College & Research Libraries Makes Preprints Available, but Restricts Access

The Association of College and Research Libraries' journal, College & Research Libraries, is now offering access to preprints on its site; however, access is restricted to ACRL members.

According to the C&RL Manuscript Preparation page, the typical post-review publication delay for papers is about one year.

This preprint strategy does not appear to preclude authors from depositing preprints elsewhere after publication. Below is an excerpt from the C&RL Manuscript Preparation page (emphasis added):

The agreement between ACRL and the author is license to publish. The author retains copyright and thus is free to post the article on an institutional or personal web page subsequent to publication in C&RL. All material in the journal may be photocopied for the noncommercial purpose of scientific or educational advancement.

The American Librarian Library Association's author agreement that C&RL uses states (emphasis added):

  1. In consideration of the Publisher’s agreement to publish the Work, Author hereby grants and assigns to Publisher the right to print, publish, reproduce, or distribute the Work throughout the world in all means of expression by any method now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format, and to market or sell the Work or any part of it as it sees fit. Author further grants Publisher the right to use Author’s name in association with the Work in published form and in advertising and promotional materials. Copyright of the Work remains in Author’s name.
  2. Author agrees not to publish the Work in print form prior to publication of the Work by the Publisher. [ALA requests that should you publish the Work elsewhere, you cite the publication in ALA’s Publication, by author, title, and publisher, through a tagline, author bibliography, or similar means.]

The author agreement says nothing about restricting the author's right to distribute digital preprints, yet the Manuscript Preparation page implies that the author is not free to do so prior to publication. Which is it?

If authors are free to distribute their own digital preprints, what good does it do to restrict access to preprints at the ACRL Website? This policy appears to make no sense unless ACRL believes that authors' motivation to distribute their own preprints will be undermined by ACRL making them available or unless ACRL believes that its authors simply have little or no interest in distributing their own preprints.

Perhaps the C&RL Manuscript Preparation page is just poorly worded. If so, it would be helpful if it were corrected.

But even if this is the case, it begs the question: "What is ACRL, which is actively promoting open access on many fronts, doing making C&RL's preprint service restricted?" While ACRL directly providing access to preprints at the C&RL Website is a welcome step forward, restricting access to those preprints is taking two steps back, and, although well intended, it sends the wrong message for an organization that is trying to move the open access agenda forward.

Read more about it at "C&RL Launches Preprints!"

Be Sociable, Share!

    Digital Scholarship Overview | DigitalKoans



    DigitalKoans

    DigitalKoans

    Digital Scholarship

    Copyright © 2005-2014 by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

    Creative Commons License

    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.