Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Encouraging faculty to use an author addendum

Yesterday the U of Illinois Provost, Linda Katehi, sent this email letter to U of Illinois faculty:

New opportunities created by electronic publishing and archiving are changing the business of scholarly publication. Because traditional publication agreements transfer copyrights to publishers and restrict electronic distribution by the author and their institution, publishers appear to have captured much of the benefit of these changes.

In November 2006, faculty governance leaders from CIC universities discussed these issues that affect scholarly communication and called for a concrete strategy that would help faculty retain more control over their published intellectual property. Subsequently, the CIC provosts issued a
Statement on Publishing Agreements and an Addendum to Publication Agreements for CIC Authors. The Addendum is intended to be used by faculty entering into publication agreements with journal publishers or presses. It supports authors rights to use their own published work in teaching and research, to post a publication on a personal website, or to deposit it in a repository maintained by their institution or a professional association. IDEALS is the University of Illinois institutional repository.

Late this Spring [April 30, 2007], the U of I Senate endorsed the principles expressed in the CIC Provosts Statement and Addendum; encouraged faculty to consider using it as well as other publication agreement addenda that increase their rights in reproducing, distributing, and archiving their own work; and asked the CIC Provosts to provide leadership in negotiating with publishers to develop new publication agreements that provide CIC authors and institutions greater rights for use, distribution and archiving their published scholarly works.

It is our responsibility as scholars to ensure that our work is available as widely as possible to maximize its scholarly impact, accessibility, and educational use. I encourage you to use the Addendum and to deposit your research and scholarship in IDEALS, which provides reliable and persistent access to its holdings.

(Thanks to Katie Newman on the U of I Scholarly Communication blog.)

Comment.  The U of I is right to encourage faculty to use the CIC author addendum.  But in the June SOAN, I hoped that CIC institutions would go further:

...[I]t's not clear what form the encouragement will take.  Will it be limited to the abstract encouragement of passing a resolution in the Faculty Senate?  Or will there also be some case-by-case encouragement? ...In a standoff between a publisher and faculty member, what will universities do to support their faculty member? 

Here's the bigger question:  What else will these universities do to encourage OA archiving?  If they take the step of adopting an author addendum, they should also adopt a policy to require OA archiving.  If permission is not a problem (because publishers already give it or because an addendum worked), what will these institutions do to insure that faculty postprints are actually archived? ...

The permission problem is worth solving, but we have to remember that solving it is only a means to the end of OA.  Universities adopting an author addendum are moving in the right direction, but they must keep moving.  Permission for OA isn't yet OA itself....

What's important is not how often U of I faculty use the author addendum, but how often they self-archive.  I hope Provost Katehi's office monitors the self-archiving rate and is ready to adopt an effective policy to move it toward 100%.