Posting articles online

Faculty and researchers have a long practice of sharing their published articles. For a long time this was done through personal requests – via mail, telephone, and email – but for the past ten to fifteen years, faculty have been posting copies of their journal articles on either personal webpages or on sites like

Posting PDF versions of articles online for anyone to access is frequently in violation of the copyright transfer agreements that authors sign when their article is published. While publishers may issue take-down notices in certain situations, there hasn’t been a wholesale effort on the part of publishers to remove “free” versions of published articles.

Recently, Elsevier took issue with the posting of articles from their journals to the site They have started issuing take down notices by the thousands to Scholars affected by this take-down spree have received emails from notifying them of the removal of their work from the site. While this may be a short-term solution to freely accessible copies of articles circulating around the Internet, it may end up backfiring on Elsevier by educating authors about the restrictive copyright transfer agreements authors are asked to sign. Some authors may choose to publish their work elsewhere to maintain more control over the work they created.

For more information, see this recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

OA Button

Two students and a volunteer team of programmers and designers recently unveiled the Open Access Button. The OA Button is a browser-based tool that allows people to report when they’ve run into a paywall while trying to access material online. The OA Button is very easy to use. You simply add it to your browser and then click on it when you hit a paywall. You answer a few questions about the item you were trying to access and your information is added to a map showing paywall problems around the world. The tool will then try to help you find your article using Google Scholar. The OA Button is a great visual representation of the access problem many of us have been talking about for over a decade.

Article in The Guardian about the OA Button:

OA Button: 


Open access monographs

The momentum towards open access journal articles picked up substantially this year. Even though we’re still a long way from the ideal world we wish we had, where all academic scholarship can be freely read and used by anyone, anywhere, at least we are well on the way. More and more, I hear people say out loud, “It’s inevitable.”

But books are a much harder case. The cost to go from “here’s my manuscript” to the satisfying thump of the hardback on the table is a lot more than the $1000 – $3000 for an OA article. There are not a lot of people demonstrating the myriad ways to fund those costs.

But, it is happening, in many places across our country. Publishers are publishing open access monographs. I recently consulted with two faculty members at UT whose book, several years in the making now, will come out open access. They are art historians. Solid humanities. Open access. I just read an article about Wellcome Trust and Palgrave Macmillan publishing a book on the history of a disease open access. History.

It’s possible.

Yesterday I listened to the panel of lawyers who attended the appellate hearing in the Georgia State e-reserves case discuss how the oral arguments went. Everyone is careful not to say that they think things will go one way or the other, but it is certainly clear that all were considering the prospect of losing on appeal. Open access may be the silver lining to that possible outcome. If publishers were to get what they say they want in that case — to limit course readings fair use to their 1978 Classroom Guidelines — it would encourage many who might doubt its viability today, to give open access monograph publishing a lot more thought tomorrow. We have it within our own hands to steward our scholarship in a more rational way. We might start by questioning whether our servants have become our masters, and then take back from them the responsibility for sharing what we do with the world. We create it. We pay for its distribution one way or the other. Why not up front, so our authors can have the wider audiences their scholarship deserves and that open access can give them?

OER bill introduced

A bill was introduced into the U.S. Senate that would create a competitive grant program to create open educational textbooks – meaning textbooks that are freely available online. The bill, called the Affordable College Textbook Act, was introduced by Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN).

Senate bill 1704: A bill to expand the use of open textbooks in order to achieve savings for students:

New preprint repository: bioRxiv

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has launched a preprint repository for the biological sciences called bioRxiv. bioRxiv is a place for scientists to deposit their unpublished manuscripts. This is similar to the preprint repository, arXiv, which has been in existence since 1991 and serves mainly researchers in physics, mathematics, and computer science.

About bioRxiv:
Submission guidelines:

Digital Public Library of America

DPLA logoThe Chronicle featured a post about the DPLA Tuesday morning, so I thought I’d go over and check it out. DPLA, the Digital Public Library of America, has as its goal to aggregate the records of mostly open content from libraries, archives and museums all around the country. So, for example, let’s say UT has a map collection online — in theory, our collection could be included among the resources that one can access through the DPLA portal. In addition, there is an API open to developers who want to use the metadata behind the digital resources to create interesting ways to get at what’s there. And finally, DPLA is clearly advocating on behalf of libraries, archives and museums, emphasizing the importance of the role we play in preserving works, creating metadata that describe them, and providing access to the great store of cultural materials that are in our public domain.

So, I did a bit of looking around, looked up some things on Zen, Texas history, and polar bears, and I compared the results I got with those I got from doing the same searches on the global Internet.

Wow. It’s like two completely different worlds. DPLA is ultra-refined searching, narrowed down to what’s mostly, but not entirely, public domain, and digital, whose records have been contributed to the DPLA by a partner library, museum or archive. Sort of like Creative Commons searches, when I want to find only those materials I can reuse, but much narrower. Because there is so much content out there that is not available through DPLA, I sure do appreciate the steps current-day creators take to tag their works with the privileges they freely share with the public. Otherwise, we wait decades (let’s say it’s roughly 100 years now) to be able to say, “I can actually use this wonderful work that you posted online as I wish!” Becoming public domain takes a long, long, long, long time in this country.

And I appreciate all that metadata that libraries and archives and museums have been steadily adding to the records for the works in their collections, the metadata that allows us to let machines do the job of sorting through things for us, and finding just what we’re interested in.

OA Week 2013 wrap-up

Thanks to everyone who showed up for OA Week 2013 events! We had great discussions about OA issues and hope we sparked some long term interest in OA. A big thanks to everyone who helped make our first OA Week a success. In addition to everyone on the planning group, the following people were instrumental in making our OA events possible:

  • Greg Aker
  • Geoff Bahre
  • David Carlson
  • Maria Esteva
  • Garin Fons
  • Debra Hanken-Kurtz
  • Tracie Harrison
  • Fred Heath
  • Jon Lebkowsky
  • Frank Meaker
  • Elena Mota
  • Elise Nacca
  • Stephanie Phillips
  • Jason Sick
  • Travis Willmann
  • Krystal Wyatt-Baxter
  • Staff at Fine Arts Library
  • Staff at COERLL
  • All the cleaning crews at PCL, SAC, and Fine Arts Library

We’d also like to thank The Daily Texan reporters and photographers who did such a great job covering the events: Riley Banks, Lizzie Jespersen, Debbie Garcia, Leslie Zhang and Helen Fernandez.

If you’d like to explore additional information about Open Access, you can start with the following list of resources:

OA Week 2013 in review

Dates and times for OA Week 2013 events:

  • Monday, October 21st, 4-6 pm: Wikipedia Editathon in the Perry Castañeda Library (PCL 1.124)
    • Celebrate Open Access Week by joining other students, faculty, staff, librarians, and community members interested in becoming Wikipedians and improving the open educational content of this online encyclopedia.  The first thirty minutes of the event will be a short introduction to the basics of editing followed by an editing session where you can contribute your expertise to Wikipedia and get one-on-one assistance from experienced editors.  Learn how to access the resources of the University of Texas Libraries, including the open access resources found in the UT Digital Repository, guided by the expertise of our librarians.  Free snacks will be available to fuel your contributions.
  • Tuesday, October 22nd, 12-1:30 pm: Open Access Panel Discussion in the Student Activity Center Legislative Assembly Room (SAC 2.302)
    • Join panel members in a question and answer session about Open Access issues. Likely discussion topics include the NIH requirement to post articles in PubMed Central, funding agency requirements to create and share data management plans, the recent White House memo on sharing research results, and the bipartisan bill FASTR (Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act). Panel members are: Maria Esteva, Texas Advanced Computing Center; Georgia Harper, UT Libraries; Tracie Harrison, College of Nursing; Colleen Lyon, UT Libraries; and Elena Mota, Office of Sponsored Projects. Pizza and drinks available while they last.
  • Wednesday, October 23rd, 12:30-1:30 pm: Open Educational Resources – Past, Present & Future? in the Student Activity Center (SAC 1.118)
    • Garin Fons, Project Manager for the Center of Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, discusses Open Educational Resources (OER), as part of the UT Libraries’ Open Access Week @ UT Austin. He will cover the inception and evolution of OER over the past ten years, and explore where the Open Education movement might be headed in the years to come. Pizza and drinks available while they last.
  • Thursday, October 24th, 6-9 pm: RiP: A Remix Manifesto movie screening in the Fine Arts Library
    • Explore copyright and open access issues at the screening of a film about music sampling. After the film there will be a discussion session to address how these issues affect education here at UT and our everyday lives. Pizza and drinks available while they last.
  • Friday, October 25th, 12-1 pm: Open Access Scholarly Publishing with Texas Digital Library in the Student Activity Center (SAC 1.118)
    • As part of UT Libraries’ Open Access Week @ UT Austin, Debra Hanken Kurtz, director of the Texas Digital Library (TDL), discusses the free scholarly publishing services available to UT faculty through the TDL. In addition to exploring the value of Open Access publishing generally as a means of increasing journals’ readership and their contributions to the public good, the talk will focus on Open Journal Systems, a journal management and publishing tool used by thousands of scholarly journals worldwide. This and other tools offered by the TDL provide the means of producing peer-reviewed online journals and conference proceedings and of indexing content with search engines so that it is easily discoverable online. Pizza and drinks available while they last.

RiP: A Remix Manifesto additional resources

The documentary being screened at today’s OA Week 2013 event is RiP: A Remix Manifesto. The idea of remix culture is quite fascinating and always brings up many questions. The resources provided below are meant to provide people with additional avenues of exploration into this topic.