• (Note: This post has been updated and expanded to match the post at the Graduate Center Library blog.)

    You may have heard of the Cost of Knowledge, a site where researchers publicly express their upset with the business practices of the publisher Elsevier and commit not to contribute to Elsevier journals. As of today, 15,034 researchers have pledged to boycott Elsevier as an author, editor, and/or peer reviewer.

    You might wonder: What has Elsevier has done to cause so many researchers to boycott them?

    A primary complaint is their exorbitant product pricing — pricing that allows them to profit richly (with profit margins close to 40%) off nonprofit organizations such as academic libraries. (The Graduate Center Library pays dearly for its subscriptions to Elsevier’s Scopus database and ScienceDirect “big deal” journal package (which, yes, includes many essential journals but also includes many journals that are never used). So dearly that our other collection choices are severely constrained.)

    Of course, as is the norm in scholarly publishing, Elsevier does not pay its authors — the creators of its journal content — for their work. So they’re reaping huge profits off free labor. And that brings us to another major complaint: their treatment of authors. Elsevier recently released a new article-sharing policy for authors, and it is not good for authors.

    To their credit, sort of, they’ve corrected a horrifying problem with their earlier policy — namely, the bizarro policy of allowing authors at universities without open access policies to make their accepted manuscripts open access, but not authors at universities with such policies (i.e., “You retain the right to post if you wish but not if you must!”).

    But…instead of introducing better terms across the board, Elsevier’s new policy imposes worse terms across the board. Specifically, their new policy imposes embargoes on ALL accepted author manuscripts, many of them 24- or 36-month embargoes, and some of them 48-month embargoes! This means that authors cannot broadly share (e.g., in CUNY Academic Works) their peer-reviewed manuscripts (we’re just talking about the final manuscript versions, not the publisher’s PDFs) until those very long embargo expires.

    Needless to say, many researchers are very upset. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR), and 21 other groups have released this statement of opposition:

    On April 30, 2015, Elsevier announced a new sharing and hosting policy for Elsevier journal articles. This policy represents a significant obstacle to the dissemination and use of research knowledge, and creates unnecessary barriers for Elsevier published authors in complying with funders’ open access policies. In addition, the policy has been adopted without any evidence that immediate sharing of articles has a negative impact on publishers’ subscriptions.

    Despite the claim by Elsevier that the policy advances sharing, it actually does the opposite. The policy imposes unacceptably long embargo periods of up to 48 months for some journals. It also requires authors to apply a “non-commercial and no derivative works” license for each article deposited into a repository, greatly inhibiting the re-use value of these articles. Any delay in the open availability of research articles curtails scientific progress and places unnecessary constraints on delivering the benefits of research back to the public.

    Furthermore, the policy applies to “all articles previously published and those published in the future” making it even more punitive for both authors and institutions. This may also lead to articles that are currently available being suddenly embargoed and inaccessible to readers.

    As organizations committed to the principle that access to information advances discovery, accelerates innovation and improves education, we support the adoption of policies and practices that enable the immediate, barrier free access to and reuse of scholarly articles. This policy is in direct conflict with the global trend towards open access and serves only to dilute the benefits of openly sharing research results.

    We strongly urge Elsevier to reconsider this policy and we encourage other organizations and individuals to express their opinions.

    If you are also upset by Elsevier’s new policy, you can add your name to the statement.

    And if the new policy has made you reconsider your willingness to contribute to Elsevier publications, you may want to consider signing the Cost of Knowledge pledge.

    [caption id="attachment_1285" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Boycott_Elsevier_2 Image is © Michael Eisen, used under a Creative Commons Attribution license[/caption]

  • Thumbnail(Déjà vu? This post also appears on the Open Access @ CUNY blog.)

    You may have heard of the Cost of Knowledge, a site where researchers publicly express their upset with the business practices of the publisher […]

  • Jill Cirasella wrote a new post, Memorial Day Weekend & Summer Hours, on the site Graduate Center Library Blog 1 week, 1 day ago


    It’s the end of the semester! That means that congratulations are in order for tired but triumphant students and that the library is switching into summer mode.

    Memorial Day Weekend: The library will […]

  • (Déjà vu? This post originally appeared on the Graduate Center Library blog.)
    Graduate Center students, we’re finally ready for you! You may now self-submit your scholarly and/or creative works to Academic Works, CUNY’s open access institutional repository! And by “works,” we mean just about any kind of scholarly or creative output: journal articles, book contributions, conference papers, slideshows, posters, datasets, reports, interviews, creative writing, musical compositions, images, etc.
    Are you really allowed to make your journal articles open access? Yes, the vast majority of journals allow authors to make their articles (either the submitted version, the accepted (post-refereed) manuscript, or the publisher’s PDF) freely available online. Find out which journals allow what at SHERPA/RoMEO, which provides easy-to-read summaries of journals’ policies.
    What’s in it for you? Why should you submit your works to Academic Works? Lots of reasons! Here are just a few:

    Posting your work online helps you find the widest possible readership, and helps you share your work with potential employers, collaborators, etc.
    Articles that are freely available online are cited more by other articles. (Learn more about the open access citation advantage.)
    Materials in Academic Works are more discoverable by Google and Google Scholar.
    Academic Works will send you monthly download statistics so you can better understand the impact of your work.
    Unlike disciplinary repositories that only accept research articles (e.g., arXiv.org), Academic Works accepts any kind of scholarly or creative work.
    If your publisher requires an embargo period before your work can be made open access, Academic Works can count down the embargo for you and automatically open the work up when the embargo expires.

    Ready to go? Go straight to the Submit Research page, click Graduate Student Publications and Research, create an account (using your GC email address), and start submitting!  Or, if you’d like more information and step-by-step instructions, consult our Academic Works LibGuide first.
    A few important notes:

    Academic Works is only for completed works, not works in progress.
    Only submit works that you have the right to share and make open access.
    Do not submit your dissertation or thesis directly to Academic Works. See the library’s deposit procedures for information about that.

    Questions? Contact AcademicWorks@gc.cuny.edu

    Getting your work online a great summer project — happy uploading!

    [caption id="attachment_1277" align="alignnone" width="580"]laptop-on-dock Photo is © Giorgio Montersino, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license[/caption]

  • ThumbnailGraduate Center students, we’re finally ready for you! You may now self-submit your scholarly and/or creative works to Academic Works, CUNY’s open access institutional repository! And by “works,” we mean just […]

  • Jill Cirasella’s profile was updated 2 weeks, 6 days ago

  • This job at CUNY’s Office of Library Services has several components, a key one of which is managing the technical aspects of Academic Works, CUNY’s new institutional repository.  The application deadline is June […]

  • Jill Cirasella joined the group Group logo of Computer Systems Technology ColloquiumComputer Systems Technology Colloquium 1 month, 1 week ago

  • Last week I reported with envy on the University of California’s new open access policy and the sample policy recommended (and employed!) by Harvard.  Those are two strong open access policies by two of the most influential academic institutions in the country.  But what’s the bigger picture?  How many universities have such policies?  Are Harvard and UC outliers, or is there a real trend developing?

    Thanks to ROARMAP — the Registry of Open Access Repositories Mandatory Archiving Policies — we can answer these questions.  According to ROARMAP, there are 120 open access policies in the United States.  Some of those are funder policies (e.g., NIH), and some are specific to a certain college or university department (e.g., Stanford University School of Education), but many are college- or university-wide policies that apply to all faculty at that institution.

    [caption id="attachment_868" align="aligncenter" width="300"]lion roar medium Thanks, ROARMAP! Photo is © 2011 Eric Kilby, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license[/caption]
    The institution-wide policies range in strength from urgings (e.g., Case Western Reserve University, Cornell University, and University of Pennsylvania) to automatic license-granting policies — i.e., the style of policy made famous by Harvard and now in effect across the entire University of California system.  These Harvard-style policies are the effective ones, the ones that work at making a very large percentage of faculty’s scholarly articles open access.  Faculty can opt out of these policies for specific articles, but if they don’t, the policy is in effect. This is what I dream of for CUNY. So let’s look at who else has a policy like this (click a link for more information about the policy):

    Amherst College
    Bucknell University
    Duke University
    Emory University
    Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences (and a bunch of other Harvard schools, too)
    Lafayette College
    Oberlin College
    Oregon State University
    Princeton University
    Rice University
    Rollins College
    Rutgers University
    The College of Wooster
    Trinity University
    University of California (all 10 UC universities)
    University of Hawaii-Manoa
    University of Kansas
    University of Massachusetts Medical School
    University of North Texas
    University of Rhode Island
    Utah State University
    Wellesley College

    I may have missed some, and there may be some mandatory policies that aren’t listed in ROARMAP, but that’s already 23 colleges and universities with institution-wide Harvard-style policies.

    If we look beyond the United States, the list gets longer: Concordia University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Lisbon, and many, many others.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 4,599 degree-granting institutions of higher education in the U.S., so clearly Harvard-style open access policies are not yet the norm.  But that list of 23 is impressive.  Any time a cluster of schools that includes Harvard, MIT, University of California, Duke, Emory, Princeton, Rice, and Rutgers embraces something, it’s probably worth paying attention to that thing.

    They’re embracing open access, and doing so with strong policies to make sure faculty articles become open access.  CUNY, let’s pay attention.

  • Jill Cirasella wrote a new post, Brief Library Site Outage Today @ 5pm, on the site Graduate Center Library Blog 2 months, 2 weeks ago

    ThumbnailNOTE: The maintenance is complete, and all library services are back to normal.

    The library’s servers and website will be down briefly for maintenance around 5pm today. During the outage, you can access many […]

  • Thumbnail(Déjà vu? This is a very slight reworking of a post from the Graduate Center Library blog.)

    Germany. India. England. France. Canada. Poland. Iran. Sweden. China. Turkey. Netherlands. Egypt. Russia. Japan. Those […]

  • ThumbnailGermany. India. England. France. Canada. Poland. Iran. Sweden. China. Turkey. Netherlands. Egypt. Russia. Japan. Those are just a few of the countries where researchers are downloading the works of Graduate Center […]

  • ThumbnailNote: As of 5:30pm on 3/10/2015, everything is back up and running!

    The Graduate Center Library is currently experiencing problems with its proxy server, which is preventing access to the library catalog and […]

  • The Graduate Center Library invites the broader CUNY community to sign up for this authors’ rights workshop at the Graduate Center next Tuesday:

    You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights? Understanding and Protecting Your Rights as an Author
    March 10 @ 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm
    RSVP via Eventbrite

    When you publish a journal article, you sign a copyright agreement. Do you know what you’re agreeing to when you sign it? Different journals have different policies: Some journals require you to relinquish your copyright. (You then have to ask permission or even pay to share your article with students and colleagues!) Some journals allow you to retain some rights (e.g., the right to post online). Some journals leave copyright in your hands. (You simply give the journal a non-exclusive license to publish the article.)

    How can you find out a journal’s policy? How can you negotiate your contract to make the most of your rights as a scholar, researcher, and author? Come learn how to preserve your rights to reproduce, distribute, and display the work you create.

    Led by Jill Cirasella, Associate Librarian for Public Services and Scholarly Communication at the Graduate Center. Open to students, faculty, staff, and anyone from the CUNY community who has questions about their rights as authors, open access publishing, or scholarly communication.

    Can’t make it? Want a preview of what’s covered? See the materials from the GC’s previous authors’ rights event.

  • This month, the Graduate Center Library is offering two workshops of potential interest to readers of Open Access @ CUNY:

    You Know What You Write, But Do You Know Your Rights? Understanding and Protecting Your […]

  • ThumbnailOpen access advocates around CUNY are thrilled to announce the arrival (and extremely productive first few weeks) of Megan Wacha, CUNY’s new Scholarly Communications Librarian, based at the Office of Library […]

  • (Whoops, I take it back: There is a link to the blog post in the OAPN emails — it’s just way at the bottom and the whole email is unformatted. So if you want nicer-looking notifications of new OA @ CUNY blog posts, subscribing by email is still the way to go.)

  • Many of you already subscribe by email to the Open Access @ CUNY blog, but if you don’t, I encourage you to consider doing so — let the news of CUNY OA events and developments come straight to you! To subscribe, simply go to http://openaccess.commons.gc.cuny.edu/ and enter your email address in the “Subscribe via email” section on the right. Click “Subscribe” and look for the confirmation email in your inbox.

    (If you’re a member of the Open Access Publishing Network group on the Commons, you probably already receive an email whenever there’s a new blog post. But that email doesn’t include a link to the blog post itself, which is annoying. So subscribing directly to the blog is a better way of staying informed.)

  • ThumbnailMaybe you weren’t able to attend last Friday’s workshop “Everything You Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask . . . About CUNY’s New Institutional Repository Platform.” Or maybe you attended but lost the handouts […]

  • Thumbnail

    Want to become a more expert user of WordPress, Excel, or Photoshop? Need to learn SPSS, CSS, or ArcGIS? Can’t make the in-person workshops offered by the Library, the Digital Fellows, and others? Then we […]

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