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Archive for the ‘Legal Publishing’ Columns

The Odd Book

A new year, a new decade, and the twenty-first century is fully underway. What has crept up on me this year is a new sense of the digital age’s full weight. There’s been enough of this sort of reflection about, surely. If my case is any different, it is because it is not about the tremulous future of the book. Sure, I am struck by the relatively frequent Kindle sightings I find myself making as I walk back up the aisle on one flight after another. But those Kindles are only leading to more reading of books, to judge . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

When Scholarly Publishers Reduce Author Rights in the Face of Open Access Initiatives

It is bound to happen. In trying to move an idea like open access (to research and scholarship) forward, you can reach a point where it seems that such efforts are contributing to the problem, rather than being part of the solution. It would be overstating it to observe that when Moses demanded, “Let my people go,” in ancient Egypt, the Pharaoh’s heart only hardened. Let me just say that at times just before the dawn, there can appear to be little hope of light.

Or so it seemed to me, when the editor at Educational Theory emailed me with . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Copyright Reform in Canada Couldn’t Wait for the Government

The Canadian government has been holding this summer a public “copyright consultation” on proposed legislative changes to the country’s copyright act, with the consultation period, featuring town hall meetings and online submissions and comments, now drawing to a close on September 13, 2009. For the most sensible of approaches to copyright reform, many of us simply turn to Michael Geist, Canada Research Chair of Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of Ottawa. He is currently running, as a public service, a Speak Out on Copyright site. A recent posting cites Industry Minister Tony Clement’s announcement that, following . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Lessons From Iran’s Academic Community

The Washington Times is calling it “Iran’s Twitter Revolution”, as the largest political demonstrations since the 1979 revolution have unfolded in Iran since the highly questionable re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on June 13, 2009. To date, at least 20 people have lost their lives and hundreds of journalists, academics and activists have been arrested. The Iranian government initially closed down the telephone system in an effort to forestall social protest, only to see the streets fill, day after day, through early June, supported by cyberactivism which the government then tried to curtail: “The [Iranian] hackers in particular . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Risk and Value of Journal Proliferation in the Age of Open Access

“India does not need any more journals, especially localized institution-based ones, if that is what you mean. We already have too many journals, most of them third rate. What we need is to look for ways by which we can convince many of these journals to close down. Instead, we should try to identify the better ones and persuade their editors and publishers to make them Open Access…” 

My challenging correspondent has permitted me, in this case, to share his comments and my response on this matter of journal proliferation. I have chosen to do so as it has become . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

A (Publishing) House Divided: Scholarly Publishers in Support and Opposition to Public Access to Research

I wasn’t surprised to learn that the American Association of Publishers had sent a letter [PDF ] to then President-elect Obama in December opposing the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy, which requires any NIH-funded researchers to deposit a copy of what they have discovered and published in a publicly accessible archive. The AAP publishers association holds that the NIH Policy infringes on their business rights, insofar as it grants the public a right to this publicly funded work, and in support of their objections, Rep. John Conyers, Democrat of Michigan, has reintroduced into Congress the questionably entitled . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Open Access and Academic Reputation

Open access is an initiative that seeks to find ways of making the journal literature published online freely available to readers. It is having the effect of not only taking us a step closer to the ideal of universal access to the knowledge needed to advance knowledge, but it is also altering, if every so slightly, the traditional means by which reputations are established and maintained within academic life.

About twenty percent of the research literature published today ends up open access, whether through authors archiving their published work in their library’s open access repository (with the publishers’ permission) or . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Now We Know What’s Open:
Google Scholar Identifies Open Access Versions of Research Articles

When I first noticed this new aspect of Google Scholar, well over a month ago, I initially didn’t get it. What were these new tags marking up what are already pretty busy entries in the search results? Some entries had a green marker pointing at the title of the article. Others had the marker pointing at a URL that followed the title. And before or after the title or URL came a square bracketed tag that read [PDF] or [HTML].

Of course, this was Google. No explanation, no announcement. Then it hit me. Google was identifying a version of . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

How to Institute an Open Access Policy? Stand Up.

On June 10th, my colleagues in the Stanford University School of Education listened patiently as I stood before them explaining how the Harvard Law School had passed an “open access” motion which was going to lead to free online access to all of the scholarly articles that they published. We were on a faculty retreat, at a hotel by the ocean near Monterey, California, with the waves rolling in not far from where we were sitting. An opening had appeared in the program, and I jumped in, asking for the time to explain what such a policy could mean for . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

The Finished Degree

[Editor’s note: What follows is the convocation address delivered by Professor Willinsky on the occasion of his receiving an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the Faculty of Education at York University, June 19, 2008.]

It is truly an honor, if a slightly odd one as I shall explain, to be asked to join in this celebration of so many graduates’ proud accomplishment as well as an honor to receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws from York University. I say odd because the degree I am receiving could be cast not just as an unearned degree, but a belated degree, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Harry Potter and the Scholar’s Fair Use

As academics might be said to live and thrive by consideration of fair use, we need to perk up when this vital legality goes to court, and all the more so when it is a good knock-down case of goliath celebrity taking on struggling Davidesque scholar. As most readers will know, with works of “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research,” to use the example of the U.S. legal system, authors can in the name of fair use reasonably cite others’ published work without violating copyright.

Fair use, in this sense, represents the larger society’s recognition that learning . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing

Could Locke Still Be the Key? Part I

What follows is the opening of a book prospectus I am in the midst of developing for a work on John Locke and what I refer to as the “intellectual properties of learning.” This book grows out of an earlier article I did on Locke’s “common-wealth of learning” and will explore — well, if that’s not clear in the first 800 words of the prospectus, can I reasonably expect a hard-pressed publisher to bite? Putting this in Slaw follows on recent Web 2.0 data-mashups that would drag the book-in-progress into the network, setting it adrift in the blogosphere and giving . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Publishing