New open-access monograph series announced

Excerpted from The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 7, 2009: 

Open Humanities Press (OHP) is joining the University of Michigan Library’s Scholary Publishing Office (SPO) to create five new open-access monograph series with a focus on critical and cultural theory. All of the books will be freely available in full-text, digital editions and as reasonably priced paperbacks, and they will be subject to the highest standards of editorial vetting and peer review.  The series include New Metaphysics, Critial Climate Change, Global Conversations, Unidentified Theoretical Objects, and Liquid Books, a series in which readers are invited “to annotate, tag, edit, add to, remix, reformat, reversion, reinvent, and reuse” the material.

After editing, the manuscript files will be turned over to the publishing office at Michigan to be prepped for electronic and print-on-demand publication, metadata creation, and cataloguing. Books in the series will be available through the OHP and SPO Web sites, and will also be archived in the library at Michigan. Authors will retain their copyrights and may opt for Creative Commons licenses. Works will also be made available for reader comment and annotation pre- and postpublication if the authors so desire.

OHP is an open-access scholarly publishing collective established  in the spring of 2008 by an international group of scholars. The group aims to help solve what it calls the “digital credibility problem” by publishing digital monographs that are open access and of recognized scholarly quality. The OHP board includes Alain Badiou of the Ecole Normale Superieure, Donna Haraway of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Gayatri Spivak of Columbia University, among other notables.

According to Maria Bonn, director of the Scholarly Publishing Office, the new open-access series partnership came about after Open Humanities Press called for potential library partners. In an e-mail message to The Chronicle, Ms. Bonn said that the Michigan library “was probably better positioned than most of the libraries that responded to be able to support the production and distribution of these monographs” because it already has extensive experience with digital publishing. Ms. Bonn described OHP as a test of how to vet humanities monographs outside the traditional university-press context as well as “an experiment in the effects of open access on the impact of the humanities monograph.”

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Who Profits from For-Profit Journals?

There is an interesting piece about who benefits from profit vs. non-profit journals at The news piece reports on a presentation, “Corporate Appropriation of Academic Knowledge,” that was given at the recent American Association of University Professors (AAUP) meeting. As mentioned in the comments, which are equally informative, it is good that this topic is being discussed in faculty forums like this one.

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U of Maine New Media Criteria for Promotion/Tenure

Academia’s goal may be the free exchange of ideas, but up to now many universities have been wary–if not downright dismissive–of their professors using the Internet and other digital media to supercharge that exchange, especially in the arts and humanities. Peer review committees are supposed to assess a researcher’s standing in the field, but to date most have ignored reputations established by blogging, publishing DVDs, or contributing to email lists.

In a signal that some universities are warming to digital scholarship, however, the winter 2009 issue of MIT’s Leonardo magazine–itself a traditional peer review journal, though known for experimenting with networked media–has published a feature on the changing criteria for excellence in the Internet age. To make its point as concretely as possible, the feature includes the recently approved promotion and tenure guidelines of the University of Maine’s New Media Department (U-Me New Media), together with an argument for expanding recognition entitled “New Criteria for New Media.”

Rather than throw time-honored benchmarks for excellence out the window, “New Criteria for New Media” tries to extend them into the 21st century. To supplement the “closed” peer review process familiar from traditional journals, U-Me’s criteria recognize the value of the “open peer review” employed in recognition metrics such as ThoughtMesh and The Pool. As the name suggests, open peer review allows contributions from any community member rather than a group of experts, and all reviews are public; when combined with an appropriate recognition metric, the result is much faster evaluations than possible via the customary approach. “New Criteria for New Media” also urges academic reviews to reward collaboration in new media research; valuable roles include conceptual architect, designer, engineer, or even matchmaker (e.g., introducing two other researchers whose collaboration results in a publication).
Read more…

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Harvard and American Physical Society Agreement

The Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication and the American Physical Society (APS) announced jointly that they have entered into an agreement to facilitate faculty compliance with the University’s open access policies when Harvard faculty members publish in the APS journals, comprising Physical Review, Physical Review Letters, and Reviews of Modern Physics.
As a result of the new agreement, APS recognizes Harvard’s open access license and will not require copyright agreement addenda or waivers, in exchange for Harvard’s clarification of its intended use of the license. …The main beneficiaries of the Harvard-APS agreement will be physics faculty members, who are no longer obliged to acquire waivers of Harvard’s prior license. In addition, other institutions and their authors may find the agreement to be a useful model in their interactions with APS and other scholarly publishers.
press release

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UCSD Faculty developing Open Access Publishing Models

Realizing there are plenty of good blogs that already exist (see a sampling in our Blogroll) to forward the discussion of new models and directions for academic and scholarly publishing, the UCSD Libraries intend for this one to focus on the initiatives and efforts that our very own UCSD faculty are developing. We are very pleased to begin by featuring two such accomplishments.

The Libraries were pleased to host Philip Bourne in the Geisel Library Oct. 14, Open Access Day, as he spoke of his vision of the potential transformation of scientific discourse, possible as authors retain copyright to their works. [Insert link to webcast when it is available]. Phil Bourne is the national Founding Editor-in-Chief of PLoS Computational Biology and the author of the popular PLoS Computational BiologyTen Simple Rules Series‘. He is Professor in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of California San Diego, Associate Director of the RCSB Protein Data Bank, Senior Advisor to the San Diego Supercomputer Center, Adjunct Professor at the Burnham Institute, and Co-Founder of SciVee.

Ajit Varki, M.D., also on the UC San Diego faculty, is the executive editor and a leader of the Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, which announced last week that “Essentials of Glycobiology,” the largest and most authoritative text in its field, will be freely available online beginning October 15. The initiative is made possible through collaboration between the Consortium of Glycobiology Editors, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, and the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Fittingly, the release of the book follows soon after the October 14th celebration of International Open Access Day, which will highlight prior successes in providing such open access to research journals.

For the first time, a new edition of a major textbook will be simultaneously released in print and free online in a novel approach to publishing that permits the textbook to reach a wider audience.

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Congressional Hearing Over Public Access Filled With High Drama

(abstract needed) (Chronicle Subscribers only)

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University Presidents advocate for open access to digitized materials

This from the Chronicle:

and this reaction to it:

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