All entries for July 2008

July 28, 2008

Almost there

Writing about web page

We're almost ready to publicise our live repository. We've got 50 items in there, and there are plenty of other items lined up to go in. But we keep coming across small hurdles with getting the software working properly. The latest issue is that the Browse lists don't seem to be working properly. But Search is, and you can see all 50 items by ticking every Item Type on the search form. And the RSS feeds seem to be working too, so I saved my all Item Types search and I've subscribed to it on Bloglines. So I can keep an eye on what's been added to the repository from there, as well as from the Latest Additions page.

Christina is our Metadata specialist and she's been creating some top quality metadata records. We're going to see if there is any more we can do to process the items before she gets the details, to speed up the metadata creation.

And I've been looking to register WRAP with all the various registries and directories, etc. The RSP guide on increasing usage ( is proving very helpful.

So, I hope we get that Browse function working soon. 'Cos this blog mention is one way of publicising the repository... :-)

July 08, 2008

Negotiating with publishers

There's a very interesting example on the lis-copyseek jiscmail list that a law academic has posted, of a letter he has sent to explain that he wishes to retain copyright in his post print and not to sign the agreement as sent by his publisher.

Publishers' copyright transfer agreements and licences to publish are bamboozling. There are plenty of examples on their websites. It is very difficult to work out whether, as an author, you are retaining the right to do all the things you might want to do with your own article. Like sharing it with colleagues, re-publishing the content elsewhere, putting your own version into your institutional repository.

So, there are some tactics that academics can try, to retain these rights:

1) Ignore any such agreements unless and until chased to respond. The publisher might publish your article without you needing to sign the agreement!

2) When chased, explain that you do not wish to sign their form, but would like your work to be published without that requirement. If the agreement is still an issue, seek clarification on anything that is not plainly stated. Write back with your own agreement rather than using their form (as with the example sent to lis-copyseek).

3) If you must use their form, read it and amend it as you see fit.

4) Or else offer to withdraw your article from their journal. Charles Oppenheim of Loughborough did this with Elsevier and his work was published anyway.

It would be great if all authors were aware of what rights they were signing away, and chose to negotiate with publishers rather than signing whatever they are sent without ever keeping even a record for themselves of what they have signed... but perhaps such advice is likely to be for the keen few only.

Copyright law is complicated to understand, publishers don't make it any clearer, and I'm quite sure that academics have other concerns that are more pressing on their time than entering into such negotiations, which will require them to be clued up about their rights in order to stand their ground. Not least of which is boosting their number of publications and citations...

July 2008

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