Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

Overcoming Obstacles to Launching and Sustaining Non-Traditional-Publisher Open Access Journals

Posted in E-Journals, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on August 14th, 2006

As I noted in "What Is Open Access?," there is a fairly long history of non-traditional publishers producing free electronic journals:

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Internet had developed to the point that scholars began to publish free digital journals utilizing existing institutional infrastructure and volunteer labor (e.g., EJournal, PostModern Culture, and The Public-Access Computer Systems Review. These journals were not intended to generate income; they were "no-profit" journals. Although many of these journals allowed authors to retain their copyrights and they had liberal copyright statements regarding noncommercial use, they preceded by a decade or more the Creative Commons, and, consequently, did not embody that kind of copyright stance. While some of these journals ceased publication and others were transformed into non-profit ventures, they provided a model that others followed, especially after the popularization of the Internet began in the mid-1990s, which followed the earlier introduction of Web browsers. In recent years, the availability of free open source journal management and publishing systems, such as the Open Journal Systems, further simplified and streamlined digital journal publishing, fueling additional growth in this area. Now, a wide variety of academic departments or schools, institutes and research centers, libraries, professional associations, scholars, and others publish digital journals, a subset of which comply with the strictest definition of an open access journal and a larger subset which comply with the looser definition of an open access journal as a free journal. Since these diverse "publishers" would have been unlikely to be engaged in this activity without facilitating digital technologies and tools, I refer to them as "non-traditional publishers." Many of them are also "no-profit" publishers as well.

Given open source digital journal publishing systems, the idea of starting an OA journal has become more attractive than it was in the days when digital journals required a fair amount of specialized, labor-intensive technical support. However, the obstacles that non-traditional-publisher OA journals (hereafter called NTP OA journals) face are not primarily technical.

Here are some issues that NTP OA journals can face:

  • NTP OA journals are new journals. New journals have much more difficulty attracting authors, especially high-visibility authors, than established journals. Therefore, they also have more difficulty attracting readers, especially scholars who will cite their articles. This is a vicious circle. There are three key strategies for overcoming this problem: (1) focus your journal on a specialized, emerging topic of great interest that is not covered or not well covered by existing journals; (2) establish a high visibility editorial team and editorial board; and (3) actively recruit articles from authors.
  • NTP OA journals are digital-only journals. Certainly there is less prejudice against digital-only journals today than in the late 1980s; however, there may still be residual feelings by some scholars that digital journals are not "real" journals, and many scholars may have legitimate concerns about whether these journals will be available 10, 20, 30 or more years into the future. Regarding the latter point, it is highly desirable to have a convincing digital preservation strategy in mind, such as LOCKSS (a growing number of academic libraries are using this system to preserve digital journals). Authors who must face the prejudices of tenure committees against digital journals may be reluctant to publish in them or wish that they hadn’t when facing a promotion review. Provosts, department chairs, and others need to tackle the difficult issue of separating the digital wheat from the chaff so that junior faculty can be comfortable publishing in sanctioned NTP OA journals in their disciplines.
  • NTP OA journals often lack strong "branding." Conventional journal publishers typically have well-established reputations and they invest significant resources in promoting their journals, especially new journals.
  • NTP OA journals typically publish fewer articles than their conventional counterparts. In my view, this is not an intrinsic problem, but it can lead to negative perceptions of these journals.
  • NTP OA journals may not be indexed in traditional disciplinary indexing and abstracting services, they may lack standard identifiers (ISSN numbers), and they may not be cataloged by libraries in systems such as the OCLC Online Union Catalog (now publicly available as WorldCat). Fortunately, the latter two issues can be fairly easily addressed by NTP OA journal editors working with the National Serials Data Program at the Library of Congress and their local libraries; getting in I&A systems may require both time (to demonstrate that the journal warrants indexing) and persistent effort. The existence of directories of freely available digital journals, such the Directory of Open Access Journals, ameliorates the I&A problem somewhat, and NTP OA journal editors should make every effort to get their journals in such directories.
  • For the reasons noted above, NTP OA journals may lack citation impact; however, if they do have impact this may not be known because they are not included in prominent ISI publications that are widely used to measure such impact. However, with the advent of Google Scholar and similar systems that provide alternative ways of measuring citation impact, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon, but these new methods of determining impact need to be widely recognized as being legitimate for them to be effective. One favorable impact factor is that, since NTP OA journals’ contents can be freely indexed by commonly used search engines (e.g., MSN Search), scholars are more likely to find their articles and cite them.
  • NTP OA journals require copy editing. This seems like an obvious point; however, novice editors can easily underestimate how much copy editing is required to produce a high-quality journal and how demanding this can be.
  • NTP OA journals survival may depend on the continued interest of their founders. Founders can lose interest in their journals, they can move to new jobs (leading to issues of their continued affiliation with the journal or the transfer of the journal to a new organization), they can retire, and they can die (see Walt Crawford’s "Free Electronic Refereed Journals: Getting Past the Arc of Enthusiasm").

For the reasons outlined above, NTP OA journals have a higher probability of success and survival if they are produced by a formal digital publishing program that has the firm backing of a nonprofit organization (or a unit of such an organization) than they do if they are published by a loose confederation of individuals. This digital publishing program does not need to invest anywhere near the level of resources that conventional publishers do, but it needs to have a parent organization that is committed to the continued operation and preservation of its journals, a distinct brand identity, a small core of subsidized part- or full-time editorial staff supported by a much larger number of editorial volunteers, a minimal level of supported technical infrastructure that relies on open source software, an active vs. passive content recruitment orientation, and a vigorous targeted promotion effort that integrates its journals into conventional finding tools and uses disciplinary and dedicated mailing lists, RSS feeds, Weblogs, and other free or low-cost communication tools to publicize them.

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 2: Linköping University Electronic Press

Posted in Digital Presses, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on August 10th, 2006

The Linköping University Electronic Press publishes freely available digital conference proceedings, databases, journals, series, reports, and theses. It was established in 1996. As of April 2004, the E-Press became "an independent department within Linköping University Library." The E-Press has five staff members. There is an E-Press Governing Board.

Conference proceedings, journals, series, and reports have editors. The journals are peer reviewed. Two out of four journals appear to have ceased publication. A "news journal" that was related to one of the peer-reviewed journals also appears to be inactive. The other digital publishing programs (e.g., conference proceedings and series) are active. The E-Press ensures the Internet availability of works for at least 25 years after publication. Instructions for how to publish works in the E-Press are available, including how to start new conference proceedings, journals, and series. Site-wide use statistics are available.

Authors sign publishing agreements and retain their copyrights. In accordance with its copyright polices, the E-Press permits specified uses of its works:

  • To read and/or download LiU E-Press papers on-line, without restrictions.
  • To make single printouts of LiU E-Press papers for your own use in research, teaching, or otherwise.
  • To hand over a single printout of an LiU E-Press paper to a colleague in the course of work.
  • To quote short passages in an LiU E-Press paper, as well as the abstract, in order to describe, summarise, or argue against what is said there.
  • To download images, diagrams or cartoons on-line for personal use (i.e. not to spread it to other persons or on homepages).

It’s worth noting that Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence, which appears to have ceased publication, used an innovative peer-review procedure:

  • Open reviewing during three months, where the article is advertised to the community of researchers in its specialized area, and a public, on-line discussion is organized about its contents.
  • Confidential refereeing after the open reviewing period has concluded. Here, leading researchers in the specialized area of the article weigh the article as well as the review discussion and decide whether or not to accept the article.

For more information on the Linköping University Electronic Press, see the FAQ.

Prior postings on this topic:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 1: ANU E Press

Posted in Digital Presses, E-Books, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on August 9th, 2006

Established in May 2004, the ANU E Press at the Australian National University fosters new scholarly publishing models, such as:

  • the production of electronic editions of academic monographs of interest to both scholarly and general-interest readers
  • web-based dissemination of digitally reformatted publications
  • support for presentation and dissemination of interactive publications and teaching materials
  • the development of technologies that enhance peer review while accelerating dissemination of scholarly publication

The ANU E Press has the following features:

  • open e-publication
  • institution-based repositories with appropriate listings and metadata/discovery mechanisms
  • a centralised repository
  • a low-cost, common-good funding model
  • moderation/peer review
  • copyright preserved by creators
  • facilities for access to and transfer of electronic information, for example, a print-on-demand facility

A representative ANU E Press title is Negotiating the Sacred: Blasphemy and Sacrilege in a Multicultural Society, which is freely available in HTML, PDF, and mobile device formats and can be ordered as a print-on-demand book.

A complete list of titles is available.

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions Web page.

More on ALA and Open Access

Posted in ALA, Libraries, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on July 25th, 2006

Peter Suber has provided clarification of ALA’s stance on open access in the below Open Access News posting excerpt:

Comment. This is the most detailed discussion I’ve seen of this question. You should read the whole thing, as I’ve had to omit most of the detail on which Charles’ conclusion rests. I’d only add that (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.

To further clarify this matter, FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006) and the European Commission’s Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe both deal with open access to publicly-funded research. This is certainly a major open access issue; however, ALA journals are unlikely to publish a high percentage of papers that result from such publicly-funded research. Consequently, the direct impact of FRPAA or, especially, the EC report on ALA’s journal publishing operations is likely to be minimal.

In contrast to this support for FRPAA and the EU report, ALA has not signed the "Budapest Open Access Initiative" (as other library organizations such as the Association of Academic Health Services Libraries, ALA’s Association of College and Research Libraries Division, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries have), the "Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities," or the "Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science" (as many association publishers have).

The path from the ALA home page to the Washington Office page is: Home–> Washington Office –> Issues–> Copyright Issues–> Open Access to Research. The ALA Web site is quite large and deep, and one would not expect an OA page to be on the top level. The question is: Can this page be found by someone who doesn’t know that open access is a Washington Office concern? It appears that issues of primary concern to ALA are under the home page heading "Issues & Advocacy" (Home –> Issues & Advocacy).

Whether ALA provides more active support for the open access movement and its reform strategies is, of course, up to its officers and members. These two postings on the matter have been descriptive, not prescriptive. Further clarifications to ALA’s stance on open access or discussion of it are welcome, and can be submitted as comments to either posting.

The American Library Association and Open Access

Posted in ALA, Libraries, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on July 23rd, 2006

Does the American Library Association (ALA) support open access and, if so, are its journal publishing practices congruent with open access journal publishing and self-archiving?

What is the American Library Association?

For non-librarians, a brief overview of the American Library Association (ALA) from its Web site may be helpful before considering its open access policies and practices

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with more than 64,000 members. Its mission is to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information.

ALA’s Mission and Strategic Plans

Several key documents outline ALA’s mission and strategic goals:

Although the ALA’s mission and goals have become less library-centric over time, there is no explicit statement of support for open access in any of these documents.

ALA Memberships in Organizations That Support Open Access Initiatives

ALA is a member of at least two organizations that support open access initiatives: (1) the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), and (2) the SPARC Open Access Working Group. (ALA is not a member of SPARC, but its Association of College and Research Libraries division, known as ACRL, is.)

Information about these ARL memberships certainly exists in the ALA Web site, but it is deeply buried and difficult to find by navigating the site’s menu structure (see the Google site searches for ATA and the SPARC Open Access Working Group).

ALA’s Journal Copyright Agreements

ALA has two copyright agreements: (1) Copyright Assignment Agreement and (2) Copyright License Agreement.

In the Copyright Assignment Agreement, the author: "hereby grants to Publisher all right, title and interest in and to the Work, including copyright in all means of expression by any method now known or hereafter developed, including electronic format." ALA then grants back to the author one broad self-archiving right: "The right to use and distribute the Work on the Author’s Web site." It also grants a narrow right: "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." Authors who use this agreement cannot self-archive in public sections of institutional repositories or in disciplinary archives.

In the Copyright License Agreement, the author retains copyright and then grants to ALA the rights needed to publish the article, with the only restriction on the author being that: "Author agrees not to publish the Work in print form prior to the publication of the Work by the Publisher." Authors who can choose this option can self-archive where ever they want.

ALA’s Journals

ALA publishes a number of serials. This section only considers its major journals. Since it is impossible to determine from their Web sites if some ALA journals are peer-reviewed, there has been no effort to distinguish peer-reviewed journals from those with other editorial policies.

  1. Children and Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children: The Web site provides no table of contents information or online access at all, although there is a link that says: "Click here to subscribe to Children and Libraries online now!" The Policies and Procedures page says: "All material in CAL is subject to copyright by ALA and may be reprinted or photocopied and distributed for the noncommercial purpose of educational or scientific advancement." There are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  2. College & Research Libraries: There is a six-month embargo period, after which issues are freely available at the Web site. Volume 57 (1996) through volume 66 (2005) are freely available. The journal page solely links to the Copyright License Agreement. Verdict: Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  3. Information Technology and Libraries: Recently, the journal’s access policy changed. There will be a six-month embargo period, after which issues will be freely available at the Web site. Selected articles from volume 20 (2001) through volume 23 (2004) are freely available. The home page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Verdict: Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving. (Disclosure: Since ALA Annual, I have been on the Editorial Board.)
  4. Library Administration and Management: Web site only provides access to table of contents information. No discussion of copyright agreements in Author Instructions. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  5. Library Resources & Technical Services: Web site provides access to table of contents information and the full-text of volumes 44 (2000) through 46 (2002). Instructions to Authors page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  6. Public Libraries: Web site provides free access to volume 42 (2002) through volume 44 (2005). There is no discussion of copyright in the Public Libraries Editorial Guidelines page, and there are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  7. RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage: Volume 13 (1998) (of the prior journal) through volume 6 (2005) are freely available. No links to ALA copyright agreements. Guidelines for Submission of Articles to RBM page states: "Articles published in RBM are copyrighted by the American Library Association, and subsequent inquiries for reprinting articles are referred to the ALA Office of Rights and Permissions." Verdict: Not an open access journal. Since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.
  8. Reference & User Services Quarterly: Web site only provides access to table of contents information and article abstracts. Information for Authors, Advertisers, and Subscriptions page links to both ALA copyright agreements. Not an open access journal, but fully supports self-archiving.
  9. School Library Media Research: Web site provides free access to all issues. Manuscript Policy page links to both ALA copyright agreements. An open access journal under the most liberal definition of that term (i.e., free, immediate access without using a Creative Commons Attribution License or similar license) that fully supports self-archiving.
  10. Young Adult Library Services: Web site only provides access to table of contents information. Author Guidelines page states: "A manuscript published in the journal is subject to copyright by ALA for Young Adult Library Services." There are no links to the ALA copyright forms. Verdict: Not an open access journal and, since it is unclear whether the Copyright License Agreement is accepted, it may only support limited self-archiving.

It should be noted that the Science and Technology Section of ACRL publishes Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship, a freely available e-journal whose Instructions for Authors page does not discuss copyright at all; however, ALA does not list this journal on its American Library Association Periodicals page, which "is a list of the various newsletters, magazines, and journals published within the American Library Association, including those which are only available over the Internet."


This brief investigation has not attempted to determine whether the divisions of ALA more vigorously support and enact open access principles than the parent organization. The Association of College and Research Libraries is certainly known for its general support (e.g., see ACRL Taking Action, Principles and Strategies for the Reform of Scholarly Communication, and Scholarly Communication Toolkit).

A user starting at the ALA home page would be hard pressed to find any information that suggests that ALA is an advocate of open access without using the search function. Yet, there are a number of pages on the site that deal with it, although many are ACRL Web site pages or serial articles.

ALA’s mission statements and plans reveal no explicit support for open access; however, ALA belongs to at least two organizations that support it: (1) the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), and (2) the SPARC Open Access Working Group.

Out of ten major journals that it publishes, ALA only publishes one open access journal: School Library Media Research. Two journals (College & Research Libraries and Information Technology and Libraries) have a clear six-month embargo policy. Two more (Public Libraries and RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts, and Cultural Heritage) may also be operating under an embargo policy. One provides free access to a subset of older back volumes (Library Resources & Technical Services). The rest only provide table of contents information, some with abstracts, or, in one case, no information at all.

Five journals (College & Research Libraries, Information Technology and Libraries, Library Resources & Technical Services, Reference & User Services Quarterly, School Library Media Research) clearly offer authors the option of the Copyright License Agreement, which fully supports all types of self-archiving. For the rest, it is unclear from the journal’s Web sites if this option is permitted, and only the Copyright Assignment Agreement may be available, which only permits self-archiving on the author’s Web site or on internal systems at the author’s place of employment (presumably including an access-restricted part of an institutional repository). It may be the case that all ALA journals permit the use of the Copyright License Agreement; however, this is impossible to determine from some their Web sites, a subset of which have language that appears to indicate otherwise.

As a whole, the American Library Association appears to support the open access movement to a limited extent. If this is incorrect and its support is strong, ALA appears to be having difficulty making its commitment visible and "walking the talk."

ARL Institutional Repositories, Version 2

Posted in ARL Libraries, Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Webliographies on July 18th, 2006

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) currently has 123 member libraries in the US and Canada. Below is an update of an earlier list of operational institutional repositories at ARL libraries.

Open Access to Books: The Case of the Open Access Bibliography

Posted in Bibliographies, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, E-Books, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on July 9th, 2006

In March 2005, the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) published my book the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 License. At the same time, a PDF version of the book was made freely available at the University of Houston Libraries Web site, and a PDF of the frontmatter, "Preface," and "Key Open Access Concepts" sections of the book was made freely available at the ARL Web site. The complete OAB PDF was moved to my new Web site in June, and an HTML version of "Key Open Access Concepts" was made available as well. In February 2006, author and title indexes for the OAB were made available in HTML form, and, in March 2006, the entire OAB was made available in HTML form.

The OAB deals with a topic that is of keen interest to a relatively small segment of the reading public. Moreover, it’s primarily a very detailed bibliography. The question is: Was it worth putting up all of these free digital versions of the book and creating these auxiliary digital materials?

From March through May 2005, there were 29,255 requests for the OAB PDF. From June 2005 through June 2006, there were another 15,272 requests for the OAB PDF; 17,952 requests for chapters or sections of the HTML version of the OAB; 11,610 requests for the HTML version of "Key Open Access Concepts"; 3,183 requests for the author index; and 2,918 requests for the title index. I don’t have use statistics for the ARL PDF of the first few sections of the book. (The June 2005 through June 2006 statistics are from Urchin; when I analyze the log files in analog, they may vary slightly.)

Print runs for scholarly books are notoriously short, often in the hundreds. I suspect most scholarly publishers would be delighted to sell 500 copies of a specialized bibliography, many of which would end up on library shelves. However, by making the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals freely available in digital form, over 44,500 copies of the complete book, over 29,500 chapters (or other book sections), and over 6,100 author or title indexes have been distributed to users worldwide. Thanks to ARL, the OAB has had greater visibility and impact than it would have had under the conventional publishing model.

More on How Can Scholars Retain Copyright Rights?

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Disciplinary Archives, Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on July 4th, 2006

Peter Suber has made the following comment on Open Access News about "How Can Scholars Retain Copyright Rights?":

This is a good introduction to the options. I’d only make two additions.

  1. Authors needn’t retain full copyright in order to provide OA to their own work. They only need to retain the right of OA archiving—which, BTW, about 70% of journals already give to authors in the copyright transfer agreement.
  2. Charles mentions the author addenda from SPARC and Science Commons, but there’s also one from MIT.

Peter is right on both points; however, my document has a broader rights retention focus than providing OA to scholars’ work, although that is an important aspect of it.

For example, there is a difference between simply making an article available on the Internet and making it available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License. The former allows the user to freely read, download, and print the article for personal use. The latter allows user to make any noncommercial use of the article without permission as long as proper attribution is made, including creating derivative works. So professor X could print professor Y’s article and distribute in class without permission and without worrying about fair use considerations. (Peter, of course, understands these distinctions, and he is just trying to make sure that authors understand that they don’t have to do anything but sign agreements that grant them appropriate self-archiving rights in order to provide OA access to their articles.)

I considered the MIT addenda, but thought it might be too institution-specific. On closer reading, it could be used without alteration.

How Can Scholars Retain Copyright Rights?

Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Disciplinary Archives, Licenses, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Communication on July 3rd, 2006

Scholars are often exhorted to retain the copyright rights to their journal articles to ensure that they can freely use their own work and to permit others to freely read and use it as well. The question for scholars who are convinced to do so is: "How do I do that?"

The first thing to understand is that copyright is not one right. Rather, it is a bundle of rights that can be individually granted or withheld. The second thing to understand is that rights can either be granted exclusively to one party or nonexclusively to multiple parties.

What are these rights? Here’s what the U.S. Copyright Office says:

  • To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;

  • To prepare derivative works based upon the work;

  • To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;

  • To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works;

  • To display the copyrighted work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual
    images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work; and

  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

A legal document, typically called a copyright transfer agreement, governs the copyright arrangements between you and the publisher and determines what rights you retain and what rights you transfer or grant to the publisher. The publisher may offer a single standard agreement or may have more than one agreement.

Whereas the publisher has had its agreement(s) written by copyright lawyers, you are not likely to be a copyright lawyer. This puts you at a disadvantage in terms or understanding, modifying, or replacing the publisher’s agreement. Therefore, it is very helpful to have documents written by copyright lawyers that you can use to modify or replace the publisher’s agreement with, even if the organization providing such documents does so under a disclaimer that it is not providing "legal advice."

Ordered by increasing level of difficulty in getting publisher acceptance, here are the basic strategies for dealing with copyright transfer agreements:

  • If the publisher has multiple agreements, choose the one that has the author assigning and/or granting specific rights to the publisher (e.g., ALA Copyright License Agreement). Don’t choose the agreement where the author assigns, conveys, grants, or transfers all rights, copyright interest, copyright ownership, and/or title exclusively to the publisher (e.g., ALA Copyright Assignment Agreement).
  • If the publisher has a single agreement that assigns, conveys, grants, or transfers all rights, copyright interest, copyright ownership, and/or title exclusively to the publisher:

Of course, other strategies are possible. For example, you could use another type of open content license instead of the Science Commons Publication Agreement and Copyright License. However, you might want to keep it simple to start.

For more information on copyright transfer agreements, see Copyright Resources for Authors and Scholars Have Lost Control of the Process.

For a directory of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies, see Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-Archiving.

By the way, DigitalKoans doesn’t provide legal advice and the author is not a lawyer.

Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects Available on 7/17/06

Posted in Institutional Repositories, Open Access, Scholarly Communication on July 2nd, 2006

Neil Jacobs has announced on several mailing lists that Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects, which he edited, will be available on July 17th. As you can see from book’s contents below, the book’s contributors include many key figures in the open access movement. I’ve seen an early draft, and I believe this will be a very important book.

The book itself is not OA, but contributors retained their copyrights and they can individually make their papers available on the Internet. My contribution ("What Is Open Access?") is available in both HTML and PDF formats, and it is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

So far, the US Amazon doesn’t list the book, but it is available from in both paperback and hardback form.

The papers in the book are listed below.

  • "Overview of Scholarly Communication" by Alma Swan
  • "What Is Open Access?" by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.
  • "Open Access: A Symptom and a Promise" by Jean-Claude Guédon
  • "Economic Costs of Toll access" by Andrew Odlyzko
  • "The Impact Loss to Authors and Research" by Michael Kurtz and Tim Brody
  • "The Technology of Open Access" by Chris Awre
  • "The Culture of Open Access: Researchers’ Views and Responses" by Alma Swan
  • "Opening Access By Overcoming Zeno’s Paralysis" by Steven Harnad
  • "Researchers and Institutional Repositories" by Arthur Sale
  • "Open Access to the Research Literature: A Funder’s Perspective" by Robert Terry and Robert Kiley
  • "Business Models in Open Access Publishing" by Matthew Cockerill
  • "Learned Society Business Models and Open Access" by Mary Waltham
  • "Open All Hours? Institutional Models for Open Access" by Colin Steele
  • "DARE Also Means Dare: Institutional Repository Status in the Netherlands as of Early 2006" by Leo Waaijers
  • "Open Access in the USA" by Peter Suber
  • "Towards Open Access to UK Research" by Frederick J. Friend
  • "Open Access in Australia" by John Shipp
  • "Open Access in India" by D. K. Sahu and Ramesh C. Parmar
  • "Open Competition: Beyond Human Reader-Centric Views of Scholarly Literatures" by Clifford Lynch
  • "The Open Research Web" by Nigel Shadbolt, Tim Brody, Les Carr, and Steven Harnad


The book is now available from the US Amazon in paperback and hardcover form.

Top Five Technology Trends

Posted in Copyright, Digital Culture, Digital Rights Management, Net Neutrality, Open Access, Privacy on June 26th, 2006

As usual, the LITA top 10 technology trends session at ALA produced some thought-provoking results. And, as usual, I have a somewhat different take on this question.

I’ll whittle my list down to five.

  • Digital Copyright Wars: Big media and publishers are far from finished changing copyright laws to broaden, strengthen, and lengthen the rights of copyright holders. And they are not yet done protecting their digital turf with punitive lawsuits either. One big copyright impact on libraries is digitization: you can only safely digitize what’s in the public domain or what you have permission for (and the permission process can be difficult or impossible). There’s always fair use of course, if you have the deep pockets and institutional backing needed to defend yourself (like Google does) or if your efforts are tolerated (like e-reserves has been so far, except for a few sub rosa publisher objections). In opposition to this trend is a movement by the Creative Commons and others to persuade authors, musicians, and other copyright holders to license their works in ways that permit liberal use and reuse of them.
  • DRM: The Sony BMG rootkit fiasco was a blow, but think again if you believe that this will stop DRM from controlling your digital content in the future. The trick is to get DRM embedded in your operating system, and to have every piece of computer hardware and every consumer digital device that can access and/or manipulate content to support it (or to refuse access to material protected by unsupported DRM schemes). That’s a tall order, but incremental progress is likely to continue to be made towards this goal. Big media will continue to try to pass laws that mandate certain types of DRM and, like the DMCA, protect its use.
  • Internet Privacy: If you believe this still exists on the Internet, you are either using anonymous surfing services or you haven’t been paying attention. Net monitoring will become far more effective if ISPs can be persuaded or required to retain user-specific Internet activity logs. Would you be upset if every licensed e-document that your library users read could be traced back to them? Unless you still offer unauthenticated Internet access in your library, that may depend upon your retention of login records and whether you are legally compelled to reveal them.
  • Net Neutrality: If ISPs can create Internet speed lanes, you don’t want your library or digital content provider to be in the slow one. Hope you (or they) can pay for the fast one. But Net neutrality issues don’t end there: there are issues of content/service blockage and differential service based on fees as well.
  • Open Access: If there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon for the scholarly communication crisis, it’s open access. Efforts to produce alternative low-cost journals are important and deserve full support, but the open access movement’s impact is far greater, and it offers global access to scholars whose institutions may not be able to pay even modest subscription fees and to unaffiliated individuals.

"Strong Copyright + DRM + Weak Net Neutrality = Digital Dystopia?" Preprint

Posted in Announcements, Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Digital Culture, Digital Rights Management, Net Neutrality, Open Access on May 3rd, 2006

A preprint of my "Strong Copyright + DRM + Weak Net Neutrality = Digital Dystopia?" paper is now available.

It will appear in Information Technology and Libraries 25, no. 3 (2006).

This quote from the paper’s conclusion sums it up:

What this paper has said is simply this: three issues—a dramatic expansion of the scope, duration, and punitive nature of copyright laws; the ability of DRM to lock-down content in an unprecedented fashion; and the erosion of Net neutrality—bear careful scrutiny by those who believe that the Internet has fostered (and will continue to foster) a digital revolution that has resulted in an extraordinary explosion of innovation, creativity, and information dissemination. These issues may well determine whether the much-touted "information superhighway" lives up to its promise or simply becomes the "information toll road" of the future, ironically resembling the pre-Internet online services of the past.

For those who want a longer preview of the paper, here’s the introduction:

Blogs. Digital photo and video sharing. Podcasts. Rip/Mix/Burn. Tagging. Vlogs. Wikis. These buzzwords point to a fundamental social change fueled by cheap PCs and servers, the Internet and its local wired/wireless feeder networks, and powerful, low-cost software: citizens have morphed from passive media consumers to digital media producers and publishers.

Libraries and scholars have their own set of buzz words: digital libraries, digital presses, e-prints, institutional repositories, and open access journals to name a few. They connote the same kind of change: a democratization of publishing and media production using digital technology.

It appears that we are on the brink of an exciting new era of Internet innovation: a kind of digital utopia. Dr. Gary Flake of Microsoft has provided one striking vision of what could be (with a commercial twist) in a presentation entitled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Imminent Internet Singularity," and there are many other visions of possible future Internet advances.

When did this metamorphosis begin? It depends on who you ask. Let’s say the late 1980’s, when the Internet began to get serious traction and an early flowering of noncommercial digital publishing occurred.

In the subsequent twenty-odd years, publishing and media production went from being highly centralized, capital-intensive analog activities with limited and well-defined distribution channels to being diffuse, relatively low-cost digital activities with the global Internet as their distribution medium. Not to say that print and conventional media are dead, of course, but it is clear that their era of dominance is waning. The future is digital.

Nor is it to say that entertainment companies (e.g., film, music, radio, and television companies) and information companies (e.g., book, database, and serial publishers) have ceded the digital content battlefield to the upstarts. Quite the contrary.

High-quality thousand-page-per-volume scientific journals and Hollywood blockbusters cannot be produced for pennies, even with digital wizardry. Information and entertainment companies still have an important role to play, and, even if they didn’t, they hold the copyrights to a significant chunk of our cultural heritage.

Entertainment and information companies have understood for some time that they must adopt to the digital environment or die, but this change has not always been easy, especially when it involves concocting and embracing new business models. Nonetheless, they intend to thrive and prosper—and to do whatever it takes to succeed. As they should, since they have an obligation to their shareholders to do so.

The thing about the future is that it is rooted in the past. Culture, even digital culture, builds on what has gone before. Unconstrained access to past works helps determine the richness of future works. Inversely, when past works are inaccessible except to a privileged minority, it impoverishes future works.

This brings us to a second trend that stands in opposition to the first. Put simply, it is the view that intellectual works are "property"; that this property should be protected with the full force of civil and criminal law; that creators have perpetual, transferable property rights; and that contracts, rather than copyright law, should govern the use of intellectual works.

A third trend is also at play: the growing use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies. When intellectual works were in paper form (or other tangible forms), they could only be controlled at the object-ownership or object-access levels (a library controlling the circulation of a copy of a book is an example of the second case). Physical possession of a work, such as a book, meant that the user had full use of it (e.g., the user could read the entire book and photocopy pages from it). When works are in digital form and they are protected by some types of DRM, this may no longer true. For example, a user may only be able to view a single chapter from a DRM-protected e-book and may not be able to print it.

The fourth and final trend deals with how the Internet functions at its most fundamental level. The Internet was designed to be content, application, and hardware "neutral." As long as certain standards were met, the network did not discriminate. One type of content was not given preferential delivery speed over another. One type of content was not charged for delivery while another wasn’t. One type of content was not blocked (at least by the network) while another wasn’t. In recent years, "network neutrality" has come under attack.

The collision of these trends has begun in courts, legislatures, and the marketplace. It is far from over. As we shall see, it’s outcome will determine what the future of digital culture looks like.

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Digital Scholarship

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