Heidelberg Historic Literature – Digitized

heidelberg-2The Heidelberg University Library has an excellent digitization program. Some of the material that it has digitized include sources of the history of Heidelberg University; charters relating to Palatine history; anatomical literature and drawings; books on ancient Egyptian medicine; works on the theory and history of art; rare works from the library’s valuable collection on South Asia (for example the 18th century Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, or The Original Calcutta General Advertiser and the 20th century Himalayan Times); historic maps; and much more. Particularly interesting are the numerous titles from Heidelberg’s extensive collection of incunabula that have been digitized. For more information about Heidelberg’s digitization program see Heidelberg historic literature – digitized.


Should Anne Frank’s Diary enter the public domain?

AnneFrankSchoolPhotoAn interesting blog post by ReCreate explains the rationale that the Anne Frank Foundation uses to suggest that the copyright term for the Diary should extend to 2051.

There are several absurdities to this story.  First, Otto Frank could have claimed co-authorship during his lifetime, in the decades between the publication of the diary and his death, but never appears to have done so.  The Foundation could have claimed co-authorship soon after his death in 1980, but instead waited until just six years ago to seek copyright advice, seemingly motivated by the fact that the work’s copyright term is set to expire at the end of this year.  It seems bizarre to allow the Foundation to now try to claim copyright on behalf of a man who never tried to do so during his lifetime, and which it never sought to do in the several decades after his death.  This move appears solely motivated by the royalties the Foundation will lose when the work enters the public domain.

Additionally, as pointed out by Mike Masnick of TechDirt, “who in their right mind thinks that copyright was the ‘incentive’ necessary for Anne Frank to write her diary?”

[Anne Frank School Photo. This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 70 years or less.]

BC Libraries support Open Library of the Humanities

OLH-WebsiteLogo-PNGThe Open Library of Humanities is an academic-led, gold open-access publisher with no author publishing charges. With funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the platform covers its costs by payments from an international library consortium, rather than any kind of author fee.

Dr. Martin Paul Eve, a founder and academic project director of the OLH, welcomed Boston College: “I am delighted that Boston College has joined the OLH LPS membership model. The humanities benefit from open access but we often struggle to think how to implement this. With our unique model and with the help of institutions like Boston College we will help to move towards a transition to OA in the humanities”.

Elliot Brandow, Senior Digital Scholarship Librarian/Bibliographer for History, said “Boston College Libraries are thrilled to contribute to this exciting new platform for open access scholarship in the humanities. Library support for open access comes in many forms – from building open digitized collections, to financing article processing fees, to advocating with our faculty and students, to exploring new publishing models like this one. We’re especially pleased by how much scholars and the public will be able to benefit relative to such a minimal institutional investment, and we hope other institutions will join us and many others in supporting the Open Library of the Humanities.”

U.S. Department of Education Launches Open Educational Resources Campaign

There is a growing awareness in the U.S. that the high cost of textbooks is a problem for many higher education students. This problem is manifest at BC also where costly course materials may be affecting many students’ academic performance. To read more about this issue and what BC is doing in addessing it see the Libraries’ affordable course materials guide.

Costly textbooks and other educational materials is a problem not only for students in higher education. K-12 pupils also encounter this difficulty. To help combat the problem the U.S. Department of Education launched a new campaign, #GoOpen, on 29th October. #GoOpen is “a campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials. As part of the campaign, the Department is proposing a new regulation that would require all copyrightable intellectual property created with Department grant funds to have an open license.” In launching the campaign U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said:

“In order to ensure that all students – no matter their zip code – have access to high-quality learning resources, we are encouraging districts and states to move away from traditional textbooks and toward freely accessible, openly-licensed materials . . . . Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs.”

Read the U.S. Department of Education’s press release here.

Protest against Elsevier by Lingua

 November 2, 2015
Scott Jaschik
All six editors and all 31 editorial board members of Lingua, one of the top journals in linguistics, last week resigned to protest Elsevier’s policies on pricing and its refusal to convert the journal to an open-access publication that would be free online. As soon as January, when the departing editors’ noncompete contracts expire, they plan to start a new open-access journal to be called Glossa.


Copyright Fail: ‘Pirating’ Academic Papers Not Only Commonplace, But Now Seen As Mainstream

Techdirt has been writing about open access for many years. The idea and practice are certainly spreading, but they’re spreading more slowly than many in the academic world had hoped. That’s particularly frustrating when you’re a researcher who can’t find a particular academic paper freely available as open access, and you really need it now. So it’s no surprise that people resort to other methods, like asking around if anyone has a copy they could send. The Internet being the Internet, it’s also no surprise that this ad-hoc practice has evolved into a formalized system, using Twitter and the hashtag #icanhazpdf to ask other researchers if they have a copy of the article in question. But what is surprising is that recently there have been two articles on mainstream sites that treat the approach as if it’s really quite a reasonable thing to do.


It’s a further sign of copyright’s dwindling relevance in a world whose central technology — the Internet — is built on sharing and openness.

Campus Computing Project Survey: Attitudes to Open Educational Resources

The Campus Computing Project, in collaboration with Inside Higher Education, publishes an annual national survey of senior university administrators regarding their views on critical planning and policy issues that affect American colleges and universities. Among the several topics addressed in the 2015 survey (published today) is the issue of open educational resources (OER). The survey reveals that over four-fifths of the survey participants (representing 417 two- and four-year public and private colleges and universities) agree that affordable educational textbooks and other OER content “’will be an important source for instructional resources in five years’” and will provide “a viable, very low cost alternative to expensive textbooks.” However, Kenneth C. Green, founding director of the Campus Computing Survey, while viewing OER materials as a viable substitute for these costly textbooks is concerned “about the absence of infrastructure to support OER – the editors, fact-checkers, instructional designers and others who add value, as well as costs, to the development of commercial textbooks and course materials.” Download the Executive Summary & Graphics.

OA Agreement Between Springer and Jisc

A new open access agreement between Springer and the UK’s Jisc (Joint Information Systems Committee) came into effect today. It is a pilot project (running until December 2018) that will make it easier for UK scholars to publish their articles as open access while keeping in compliance with the OA policies of major funders. The project will also result in universities and other educational institutions saving on their OA publishing costs.

From the 22 October, 2015 press release:

Starting today, researchers in the UK will be able to publish their articles open access in over 1,600 Springer hybrid journals without cost barriers or administrative barriers. The Springer Compact agreement is a pilot that combines open access publishing and subscription access in one annual fee and will run from October 2015 until December 2018.

The transformative agreement between Springer and Jisc, a charity which provides digital solutions for UK education and research, will make it easier for UK researchers to publish open access and ensure that that all articles published comply with HEFCE’s Research Excellence Framework, RCUK’s open access policy and other major funders such as the Charity Open Access Fund. At the same time, for institutions, the total cost and administrative burden of open access publishing and continuing access to the 2,000 Springer subscription journals are significantly reduced.

Open Access a Top Priority for the EU

EU Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas and Sander Dekker, the Dutch Secretary of State for Education, Culture and Science, have called on scientific publishers to adapt their business models to new realities. They specifically urged publishers to get serious about open access, a priority of both the European Commission as well as of Dutch universities.

Carlos Moedas:

Europe generates more scientific output than any other region in the world. In parallel, there is a revolution happening in the way science works. Every part of the scientific method is nowadays becoming an open, collaborative and participative process. Can publishers afford to stay out of that trend? I believe that much effort needs to be done by the main publishers to adjust their business models to the realities of the 21st century.

Sander Dekker:

I support the initiative of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) to join forces towards Open Access in research. Dutch universities already show the importance of organising themselves in the negotiations with publishers. That way they can successfully stand their ground towards publishers. In addition, Dutch universities are even prepared to not sign new contracts, if needed. The fact that all LERU members now let go of the old subscription-based models with big deals and clearly choose for models based on Open Access, perfectly fits with the Dutch Open Science policy. In this policy, results of publicly funded research must be available free of charge for everyone. This will be a priority during the Dutch Presidency of the EU in the first semester of 2016.

The full joint statement of 12 October, 2015.

Boston College Sponsors New Open Access Bibliography

The Boston College Jesuit Bibliography, an open access resource created by Boston College faculty and library staff in collaboration with Brill Publishers, is now available in an early release version. BC is providing the funds to make it freely available.

Edited by Prof. Robert Maryks, Associate Director of the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College, this comprehensive online bibliography covers books, book chapters, journal articles and book reviews pertaining to the exponentially growing field of Jesuit Studies. In addition to basic bibliographic information, entries include (English) abstracts, detailed subject headings, direct links to items available in electronic format where available, and a link to an item’s WorldCat entry.

A more extensive description is available on the Brill website.