In The Open – Libraries, Scholarship, and Publishing

Posted On October 18, 2019

INTRODUCING THE FEMINIST FRAMEWORK FOR RADICAL KNOWLEDGE COLLABORATION

This is an abridged version of a longer blog post.
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1. How has the patriarchy affected you?
2. How has the patriarchy impacted your work?
3. How have you been complicit in perpetuating the patriarchy?
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These were the three questions we started with when beginning our reflection on what has become the Femifesto: Feminist Framework for Radical Knowledge Collaboration. Here you can find out how to write a qualitative research paper if you are searching for a topic here.
My colleagues Sandra Enimil, Charlotte Roh, Ivonne Lujano, Sharon Farb, Gimena del Rio Riande, and Lingyu Wang began working on this idea several months ago as a proposal for the Triangle Scholarly Communication Institute in Chapel Hill, NC in the U.S., situated on the unceded lands of the Eno, Shakori, and Catawba nations and on land worked by countless enslaved people of the African diaspora. What initially began as a possible toolkit, quickly, through our individual and collective reflection work, evolved into a framework for thinking through equitable collaboration in knowledge work.

Posted On September 8, 2019

PUBLISHING, TECHNOLOGY, AND LAWSUITS

When Arizona State’s University Librarian, Jim O’Donnell, posted a link to an article about the status and strategy of four lawsuits brought in the past few years by commercial publishers on the LibLicense list, it started me on a series of rather disparate reflections about the state of scholarly communications. There are a lot of sources for students to increase GPA and to save time on solving day to day assignments like homework help, or tutoring services. Those who need to proofread my paper or essay editing, could ask an expert to help!

Jim’s post was quite innocuous, of the “folks might be interested in this” variety, but he did note that some people might encounter a paywall. The article, “On the limitations of recent lawsuits against Sci-Hub, OMICS, ResearchGate, and Georgia State University,” by Stewart Manley, was published this summer in Learned Publishing, which is available, only with a subscription, through Wiley. My institution ended its Wiley “big deal” a year ago because we could no longer afford it, so I did encounter a paywall — $42 for this single, seven-page article (I ultimately obtained the article using inter-library loan, and am not providing a link to the pay-walled version). I commented, in response to Jim’s post, on this high cost of access, which leads to my first observation about the state of academic publishing.

Posted On July 22, 2019

TWO POSTS IN ONE

Farewell to Justice StevensAs it did for so many people, the passing last week of Justice John Paul Stevens saddened me, and caused me to reflect on his remarkable tenure.  It is curious to realize that, at his confirmation hearing, his health — he had recently had bypass surgery — and his ability to serve a “full” term on the Supreme Court was an issue.  He went on to serve for nearly 35 years and was just short of 91 years old when he retired.

For me, Justice Stevens provided my first acquaintance with Supreme Court jurisprudence, since his ruling in Sony v. Universal Studios, 464 U.S. 417 (1984), was the second copyright decision I ever read.  The first was the 1996 opinion of the 6th Circuit in Princeton University Press v. Michigan Document Service, and it was my gut feeling that that case was wrongly decided that sent me back to Sony and Justice Stevens, then on through a series of explorations of copyright issues, and finally to law school.  So while, like most Americans, I have Justice Stevens to thank for my TV watching habits, I also think of him as at the beginning of what has been a marvelous journey for me.

Many of the memorial articles to Justice Stevens do not mention the Sony decision, so I want to recommend this Washington Post piece which, while it is a little bit flippant, does pay attention to what may be John Paul Stevens’ most lasting gift to America.  It is worth noting, I think, that while the impact of many court decisions wane over time, Sony has grown more important over the years, because it provides a pathway for copyright to adapt to changing technologies.

Free Lunch for Trolls

Earlier this week, I started writing a post about Senate bill S. 1273, the Copyright Alternative in Small-claims Enforcement (or CASE) Act of 2019. The Senate Judiciary Committee was about to mark up the bill, which includes voting to report it out to the full Senate, and I wanted to explain why I think the bill is a bad idea. Before I could finish my post, however, Stan Adams wrote this important piece for TechDirt that makes many of the points I had intended to make. So instead of repeating much of the same arguments, I decided the my most important task was just to make sure that readers of In the Open were aware of Adams’ excellent post.Adams does a nice job of explaining where the legislation stands, and why it should not be enacted as currently written.  I really encourage folks to read his post, and will add just these three summary points about the potential negative effect of the CASE Act:
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- First, the Case Act would disconnect statutory damages from the mechanism of copyright registration.  That is, one could file, get a judgment, and collect statutory damages for a claim in the new “small-claims” copyright court without having to register.  Rights holders in unregistered works, if the tribunal found they had been infringed, would be able to collect up to $15,000 in statutory damages.  So the incentive to register, which can help prevent infringement by making it easier to find a rights holder from whom to seek permission, would be undermined.
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- Second, the CASE Act would increase nuisance claims.  Because statutory damages would not be dependent any longer on timely registration, and because the barriers to bringing an infringement suit would be lowered, lots of people fishing for settlements — both real copyright trolls and rights-holders just “trying their luck” on weak claims — would be emboldened to send demand letters.  Such letters are common for libraries and universities; they are time-consuming and expensive to deal with, even though most come to nothing in the end.
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- Which brings me to my final point, the chilling effect on fair use that the CASE Act is likely to have.  Fair use is the proper response to many of those nuisance letters, and if they increase, the burden of exercising fair use will also go up.  And more librarians and teachers will likely be discouraged from even considering fair use, if statutory damages are more easily available through this streamlined “small”-claims system, since $15,000 is not a small amount at all to  many of them.

Posted On October 18, 2019

SUPPORTING THE TRANSITION: REVISITING ORGANIC FOOD AND SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION

This is a joint post by guest Jeff Kosokoff, Assistant University Librarian for Collection Strategy, Duke University, and IO author Ellen Finnie, MIT Libraries.

From the perspective of academic libraries and many researchers, we have an unhealthy scholarly information ecosystem. Prices consistently rise at a rate higher than inflation and much faster than library budgets, increasingly only researchers in the most well-financed organizations have legitimate access to key publications, too few businesses control too much of the publishing workflow and content data, energy toward realizing the promise of open access has been (as Guédon describes it)  “apprehended” to protect publisher business models, and artificial scarcity rules the day. Massive workarounds like SciHub and #icanhaspdf have emerged to help with access, but such rogue solutions seem unsustainable, may violate the law, and most certainly represent potential breaches of license agreements. While many of the largest commercial publishers are clinging to their highly profitable and unhealthy business models, other more enlightened and mission-driven publishers — especially scholarly societies — recognize that the system is broken and are looking to consider new approaches. Often publishers are held back by the difficulty and risk in moving from the current model to a new one. They face legitimate questions about whether a new funding structure would work, and how a publisher can control the risks of transition.

Posted On September 8, 2019

“SUBSCRIBE TO OPEN” AS A MODEL FOR VOTING WITH OUR DOLLARS

Elsewhere in this blog I’ve made the case that academic libraries should “vote with their dollars” to encourage and enable the kind of changes in the scholarly communication system that we’d like to see — those that move us towards a more open and equitable ecosystem for sharing science and scholarship.  Most recently, Jeff Kosokoff and I explored the importance of offering financial support for transitional models that help publishers down a path to full open access, and we called out Annual Reviews’ emerging “Subscribe to Open” model as a good example of one that provides a pathway to OA for content that is not suited to an article processing charge (APC) approach.  Here, Richard Gallagher, President and Editor-in-Chief of Annual Reviews (AR), and Kamran Naim, Director of Partnerships and Initiatives, explore with us the rationale for AR’s pursuit of an open access business model that is not based in APCs, provide details how “Subscribe to Open” is intended to work, and describe its transformative potential.

Posted On July 22, 2019

TWO POSTS IN ONE

This is a guest post written by Kamran Naim, Director of Partnerships & Initiatives, Annual Reviews; Rachael Samberg, Scholarly Communications Officer, UC Berkeley Library; and Curtis Brundy, AUL for Scholarly Communications and Collections, Iowa State University.THE STORY OF SOCIETY PUBLICATIONSScientific societies have provided the foundations upon which the global system of scholarly communication was built, dating back to the 17th century and the birth of the scholarly journal. More recent developments in scholarly communication–corporate enclosure, financial uncertainty, and open-access policies from funders and universities–have shaken these foundations. Recognizing the crucial role that societies have played–and must continue to play in advancing scientific research and scholarship–a group of OA advocates, library stakeholders, and information strategists has organized to provide concrete assistance to society journals. The aim is to allow scholarly societies to step confidently towards OA, enabling them to renew, reclaim, and reestablish their role as a vital and thriving part of the future open science ecosystem.