Open Access Predatory Journal Sting – Worse than we expected

Hyenas from the Lion King, Disney-ABC Productions

Hyenas from the Lion King, Disney-ABC Productions

A recent scientific sting operration of sorts was carried out by John Bohannon wherein he faked a sciectific article along with some collaborators from Harvard and submitted a number of “pay to publish” open access journals – the results were as he described “worse than he expected”.   University of Colorado -Denver Librarian Jeffrey Beal has been warning about these predatory publishers for some time now and keeps a list of to assist in avoiding them.  Read more here from NPR.

An interview of Roy Kaufman of the Copyright Clearance Center – from the Scholarly Kitchen

The Scholarly Kitchen Blog did an interviewimagesCABNNBCO of Roy Kaufman, Director of New Ventures, for the Copyright Clearance Center. I will let you come to your own conclusions but I will just say the comments to the article were more interesting to me than the interview – most troubling it looks like the CCC is going to try to insert itself into the K-12 Common Core standards – (Hey we’re not making enough money off higher ed – let’s exploit the kiddos too!).

Altmetrics a new way to measure scholarly impact?

oxford-skyline_1010001c

Oxford University

A recent piece by Jennifer Howard appeared in the The Chronicle of Higher Education discussing the increasing use of altmetrics (alternative ways of measuring scholarly impact or influence). There is a trend, albeit slow, for tenure committees to recognize the impact of scholarly work outside the traditional print journal article – for more read the article here.

The federal mandate for open access: Is there a downside?

The federal mandate for publicly funded research to be open is set to go into effect. Joseph Esposito describes some possible scenarios that may implicate the long term preservation of publicly funded research as a result of the way the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has gone about implementing the program. Read more here at the Scholarly Kitchen Blog. The National Research Council (NRC)Office-Of-Science-And-Technology-Policy is holding hearings in May with a deadline of May 8th to register.

Copyright Clearance Center a threat to fair use and academic freedom?

Kevin Smith of Duke University recently blogged about whether it was time for those universities and colleges using the Copyright Clearance Center’s (CCC) rights clearance services to reconsider using the service since it funded the lawsuit against Georgia State University (even after it changed its e-reserves policy). CCC is now funding the appeal and being joined by one of its partners the American Association of University Presses which filed an amicus brief with the court on behalf of the plaintiff publishers. I share Mr. Smith’s concern and believe all institutions and private companies for that matter should reconsider using CCC services especially in light of the following:

1.  CCC, while a non-profit, disbursed $171.1 million in 2011 to rightsholders and had disbursed over $1.3 Billion in the 10 years prior to that time. CCC’s licensing revenue has balloned over the past few years and we see the company aggresively investing that money in suing any institution it believes threatens its business model – do we really want to feed so that at some point in the near future we really don’t have a choice to go through them or not – what happens when it becomes the scholarly equivalent of the Motion Picture Association of America or the Recording Industry of American threatening to sue and imprison faculty, students (and librarians) on chumped of charges of piracy – I hate to paint a picture of a dystopian future but that is where I see this going unless action is taken now; and

2. Not only is the CCC plowing money into lawsuits but it has an education (propaganda) machine that attempts to intimidate those who wish to exercise their fair use rights. Noticeably there is no reference to the original Constitutional mandate

United States Constitution

United States Constitution

of copyright promoting learning and the useful arts – hard to square that with suing universities I guess?

As Mr. Smith points out, librarians have an obligation to ensure that faculty and students have access to the material they need to conduct research and maintain high standards of scholarship and those critical matters have to be considered when determining whether one should continue to utilize certain resources. However, I would argue that for the money spent on CCC services universities could develop their own systems for permissions, including a service that promotes fair use and would inform faculty and students if something were in the public domain and not charge for it, not invest money in litigation against centers of education, advocate for faculty, students, and learning in general and not pose a threat to becoming a monopoly that strangles the life out of fair use.