Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More on the OA implications of the Georgia State lawsuit

GSU E-Reserves Suit Moves E-Reserves Discussion into the Light, Library Journal Academic Newswire, April 22, 2008.  Excerpt:

...Others shot down the notion of libraries not supporting the system. "[Coursepacks] are incredibly expensive, have no resale value, are terribly uncomfortable to carry around, and half of its contents the student already owns (has paid for before)," responded "Mary M." on Inside Higher Ed. "If publishers want to be fair, then be fair. But if they just want to extend their lousy business model (apply the same cost structure from print to digital), then let them become the eventual victims of their own stupidity." She also bristled at those that sought to turn the issue to one of morals. "The idea of calling classroom use of an article 'theft' is so grotesque a misapprehension of what's going on here and so antithetical to how scholars see things that my…question is: do these publishers any longer know their constituency?"

Librarian Dorothea Salo at Caveat Lector posted an interesting reaction to the suit. "If I were the Georgia State library," she wrote, "I'd play hardball. No e-reserves for anybody, and let faculty go whine at the AAP." In an earlier post from 2005, Salo explained that libraries would do well to expose the costs of their services to scholars. "Call out the AAP from behind the curtain," she wrote. "Look faculty in the eye and say, calmly, 'no, we can't put this on e-reserve, because fair-use is endangered everywhere and the AAP is making lawsuit noises-but why don't you and I contact the article authors and ask if they'll post a preprint we can link to? And by the way, are you posting your own preprints for others?" Salo said libraries must "draw a thick black line connecting what faculty do and what they have access to, because right now they don't see it."

Northwestern University Libraries' Claire Stewart wrote a detailed post on the library's copyright blog, hitting at a central frustration of the case. "Publishers are not at all specific about their thresholds for acceptable use," she writes, "leaving us to wonder whether they would consider any reserve use fair."

Perhaps the most remarkable reaction came from University of Texas' Georgia Harper. On her blog, Harper said reading Stewart's blog "pushed the last little piece into place." That piece --open access (OA). "The same struggles the industry is going through to figure out how to make the economics of OA work for journals are going to come to monographs next and then why not educational publishing?" she wrote. "Books can be freely accessible without authorship, editing, peer review and distribution falling into the gutter. Do we know how right this minute? Maybe not. Is it impossible? Absolutely not. Do we need to figure it out? Absolutely. Will we? Absolutely."