[Humanist] 25.419 open access

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Oct 27 09:13:43 CEST 2011

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 419.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    D.Allington <d.allington at open.ac.uk>                      (32)
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 25.416 open access

  [2]   From:    "Gibson, Matthew (msg2d)" <msg2d at eservices.virginia.edu>  (74)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.412 open access

  [3]   From:    micah vandegrift <micahvandegrift at gmail.com>             (271)
        Subject: Re: Open Access

        Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 09:26:45 +0100
        From: D.Allington <d.allington at open.ac.uk>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 25.416 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20111026073347.DF2CE1E509C at woodward.joyent.us>

I'd like to stick up for those academic staff who stubbornly resist uploading pre-publication versions of their articles to institutional repositories. I personally have never uploaded such a version because I don't want to have two versions of each of my articles floating around the net.

Luckily, my institutional repository gives me another option: I can upload the final version, yet have it remain under restricted access. It isn't 'open' because it can't be directly downloaded. However, anyone who wants to read it can fill in a short web form which is then emailed to me; if I approve the request, a copy of the article is automatically emailed to him or her. Apparently this is legally equivalent to somebody's phoning me up to ask for an offprint, and my posting it off to him or her via the royal mail. This requires more effort on the part of the would-be reader, as well as on the part of the author; it means both that the repository gets fewer downloads to show off in official statistics and that the author sometimes has his or her inbox cluttered up with requests; and it means that the reader doesn't get the instant gratification of an immediately available download. However, I far prefer this to the current alternatives of uploading a pre-publication version and not uploading anything at all. Apart from anything else, it's very nice to know who is reading one's work.


Dr Daniel Allington
Lecturer in English Language Studies and Applied Linguistics
Centre for Language and Communication
The Open University
+44 (0) 1908 332 914


        Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2011 15:54:22 +0100
        From: "Prescott, Andrew" <andrew.prescott at kcl.ac.uk>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.412 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20111025081354.A61D41E4799 at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear Willard,

I heartily approve of making pre-publication versions of articles
available, but [...]
the banner for the institutional repository has
recently been borne chiefly by librarians, who often face considerable
resistance (or at least active apathy) from academic staff, as I remember
only too well from my involvement with the Welsh Repository Network. [...]


Professor Andrew Prescott
Department of Digital Humanities
King's College London
28-29 Drury Lane
London WC2B 5RL


The Open University is incorporated by Royal Charter (RC 000391), an exempt charity in England & Wales and a charity registered in Scotland (SC 038302).

        Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 13:58:15 +0000
        From: "Gibson, Matthew (msg2d)" <msg2d at eservices.virginia.edu>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 25.412 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20111025081354.A61D41E4799 at woodward.joyent.us>

Willard, I agree that it doesn't have to be your JOB to figure out and
build infrastructure to support access to digital projects/publications,
but wouldn't you want to be somewhat invested in the idea that people can
access tomorrow that which you publish today? I think it behooves anyone
working in this field to have at least some idea about the difficulties
and challenges of sustaining the machine and human resources that provide
what we think of as open access to content. After all, open access is
anything but free (at least to the folks responsible for keeping it up).
Just some thoughts.


Matthew Gibson
Director of Digital Programs
Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
145 Ednam Drive
Charlottesville, VA 22903

On 10/25/11 4:13 AM, "Humanist Discussion Group"
<willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

>                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 412.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2011 09:13:22 +0100
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: in defense
>Researchers in the humanities are in the course of this discussion of
>open access taking flak if not direct fire for being uninvolved in open
>access discussions and movements. I wonder, however, if this is
>fair. Aren't we (I include myself among these researchers) busy
>enough without having to pay significant attention not just to the
>manner in which our writings are published but more to the
>infrastructure of publication? I agree that the problems we touch on
>here are very, very important, i.e. they bear sharply on the central
>purpose of research, at least for me, which is to communicate
>thoughts, findings, constructs. But infrastructure, while important
>to everyone, does not, cannot be everyone's job to build and
>The action I take is short-term and individual, so perhaps culpable,
>but it is action, and it is what I can do without diverting my time for
>research. I put penultimate versions of what I write online whenever
>possible. And I am *enormously* grateful to others for the same. (And
>please note that, as I am fond of saying, one of the main effects of
>doing that is a dramatic increase in my book-buying.)
>Wouldn't it be better to paint a variegated landscape in which a
>portion of its denizens are worthily employed with open-access
>concerns while others do various other things?
>Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
>College London; Professor (fractional), University of Western Sydney;
>Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org); Editor,
>Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

        Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 10:19:17 -0400
        From: micah vandegrift <micahvandegrift at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: Open Access
        In-Reply-To: <20111025081354.A61D41E4799 at woodward.joyent.us>

 Hello Willard et all,

Several points stand out to me in our discussion on Open Access and the
Humanities. For the record, I am a librarian, working in scholarly
communications with an academic background in digital humanities... so my
biases may be clear.

To the original question, you are absolutely correct that scholars shouldn't
necessarily be concerned with infrastructure, and that your primary goal
should be to continue to produce thoughtful, enlightened research. That is
where collaboration becomes so important, as both Lief and Andrew have
already mentioned, and the role of the academic library/librarian has the
opportunity to become fruitful in support of faculty. I see this trend
toward scholarly communication offices in campus libraries as being a
substantial effort of the libraries to meet faculty halfway, which has not
been a strong point for us over time. The argument for archiving in an
Institutional Repository is simple enough, but it cannot function without
faculty participation - and thank you Andrew for raising that point.

As I'm sure some of you know, many schools' Faculty Senates are adopting
Open Access Archiving mandates, which helps this process along. Famously,
Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences actually adopted a different type of
policy, giving the University immediate non-exclusive rights to faculty
article publications, which then allows the library to do the work of
archiving without burdening the faculty. As these policies become the
standard, which seems to be not too far off as evidenced by the recent
formation of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI) here
in the U.S., I'm convinced that faculty and libraries will develop workflows
and procedures that simplify participation.

I think it's important to note that this open access archiving option does
not alter the how and where of your publishing practices, which I understand
is fundamental to promotion and tenure, and both Willard and Daniel
mentioned. Many folks wrongly assume that participating in open access means
they cannot publish in high impact journals in their field, which is not the
case. However, it may be the case that open access (archiving OR publishing)
is not currently possible for some humanities scholars - like Art
Historians, who have considerable image copyright concerns and republish
much of their work in anthologies - and to that end a good
scholarly communications librarian would work diligently with faculty to
support them in continuing to share their scholarship however it best suits
their profession needs.

Finally, I'd like to press Leif's point a bit further and argue that if we
are discussing Digital Humanities specifically, wide, free, open access is
fundamental to the future of the field. When I survey the projects and tools
that the digital humanities have produced, the majority of them are devoted
to building knowledge out of (digitized) archives and special collections
and making that knowledge searchable, findable, discoverable, visible,
adaptable, and visual. I’d like to propose that we acknowledge that Digital
Humanities, in the context of the connected world we inhabit, is in fact the
new, emerging Public History, and if so, open access is the bottom line.
Technological and institutional structures will have to adapt to account for
that, if this is a movement that begins to affect the public (through
policy?!), and the academic communities they invest in. Promotion and tenure
boards will eventually have to acknowledge that a digital object in NINES is
*valuable* (to the field and the public) in the same way that a monograph
can be, but that will only happen if/when senior faculty become engaged in
these new scholarly methods or express support of junior faculty who do so.
(And trust me, I know exactly the can of worms I’m opening up by stating


Micah Vandegrift
Scholarly Communications Project Manager
Florida State University

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