Monday, June 17, 2013

MediaWeek (V7, 24): Professor copyright, Springer Digital, Chorus, Journalistic Women?

Bucking for a fight, the head of the AAU Professors wants to protect professorial copyright on campus (CHEd):
The group's effort to mount a strong defense of professorial copyright, however, is new. In explaining his concern, Mr. Nelson said colleges previously often sought to assert control over patents but generally left faculty members' ownership of their courses and other writings alone.

With the emergence of MOOCs, however, colleges have begun asserting ownership of the courses their faculty members develop, raising the question of what is keeping such institutions from claiming ownership of other scholarly products covered by copyright, such as books.

"There is no need for the university to own the online course you create," Mr. Nelson said, because a contract giving a college the right to use the course should suffice. In claiming ownership of a course, Mr. Nelson said, a higher-education institution asserts the right to update or revise the course as it sees fit, threatening the academic freedom of the course's creator.
Springer is offering entire collections of eBooks to small and medium sized unversities (Digital Shift):
In response to growing demand for ebook content, Springer has begun offering colleges and small universities complete collections of its ebook titles by copyright year. Pricing is based on the size of the institution, and the ebooks are sold DRM-free, under a perpetual-license model that allows unlimited simultaneous use, representatives from the publisher told LJ.

A recent white paper, which Springer researched in conjunction with librarians from Wellesley College and Boston University, reported a very high rate of ebook usage among faculty and undergraduates at small colleges. At Wellesley, 71 percent of students and faculty said that they used ebooks in 2011. That total included non-academic and leisure reading, but more than half of these ebook users also said that they had downloaded ebooks from the Wellesley College Library collection. By comparison, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released a more comprehensive survey of all U.S. adults in April 2012, which indicated that only about 21 percent of U.S. adults had read an ebook in 2011.
If you were paying attention this shouldn't surprise you. Academic authors say the Authors Guild doesn't speak for them (LJ):
The brief distinguished their interest from that of the Guild’s members and pointed out that they are not only different, but diametrically opposed. “A ‘win’ for the Authors Guild would be a ‘loss’ for academic authors,” the brief stated bluntly. Academic authors, it argued, benefit from the Trust, “both because it makes our books more accessible to the public than ever before and because we use HathiTrust in conducting our own research.”

The authors also pointed out that their works “are likely more typical of those in the HathiTrust corpus than works of the Authors Guild and its members,” since much of the Trust’s holdings came from three partners’ participation in the Google Books project, and of those scans, 93 percent were nonfiction and 78 percent of the nonfiction was aimed at a scholarly audience.

The authors therefore asked the court to limit the Guild’s standing to the copyrights it actually holds (about 116, the brief estimates) rather than allowing its broad theory of associational standing to cover the trust’s 7.3 million potentially in-copyright books.

They also noted that in the related Google Books case, a District Court judge ruled that the Guild had inadequately represented the interests of academic authors. (In February 2012, more than 80 academics objected to class certification in that case, in a brief written by Professor Pamela Samuelson of the University of California, Berkeley, who also worked on this one.)
Will a CHORUS of publishers satisfy the White House desire for open access?(Science)
A group of scientific publishers today announced a plan for allowing the public to read taxpayer-funded research papers for free by linking to journals' own websites. The publishers say that this will eliminate the need for federal agencies to archive the papers themselves to comply with a new government directive. Details are sketchy, however, and it's not yet clear whether the plan will accomplish everything that the government wants from agencies.

The plan is a response to a February memo from White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director John Holdren that asks federal science agencies to come up with a plan by 22 August for making peer-reviewed papers that they fund freely available within 12 months. The memo would essentially extend a National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy that requires its grantees to submit copies of their papers to NIH's full-text PubMed Central (PMC) archive for posting after a delay of up to a year to protect journal subscriptions. Many publishers dislike PMC, however, because they say it is duplicative, infringes on copyright, and diverts readers from their own journal websites. So they have proposed an alternative that would offer a way to let the public see full-text articles without creating more PubMed Centrals.
Can Women's magazine's do serious journalism? (New Republic)
Not a single women’s magazine has been nominated for profile writing in more than a decade, while GQ and Esquire have received multiple nominations. (Men’s Journal even got one). What’s more, women’s magazines have received zero ASME nominations for reporting in the past 30 years and zero ASME nominations for fiction in the past 20 years. (This is not because women’s magazines weren’t publishing pieces that qualified in those categories; they were—more on that in a minute). And though Elle and Vogue both have excellent literary and film criticism, neither has received a nomination in the “essays and criticism” category in the past decade.1 (Neither have any other women’s magazines, by the way. You have to go back to 1999, when the now-defunct Mirabella got one.) While Elle got a nod for columns and commentary in 2013, no other women’s magazine had been nominated in the past decade in that category.

When I asked ASME chief executive Sid Holt about the disproportion, he said, via email, “Literary journalism is not central to women's magazines' editorial mission—which is one reason these magazines are rarely nominated in these categories.” He also adds that no one questions the editorial strength of women’s magazines, pointing out that Glamour was magazine of the year in 2010. He says that he can’t comment on the judges’ decisions, but that there’s no discrepancy among the judges. “There are far more judges from women's magazines than from any other magazine category,” Holt says. “Women's-magazine editors are assigned to every literary journalism judging group.”

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