My Copyfight

Connotea Imports 2012-04-18


“Actually it’s our copyfight, but my had a better ring to it. Here’s the backstory. Lorri Mon, a friend and colleague, is the guest editor of a special issue of the journal The Reference Librarian ... Lorri asked me to contribute a paper... Fast-forward nine months or so. In the interim... I had asked Diane Harvey, another friend and colleague, and the Head of the Instruction and Outreach Department for the Duke Libraries ... to co-author the paper with me. Nine months or so later, the paper is written. We’ve submitted the paper to Lorri. It’s undergone blind peer review. We’ve made revisions based on the reviewers’ comments. And here’s where the fun begins. Lorri sends us the copyright form... Diane left me a voicemail asking me if I’d signed the form yet, and I left her a reply voicemail saying no. I also thought I should contact Lolly Gasaway, law professor extraordinaire and former instructor of my School’s copyright course… Diane beat me to the punch though, and contacted Kevin Smith, Duke University’s Scholarly Communications Officer… and, incidentally, my hero... I have to stop here briefly, to point out that the publisher of The Reference Librarian is Taylor & Francis. I had not even thought about who the publisher is, prior to agreeing to write this article… In academia, we’re acculturated to the mindset that the publication is the important thing, and the publisher is a means to that end. Journals, not publishers, have reputations and impact factors... so that when we choose where to publish, ‘where’ equals ‘in what journal.’ We give little thought, generally, to the publisher behind the journal... I will never make that mistake again. In response to Diane, Kevin replied that Taylor & Francis’ copyright agreement form is extremely confusing. See the form here. Note the following two issues. One: The copyright assignment agreement is on pages 2-3, but the author signs page 1, making it unlikely that the author will read the fine print on pages 2-3 closely. Two: The Schedule of Author’s Rights contains the actual terms that the author is agreeing to, but that Schedule is not included in this document, nor is a link to it provided. Kevin, of course, being a mensch, found it online… see it here. Kevin also pointed out that, according to the Schedule of Author’s Rights: (1) The author transfers all rights to T&F, (2) T&F grants some rights back to the author, and (3) among these are (a) the right to post a preprint ‘on your own website, or on your institution’s intranet’ (item 4 on the Schedule), and (b) the right to post a postprint, but not until ‘18 months after first publication’ (item 6). Now, let us consider these rights. First of all, preprints are defined as ‘versions of the article created prior to peer review.’ In other words, a draft... Second, I can’t post a post-print until a year and a half after the issue in which my article appears is published. Which means probably 2.5 years after it was accepted for publication, given how long the issue production process takes. Kevin pointed out that this 18-month restriction is unusual, and that the goal of it is pretty clearly to make author self-archiving difficult and, ultimately, irrelevant... After this conversation between me, Diane, and Kevin, I emailed Lorri to ask if she could look into whether a change could be made to these policies. She did, and got an extremely unhelpful and unbudging response from a T&F representative... I then replied to Lorri that Diane and I would not sign the T&F copyright agreement. I referred to the UNC Faculty Council Resolution on Faculty Ownership of Research... I offered to provide a revised author rights document that Diane & I would be willing to sign... Lorri suggested that I write all those things to the regular journal editors (Rita Pellen & William Miller) and the T&F rep (Stacy Stanislaw), which I did... So I created a revised version of the T&F copyright form... I edited out all references to the ‘agreement attached...’ thus also eliminating all reference to the Schedule of Author’s Rights. I also removed the assignment of copyright to T&F, and replaced it with the right to publish, etc. — language which I lifted from the ALA’s copyright license agreement. My revised form is here… Instead, Stacy suggested that we sign T&F’s ‘License to Publish’ form. What she said about that form was: ‘This form will allow you to retain copyright on your article. We would then consider you — the author — the rightsholder and list you as copyright holder at the top of the article.’ One odd thing about this License form is that, apparently, only a T&F production manager can generate one, so it took a few days for one to get created for us. But here it is... I have to stop again briefly here, to point out something very important. T&F has — had all along — a License to Publish form. Why had Stacy not mentioned this before? ... I did some searching. Turns out, Peter Suber had a post back in 2006 on T&F’s iOpenAccess program, which seems to have been the origin of their Licens



08/16/2012, 06:08

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Tags: oa.business_models oa.publishers oa.policies oa.licensing oa.comment oa.advocacy oa.boycotts oa.copyright oa.libraries oa.duke.u oa.librarians oa.pledges oa.jif oa.embargoes oa.preprints oa.taylor&francis oa.u.north_carolina oa.postprints oa.anecdotes oa.repositories oa.libre oa.versions oa.metrics



Date tagged:

04/18/2012, 19:40

Date published:

03/14/2012, 19:46