Share It Now or Save It For Later: Making Choices about Dissertations and Publishing

You are invited to an event in the Information Interventions @ CUNY series:

Share It Now or Save It For Later:
Making Choices about Dissertations and Publishing

Thursday, May 1, 2014
2-4 p.m.
Graduate Center Room C198

Join us for a lively panel debate on the sharing versus embargoing of dissertations and theses. We’ll explore the pros and cons of this nuanced issue with a panel including representatives from Columbia University Press, Penn Press, and the Modern Language Association, as well as recent GC alums who made different choices about their dissertations. (We’ll also tell you how to change your embargo settings if you’ve already deposited!)

Our panelists:

  • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication, Modern Language Association
  • Philip Leventhal, Editor for Literary Studies, Journalism, and U.S. History, Columbia University Press
  • Jerome Singerman, Senior Humanities Editor, University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Gregory Donovan, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Urban Studies, Saint Peter’s University and Graduate Center Alumnus
  • Colleen Eren, Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, LaGuardia Community College and Graduate Center Alumna
  • Polly Thistlethwaite, Chief Librarian, Graduate Center (Moderator)

Background:

Last summer, the American Historical Association made headlines when it issued a statement encouraging universities to allow their history Ph.D. graduates to embargo, or keep private, their dissertations for up to six years, claiming that “an increasing number of university presses are reluctant to offer a publishing contract to newly minted PhDs whose dissertations have been freely available via online sources.” Meanwhile, a survey of scholarly publishers revealed that a majority of university press editors are happy to consider proposals for books based on open access dissertations. And the executive director of the Association of American University Presses reported, after talking to the heads of 15 university presses, “I haven’t found one person who has said if it is available open access, we won’t publish it.”

These statements generated a raging debate that has left many graduate students unsure of their options and unsure how to proceed:

  • Are open access dissertations really less likely to be published as a book? Or are they more likely to be found, read, and responded to, thus demonstrating to book publishers their appeal and marketability?
  • Just how similar is a dissertation to a book, anyway? How much does it change between graduation and publication?
  • Is the real problem tenure and promotion committees that expect applicants to have authored scholarly books, which, as the landscape of scholarly publishing evolves, seem to be increasingly difficult to publish? Do they need to adjust their expectations in response to current publishing realities?
  • Do universities have a responsibility to share with the world the research produced in their graduate programs? Are long embargoes antithetical to scholarly values? Do they hinder disciplinary advancement? How long is enough?
  • And where does this leave graduate students — in all disciplines, not just history or the humanities? Should they make their dissertations and theses open access, or should they embargo them — and if so, for how long?

Details and how to register:

Light refreshments will be served.
Space is limited! Please RSVP by April 23.

This event is co-sponsored by the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development, the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable, the Graduate Center Library, and Just Publics @ 365.

Dissertation Dilemma: To Embargo or Not To Embargo?

Dissertation Dilemma: To Embargo or Not To Embargo?
Photo is © Pino, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

 

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Materials from Authors’ Rights Event

Weren’t able to attend last Friday’s workshop “You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights? Understanding and Protecting Your Rights As an Author”?  Attended but want to review the materials again, at your own pace? Here are all the materials shown and discussed at the event — and a few extras, to boot!

You might notice that “moral rights” are mentioned in the Journal of Library Innovation agreement. Moral rights have to do with the right to be attributed and the right to control the fate/integrity of a work.  The Journal of Library Innovation doesn’t touch moral rights, but it was just reported with horror that the Nature Publishing Group asks authors to waive moral rights to articles published in their journals!  Here are two articles on that topic: Nature Publishing Group Requires Faculty Authors to Waive ‘Moral Rights’ (from the Chronicle of Higher Education) and Attacking Academic Values (from the Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog).

More about licenses:

And bit about open access repositories (the best places to self-archive):

Listen to Joe Strummer: Know your rights (about what you write)!
Photo is © edenpictures, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license.

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Tarnished Gold: The Tale of Bohannon, DOAJ, and the Predators

Auspicious or not, this April Fool’s Day I am reposting in its entirety this post, which was published last week in the JustPublics@365 blog. 

Many of us may remember the Sokal hoax of 1996. Alan Sokal, a physics professor, successfully published a hoax article in Social Text in order to ridicule humanities scholarship.  More recently, last fall, John Bohannon, a journalist for Science, sent out a significantly scientifically flawed “spoof” article about a wonder drug. He sent the article to 304 open access journals. The majority of these journals published the “spoof” article. Why did he do this? He wanted to prove that open access journals offer very little or no peer-review. Many of the journals were listed in the main portal for open access journals, the Directory of Open Access Journals aka DOAJ.

The first question to ask is why so many open access journals accepted the sham article. The answer, although not obvious, is that there is a dark side to open access: predatory publishers.

dracula
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Dracula_1958_c.jpg

Predatory publishers have always existed in various guises. Most academics are familiar with the vanity-press style monograph publishers that exist to help authors get their work into print. Even in commercial journal publishing unethical practices are not atypical (try googling “fake Elsevier journals“).  Junket-y conferences are another face of predatory publishing.

Nefarious publishers have always existed but the new twist comes with technology. Anyone can install a free publishing platform and call themselves a journal publisher. This is great but also problematic. New “gold” open access journals can be launched easily. Some open access journals charge authors article processing charges to help cover costs. This is most common in the STEM fields where authors build these fees into their grants and/or can get funding from their universities.

As in the past, there is good money to be made on the backs of desperate and/or naïve scholars rushing towards tenure and promotion. Now the process is as simple as submitting a paper online.

peer-review-in-a-week
And no revisions to worry about! Visa, MasterCard, or PayPal, please.

Predatory publishers have mushroomed, spinning off vaguely named and copycat titled journals. Spam emails lure in new fish.

Hoe's_six-cylinder_press
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/03/Hoe%27s_six-cylinder_press.png

Many of us first learned about predatory publishers from a New York Times piece about Jeffrey Beall, an academic librarian, and his crusade to save us from the predators by listing them on his blog. Beall’s “list” was the A to Z of what we knew about predatory publishing. And then came Bohannon.

Bohannon’s sting caused a firestorm, but his method was flawed. Why not also probe how many toll-access publishers would accept the article? Bohannon’s conclusions were dubious–the majority of journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals actually rejected the article and a majority on Beall’s list accepted the article. Yet in the aftermath, there has been considerable hand-wringing. The question was now:

Who is policing open access?
Those creepy predatory journals are giving open access a bad name! 
 

In response, I recommend that everyone read “On the mark? Responses to a sting“ as well as librarian Barbara Fister’s thoughtful comments on the issue.  There are also helpful organizations including OASPACOPE, and SPARC Europe Seal for Open Access Journals in addition to the broader SPARC organization.

But what happens when a discovery tool takes on a bigger role?

DOAJ tightened inclusion standards after the sting and now offers a seal of approval. The new standards are not without flaws:  (paid) registration with CrossRef is difficult for small and/or one-off open access publishers. However, DOAJ should be lauded for their efforts to keep the predatory publishers at bay. At least 114 journals were removed from DOAJ after the Bohannon scandal.

But Dorothea Salo in the aforementioned group commentary “On the mark?” notes:

This is progress, but a cursory examination of the new DOAJ criteria shows that they are crediting good practices such as peer review, rather than punishing bad practices such as email spam, falsely-listed editors, and junkety conferences. … Its program simply does not suffice to eliminate all the scammers and scammy practices.

It’s still too early to tell if DOAJ’s efforts will make a difference. We need much more public education about gold open access and how it differs entirely from predatory publishing. The recent scandal involving Springer and IEEE publishing 120 “gibberish” papers is further evidence that scholarly communications based on peer-review needs reform. Is open peer-review the answer? Are predatory publishers just an expression of a transitional period and will they wither as open access grows to the stage where it is widely understood and embraced?

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What We Talk About When We Talk About Open Access (aka Don’t Forget About Repositories!)

(Déjà vu? This post is a very slight reworking of a post I wrote last week for the fantastic JustPublics@365 blog.)

Discussion about open access often focuses exclusively on open access journals, and often on the extreme ends of the quality spectrum: the really excellent journals and the really awful ones. There’s a lot of fascinating and nuanced and ever-evolving stuff to say about open access journals, but there’s a whole lot more to open access. And today I’m going to talk about open access repositories, freely accessible online databases of articles and other works.

What Are Open Access Repositories?

Thanks to Google (and the irrepressible urge to research health symptoms), you’ve almost certainly found and read materials in open access repositories, but you might not have realized that there was anything special about the sites hosting those document.

One reason open access repositories are special is that they’re created and maintained with long-term preservation in mind. They will persist, and offer persistent URLs to documents, much longer than most other sites. In particular, they will outlast authors’ personal web pages, which often disappear shortly after retirement, resignation, death, or failure to pay for domain name renewal. So, unlike most free web content, works in open access repositories aren’t just open access now and a year from now; they’re open access for a very long time to come — ideally, forever.

Types of Repositories

There is no single, universal open access repository, but that’s okay because Google and other tools search across many repositories and generally do a good job of finding what you’re looking for, wherever it may reside. Here are some of the different flavors of open access repositories:

  • Disciplinary repositories are repositories that welcome submissions in a certain field, regardless of the institutional home of the author(s). Some of the biggest and best-known disciplinary repositories are arXiv.org (for physics, math, computer science, and several other sciences), PubMed Central (for the biomedical sciences), and the Social Science Research Network, or SSRN (for the social sciences). One big benefit of disciplinary repositories is that they collect a large amount of related research in one place, so it’s often well worth a researcher’s time to go directly to the appropriate repository and browse or search for papers of interest. Of course, some disciplinary repositories are more robust than others, and, while there are many, there is not a repository for every field.
  • Institutional repositories are repositories hosted by an institution (usually a college or university) to make available the works of its researchers. Successful examples include the repositories at MIT and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. One big benefit of institutional repositories is that they accept all kinds of documents — slideshows, posters, speaker’s notes, images, etc. — whereas many disciplinary repositories limit themselves to articles/papers.
  • Commercial networking/profile sites, such as Academia.eduResearchGate, and Mendeley, allow researchers to create profile pages and upload their works. These sites have helped many researchers (including those who don’t have an appropriate disciplinary repository or an institutional repository at their disposal) make their works open access, and have connected many others with those works. But the commercial nature of these sites make some worry about what’s being done with data about users and contributions, as well as about the longevity of the sites and the fate of the documents if the sites shut.

To explore the universe of repositories, visit OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) and ROAR (Registry of Open Access Repositories).

And here’s some really big news: The CUNY Graduate Center is on the verge of rolling out its own repository — there’s almost nothing there yet, but soon it’ll have lots of papers, dissertations, master’s theses, and other works.  And here’s even bigger news: CUNY will soon be following suit with a university-wide repository!

Sneak peek of the Graduate Center’s soon-to-be-unveiled repository: Academic Works

Is All This Allowed? Isn’t It Pirating?

Sure, researchers can put all sorts of research output online. But what about their journal articles — aren’t a lot of journals commercial, and don’t journals require authors to transfer their copyright to the journal?

Yes, a lot of journals are for-profit enterprises, and yes, those journals almost always require authors to sign over their copyright. Nevertheless, a majority of journals allow authors to self-archive their articles (usually not the final PDF, but some version) in open access repositories. (Find out which journals allow what at SHERPA/RoMEO.)

So, yep, all this is allowed, and, nope, using repositories is not pirating!

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Slides from Open Educational Resources Panel

If you weren’t able to attend (or chose not to take notes frantically at) the recent panel event “Open Books, Not Open Wallets: How Open Educational Resources Help Students Spend Less and Learn More,” you might be interested in the three panelists’ materials:

If open educational resources is a topic of interest to you (and how could it not be, when our students are paying so dearly for traditional textbooks?!), consider joining the CUNY Open Education Resources group on the Academic Commons or subscribing to the Open Educational Resources @ CUNY blog.  (If you subscribe to the group, you’ll get notifications about new blogs posts.)

Also: Have 20 minutes to spare?  Learn much more by walking through this short OER about OERs.

More of a visual learner?  Take a gander at this alarming chart of the costs of educational materials vs. other items from 1967 to 2012:

From Steve Ovadia’s What is OER slideshow, which also includes other compelling charts!

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You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights?

You are invited to an event in the Information Interventions @ CUNY series:

You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights?
Understanding and Protecting Your Rights As an Author

Click to embiggen.

When you publish a journal article, you sign a copyright agreement. Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign it? Different journals have different policies:

  • Some journals require you to relinquish your copyright. (You then have to ask permission or even pay to share your article with students and colleagues!)
  • Some journals allow you to retain some rights (e.g., the right to post online).
  • Some journals leave copyright in your hands. (You simply give the journal a non-exclusive license to publish the article.)

How can you find out a journal’s policy? How can you negotiate your contract to make the most of your rights as a scholar, researcher, and author? Come learn how to preserve your rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work you create.

And what about articles you’ve already published? What did you sign when you were publishing them? Bring agreements you signed in the past, and we’ll examine what you agreed to, as well as what options you have now for altering the terms.

Friday, March 28, 2014
2pm – 4pm
Graduate Center, Room C197 (Concourse Level)
Space is limited! Please RSVP at http://tinyurl.com/cunyrights

There is one more Information Interventions @ CUNY coming up this year: Stay tuned for a panel about the controversy surrounding dissertations and open access!

Sponsored by the OpenCUNY, LACUNY Junior Faculty Research Roundtable, LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable, and Just Publics @ 365.

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Cultural Anthropology, Be My Valentine!

The peer-reviewed journal Cultural Anthropology has gone open access!  When the Directory of Open Access Journals boasts almost 10,000 gold open access journals, why is this big news?  For several reasons:

  • Now that the open access movement is gaining momentum, many journals begin as gold open access journals.  Cultural Anthropology, on the other hand, began as a subscription-based journal…way back in 1986.  It was a well-established and well-respected journal, chugging along just fine, but its editors decided that subscriptions and restrictions were no longer the right model.  So they thoughtfully and carefully transitioned to gold open access.
  • Cultural Anthropology is (to the best of my knowledge) the first really major, established open access anthropology journal in the United States.  The first biggie in any field is big news!
  • Cultural Anthropology is published by the Society for Cultural Anthropology (SCA), a section of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), which has been slow to support open access. Organizational movement toward open access in AAA is evidence (among many other pieces of evidence) that open access is no longer a fringe movement.  If it’s in the air at AAA, it’s in the air everywhere.
  • Wait, let’s step back a bit more: Cultural Anthropology is published by a scholarly society! That’s a big deal! As far as I know, no academics are worried about the fate or profits of the big commercial publishers, but many are worried about the financial health of scholarly societies, which often rely on subscription income to support other areas of operation. If SCA and AAA are confident that making Cultural Anthropology open access won’t be ruinous, maybe other associations will begin to think more seriously about embracing openness?  Maybe more scholarly societies will consider Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s statement that a society’s value “may be moving from providing closed access to certain research products to instead facilitating the broadest possible distribution of the work done by its members.”

For all these reasons, I want Cultural Anthropology to be my valentine!

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Open Books, Not Open Wallets: How Open Educational Resources Help Students Spend Less and Learn More

You are invited to an event in the Information Interventions @ CUNY series:

Open Books, Not Open Wallets:
How Open Educational Resources Help Students Spend Less and Learn More

Friday, March 7, 2014, 10am – noon
The Graduate Center, Segal Theater (1st Floor)
Refreshments will be served

Do your students sometimes resist buying and reading textbooks and other course materials? Open educational resources (OERs) such as free or low-cost online textbooks can save students money. There is also evidence that OERs provide deeper engagement with and closer attention paid to course material, which result in more focused teaching and learning.

Come learn about how to take advantage of new strategies and platforms to ensure that our students have access to high quality curricular materials. Library and classroom faculty from across CUNY who have developed, customized, and used OERs will share their experiences. We’ll also learn about resources and support for OERs at CUNY.

RSVP by Thursday February 27 to http://tinyurl.com/oermarch7

Download the flyer

Sponsored by the LACUNY Scholarly Communications Roundtable, the CUNY Office of Library Services, and Just Publics @ 365.

There’s another Information Interventions @ CUNY coming up: Stay tuned for a Spring 2014 event about the controversy surrounding dissertations and open access!

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Image by muffin9101985.

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And a Very Happy New Year to You, Congress!

This isn’t breaking news (sometimes we at the Open Access @ CUNY blog go on vacation, and sometimes we even go on vacation where there’s no internet, and, gasp, sometimes things happen when we have no internet!), but it’s still making me break a huge smile:

Congress passed open access legislation!
(This is a major expansion of the NIH’s well-known policy!)

Both the House and the Senate approved the FY2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which includes many provisions in its 1582 (!) pages. The provision we at Open Access @ CUNY care about is Section 527, which appears on page 1020:

Each Federal agency, or in the case of an agency with multiple bureaus, each bureau (or operating division) funded under this Act that has research and development expenditures in excess of $100,000,000 per year shall develop a Federal research public access policy that provides for—

(1) the submission to the agency, agency bureau, or designated entity acting on behalf of the agency, a machine-readable version of the author’s final peer-reviewed manuscripts that have been accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals describing research supported, in whole or in part, from funding by the Federal Government;

(2) free online public access to such final peer-reviewed manuscripts or published versions not later than 12 months after the official date of publication;

and (3) compliance with all relevant copyright laws.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy issued a similar directive last February, but as we examined, the directive did not make legislation unnecessary. As Peter Suber wrote, “we need legislation to codify federal OA policies. The next president could rescind today’s White House directive, but could not rescind legislation.”

And now we have legislation!!!  (Read more about it at the Washington Post.)

Many details need to be worked out, of course, but the passage of this provision is an excellent reason to put your New Year’s Eve noisemakers to good use one last time this month.

party horn

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection. http://www.flickr.com/photos/boston_public_library/9076289197/

 

 

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Information Interventions @ CUNY: Handouts and Slides

So far this year, there have been two events in the new Information Interventions @ CUNY series: Open Access to Scholarly Literature: Which Side Are You On? and To Catch a Predator: How to Recognize Predatory Journals and Conferences.  In case you missed them, here are the materials from each.  Please use, share, and remix as you wish!

Open Access to Scholarly Literature: Which Side Are You On?

To Catch a Predator: How to Recognize Predatory Journals and Conferences

Still to come: Information Interventions @ CUNY events on open educational resources and the controversy surrounding open access and dissertations!

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