More about ALA, CLA, and Open Access

Peter Suber has commented on my "On ALA, CLA, and Open Access" posting:

PS: For background, see Charles' previous report on OA for ALA publications (July 2006). In my comment at the time, I pointed out some of the ALA's public statements in support of OA: "(1) the ALA Washington office has a page on OA, (2) the ALA Council adopted a resolution in support of FRPAA at its June 2006 annual meeting, and (3) the ALA has signed on to several public statements in support of OA, most recently a July 12 letter in support of FRPAA and a May 31 letter in support of the EC report on OA."

Of course, I had reviewed Peter's prior comment before writing the new post. Here's a further analysis:

A good summary of other ALA joint statements, along with those of ACRL, can be found at "ACRL Taking Action."

Here's more information on ALA's "green" and "gold" policies.

Let's assume that both ALA copyright agreements are in effect for all journals. The Copyright Assignment Agreement explicitly supports limited self-archiving ("The right to use and distribute the Work on the Author’s Web site"). The Copyright Assignment Agreement further says that the author has: "The right to use and distribute the Work internally at the Author’s place of employment, and for promotional and any other non-commercial purposes." While "any other non-commercial purposes" seems to permit broad self-archiving, the specification of the "distribute the Work internally at the Author's place of employment" right seems to imply that the right to distribute the work outside of the author's place of employment is in question, which would mean that self-archiving in digital repositories could be done only in the author's institutional repository and only if access to the work was limited to institutional users. Moreover, if broad self-archiving is permitted, why single out the right to self-archive on the author's Web site? I find the wording ambiguous, and I would not recommend that anyone who wants to self-archive use this license. If its intent is to allow broad self-archiving, this should be spelled out. The Copyright License Agreement supports all types of self archiving ("Copyright of the Work remains in Author’s name, and the Author reserves all other rights"). Consequently, we can say that ALA supports "green" self-archiving, but this may be very weak under the Copyright Assignment Agreement.

Without further information, it is not possible to say that any of ALA's major journals are "gold," although Public Libraries and School Library Media Research might be. If this were true, ALA's Public Library Association and its American Association of School Librarians divisions would be ALA's gold journal publishers, with the Association of College & Research Libraries division nearly being one.

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