Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Revolution Begins in Academic Publishing as the Harvard Arts & Sciences Faculty Mandates Open Opt-Out Access to Faculty Publications

The biggest academic news of the year is the adoption by the Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences of a mandatory "open access" opt-out policy regarding scholarly articles published by that faculty. Via The Chronicle of Higher Education, we are blogported to the Open Access News of Peter Suber as also to Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, and his article at the Harvard Crimson, which outlined the new policy prior to the acceptance vote:

"Although this initiative is being submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, it concerns all the faculties of the University. All of them face the same problems. Harvard Medical School, for example, is working on ways to help its faculty members comply with the recent legislation by Congress mandating that all articles based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health be made openly accessible through PubMed Central, the database maintained by the National Library of Medicine.

The Harvard University Library will set up an Office for Scholarly Communication to make the open-access repository an instrument for access to research across all disciplines in the spirit of the “one-university” environment that the HOLLIS catalog now provides for holdings in all the libraries, more than 80 of them, throughout the University system. The Office for Scholarly Communication will also promote maximum cooperation by the faculty. Many repositories already exist in other universities, but they have failed to get a large proportion of faculty members to submit their articles. The deposit rate at the University of California is 14 percent, and it is much lower in most other places. By mandating copyright retention and by placing those rights in the hands of the institution running the repository, the motion will create the conditions for a high deposit rate.


What further sets Harvard’s proposal apart from the others is its opt-out provision. Whereas other repositories depend on faculty opting in by volunteering to provide digitized copies of their work, the Harvard system would have all faculty members grant a non-exclusive permission to the President and Fellows of Harvard to distribute their articles. The system would be collective but not coercive. Anyone who wanted to retain exclusive rights to her- or himself could do so by obtaining a waiver. Of course, those who cooperate with the system will also retain full rights to the publication of their work. By sharing those rights with Harvard, they sacrifice nothing; and they will have the collective weight of Harvard behind them if they resist a journal’s demand for exclusive rights. We have designed a legal memorandum called an author’s addendum to reinforce them in negotiations with commercial publishers."


Harvard thus becomes "the first university in the United States to mandate open access to its faculty members’ research publications".

This is the beginning of a revolution in academic publishing.

The text of the resolution presented to the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences was:

"On behalf of the Provost’s Committee on Scholarly Publishing, Professor S. Shieber will
move:

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard University is committed to disseminating the
fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. In legal terms, the permission granted by each Faculty member is a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Dean or the Dean’s designate will waive application of the policy for a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need.

To assist the University in distributing the articles, each Faculty member will provide an
electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Provost’s Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository.

The Office of the Dean will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes
concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty."

Inside Higher Ed writes inter alia:

"Harvard University’s arts and sciences faculty approved a plan on Tuesday that will post finished academic papers online free, unless scholars specifically decide to opt out of the open-access program. While other institutions have similar repositories for their faculty’s work, Harvard’s is unique for making online publication the default option.

The decision, which only affects the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, won’t necessarily disrupt exclusivity agreements with journals or upend the academic publishing industry, but it could send a signal that a standard bearer in higher education is seriously looking at alternative distribution models for its faculty’s scholarship. Already, various open-access movements are pressing for reforms (from modest to radical) to the current economic model, which depends on journals’ traditional gatekeeping function and their necessarily limited audiences but which has concerned many in the academic community worried about rising costs and the shift to digital media....

“This is a large and very important step for scholars throughout the country. It should be a very powerful message to the academic community that we want and should have more control over how our work is used and disseminated,” said Stuart M. Shieber, the James O. Welch Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science, who sponsored the bill before the faculty governance group.

In an op-ed published in The Harvard Crimson on Tuesday, the director of the university library, Robert Darnton, wrote: “In place of a closed, privileged, and costly system, it will help open up the world of learning to everyone who wants to learn ... ideas would flow freely in all directions.”"

We are very gratified at this development in the availability of academic publications, a problem about which we posted previously at some length on LawPundit.

Update: ars technica covers this development, via digg
Concurring Opinions (Deven Desai) and Madisonian
New York Times - Patricia Cohen
Boston Globe - Megan Woolhouse (the decision was unanimous !)
OA Librarian
derivative work (Laura Quilter)

Links on the LawPundit Main Page : (1) Useful Links at the Top

We have gone through our links on the LawPundit main page to update the URLs, remove links as appropriate and to explain what we have kept or to provide information found at the linked websites or blogs.

Starting with the "Useful Links" at the top:

Copyrights (Library of Congress, United States Copyright Office), which informs us:
"New basic registration fee: $45 (read about all new fees)
Save $10 through electronic registration option (become a beta tester)"

EPO (European Patent Office), in the news, the London Agreement lowering post-grant patent translation costs

EU Law (Links to Essential EU Law Sites)

Find Law ("FindLaw is the highest-trafficked legal Web site, providing the most comprehensive set of legal resources on the Internet for legal professionals, corporate counsel, law students, businesses, and consumers. These resources include Web search utilities, cases and codes, legal news, an online career center, and community-oriented tools, such as a secure document management utility, e-mail newsletters, and message boards.")

ILLCD (Internet Library of Law and Court Decisions by Martin Samson)

Intute ("Intute: Law provides guidance and access to global legal information resources on the Internet. The service aims to identify and evaluate legal resource sites offering primary and secondary materials and other items of legal interest. Descriptive records and links are created for legal service sites and specific documents.... Intute: Social Sciences is the subject group of Intute that provides the very best Web resources for education and research for the social sciences, including law, business, hospitality, sport and tourism.... Intute: Social Sciences has been created by bringing together two of the Hubs of the Resource Discovery Network (RDN): Altis and SOSIG. In combining the resources and services of these two services, Intute: Social Sciences offers an easy to use and powerful tool for discovering the best Internet resources in this important range of subjects.")

Law.com ("ALM's Law.com is the Web's leading legal news and information network.... Law.com connects legal professionals to more than 20 award-winning national and regional legal publications online, including The American Lawyer, The National Law Journal, New York Law Journal and Legal Times, and delivers top legal news electronically to a growing national and global audience of subscribers each day on The Newswire." - interesting technical election article there by Andy Peters examining the case of a deadlock between Obama and Clinton: Democratic GC Ponders What's Next for Race: Superdelegates like former President Carter could settle race for nomination)

Legal Week ("Our flagship title is dedicated exclusively to commercial lawyers in the UK and major international jurisdictions. Legal Week breaks the biggest stories first and delves into the issues behind the headlines. It is the only legal title to ever win the publishing industry's most coveted award - the PPA Business Magazine of the Year. * With the most talented team of journalists in the legal marketplace, Legal Week offers your business a powerful environment to communicate its message.")

LII (Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School, "The Legal Information Institute (LII) is a research and electronic publishing activity of the Cornell Law School. Popular collections include: the U.S. Code, Supreme Court opinions, and Law about...")

LLRX ("Legal and technology resources for legal professionals", e.g. a recent feature: Social Networks for Law Librarians and Law Libraries, or How We Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love Friending by Meg Kribble and Debbie Ginsberg, published on January 19, 2008 at LLRX.)

Nolo ("Nolo is your legal companion, empowering you and saving you money whenever the law touches your work, life or finances. We are the nation's oldest and most respected provider of legal information for consumers and small business.")

Out-Law.com ("OUT-LAW has 8,000 pages of free legal news and guidance, mostly on IT and e-commerce issues. These issues can affect any organisation, and OUT-LAW is as much for those in a software start-up as it is for the compliance team at a bank. If and when you need further advice, we hope you'll choose Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM.")

Paul|Weiss (Telecom, IT, IP, Legal & Regulatory Developments)

RefDesk.com (Comprehensive References of Value and News, e.g. searchable Legal Dictionary)

Search Systems (Searchable Public Record Databases)

Sidley CyberLaw (Recent Developments in Intellectual Property, E-Commerce & Internet Law, Communications & Information Technology, Privacy)

Slashdot (News for Nerds)

TVC - The Virtual Chase (Teaching Legal Professionals How To Do Research)

USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office - e.g. a recent posting about the Bush administration opposition to the Patent Reform Act of 2007, S. 1145 )

Vault (legal careers)

WorldLaw (Law Library of the US Congress)

Obama the Frontrunner and the Followers

When the eminently prestigious Economist writes that Obama is the Frontrunner, then he surely is.

We think that Obama will win because Obama is a star. He has the kind of personal charisma that propelled Bill Clinton into the Chief Executive's office and frankly, the more media exposure Obama has, the tougher he will be to beat.

In our view, a visibly slowing 71-year old John McCain has no chance of beating a dynamic 46-year-old Obama at the polls. The Republican Party surely can not think that the majority of Americans - at this stage in America's development - will put their basket of hope in the hands of a respected but visibly aged war hero.

Ask anyone who went to the top law schools such as Stanford, Harvard and Yale, and you will know what it means that Obama became the first man of color to be President of the Harvard Law Review. THAT is an achievement. Only a man of extraordinary talents could obtain that honor.

At this point, we have little doubt that Obama will be America's first President of color. The amazing thing is that although he will of course receive a mass majority of the colored vote, the critical decisive votes will nevertheless come from a white population who will vote for him for his person, for his dynamism and modernity, and for his competence. The issue of color will play and has played as good as no role in the voting of the white folks. That is the amazing thing.

What about the other Presidential candidates?

We have discovered that one way to compare the leading candidates, including Obama, with each other, is to look at their websites online. If you want to see THE FUTURE, look at your preferred candidate's website and see how it stacks up. What messages are the websites of the candidates projecting? What political mindset do you see? What one sees there is what one can expect to get from that candidate for the next four years, starting in January, 2009.

Frankly, the Obama website is a model of modernity, dynamics, vitality, motivation, hope-engenderment, and a human connection to the voter base, etc. If we view websites as harbingers of the future, Obama wins across the board. One of Obama's website slogans is "WE are the change we have been waiting for". Brilliant "empowerment" of the voting citizens and an intelligent message in the right place at the right time.

By contrast:

John McCain is a fine man who deserves the utmost of respect for his background and patriotism. However, his rather dated website mirrors his advanced age (71) and surely reflects the old-fashioned direction of leadership that we could expect under McCain. We are in fact somewhat disturbed that his web page glorifies war at a time when it is not what the nation wants - or needs - to hear. It is understandable, given his background, that he emphasizes this, but it makes us take our vote elsewhere. Men want peace, not war. Also the slogan on the first page "Ready to Lead On Day One" is not optimal. All candidates are presumed "ready" to lead by the fact of their candidacy. How about "able"? In any case, the crucial issue is, WHERE are we going to be led? That should be at the heart of the campaign message. Leadership starts in the primaries: WHO is actually moving the people? and who is not? Our views on several issues in the campaign match those of McCain, but this is in our view simply not the man that America needs now if it is to move forward in this modern era. McCain represents the Old Guard of the Republican Party and stands for a distant political past and a war long gone, about which younger voters, for example, know next to nothing. It is not very relevant to today's problems.
It is now a time for modern change, and a time to move forward, not back.
Accordingly, we can not support Mr. McCain.

Hillary Clinton is a fine woman and we have the utmost respect for the manner in which she managed herself during the Bill Clinton impeachment period. Indeed, at the beginning of this Presidential campaign, we thought she was the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination and we still share common views on a number of issues. Her website is definitely more upscale than the rather stodgy website of John McCain, but it still lacks the dynamics that one finds on the Obama websites. Obama is 46 and Hillary is 60 - and it shows. The front page of her website also has a shockingly incompetent message as one of the revolving messages that appears on that first page, namely, "Help Make History". A statement like that makes you wonder who advises these candidates in their efforts to gain the nation's highest office. The citizens of the nation are not interested in making HISTORY. Indeed, your average voter has little interest in history. A wise campaign would stay away from that word. What that slogan should read is: "Let us Work Together to Make the Future". In our view, in any case, the slogans so used tend to reflect the actual mindset of the leader behind those slogans. It is a mindset of the past, not the future.
We obtain an image from the Clinton campaign and from her personal appearances that SHE wants to be President, and we have no doubt that she would be a good one, but the connection to the people is weak. She lacks her husband's charisma and often seems somewhat helpless on stage. In addition, she represents the Old Guard of the Democratic Party and the period of Bill Clinton's Presidency. It is a vestige of the past that America currently simply does not need to confront again. The future is elsewhere.
It is now a time for progressive change, and a time to move forward, not back.
Accordingly, we can not support Mrs. Clinton.

Mike Huckabee is a fine man who we find to be among the most personable of the Republican Party candidates. In our opinion, as the past Governor of Arkansas, he also has what might be one of the best executive track records of any candidate. However, by his own choice, he does not represent the broad spectrum of all of America and has concentrated too much on religion, which is reflected in his website's front page campaign slogan which puts "Faith" first, i.e. "Faith. Family. Freedom." Our instinctual reaction to this is "no". There must be a clear separation of Church and State and any candidate who mixes them up deserves to lose and must lose. A man can be of very stout faith and conviction and still not bring faith into the political sphere. We presume that most men have a religious faith of some kind - so what does that have to do with most political issues - nothing. Many of the world's serious political problems can be traced back to religious zealots mixing their deadly cocktail combination of faith with politics, shaken well, and the results can be viewed daily on TV - war and killing. No thank you. Churches are for preaching and for spiritual development and politics has to do with government. These are two different worlds, at least in the modern era. Some may want to return to the dark ages, we do not.

It is now a time for state of the art secular change, and not a time for a backward relapse into fervent and harmful religious idolatry.
Accordingly, we can not support Mr. Huckabee.

The nod goes to Obama.
If he wins, as we think he will, it will be interesting.

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