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by Stephen Downes
January 19, 2007

Copyright, Publishing, and Scholarship
This paper summarizes the work of the "Zwolle Group" initiative over thje last five years. This group was formed to develop and share "guidance for faculty authors, publishers, librarians, and other stakeholders who are seeking to improve their management of copyright issues." The members of the group took an approach that emphasizes the "balancing" of stakeholder interests. This suffered from two flaws. First, it was not clear that stakeholder interests were properly represented. In the chart of stakeholder interests, for example, the 'general public' is woefully understated - surely it would have some interest to balance the "maximize revenue" stated by publishers? But no, the public is depicted as having no view on this issue. The second flaw is inherent in the employment of a stakeholder approach at all. Should all of the players be at the table? In particular, do we need to continue to take into account publisher interests in further discussions? If we could satisfy the objectives of academic writing without publisher intervention, why not jettison what is, in essence, a net expense and a drain on the system? Kenneth D, Crews and Gerard van Westrienen, D-Lib January 19, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

The Results Are In
Results from a survey of edubloggers (I think I participated, anonymously) that fetched around 160 responses, which makes it a pretty good sample (I estimate the size of the edublogosphere to be about 500 bloggers). The most useful summary on the page is the slide show. It is worth noting - especially on a day where Inside Higher Ed published an article slamming ethics review boards in the humanities - that the author has made available a spreadsheet with full survey results, including the name and URL of the contributor. It seems to me that this data should be anonymized, no matter what. And if participants wren't informed that the data would be posted in thsi way, then a significant breach of ethics has occurred. Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant January 19, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

If the Academic Library Ceased to Exist, Would We Have to Invent It?
This article makes the case for the academic library by predicting what might happen were its services discontinued. Sadly, the predictions aren't very imaginative; people continue to need monographs and textbooks, and try to find them offline (since they aren't available online). My own prediction beings a lot like the authors: save $2.7 million by ceasing journal subscriptions and textbook purchases. Instead, the library takes the money and spends it archiving placing academic staff publications into an institutional archive, freely accessible to the public as a whole. The university's original mission. In a few years, as every institution follows suit, a wealth of material is freely available online, and without the need for expensive subscriptions. Lynn Scott Cochrane, EDUCAUSE Review January 19, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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