Copyright, Scholarship, and the Case for Open Access:
Conference on the Intellectual Commons
Follow Up Meeting on University Intellectual Commons Issues
Dear University of Maine System Faculty,
On November 20, approximately one hundred of your peers spent the day at a "Conference on the Intellectual Commons" at the University of Maine. The Conference began to address the pressing issue of how to expand access to scholarly literature at a time when spiraling journal costs and restrictive license terms are reducing our campuses ability to provide students and faculty with the full range of scholarly materials they need for learning and research. See the agenda at http://library.umaine.edu/COIC/
In the final session, recommendations for actions the university community should pursue were raised and discussed. ~Many of the suggested actions, if implemented, could affect you directly and, hopefully, positively.
Participants in the conference called for a follow-on meeting to discuss which actions should be pursued as priorities and how they might be implemented. The planned meeting will focus on those activities listed under the heading of Potential Actions by University Campuses or the System in the material provided below. It is envisioned that such actions may be pursued through ad hoc committees, existing or new committees of the administration, or faculty senates on the respective campuses. Additionally, some actions might be pursued at the system administration and/or Board of Trustees level.
You are cordially invited to attend. Alternatively, send a representative of those with whom you work most closely.
What: Establishing a Practical Commons for the University of Maine
We look forward to seeing you.
What are the specific actions or steps that University of Maine System communities might take to create a working commons for the output of our faculty, students, and researchers?
The following is a selected initial list of actions raised during the Conference on the Intellectual Commons (http://library/umaine.edu/COIC) held on November 20, 2004. The list is intended to serve as a basis for further discussion and potential action by University of Maine System communities.
We should acknowledge that:
Potential Actions by Individual Professors
(1) Use Creative Commons and similar "some rights reserved" licenses with your web sites, articles, audio, video, and other digital works whenever possible so that others are put on notice that they may use your work legally for many purposes without asking your further permission.
(2) Always publish in open access journals as your highest priority. When asked to referee a paper or serve on the editorial board for an open access journal, accept the invitation. When asked to referee a paper or serve on the editorial board for a toll-access journal, consider declining and explaining why.
(3) Seventy percent of all academic journals now allow authors to post a copy of the final refereed article on a personal website or in a non-commercial institutional repository. Always publish in these academic journals as the next highest priority. Then take advantage of the journal's permission to deposit the final version of your article in the UMaine repository with its accompanying cataloging and long-term preservation benefits. (Before the UMaine repository is up and running, post the final version of your article to your personal web site.)
(4) In journals that don't follow the above approaches, always ask to retain copyright and transfer only the right of first print and electronic publication. If the journal refuses, then ask to retain the right to deposit the final refereed version of your article in an open-access repository. Some but not all publishers will eventually cede to your persistent requests.
(5) If publishing in an open access journal or a journal that allows personal or institutional posting is impossible, deposit your scholarly work in an electronic institutional or discipline depository prior to submitting it so that at least pre-prints are openly available. At the very least, place your preprint on your own web site and maintain it as an accessible link.
(6) Teaching materials: Assign only supplemental readings that are openly available on the web. Make your own class syllabi, class slides, lecture notes, reading and homework assignments, tutorial materials, textbooks, and audio and video recordings of class sessions available on the open web.
Potential Actions by University Campuses or the System
(1) Clearly redefine the mission statements of the University of Maine
and the University of Maine System to stress that our core institutional
missions are to:
(2) Create a library-based digital repository in support of the core missions for the creative scholarly output of faculty, researchers and students that provides expanded accessibility and long-term preservation. (Institutional Repository)
(3) Use the Internet to provide access to the primary materials of university teaching and scholarship to students, faculty, staff and other learners anywhere in the world, at any time, for free. (Open Course Ware Website - Use should be optional by faculty but such use should be encouraged institutionally).
(4) Create an institutional policy that ensures that copyright clearly resides with creators and encourages those creators to place their works in the public domain or open access licensing environments. (Already accomplished for UMS although updating of the language of the policy would be appropriate. See Appendix A below)
(5) Change the reporting systems of the University of Maine System
campuses to provide incentives for all scholars to make their works
more globally available. This might be done by systematically changing
all applications for promotion and tenure and all applications for
teaching, research, public service and other honorary awards so that:
(6) Go further - Pass a formal university policy stating that publications
that are not legally available within an openly accessible archive
within six months of publication
(7) Help professors and students to overcome publisher copyright release demands by providing an official university policy statement that may be attached and made a part of all submissions to publication outlets. (e.g. SPARC statement)
(8) Help enable professors and researchers to make their works more globally available by providing a range of opportunities (short-courses, forums, workshops) within the normal offerings of the university that show those that need help how to create open access licenses and how to place articles, datasets, theses and teaching materials into long-term institutional or disciplinary depositories including the completion of cataloging information or metadata when appropriate. Alternatively, provide an open access licensing, cataloging and archiving service for the scholarly products of the university.
For further suggested actions that individual faculty or academic institutions might consider, see http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/lists.htm#do
University of Maine System Policy Manual, Section 209 Intellectual