Our Library is thrilled to have digitized some unique materials from 1923 and shared them with the world for Public Domain Day 2019. We thought we’d dig deeper here on the Office of Scholarly Communication Services blog about why we were able to do all this without infringing anyone’s copyright.
Grab your popcorn, because here we go!
What is copyright, and what’s the public domain?
Despite seeming daunting at times, at its core, copyright is surprisingly straightforward: Copyright laws give authors of expressive works (imagine: paintings, musical scores, essays, articles, novels, screenplays, and the like) exclusive rights over their creations for limited periods of time. Unless some exception applies (we’ll say more below), the person or entity who holds copyright is the only one who can publish, reproduce, adapt, perform, or display that creative work for as long as the copyright protection lasts. Providing authors and artists these exclusive rights is intended as a reward system to encourage them to write and make things. But, these rights do not last indefinitely because perpetual protection would stymie innovation–since other scholars and artists would not be able to build upon the existing works.
This time-limited incentive framework originated from Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which empowered Congress to create laws meant promote the “progress of science,” which they intended broadly). The copyright laws that Congress subsequently created grant authors what is often referred to as a “bundle” of time-limited exclusive rights. There are some important exceptions to an author’s exclusive rights, such as fair use–which is intended to promote scholarship and research by allowing otherwise-protected uses of a copyrighted work.
You can begin to see that if a scholar is writing a book or article that reproduces or adapts someone else’s creation, the scholar may need the copyright holder’s permission if the work is still protected, and the scholar’s intended use exceeds what’s considered “fair” (a target sometimes hard to nail down).
A key point in this reward framework is that copyright protection does expire–and when it does, the works enters what is called the “public domain.” Public domain works can be used by anyone for any purpose, without having to ask the author’s permission first. When materials enter the public domain, suddenly it becomes possible to adapt or excerpt them in any fashion without worrying about whether one’s use falls within the fair use exception, or whether the author’s permission is needed.
With an entire year’s worth of U.S publications now entering the public domain, scholars and artists have a rich new crop of unrestricted content with which to play.
How long does copyright last?
What is so special about 1923, and why is it the magic number right now for the public domain? In 1998, Congress amended the copyright laws such that many works published from 1923 through 1977 received an extended grant of copyright protection for 95 years from the date of their creation. When the clock struck January 1st, 2019, those 95 years were up for anything published in the United States in 1923. Now, and for the next few decades unless Congress changes the laws again, each time we mark a January 1st, a new year’s worth of once-copyrighted material will enter the public domain.
This January 1st public domain extravaganza will not carry on indefinitely, though. For many U.S. works created after 1977, the length of copyright protection is actually the author’s lifetime plus 70 years–rather than a set 95-year period. That means, to determine the public domain status of a work written in, say, 1985, someone would need to investigate whether the author is still alive and, if not, whether 70 years have transpired since her death. (The period is even longer for corporate-authored works.)
Complicating matters even further is the fact that there are many publications published between 1923 and 1977 that are already in the public domain, even though 95 years have not yet transpired since their creation. This is because certain procedural requirements applied during that time period that obligated authors to take extra steps to either receive or extend their copyright protection. Here’s an illustration: Imagine two authors each wrote an autobiography in 1977. One of those autobiographies is still protected by copyright, but the other is already in the public domain because the writer failed to publish it with a copyright notice (sometimes designated as “©”), which was a formality required at the time. These days, copyright protection applies automatically, and it is not necessary to include a copyright notice on one’s work or register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office to receive protection.
In fact, some of the items we digitized for our Public Domain Day project were technically already in the public domain! We could have digitized them earlier, but it’s actually quite challenging for individual libraries to research the registration and formalities compliance of materials on an item-by-item basis. Now that it’s 2019, we can safely digitize 1923 without having to dig into each item individually. (By the way, HathiTrust, an online digital library, has been trying to distribute the work of identifying more titles from 1923-1977 that have entered the public domain. They have organized a Copyright Review Program to help spread the item-by-item labor across multiple institutions.)
Why does the public domain matter for scholars?
You can start to see that these laws regarding copyright duration can be extraordinarily complex. But, sifting through all of them can be critical for campus scholars if they wish to use or republish portions of other people’s creative works in their own scholarly writing. Fortunately, our Office of Scholarly Communication Services helps the campus navigate these nuances, as well as evaluate whether their scholarly intentions may fall within the fair use exception.
Certainly, the more material no longer protected by copyright, the clearer everything becomes for scholars seeking to use it. If writers wished to adapt those 1977 autobiographies mentioned above into a movie, or to republish large portions from them in their research, the prospect of doing so becomes a lot easier with the autobiography that has entered the public domain.
The public domain also offers another boon for scholars: More content to freely text mine.
Text mining describes a research approach in which scholars use automated methods to identify, extract, and analyze patterns and trends in large volumes of digital content. For instance, text mining techniques have made it possible for scholars like UC Berkeley’s David Bamman to extract language from novels to understand how depictions of gender have changed in fiction since the eighteenth century, or analyze the rhetoric of campaign speeches to make predictive determinations about audience response. Having more material in the public domain can help with that by removing potential copyright barriers as scholars access and republishing the text being analyzed.
Many of our campus scholars ask important questions about socio-cultural trends. Often, the content they need to study–let’s say content embedded in scientific journals–is protected by copyright. Our office helps these researchers understand that their text mining research methodologies can be fair use. However, if the researchers also want to share the content that they are analyzing with others–so that other scholars can verify the algorithms being used, or query the text for different questions–then, researchers might be pushing the limit of what is a “fair” amount of republishing or redistribution of copyright-protected text. Again, as more content enters the public domain, these barriers disappear.
We hope this Public Domain Day 2019 explainer has helped clarify the mechanics and frame the significance of what happened on Jan. 1. If you’d like to learn more or need some copyright help, be in touch!
Is it just us, or was fall semester a whirlwind? The Office of Scholarly Communication Services was steeped in a steady flurry of activity, and suddenly it’s December! We wanted to take a moment to highlight what we’ve been up to since August, and give you a preview of what’s ahead for spring.
We did the math on our affordable course content pilot program, which ran for academic year 2017-2018 and Fall 2018. This pilot supported just over 40 courses and 2400 students, and is estimated to have yielded approximately $200,000 in student savings. We’ll be working with campus on next steps for helping students save money. If you have questions about how to make your class more affordable, you can check out our site or e-mail us.
We dug deep into scholarly publishing skills with graduate students and early career researchers during our professional development workshop series. We engaged learners in issues like copyright and their dissertations, moving from dissertation to first book, and managing and maximizing scholarly impact. Publishing often isn’t complete without sharing one’s data, so we helped researchers understand how to navigate research data copyright and licensing issues at #FSCI2018.
We helped instructors and scholars publish open educational resources and digital books with PressbooksEDU on our new open books hub.
On behalf of the UC’s Council of University Librarians, we chaired and hosted the Choosing Pathways to OA working forum. The forum brought together approximately 125 representatives of libraries, consortia, and author communities throughout North America to develop personalized action plans for how we can all transition funds away from subscriptions and toward sustainable open access publishing. We will be reporting on forum outcomes in 2019. In the meantime, one immediate result was the formation of a working group to support scholarly society journal publishers in flipping their journals from closed access to open access. Stay tuned for an announcement in January.
We funded dozens of Open Access publications by UC Berkeley authors through our BRII program.
We developed a novel literacies workflow for text data mining researchers. Text mining allows researchers to use automated techniques to glean trends and information from large volumes of unstructured textual sources. Researchers often perceive legal stumbling blocks to conducting this type of research, since some of the content is protected by copyright or other use restrictions. In Fall 2018, we began training the UC Berkeley community on how to navigate these challenges so that they can confidently undertake this important research. We’ll have a lot more to say about our work on this soon!
Next semester, we’re continuing all of these efforts with a variety of scholarly publishing workshops. We invite you to check out: Copyright & Fair Use for Digital Projects, Text Data Mining & Publishing: Legal Literacies, Copyright for Wikipedia Editing, and more.
We would like to thank Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, for their generous support in helping to make the work of the Office of Scholarly Communication Services possible.
Lastly, we’d like to thank all of you for your engagement and support this semester! Please let us know how else we can serve you. In the meantime, we wish you a Happy New Year!
We’re more than a month into the fall semester, and if you’re a graduate student or postdoc you’ve probably been thinking about some of the milestones on your horizon, from filing your thesis or dissertation to pitching your first book project or looking for a job.
While we can’t write your dissertation or submit your job application for you, the Library can help in other ways! We are collaborating with GradPro in October to offer a series of professional development workshops for grad students, postdocs, and other early career scholars to guide you through important decisions and tasks in the research and publishing process, from preparing your dissertation to building a global audience for your work.
- October 23: Copyright and Your Dissertation
- October 24: From Dissertation to Book: Navigating the Publication Process
- October 26: Managing and Maximizing Your Scholarly Impact
Similar to a workshop series we offered last year, these sessions are focused on helping early career researchers develop real-world scholarly publishing skills and apply this expertise to a more open, networked, and interdisciplinary publishing environment.
These October workshops are also taking place during Open Access Week 2018, an annual global effort to bring attention to Open Access around the world and highlight how the free, immediate, online availability of scholarship can remove barriers to information, support emerging scholarship, and foster the spread of knowledge and innovation.
Below is the list of next month’s workshop offerings. Join us for one workshop or all three! Each session will take place from 1:00 to 2:30 pm at the Graduate Professional Development Center, 309 Sproul Hall. Please RSVP at the links below.
Light refreshments will be served at all workshops.
If you have any questions about these workshops, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you can’t make it to a workshop but still need help with your publishing, we are always here to help!
Tuesday, October 23 | 1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
This workshop will provide you with a practical workflow for navigating copyright questions and legal considerations for your dissertation or thesis. Whether you’re just starting to write or you’re getting ready to file, you can use this workflow to figure out what you can use, what rights you have, and what it means to share your dissertation online.
Wednesday, October 24 | 1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Hear from a panel of experts – an acquisitions editor, a first-time author, and an author rights expert – about the process of turning your dissertation into a book. You’ll come away from this panel discussion with practical advice about revising your dissertation, writing a book proposal, approaching editors, signing your first contract, and navigating the peer review and publication process.
Friday, October 26 | 1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
This workshop will provide you with practical strategies and tips for promoting your scholarship, increasing your citations, and monitoring your success. You’ll also learn how to understand metrics, use scholarly networking tools, evaluate journals and publishing options, and take advantage of funding opportunities for Open Access scholarship.
Fall (for those of us in the northern hemisphere) has come early to Berkeley! Classes have been in full swing since August 22, and here at the Office of Scholarly Communication Services we’re staying busy as usual as we prepare to roll out workshops, events, projects, and other services this semester. We are especially excited about:
- Running another installment of our popular Pressbooks workshop to showcase how our openbooks.berkeley.edu publishing platform can be used to create your own textbook or digital project.
- Hosting a series of publishing workshops for graduate students, featuring sessions about copyright and your dissertation, revising your dissertation and navigating the publication process for your first book, and maximizing the impact of your scholarship.
- Hosting the Choosing Pathways to OA forum on behalf of the UC Libraries, in which library and consortia leaders and key academic stakeholders representing 80+ institutions, 27 states, and 4 Canadian provinces, will come together to work on action plans to advance a large-scale transition to Open Access.
If you’re new to campus, here’s a quick reminder of what the Office of Scholarly Communication Services can help you do:
- Understand copyright basics and what they mean when you’re in the classroom, putting material on bCourses, filing your thesis or dissertation, publishing an article or book, or doing text or data mining.
- Find low- or no-cost textbooks and other course materials
- Navigate the publishing process
- Get funding to publish your work open access
- And more!
Want to learn more?
This piece is cross-posted on the University of California Office of Scholarly Communication blog.
A Call to Action
On June 21, the University of California’s Systemwide Library and Scholarly Information Advisory Committee (SLASIAC) issued a Call to Action in which they announced their intent to embark on a new phase of activity in journal negotiations focused on open access (OA) to research. The Call to Action appeared alongside discussion of another recently-released University of California document, the Declaration of Rights and Principles to Transform Scholarly Communication, put forth by our system-wide faculty senate library committee (UCOLASC) and intended to guide our libraries toward OA when negotiating with publishers.
There are twin challenges underlying SLASIAC’s Call to Action, and UCOLASC’s Declaration of Rights and Principles: On the one hand, determining how to maintain subscriptions to scholarly journals in a context of escalating subscription costs and shrinking collections budgets, and on the other, pursuing the moral imperative of achieving a truly open scholarly communication system in which the UC’s vast research output is available and accessible to the world. The UC libraries have been working to address these dual needs, and we wish to highlight here some of the efforts our libraries have undertaken in this regard — particularly those in which we are working in concert.
UC Libraries’ Pathways to Open Access
In February 2018, through the release of the Pathways to Open Access toolkit (“Pathways”), UC Libraries identified and analyzed the panoply of possible strategies for directing funds away from paywalled subscription models and toward OA publishing. Pathways takes an impartial approach to analyzing the menu of strategies in order to help each individual campus evaluate which option(s) best serve their goals as they work to shift funds away from subscriptions. It also considers implications for cooperative investment in the various strategies it sets forth.
The possible next steps suggested in Pathways are manifold, including:
- Identifying and engaging with disciplines for flipping their journals to OA
- Exploring memberships and crowd-funding
- Examining opportunities to leverage eScholarship as a publishing platform
- Exploring commitment to open scholarly publishing infrastructure
- Pursuing transitional offsetting agreements, in which current subscription spends help cover open article processing charges for hybrid journals—and potentially backing up offsetting negotiations with cancellations for publishers who refuse to engage
We have already announced intentions to pursue at least one collaborative experiment: to undertake a limited number of offsetting pilots—a transitional strategy to OA that caps institutional spending on a publisher’s subscription package while centrally administering and subsidizing the cost of hybrid article processing charges against a total agreed-upon spend—such that the net effect transitions spending away from subscriptions and toward OA article publication, without higher institutional costs.
Notably, the University of California libraries are aligned around common goals and approaches to achieving a transition to Open Access, but also are responsive to campus-specific needs and priorities. No matter which individual strategies our campuses pursue, we remain committed to the shared goal of collectively redirecting our funds away from subscriptions and toward open access publishing.
Taking the Pathways Journey
The University of California is not alone in the choices it faces with respect to accelerating a transition to open access. In ways both similar to and distinct from what we are experiencing, institutions and scholarly communities around the world are wrestling with their own questions and options as they envision what their pathways to OA might entail. North America has a particularly crucial role to play in the worldwide transition effort, given the size of its publishing output and amount of subscription revenue that it contributes. We do not believe any single actionable OA strategy would suit all North American institutions, let alone all author communities. Instead, we hope to leverage the Pathways toolkit to help authors, research libraries, and organizations make their own choices based on their own communities’ needs.
In acknowledgment of both the great potential for collaborative transformation, and the great divergence of perspectives and requirements for achieving such a transformation, the University of California Libraries are organizing a working forum to provide a dedicated time and space for North American library leaders and key academic stakeholders to use Pathways as a foundation to discuss and design what their own next steps toward open access might look like.
October’s working forum, aptly titled Choosing Pathways to Open Access, will be based on a design thinking model to cultivate discourse and a solutions-based approach. The goal is to facilitate participants’ abilities to understand and assess which OA strategies might be appropriate for repurposing spends at their own institutions, to engage participants in exploring insights shared by others about the implications of implementing those strategies, and to support participants in outlining or developing their own action plans for their institution or author community.
The forum, free of charge to attend, will not include presentations in the traditional sense, but instead will engage facilitators to help guide discussions on given OA publishing strategies. This overall information-sharing and discussion-centered format strives to achieve a balance between deeper engagement with OA strategies and meaningful opportunities to determine next steps—including through alignment or partnership with similarly-interested institutions or communities.
Choosing Pathways to OA aims to give voice to strategies within all OA approaches, with the understanding that each institution or author group might wish to support a range of strategies and approaches as appropriate for their communities and in alignment with their respective goals. While institutions and communities may settle on different investment strategies, the reflection and decision-making process are both crucial and timely.
Happy May, everyone! Now that the spring semester has drawn to a close, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the past few months and look ahead to the summer and fall. It’s been a busy time for the Office of Scholarly Communication Services. Here are some highlights.
Maria Gould (that’s me!) joined the Office of Scholarly Communication Services in January as the new Scholarly Communication and Copyright Librarian. Hello, all!
We launched openbooks.berkeley.edu, an exciting new platform – and the first of its kind in the US – to provide self-publishing services to the entire UC Berkeley campus for creation of online textbooks and other digital projects.
We released the Pathways to OA toolkit in collaboration with fellow UC libraries to analyze approaches and strategies toward achieving a large-scale transition to a more open and sustainable scholarly publishing system. To enable other institutions to make similar decisions responsive to their own needs, we’re chairing a working forum on the Berkeley campus in October to collaborate with North American libraries in transforming the scholarly publishing system.
We wrapped up the second semester of a multifaceted pilot program to make textbooks and other course materials more affordable for students. Stay tuned for our forthcoming report detailing the extensive student savings to date! We are pleased to announce that we’ll be running these services again in Fall 2018. If you’d like to save students money and develop innovative pedagogy, please complete this form to participate.
We funded dozens of Open Access publications by UC Berkeley authors through our BRII program.
We put on a scholarly publishing symposium for graduate students, and we offered numerous workshops and consultations for groups all around campus on a wide range of topics, including copyright and fair use, text and data mining, scientific publishing, open access, and more.
Over the summer and heading into the fall, we’ll be continuing to deepen and further develop our service offerings for campus in the areas of copyright guidance, publishing support, and course content affordability, among others.
Thank you for your engagement and support this semester! Please let us know how else we can serve you, and stay tuned for more to come throughout the year.
Today, all ten University of California campus libraries released a Pathways to Open Access toolkit to help research libraries and organizations around the world make the same kinds of difficult decisions that we’ve been undertaking about repurposing campus subscription spends to support sustainable open access publishing.
“Essentially no research institutions in the world,” says UC Berkeley University Librarian Jeffrey MacKie-Mason, “can afford to provide their scholars with access to the full corpus of scholarly literature being produced and then sequestered behind increasingly out-of-reach subscription paywalls that yield major academic publishers a nearly 40 percent profit margin.”
In the Pathways documents, linked below, the campus libraries critically analyzed different open access publishing models, as well as the various funding and other strategies to achieve them, and then developed a set of possible next steps as to which UC libraries could partner or experiment. The libraries hope this toolkit will be equally valuable to other institutions wrestling with how to make strides in moving away from a closed-access publishing landscape.
You can read more about the toolkit here: http://news.lib.berkeley.edu/pathways-to-open-access
- Pathways to OA: Executive Summary https://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/groups/files/about/docs/UC-Libraries-Pathways%20to%20OA-Executive%20Summary.pdf
- Pathways to OA: Full Report https://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/groups/files/about/docs/UC-Libraries-Pathways%20to%20OA-Report.pdf
- Pathways to OA: Chart https://libraries.universityofcalifornia.edu/groups/files/about/docs/UC-Libraries-Pathways%20to%20OA-Chart.pdf
With any questions, please contact email@example.com.
The Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services is thrilled to announce that Maria Gould has joined as our new Scholarly Communication & Copyright Librarian. Maria started on January 16, and has already begun helping scholars on this campus and beyond in shaping their scholarly publishing skills and publishing impact.
While Maria is new to this position, she is not new to UC Berkeley—having received her MA in Latin American Studies in 2011. Maria also obtained her MLIS from the Simmons School of Library and Information Science, and completed an internship at Bancroft Library while pursuing her degree.
Maria’s substantial scholarly publishing experience makes her an incredibly valuable resource for campus researchers. Prior to joining the Library, Maria worked for PLOS (Public Library of Science) for six years, where, among other projects, she was responsible for developing staff training and resources, updating and maintaining policy guidance and system instructions for authors and peer reviewers, and supporting outreach and engagement initiatives for editorial board members and the reviewer community.
Already in just her first month at the Library, she has helped shepherd our work in support of open digital scholarship and affordable course content. With this warm welcome to her, we hope you will reach out to all of us in the Office of Scholarly Communication Services for your publishing needs. We can help with:
- Copyright in research, publishing & teaching
- Authors’ rights, and protecting & managing your intellectual property
- Scholarly publishing options and platforms
- Open access for scholarship and research data
- Affordable and open course content
- Tracking & increasing scholarly impact
Want help or more information? We provide:
- Individualized support & personal consultations
- In-class and online instruction
- Presentations and workshops for small or large groups & classes
- Customized support and training for each department and discipline
- Online guidance and resources
Learn more at: lib.berkeley.edu/scholcomm
Keep up to date: @UCB_scholcomm
150 years following its founding in 1869, the University of California is regarded by many as the most successful and highly-respected public research university in the world. In his new book, Judson King, former Berkeley and University of California Provost and former CSHE director, explores the most important factors for this academic success, and what makes UC tick. What’s more, he’s made his insightful analysis available to the world by publishing his book open access.
Please join Judson King, Chancellor Carol T. Christ, University Librarian Jeff MacKie-Mason, and CSHE administration for a special event and reception delving into the academic history of the University of California, and examining how best it can be shared to inspire global institutional development.
- Discussion of The University of California: Creating, Nurturing, and Maintaining Academic Quality in a Public University Setting
- February 28, 2018, at the Morrison Library from 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
- Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served
- RSVP required
This event is co-sponsored by the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services and the Center for Studies in Higher Education. It is also offered in connection with Berkeley’s celebration of 150 Years of Light.
Publish Digital Books and Open Textbooks with Pressbooks
Tuesday, Feb. 20, 1:10 – 2:30 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle Hall 117 (Level D)
The workshop is open to all students, faculty, and staff. Feel free to come with a project idea in mind, and please bring a laptop if possible.
On February 20, the Office of Scholarly Communication Services is offering a hands-on workshop to introduce students, faculty, and staff to Pressbooks, a free, easy, and elegant self-publishing platform that anyone can use to create a digital book (or any other online resource) in minutes. This workshop is offered as part of the Library’s ongoing efforts to support and promote the creation and use of open and affordable course materials on campus (read more about our course affordability pilot programs, events, and workshops).
Do you have material you’ve been wanting to publish online, but aren’t sure how to get started or what tool to use? Come to our workshop to see Pressbooks in action and start working on your own project. By the end of the workshop, you can have a beautiful book published online! Working on a non-book project? You can also use Pressbooks to publish a chapter, white paper, toolkit, or other online resource.
Pressbooks is simple to use and infinitely flexible for a variety of projects, from creating a course textbook to publishing your own chapter- or module-length work. Quickly becoming the preferred tool for educators and writers publishing open books and other content, Pressbooks offers numerous features to support open access and accessibility.
Here are some highlights of what we like about Pressbooks and why we think the platform will be an exciting tool for students, faculty, and staff working on digital projects:
- Easy to use. No design or developer skills required. If you’ve ever used WordPress, you’ll feel right at home.
- Professional design. Choose from dozens of templates and themes that create professional-looking and customizable digital books.
- Immediate and continuous publishing. Publish in minutes, and make changes or edits easily as you go.
- Flexible licensing. License your work with any number of Creative Commons options. You can use the same license for the whole work or apply different licenses for different chapters or sections.
- Accessibility. Pressbooks features and outputs are designed to support accessibility. Pressbooks is committed to making its code and user interface comply with WCAG 2.0 (level AA) standards within 2018, and it is developing tools to help authors maximize the accessibility of published work.
- Collaboration. Give a co-author access to your project, and use Hypothes.is to add or enable annotations.
- Free! Anyone can create an account at no charge.
Come to the workshop on February 20 to try out this innovative platform and kickstart your digital project. In the meantime, if you’re curious about what Pressbooks publications look like, or what else the platform can do, check out how other institutions are using Pressbooks, browse the book examples created at eCampusOntario, and see an open module recently published at UC Berkeley. The Library will also soon have a campus portal just for UC Berkeley-affiliated books, where you can showcase your work and view others’ projects.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.