TL;DR version: This post is the first in a series of posts in which I'll reflect on events and discussions from the recent LRA Conference in Dallas, TX. I'm finally home, and caught up with grading, tenure materials, and other errands. In this first post I'll discuss some interesting discussions and current events associated with writing, publishing, and sharing content online.
Before the conference I received a message from one of the biggest names in literacy research asking me about materials that I recently uploaded to Academia.edu. She noticed that I uploaded some pieces that she wanted citations for. Additionally, she wanted some guidance on whether or not it was appropriate to upload some of her work. I should indicate that I had recently uploaded some of my papers to Academia, and they were appearing in her notifications from the service. I uploaded these documents because I noticed that some of my colleagues were uploading proofs of high-quality journals in the field. I ultimately made the decision to not upload proofs of my articles or chapters, but instead upload earlier drafts of submitted materials. When I shared my logic with the initial colleague that asked for the citation and the advice, we agreed that it didn’t seem to be problematic to upload early drafts, but we didn’t feel comfortable uploading the polished copy, or proofs.
During the conference I engaged in conversations with numerous colleagues about publishing, and sharing materials openly online. I serve as e-editor for the organization and as a result have been trying (with others) to coax the organization into publishing more openly (and freely available) online. In planning and committee meetings throughout the week I also heard from many doc students, and junior scholars in the field that are fearful to openly publish, share, or even blog online in the event that this will negatively affect their chances for publishing, or tenure later in their careers. My advice to scholars and educators is that they should be openly blogging and sharing materials about their work. They should also work as openly online as possible, finding opportunities to use (and cite) materials in open journals…and submit/publish materials in open journals. One example of this is that I’ve been urging peers (and their students) to help collaboratively edit and construct a Google Site we’re using to save, index and archive openly available materials. The Digital Texts and Tools repository is designed for literacy scholars and educators who want to share literacy, education, and technology resources. If you’re interested in editing access…please send me an email.
At the tail end of the LRA conference I received a notice from the AoIR listerv that brought this dialogue to a head. It appears that Elsevier has been busy issuing take down notices to publications on Academia. Here is a wonderful blog post outlining much of the fallout. This continues to raise important questions about permissions that we have to write, publish, and share online.
Much of this has been terribly fascinating, and timely for me. This recent confluence of ideas and issues couldn’t have come at a better time. I would like to see a movement toward open and available resources online. I’d also like us to be cognizant of individuals at all levels in the various disciplines and how it affects us as we’re currently stuck within two different models. I routinely openly blog about my work. I post some of my work to Academia.edu, and will continue to post more to share with others. I will also start posting and sharing my publications here on my blog. In the past I have shared informal writings (e.g., chapter proposals, philosophical statements). I also share many more materials openly online (e.g., the ORMS MOOC). I’m honestly not that concerned about the effect of this on my tenure process. (As a side note, I submitted the dossier for my third year review last week…I’ll have more thoughts on that later.) I included much of my online work in the service and publications section of my CV and tenure packet. I’ll continue to be cautious in what I share online. Most of the work that I’ve published recently was written for editors that I’m good friends with. I wouldn’t want to do anything to upset them.
Once again, I believe that we’re in-between two models right now. At some point we’ll make better sense of intellectual property, copyright, and “open” in online spaces. Until that point I urge my colleagues and students to write and share Creative Commons (CC) licensed content. I also urge you to use and properly cite CC licensed content. Finally, continue to write, publish, and share openly online. As more and more people effectively create and curate their digital identity, we’ll be forced to rethink many of these policies.
Image CC by opensourceway