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Andrea Foster, U. of Iowa Writing Students Revolt Against a Plan They Say Would Give Away Their Work on the Web, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 13, 2008 (accessible only to subscribers).
Also see C. Max Magee, Thorny Technology: Open Access Causes Problems at the Iowa Writers Workshop, The Millions, March 13, 2008. Excerpt:
Update (3/14/08). Today's blogosphere is full of comments on the Iowa policy. Most criticize it. Some criticize it as applied to creative writing theses but support it for non-fiction works of scholarship, and some fail to draw this distinction. Some attribute dark motives to the university. Some repeat the embarrassing "embarrassment" argument. Some stick to the argument that OA may reduce the chances of future publication. As I said yesterday, I'm open to persuasion on the last point, and looking for evidence pro or con. Unfortunately, while many of the new blog posts repeat the dire prediction, none points to evidence.
Update (3/14/08). The University of Central Florida is another school that mandates OA for theses and dissertations. But it may allow a five-year delay before the OA edition is released, in contrast with the two-year delay allowed at Iowa. Melissa Patterson's article in the Central Florida Future (thanks to Gavin Baker) doesn't say whether the new embargo would only apply to creative writing ETDs or to all ETDs.
Update (3/19/08). I've been traveling and therefore am late to blog this important update. Iowa's interim provost, Lola Lopes, released a statement (March 17) explaining that UI has not adopted the controversial policy. Excerpt:
Also see Andrea Foster, U. of Iowa Reverses New Policy That Would Have Made Nearly All Theses Freely Available Online, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 18, 2008 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Update (3/19/08). Just before I hit the road over the weekend, I had a very helpful email correspondence with Amy Charles, a 1995 graduate of the Workshop. Among other things she shed new light on what I called the "embarrassment argument". While some workshop participants don't want to distribute their theses because they are not proud of them, some have other reasons. From Amy's email (with her permission):
Update (4/11/08). Also see the advice of Karen Schneider, librarian and creative writer, written in May 2007, well before the Iowa controversy erupted.