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Friday, November 07, 2008

See what the best colleges are doing about Open Access

I'm looking at the policies for Open Access coming down from Universities. (Add your institution to this growing list which also includes links to those repositories.)

 This one from the University of Southern California:

"University of California faculty shall routinely grant to The Regents of the University of California a license to place in a non-commercial open-access online repository the faculty member's scholarly work published in a scholarly journal or conference proceedings. In the event a faculty member is required to assign all or a part of his or her copyright rights in such scholarly work to a publisher as part of a publication agreement, the faculty member shall retain in the publication agreement the right to grant the foregoing license to the Regents. Faculty may opt out of this policy for any specific work or invoke a specified delay before such work appears in an open-access repository [in accordance with [an] opt-out mechanism set forth [in the policy]."
Stanford School of Education's Policy?

"Faculty members grant to the Stanford University permission to make publicly
available their scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those
articles. They grant to Stanford University a nonexclusive, irrevocable,
worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to
their scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the
same, provided that the articles are properly attributed to the authors not
sold for a profit.

The policy will apply to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while
a faculty member of the School of Education, beginning with articles for which
the publisher's copyright agreement has yet to be signed. The Dean or the
Dean's designate will waive application of the policy upon written request
from faculty who wish to publish an article with a publisher who will not
agree to the terms of this policy (which will be presented to the publishers
in the form of an addendum to the copyright agreement).

No later than the date of publication, faculty members will provide an
electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the
appropriate representative of the Dean of Education's Office, who will make
the article available to the public in an open-access repository operated by
Stanford University...."
I have a couple of thoughts:

  1. Although some faculty may be concerned, I think that when their research is available, if they do good work, it will increase their own "personal brand" or reputation in their field. 
  2. Every school on this list has increased their stature in my opinion just because they are looking at this issue.  It means they are on the cusp of change. 
  3. I don't see the specifications for student work.
Should student work be respected? 

This is what bothers me most.  My cousin is an audio engineer and has made some pretty great soundtracks.  However, according to the policy of her college, they OWN EVERYTHING she creates as part of her coursework.  This is a pretty common practice for film schools as well as any school where they create multimedia.

In Corynne McSherry's article "Film Schools Teacher Wrong Copyright Lesson" she hits on this very issue:

"Universities commonly use earnings from the licensing or sale of intellectual property to help cover their operating costs.?
UH has also said that it will use its rights to protect UH?s
reputation?in other words, to make sure students don?t go submitting
works to festivals, posting them on YouTube, sending them to
prospective employers, and so on, without UH permission. If any
university tried to control the release and distribution of a
professor?s latest book, such a policy would immediately be recognized
for the censorship that it is. Too bad that recognition doesn?t extend
to students."

She is discussing the policy of the University of Hawaii, and yet this is the policy of most schools I know.

Last week, the University of Arizona introduced an Office of Copyright Management and Scholarly Communication and a lot of this article has some great issues embedded in the quotations.  Here are a few:
"Over the last few years, GPSC has been trying to work with the administration on understanding what rights graduate and professional students have by way of dissertations, thesis work, productions and artwork," Bieda said.[Bieda is president of the Graduate and Professional Student council]

"For the most part, we are not legal scholars," he said. "What this office is going to do it to help us to understand what our legal rights are as students.
Additionally the office is pushing towards open source for scholarly works.  The University of Arizona is moving in the right direction as these are tough issues, both from the perspective of correctly quoting sources, receiving credit and getting permission as well as BEING correctly quoted, getting credit and giving permission.

This is a two way street that benefits us all, but the literal minefield that has emerged in the explosion of intellectual production has many schools responding with great walls of legalese that limit the work that their students, faculty, and others wish to do.

Just last week, a student from the first Flat Classroom project had her work taken down off youtube for copyright infringement of a song.  At the time, my students had complained that "they don't have the same rules that we do" because I wouldn't let them use copyrighted work. 

The work this student did is GONE because she didn't follow copyright, and to me, that is just punishment.

Sometimes teachers won't catch it, but we all use the same youtube.  Make a video without having the rights and, unless you keep a backup copy on your computer, your punishment WILL be deletion.  Your hard work will dissappear with no warning in bit dust without the opportunity to be retrieved.

Copyright is a huge issue, but it need not paralyze us.  And kudos to those organizations tackling this issue head on.  Surely, it will be  a sore issue with faculty, some of whom don't even know how to check email, but it is one that should be discussed.

I want to see students have the copyright for their own work as there are great works that are gathering dust on the shelf that aren't being marketed to the world by a college who has no clue as to what they have.  It is kind of like the end of the first Indiana Jones movie where the Ark of the Covenant is rolled into a huge warehouse and put in a crate.

There's gold in that college warehouse of multimedia. 

Open Access... yes.

Student Copyright and Credit... something that needs to happen too!

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