May 25, 2012

University of California, San Francisco adopts open access policy

From the University of California, San Francisco press release of May 23, 2012:

The UCSF Academic Senate has voted to make electronic versions of current and future scientific articles freely available to the public, helping to reverse decades of practice on the part of medical and scientific journal publishers to restrict access to research results.

The unanimous vote of the faculty senate makes UCSF the largest scientific institution in the nation to adopt an open-access policy and among the first public universities to do so.

"Our primary motivation is to make our research available to anyone who is interested in it, whether they are members of the general public or scientists without costly subscriptions to journals," said Richard A. Schneider, PhD, chair of the UCSF Academic Senate Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication, who spearheaded the initiative at UCSF. "The decision is a huge step forward in eliminating barriers to scientific research," he said. "By opening the currently closed system, this policy will fuel innovation and discovery, and give the taxpaying public free access to oversee their investments in research."

UCSF is the nation's largest public recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), receiving 1,056 grants last year, valued at $532.8 million. Research from those and other grants leads to more than 4,500 scientific papers each year in highly regarded, peer-reviewed scientific journals, but the majority of those papers are only available to subscribers who pay ever-increasing fees to the journals. The 10-campus University of California (UC) system spends close to $40 million each year to buy access to journals.

Such restrictions and costs have been cited among the obstacles in translating scientific advances from laboratory research into improved clinical care.

The policy, an FAQ, and letters of support from campus schools and committees, are available at:

Posted by stemp003 at 1:51 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2012

Federal judge rules on fair use lawsuit brought by publishers against Georgia State University

From the Chronicle of Higher Education, May 13 edition:

A federal judge in Atlanta has handed down a long-awaited ruling in a lawsuit brought by three scholarly publishers against Georgia State University over its use of copyrighted material in electronic reserves. The ruling, delivered on Friday, looks mostly like a victory for the university, finding that only five of 99 alleged copyright infringements did in fact violate the plaintiffs' copyrights.

"My initial reaction is, honestly, what a crushing defeat for the publishers," said Brandon C. Butler, the director of public-policy initiatives for the Association of Research Libraries. Given how few claims the publishers won, "there's a 95 percent success rate for the GSU fair-use policy." The ruling suggests that Georgia State is "getting it almost entirely right" with its current copyright policy, he said.


Judge Evans rejected many of the individual claims brought by the three plaintiffs--Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and SAGE Publications--concluding that the publishers had not adequately proved their copyright stake in the material. She dismissed the plaintiffs' argument that Georgia State had exceeded the guidelines for classroom copying set out by Congress in 1976, long before e-reserves. And she examined publishers' balance sheets and concluded that they had not lost significant amounts of revenue because of the alleged infringements.


[Nancy Sims, copyright program librarian at the University of Minnesota] said that the judge took the educational purpose of each use seriously and did not focus just on market considerations. "That was one of the contentions here--that if you can pay for it, you should be," she said. "And that's clearly not what the court is saying."

One part of the ruling could be problematic for librarians and others trying to work out fair-use policies in academe. Judge Evans proposed a 10-percent rule to guide decisions about what constitutes fair use in an educational setting. For books without chapters or with fewer than 10 chapters, "unpaid copying of no more than 10 percent of the pages in the book is permissible under factor three," she wrote in her ruling. For books with 10 or more chapters, "permissible fair use" would be copying up to one chapter or its equivalent.

The publishers may well appeal the decision.

Further commentary is available from the Association of College & Research Libraries at:

Posted by stemp003 at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2012

College of Education and Human Development launches open online textbook catalog

From the April 30 Minnesota Daily:

The University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development released an open online textbook catalog, allowing faculty from around the world to discuss and showcase online textbooks to help manage textbook costs for students.


The catalog launched a week ago and already has 84 texts available. Dave Ernst, who started the catalog, has been receiving emails from around the world about open textbooks that are available.

An open textbook allows free digital access and low-cost print options, as well as the ability for instructors to customize content. These are quality textbooks with an "open" copyright license, allowing anyone to freely access the text.

The catalog is intended to help faculty members find open textbooks and adapt them to their classroom, said Ernst, the director of Academic Technology Services in CEHD.


Each text accepted into the catalog has to meet four criteria: It must be under an open copyright clause allowing faculty to reuse and rework content, the textbook needs to be complete, it must be available for use outside of the University and it needs to be offered in print.

The catalog was also featured in a University news release. An excerpt:

"The University of Minnesota should be a leader in enabling faculty and students to benefit from open content and electronic textbook options," said Provost Karen Hanson. "This CEHD initiative is one of a number of our initiatives in e-learning that will help students obtain a high-quality education that is also affordable."


CEHD will support faculty who choose to review and adopt open textbooks with $500-$1,000 stipends.

"Faculty share student concerns about high textbook costs and are willing to consider high-quality, affordable alternatives like open textbooks," said CEHD associate professor Irene Duranczyk. "The Open Academics textbook catalog makes it easier by collecting the best peer-reviewed open textbooks in one place."

Nine CEHD faculty members are already exploring open textbooks through the catalog. Replacing their current course materials with open textbooks will potentially save over $100,000 in textbook costs next year.

Posted by stemp003 at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)