deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Deepa D. ([personal profile] deepad) wrote2012-03-15 21:01

JFC, talk about your brahmanical gated communities

So I'm used to wanting to read a cited article, and then popping on chat to find an obliging USian university-affiliated friend to download the pdf for me. Because those of us poor plebes who aren't in academia don't deserve to read what the Important People are saying about us unless we have the appropriate amount of money to shell out.

But this kind of takes the cake:
The current Camera Obscura issue has some articles on vidding I wanted to read. Behind a paywall, ok, that's par for the course, I direct two chat buddies to flagrantly abuse their institutional access and viciously violate copyright.

Then, out of curiosity, I click on the link to their call for submissions.

Guess what? Camera Obscure wants me to pay $15 for the privilege of reading them asking people to please write for them.

(Yes, I know about OTW's latest vidding issue and plan to read it, though I remain baffled by their decision to not have pdf or epub versions you can download in one go to read offline)

But seriously? I think it's bullshit for articles and essays written about fans and fandom to not be accessible to the people whose ideas and activities inspired them.

Can authors violate their own copyright? Cause I think every acafan who gets published in a fancy $15 an article journal like this should have a freely available article available for online reading or download. I understand the professional need to publish in reputed journals and publications, but I am not sympathetic to meekly agreeing to their terms of distribution.
batdina: hold your own pen (Default)

[personal profile] batdina 2012-03-15 16:04 (UTC)(link)
FWIW, JSTOR is testing the idea of providing articles for free. So far it's only one journal, but I am holding out hope.

I actually became a member of the SF Public Library because with their library card, you have access to academic journal databases. Not sure how they'd handle an international request for membership, but it might be worth a look.

Otherwise I do what you do: ask friends. And as far as Camera Obscura is concerned, I may pen a missive to Constance Penley about that lunacy and see what she can do about it.
oyceter: teruterubouzu default icon (Default)

[personal profile] oyceter 2012-03-15 17:25 (UTC)(link)
SFPL gives you academic journal database access???

....oooooooo the possibilities.....
thatlitgirl: Cameo of a black-bound notebook with pages stuffed in and a ribbon streaming out as a placeholder. (Night Circus: journal)

[personal profile] thatlitgirl 2012-03-16 01:16 (UTC)(link)
The National Library of Singapore provides JSTOR access, and for free. Indispensable resource. Much love thereto. :)
hey_legousa: (Default)

[personal profile] hey_legousa 2012-03-15 16:05 (UTC)(link)
Yo, I have it because I have access to camera obscura for "free" through my overinflated school fees. Let me email you.

(I felt so fucking smart when I figured that out. At first I tried to read it at work and was lulz paywall'd. And then I was ~inspired~ to use my school's wifi and I was able to download the pdfs like magic.)
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[personal profile] whump 2012-03-15 16:25 (UTC)(link)
Matt Welsh, a former Harvard computer science professor, now at Google (which has its own set of problematics) mentioned a movement called "Research without Walls,", if public monies paid for the research, then why should the public have to pay Elsevier to read the results.

Research without Walls asks researchers to pledge to release any peer-reviewed result or paper via the web.

I wonder if the AcaFan community knows about or participates in it.
Edited (Clarifying Research w/o Walls from general Open Access movement.) 2012-03-15 16:30 (UTC)
alothian: (Default)

[personal profile] alothian 2012-03-15 17:26 (UTC)(link)
The acafan community is about as unified as fandom, but many of us (I'd go so far as to say most) are very invested in open access work! Research Without Walls is pretty science-focused (its definitions of research and funding don't really apply to the humanities in the same way), but there are many humanities and social science scholars who are committed to open access publishing––some links are at this blog post.
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2012-03-15 16:29 (UTC)(link)
At least in the life sciences, there are definitely authors who break copyright and put up PDFs of their own work on their website. Also sometimes they're obliged to provide a free copy of the publication if they're on a government grant. In general, there's a movement towards open access publishing, and I know of at least one professor who refuses to publish in journals that have a paywall, so there's hope for the future.
troisroyaumes: Painting of a duck, with the hanzi for "summer" in the top left (Default)

[personal profile] troisroyaumes 2012-03-15 18:21 (UTC)(link)
Haha, touché.

For what it's worth, even academic institutions are having trouble paying the subscription fees being charged by journal publications. The UC system actually sent out a letter to all faculty asking them to boycott publishing in journals behind a paywall. It's not just academia as one bloc we're dealing with, but academics on the one hand and publishing corporations on the other, and the latter's interests are not the same as the former.

(On a tangent, I'd add that the publishing system as it's currently set up is hugely biased against academics in the Global South, and the open access movement isn't helping in that direction at all. The one exception, I would say, is arXiv, since it's both free to publish and free to read, but it's not popular outside of physics and mathematics. I wish it or a similar system would take in my field. D:)
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[personal profile] purplecat 2012-03-15 16:59 (UTC)(link)
Can authors violate their own copyright? Cause I think every acafan who gets published in a fancy $15 an article journal like this should have a freely available article available for online reading or download.

In Computer Science (at least in the UK) it is pretty common practice to make PDFs available on personal or institutional websites. The Engineering and Physical Research Council, at least, also stipulates that all publications related to work they have funded be placed in open access locations.

The last copyright transfer form I signed signed gave Springer "the sole right to store, reproduce, publish, disseminate, and sell throughout the world the said Contribution and parts thereof, as well as its translations in any foreign languages, in all forms and media of expression - such as in its electronic form (offline, online) - now known or developed in the future."

but also

"The Author may self-archive an author-created version* of his/her Contribution on his/her own website and/or in his/her institutional respository, including his/her final version. He/she may also deposit this version on his/her funder's or funder's designated repository at the funder's request or as a result of a legal obligation, provided it is not made publicly available until 12 months after official publication."

*I've always taken author-created version to mean whatever I sent to the journal before they did their copy-edit for publication. Though I recently had something rejected from my university's open access site because it was the version created after peer review and I wasn't prepared to submit the version from before peer review because it contained errors.
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[personal profile] jhameia 2012-03-15 17:27 (UTC)(link)
I've seen some journal articles made available on as well.
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[personal profile] noldo 2012-03-15 17:33 (UTC)(link)
I think I've maybe mentioned this to you before, but since people are bringing up the way such things are handled in their fields, I will mention that in many/most branches of current physics research, it's standard practice to upload the preprint version of your paper to the arXiv, and this is so widely accepted that everyone cites arXiv versions of papers, it's utterly bizarre for something published in the last [largish time period postdating existence of arXiv] not to be on it, etc, etc. Kind of nice, in that if you know what you're looking for, you can find basically anything on there. And actually a reasonably good model for open-access research availability.
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[personal profile] purplecat 2012-03-15 17:59 (UTC)(link)
It's always surprised me that arXiv (or something similar) has never really taken off in Computer Science. If I were guessing I'd say it was because Computer Scientists were self-archiving on personal websites very early and failed to recognise the importance of something like arXiv when it came along, but that doesn't satisfactorarily explain why we don't use it to any extent now.
alothian: (Default)

from someone who's published in that issue...

[personal profile] alothian 2012-03-15 17:45 (UTC)(link)
In my experience, it's generally totally socially acceptable, if not standard practice, to share academic publications, whether one's own or other people's. I have never met anyone who cared about that kind of copyright breaking, though admittedly I don't hang out with a lot of very conservative scholars. Pretty much everyone I have ever met in academia hates the corporate ownership of academic publishing and the cost of databases and would be horrified at the very thought of anyone paying the money the databases ask for nonsubscribers––especially given that academics never get paid for their publications and rarely if ever own the copyright. I realize that there are a lot of barriers to doing so, but I feel fairly confident that most scholars––especially fan studies scholars––would email copies of their published work to anyone who expressed interest. I would be very happy for everyone reading this to DM me for any article access (though fair warning, I'm about to move from a rich university to a poor one, and I expect to be getting a lot of articles myself by emailing colleagues whose institutions pay for more subscriptions) before they considered paying that money!

I'm not saying this to defend the walling-in of knowledge, or for that matter academia. Only to offer an insider's perspective! We need to change this stuff, and some of us are working on it, but of course our desire for status within the existing system complicates it. I'm part of several groups who are doing everything they can for this, even while I do continue to publish in print journals that don't have open access online archives.

I often upload pdfs of my publications and link them at my academic blog when the piece comes out, and I've seen that a fair bit––though you have to be following the person in question already to see that, rather than searching for stuff on a given subject, which is of course how most researchers find articles. I'm inspired by your post to make more durable, and hopefully more searchable, links at my online CV to all the publications I presently have pdfs of, including my Camera Obscura piece (which is pretty short. FWIW
alothian: (Default)

Re: from someone who's published in that issue...

[personal profile] alothian 2012-03-15 18:14 (UTC)(link)
Oh, I agree––that's what I meant by barriers. It's not any kind of solution. But I would like people to know that it is at least something it's viable to consider.
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[personal profile] jadelennox 2012-03-15 19:06 (UTC)(link)
So this is enough my profession that I almost feel like I should not answer under my fannish identity . :-) Anyway, there is an enormous and growing movement in academia towards open access toward scholarship, open courseware, open textbooks, etc. The problem is first of all that the publishers are fighting it, for obvious reasons, and second of all that academia historically haven't bothered to fight against vendors at all, and thirdly that academia is incredibly disconnected and you can't get two professors to agree whether the ocean is wet or dry.

But in general, the "crisis in scholarly communication" is something which is of deep concern to librarians (who are the people who are paying the ever escalating fees to the journal publishers, to the point that pretty much no academic library has money left in acquisitions budget for anything except journals), and is slowly passing into being of deep concern to administrators and professors. In general, nobody will get in trouble for sharing articles on request, but faculty do in fact get in trouble with publishers for just breaking copyright and posting the articles online willy-nilly. (Although usually they will only get a takedown notice, so the risk is small.)

Those of us in Scholarly Communications encourage authors to print out an author's amendment when signing the rights statement with publishers in order to allow self-archiving or deposit in an open access repository. (Well, before that we encourage publishing ina true open access journal (such as TWC), but many authors (especially those who are pre-tenure or not in the sciences) don't have that option. Once you submit an author's amendment there are any number of responses you could have from the publisher. I've personally had responses that range from "oh, we don't care, you can keep ALL the rights," to "it was nice knowing you, and we are not interested in your article on any terms but our own."

An increasing number of journals are allowing the author to pay a fee (usually between $1000-$3000) in order to have their particular article made available for open access. In general, unless the author can get grant money, that's very difficult to afford.

Why yes, the situation is appalling, why do you ask? :-(
Edited (tacos) 2012-03-15 19:07 (UTC)
phi: (Default)

[personal profile] phi 2012-03-15 22:40 (UTC)(link)
No they don't. And in some fields you have to pay anywhere from USD15 to 50 just to submit your work for consideration! Academic publishing is a gigantic scam and everyone hates it, but as long as publishing is the only way to advance your career, everyone deals with it. In fact, afaik, in my field there are *no* open-access or even cheap-access journals that would count for anything in an academic hiring or tenure review.
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[personal profile] zeborah 2012-03-16 04:57 (UTC)(link)
Academic journals don't pay their contributors, or their peer reviewers, or most of their editors, no. All those people are paid by the universities who employ them and who then have to pay thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to subscribe to the journal their staff have spent university time contributing to.
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[personal profile] thistleingrey 2012-03-16 00:13 (UTC)(link)
Curiosity--why not make your own epub or pdf files?
thistleingrey: (Default)

[personal profile] thistleingrey 2012-03-18 18:03 (UTC)(link)
*nods* I guess this runs into the difference in intents for TWC and AO3, then--and their different back ends, regardless; code to make epub for AO3 is useless to any other system unless someone customized it further. I make epub for things I want to read offline, or I stick HTML into ReadItLater (since epub for me is primarily on my phone).
woldy: (Default)

[personal profile] woldy 2012-03-16 02:11 (UTC)(link)
Usually, you transfer the right to publish to the journal. I have a forthcoming piece in moderately big name social justicey journal that made me take all the draft versions online down before they accepted it :-(. Some academics do put PDFs from their own website, though. Once the journal has already published your stuff they can't exactly un-publish it...

In some fields they're getting the people who write the articles to pay & making access free, but that still excludes some people unless they have sliding scales of all sorts (which I'm in favour of). Plus, I think it's mostly sciences with lots of public funding that use that model.
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)

[personal profile] zeborah 2012-03-16 05:14 (UTC)(link)
Many open access journals do have a sliding scale or even waivers.

If you're at a university, check if it's got an institutional repository - depending on the journal you may be allowed to deposit some version of the article there; the librarians/others in charge of the repository could advise (or you can search on Sherpa Romeo).
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)

[personal profile] zeborah 2012-03-16 05:09 (UTC)(link)
Many universities will have an institutional repository to which authors can post copies of their papers, depending on the publisher's policy. (Most publishers allow some version - rarely the print version with the page numbers, but either the post-print or pre-print.) Many academics don't know about this option, or are sceptical about it for whatever reason, or don't see the benefit and have insufficient time/motivation.

If any academics happen to be reading and are curious, check with your librarian. Very often the only time you need to spend is in signing a permission form and sending in copies of the papers; most likely the librarian will check all the copyright details for you. (Btw: more and more studies are suggesting more and more strongly that papers that are openly accessible, as in repositories, are more likely to be cited. Just sayin'.)

For non-academics trying to get access to a paper, try writing to the author and, as well as asking for a pdf for yourself (not all publishers allow this, but nearly all academics believe it's allowed), suggest that you know a lot of other people who'd like to read it if only it were up in an institutional repository you could share the link to.... Scholarly publication is becoming open access one academic at a time.

link for consideration

[personal profile] naad 2012-03-29 12:21 (UTC)(link)