How should we understand the value of academic publications?  That was the question addressed at the ALA Annual Conference last month during the SPARC/ACRL Forum.  The forum is the highlight of each ALA conference for me because it always features a timely topic and really smart speakers; this year was no exception.

One useful [...]

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Publishing ironies

On April 30, 2014 By

Would Karl Marx have waived his copyright on principle?  I don’t know for sure, but I rather doubt it.  Marx was not entirely in sympathy with Proudhon’s famous assertion that “property is theft,” and in any case probably expected to make at least part of his living off from his intellectual property.  Nevertheless, there is [...]

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A new thing started happening here at Duke this week; we began getting inquiries from some faculty authors about how to obtain a formal waiver of our faculty open access policy.  We have had that policy in place for over three years, but for the first time a single publisher — the Nature Publishing Group [...]

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Walking the talk

On March 7, 2014 By

All of the presentations at the SPARC Open Access meeting this week were excellent.  But there was one that was really special; an early career researcher named Erin McKiernan who brought everyone in the room to their feet to applaud her commitment to open access.  We are sometimes told that only established scholars who [...]

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There is a persistent problem with polemics.  When writing to address someone else’s position with which one disagrees, it is easy to lose sight of the proverbial forest for the trees.

In my previous two posts, I was addressing a misunderstand that I am afraid might lead authors to be less attentive and assertive about [...]

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Over the holidays I was contacted by a writer for Library Journal asking me what I thought about a study by Phil Davis, which was commissioned and released by the Association of American Publishers, that analyzed the “article half-life” for journals in a variety of disciplines and reported on the wide variation in that [...]

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Taking a stand

On November 26, 2013 By

When I wrote a blog post two weeks ago about libraries, EBSCO and Harvard Business Publications, I was attending the eIFL General Assembly in Istanbul, and I think the message I wanted to convey — that librarians need to take a stand on this issue and not meekly agree to HBP’s new licensing fee [...]

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The later part of this past week was dominated, for me, by discussions of the article published in Science about a “sting” operation directed against a small subset of open access journals that purports to show that peer-review is sometimes not carried out very well, or not at all.  Different versions of a “fake” [...]

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An odd anouncement

On September 20, 2013 By

I did not initially pay much attention when publisher John Wiley announced early in September that they would impose download limits on users of their database “effective immediately.”  My first thought was “if they are going to disable the database, I wonder how much the price will decrease.”  Then I smiled to myself, because [...]

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The July 2013 issue of College & Research Libraries contains an important article on the question “Do Open Access Electronic Theses and Dissertations Diminish Publishing Opportunities in the Social Science and Humanities?”  The article reports on a 2011 survey of publishers, which follows up and refines several previous surveys done to see [...]

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