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).

Publishing in the 21st Century

On February 12, 2013, from 3:30-5:00 pm, Martin Frank, Executive Director of the American Physiological Society, will talk about “Publishing in the 21st Century” in the Seuss Room at Geisel Library.

Since the founding of Philosophical Transactions in 1665, journals have been the vehicle of choice for the dissemination of scientific knowledge.  Since that time, the number of active, peer-reviewed learned journals has expanded to approximately 28,000, collectively publishing over 1.8 million articles per year.  Of these, most are accessible via subscription and prior to the mid-1990s were only available on paper.  By the end of the 20th Century, most journals had moved their content to online platforms greatly increasing accessibility to scientific information.

Online dissemination served as the impetus for the open access (OA) movement and the call for free dissemination of the information contained in journals.  OA advocates adopted the words of Stewart Brand to develop their slogan, “Information wants to be free.”  They promoted their cause to legislative bodies by claiming, “The taxpayer paid for it, so the taxpayer shouldn’t have to pay again to read the content.”  The question is what has the taxpayer paid for and can information dissemination truly be free.

Martin Frank, Ph.D. has been the Executive Director of the American Physiological Society, Bethesda, MD since 1985.  In 2004, he helped found the Washington DC Principles Coalition for Free Access to Science, a Coalition that represents approximately 70 not-for-profit society and university press publishers.  Frank received his Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1973 working under Dr. William W. Sleator.  He served as a research associate in the Cellular Physiology Laboratory, Michigan Cancer Foundation, Detroit, and in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Michigan State University, East Lansing.  In 1975, he joined the Department of Physiology, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, as an assistant professor.  From 1978-1985, he served as the Executive Secretary, Physiology Study Section, Division of Research Grants, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD.  From 1983-1985, he was a Member, Senior Executive Service Candidate Development Program, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Washington, DC.  As part of the program, he served as a policy analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health, DHHS.

This talk is co-sponsored by The Center for the Humanities, The Library, and the Office of Graduate Studies and is another in a series of talks about the evolution of scholarly communication.  A reception will follow the talk at 5:00 pm.



Categories: events

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 ((www.facebook.com/BlueMountainProject), 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: bluemntn@princeton.edu .

Authors Guild to Appeal HathiTrust Ruling

According to an article in today’s Publishers’ Weekly, the Authors Guilde announced its decision to appeal in a court filing late last week. A federal judge last month threw out the authors’ argument that HathiTrust Digital Library and its university partners had violated copyright law by scanning books and making them available for certain uses, a decision that observers hailed as a big victory for the principle of fair use.
Although few details were available at PW’s press time, it isn’t hard to imagine on what parts of the decision the Guild appeal might hinge: in a statement issued at the time of the decision, the Authors Guild said they “disagree with nearly every aspect of the court’s ruling.”

Comment on Proposed UC Systemwide Policy on Open Access

As announced today, Lisa Lampert-Weissig, chair of the UCSD Senate Committee on the Library, is gathering comments and discussion on a new policy on Open Access in Scholarly Communication that has been proposed by the systemwide University Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication (UCOLASC). This policy has significant implications for research, publishing, and teaching. A link to the proposed policy, background documents, as well as links to the UCSD campus Committee on Library’s response, can be found at http://senate.ucsd.edu/committees/library/oa.htm.

Feedback on the proposed policy can be viewed and submitted through the on-line discussion forum at https://senate.ucsd.edu forum through Friday, November 9th.


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UC San Diego Open Access Fund (Pilot)

Beginning this week, Open Access Week 2012, University of California campuses are launching a pilot open access fund for scholarly articles. This fund will help offset open access publishing charges for authors who do not have grant funds available to cover them. 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), and has a cap of one article per author per year.

The California Digital Library (CDL) and UC campuses are providing the funds in order to support UC researchers interested in reshaping models of scholarly publishing. The chief goals of the program include fostering greater dissemination of the work of University of California scholars and encouraging greater awareness of authors’ rights. Campuses will track how the funds are spent, and the success and sustainability of the pilot will be evaluated after 12-18 months.

Additional details, as well as the application form, are located at http://ucsd.libguides.com/openaccess.


Coming up soon:  On November 1, 2012, Stuart Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, will discuss “Two problems in scholarly communication, and how to solve them.”  The talk will take place in the Seuss Room at Geisel Library at UC San Diego, and will last from 3:30-5:00 pm with a reception following from 5:00-6:00 pm.  This talk is being co- sponsored by the UC San Diego Center for the Humanities.

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In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) articulated the basic tenets of Open Access (OA) for the first time. Since then, thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the OA core components related to: readership; reuse; copyright; posting; and machine readability. It’s time to move the conversation beyond the deceptively simple question of, “Is It Open Access?” toward a more productive evaluation of “How Open Is It?”

PLOS, SPARC and OASPA have collaborated to create a guide called “HowOpenIsIt?” that identifies the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access.” This resource outlines the core components of open access (e.g., reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights, author posting rights, etc.) across the continuum from “open access” to “restricted access.”  Its aim is to help authors make informed decisions on where to publish based on journal policies. It also provides a resource for funders and other organizations to help establish criteria for the level of Open Access required for their policies and mandates.


We hope that you find this guide useful — and that you pass it along.

Happy Open Access Week (October 22-28, 2012)!


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Linguistics Society of America to Move Publications to OA Framework

The Executive Committee of the Linguistics Society of America  (LSA) announced today that it will “significantly expand” the content and accessibility of its principal journal, Language,  by publishing new digital content under an Open Access framework. Among the chief components of LSA’s new publications policy are the following: 

  •  All content published in Language (both print and digital) will be made freely available on the new LSA website after a one-year embargo period.
  • Authors who wish to have their content available immediately, either on the Language site or on other websites, may pay a $400 article processing fee to do so.
  • The contents of Language will continue to be immediately available to subscribers of Project Muse.  (The UCSD community may directly access issues since 2001 of  Language. Contents of the journal from its beginning in 1925 up through 5 years ago are available to the UCSD community in JSTOR.)

LSA will also be hosting a session on OA at its January 2013 national conference in Boston, held jointly with the Modern Language Association of America. The session is being co-organized by UCSD Associate Professor of Linguistics Eric Bakovic.

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