My response to Laura was quite long, and I’m pasting (yes, self-piracy) it here to archive it and allow others to respond.
I’m in full agreement with Jason on this. If you sign off permissions to a publication, then they “own” it. As an academic, especially one that strives for “open” in my work…I need to respect this. There is also a larger side to me that is an instigator and tries to drum up dialogue and “problematizes” issues. We’ll see which side wins out on this.
I agree that Elsevier is really not the problem here. They’re one of the protagonists/antagonists in a drama unfolding in front of our eyes. We’re in the middle of two models. All mediums have had to adapt due to the Internet and other communication technologies. It took Steve Jobs giving record companies “a deal they cannot refuse” to get iTunes started. Publishing, movies, and most of all TV are the next to come to this reckoning day. The truth behind all of this is that no matter how much we try to lock up things online, they will become free.
It’s incumbent on academics and content creators to understand and “press” on issues of intellectual property, access, and ownership. As “writers” online, we need to fully understand the rights and privileges that we pass on in agreements. We also need to push for a better way. In academia, this means that we need to push for open access and control of sharing of our work. In order to understand this, we need to understand publishing parameters, open, and Creative Commons licensing. This is quite a bit to swallow for scholars that are only interested in publishing another piece…and getting tenure.
Let’s face it, in academia we have a ton of issues to topple. As a scholar, we have endless requirements to achieve tenure. Our survivalist thoughts focus on solid teaching, research, publications, and service to everyone that we meet. For the purposes of this discussion we’ll ignore the fact that many in academia have challenges with high quality teaching and learning practices in their discipline. We work in a model (education, and higher ed specifically) that is also (I believe) on the verge of a revolution. I do not agree with, but cannot fault my colleagues that could care less about ownership, publishing, or sharing their materials openly online. Or, as is probably true for a large contingent, the faculty that don’t care where the piece is published, or what effect it has. The only concern is that it is one more line on the CV. I do think we bear a responsibility to push and change the future. Let’s just keep in mind that this is hard work.
What do you all think?
Image CC by coffeedude02