For the Public Good: Our values in a changing scholarly communication landscape

This is a collaborative post by Lizabeth (Betsy) A. Wilson, Vice Provost for Digital Initiatives and Dean of University Libraries; Denise Pan, Associate Dean for Collections & Content; Chelle Batchelor, Interim Associate Dean, Research and Learning Services; Director of Access Services; Tania P. Bardyn, Associate Dean & Director, Health Sciences Library; Corey Murata, Director, Collection Analysis & Strategy; Gordon J. Aamot, Director, Scholarly Communication & Publishing; and Elizabeth Bedford, Scholarly Publishing Outreach Librarian.

Like many of you, we have been following the negotiations between the University of California (UC) and the giant commercial scholarly publisher, Elsevier. UC’s announcement that they have broken off talks with Elsevier has sparked a wave of interest and commentary reaching beyond the walls of the academy. In a blog post by our colleagues at Duke and Iowa State University, they called this a movement, “closer to a tipping point in the ongoing struggle to correct asymmetries in the scholarly information ecosystem.”

There is a disconnect in the scholarly publishing ecosystem between the creators of scholarship and the ownership and distribution of scholarship, especially with mega-publishers like Elsevier. Researchers publish their findings without the expectation of additional compensation in the interest of advancing human knowledge and building careers. Researchers also evaluate each other’s work for free by doing peer review. But the results of this scholarly output are almost always controlled by publishers and usually hidden behind paywalls.

While the breakdown of the UC/Elsevier negotiation is big news, it is just the latest in a growing list of cancellations by our peer institutions of publisher “big deal” journal packages. In its Big Deal Cancellation Tracking list, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides the names of institutions and the packages they have recently cut. These cancellations are a reflection of the widening gulf between for-profit publishers’ demands to continually increase package cost well beyond the rate of inflation, and the ongoing erosion of support for higher education. In her annual address to the University of Washington last fall, President Ana Mari Cauce highlighted the unsustainability of the funding model for higher education in our state. While UW Libraries has been fortunate to receive strong support from the faculty and University, we can see that gulf forming.

With the Libraries in the implementation phase of our recently developed 2018-2021 Strategic Plan, it is valuable to step back and reflect on our values as we think about this changing landscape of scholarly communication and our future negotiations with publishers. Among these values are a focus on sustainability, equity and user-centeredness.

  • Sustainability: While we are committed to providing collections and resources for our students, faculty and researchers, we are unwavering in the knowledge that we must be good stewards of allocated funding to support research and teaching at the University of Washington. In our negotiations with publishers, we continually balance researchers’ needs with fiscal responsibility. Working collaboratively with our campus community to build collections can accelerate scholarship and learning through responsive collections.
  • Equity: We believe the current proprietary, closed, for-profit scholarly information ecosystem is broken, exclusionary and undermines the democratic ideals of liberal education. We view access to information as a social justice issue, and for-profit publishers’ unsustainable pricing models, demand for nondisclosure agreements and insistence on paywalls hinders the pursuit of knowledge, impedes our support of an informed citizenry and restricts research for the public good
  • User-centeredness: Our commitment to users remains at the forefront of our collections strategy and decision-making. We know that scholarship is a conversation — and that research progresses only when scholars have an understanding of what has come before and are able to share new knowledge. Because our library collections form the lifeblood of this conversation, we are keenly concerned with ensuring UW scholars have access to the materials they need to progress their research.

The negotiations between UC and Elsevier are part of an accelerating, worldwide movement to transform scholarly communication, to ensure knowledge is shared broadly and without barriers, and to further enhance inquiry and discovery. We applaud UC’s attempt to explore new and different models for providing access to scholarship. And we stand in support of finding new pathways to build and negotiate transformative models that create collaborative and sustainable long-term solutions. As stated in our Strategic Plan, UW Libraries works to advance research for the public good because we believe that “UW research attains its greatest impact on our most pressing global challenges when we advocate for open, public and emerging forms of scholarship.”

Please contact us with questions or comments:
Sarah Leadley, Associate Dean of UW Libraries and UW Bothell/Cascadia Library Director, leadley@uw.edu

Fair Use Week 2019: Fair Use in the News

Fair Use Week is here and it’s a great excuse to spend a little time thinking about the importance of fair use in our work and lives. Fair use allows for the “…copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work” (Stanford Libraries). For many of us, fair use comes up most within the context of teaching material. Looking at fair use through the lens of teaching and scholarship is especially useful and can help us create dynamic, engaging course content. But there are fair use debates happening outside our academic context as well–one recent fair use development may affect the news and political information that we are able to access.

After a five-year court battle, TVEyes, a subscription search engine and monitoring website for broadcast television, will no longer be able to index Fox News pieces. TVEyes allows its users to search, share, and archive content from more than 1400 channels. The company has long been a go-to source for political reporters, government entities, and businesses seeking aggregated, searchable news coverage. While Fox successfully argued that the site’s services were outside the bounds of fair use, TVEyes claimed that their use of the copyrighted material was transformative, as it enables users to track and monitor broad media trends and compare news coverage, and therefore falls within the fair use doctrine.

In a memorandum submitted to the Southern District Court of New York, TVEyes asserted that they offer a unique service that benefits the public interest:

For example, journalists use TVEyes to comment on and criticize broadcast news channels (including Fox), often by comparing and contrasting how the major news networks cover particular news events. Government officials and corporations use TVEyes to monitor the accuracy of facts reported by the media so they can make timely corrections when necessary…The White House uses TVEyes to evaluate news stories and give feedback to the press corps, including Fox News. Without TVEyes or a service akin to it, there would be no way to effectively accomplish these objectives.

Without a tool like TVEyes, it would be nearly impossible to keep tabs on, correct, or critique the US’s political and news coverage. Arguably, the fair use doctrine is intended to provide protection for the vital work of public discourse and criticism, and discourse requires access to the information provided at national and local levels. Access to a comprehensive spectrum of news coverage supports robust analysis and critique and the teaching of critical media literacy skills.

TVEyes will still offer users access to a huge number of broadcast channels, but unfortunately Fox News won’t be one of them.

If you are interested in engaging with questions related to fair use in your classes, the Campus Library’s Scholarly Communication and Open Access Team can help. We are available to consult on lesson planning and assignments that relate to these critical issues.

Open Access Week Film Screening Invite

Dear Faculty,

Open Access Week is October 22-28!

Please join the Campus Library for a screening of “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship.” Learn more about the business of scholarship and the costs involved with the current practices of scholarly dissemination and information access.

The screening will be held on Monday October 22nd at 1:30PM in Library room LB1-205.

From the director and producers of this documentary:

“Paywall: The Business of Scholarship is a documentary which focuses on the need for open access to research and science, questions the rationale behind the $25.2 billion a year that flows into for-profit academic publishers, examines the 35-40% profit margin associated with the top academic publisher Elsevier and looks at how that profit margin is often greater than some of the most profitable tech companies like Apple, Facebook and Google.”

We hope to see you there!

Regards,
The Campus Library OA Team
(Alyssa Berger, Laura Dimmit, Tami Garrard, Denise Hattwig, Penelope Wood)

UW Open Access Policy Update

Dear UWB faculty,
Welcome back for the new quarter!

When we last updated you on the UW Open Access Policy, a vote was scheduled in the Faculty Senate. In the May 17th meeting, the Faculty Senate voted to approve the Policy as Class B Legislation. (In the linked minutes, see agenda item 10.) After an open comment period, the policy was subsequently approved by voting members of the Faculty, and became effective on June 1, 2018.

Now that the Open Access Policy has passed, you may have questions. The Campus Library Open Access Team is here for you! See below for some resources and readings:

If you are ready to deposit scholarly work into ResearchWorks, instructions are available on the UWB Digital Scholarship Guide.

The Campus Library Open Access Team is also excited to share that we are sponsoring a Learning Community through the Teaching and Learning Center, “Exploring Open Access in Higher Education.” Please join us!

Our goals for this learning community are as follows: “We envision building a community of UW Bothell researchers and scholars, including faculty, staff, and librarians, who can support each other in open access work, serve as resources to others who are interested in open scholarship, and surface and address questions about open access publishing options, implementation of the faculty Open Access Policy, and implications.”

You can see more details and sign up to join our Learning Community here (scroll down to #10) until Monday, October 8th.

For questions related to the new UW Open Access Policy, please contact Sarah Leadley, Campus Library Director, at leadley@uw.edu, or Denise Hattwig, Head of Digital Scholarship and Collections, at dhattwig@uw.edu.

Regards,
The Campus Library OA Team
(Alyssa Berger, Laura Dimmit, Tami Garrard, Denise Hattwig, Penelope Wood)

UW Faculty Open Access Policy

Open Access is up for discussion and faculty votes this Spring at UW. At this month’s meeting of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, members voted unanimously to approve the proposed UW Open Access Policy. The Policy will next move to the Faculty Senate for a vote on May 17. In advance of that vote, we’d like to pass along some resources to help answer questions you might have about the proposed Policy, and to provide context about what UW is already doing to support Open Access publication opportunities.

Resources:

Policy Action Timeline:

  • Spring 2017: Policy was introduced and discussed by the Faculty Senate. Policy was tabled
  • May 7, 2018: Faculty Senate Executive Committee voted unanimously to approve the OA Policy
  • May 17, 2018: Faculty Senate will vote on the OA Policy. If approved, the policy will be sent to the President for approval, then to voting faculty for comments. If the faculty comments on the legislation include “written objections to its substantive nature” in excess of a specific percentage threshold, the legislation will be suspended and sent back to the Faculty Senate. Otherwise it will pass and become policy.
  • The final status of the OA Policy should be determined by June.
  • The precise date the OA Policy would go into effect will be determined after final approval.If you are ready to deposit scholarly work into ResearchWorks, instructions are available on the UWB Digital Scholarship Guide.

If you have any questions about this proposed policy, please contact Sarah Leadley, Campus Library Director, at leadley@uw.edu, or Denise Hattwig, Head of Digital Scholarship and Collections, at dhattwig@uw.edu.

OA Week – Open Educational Resources!

OERschools.com logo by B. Haßler, H. Neo & J. Fraser/ Leicester City Council

It’s International Open Access Week!
Have you thought about using course materials that offer your students free or low cost access?

What are Open Educational Resources?
OERs are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.  -UNESCO

Why use OER?
Using OERs in your course can have a huge impact on students by reducing or eliminating textbook costs and lowering the overall cost of higher education. OERs can also enhance your pedagogy! You can use OER repositories to find new ideas, activities and resources posted by instructors from around the country. Many of these resources are peer reviewed and frequently updated.

How are UWB/CC Faculty using OER?
Faculty on both campuses are integrating OER into their courses. Are you using OER in your class? Let us know!

Want to find out more?
Check out our Open Educational Resources guide for more information about OER resources, Open Textbook repositories, and examples of OER adoption on our campus.

Ask us!

Sincerely, your UWB/CC OER Team :  Alyssa Berger, Todd Conaway, Bryce Figueroa, Nia Lam, Sarah Leadley, Suzan Parker, Anne Tuominen, and Chris Zempel

We are a cross-campus group dedicated to supporting faculty as they explore the world of OER, affordable textbook options, and expanded use of Libraries licensed materials.

It is Open Access Week!

Open Access Week 2017 logo

Image by Nick Shockey, openaccessweek.org, CC-BY-4.0

 

This week the Library is participating in international Open Access Week! Open Access Week is a celebration of shared knowledge, open scholarship, and barrier-free research and scholarly publishing. Learn more about Open Access Week on their website.

The UW Libraries has assembled an inspiring collection of voices from across the University of Washington describing faculty and staff experiences with open access and with practicing open scholarship and research. This project is called “How I Work Open.” Please stop by the Library to see posters featuring your colleagues’ stories! These stories are also posted on the UW Libraries’ new open access blog, Open @ UW . Keep an eye out for UWB IAS Senior Lecturer Julie Shayne and UWB/CC Library Digital Scholarship + Collections Curator Denise Hattwig.

And as a reminder, here are links to our UWB/CC Library open access resources:

Please contact Sarah Leadley, Library Director, or your subject librarian if you’d like to talk more about open access or how you can “work open!”

Preprints: What, Why, and Where?

The paths of Scholarly Publishing and Open Access can be difficult to follow.  What are your rights as a researcher and scholar, when and how do those rights change, what are publisher rights, who pays whom, and who has access to the published research?  When you have managed to figure out your way on that path, you may encounter various acronyms and terms that can also make the going slow, e.g. CTA, Gold OA, IR, SHERPA, & preprint. What do they mean, and do they really matter?

Let’s just start with one of these terms: the preprint.  In our previous post on Understanding Your Author Rights, we mentioned that you may be able to archive a preprint of your article in our institutional repository (IR), ResearchWorks.  So, what is a preprint and why might you want to archive it?

A preprint is generally understood to be a working paper or a pre-publication version of a paper. Publishers often define preprints more precisely, and may specify that a preprint is an author’s final version, a version prior to peer review, or any version of the paper prior to its final editing and formatting. Review your CTA (Copyright Transfer Agreement) to determine your publisher’s definition of a preprint. Searching SHERPA/RoMEO by journal or publisher can also provide you with specific preprint archiving policies.

If you determine that it is permitted and you would like to archive your preprint, your research and other scholars can enjoy the following benefits:

  • The core of your research becomes available more quickly
  • Your research will have broader exposure, reaching those both with and without access to expensive databases and journals
  • Articles can be open access
  • OA funder mandates can be met (consult your funder or Sherpa/Juliet to determine funder mandates
  • Payments to publisher for Open Access status are not required

Okay, you have made it this far down the road with us and you have determined your CTA allows you to archive your preprint.  You want to quickly provide open access to your scholarship for other researchers. Where do you go?

The University of Washington has its own institutional repository called ResearchWorks.  ResearchWorks is a permanent archiving service for UW faculty and student researchers.  More information about UWB archiving services, including a submission form, can be found on this Campus Library guide.

You may also want to consider archiving your preprints in a disciplinary repository. Amongst the many out there:

Humanities Commons for arts, literature, and digital humanities
SocArXiv  for Social Sciences
PsyArXiv for Psychological sciences
EngrXiv  for Engineering
PubMedCentral (PMC) for the biomedical and life sciences
ArXiv for Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics

Check out OpenDOAR if you want to search for more repositories in your field, or search within repositories.

If you have additional questions, please contact Sarah Leadley, Campus Library Director, at leadley@uw.edu.

__________________________

References & Resources:
SHERPA on preprints: http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeoinfo.html#prepostprints

 

Understanding Your Author Rights, Part Two

In a previous post, we discussed the importance of understanding, retaining, and exercising your author rights when you’re publishing your work. But what about your earlier publications? If you’re unsure which rights the publisher permitted you to retain and/or can’t find a copy of your Author Agreement or Copyright Transfer Agreement, the following resources may help.

Finding Information Online

RoMEO, managed by SHERPA services out of the UK, is “a searchable database of publisher’s policies regarding the self-archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.” (RoMEO FAQ). You can search by a journal’s title, ISSN, or publisher to find information regarding the journal’s open access options and self-archiving policies, the key information included in the publisher’s boilerplate Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA). RoMEO entries often include publisher contact information.

RoMEO’s data also powers other services such as http://rchive.it/.  Like RoMEO, searching for a journal or publisher will yield information regarding OA and self-archiving policies, but adds explanatory and contextual information designed to assist authors in understanding the fine print.

Contacting the Publisher Directly

In our experience, most publishers are very responsive when it comes to answering authors’ questions regarding permissible uses of their work. While few may be willing to alter a CTA post-publication, it’s not unheard of for specific requests to be honored on a case-by-case basis.

If RoMEO doesn’t include a journal or provide the publisher’s contact information, Ulrichsweb is a good next step. The online directory includes all available contact information for the over 300,000 journals and serials indexed.

If you need additional assistance, we’re here to help! Contact Sarah Leadley, leadley@uw.edu, with your questions.

References & Resources:

 

Predatory Journal Publishing

Does this sound familiar? A new message appears in your inbox: the Questionable Journal of Mysterious Origins wants to publish your research! They promise a quick turnaround time and wide readership, increasing the potential impact of your work, all for the low, low price of $300-$3000! But is this really a deal you can’t refuse?

Predatory journal publishing is an increasingly pressing issue in higher education. A study out of Finland reports a significant increase in the number of articles published in predatory journals since 2010. Stories range from the sad, as marginalized scholars succumb to the pressure of publish-or-perish, to the absurd, with Marge Simpson’s foray into computer science. Most recently, the FTC is taking action, filing a civil complaint against one particularly large and pernicious predatory publisher.

What is predatory publishing and why is it spreading? Predatory publishers take advantage of the upsurge in gold Open Access (OA), a digital, peer-reviewed journal publishing model that offers free, online, public access to research, often, though not always, by transferring publishing costs to the author (via Article Processing Charges, or APCs). Many legitimate and highly competitive peer-reviewed journals (such as PLoS Biology and IEEE Access) operate under the gold OA model and levy APCs, which are frequently covered by research funders rather than individual authors. Open access has gained so much traction that, in 2013, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy directed federal agencies to develop public access plans, requiring recipients of federal funding to make both their articles and data publically accessible.

With any growing and potentially profitable market, however, comes the opportunity for scammers to exploit the system. Predatory publishers establish charlatan gold OA journals, charging APCs and producing online issues, without establishing or engaging in a rigorous peer review and editorial process. Essentially, they’re designed to take your money and run, copying and pasting your unedited work into poorly designed websites that, at best, may one day be crawled by Google Scholar. Yikes.

So, how does one filter out the sham journals from the legitimate publications? Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado Denver has long produced a directory of predatory journals known as Beall’s List. While this may be a good place to start, it must also be mentioned that Beall and his List have come under criticism of late for some arguably extreme anti-OA views. Furthermore, York University librarian John Dupuis and Barbara Fister from Inside Higher Ed point out that the obvious spam-like efforts documented by Beall and others distract us from the real problem: more underhanded and mainstream predatory practices employed by corporate publishers like Elsevier and Wiley.

Thus, as always and with any source, we recommend practicing what we preach to our students: think critically, evaluate, and verify. CUNY librarians Monica Berger and Jill Cirasella laid out the case for this more well-rounded approach, and both Grand Valley State University Library and the Directory of Open Access Journals have published comprehensive quality indicators to be used as part of a holistic review process. Authors can also enjoy all the advantages of open access while circumventing these concerns by opting for green OA, publishing their article in the journal of their choice and depositing a pre- or post-print copy in UW’s institutional repository, ResearchWorks.

Interested in publishing in a gold OA journal but hoping to avoid the pitfalls? Your subject librarians are here to help!