If the library is the heart of a university, then exercising fair use is the lifeblood. Teachers, researchers, students, librarians and publishers exercise fair use in countless ways every day. It is fair use that facilitates re-using and re-mixing, if you will, the knowledge preserved and made available by libraries into new discoveries and interpretations. This process of research and scholarship has been referred to as ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’ because we all rely on that which has gone before to provide insight, context and meaning for today.
Interesting things are happening over at the Unizin project. In early February the Unizin board shared some of its thinking about course content in a post, An Evolutionary Unizin Approach for Commercial and OER Content. Outside of project teams & meetings directly related to Unizin activity (disclosure and disclaimer: my institution is a Unizin member, so although I’m partly drawing on some of our experiences, this post only reflects my personal views) I’ve not heard a lot of chatter about the strategy or Unizin in general, so I don’t know how many eyeballs it’s attracted. It may be that, on balance, not a huge number of us know what Unizin is, but assuming the strategy was posted to stimulate response and conversation, here are a few thoughts.
[Note that this posting is also found on the Scholarly Communications @ Duke site. I decided to post it on both the venue I am leaving and this new, group undertaking, because the issue is so important. But I apologize for the repetition that many readers of both sites will experience]
My first thought when I read the new ruling in the Georgia State copyright lawsuit brought by publishers over e-reserves was of one of those informal rules that all law students learn — don’t tick off your judge. From the first days of the original trial, the arrogant antics of the attorneys representing the publisher plaintiffs — Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, and Sage Publishing — clearly put them in a bad light in the Judge Evans’ eyes. Those chickens came home to roost in this latest opinion, especially where the plaintiffs are chided for having filed a declaration about what licenses were available for excerpts back in 2009, even after the Judge told them not to, since that information had not been introduced as evidence in the original trial. All of that evidence was stricken, and the Judge based her new opinion on the evidence that was before her in that first trial. I can imagine that the publishers might use that ruling as a basis for yet another appeal, but if they do so, they had better be able to prove that the evidence is genuine and reliable, and to explain why, if it is, they did not produce it at trial back in 2011.
Last Fall, consultants from Ithaka S&R visited the University of North Carolina Press to gather data they would use in writing a report on the costs of publishing a scholarly monograph. At the time, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the Press staff felt like they were being interviewed by the Bobs from “Office Space.” We were being asked how much time we spend on individual projects? How do we allocate our days? What work do we perform in-house versus outsourcing? And we were being told we would be given tools to measure our productivity and costs against our peers.
In the MIT Libraries we’ve just launched a new and innovative approach for our scholarly communications program — and for our collections budget: the collections budget is now part of the scholarly communications program.
Yes, you read that right: through the vision and leadership of new Associate Director for Collections Greg Eow and Director Chris Bourg, the collections budget has been incorporated into, essentially under, the scholarly communications program. Not the other way around.
The title of this new blog should not surprise folks. It is born out of the conviction that scholarship should be open because…
Scholarship in the open is better business – it provides a clearer perspective on what it actually costs to produce articles, books and other scholarly output.
Scholarship in the open is better for libraries – it connects us more directly with our researchers and with the life entire life cycle of research. It improves our ability to disseminate the outcomes of research and get the materials they need into the hands of students, teachers and others quickly and efficiently.