What does a journal brand mean?

Brands and branding are an important part of a consumer society, and they are largely about goodwill.  Trademarks, which are, roughly speaking,the legal protection given to brands, are premised on the idea that consumers should have some assurance about the continuity of the source of the goods and services they purchase.  A brand name is supposed to provide that continuity; whether you are buying from McDonald’s or Land’s End, the brand helps you know what you are going to get.  This is why trademarks protect against any use that might cause consumers to be confused about whether the goods or services they are buying are really from the same source.  The sense of continuity is what we call goodwill. Read more


Accelerating academy-owned publishing

(Note: This post was collaboratively written by several members of the ARL project group described below.)

How can libraries develop more robust mechanisms for supporting services and platforms that accelerate research sharing and increase participation in scholarship? What kind of funding and partnerships do scholarly communities, public goods technology platforms, and open repositories need to transform into true, academy-owned open access publication systems? In an initiative formerly known as “Red OA,” these are the questions a group of ARL deans and directors have recently committed to address through engagement with scholarly communities and open source platform developers. Read more


A new contract

When I complained, in a blog post written several weeks ago, about the contract I had signed, and regretted, for a book to be published by the American Library Association, I really did not expect the kind of reaction I got.  Quite a few readers made comments about the unequal position of authors in publishing negotiations, and especially about the need for the library world to do a better job of modeling good behavior in this area; that was to be expected.  A few people took me to task for agreeing to a contract I disliked so much, which was no more than I deserved.  But I truly was surprised by the number of folks from the ALA, including current ALA president Jim Neal, who reach out to me and expressed a determination to fix the problem I had described. Read more


Join the Movement: The 2.5% Commitment

NB: This is a guest post from David Lewis, Dean of the IUPUI University Library.  David and the regular IO authors hope that this post will generate discussion, and we invite you to comment.

The 2.5% Commitment: Every academic library should commit to contribute 2.5% of its total budget to support the common infrastructure needed to create the open scholarly commons.

A number of things came at me at in late summer. Read more


Foibles and Follies, part three

The final foible I wanted to write about in this series of posts involves a distressingly common situation – a copyright holder who does not understand what the rights they hold actually are.

This is not the first blog post to point out that Human Synergistics International is pretty clueless about copyright.  Almost five years ago, the TechDirt blog made an effort to school Human Synergistics about fair use.  Apparently it did not work; they seem to continue to misunderstand the copyright law. Read more


Foibles and Follies, Part 2

The second folly I want to talk about is somewhat embarrassing, since it is my own.  Publication contracts are always an adventure for academic authors, of course; we are routinely taken advantage of by publishers who know that publication is a job requirement and believe they have us in a stranglehold.  I once read a comment by a lawyer who works with authors that signing an agreement with one of the major publishers was akin to getting into a car with a clearly intoxicated driver – no sensible person should do it.  So in this story I have no one but myself to blame.  Nevertheless, I want to tell folks about it because it was not one of the big publishers that treated me badly; it was my own professional organization, the American Library Association. Read more


Early Career Researchers as key partners for dislodging legacy publishing models

It’s been a busy summer for OA in Europe. On one hand, nationally coordinated efforts in places like Finland and Germany have sought (unsuccessfully so far) to pressure Elsevier into better subscription pricing and OA options. On the other hand, a group of early career researchers (ECRs) at the University of Cambridge are looking to mobilize fellow ECRs to embrace open models that are not controlled by commercial entities. In my view, these divergent approaches illustrate why we should focus our collective energies away from strategies in which commercial interests retain control under new economic conditions (see also, proposals to flip subscription payments to APCs), and towards working with ECRs and others who envision a return of scholarly dissemination responsibility to the academy. Read more


Foibles and follies, part one

It has been a while since we have posted to this site, and I want to catch up by sharing some thoughts about a few odd or disturbing developments from the past month or so.

Let’s start with a recent folly, the “settlement” in the infamous “Monkey Selfie” case.  The New York Times proclaims the settlement proposed on Monday as “a victory of sorts” for the monkey and his friends.  The “friends,” of course are PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who brought the case as Naruto’s “next friend,” trying to establish that the monkey, who they named Naruto, owned the copyright in the picture he apparently snapped.  It is not at all clear that PETA even knows which monkey it is representing, since in court papers they identify Naruto as a six-year old male, but the original photographer whose copyright claim PETA is disputing, David Slater himself identified the photogenic macaque as a female. Read more


Is the copyright world tired of exhaustion?

Over the last two weeks, I have been putting together a syllabus to teach a course in copyright law at the University of Kansas law school.  Although I have taught copyright a lot, I have never done so in a formal law school class, so this is both an exciting and intimidating process for me.

As part of planning a class session about the doctrine of first sale, I was doing a little bit of research about the Capitol Records v. ReDigi  case, which squarely confronts the issue of whether or not first sale can survive in a digital age.  The case has been going on for a while, so I will claim the process of creating a syllabus as my justification for writing about it now. Read more


Women Working In the Open

I came across this question on Twitter recently, and it got me thinking about something that I think about quite a bit:

"Please recommend women leaders in the Open Access/Science area."

Screenshot of tweet by @lteytelman

I do a lot of work around diversity, inclusion, and representation in librarianship, publishing, and higher education. And I get a lot of questions like this from people looking to diversify their lists of potential collaborators, speakers, etc. I’ve even written a bit about ways to incorporate diversity into our programming and work. Read more