As part of Open Access Week, “a global event, now in its 6th year, promoting Open Access as a new norm in scholarship and research,” I attended an event held by the librarians at the University at Albany and co-sponsored by the Eastern New York Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ENY/ACRL). The mini-conference speakers explored a variety of issues surrounding open access to information, “the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research, and the right to use and re-use those results as needed.” Below, I outline the major points made by each speaker, many of which we should examine as we move toward an open access model and discuss the possible implementation of an institutional repository.
MLA Has Changed Its Author Agreements (But Why Do I Care?) – Lily Shafer
On June 5, 2012, the Modern Languages Association (MLA) revised its author agreements to follow the ‘green model’ of open access (OA) in which authors retain copyright and can deposit materials in open-access repositories as well as on departmental websites and the like at the time of publication in any of its journals, including its flagship publication, PMLA. This is a major shift in policy for a humanities organization. Whereas “requirements from federal agencies and other funders have many times forced STEM journals to permit authors to post their papers in repositories that have no paywall,” far less research in the humanities results directly from grants, a reality which has left the humanities more leeway and a resulting slowness to embrace OA (Jaschik).
Open Source and Open Access – Christopher Koftila
Open source software/programming is free in three senses of the word:
- “Free beer!” – open source software is free of charge
- “Free speech!” – users are free to modify and/or improve open source software
- “Free kittens!” – open source software is free of warranty and support; adopt it at your own peril
It is not, however, free to produce. So why do programmers do it? They feel compelled because “creation is addictive” as is the problem-solving nature of programming.
Advantages of open institutional repositories:
- Collaboration, cross-disciplinary work, unexpected partners as a result of exposure
- Support and retention
- Multiple formats
- Cost reduction
- Better access
- Higher citation rates; “bound periodicals do not circulate”
Obstacles to open institutional repositories:
- Lack of awareness
- Fear of cost (e.g., dollars + time + maintenance)
- Lack of models, policies
- Authors claim “no time” to learn new process
- Outdated tenure requirements discourage publishing in IRs
- View of IRs as nonscholarly
Suggestions to institutions and authors:
- Demonstrate the value of IRs
- Address fears
- Make distinctions between IRs and OA, between peer-reviewed OA and non-peer-reviewed OA
- Develop policy simultaneously with repository
- Tailor to specific community needs
- Gain campus support (e.g., ILL, copyright, research groups like IMTL)
- Make voluntary
- Extend to students
- Ongoing promotion, “tell everyone!”
Preservation and Research Data at Binghamton University Libraries – Edward Corrado
Certain data should be freely available. Preservation of open research data at Binghamton University Libraries involved: not just the data, but the context for it; the burden of preparing the data for preservation; 3-4 days work to get data into the OA archive; and, dedicated campus data managers (librarians, subject specialists, and IT staff).
Issues identified in the preservation of open research data include:
- funding (staff, hardware, etc)
- multiple file formats
- bit rot (eventual decay/failure of storage media, such as hard drive failure)
- lack of standard procedures
- should be standards based to simplify inevitable migration to new system
- numerous policy decisions required
- lack of documentation
- metadata maintenance (matching correct metadata with correct project)
- specialized software requirements
- recording provenance of data
- metadata may contain confidential and/or legally protected info:
- would librarians/IT staff/campus data managers require human subjects/IRB approval?
- would we need separate discovery mechanisms?
- would we require protected servers?
Jaschik, S. (2012, June). MLA shift on copyright. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/06/06/mla-embraces-open-access-writer-agreements-journals#ixzz2EDJ1eEdW
Suber, P. (2012, December). Open access overview. Retrieved from http://legacy.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/overview.htm