” from which they are excerpted, among other criteria.”
Read the fully story by Steve Kolowich at http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/04/publishers-seek-injunction-e-reserve-case
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that “Judge Denny Chin on Thursday denied the company’s requests to dismiss professional associations as plaintiffs, and granted a motion to accord members of the Authors Guild status as a class in the lawsuit brought by three of its members.”
The Association of American University Presses has issued a statement critical of the ruling in the Georgia State case and some of its interpretations, especially by librarians.
“We believe it is premature and unwise for anyone to declare victory or defeat. The ruling is 347 pages long and not easy to understand, its interpretation of the law is controversial and unprecedented in several important respects, and it appears to make a number of assertions of fact that are not supported by the trial record.”