It’s that time of year again. Students are back on campus, classes are in session, and the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services is here to help everyone hit the ground running with resources and workshops on digital publishing, copyright, and open access to research.
As usual, there’s a lot going on!
On September 25 we’re hosting a workshop on Copyright and Fair Use in Digital Projects. With pretty much everyone being a digital creator these days, the training will help you navigate copyright, fair use, and other rights related to including third-party content in your digital project. We’ll also provide an overview of what your intellectual property rights are as a creator and ways to license and share your own work too.
We’re happy to again present a series of publishing workshops to guide graduate students and postdocs on a variety of copyright, publishing, and scholarly impact issues. On October 22 we’ll be talking about copyright questions and legal considerations for your dissertation or thesis. October 23 we’re hosting a panel discussion on how to navigate the publication process from dissertation to first book. The event will include discussion from a university press acquisitions editor, a first-time book author, and an author rights expert. And October 25 we’re wrapping up the week with a workshop that will provide participants with practical strategies and tips for promoting your scholarship, increasing citations, and understanding scholarly reach and metrics.
There are lots of ways the Office of Scholarly Communication Services is here to help faculty, students, and staff. A quick rundown:
- Check out our website which has helpful information on a variety of topics, including copyright and fair use, the scholarly publishing lifecycle and sharing research data, UC’s Open Access Policy and OA funding opportunities, and much more.
- Interested in creating an open digital textbook? Take a look at UC Berkeley’s Open Book Publishing platform (anyone with a Berkeley email can signup for a free account), and get in touch with us about our Open Educational Resources (OER) grant program.
- Keep an eye on our events calendar for more workshops and trainings.
- Follow our blog and social media.
Want help or more information? Send us an email. We can provide individualized support and personal consultations, in-class and online instruction, presentations and workshops for small or large groups & classes, and customized support and training for departments and disciplines.
We are thrilled to share that the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $165,000 grant to a UC Berkeley-led team of legal experts, librarians, and scholars who will help humanities researchers and staff navigate complex legal questions in cutting-edge digital research.
What is this grant all about?
If you were to crack open some popular English-language novels written in the 1850’s–say, ones from Brontë, Hawthorne, Dickens, and Melville–you would find they describe men and women in very different terms. While a male character might be said to “get” something, a female character is more likely to have “felt” it. Whereas the word “mind” might be used when describing a man, the word “heart” is more likely to be used about a woman. Yet, as the 19th Century became the 20th, these descriptive differences between genders actually diminish. How do we know all this? We confess we have not actually read every novel ever written between the 19th and 21st Centuries (though we’d love to envision a world in which we could). Instead, we can make this assertion because researchers (including David Bamman, of UC Berkeley’s School of Information) used automated techniques to extract information from the novels, and analyzed these word usage trends at scale. They crafted algorithms to turn the language of those novels into data about the novels.
In fields of inquiry like the digital humanities, the application of such automated techniques and methods for identifying, extracting, and analyzing patterns, trends, and relationships across large volumes of unstructured or thinly-structured digital content is called “text data mining.” (You may also see it referred to as “text and data mining” or “computational text analysis”). Text data mining provides humanists and social scientists with invaluable frameworks for sifting, organizing, and analyzing vast amounts of material. For instance, these methods make it possible to:
- Detect racial disparity by evaluating language from police body camera footage;
- Develop new tools to enable large-scale analysis of television series and photographs; and
- Capture and design new physical representations of naturally occurring laughter
Until now, humanities researchers conducting text data mining have had to navigate a thicket of legal issues without much guidance or assistance. For instance, imagine the researchers needed to scrape content about Egyptian artifacts from online sites or databases, or download videos about Egyptian tomb excavations, in order to conduct their automated analysis. And then imagine the researchers also want to share these content-rich data sets with others to encourage research reproducibility or enable other researchers to query the data sets with new questions. This kind of work can raise issues of copyright, contract, and privacy law, not to mention ethics if there are issues of, say, indigenous knowledge or cultural heritage materials plausibly at risk. Indeed, in a recent study of humanities scholars’ text analysis needs, participants noted that access to and use of copyright-protected texts was a “frequent obstacle” in their ability to select appropriate texts for text data mining.
The good news is that the NEH has agreed to support an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities to help key stakeholders to learn to better navigate legal issues in text data mining. Thanks to the NEH’s $165,000 grant, Rachael Samberg of UC Berkeley Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services will be leading a national team (identified below) from more than a dozen institutions and organizations to teach humanities researchers, librarians, and research staff how to confidently navigate the major legal issues that arise in text data mining research.
Our institute is aptly called Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining (Building LLTDM), and will run from June 23-26, 2020 in Berkeley, California. Institute instructors are legal experts, humanities scholars, and librarians immersed in text data mining research services, who will co-lead experiential meeting sessions empowering participants to put the curriculum’s concepts into action.
In October, we will issue a call for participants, who will receive stipends to support their attendance. We will also be publishing all of our training materials in an openly-available online book for researchers and librarians around the globe to help build academic communities that extend these skills.
Building LLTDM team member Matthew Sag, a law professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and leading expert on copyright issues in the digital humanities, said he is “excited to have the chance to help the next generation of text data mining researchers open up new horizons in knowledge discovery. We have learned so much in the past ten years working on HathiTrust [a text-minable digital library] and related issues. I’m looking forward to sharing that knowledge and learning from others in the text data mining community.”
Team member Brandon Butler, a copyright lawyer and library policy expert at the University of Virginia, said, “In my experience there’s a lot of interest in these research methods among graduate students and early-career scholars, a population that may not feel empowered to engage in “risky” research. I’ve also seen that digital humanities practitioners have a strong commitment to equity, and they are working to build technical literacies outside the walls of elite institutions. Building legal literacies helps ease the burden of uncertainty and smooth the way toward wider, more equitable engagement with these research methods.”
Kyle K. Courtney of Harvard University serves as Copyright Advisor at Harvard Library’s Office for Scholarly Communication, and is also a Building LLTDM team member. Courtney added, “We are seeing more and more questions from scholars of all disciplines around these text data mining issues. The wealth of full-text online materials and new research tools provide scholars the opportunity to analyze large sets of data, but they also bring new challenges having to do with the use and sharing not only of the data but also of the technological tools researchers develop to study them. I am excited to join the Building LLTDM team and help clarify these issues and empower humanities scholars and librarians working in this field.”
Megan Senseney, Head of the Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship at the University of Arizona Libraries reflected on the opportunities for ongoing library engagement that extends beyond the initial institute. Senseney said that, “Establishing a shared understanding of the legal landscape for TDM is vital to supporting research in the digital humanities and developing a new suite of library services in digital scholarship. I’m honored to work and learn alongside a team of legal experts, librarians, and researchers to create this institute, and I look forward to integrating these materials into instruction and outreach initiatives at our respective universities.”
The Building LLTDM team is excited to begin supporting humanities researchers, staff, and librarians en route to important knowledge creation. Stay tuned if you are interested in participating in the institute.
In the meantime, please join us in congratulating all the members of the project team:
- Rachael G. Samberg (University of California, Berkeley) (Project Director)
- Scott Althaus (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
- David Bamman (University of California, Berkeley)
- Sara Benson (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
- Brandon Butler (University of Virginia)
- Beth Cate (Indiana University, Bloomington)
- Kyle K. Courtney (Harvard University)
- Maria Gould (California Digital Library)
- Cody Hennesy (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
- Eleanor Koehl (University of Michigan)
- Thomas Padilla (University of Nevada, Las Vegas; OCLC Research)
- Stacy Reardon (University of California, Berkeley)
- Matthew Sag (Loyola University Chicago)
- Brianna Schofield (Authors Alliance)
- Megan Senseney (University of Arizona)
- Glen Worthey (Stanford University)
On October 16-17, 2018, University of California (UC) libraries hosted a working forum in Berkeley, California, called Choosing Pathways to Open Access (CP2OA). Sponsored by the University of California’s Council of University Librarians (CoUL), the forum was designed to enable North American library and consortium leaders and key academic stakeholders to engage in action-focused deliberations about redirecting subscription and other funds toward sustainable open access (OA) publishing.
More than 120 participants arrived from more than 80 institutions, nearly 30 states, and four Canadian provinces. The goal was for everyone to leave with their own customized plans for how they will repurpose subscription spends within their home organizations or communities—and more broadly, through collective efforts, move the OA needle forward.
CP2OA was admittedly a gamble: Could library stakeholders spend two days immersed in a design thinking process, wrestling with the nitty-gritty of numerous OA funding strategies, then depart with actionable steps for making OA a reality? When CoUL approved the forum, they charged the Planning Committee (that’s us) not only with putting the forum together, but also with reporting back to them about whether this grand experiment worked. We have followed up with participants and analyzed the data, and the results are clear: Through CP2OA, the UC libraries have helped to inspire meaningful change.
With that, we hereby announce our Planning Committee’s report to CoUL analyzing forum outcomes. To keep CP2OA momentum going, our report also synthesizes forum outcomes into recommendations for further collective action by CoUL to advance OA. The report’s recommendations reflect our personal opinions as Planning Committee members, and are not an official statement by CoUL, nor should publication of this report be seen as CoUL’s endorsement of our recommendations. We are thrilled that CoUL will be considering our recommendations at its upcoming June meeting, and further note that some of our recommendations reflect efforts already underway within various UC libraries.
We encourage you to check out the full report to see why the format of CP2OA was so successful, and to learn more about everything it inspired. We also understand you may just want the highlights, so … without further ado:
CP2OA Forum Outcomes
Two months after the forum, we surveyed participants about their perceptions of the forum, and any actions they had taken as a result of having participated. Our survey response rate was approximately 48% (58 responses), and revealed the following:
- Perceptions of the forum were almost universally positive, with some participants describing the forum as “exceptional,” “highly effective,” “energizing and motivating,” and a “model for how we should be engaging professionally.” Participants found the forum structure particularly conducive to enabling action.
- Though just two months had passed between the CP2OA forum and the time when we polled participants, more than 75% of responding participants reported having taken action toward advancing open access. Fifty percent (50%) of those who took action embarked upon what we categorized as “concrete” actions—that is, express steps such as starting pilots, undertaking publishing data analyses, and negotiating with publishers. The remaining 50% undertook at a minimum conversations and outreach within or external to their libraries.
- Some examples of concrete next steps included: (1) formation of a group providing consultations and support for transitioning society publications to open access (http://www.tspoa.org); (2) first OA investment by an institution that had not yet formally engaged with OA; (3) commitment to requiring OA in upcoming license negotiations with a STEM publisher; (4) formation of OA values statements to guide institutional investment; (5) pursuit of transformative (e.g., offsetting or “read and publish”) agreements through which an institution’s publications are made OA as part of an overall subscription license agreement; (6) building OA publishing into promotion and tenure considerations; and (7) increased institutional repository deposits and outreach.
Planning Committee’s Recommendations to CoUL
In advance of considering our recommendations this summer, CoUL has already approved some right off the bat, including:
- Making available the CP2OA Planning Committee’s report and all CP2OA public-facing documentation so that other institutions can have a blueprint for replicating or tailoring CP2OA to their needs. CoUL also approved a second round of CP2OA reporting so the Planning Committee could check in on forum participants’ progress later in the year.
- Continuing CoUL’s efforts to develop a public toolkit to support other institutions seeking to engage in “big deal” (large subscription journal package) re-negotiations that include OA components, and/or to engage more generally in transformative (e.g., offsetting/read-and-publish) agreements.
In June, CoUL will be addressing the other proposals in our report, including:
- Engaging the UC academic senate with OA in promotion and tenure
- Expanding institutional staffing and support for identification and evaluation of, and decision-making relating to, OA publishing investments and transforming the scholarly publishing landscape
- Dedicating collections funds across campuses to be used for supporting OA publishing
- Funding new data analyst positions to provide further inward-facing support for data-driven OA investments by UC libraries as well as outward-facing consultative support to the community beyond UC
- Collective investment in UC Press OA publishing
- Increasing support for monograph subventions for UC authors
- Collective investment in transformative cooperatives or non-APC approaches to OA publishing
- Committing to enhancing eScholarship, including expansion of OA publishing services
- Exploring opportunities for collective investment in open source infrastructure to support OA publishing
We will keep the community updated about how CoUL responds to these recommendations, as well as any UC collective next steps.
In the meantime, we hope you will share in some of the excitement that CP2OA has generated and continue your own journeys toward helping to transform our scholarly publishing ecosystem.
Onward to open access!
- Rachael Samberg (UC Berkeley; CP2OA Co-chair)
- Donald Barclay (UC Merced)
- John Renaud (UC Irvine)
- Lisa Schiff (California Digital Library)
- Allegra Swift (UC San Diego)
- Anneliese Taylor (UCSF)
- Mat Willmott (California Digital Library)
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 email@example.com. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.