By Ellen Finnie

As announced Friday, the MIT Libraries have included innovative language in our agreement with Springer : a provision that MIT-authored articles will automatically be deposited into our campus repository.

This partnership reflects the strategy mentioned in my previous post – our newly created Department of Scholarly Communications and Collections Strategy is assessing potential purchases using a new lens: whether purchases transform the scholarly communication system towards openness, or make a positive impact on the scholarly communication environment in some way—to take one example, through licensing.

Like many libraries, we’ve been using our library content licenses as a significant and important opportunity to meet campus needs related to scholarly communication. Some key language we focus on to promote access that is as open as possible includes fair use rights; author rights for reuse of articles they authored that appear in the licensed content; scholarly sharing language; use in MITx classes (i.e. MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses); interlibrary lending; off-setting strategies to support open access publishing in relation to toll-access publishing; access for walk-in users; perpetual access; and text/data mining rights. As part of our support for author reuse rights, we aim for publisher agreements that allow us to fulfill the wish of our faculty, as stated in their Open Access Policy, that “compliance with the policy” be “as convenient for the faculty as possible.”

Through our new agreement and partnership, Springer will send final peer-reviewed manuscripts of MIT-authored scholarly papers directly to the Open Access Articles Collection of [email protected], the Institute’s open access repository.  This will reduce the burden on authors to locate and deposit the correct version of their manuscripts, and, because we can pass metadata through from Springer and apply our own automatically during the deposit process, this arrangement will also speed deposit and cataloging time for library staff.

Springer has been on the forefront of commercial publishers working with us on making access to MIT’s research– and research in general– as widely accessible as possible. In recent months, Springer has signed a license with us that allows researchers to text and data-mine Springer materials for noncommercial purposes, and language that allows MITx course teams to use Springer e-journals and e-books in MOOCs. As our Director Chris Bourg said in the press release about automatic deposit: “We are grateful for Springer’s partnership in expanding [the] impact” of “work emerging from MIT.”

We don’t know exactly what the future of scholarly publishing looks like, but we know that to benefit MIT researchers, the broader community of scholars and scientists, and all the potential beneficiaries of the science and scholarship they produce, we want to move toward more openness.   This innovative partnership with Springer allows us to take steps in that direction.

We hope this model will encourage other publishers to consider automatic deposit.  And we hope that the library community will continue to develop, advocate for, and use model licensing language that advances our joint objective of transitioning the scholarly communication landscape towards more openness.

Ellen Finnie

Leads the MIT Libraries’ scholarly communications and collections strategy, including efforts to influence models of scholarly publishing and communication in ways that increase the impact and reach of MIT’s research and scholarship and which promote open, sustainable publishing and access models. She is a strong supporter of therapy dogs in libraries!

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