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JISC-REPOSITORIES  February 2009

JISC-REPOSITORIES February 2009

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Subject:

Re: John Wiley on RoMEO and John the Baptist on Supererogation

From:

Talat Chaudhri <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Talat Chaudhri <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 17 Feb 2009 12:51:04 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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This may be your view, Stevan, but it is frankly inappropriate to tell 
others to break the law at their own risk, whatever your views in terms 
of OA. That is their risk assessment, the business of their institutions 
and nobody else's. Clearly the copyright system is incoherent and 
difficult, but nonetheless these publishers have indisputable copyright 
and may licence it as they please, even incoherently. The upshot is 
unknown, of course, as nothing has ever been tested, and this may 
continue for better or for worse, probably a mix of both.

I hope others on this list will agree with me that we should not tell 
other institutions how to manage their legal liabilities, much as we 
would not do so for individuals of our personal acquaintance, especially 
in ignorance of both their specific circumstances and the precise legal 
situation. No doubt you will continue to do so despite my protestation, 
but I feel duty bound to voice this complaint on behalf of repository 
managers and their institutions, amongst whose number I was counted 
until very recently.

There is no evidence that OA is such a foregone conclusion as you say, 
much as I would like it to be true as much as you do. We deal here with 
practical issues, not with your imagined "Zeno's paradox", which nobody 
but you discusses on this list.


Talat Chaudhri

Stevan Harnad wrote:
> On 17-Feb-09, at 4:32 AM, Ian Stuart wrote:
>
>> Leslie Carr wrote:
>>>
>>> HOWEVER one step away (literally) from the W-B "Best Practice 
>>> document" is the W-B "Copyright FAQ" in which they elaborate that 
>>> although the ELF is used for societies, the wholly owned journals 
>>> still retain the practice of Copyright Assignment. The sample 
>>> Copyright Assignment document (for the aptly chosen International 
>>> Headache Society) contains the following text:
>> > ---- quote ----
>>> Such preprints may be posted as electronic files on the author's own 
>>> website for personal or professional use, or on the author's 
>>> internal university, college or corporate networks/intranet, or 
>>> secure external website at the author's institution, but not for 
>>> commercial sale or for any systematic external distribution by a 
>>> third party (e.g. a listserve or database connected to a public 
>>> access server).
>>> ----- end -----
>>> I *think* that an institutional repository is OK by that definition. 
>>> After all, it is a secre external website at the author's 
>>> institution which is not offering the item for sale nor run by a 
>>> third party.
>>
>> Where does this leave the Subject Repository (ex aXive)?
>> It's not the authors own website, or an intranet at the authors local 
>> institution, or an external server at the authors institution... yet 
>> it also doesn't offer commercial sales or *systematic*[my emphasis] 
>> distribution to a third party
>>
>> Where does this leave the Depot?
>> It's /effectively/ an Institutional Repository, but like aXive it's 
>> not at the authors institution.
>>
>> .... or is this one of those questions one shouldn't really ask?
>
> Here's my tuppence worth on this one -- and it's never failed me (or 
> anyone who has applied it, since the late 1980's. when the 
> possibilities first presented themselves) as a practical guide for 
> action: (A shorter version of this heuristic would be "/If the 
> physicists had been foolish enough to worry about it in 1991, or the 
> computer scientists still earlier, would we have the half-million 
> papers in Arxiv or three-quarter million in Citeseerx that we have, 
> unchallenged, in 2009?/"):
>
> *When a publisher starts to make distinctions that are more minute 
> than can even be made sense of technologically, and are unenforceable, 
> ignore them:*
>
> The distinction between making or not-making something freely 
> available on the Web is coherent (if often wrong-headed).
>
> The distinction between making something freely available on the web 
> /here/ but not /there/ is beginning to sound silly (since if it's free 
> on the web, it's effectively free /everywhere/), but we swallow it, if 
> the "there" is a 3rd-party rival free-riding publisher, whereas the 
> "here" is the website of the author's own institution. /Avec les dieux 
> il y a des accommodements/: Just deposit in your IR and port metadata 
> to CRs.
>
> But when it comes to DEPOT -- which is an interim "holding space" 
> provided (for free) to each author's institution, to hold deposits 
> remotely until the institution creates its own IR, at which time they 
> are ported home and removed from DEPOT -- it is now bordering on 
> abject absurdity to try to construe DEPOT as a "3rd-party 
> rival free-riding publisher".
>
> We are, dear colleagues, in the grip of an orgy of pseudo-juridical 
> and decidedly supererogatory hair-splitting/ on which nothing 
> whatsoever hinges but the time, effort and brainware we perversely 
> persist in dissipating on it/. 
>
> This sort of futile obsessiveness is -- in my amateur's guess only -- 
> perhaps the consequence of two contributing factors:
>
>     (1) The agonizingly (and equally absurdly) long time during which
>     the research community persists in its inertial state of Zeno's
>     Paralysis about self-archiving (a paralysis of which this very
>     obsession with trivial and ineffectual formal contingencies is
>     itself one of the symptoms and causes). It has driven many of us
>     bonkers, in many ways, and this formalistic obsessive-compulsive
>     tendency is simply one of the ways. (In me, it has simply fostered
>     an increasingly curmudgeonly impatience.) The cure, of course, is
>     deposit mandates.
>
>
> and
>
>     (2) The substantial change in mind-set that is apparently required
>     in order to realize that/ OA is not the sort of thing governed by
>     the usual concerns of either library cataloguing/indexing or
>     library rights-management/: It's something profoundly different
>     because of the very nature of OA.
>
>
> Rest your souls. Universal OA is a foregone conclusion. It is optimal, 
> and it is inevitable. The fact that it is also proving to be so 
> excruciatingly -- and needlessly -- slow in coming is something we 
> should work to remedy, rather than simply becoming complicit in and 
> compounding it, by giving ourselves still more formalistic trivia with 
> which to while away the time we are losing until the obvious happens 
> at long last.
>
> Bref: Yes, this is "one of those questions one shouldn't really ask"!
>
> Yours curmudgeonly,
>
> Your importunate archivangelist
>

-- 
Dr Talat Chaudhri
------------------------------------------------------------
Research Officer
UKOLN, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, Great Britain
Telephone: +44 (0)1225 385105    Fax: +44 (0)1225 386838
E-mail: [log in to unmask]   Skype: talat.chaudhri
Web: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/t.chaudhri/
------------------------------------------------------------

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