But I thought we were just talking about OA

This post was contributed by Anita Walz, Open Education, Copyright & Scholarly Communication Librarian at Virginia Tech. This blog post is based in part on a presentation given at the Library Publishing Forum 2017, Baltimore, MD, entitled: “Adaptation? Derivatives? I thought we were just talking about Open Access.”

This is an invitation to librarians, particularly those engaged in publishing, to explore current standards and practices, clear communication to non-librarians, and to prompt us to reflect about and discuss our values as libraries supporting access and creation of scholarly and learning resources. I hope that this blog post will:

  1. Better know how to help our clients to think thru licensing options—especially to prompt authors in thinking about the needs of users (and potential users);
  2. Acknowledge a diversity of perspectives regarding what we may mean when we say “open access” and choose our words carefully;
  3. Develop a shared sense of best practices and values as library publishers. Namely, what is our mission and what do we value? Are we fulfilling our mission & values?

Libraries and library publishing initiatives are uniquely situated to both inform authors and to set policies that reflect our values and prioritize the use of limited time and resources to fulfill our respective missions.

Defining open

Within library, scholarly publishing, and open education initiatives the word open can mean many different things1: free online, free to read, or in the case of Public Domain and Creative Commons licenses which allow derivatives—free to adapt and redistribute.

Open access is an area within Scholarly Communication and the publishing industry at large that seems fraught with confusion, even though the prescriptive direction for the landscape was set nearly 15 years ago: The 2003 Berlin Declaration articulates the definition of “Open Access” as is the equivalent of a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY) with one important caveat—limits on the number of print copies. “Open Access” in this case is not the same as “free online.” Yet, truth be told, I don’t use the phrase “Open Access” anymore. Many faculty I talk with understand “Open Access” to mean “free online” regardless of the in-copyright and/or open license (or not) status of a work. In my experience, this phrase does not convey to my faculty the full potential of an item with a CC BY license. I talk instead about “free online” and “openly licensed,” and occasionally discuss the difference between gratis (no cost) and libre (free as in freedom).

Are No-Derivative licenses open enough?

A few semesters ago a new faculty member contacted me about fair use. The book she wanted to use for her course was out of print. While the library had multiple copies and there were half a dozen used books for sale, she had nearly 125 students. Could we license a digital version? No. Could she make copies? It depends. Published in 1987, the book was still clearly in copyright. After a semester of displaying one-chapter-at-a-time via library eReserves under a detailed fair use assertion, I worked with the publisher and authors and found that the rights had reverted to the authors. I negotiated with the authors to broaden access to their work by licensing it with a Creative Commons license and allowing worldwide digital access. Anyone is now able to access, read, download and share the digitized text free of charge, and the faculty member’s problem regarding student access to the text was solved.

I should be happy, right? Yes, the students in the VetMed course have access to an excellent text selected by their professor. The authors were happy to broaden the audience for their work and delighted to see new readership for their classic book which was published in 1987. The text is “free online” and can be freely redistributed with attribution.

Still, I was dissatisfied. The license chosen by the authors was the Creative Commons Non-Commercial No-Derivatives license. CC-BY-NC-ND I failed to convince the authors that there may be value in allowing others to modify their text with attribution—and I don’t mean translation or reformatting pages. I wondered: Is it open enough? Couldn’t we do better? My colleague working in an Open Education Initiative at another University cannot offer it to her faculty as something they could customize. Opportunities for development of albeit hypothetical derivatives, such as “Veterinary Epidemiology in Tropical Climates” or “VetEpi in Emergencies and Disasters” or “VetEpi for Small Animals,” cannot exist without an author starting from scratch. We still have the same problem as before where we can stand on the shoulders of giants, but cannot build on their works.

This has resulted in lingering questions: Is there anything I could have said to persuade the authors? We have limited resources: what kinds of projects do we as a department and as a library choose to support?  (The question of how to license our library-created works has for the most part already been settled.)

Ingredients matter

Several years ago I was involved in a grant-funded project to create a reusable digital learning object. The learning object was to be an open source platform which several faculty members would use as an ancillary teaching resource in their course. The code for the platform was also to be widely and publicly shared as open source software. It was an exciting project. It was not as exciting when small snippets of commercial code were licensed and an iStockPhoto appeared as the main part of the interface — both done to expedite completion of the project. Both actions meant we could not openly license the platform or to share the code openly. When we don’t value the reusability potential of resources we create or the components that go into such works, we end up creating resources which have limited potential impact.

Going beyond “free to read”

In my experience as an Open Education Librarian at Virginia Tech, I rely heavily on licenses which go beyond “free to read” or “no cost distribution” to those that allow derivatives. The following Creative Commons licenses (and Public Domain markers) allow remix, customization, and redistribution with attribution, allowing anyone to build on the shoulders of giants — which can save the time and effort of rebuilding on an otherwise solid foundation. In the case of learning resources, this is helpful because Geology, Calculus, French, Physics and the like don’t change very quickly.


You’ll notice that two Creative Commons licenses are missing above, those which prohibit the creation of derivatives.

In November 2016, the Open Textbook Network, on whose Advisory Board I serve, issued a new policy regarding a preference for CC BY licenses. However, what was most striking to me was the decision that books with a “No Derivative” license will no longer be added to the Open Textbook Library. Legacy “No Derivative” titles were not removed, but no additional “ND” titles will be added. I cheered the decision, as this would make it easier for users to know how to find titles that could be remixed or adapted, like the 2015-16 Fundamentals of Business textbook on which I worked that was a deep revision of an openly licensed 2011 Intro to Business title. Yet, I wondered: How do we enable discovery of the entire range of free-online, CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND books? I wondered: Is limiting the Open Textbook Library to only editable books too narrow? How do we help faculty, students, and broader audiences to navigate the increasingly complex maze of CC-but-not-editable and CC-and-editable items? Are we creating another complex wrinkle for readers and would-be users?

Author decisions

Deciding what to do with one’s copyrights as well as whether or not to openly license is the prerogative of the copyright holder. Authors concerned about the integrity of their work may question the use of Creative Commons licenses, all of which allow redistribution, and some of which allow adaptation (derivatives) with attribution.

Allows adaptation Allows redistribution Requires attribution Eliminates fair use
PD (no known copyright) Yes Yes No No
PD0 / CC0 (donated to public domain) Yes Yes No No
CC BY Yes-under same license terms Yes Yes No
CC BY SA Yes Yes Yes No
CC BY NC Yes Yes Yes No
CC BY NC SA Yes-under same license terms Yes Yes No
CC BY ND No Yes Yes No
CC BY NC ND No Yes Yes No
In-Copyright with no additional license or permission No No  — No

Who says whether it is open enough?

Whether something is “open enough” might be determined by what the eye-of-the-beholder sees or values. Something being “open enough” depends on the willingness of the copyright holder to allow and make space for unimagined possibilities. The vision and creativity (or desperation) of a potential adapter can then leverage this to make something new out of an existing openly licensed work.

In my experience, authors tend to take a conservative stance, opting to do what they’ve always done out of habit, or because they’re unaware of the negative consequences or missed opportunities for others, or out of concern for “what might happen.” Clearing these hurdles requires creativity and tact.  It requires an analysis regarding risk and probability around concerns about potential negative effects. It also requires providing authors with a vision for what sharing and cooperation can do for us, the benefits of Ut Prosim (Virginia Tech’s motto: “That I may serve”), and the reality of virtuous circles. A few places to start these discussions include a blog post by Ryan Merkley of Creative Commons, Sharing, the Foreword of the recent book Made with Creative Commons, or the Why Openness in Education, Chapter 6 of Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies (2012).

Library values (and boundaries)

As librarians, we have a responsibility to educate our potential authors regarding options and outcomes. I see each of these decisions as an investment toward the future, as voting for the future we want, or of getting the future we have chosen. I cannot rightly tell a faculty or staff member, student or colleague, “this is the license you should choose.” I am responsible, however, to invest in the types of projects I should be working on, to say “no” to those outside of the priorities and values, and to carefully leverage the grant monies at my disposal. I’m also responsible to be clear regarding rationale to the people with whom I work, including my understanding of long- or short-term opportunities, impacts, or consequences related to potential projects. I enjoy providing opportunities for those yet unmet who will interested in leveraging and adapting openly licensed content for the benefit of readers beyond what I and the authors I work with can presently imagine.


1 For a longer discussion on this topic, see Pomerantz and Peek in First Monday at http://dx.doi.org/10.5210/fm.v21i5.6360.

© Anita Walz CC BY 4.0 International

5 Questions With… Andy Wesolek

photo of Andy Wesolek

Andy Wesolek, Clemson University

Andy Wesolek, Head of Digital Scholarship at Clemson University, gamely agreed to be our inaugural profile in the new
5 Questions With… series. It helps that he’s also the new ASERL Scholarly Communications Interest Group Co-Chair, so he couldn’t exactly say no!

In this new series, we will be profiling ASERL scholcomm librarians each month so we can learn more about one another. If you’re interested in sharing your scholcomm story, or wish to know more about a fellow ASERL librarian’s path by suggesting they be featured, contact Molly Keener or Andy Wesolek.

Q1. Describe your current scholcomm position.

I currently serve as the head of digital scholarship at Clemson University. In this role, I lead a team of 3.5 FTE committed to advancing our digital scholarship initiatives. Broadly, these encompass scholarly communication and digital imaging. More specifically, we focus on institutional repository management, library-based publishing efforts, copyright education and compliance, and developing an array of educational programming. We also implement OER and OA funding initiatives and work closely with the special collections unit to digitize and make accessible the cultural heritage of the Upstate and archives of Clemson University.

Q2. What attracted you to scholcomm work?

It was actually a very happy accident! I trained as a reference librarian, then after obtaining my MLIS, I began working on a masters in philosophy at the University of Idaho. While there, I worked in university archives and digital initiatives. When I hit the job market, I applied primarily for emerging technologies librarian positions (a title I rarely see these days). I was fortunate to have applied to one such position at Utah State University and while I did not get the job, several future colleagues noted that I had the skill set to serve as a scholarly communication librarian, a position that was also open. I had some reservations, because at the time I knew next to nothing about the scholarly communication environment! But, Utah State is awesome, and they provided me with on-the-job training, at which point I totally fell in love with the work.

Q3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I think there are very real and clear ethical dimensions to creating a more open and effective scholarly communication environment, and I find it deeply rewarding to play a role in that, no matter how small. I am particularly passionate about open publishing facilitated by libraries and university presses. Editing the Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship, several monographs, and a special issue of a journal has allowed me to work with some really powerful thinkers and bring their ideas together into holistic works.

Q4. If you had a magic wand and could change one thing in the scholcomm ecosystem, what would it be?

Promotion and tenure decisions would be based in part on a thorough reading of a candidate’s published work and assessment of its quality, rather than reliance on various impact metrics. Institutional reliance on journal impact metrics is one of the biggest barriers to increased innovation in the scholarly communication space. I think the scholarly communication environment is going to get messier before we see the emergence of another dominant (or two or three) revenue model and that we can move more quickly through this messy period by eliminating reliance on journal impact metrics—and even author and article level metrics that are often incomplete and unreliable.

Q5. If you were NOT a scholcomm librarian, what would you be?

Good question! Maybe a furniture builder/cabinet maker? I love woodworking, but I am too slow and meticulous to make it profitable. That or full-time bicycle rider and traveler? Is that a thing?


Revenge of the Fourth Factor: GSU Back in Court

posted by Tucker Taylor (University of South Carolina) and John Burger (ASERL), July 31, 2017.

The Georgia State University e-reserves copyright case is still going after all these years. Officially starting in 2008, this case has bounced around the courts for many years, and it was back at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday, July 27, 2017.  The plaintiffs are Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Sage Publishing, with significant financial support from the Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) and the Association of American Publishers (AAP).  The case deals with nonprofit academic institutions’ rights to post portions of copyrighted materials online for their students –  how much and under what circumstances is this allowable?  Most of the importance of this case revolves around how US copyright law interprets Fair Use provisions under these circumstances, which is common to all academic institutions.

There have been many blog posts and articles about the GSU case by library copyright experts such as Brandon Butler, Dave Hansen and Kevin Smith, and others.  And a good overview, if a bit outdated, to this long, complicated case can be found on Wikipedia.  Please check those out for more detailed information on the case.

Potential for Market Harm
While each lawyer had prepared remarks, most of the time in court was devoted to a back-forth conversation between the three judge panel and each of the attorneys.  The focus of the overwhelming amount of the conversation focused on how Judge Evans at the District Court interpreted and implemented the directive from the first Appeals Court panel regarding the importance of the potential for market harm, the fourth factor in assessing Fair Use.  The first Appeals panel noted that in this type of case – nontransformative use of copyrighted materials  – the risk of harm from market substitution was “severe” and directed Judge Evans to give the fourth factor greater weight than in her first analysis.

In her first decision, Evans gave each of the four factors equal weight — 25% each.   After receiving the first Appeals Court ruling, Judge Evans’ second decision re-calculated the weighting of each of the factors:

  • 25% to factor 1 (purpose and character of the use),
  • 5% to factor 2 (nature of the copyrighted work),
  • 30% to factor 3 (amount and substantiality of the portion taken), and
  • 40% to factor 4 (the effect of the use on the potential market).

In her second review, Judge Evans also changed the methodology she used to determine the fourth factor, taking into consideration the licensing revenues the plaintiffs would have received for each of the book excerpts they cited as potential infringements.  In some cases, the revenues the publishers would have gained if GSU had  licensed the content would have been quite small — just a few dollars — which seemed to impact Evans’ interpretation of potential for market harm.

The product of Judge Evans’ detailed analyses:  In her first decision in 2012, Evans identified 31 instances of potential copyright infringement using the 25%/25%/25%/25% formula.  In her second decision in 2016, Judge Evans found only four of the same uses to be infringing using the ‘new’ 25%/5%/30%/40% formula and the new process for determining the 4th factor.   In this most recent hearing, Judge Pryor in particular found this change in methodology and its results to be completely untenable and he was singularly focused on this issue.  Further, at one point Judge Pryor commented to the court that he “hates balancing tests” and believes them to be “antithetical to the rule of law.”  He later noted that if Judge Evans’ second ruling was allowed to stand “everyone in educational settings could do what GSU did and steal the content.”   Ahem.

Availability of Licensing
Judge Rosenbaum’s main line of questioning also centered around the fourth factor, although not the same aspect.  Rosenbaum questioned the “circularity” of relying solely upon the availability of a license to determine market harm, and noted that the availability of a license is not, in her opinion, “determinative.”  She pointed out that this sole criteria created a situation that would never allow Fair Use if a license were available, and this was not a sufficiently meaningful way to determine where the scale tipped for the fourth factor.  She even quoted from the preamble to the Fair Use statute that includes teaching with multiple copies for classroom use as an example of a fair use to bolster her line of reasoning.  This question was raised several times by Rosenbaum and Pryor during the arguments, however a clear answer was not offered as a result of their discussions.

The Specter of an Injunction
The publishers’ attorney noted that the case has always been about seeking a judicial injunction against the type of uses they found objectionable at GSU, not monetary damages.  Judge Pryor asked the plaintiffs’ lawyer what they would like to see an injunction, beyond a ruling of “follow the law.”  Rich pointed to the Classroom Copying Guidelines drafted by Congress in 1976, as well as the need to have training for and oversight of faculty who are tasked with determining if their desired use of content falls within the boundaries of Fair Use.  Attorney Rich was also able to work several anticipated points into the discussion, such as the detrimental effect of repeated use of the same material, to Princeton v Michigan Document Services (the ‘course pack case’), to American Geophysical Union vs Texaco, and others.  Regrettably, GSU’s lawyer failed to rebut those analogies, as each has been found to be not germane to this case in earlier proceedings.

In his argument, GSU’s lawyer Steven Schaetzel pointed out the lack of evidence for market harm.  Most of his time was devoted to defending Pryor’s barrage of questions regarding Judge Evan’s re-evaluation of the fourth factor determinations.  Schaetzel defended this by saying Evans needed to examine the evidence holistically in order to judge how to best weigh the factor.  Schaetzel summed up his arguments by stating that the publishers’ fear was not that faculty would make bad Fair Use decisions, but instead that they would make good ones.  He believes the goal of this case is to enshrine the availability of a license to be the only determining factor, which would remove the possibility of Fair Use from educational use.

Who Should Pay Legal Fees?
A small amount of the discussion was spent on reviewing Judge Evans’ decision requiring the plaintiffs to repay all of GSU’s legal fees, approximately $3M at this point. Judge Martin questioned Schaetzel to explain why he felt the court costs should be awarded to Georgia State.  Schaetzel felt that there were several actions by the publishers that were worthy of deterrence, including how they had complained of thousands of unspecified possible infringements before the trial, but at trial they only could specify 99 instances, and later could only pursue legal action on half of those claims because of lack of evidence and lack of case, either because the publishers could not show they owned the copyright or they could not prove there was any use of the works.   The discussion of legal fee awards was very brief, and difficult to gauge how each judge felt about the matter.

We were partly expecting – hoping, perhaps — that this hearing to be focused primarily on who would pay the legal fees, considering the two previous decisions from the District Court strongly favored GSU.  However, it was clear the publishers are dogged in their determination that Judge Evans at the District Court erred in her methods in both the first and second rulings, and they are continuing to actively pursue an injunction against GSU.  If there is a decision against GSU, it would ostensibly be limited in its effect — impacting only  universities in the 11th Circuit (Georgia, Florida, Alabama) and how they can use Fair Use principles to provide unlicensed content to students via e-reserves.  In reality, the final ruling will likely be interpreted to apply to libraries nationally, so the implications here are significant.  On the other hand, the use of e-reserves varies widely among libraries — some libraries see it as a technology that has come and gone, while other libraries continue to use it quite actively – the ultimate impact of this seemingly-endless litigation could vary widely.




Summer scholarly communication plans

May means summer for those of us in higher ed, and if your library is like mine, summer means projects (and construction…ALWAYS construction). Here’s what I, and a few of our ASERL colleagues, have planned for our summer of scholcomm!

Robin @ Johns Hopkins: continuing work on the draft OA policy for JHU; overhauling the scholcomm libguide

Melanie @ Emory: redeveloping the ETD repository; finalizing brand new Scholarly Communications Office website

Jeanne @ ECU: hiring a Data Services Librarian; working on the textbook initiative; developing tutorials on scholcomm topics

Molly (me!) @ Wake Forest: planning for integration of the Digital Initiatives & Scholarly Communication team and Teaching & Learning Center in renovated library space mid-fall; developing Digital Humanities/Scholarship faculty workshop series for AY2017-18

What are you working on this summer? Email me, and I’ll add it to our list!

Updated 5-23-17 to add…

Hillary & the ScholComm & Publishing division @ VCU: kicking off our new Affordable Course Content Awards program; hiring a Research Data Librarian, holding scholarly communications workshops for library faculty and staff; refining OA publishing fund guidelines; working toward publication of new OA journals and monographs; review of ETD processes and requirements

Devin @ FSU: working with the inaugural winners of our alternative textbook grants program to adopt, remix, and create open textbooks for their courses; facilitating our first Know Your CopyRights! internal training workshop series; OA policy implementation efforts, including automated metadata harvesting and bulk-soliciting post-prints from authors who published in Yellow SR journals in 2016

Laura @ GSU: develop/redevelop a graduate student workshop series focusing on fair use/permission in dissertations, fair use/permissions in teaching, and author rights in publishing; plan for an ORCiD push in the fall; and take the Georgia Bar Exam in late July [Good luck, Laura!]

Updated 6-27-17 to add…

Brandon, Chip, Dave, Sherry, & Ellen @ UVA: on June 23, hosted the Virginia Scholarly Communication Interest Group forum, with 30 attendees from libraries and organizations around the Commonwealth (this group has been meeting twice a year for four years now); August soft launch of final phase of our scholarly repository replacement project: Libra Open, which will join Libra ETD and Libra Data as modern containers for all kinds of open products of research generated by UVa scholars; actively building an open access journal publishing service, coming months will bring some exciting developments; summer is scholcomm org-building time, including overhauling our web presence for copyright and scholarly communication advocacy

Updated 7-5-17 to add…

Claudia @ MSU: Claudia Holland left George Mason University and is now the first scholarly communication librarian at Mississippi State University Libraries. Three years ago, the library established five committees in the areas of open access, OER, institutional repositories, copyright education, and data management for the purposes of: assessing the University community’s knowledge about these and related issues; offering internal library education, as needed; and planning for services for/outreach to the university community. During that time, MSU’s institutional repository was established, numerous in-house trainings and external workshops on these topics were offered, a website was created, and a summit on data services was held. Claudia will be working with her new colleagues to plan and implement the next steps in the library’s SC journey. Planning priorities include advancing OER/OT adoption, increasing deposits in the IR, and collaborating with MSU’s Office of Research and Economic Development to address grant compliance (e.g., funder required DMPs & access to scholarship produced by grantees).

Fair Use Week 2017

fair-use-week-logo-smHappy Fair Use Week 2017!

Following on the heels of Love Your Data Week, Fair Use/Fair Dealing Week is “an annual celebration of the important doctrines of fair use and fair dealing. It is designed to highlight and promote the opportunities presented by fair use and fair dealing, celebrate successful stories, and explain these doctrines.” Started in 2015, with support from the Association of Research Libraries, this is the first year that we are participating here at Wake Forest University, with two workshops.

Our first workshop is aimed at faculty, and I will be co-presenting with Carrie Johnston, the Digital Humanities Research Designer, on how to use researcher profile systems and personal websites to maximize scholars’ impact online. As we all know, faculty don’t always think about their copyrights when publishing, nor when they share their published research online, so understanding copyright and fair use, even as it applies to their own scholarship, is critical!

Our second workshop will be for graduate students who are nearing the end of their studies, and are preparing their theses and dissertations. We will be addressing how fair use applies in graduate research, particularly when that research is shared electronically as part of our university’s ETD collection.

While neither of our workshops are directly marketed as fair use workshops, both have strong elements of copyright and fair use woven throughout. Carrie and I decided to hold these workshops during Fair Use Week to acknowledge the critical reliance on fair use that anchors scholarship, and to participate with other libraries in Fair Use Week activities.

If you are new to Fair Use Week, I encourage you to visit fairuseweek.org to see what other institutions are doing to celebrate, and to see what resources are available that you may be able to use this week (hint: infographic!) And if you aren’t new to Fair Use Week…

Tell us — What kinds of activities are happening on your campus to promote Fair Use Week?

Want to know what other ASERL institutions are up to this week? Check out the survey responses below:

Post created by Melanie, but authored by Molly, just in case you were confused as to why Melanie was suddenly talking about work at Wake Forest. We promise the MK co-chairs didn’t swap schools!

Love Your Data Week 2017

This post was contributed by Renaine Julian from Florida State University.

What is Love Your Data Week?

This week (February 12 – 19, 2017) is Love Your Data Week (LYD), a social media event coordinated by data professionals, mostly working in academic libraries, archives, or centers. The purpose of the LYD campaign is to raise awareness and build community around topics related to research data management. This includes things like data sharing, preservation, reuse, and library-based research data services. During Love Your Data Week, we strive to share resources, stories, and practical tips to make researchers better stewards of their own data.  Love Your Data Week is quite similar to Open Access Week, and ScholComm professionals are well-positioned to make a positive impact through their participation.

This year’s theme is data quality, and our target audience is early career researchers. Each day of the week will have a specific focus. For example, Monday will center on getting researchers to think about the quality of the data they’re working with and/or creating. On Tuesday, data documentation will be the focal point, including metadata creation and techniques for describing data like data dictionaries and README files.

What does this have to do with Scholarly Communications?

LYD has a whole lot to do with Scholarly Communications (ScholComm)!  Anna Gold of MIT has said “data is the currency of science” (Gold 2007). And the ability to exchange data, reuse it, and review it is crucial to the productivity of all scholarship.  At Florida State University Libraries, we’ve always treated research data management as a form of ScholComm. There is a logical intersection between ScholComm work and the efforts of data specialists. The recent success of FSU’s data management program is bolstered by this collaboration.

#LYD17 @ FSU Libraries

Being involved with LYD is easy and doesn’t require huge preparation. Last year, we found out about LYD about a week before the event. I knew we wouldn’t be able to do much, but we’re fortunate enough to have a marketing director who manages our libraries’ social media accounts. I introduced him to the concept of LYD, and we went from there. I used the LYD website to find some canned messages that we could deliver, and he was kind (and brave) enough to let me do a takeover of our libraries’ Twitter account on that Monday. Throughout the week, my colleagues and I also used our personal accounts to tweet our thoughts as well as tips and tricks based on the theme of the day. There was positive engagement, and we were glad that we made the last minute effort to participate.

This year, we’re trying to ramp up our involvement. Since I managed to not burn the place down last time, I get to do another Twitter takeover this week. Our team will engage folks based on each day’s theme. The primary difference between this year and last are our efforts outside of social media to engage researchers. Our outreach specialist made an engagement board for our engineering library so that our patrons could post notes on how they document their own data.

Love Your Data Engagement Board @ FSU

LYD Engagement Board

At FSU, we teach workshops regularly on best practices in research data management and creating data management plans. The LYD 2017 theme, data quality, provided a timely opportunity to do our first workshop on data documentation and organization best practices. Since Tuesday’s theme is data documentation, that’s when we’ll host the workshop. It also happens to be Valentine’s Day so I plan to shamelessly encourage participants to give data the tender love and care that it deserves!

How can you get involved?

The participation of the ScholComm community is sure to enhance the success of this year’s LYD Week.  LYD has a low barrier to entry; it’s simple to get involved. When you’re ready to get started, you can find out more by visiting the LYD site and registering your institution! Also, don’t forget to use the hashtags #LYD17 and #loveyourdata.

And don’t forget to share your plans with ASERL:  Use the link to share the kinds of activities that are happening on your campus to promote Love Your Data Week.  And check out the responses below:

Conflicting Visions for the Future of the Copyright Office

By many accounts, 2016 has been a tumultuous year, including within the realm of copyright. The latest copyright skirmish comes as we are all preparing for a new year, and a new Presidential administration—and all the attendant questions and uncertainty those bring. It seems that there are those within Congress who are taking this time of transition as an opportunity to put forth suggested changes to the structure of the Copyright Office and its historical relationship with the Library of Congress. While there may well be cause to review the operations of the Copyright Office and the Library of Congress, particularly as our newest Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden, settles into her tenure as Librarian and begins to chart her course for fully bringing the LOC into the 21st century, the suggestions that have come forward thus far have been more concerning than intriguing.

For those who are not as knee-deep in copyright nerdiness as I, a quick recap of events:

  • On October 21, 2016, the seemingly abrupt re-assignment of the Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, caught many by surprise; however, given that her previous calls to move the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress were at odds with the new Librarian of Congress’s desire to keep the CO within the LOC, it isn’t wholly surprising.
  • On November 28, 2016, two former Registers of Copyrights, Ralph Oman and Marybeth Peters, issued a letter calling for the removal of the Copyright Office from the Library of Congress, citing Ms. Pallante’s dismissal as evidence that all libraries, and especially the Library of Congress, are poor leaders of the U.S. copyright system.
  • On December 8, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee issued a statement (and YouTube video…who knew they did this? I didn’t!) charting proposed revisions to the structure of the Copyright Office and the appointment process for the Register of Copyrights within the Legislative Branch.

Needless to say, many librarians, libraries, and library organizations rightly objected to Mr. Oman’s and Ms. Peters’s denunciation of libraries as effectively being at odds with copyright and their call for an “independent” Copyright Office.

In swift response to the House Judiciary statement last week, the Library Copyright Alliance issued a statement calling for the Copyright Office to remain within the Library of Congress and under the supervision of the Librarian of Congress. This week, two additional letters have been issued: one by ASERL’s own Duke University Libraries, and another by 42 copyright experts working in libraries [full disclosure: I signed], an effort spearheaded by an ASERL colleague from UVA, Brandon Butler. These letters voiced further support for the retention of the Copyright Office within the Library of Congress, and expounded upon how libraries and librarians do, in fact, work to support the role of copyright as enshrined in the Constitution to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts.”

Hopefully these are just the first of many voices affirming libraries’ support for copyright, and for keeping the responsibility of oversight of the Copyright Office, and appointment of the Register of Copyrights, under the auspices of the Library of Congress.

UPDATED December 16, 2016 11:54 a.m.

Hot off the presses from the U.S. Copyright Office NewsNet Issue 648, a way to make your voice heard on what you believe we need in our next Register of Copyrights:

The public will have the opportunity to provide input to the Library of Congress on expertise needed by the Register of Copyrights, the Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, announced today.

Beginning today, December 16, an online survey is open to the public. The survey will be posted through January 31, 2017. Input will be reviewed and inform development of knowledge, skills, and abilities for fulfilling the Register position.

Information provided through the survey will be posted online and submitters’ names will appear. Note that input will be subject to review, and input may not be posted that is off-topic or contains vulgar, offensive, racist, threatening or harassing content; personal information; or gratuitous links to sites that could be considered spam. The Library’s complete comment policy can be viewed here.

To provide input through the survey, click here.

Conference Report from OpenCon 2016

This report was contributed by Andy Wesolek from Clemson University.

What is OpenCon?

OpenCon is an international conference and community for, and of, early career researchers and students committed to Open Access, Open Education, and Open Data. Nearly 10,000 researchers and students applied for the 200 seats available at the November 2016 live conference. Scholarships covering transportation and attendance were provided by SPARC through member institutions. In addition, member institutions may sponsor up to two scholarships to reserve seats at OpenCon for their own researchers or students. Both I and our amazing Undergraduate Instruction and OER Librarian, Kirsten Dean, were the fortunate recipients of scholarships supported by Clemson University Libraries. As a result, we were able to attend the live OpenCon event, which was held on November 12th and 13th in Washington, DC.

The OpenCon Experience

Only a small majority (~52%) of the attendees at OpenCon called North America home, so it was a wonderful venue to connect with global colleagues, and to better understand the opportunities and challenges of Openness at their institutions and in the countries. Holding the event in Washington the weekend following the Presidential Election also made for interesting conversation with international colleagues, and indeed many of the keynote presenters altered their presentations to focus on the urgent and political dimensions of the Open agenda.

The greatest value in attending the live OpenCon event is not in the formal presentations, though they were excellent, but in the informal networking and discussions with global colleagues. OpenCon is intended to facilitate the growth of an active community in support of Open, and it was structured to reflect this. Many of the formal offerings took place in small group settings with workshop or unconference structures.

Advocacy Work

Following the conference, OpenCon sponsored a day of advocacy. During the first half of the day, we were given a crash course in advocacy work. Topics ranged from communication and messaging, to strategies for continued conversation. SPARC then arranged for us to break into small groups to meet with our local representatives.

Kirsten Dean, Lillian Rigling (NCSU Libraries Fellow), and I met with a representative from South Carolina Senator Tim Scott’s office. Prior to the meeting, we reviewed Senator Scott’s legislative agenda to develop a message primarily focused on Open Educational Resources and economic development through access to education in South Carolina. Senator Scott’s office was receptive to the message and enthusiastic to support openness. We encouraged them to take a concrete approach by supporting FASTR in the senate, and we hope to continue the conversation going forward.

How you can get involved

Joining the OpenCon community is as simple as signing up at: http://www.opencon2016.org/community. You might also consider contacting your local senator or congressperson. I was honestly a bit nervous attending a meeting on Openness with a conservative Senator’s office, but in doing a bit of research, there are powerful arguments in favor of Openness that will resonate with each side of the aisle. For example, Senator Scott’s office appeared receptive to arguments in favor of Openness that focused on efficient spending of taxpayer dollars and expanded access to community college and vocational training.

An Overview of the ACI Scholarly Blog Index

This post was contributed by Jeanne Hoover at East Carolina University.

What is the ACI Scholarly Blog Index?

The Scholarly Blog Index is a new tool developed by the ACI Information Group which is a company that gathers social media and blog information.  The Scholarly Blog Index is exactly as its name suggests: an index of curated blogs written by scholars in their field.  The blogs that are indexed in the database are reviewed for content prior to being added.  The blogs are a combination of full-text and abstracts.  In order for ACI to add the full-text of the blog, they require that the author give permission.  The blogs that are not full-text will have an abstract with a link to the blog website. Blog entries also have a copyright notice within the record. Users can save, export, and cite articles of interest in their searching.  The ACI Scholarly Blog Index can be added to discovery tools like Summon, Worldcat, Primo, and EBSCO.  Institutions will get a personalized domain for the database (ex. YourInstitutionName.aci.info).

A few features of interest included in author profiles are RSS feed for new posts, a mobile app, and the ability to recommend blogs.  Author profiles can be verified by authors and contain information like job title, education, employer, ORCID ID, and recent journal articles.  Authors included in the database will receive an email asking them to review their author profile and verify that the information is correct.  Additionally, author profiles can be tied to social media accounts, like Twitter and LinkedIn. The profiles are linked to the author’s blog and it updates the blog links as they are harvested.  Currently, there are blogs covering most subject areas, with the highest concentrations in medicine, business/economics, and law.

How can librarians and researchers use the Index?

Libraries are including the database in both their instruction and research. A librarian at Northeastern is using it in an intensive writing course to review communication across disciplines (for example, communication in the sciences).  This is a great way to utilize the database and it could easily be incorporated in subject-related communication or English courses. Additionally, a  researcher used the index to locate researchers in other countries who were researching similar topics.  These are just a few examples of how it is being used.

This is a unique resource that could be helpful for various classes and researchers. It may be challenging to make it clear to students that the blog articles are not research articles, especially if they show up in discovery tools. However, this situation could be remedied by introducing the database to freshman through an intro to college course and/or English compostion.

Interested in trying the Index at your institution?

Subscriptions are for one or two years and they are based on FTE student enrollment.  There is an ASERL consortium discount currently being offered.  Additionally, there is a 10% discount for new subscribers that can be used in addition to the ASERL discount.  These discounts will expire in December so please contact the company soon if you are interested in a trial.

More on the Updated ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit

This post was contributed by Christine Fruin at the University of Florida.

The ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit provides academic librarians with a portal for resources and tools that can be used to develop local advocacy materials; to inform creation of workflows relevant to scholarly communication; and to support training of librarians, administrators, faculty, and students on scholarly publishing, intellectual property and other issues impacting the creation and dissemination of scholarship. This summer, I had the privilege of serving as Toolkit editor to complete needed updates to the content and to migrate the Toolkit to the ACRL LibGuides site. The Toolkit served as an invaluable resource to me when I first became a librarian engaged in scholarly communication 10 years ago. At that time, there was a lack of broad coverage resources available that had been selected and vetted for accuracy and quality. That need persists today. I regularly meet librarians and library staff through groups such as the Florida Scholarly Communications Interest Group and ASERL libraries who are new to scholarly communication either as their chosen profession or through reassignment or creation of new job duties in their current position.

Working with members of the ACRL Research and Scholarly Environment Committee and ACRL Senior Strategist Kara Malefant, I constructed a new hierarchy of topics, wrote new content, and selected updated resources for the Toolkit that reflect the most pressing scholarly communication issues for academic librarians. The revised Toolkit presents five primary content areas:

  • Scholarly Publishing
  • Copyright
  • Access to Research
  • Repositories
  • Research Data Management

Several topics are new to the Toolkit. For example, there are new sections on fair use and public access. These are areas that have not only grown in importance for academic libraries but also present complexities that can sometimes be difficult for libraries to untangle. The Toolkit provides a clear and concise definition of the issues for libraries and provides resources created for and by librarians to assist them as they confront these issues in their daily work. Open access, including a new section on institutional mandates, also received updated and expanded treatment. This treatment reflects the growth of open access in the 10 years since the Toolkit was first launched, and the more prominent role that libraries have taken in not only advocating access to research but also in driving change in the system through collection development decisions and library publishing programs.

In addition to the new and revised content, the Toolkit also was migrated to LibGuides. This platform is familiar to academic libraries, and with a Creative Commons license attached to the Toolkit, libraries are free to reuse and repurpose the Toolkit content in their own LibGuides. The Toolkit LibGuide can easily be reused by other LibGuide users as a template for new guides. Several libraries have already developed new LibGuides based upon the Toolkit structure, and other libraries are encouraged to pick and choose the resources that best meet their needs at their libraries and on their campuses to help them in their educational and advocacy activities.

ACRL and members of ReSEC hopes that librarians find the new LibGuide platform and the updated and added content useful and instructive to their work. Feedback and contributions are welcome through the link on the Toolkit home page. The new Toolkit can be found at http://acrl.libguides.com/scholcomm/toolkit/ and libraries are encouraged to update any links they may have to it as soon as possible.

ASERL would also like to hear how our members are using the Toolkit. How will you use the new Toolkit to develop scholarly communications initiatives or trainings at your library? Let us know by sharing your thoughts on the ASERL Scholarly Communications listserv with subject “ACRL Scholarly Communications Toolkit in Practice”.