Posts Tagged ‘open access’

Scholarly Publishing Symposium at UW-Madison

30 Oct 2014

At the Scholarly Publishing Symposium at UW-Madison today. Has interesting list of supplemental materials, but apparently only on paper:

Supplemental materials from UW-Madison Scholarly Publishing Symposium

So here they are electronically.

Copyright of video lectures

9 Feb 2014

Quite a while back, I was wondering about copyright of video lectures produced by university faculty. In particular, did I need to get the university to sign some sort of waiver in order for the Jackson Laboratory to post a video of a lecture I’d given for a course there? (The Jackson Lab lawyers wanted that.)

I spoke to my family librarian, who pointed me to Carrie Kruse, directory of the College Library at UW-Madison. And really, librarians are the people to talk to about this sort of thing, as they not only think a lot about copyright and fair use, but also they’re on the side of more access. (But don’t hold Carrie accountable if I say anything wrong below; this is my own interpretation, 14 months after corresponding with her.)

In most jobs, the product of your work is owned by the company, even if they didn’t have anything to do with it. But universities have a different tradition. Typically, the university doesn’t assert any rights over a faculty member’s instructional materials. For example, if you write a textbook, you don’t have to negotiate with the university over its publication, nor do you have to give the university a cut of the royalty income. That’s different than patents.

UW-Madison has an explicit policy about faculty instructional materials. (Really, it’s a UW System policy.) As I understand it, the university will assert some rights over your instructional materials only if they had contributed special resources or support to their creation (for example, if university staff assisted you with the recording and editing of a video).

Returning to the video issue: since the university wasn’t involved in the production of the video, I didn’t have to get their okay.

Carrie mentioned another important thing to pay attention to: if I had used any photos or other media to which I don’t have rights, I need to be careful about their inclusion in videos posted online. Within a classroom, or in a video posted online but only made accessible to a defined group of students, inclusion of such material could fall under fair use. But if such material is included in a video that is posted online for general viewing, others may question my fair use claim.

That may explain why so many instructors here are using password-protected sites, like Learn@UW and Moodle. I can’t even look at my colleagues’ course material.

I dislike web pages via online forms. (Well, except for you, wordpress; I wish I’d started this blog with GitHub pages, but you’re okay.)

And I despise the password protection of instructional materials. If I spend a bunch of time preparing material, I want to distribute it as widely as possible. If another instructor uses it in their own class, I consider that a Good Thing.

$18 for a two page PDF? I still don’t get it.

2 May 2013

Yesterday, I saw this tweet by @Ananyo

Time that biologists stopped telling the public oversimplistic fairy tales on Darwinian evolution, says P Ball ($)…

So I clicked the link to the Nature paper and realized, “Oh, yeah. I’ve got to enter through the UW library website.”

But then I thought, “Wait…$18 for a two-page Nature comment? WTF?”

So I tweeted:

DNA: Celebrate the unknowns, like this Nature comment, which costs $18.…

And thinking about it some more, I got more annoyed, and tweeted:

Why do publishers charge such high per-article fees? At $18/artcl, you’d have to be desperate or stupid to pay; at $1-2, prob’ly lots would.

And then I thought, I’ll ask Nature directly:

@NatureMagazine Why is the per-article charge so high? It seems like you’d make more profit at $2/article.

And they responded:

@kwbroman For a while now, individual papers can be rented through @readcube for $3-5. A full tablet subscription to Nature costs $35.

But that didn’t quite answer my question. So I asked:

.@NatureMagazine So is the $18 charge for a 2 pg PDF just to discourage piracy?

I thought a lot about whether to put “piracy” in quotes or not, or whether to write “copyright infringement” instead.

But anyway, they responded:

@kwbroman just as with any product, the more you buy, the more you save. Media/publishing subscriptions have worked this way for decades.

That again didn’t quite answer my question.

It’s a scam

I still don’t understand the $18 business. It’s not “The more you buy, the more you save.” It’s, “Buy the whole season for $35, or buy 5 min from Episode 1 for $18.”

I understand that the cover price of Wired is $5 per issue, while I could get a year’s subscription for $15-20. But that’s not the same as $18 for one article vs $200 per year.

The $18 for a two-page PDF is like 900 numbers and paycheck advances. These are scams taking advantage of desperate or stupid people.

If they don’t want to sell the PDFs for individual articles for a reasonable price, they should just not sell them at all.

Open access, animated

25 Oct 2012

Here’s a great interview with Jonathan Eisen and Nick Shockey on open access publishing, nicely animated by Jorge Cham, who does the Piled Higher and Deeper comic.

Web-enabled publishing environment

23 Oct 2012

Karl Rohe has an interesting commentary in Amstat News this month, on how our current publishing system is obstructing research progress, and what a better future might look like.

UW-Madison news item about Elsevier boycott

21 Feb 2012

There’s an article in the UW-Madison newsletter about the Elsevier boycott. I’m quoted as follows:

“The main issue is that scientists want their papers to be read and available, and not just to scientists at well-funded universities. We are spending, collectively, a good amount of money that goes toward profit for these journal companies, and that could be redirected.”

At this point, Broman says scientists are in control. Although Elsevier is a giant among publishers, “Authors have complete control over where they decide to send their papers. If one day, everybody decides not to send to Elsevier, but to open access journals instead, it would be done.”

I just refused an Elsevier review

10 Feb 2012

This afternoon I refused a request from the American Journal of Human Genetics to review a paper, though the abstract was extremely interesting. AJHG is published by Elsevier, and I’d signed the declaration at to not publish or review for Elsevier journals. If only AJHG were still with the University of Chicago Press…

Michael Eisen recently wrote:

The boycott isn’t perfect. I wish they hadn’t focused exclusively on Elsevier – they are hardly the only bad actors in the field. And it’s crucial that the focus be on papers. Nobody views turning down invitations to review to be a big sacrifice – and publishers will just find someone else. Same thing with editors. But papers are their lifeblood.

I agree with him. It’s easy to turn down a review. (I do so several times a week.)

And so I was feeling quite unsure about turning down the review, but also unsure about breaking the pledge regarding Elsevier. Nevertheless, I came down on the side of the pledge, and responded to AJHG with the following:

It sounds like an interesting paper, but…

I recently signed a public declaration to not publish or review for Elsevier journals ( I noticed at the time that Am J Hum Genet was published by Elsevier (if only it were still at U Chicago Press), which could be a problem.

I’m having second thoughts (especially in that refusing a review for this reason seems too easy…I say no to review requests almost every day), but for now I’m sticking to my promise.

I’m not sure whether it was the right decision.

I think the most important thing for me to do is to work to get Genetics to become open-access, or at least encourage discussion along those lines at the Genetics Society of America.

More on open access

3 Feb 2012

I am quite persuaded by Michael Eisen’s recent comments on open access:

…it is simply unacceptable for any scientist who decries Elsevier’s actions and believes that the subscription based model is no longer serving science to send a single additional paper to journals that do not provide full OA [open access] to every paper they publish.

But how can I do that if Genetics isn’t fully open? Genetics charges an extra $1200 to make an article open access. Would it really cost $1200 per article to make the journal fully open?

Paying for scholarly publications

2 Feb 2012

I have a couple of papers that I should be writing, but recent discussion (the whole PIPA/SOPA thing [see Michael Eisen’s OpEd in the New York Times]; the Elsevier boycott) has turned my thoughts to publishing generally.

So I’ll take some time out (way too much time out) to comment on the value and costs of publishing and peer review, how to pay for it, PubMedCentral, etc.

Elsevier boycott

1 Feb 2012

I expect you’ve already heard about the Elsevier boycott, started based on comments from Timothy Gowers. While he focused on his own discipline (mathematics), the boycott site now has people broken down by subject. On 1 Feb, there were 2700+ signatories, including 600+ mathematicians (but only 15 statisticians). There have been a couple of articles about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education: here and here.

I signed the boycott, and will refuse to review papers for Evilsevier journals, and will try to steer my coauthors away from them. (I certainly wouldn’t send my own papers to such journals, but it’s hard to control papers on which I am one lowly author among many.)

Most important to me is that the journals are expensive and publishing companies are reaping an enormous profit. The former head of the library at UW-Madison mentioned recently that they spend $4 million per year on electronic resources (books and journals), and that they are “struggling to pay that Elsevier bill”.

I prefer society-related journals. These days, my own papers all go to my favorite journal, Genetics, which is associated with the Genetics Society of America.