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Scholarly Communication   Tags: copyright, licensing, open access, publishing  

Resources about scholarly communications and Open Access links
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Key Terms in the Open Access Movement

ACRL (Association of College and Research Libraries)-Organization involved in raising awareness of SC and is responsible for developing the Scholarly Communication Toolkit
ARL (Association of Research Libraries)-
Library organization that stays current in SC issues through news updates, initiatives, and brown bag seminars.  Developers of SPRARC.
Author Rights-The rights an author may choose to retain or give to publishers when signing a publisher agreement. 
Author Rights Addendum (a SPARC document)-A document that can be supplemented with a publisher agreement in order to negotiate retention of specific author rights.
BioMed Central-A key publisher of open access journals.

Bundling-A business practice of publishers to offer universities large-scale access to various journals.  This can lower the subscription price of journals, but reduces the control of the library and increases the publishers market power.
A non-profit partnership of libraries and publishers concerned with developing an archive that preserves and improves access to sources.
Coalition for Networked Information-
Organization concerned with supporting the technology needed to advance the SC movement.
Copyright and Intellectual Property-
Information on how to protect author's rights to the intellectual property they created.
Create Change-
An educational initiative focused on signaling new breaks in scholarly communication.
Creative Commons-An organization that gives information and tools for modifying copyright agreements for those creating materials.
Directory of Open Access Journals-
An organization that provides access to freely accessible scholarly publications.
DSpace-A digital repository based on collectively maintained software code that stores, preserves, and organizes resources in a digital format.
Fair use-An aspect of copyright law that gives permission for a copyrighted work to be used or reproduced without consent of the author (subject to specific provisions).
Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006 (FRPAA)-Law that requires open access to research results that are funded by the government.
Institute on Scholarly Communication-Institute on scholarly communication sponsored by ARL and ACRL.
Institutional repository-A digital collection and preservation storage system used by a specific group, often being an educational institution.
License-A legal document between the author and publisher of the work or a subscriber and publisher.
LOCKSS (Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe)-Software developed for preserving documents on personal computers.
National Institutes of Health-A federal agency created for supporting scholarly medical research.
National Science Foundation-
A federal organization responsible for providing funding for science and engineering research.
Open Access-
Information that is freely accessible, open to all, and free of restrictions.
OAI (Open Access Initiative)-Movement designed to improve the understanding and dissemination of open access materials and open access issues.
OpenDOAR (The Directory of Open Access Repositories)-A directory of academic open access repositories.
Public Library of Science (PLoS)-
A directory of open access information provided by an organization of scientists and medical professionals.
RoMEO Project-
A project regarding the issues around self-archiving research and rights.
SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access)-A group that explores the issues surrounding the future of scholarly communication.
SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) -An organization of academic and research libraries that confront the problems present in the current publishing model.


About Scholarly Communication

What is scholarly communication and why is it important?

Scholarly communication is the process through which research and other scholarly works are evaluated, disseminated and preserved.  Historically, we have gone through periods of defined scholarly communication practices that change due to a technological shift and then stabilize. We are in the midst of just such a shift at the present.

What is behind the push for open access materials?

Open access is a movement that recognizes this technological and cultural shift and an open access publication is available to all, freely, subject to attribution of authorship.

The current prevailing method of scholarly communication involves using for-profit publishers to edit, publish and distribute an authoritative copy of a work.  Those who wish to read or learn about this work must purchase the published work.  As publishers’ costs rise, the costs for accessing the information rise, while at the same time more information is published than ever before.  Librarians and scholars recognize that the system is untenable for much longer. The ability to communicate instantaneously with thousands of scholars at once via the internet has opened up new avenues to scholars and students.  Researchers can share information with selected individuals or with the masses through a single keystroke.    Open access is a movement that recognizes this technological and cultural shift and an open access publication is available to all, freely, subject to attribution of authorship.  A more complete description of an open access publication can be found at the following site:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Scholarly Communication (SC)?
Scholarly communication is the process through which research and other scholarly works are evaluated, classified, registered, disseminated, preserved and sometimes composed.

Why is there a "crisis" in scholarly publications?
The cost for scholarly materials purchased by libraries increases faster than the inflation rate and much faster than the increase in library budgets.  For instance, in Washington state, from 1996-2006 the expenses for library materials increased 57% while the inflation costs rose only 28% nationally.  Additionally, the number of published jounals has increased.  Consequently the purchasing power of the library is diminished and the ability of the student and faculty to access all the pertinent information is affected.

How does the scholarly publishing crisis affect me?
Libraries can purchase less of the overall information universe than before, because of the inflating cost of journals.  Therefore, less information is available to you as a researcher and scholar.  Also, as an author, the ownership of your scholarship is a right you can control, particularly with alternate publishing models and creative licensing.

What are “alternate publishing models”?
Alternate publishing models are attempts to promote scholarship through open access publishing in free journals, hybrid journals (where publishing is subsidized), or through depositing in an repository with free access.  Low-cost journals published by scholarly societies also offer affordable choices for higher education institutions. 

What is an institutional repository?  Why should I use it?
Institutional repositories are controlled online storage databases.  They allow for sharing, organizing, describing and preserving documents.  By placing a work on an institutional repository you may increase access to your work and gain a stable storage platform.

Can digital journals be reliably cited?

Most journals and digital repositories provide persistent, stable URL’s for their articles.

Are open access journals peer-reviewed? 
A majority, but not all open access journals are peer-reviewed.  Before presenting an article as peer-reviewed you might want to check with one of the following sources:

Can alternate journals be used for promotion and tenure decisions?
Many alternate journals maintain the standards to qualify for promotion and tenure decisions.  The perception that new, alternate models of publication are lower quality is based upon a lack of information about emerging scholarly communication models. Universities can contribute to supporting open access publishing by evaluating peer-reviewed electronic journals and recognizing their worth.

How do I maintain copyright of my own work?
Copyright of intellectual material can be maintained by either amending a publisher’s agreement or by publishing using an open access source.  The SPARC addendum is a document that can be added to a publisher’s agreement to maintain author’s rights.  For more information on author’s rights see the ‘Faculty’ tab.

How do I keep people from ‘stealing’ my work if it is freely accessible online?
Copyright laws still apply to online materials.  Plagiarism or stealing of ideas may be slightly easier when the content is online, but it is still illegal.  Additionally, plagiarized material taken from online sources is easier to track and find.

What can I do to help?
Scholarly communication relies on faculty, student, and public support.  As a faculty member, you can contribute to SC by publishing in open access journals or making your work freely accessible.  As a student you can support SC by joining using open access sources or by joining a group that champions open access, such as students for a free culture or student PRIG's.  As a member of the public you can advocate for policies such as the Federal Research Public Access Act (that allows federally funded research to be publicly accessible).

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