Comments about my most recent publication

Sanford Thatcher, Past President and on the Board of Directors of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) provided the following feedback about Understanding Open Access in the Academic Environment – A Guide for Authors (2008 OAK Law Project) to the directors of university presses that are members of AAUP:

Thanks to Stevan Harnad for drawing our attention to this important new guide. I have just finished reading all 150 pages of it and can highly recommend it to all of you as an authoritative overview of the landscape of open access publishing as it applies to journal articles. (The guide does not say anything about books, or even contributions to edited volumes.) Among other useful features, it contains a brief but helpful history of the OA movement, a summary (with quotations) from the principal OA statements (Budapest, Berlin, et al.), a survey of OA journals and various business models by which they operate, a discussion of the role of institutional repositories and funding agencies, and a very helpful discussion of the interconnected licenses (including the author’s addendum and Creative Commons licenses) that authors get involved in negotiating with publishers, funding bodies, institutional repositories, etc. I applaud its conservative stance on how to deal with the kind of author’s addendum that claims to be valid even if the publisher does not sign it (see page 109). CIC press directors should see what is said about CIC policies on page 111. If you read nothing else, I urge you to read at least chapters 8 and 9, which discuss how authors can negotiate contracts with publishers. The guide concludes with a Copyright Toolkit, which is a wonderful condensation of a lot of relevant information–and also dramatizes how complex this terrain is getting for authors, who are faced with multiple and possibly conflicting licenses. As a comprehensive tutorial for your staff on the state of OA today, I don’t think there is anything out there that is better than this–though it is limited to the domain of journal articles and clearly has a pro-OA bias (reflected in the numerous quotations from people like Peter Suber and Stevan Harnad).

P.S. Although this is produced by an Australian group, most of what is contained in it is universally applicable. The exception is the short section on Australian copyright law, which differs in a number of respects from U.S. law (including the “moral rights” provisions that Australian law incorporates but U.S. law doesn’t).

Thanks to Sandy for permitting me to republish this feedback on my blog.