American Anthropology Association to Switch One of its Journals to Open Access

The American Anthropological Association publishes more than 20 journals, but none is open access. That will change early next year, when the journal Cultural Anthropology,  which is published by one of AAA’s sections,  switches over to a fully open-access model. “Starting with the first issue of 2014, CA will provide worldwide, instant, free (to the user), and permanent access to all of our content (as well as 10 years of our back catalog),” Brad Weiss, the society’s president, posted on AAA’s Web site.  “Cultural Anthropology will be the first major, established, high-impact journal in anthropology to offer open access to all of its research,” he adds, and bekueves that the experiment will be useful to other open-access publishing efforts in the social sciences and humanities.

CA’s editor, Charles D. Piot, Professor of Anthropology at Duke, has called open access “likely the wave of the future” and states that anthropologists havebecome increasingly concerned about the relationship between universities and commercial publishers.  The push for open access has spread far and wide in the sciences and is catching on among social scientists as well. “We’re producing articles that come out of the intellectual commons, and we hand them over to presses who sell them back to us,” Professor Piot says. “That’s been a strong moral issue for a lot of anthropologists that I’ve spoken to.” So has the desire to make research “freely available to people anywhere in the world,” not just those affiliated with universities that can afford journal subscriptions. 

AAA currently has a  contract with Wiley-Blackwell for its journals program. Cultural Anthropology’s switch to open access will not affect that contract, according to Edward B. Liebow, AAA’s executive director.  The journal will still be offered to library subscribers and to AAA members through the AnthroSource online portal.

The Society for Cultural Anthropology (the section off AAA that publishes CA) has already started to revamp its Web site and move content online in preparation for the shift. It hasn’t yet worked out whether it will use an author-pays model to cover costs or try what Prof. Piot called “the NPR model” and call on members for support. 

Liebow is not worried that the experiment will hurt AAA’s bottom line. “It’s important to recognize that while the revenue we receive from publishing is important to it financially, our publishing program doesn’t make money.”  Given that its publications represent “such an important part of our scholarly exchange, we think it’s worth the money to make the experiment.”

White House OSTP Issues Open Access Directive for Federal Agencies

Today the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a directive which “directs each Federal agency with over $100 million in annual conduct of research and development expenditures to develop a plan to support increased public access to the results of research funded by the Federal Government.”  The directive covers both research articles and data.  Each agency needs to submit a plan to OSTP within six months indicating how they will comply with the directive.

More reading on the topic:

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Legislation Promoting Public Access to Federally Funded Research Introduced

Today, members of the U.S. House and Senate introduced the “Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2013” or FASTR. The bill, similar to the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), includes provisions that would enable digital reuse of publicly funded research and would ensure free, timely, online access to the published results of research funded by federal science and technology agencies. According to the Association of Research Libraries (of which UCSD is a member), provisions in this bill constitute an important step forward that reflects both how research is conducted and growing community practice. The Library hopes that you will contact your House and Senate delegations and ask that they co-sponsor FASTR.

FASTR would require those agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to research manuscripts (or final published articles under certain circumstances) stemming from such funding no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Within one year of enactment of FASTR, these agencies are to implement a public access policy and to the extent practicable, agencies should follow common procedures for the collection and deposition of research papers. The bill gives individual agencies flexibility in choosing the location of the digital repository to house this content, as long as the repositories meet conditions for interoperability, public accessibility and long-term preservation. An important change from past bills includes the need for agencies to provide “research papers…in formats and under terms that enable productive reuse, including computational analysis by state-of-the-art technologies.”

Amherst College librarian launches new open access publishing venture

One doesn’t normally think of small liberal arts colleges as having very much of a role in affecting the direction of scholarly communication in general or academic publishing in particular. But Bryn Geffert, head librarian at Amherst College in Massachusetts, believes the can and should. With the endorsement of Amherst’s president and Board of Trustees, he has recently launched Amherst College Press, which will produce a handful of edited, peer-reviewed, digital-first books on “a very small number of subjects.” “We want to do a few things well, not overextend,” he says.

Staff retirements have allowed Geffert to repurpose two salary lines in the library’s budget into an editorial staff, including a press director­—”somebody who’s absolutely committed to open access,” he says. “That’s a fundamental value for the press.”

Although he has no illusions that library publishing operations will challenge Elsevier anytime soon, Geffert hopes that they will eventually help to shift the economics away from the bottom-line model that drives much of academic publishing. “I’m going to risk sounding like a wide-eyed idealist here,” he says. “If at some point enough libraries are producing or working with presses to produce enough freely available information,” the amount they need to spend on materials will drop. If that happens, the savings “will more than offset the expense we’re investing.”

Geffert has received  helpful advice from directors of larger university presses but doesn’t know yet whether Amherst College Press will join the Association of American University Presses. AAUP’s members produce a lot of good work, he says, but it  has taken stands he doesn’t agree with. For one, it objects to the Federal Research Public Access Act, which would expand federal mandates that guarantee access to publicly supported research. And it has stood behind the publishers who sued Georgia State University over alleged copyright infringement in e-reserves. Does a library-based publishing operation really “want to be part of an organization where at least part of the constituency is suing libraries?” he asks.

–Extracted from a larger article by Jennifer Howard in the Chronicle of Higher Education, February 4, 2013.

UC San Diego Open Access Fund Pilot Subsidizes Author Fees

Last Fall, the individual University of California campuses, funded in part by the California Digital Library (CDL), launched pilot open access funds to support UC authors who wish to make their research findings immediately and freely available to the public.  The specifics of which activities the funds support differ from campus to campus (see

In the UC San Diego implementation of the fund (, eligible charges include Article Processing Charges (APCs) and Open Access (OA) fees for fully open access journals.  Funds from the pilot may not be used for color charges, page charges, illustration charges, or submission charges.  Articles must be made freely available at the time of initial publication, without any embargo periods.

UC San Diego faculty, graduate students, post-doctoral scholars, researchers, and staff are eligible to apply for funds. The fund will pay up to $1000 per article in a fully open access journal (journals in which all articles are immediately available open access). The fund does not currently support articles published in “hybrid open access journals” in which only some articles are open access and the journal itself remains only available by subscription.  There is a cap of one article per author per year. Applications can be made during the period after acceptance but before publication; already published articles are not eligible for this funding. Authors who are granted this funding will be reimbursed afterwards; only individuals can be reimbursed, not departments.

At UC San Diego, eight open access journal authors have been funded so far.  These authors represent eight different departments across campus and have published in journals from seven distinct publishers.  The diversity of this small sample is surprising – and encouraging.  The chief goals of the program are to foster greater dissemination of work by University of California scholars and to encourage greater awareness of authors’ rights.  The campuses will track how the funds are spent on each campus, and the success and sustainability of the pilot will be evaluated at the end of 2013.

If you have written an article in an open access journal and the article has been accepted but not published yet, apply for partial subsidy of OA fees.  More information about the fund, and the application form, go to


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UCSD Linguist Active in OA Publishing Initiatives

Eric Bakovic, Associate Professor of Linguistics, has been active for several years in investigating open access issues, including the instiguation of an OA publishing platform for scholars in his field. At the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), held concurrently with the Modern Language Association  (MLA) last month in Boston, he co-organized a panel that included several big names in the Scholarly Communications field, including  Stuart Shieber, Director of Harvard’s Office for Scholarly Communication, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication for the MLA, as well as editors of two OA journals in linguistics, Kai von Fintel (Semantics & Pragmatics) and Lindsay Whaley (Linguistic Discovery).  Bakovic himself spoke on a range of business models that might be used to support the expenses of OA publishing, and librarians from MIT and Boston University spoke on the role of institutional repositories and the implementation of  faculty-initiated OA  policies. For more information on the panel, the panelists, slides/texts/audio from their presentations, and more on LSA’s own efforts in OA publishing, click here.

Update on Georgia State Copyright Case

The keenly watched copyright case that has pitted three academic publishers (Cambridge and Oxford University Presses and Sage)against Georgia State University has entered the appeals phase, with a flurry of filings and motions this week and more expected soon. One surprise motion has come from the U.S. Department of Justice, which has requested more time to consider filing an amicus brief either in support of the publishers or in support of neither party. The possibility that the government might weigh in triggered speculation and anxiety among some observers, including academic librarians worried that the Justice Department could sabotage educational fair use if it sides with the publishers against the university.

The case will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

In their brief, filed on Monday, the publishers argue that, if the lower court’s ruling stands, it will have implications that go far beyond Georgia State’s practices. The publishers content that e-reserves amount to course packs or anthologies of reading material. They claim Judge Evans’s decision “invites universities nationwide to accelerate the migration of course-pack creation from paper to electronic format” and to sidestep legal permission to use copyrighted content. That pattern of behavior could undercut “the efficient licensing markets that have evolved to serve the needs of academic users” which, in turn, “would threaten the ongoing ability of academic publishers to continue to create works of scholarship,” they argue.

The Association of American University Presses plans to file an amicus brief on behalf of publishers on Monday, February 4.

Stay tuned!

Welcome the Open Library of Humanities

Open access isn’t just for scientists. Opening up research is an idea that appeals to more and more humanists and social scientists, including many at UCSD. The challenge has been how those fields can support the open sharing of research, since publication in the humahities usually does not have the kind of grant funding to cover publication costs that is common in scientific publication, or the potential commercial application (and remuneration) of so much published research in the science and technology fields.

Now, a new nonprofit organization, called the Open Library of Humanities, aims to create a humanities-and-social-sciences version of the successful Public Library of Science, or PLoS, which in the past decade has established itself as a major presence in open-access, peer-reviewed scientific publishing. Like PLoS, the Open Library of Humanities, or OLH, will be peer-reviewed.

“For me, there was an itch, a frustration: Why are we always talking about science?” says Tim McCormick, one of the three founders of the new venture. “I’m sure that it has probably crossed the minds of many people, and a number of people have said to me, ‘I’ve always thought there should be a PLoS for humanities.'”

McCormick is a veteran of the publishing-and-technology worlds. Formerly a senior product manager for Stanford University’s HighWirePress, he is now a consultant with Stanford’s MediaX, which encourages tech collaborations between researchers and the business world. McCormick’s OLH co-visionaries are academics: Caroline Edwards, a lecturer in English at the University of Lincoln, in England, and Martin Paul Eve, also a lecturer in English at Lincoln who’s also a computer programmer. Both Edwards and Eve have experience editing open-access journals in their fields.

As McCormick points out, the humanities and social sciences have a sometimes underappreciated history with open access. Some of the movement’s most visible leaders come from nonscience backgrounds: Peter Suber, director of the Harvard Open Access Project, is a philosopher by training, for instance. But the sciences have the most robust mechanisms in place to encourage the open sharing of work; PLoS is an especially visible publishing option, and the now-venerable preprint repository arXiv has long been the place physicists, computer scientists, and others to go for the latest research. The cause of openness has gotten a big boost from the National Institutes of Health’s public-access policy, which requires that research supported the agency be made freely accessible via the PubMed Central repository within 12 months of publication. Researchers have petitioned the government to expand the policy to all federally backed research.

Right now, OLH is mostly a vision and a Web site, which went live only a week ago. “At this moment, we’re a project,” Edwards says. “We’ve got a loose organizational structure.” But an advisory committees has filled up quickly with an impressive roster of well-established academics. For instance, Michael Eisen, an associate professor of biology at Berkeley and a co-founder of PLoS, is on the Academic Steering & Advocacy Committee, along with David Armitage, chairman of Harvard’s history department.

The group is in serious talks with foundations to line up money—somewhere in the neighborhood of $1-to-$1.5-million to build and sustain the Web platform they’ll need, hire a staff, and work out the details, starting this summer. How will the venture be organized so that it works for different disciplines? Will it draw on existing open-access journals now sequestered in hard-to-spot niches? A robust peer-review system will be essential in order to help humanists deal with lingering uncertainty about whether open-access publishing is a good career move. As for how the platform might function, he points out that there’s an accumulated wealth of open-access publishing precedent to learn from. The OLH team has been talking informally with PLoS, drawing on its knowledge and experience.

McCormick wants to seize the moment. “I don’t really like the term ‘cognitive surplus,’ but I have the sense there’s a lot of unfulfilled idealism out there, a lot of academics living in fear,” he says. “One thing we want to do is to tap into the wish people have to do something new and better, not just fix a problem.”

–Abridged and adapted from an article by Jennifer Howard in the online Chronicle of Higher Education (1/29/13).

UCLA Copyright Lawsuit Over Streaming of Videos Dismissed–Again

A federal judge in California has for the second time thrown out a lawsuit that accused UCLA of violating copyright law by streaming videos online for student use.

Judge Consuelo B. Marshall of the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles had previously dismissed the lawsuit in October 2011, but she allowed the plaintiffs, Ambrose Video Publishing Inc. and the Association for Information Media and Equipment, a trade group, to file a second amended complaint. In a ruling issued last Tuesday, she rejected the second amended complaint.

The plaintiffs contended that UCLA had acted illegally in copying DVD’s of Shakespeare plays acquired from Ambrose and streaming them online for faculty and students to use in courses. UCLA argued that streaming the videos was permissible under the fair-use principle, which can allow reproductions for teaching, and the Teach Act, which allows limited use of copyrighted materials for online education.

In her ruling, Judge Marshall said the plaintiffs had failed to provide adequate support for their infringement claim. The ruling hinges largely on findings that the plaintiffs lacked standing and that the defendants had sovereign or qualified immunity. But in a section of the ruling, Judge Marshall also considered four factors relating to the fair-use arguments.

One of those factors weighed in favor of not finding fair use, she wrote, “because the entire works were streamed, not just portions.” But, on balance, she wrote, “the court concludes that there is, at a minimum, ambiguity as to whether defendants’ streaming constitutes fair use.” She added: “Notably, no court has considered whether streaming videos only to students enrolled in a class constitutes fair use, which reinforces the ambiguity of the law in this area.”

A lawyer for the defendants, who include the UC Regents, said the ruling was “a complete victory.” The lawyer, R. James Slaughter of Keker & Van Nest LLP, told the news service Law360 that the ruling “confirms what UCLA has long believed: that streaming previously purchased video content over its intranet for educational purposes is not a copyright violation or a violation of any contract.”

Lawyers for the plaintiffs were not immediately available for comment.

–Adapted from an article by Charles Huckabee in the November 26, 2012 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education.


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Blue Mountain Project at Princeton to Digitize 34 Arts Journals

The Princeton University Library is pleased to announce the launch of the Blue Mountain Project, an open-access digital thematic research collection of avant-garde art, music and literary periodicals (1848-1923). Drawing together rare material from Princeton’s Art, Music and Rare Books libraries, the Blue Mountain Project will provide high-quality digital images as well as full-text searching, deep indexing of content, detailed metadata and descriptive essays to a broad audience.

With generous support from the NEH, the Blue Mountain Project will make 34 titles available over the next two years. A full list of these periodicals – which are in English, German, French, Danish, Dutch, Hungarian, Czech and Russian – can be found on the Blue Mountain project page . Check this site periodically as journals are made available, follow it on Facebook ((, or subscribe to its Twitter feed (@bmtnproj) for news and updates about the project’s progress.

Scholars interested in using Blue Mountain materials are encouraged to contact the project coordinator for collaboration. A conference will be held at Princeton in Fall 2013, bringing together researchers, curators, librarians and technologists to discuss methods of research and teaching with digitized periodicals. The Blue Mountain Project can be reached at: .

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