Journal of Library Administration’s Editorial Board Resigns
The Editor and Editorial Board for the Journal of Library Administration have recently resigned due to the Journal’s restrictive author’s rights. Damon E. Jaggers, the former Editors  of JLA, has written:
“The Board believes that the licensing terms in the Taylor & Francis author agreement are too restrictive and out-of-step with the expectations of authors in the LIS community . . . . A large and growing number of current and potential authors to JLA have pushed back on the licensing terms included in the Taylor & Francis author agreement. Several authors have refused to publish with the journal under the current licensing terms. Several others have demanded to add addenda to the author agreement to clarify what they find to be confusing language about the exclusivity of the publishing rights Taylor & Francis requires . . . .After much discussion, the only alternative presented by Taylor & Francis tied a less restrictive license to a $2995 per article fee to be paid by the author.  As you know, this is not a viable licensing option for authors from the LIS community who are generally not conducting research under large grants. . . .Thus, the Board came to the conclusion that it is not possible to produce a quality journal under the current licensing terms offered by Taylor & Francis and chose to collectively resign.”
To learn more about this resignation, take a look at this article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a blog entry from the Association of College & Research Libraries.

A New Open Access Journal from the American Psychological Association

The American Psychological Association is preparing to launch Archives of Scientific Psychology, its first open access journal. The Archives of Scientific Psychology will have the following five unique characteristics:
  •  The articles are free; anyone with internet access will be able to read them.
  •   Following APA’s Journal Article Reporting Standards, the authors of each article will provide a complete description of the methodology that they used when conducting their research.  
  •  The article authors will be making their data open to the public; it will be available from APA or another approved repository. Other researchers will be able to use this data if they obtain permission to do so from the article authors. 
  •  Each article will have two versions of an abstract and methodology section.  One version will be geared towards the layperson, the other towards the scholarly community.
  •  Both the article and the comments made by reviewers who took part in the peer-review process will be published online.
The American Psychological Association is launching this journal in response to the way social workers and psychologist make decisions about social services.  There is now a professional impetus for those in the helping professions to base treatment and intervention decisions on the best available research. This means that professionals are more carefully evaluating research articles, and having access to the data that underlies the research in the article helps the professionals assess the quality of the information.
   
What else makes this new journal unique? The publication process for journal articles can be a lengthy one, and it is not uncommon for there to be more than a six-month span between the submission of a paper and its’ actual publication date.  This inevitably delays the pace in which critical information can reach the public. The editors of the Archives of Scientific Psychology post new articles on a weekly basis, and they are committed to publishing articles within two weeks of their final acceptance.
The American Psychological Association expects to begin publication of the Archives of Scientific Psychology in early 2013. It will span all psychological disciplines.
Cooper, H. & VardenBos, G. (2012). Archives of Scientific Psychology: a new journal for a new era. Retrieved from: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/ARC-Editorial-090712.pdf
For more information about this new publication, please visit: http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/arc/index.aspx

On the Open Access Debate within Humanities


In Giving it Away: Sharing and the Future of Scholarly Communication, Planned Obsolescenceauthor Kathleen Fitzpatrick writes about the open access debate within the humanities.  
According to Fitzpatrick this debate has, so far, been bogged down by a focus on the financial difficulties involved in switching to an author-pays model of publishing, due to the relatively low levels of funding received by humanities scholars.  While acknowledging the reality of these concerns, Fitzpatrick argues that the seemingly insurmountable nature of them is leading to a lack of movement on the topic.  She argues that a shift in focus away from these financial concerns, toward a focus on how open access aligns with the core values of scholarship, would help to move the conversation forward.
One key value, well-aligned with open access for Fitzpatrick, (borrowed from Alcoholics Anonymous), is the value of “giving it away.”  
Excerpt-
What I want to argue is that this sense of “giving it away,” of paying forward knowledge that one likewise received as a gift, functions well as a description of what should be the best ethical practices of scholars and educators.  We teach, as we were taught; we publish, as we learned from the publications of others. We cannot pay back those who came before us, but can only give to those who come after.  Our participation in an ethical, voluntary scholarly community is grounded in the obligation we owe to one another, an obligation that derives from what we have received.  [End of Excerpt].
More than a simple duty this “giving it away,” Fitzpatrick notes, is something that serves the larger public good. For example, as humanities scholars make their work freely accessible to the general public, they increase the chances that the larger society might benefit from their knowledge.  
As to the viability of giving it away, Fitzpatrick, acknowledges that clever innovation would be needed to turn open access into a sustainable publishing model for humanities scholars.  However, she notes that the current system might be closer to that solution than one might first assume given the “engine of generosity” that already exists with authors, editors, peer-reviewers, and publishers all contributing to the scholarly publishing endeavor without direct remuneration.   
Fitzpatrick also sees a number of ways open access would benefit the humanities, in particular by increasing scholars’ impact and decreasing “public apathy” toward the field.  In light of these benefits and the alignment with scholarship’s core values, Fitzpatrick argues, open access may well be a worthwhile goal for humanities.  In fact, she argues, it may be time to move beyond the question of whetherto pursue open access, to the question of howopen access might be accomplished sustainably.

FRPAA v. America COMPETES Act

Recent (March 29) testimony to the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology seems to have re-drawn the battle lines over open access mandates, with one side touting the reintroduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), and the other claiming that the existing provision for an executive branch working group in the America COMPETES Act of 2010 works, and should be left alone.

The hearing was called, “Federally Funded Research: Examining Public Access and Scholarly Publication Interests.”

Though FRPAA was not yet being considered in Committee–it has to attract more cosponsors before committees will plan hearings on it, according to the spokesman for Mike Doyle (D-PA)–, Stuart Shieber, Director of the Office for Scholarly Communication at Harvard University and Elliot Maxwell, Fellow of the Communications Program at Johns Hopkins University testified on its behalf, saying it would provide better access to research results and economic benefits.

Scott Plutchak of the Health Sciences Library at U. Alabama, Birmingham,  H. Dylla of the American Institute of Physics, and Dr. Crispin Taylor Executive Director of the American Society of Plant Biologists argued that FRPAA was a “blanket approach” that would restrict innovation, publisher profits and flexibility, and ultimately access.

Plutchak, Dylla, and Taylor all spoke of the America COMPETES Act as more likely than FRPAA to foster a “robust” and “nuanced” system that encourages flexibility and federal agency/publisher partnerships. Taylor’s testimony repeatedly urged a “sensible, flexible, and cautious” approach.

Maxwell’s testimony referred to his own research on the economics of journal publishing in the NIH-mandate environment, in which he found not only that there was no evidence that the NIH policy harmed journal subscription rates, profits, or ability to carry out peer-review, but that in the environment of the NIH mandate, new journals continued to proliferate and existing journals increased profit margins.

Shieber’s testimony touched on other economic potentials of Open Access, such as text mining, which would of course depend on comprehensive availability of open-source articles.

He also pointed out “systemic problems” in the existing journal publishing structure that prevent the “widest possible dissemination” of scholarly materials. He had two recommendations for solving this distribution problem:

1. More institutions should emulate open access policies like Harvard’s, which mandates that faculty grant a license to the university to distribute their scholarly articles through article repositories;

2. Scholars should, when possible, publish research in open-access journals, which repositions the cost of journal publishing from libraries on behalf of readers to funding agencies and/or employing institutions on behalf of authors.

The anti-FRPAA position was represented neatly by Taylor, who said, “A centralized approach discourages innovation by driving traffic away from innovators, including publishers, thus minimizing scientific and commercial opportunities.”

Taylor’s position, though, rests on three assumptions: One, that publishers have a greater claim on innovation in this area than scholars, universities, university libraries, and federal agencies; two, that publishers’ current contributions to academic publishing  (coordinating peer review, page composition, copyediting, and listing and linking of bibliographic and reference data) would be unsustainable under the mandated deposit models championed by Shieber and Maxwell; and three, that publishers would operate in good faith and continue to work toward an open access model of publication without mandates to do so.

The first two are arguable positions, though Maxwell has demonstrated that the second position seems to fall apart under close scrutiny. The third position, given the meteoric rise in subscription prices and the growth of academic publisher profits during a recession, seems hard to support.

Movie Clips and Copyright

From Inside Higher Ed, July 28th:
If the words “sweeping new exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act” make you want whoop for joy and join a conga line, you just might be a fair use advocate — one who wants professors and students to be able to decrypt and excerpt copyrighted video content for lectures and class projects. Since Monday, a lot of advocates have been dancing.

“This is very exciting,” says Patricia Aufderheide, a communications professor and director of the Center for Social Media at American University. “We’re doing nothing but chat about this, we’re so excited.”

The thing that has made so many professors abuzz — and a-blog — is the latest round of rule changes, issued Monday by the U.S. Copyright Office, dealing with what is legal and what is not as far as decrypting and repurposing copyrighted content.

One change in particular is making waves in academe: an exemption that allows professors in all fields and “film and media studies students” to hack encrypted DVD content and clip “short portions” into documentary films and “non-commercial videos.”

W.P.A. Posters in The Library of Congress

In The Library of Congress Digital Collections & Services is the Prints & Posters collection with an Prints & Photographs Online Catalog. One collection is #55 Posters WPA Posters (1936-1943) of 907 posters produced to publicize theatrical productions, exhibits, health and educational programs. W.P.A. refers to the Works Progress Administation (renamed Work Projects Administation in 1939). It was created by an presidential order early in the President F. D. Roosevelt administration.

The Evolving Google Library

….from Inside Higher Ed

To some, Google’s mammoth book digitization project with university libraries is the ultimate combination of technology and scholarship, potentially making millions of volumes available to audiences that could never visit major research libraries in person. To others, the project represents a dangerous centralization and corporatization of content.

Complicating the debate (and obviously there are many viewpoints somewhere in between) has been an uncertainty about how Google would make the new library available. On Wednesday, Google and the University of Michigan announced new details — and while the plan for pricing was still vague, the basics of the model became more clear.

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