They’re Here! Dissertations & Theses Now in Academic Works

(Déjà vu? This post is a very slight reworking of a post I wrote yesterday for the Graduate Center Library blog.)

sellie cover

Title page for the thesis of Alycia Sellie (GC librarian and OA@CUNY blogger). Academic Works auto-generates title pages for all PDFs in the repository.

They’re here! All Graduate Center dissertations and theses from 2014 (thus far) are now in Graduate Center Academic Works, the Graduate Center’s new open access institutional repository. (Institutional repositories for the other CUNY campuses are coming soon!)

Some of the dissertations and theses are open access (i.e., freely available) now, and the others will become open access at the end of the author’s chosen embargo period (generally six months, one year, or two years).

Browse this incredible batch of intellectual output by department or en masse. Or scan a few of these works (all of them already open access), which I’ve cherry-picked for having especially engaging, curiosity-sparking titles:

The dissertations and theses of October graduates will appear in Academic Works soon. And moving forward, all theses and dissertations will appear shortly after each graduation.

Added benefit of going open access: If a thesis or dissertation (or any other work) is open access in Academic Works, the author will receive monthly readership reports detailing how often the work has been downloaded, what search terms led readers to the work, etc. (And I’ve already heard from 2014 graduates who are surprised and delighted by how much their dissertation or thesis has been downloaded!) So, not only does going open access help you find a broader audience and make a greater impact — it also helps you see and track that impact!

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Scholarly Communications Librarian @ CUNY: More Time to Apply!

Application Deadline Extended: There’s still time to apply to be CUNY’s first Scholarly Communications Librarian! The deadline is now Monday, July 28, 2014.

Summary of Posting:

The City University of New York (CUNY) seeks a Scholarly Communications Librarian to provide leadership for scholarly communication and digitization initiatives. The Scholarly Communications Librarian will be responsible for developing and managing CUNY’s new Digital Commons institutional repository of scholarly and creative works, publications, and digital objects by members of the CUNY community.

The Scholarly Communications Librarian will be hired at the Higher Education Associate rank and work for CUNY’s central Office of Library Services (OLS), not a specific campus. S/he will report to the University Director of Library Systems.

The Scholarly Communications Librarian will:

  • Organize, oversee, and assess the processes (e.g., faculty outreach, copyright compliance) related to the repository’s maintenance and development.
  • Collaborate with the vendor and CUNY-wide libraries to create, develop, and optimize publishing/ingest workflows.
  • Establish/codify best practices in repository management, including reporting and optimizing metadata management.
  • Establish communication procedures and platforms for campuses to use to work with contributing authors (faculty, staff, students, alumni).
  • Lead education and outreach to faculty and provide guidance to library colleagues and others on issues relevant to the dynamic scholarly publishing landscape, including author rights, open access (OA) publishing, and alternative publishing trends related to tenure and promotion.
  • Serve as OLS’s primary resource on copyright compliance, fair use, and other copyright issues pertinent to CUNY library collections and services.
  • Provide supervision for planning and implementing digitization projects in alignment with the library’s mission and strategic goals.
  • Collaborate with liaison librarians to provide tools and educational opportunities in the adoption of best practices in scholarly communication relevant to CUNY’s academic mission.

This position is represented by the Professional Staff Congress (PSC-CUNY) and covered by its contract. For more information, see http://psc-cuny.org/our-contracts.

Full Job Posting / How to Apply:

For the full job description, including minimum and preferred qualifications, application instructions, and a link to begin an application, visit http://tinyurl.com/CUNYScholComm

(The full address for the link is: https://home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu/psp/cnyepprd/
GUEST/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_CE.GBL?Page=HRS_CE_JOB_DTL&Action=A&
JobOpeningId=10829&SiteId=1&PostingSeq=1. Alternatively, go to http://www.cuny.edu, click “Employment” then “Search Job Postings” and then “More Options to Search For CUNY Jobs,” and search for Job Opening ID 10829.)

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Come Work with Us! Scholarly Communications Librarian @ CUNY

Big news for open access supporters and excellent librarians eager for a new adventure: CUNY is hiring a Scholarly Communications Librarian!

CUNY is the largest urban public university in the United States, and its faculty, staff, and students produce extraordinary (in quantity and quality) scholarly, creative, and educational works. We need you to help us make those works open access! (Curious about the open access efforts and scholarly communication projects already underway at CUNY? Prowl around this blog, the Open Educational Resources @ CUNY blog, and the Just Publics @ 365 blog.)

The Scholarly Communications Librarian won’t work for a specific CUNY campus but rather for the central Office of Library Services, which supports all CUNY libraries. The person who gets this job will be responsible for developing and managing CUNY’s new open access institutional repository and leading related educational/outreach efforts.

We hope you’ll consider applying for this new and exciting position. But don’t mull it over too long — the closing date is June 28!

The full posting is below.  (Note: The language under “General Duties” is standardized for all University Library Systems Manager positions. Look under “Campus Specific Information” for the details specific to this position.)

Job Title: Scholarly Communications Librarian (University Library Systems Manager)
Job ID: 10829
Location: Central Office
Full/Part Time: Full-Time
Regular/Temporary: Regular
Contract Title: Higher Education Associate
FLSA Exempt

GENERAL DUTIES

Manages one or more aspects of the University’s Library technology and systems.

  • Analyzes, specifies, and implements systems improvements and processes
  • Conducts design and setup activities supporting University-wide Library systems and databases; assists in implementing upgrades and new systems
  • Develops and manages procedures related to quality assurance for University Library systems; revises and maintains complex configuration tables
  • Monitors Library applications and databases
  • Creates, prepares, and analyzes reports on systems activities
  • Works collaboratively with the Office of Library Services, Computer Information Services, library staffs, and vendors to refine workflows and develop useful systems tools
  • Performs related duties as assigned

CAMPUS SPECIFIC INFORMATION

The Office of Library Services (OLS) at the Central Administrative Office of CUNY supports the libraries at the University’s 24 campuses to coordinate and enhance library services for students and faculty in partnership with campus librarians. The Office provides the CUNY+ online catalog, negotiates University-wide contracts and licenses, provides central cataloging services, and subsidizes the CUNY Digital Library Collection and resource sharing. The Office seeks a Scholarly Communications Librarian to provide leadership for scholarly communication and digitization initiatives at CUNY. Scholarly communication is a strategic priority for CUNY.

The position reports to the University Director of Library Systems and is responsible for managing and developing the newly instituted Digital Commons institutional repository (a cloud-based solution from bepress) of scholarly and creative works, publications, and digital objects by members of the CUNY community. The librarian will organize, oversee, and assess the processes (e.g., faculty outreach, copyright compliance) related to the repository’s maintenance and development. S/he will collaborate with the vendor and CUNY-wide libraries to create, develop, and optimize publishing/ingest workflows, establish/codify best practices in repository management including reporting and optimizing metadata management related to the CUNY’s nascent repository. The Scholarly Communications Librarian establishes communication procedures and platforms for campuses to use to work with contributing authors (faculty, staff, students, alumni). The librarian leads education and outreach to faculty and provides guidance to library colleagues and others on issues relevant to the dynamic scholarly publishing landscape, including author rights, open access (OA) publishing, and alternative publishing trends related to tenure and promotion. The position also serves as the Office of Library Services’ primary resource on copyright compliance, fair use, and other copyright issues pertinent to CUNY library collections and services. Provides supervision for planning and implementing digitization projects in alignment with the library’s mission and strategic goals. Collaborates with liaison librarians to provide tools and educational opportunities in the adoption of best practices in scholarly communication relevant to CUNY’s academic mission.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

Bachelor’s Degree and six years’ related experience required; MLS degree and/or Master’s in a related field may be substituted for a portion of the experience requirement.

OTHER QUALIFICATIONS

The ideal candidate will have the following skills, knowledge, and abilities:

  • Master’s degree from an American Library Association (ALA)-accredited school is strongly preferred and may be accepted for up to two years of the required six years of experience
  • Three years’ experience managing library information services, systems, and/or programs required
  • Working knowledge of digitization standards and formats, rights management and academic publishing practices, including familiarity with one or more major descriptive metadata standards (Dublin Core, EAD, METS, MIX, MODS, PREMIS, or others); demonstrated project management skills to plan, implement, and assess digital initiative
  • Demonstrated understanding of the width and breadth of information and information-seeking processes to structure and deliver library services for users; ability to apply requirements, best practices, and guidelines for scholarly communication relevant to CUNY Libraries’ digital initiatives and processes
  • Marketing and outreach skills to discover and recruit institutional scholarly input, research data, and other content for inclusion in the institutional repository; ability to participate in grant and other external funding opportunities in support of the library’s mission and strategic goals
  • Ability to communicate scholarly communication issues in a balanced way that can be adjusted to a wide range of audiences across the disciplines and work collaboratively and effectively with diverse groups
  • Detail oriented and accurate with strong organizational skills to establish plans, manage multiple assignments and conflicting priorities, and meet deadlines
  • Excellent verbal/written communication and interpersonal skills with strong consultation, presentation, and group facilitation skills
  • Proficiency using academic, administrative, and financial computer programs, systems, and databases

COMPENSATION

Commensurate with qualifications and experience.

BENEFITS

CUNY offers a comprehensive benefits package to employees and eligible dependents based on job title and classification. Employees are also offered pension and Tax-Deferred Savings Plans. Part-time employees must meet a weekly or semester work hour criteria to be eligible for health benefits. Health benefits are also extended to retirees who meet the eligibility criteria.

HOW TO APPLY

For full consideration, submit a position focused cover letter and résumé with your online application. Your cover letter should clearly explain how your experience and credentials fulfill the duties and qualifications outlined. The direct link to the job opening from external sources is: http://tinyurl.com/CUNYScholComm

(The full address for the direct link is: https://home.cunyfirst.cuny.edu/psp/cnyepprd/
GUEST/HRMS/c/HRS_HRAM.HRS_CE.GBL?Page=HRS_CE_JOB_DTL&Action=A&
JobOpeningId=10829&SiteId=1&PostingSeq=1)

CLOSING DATE

6/28/2014

JOB SEARCH CATEGORY

CUNY Job Posting: Managerial/Professional

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

We are committed to enhancing our diverse academic community by actively encouraging people with disabilities, minorities, veterans, and women to apply. We take pride in our pluralistic community and continue to seek excellence through diversity and inclusion. EO/AA Employer.

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Whose to Use? And Use As They Choose?

Authors of traditional textbooks and articles published in traditional scholarly journals generally have to sign over their copyright to the publisher. Not so for authors who publish with open access publishers — they retain the right to copy, distribute, and re-use their works. (Unimpressed by those seemingly basic rights? Remember that when authors transfer their copyright to publishers, they sometimes lose all rights to their work. After the transfer, they sometimes have no more rights to their work than you or I do.)

Of course, if all rights to a work were held only by the author, others could not copy, share, or reuse the work. In other words, by definition, it couldn’t be truly open access. So, we want authors to retain their rights, but we also need them to grant some rights to others. And not just specific other people or companies — to everyone, to all potential users.

And that’s why the open access community loves Creative Commons (CC) licenses: They leave copyright with the creator but also grant some rights to others. Creative Commons licenses are not the only way to grant rights to a work, but they make it easy for creators to communicate which rights they do and don’t give to others, and they’ve emerged as the standard licensing tool for open access materials.

Spectrum between traditional copyright and public domainThere are six Creative Commons licenses on the spectrum between traditional copyright and the public domain. They differ in their requirements regarding commercial uses and derivative works, and there are fascinating things to say about all of them. But I’m going to limit this post to two similar licenses that differ in one important respect: CC BY (Attribution) and CC BY-SA (Attribution-ShareAlike):

  • The CC BY license says that people can do whatever they want with the work — copy it, print it, distribute it, expand it, remix it, post it on commercial websites, even sell it — provided that the creator is properly attributed.
  • The CC BY-SA license is very similar but differs in one key way: It says that people can do whatever they want with the work provided that (1) the creator is properly attributed and (2) any resulting works are released with the same license. Because CC BY-SA requires that derivative works are also CC BY-SA, it is a “viral” license.

Which is better, CC BY or CC BY-SA? Major players in the open access arena have strong and opposing opinions.

Wikipedia uses CC BY-SA, explaining that [bold is mine]:

To grow the commons of free knowledge and free culture, all users contributing to the Projects are required to grant broad permissions to the general public to re-distribute and re-use their contributions freely, so long as that use is properly attributed and the same freedom to re-use and re-distribute is granted to any derivative works. In keeping with our goal of providing free information to the widest possible audience, we require that when necessary all submitted content be licensed so that it is freely reusable by anyone who cares to access it.

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), on the other hand, endorses CC BY, going so far as to disallow CC BY-SA among its members [bold mine]:

To fully realise that potential of open access to research literature, barriers to reuse need to be removed. . . .

The most liberal Creative Commons license is CC-BY, which allows for unrestricted reuse of content, subject only to the requirement that the source work is appropriately attributed. Other Creative Commons licenses allow for three possible restrictions to be imposed. . . . But the emerging consensus on the adoption of CC-BY reflects the fact that any of these restrictions needlessly limits the possible reuse of published research.

. . . while [Share-Alike] licenses can be extremely helpful in building up a collection of content, they also have downsides in terms of the limitations they place on reuse. For example, material distributed within a Share-Alike article could only be combined and redistributed with other share-alike content. In contrast, CC-BY content can be combined with any content, and redistributed according to the terms of that other content, as long as CC-BY’s own attribution requirement is respected. This makes CC-BY something like a Universal Donor blood-type in that it has maximal compatibility.

. . . OASPA includes, and will currently still admit, members who use the NC restriction (but not the SA or ND restrictions).

Let’s take a closer look at the question of which license is better:

  • Which is better for readers? For those who just read/consume a work (and those who download, print, and share it), there’s no difference between the two licenses.
  • Which is better for those who want to reuse/remix a work? It depends. CC BY is less restrictive, making reuse easier. But CC BY-SA ensures the openness and reusability of derivative works, and that stipulation arguably leads to reuses/remixes that are inherently better than if they weren’t open.
  • Which is better for authors? It depends on the author’s priorities. CC BY facilitates reuse and broad impact, but some creators of open works want works derived from their works to be open as well.
  • Which is better for openness? As we saw in the arguments from Wikipedia and OASPA, It depends on how you look at it. CC BY makes a given work more open, more reusable. But CC BY-SA fosters openness and builds the universe of open access materials. However, the share-alike stipulation might deter some potential reusers and prevent some reuses from ever happening. How should we think about a license that promotes openness in derivative works but likely prevents some derivative works from ever being made? It’s hard to say!
  • Which do I personally think is better? Philosophically, I’m with Wikipedia and CC BY-SA. I love the idea of a snowball effect of openness. But in practice, I think OASPA has it right: For open access works to have the most impact and do the most good, we need to minimize barriers to reuse. And, when it comes down to it, I’m a practical person. So I (with somewhat conflicted feelings) side with CC BY.
  • But you certainly don’t have to take my word for it! My smart and thoughtful colleague Alycia Sellie is somewhat more drawn to CC BY-SA. See her grapple with CC BY vs. CC BY-SA in a post from last summer.

One last note: Yes, I prefer some CC licenses to others. But I embrace all of them as improvements on traditional copyright for scholarly communication and educational publishing!

(This post was derived from a presentation I gave at WikiConference USA on May 31: Whose to Use? And Use As They Choose? Creative Commons Licenses in Wikipedia and Scholarly Publishing. A slightly different version of this post also appeared on the Open Educational Resources @ CUNY blog.)

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“For the Public Good”: A Public Institution and Its New Open Access Repository

The Chronicle of Higher Education recently ran a column by Graduate Center Interim President Chase Robinson about the Graduate Center’s recent string of high-profile hires and overall success recruiting prominent and innovative faculty. One reason the Graduate Center is so appealing to potential hires, he says, is its “public character”:

“Hire after hire has responded to the mission that the Graduate Center volubly affirms: to create and disseminate knowledge, through research, teaching, and public events, for the public good.”

Knowledge that is created and disseminated for the public good of course does more good when it reaches more people. How can the Graduate Center make sure its research, teaching, and public events reach as broad a public as possible? The answer should be obvious to all regular readers of this blog: by making its research output, instructional materials, and public programming freely available online whenever possible!  

In other words, the Graduate Center can help its community fulfill its mission by promoting open access both in theory and in practice.

How can the GC do these two things? It can do the first by promoting conversation about scholarly communications and open access (which it does in many ways, including employing a scholarly communications librarian (that’s me!) and supporting JustPublics@365). And it can do the second by giving its faculty, staff, and students a place to easily and quickly make their works open access. And that brings me to…

Drumroll, please!

The Graduate Center Library invites you to take a sneak peek at the Graduate Center’s brand new open access repository, Academic Works:

Snapshot of Graduate Center Academic Works

The Graduate Center’s new open access institutional repository: Academic Works

So far, Academic Works includes only a small handful of publications, but soon it will be teeming with articles, book chapters, conference papers, dissertations, master’s theses, and other scholarly and creative works by Graduate Center faculty, students, and staff. (Look for the dissertations and theses of February 2014 graduates to appear soon!) Curious what a thriving open access institutional repository looks like? Prowl around UMass Amherst’s ScholarWorks, University of California’s eScholarship, or Digital Commons @ University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

To clarify a commonly confused point: Only the GC community will be able to upload works to GC’s Academic Works. But everyone everywhere will be able to access and download them (those that aren’t embargoed, anyway).

We’re still finalizing the site and instructions, but if you’re a Graduate Center faculty member, you’re welcome to start submitting your scholarly and creative works to the repository! (We’re doing a phased launch, and for self-submissions we’re starting with faculty only. But it will be ready to accept GC student self-submissions in the near future. Dissertations and theses will go into the repository in batches after graduation, not via self-submission.) Contact Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication, to learn more.

To the broader CUNY community: The rest of CUNY will be launching an institutional repository in the near future. So if you’re at CUNY but not affiliated with the Graduate Center, you’ll have a repository of your own soon!

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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
Live stream: http://videostreaming.gc.cuny.edu/videos/

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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