Make a Donation

Consider making a donation to support SHAKSPER.

Subscribe to Our Feeds

Current Postings RSS

Announcements RSS

Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
A Problem of Access
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0291  Wednesday, 14 May 2008

[1] 	From:	John Briggs <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Tuesday, 13 May 2008 18:21:05 +0100
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0286 A Problem of Access

[2] 	From:	Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:33:23 -0400
	Subj:	Re: SHK 19.0286 A Problem of Access

[3] 	From:	Daniel Traister <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
	Date:	Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:44:36 -0400
	Subj:	A Problem of Access


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		John Briggs <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Tuesday, 13 May 2008 18:21:05 +0100
Subject: 19.0286 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0286 A Problem of Access

Gabriel Egan wrote:

 >What can those involved in journal publishing do right now?
 >One useful step is to persuade publishers to cease demanding
 >that journal contributors sign over their copy-right to the
 >publisher,

That should really only be an American problem. (US copyright law 
doesn't recognise a copyright in the typographical arrangement, which is 
the publisher's copyright in an edition. Having said that, American 
publishers and authors seem to regard copyright as only applying to 
specific editions anyway, so it may amount to the same thing.)  By the 
way, there is no hyphen in "copyright".

 >and instead have the contributor give the publisher the
 >exclusive right to publish. (Later, we can lobby for this
 >being a non-exclusive right.)

No, what you should grant are "First serial rights".

John Briggs

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Larry Weiss <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:33:23 -0400
Subject: 19.0286 A Problem of Access
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0286 A Problem of Access

 >One useful step is to persuade publishers to cease
 >demanding that journal contributors sign over their
 >copy-right to the publisher, and instead have the
 >contributor give the publisher the exclusive right to
 >publish.

Huh? A copyright *is* the exclusive right to publish. I suspect that 
what Gabriel is getting at is that the journal publisher should not 
greedily insist on owning all the rights to exploit an article but 
should be able to protect itself from having paid for the right to 
publish it in its journal only to find that the author also licensed the 
same piece to a competing journal. If that is what he meant, I concur 
wholeheartedly. In fact, that is the practice in this country. Very few 
periodicals insist on owning, for example, the right to make a motion 
picture, a derivative work, or even a book length treatment of an 
article when all it has paid for is the right to publish it in its 
periodical. I am surprised that UK publishers (including it appears the 
ones to whom Gabriel is under contract) are more heavy handed.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:		Daniel Traister <
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 >
Date:		Tuesday, 13 May 2008 13:44:36 -0400
Subject:	A Problem of Access

Gabriel Egan writes about "persuad[ing] . . .  publishers to cease 
demanding that journal contributors sign over their copy-right to the 
publisher, and instead have the contributor give the publisher the 
exclusive right to publish. (Later, we can lobby for this being a 
non-exclusive right.) I'm pleased to report that at the journal 
_Shakespeare_ we convinced Taylor and Francis of this, and no 
contributor is asked to give away her copy-right."

Some readers of SHAKSPER may not see the point of Mr. Egan's response. 
Here is one part of what I take to be his point.

Already a number of European and American educational institutions, 
their libraries, and some professional societies, have mounted what are 
called "institutional repositories."

IRs make institutionally-produced research freely available in Google- 
or otherwise-searchable formats that search engines can find, index, and 
permit individuals to read and download. (Professional organizations do 
the same for materials in the area of their specialization.) My own 
place has such an IR. Others, do, as well. A Google search for 
institutional repositories will turn up some basic information for 
anyone to whom this is an unfamiliar idea (although some academics may 
be surprised to discover their own institutions already doing such a thing).

The "exclusive right" to publish, which Mr. Egan notes as an issue for 
future negotiation, is something that can be worked around even at 
present. If "pre-prints," "post-prints," non-pdf-formatted versions, and 
several other possibilities are excluded from the "publication right" 
authors now (too routinely) sign away, then even if publishers retain 
the "exclusive" right to publish, other means of making the same 
material widely and freely accessible can be found. And have been.

It is not always easy to convince authors to (as it were) give it away. 
But Mr. Weiss is not the only person who asks such questions, Mr. Heller 
not the only person affected by the generally restrictive answers such 
questions usually elicit. And restrictiveness is increasingly not the 
only answer they get. Harvard University has adopted a mandate that 
*assumes* that all institutionally-produced research will be freely 
accessible. Authors must specially opt *out*; otherwise they are assumed 
to have opted *in*. And the (US) NIH requires publicly- (that is, NIH-) 
funded research to be made publicly accessible: opting out is not an 
option.

We live in an era when, increasingly, "intellectual products" are 
privatized and sold for a profit. It is *not* their actual producers who 
do this but rather those who take them and re-sell them to the very 
institutions that pay the salaries of their "producers" -- the faculty 
who write the articles and books that get sold back to the libraries at 
the institutions that employ their writers.

For monographs, this was rarely a problem; monographs are (relatively) 
inexpensive. For journals, price has become an increasingly difficult 
issue -- more so in the sciences than in the humanities, but price 
pressures in humanities journals are increasing, too. For digital 
products, however, price pressures are severe. The costs for such 
products in hardware, software, systems staff, training, and ongoing 
access ("subscription") fees are extraordinary. Smaller institutions 
often find them prohibitive; but even large institutions may find them 
severe.

Efforts that, like IRs, try to make research publicly and freely 
accessible need knowledgeable support and participation from faculty 
acting within their own institutions and their professional organizations.

For those who worry that IRs would result in a considerable loss of the 
royalty income their work on Shakespeare currently brings in, 
congratulations may be in order. For the majority of those whose 
scholarship is rarely remunerative in a direct way, exploration of IRs 
at their own institutions -- not as an alternative to traditional 
publication forms, but as a supplement to it, *and* a supplement that 
uses current text dissemination technologies in ways that print does not 
always do -- might be instructive.

Daniel Traister
University of Pennsylvania

_______________________________________________________________
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook, 
 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>

DISCLAIMER: Although SHAKSPER is a moderated discussion list, the 
opinions expressed on it are the sole property of the poster, and the 
editor assumes no responsibility for them.
 

©2011 Hardy Cook. All rights reserved.