[Humanist] 26.924 open access

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Mar 30 09:41:28 CET 2013

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 924.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2013 13:30:43 +0000
        From: "Zafrin, Vika" <vzafrin at bu.edu>
        Subject: Re:  26.919 open access
        In-Reply-To: <20130328062330.CE1CD2CC6 at digitalhumanities.org>

I've been following with interest discussions in the open access thread,
and I'm seeing a couple of troubling trends. So here are a few thoughts
from a digital humanist turned librarian who spends her days discussing
open access with her institution's faculty, staff, and administration, and
with anyone else who will listen.

1. Open access is not incompatible with peer review. There are peer
reviewed journals that are toll, and ones that are open. There are
NON-peer-reviewed journals that are toll, and ones that are open. Peer
review is not without its problems, as has been pointed out; but "open
access" and "peer reviewed" are not mutually exclusive by a long stretch.

Last fall I had a bizarre, if heartening, conversation with the person at
my university who oversees the tenure and promotion processes. I asked her
if there was a chance we could get her office to make a formal, written
announcement saying that open access works will be considered in P&T cases
when they have been properly vetted by the scholarly community. She looked
at me uncomprehendingly. "But we already do that," she said. We do! And
it's great! But we need to say it explicitly, so that faculty hear it and
stop fearing open access as a career-damaging practice.

Not all institutions give OA works due consideration. That's a shame, but
it's also changing as people become better informed about the relationship
(only incidental) between OA and peer review.

2. Open access does NOT mean that derivative works are permitted. Many
open access works have Creative Commons licenses attached to them. Authors
can specify that they permit no derivative works to be created. This will
deter a great most, though not all, derivative works. That's ok: toll
access doesn't entirely prevent plagiarism, either. At least, as Peter
Suber points out, OA makes plagiarism easier to detect.

3. James said: "There is no doubt in my mind that a good article in an OUP
journal is far more use to my resume than an amazing article posted on my
blog." Absolutely. Did you know OUP practices open access? It's green OA.
Any LLC article can be distributed, in its final-author's-manuscript form,
two years after it was published. That's also OA.

Is open access unproblematic in academe, particularly in the humanities?
No. But let's not confuse the above issues.

Vika Zafrin
Institutional Repository Librarian
Boston University
+1 617.358.6370 | http://open.bu.edu/

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