Paywall: the Movie – A Conversation on Open Access

This is a guest blog by the amazing Kaylen Dwyer, a GA in Scholarly and Communication Publishing

Logo for Paywall movie

Help us celebrate Open Access Week by joining us for a free screening of Paywall: The Movie on October 24th at the Independent Media Center from 7 – 9 pm hosted by the Scholarly Communication and Publishing Unit at the University of Illinois Library. The screening will be followed by a discussion moderated by Sara Benson, the Copyright Librarian, with panelists Sheldon Jacobson, Andrew Suarez, David Rivier, and Maria Bonn.

Full information about the event is available at this web address!

Paywall’s director, Jason Schmitt, estimates that scholarly publishing is a US $25.2-billion-a-year industry, a figure bolstered by soaring profit margins of 33% (compared to Walmart’s 3%, as cited by the filmmaker). This for-profit publishing model is further complicated by the fact that while most academic research is funded by the public, the articles remain behind expensive paywalls.

Then, one minute and 58 seconds into the documentary, viewers are hit with a paywall that asks them to pay $39.95 to continue watching. Jarring and unexpected, a paywall in a documentary still irritates. Yet for many of us, the paywalls we encounter for articles are just part of the routine that says, “Find another way.”

Schmitt says, “This profit has an implication—it limits amount of individuals around the globe who can solve the world’s most complex problems, and that affects us all.” The film specifically looks at how paywalls impact the global south, as a 2001 World Health Organization (WHO) survey found that 56% of research institutions in low-income countries did not have any subscriptions to international scientific journals.

In response to his hopes for what Paywall will accomplish, Schmitt says, “Open access is important to accelerate innovation and growth in a worldwide community of scholars, scientists and practitioners…I feel this documentary could play a role in exciting a worldwide conversation about access to scholarship in a digital age.”

We look forward to the screening and we hope you will join us next Wednesday at the Independent Media Center!

About the Panelists:

Sheldon Jacobson is a professor of computer science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, applying research and advanced analytics to address societal issues facing our nation. His recent article, “Push Versus Pull,” in Communications of the ACM looks at some of the problems with open access publishing.

Andrew Suarez is an associate professor of Animal Biology at U of I, focusing on the social organization and developmental plasticity of insects to address the fundamental questions in ecology, evolution, and behavior. His article, “The Fallacy of Open Access,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education addresses solutions we should be seeking in addition to open access publishing.

David Rivier, associate professor of cell and developmental biology at U of I, brings expertise in bioinformatics and scholarly publishing within the sciences.

Maria Bonn, an associate professor at the ISchool, previously served as the associate university librarian for publishing at the University of Michigan Library and was responsible for initiatives in publishing and scholarly communication. Her research remains focused in that area as well as networked communication and the economics of information. Among her contributions to the open access conversation are, “Free exchange of ideas: Experimenting with the open access monograph” (College and Research Library News, 2010) and “Maximizing the benefits of open access: Strategies for enhancing the discovery of open access content” (College and Research Library News, 2015).

Lightning Review: Open Access

Although the push for open access is decades old at this point, it remains one of the most important initiatives in the world of scholarly communication and publishing. Free of barriers like the continuously rising costs of subscription-based serials, open access publishing allows researchers to explore, learn, build upon, and create new knowledge without inhibition. As Peter Suber says, “[Open access] benefits literally everyone, for the same reasons that research itself benefits literally everyone.”

Picture of Suber's "Open Access"

Peter Suber is the Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication; Director of the Harvard Open Access Project; and, among many other titles, the “de facto leader of the worldwide open access movement.” In short, Suber is an expert when it comes to open access. Thankfully, he knows the rest of us might not have time to be.

Suber introduces his book Open Access (a part of the MIT Press Essential Knowledge Series) by writing, “I want busy people to read this book. […] My honest belief from experience in the trenches is that the largest obstacle to OA is misunderstanding. The largest cause of misunderstanding is the lack of familiarity, and the largest cause of unfamiliarity is preoccupation. Everyone is busy.”

What follows is an informative yet concise read on the broad field of open access. Suber goes into the motivation for open access, the obstacles preventing it, and what the future may hold. In clear language, Suber breaks down jargon and explains how open access navigates complex issues concerning copyright and payment. This is a great introductory read to an issue so prominent in academia.

Open 24 Hours Neon Sign

Take the time to fit Open Access into your busy schedule. You can read it the Scholarly Commons during our regular hours or online through our catalog anytime.

And finally, if you have any questions about open access, feel free to reach out to or request a consultation with the library’s Scholarly Communication and Publishing unit!

HathiTrust Research Center Expands Text Mining Corpus

Good news for text and data mining researchers! After years of court cases and policymaking, the entire 16-million-item collection of the HathiTrust Digital Library, including content in-copyright, is available for text and data mining. (Yay!)

Previously, only non-copyrighted, public domain materials were able to be used with HTRC Analytics’ suite of tools. The restriction obviously limited ability to do quality computational research on modern history; most out-of-copyright items are texts created before 1923. With this update, everyone can perform text analysis on the full corpus with different tools. HathiTrust is membership-based, so some restrictions apply to non-member institutions and independent scholars alike (Illinois is a member institution). With the passage of this new policy, only one service, the HTRC Data Capsule (a virtual computing environment), retains members-only access to the full corpus for requesters with an established research need. There are over 140 member institutions, including University of Illinois.

Here’s a quick overview of HTRC’s tools and access permissions (from HTRC’s Documentation).

  • HTRC Algorithms: a set of tools for assembling collections of digitized text from the HathiTrust corpus and performing text analysis on them. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • Extracted Features Dataset: dataset allowing non-consumptive analysis on specific features extracted from the full text of the HathiTrust corpus. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • HathiTrust+Bookworm: a tool for visualizing and analyzing word usage trends in the HathiTrust corpus. Including copyrighted items for ALL USERS.
  • HTRC Data Capsule: a secure computing environment for researcher-driven text analysis on the HathiTrust corpus. All users may access public domain items. Access to copyrighted items is available ONLY to member-affiliated researchers.

Fair Use to the Rescue!

How is this possible? Through both the Fair Use section of the Copyright Act and HathiTrust’s policy of allowing only non-consumptive research. Fair Use protects use of copyrighted materials for educational, research, and transformative purposes. Non-consumptive research means that researchers can glean information about works without actually being able to read (consume) them. You can see the end result (topic models, word and phrase statistics, etc.), without seeing the entirety of the work for human reading. Allowing computational research only on a corpus protects rights holders, and benefits researchers. A researcher can perform text analysis on thousands of texts without reading them all, which is the basis of computational text analysis anyway! Our Copyright Librarian, Sara Benson, recently discussed how Fair Use factors into HathiTrust’s definition of non-consumptive research.

Ready to use HTRC Analytics for text mining? Check out their Getting Started with HTRC Guide for some simple, guided start-up activities.

For general information about the digital library, see our guide on HathiTrust.

OASIS: The Search Tool for the Open Educational Resource Desert

Guest Post by Kaylen Dwyer

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license so they are free to access, use, remix, and share again.

Source: The Review Project. For more information about OER, the University of Illinois’ guide is available online.

Last year, the Common Knowledge blog discussed the cost of OER to professors and institutions in grants, time, sabbatical funding, and more. Yet professors felt that the main barrier between OER and the classroom were not these hidden costs, but rather lack of awareness, the difficulties of finding texts to use, and the monumental task of evaluating the texts and tools they did find.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group’s study, “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market,” determined that many students chose not to buy their textbooks due to the costs despite concern for their grade, and felt that they would benefit from open resources. Even as textbook costs have skyrocketed and faculty awareness of OER continues to increase, only 5.3% of classrooms are using open textbooks.

Enter OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search), a search tool recently developed and launched by SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library. OASIS addresses the main frustration expressed by faculty—how do I know what I’m looking for? Or even what open sources are out there?

Oasis Logo Image

The easy-to-use interface and highly selective nature of OASIS are both evident from the front page. At the outset, users can start a search if they know what they’re looking for, or they can view the variety of OER source types available to them—textbooks, courses, interactive simulations, audiobooks, and learning objects are just a few of the tools one can look for.

Image of the options within Oasis for OER materials

Users can also refine their search by the source, license, and whether or not the resource has been reviewed. For those who need a text which has already been evaluated, this certainly helps. At launch, there are over 150,000 items available coming from 52 different sources like Open NYS, CUNY, Open Textbooks, OER Services, and SUNY. And, as a way to increase awareness of the tool and open resources, OASIS also created a search widget that libraries and other institutions can embed on their webpages.

OASIS is one step closer to getting OER into the classroom, providing equal access and increasing the discoverability of texts.

Check it out here!

Puentes/Bridges: Highlights from DH2018

At the end of June, the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) coordinated their annual international DH conference, Digital Humanities 2018, in Mexico City. DH2018 was the first conference in the organization’s history to be held in Latin America and in the global south. With a theme of Puentes/Bridges, DH2018 emphasized transnational discourse and inclusivity. Here are some highlights from the event!

Latin@ voices in the Midwest: Ohio Habla Podcast
Elena Foulis of Ohio State University discussed Ohio Habla, a podcast project that seeks to educate others on the Latin@ experience in the Midwest with interviews conducted in English and Spanish (and a mixture of the two).

Visualizing the Digital Humanities Community
What does the DH community look like? Researchers from University College London’s Centre for Digital Humanities visualized how authors of DH articles cite each other and interact with each other on Twitter, and compared the two networks.

Network Analysis of Javanese Traditional Theatre
How do characters in Javanese traditional theatre relate to one another? In an excellent example of non-traditional digital publishing, Miguel Escobar Varela of the National University of Singapore communicates his research findings on an interactive webpage.

Mayan hieroglyphs as a computer font

Mayan hieroglyphs as a computer font

Achieving Machine-Readable Mayan Text Via Unicode
Carlos Pallan Gayol of the University of Bonn and Deborah Anderson of UC Berkeley work to create Unicode equivalents of Mayan hieroglyphs to create a machine-readable version, ensuring reliable access to this language across devices.

Hurricane Memorial: Chronicling the Hurricane of 1928
A massive hurricane devastated Florida, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the Caribbean in 1928, but the story of this storm shifts depending on who you ask. Most of the storm’s victims were black migrant workers from Puerto Rico and Caribbean islands, whose deaths are minimized in most accounts. Christina Boyles of Trinity College seeks to “bring the stories of the storm’s underrepresented victims back into our cultural memory.”

Does “Late Style” Exist? New Stylometric Approaches to Variation in Single-Author Corpora
Jonathan Pearce Reeve presented some preliminary findings of his research on investigating whether or not an author has a true “late style.” Late style is a term most well-known from the works of Edward Said, alluding to an author’s shift to a writing style later in life that is unique from their “early” style. Read a review of his book, On Late Style. Code and other supplemental materials from Reeve’s research are available on GitHub.

screenshot from 4 rios webpage, shows drawings of people

4 Ríos: El Naya
A digital storytelling project about the impacts of armed conflict in Colombia, 4 Ríos is a transmedia project that includes a website, short film, and an interactive web-comic.

Researchers from our own University of Illinois participated in the conference, including Megan Senseney and Dan Tracy. Senseney, along with other Illinois researchers, presented “Audiences, Evidence, and Living Documents: Motivating Factors in Digital Humanities Monograph Publishing,” a survey of motivations behind humanities scholars digital publishing actions and needs. Megan also participated in a panel, “Unanticipated Afterlives: Resurrecting Dead Projects and Research Data for Pedagogical Use,” a discussion about how we might use unmaintained DH projects and data for learning purposes.

Tracy and other Illinois researchers presented a poster, Building a Bridge to Next Generation DH Services in Libraries with a Campus Needs Assessment, a report of results gathered while surveying the need for future DH services at research institutions, and how the library might facilitate this evolution. View Tracy’s poster in IDEALS.

ADHO gathered all resources tweeted out during the conference that you can view. You can also view a detailed schedule of presentations with descriptions here, or see paper abstracts here. Or, search #DH2018 on Twitter to see all the happenings!

European Union Parliament Rejects Copyright Law

The controversial bill, the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, was protested around the world, with websites sending up an alarm over one portion of the proposed law, Article 13.

Article 13 would require users to gain permission of copyright holders, likely through licensing, to upload anything that was copyrighted onto the internet. If they did not have permission, the website would have to block the content. This might seem like a good thing, and was argued by Paul McCartney and 1,300 other musicians that is would protect people from having their work stolen and uploaded illegally. Critics have argued that this law would be so strict it would prevent anyone on sites like YouTube from playing cover songs – which is how the Beatles got their start.

People argued that the article would also stifle fan creations – like fanart and fanfiction – because the law applies to not only music, but all audio, video, and text uploaded onto the internet. Including memes.

While the idea of protecting copyright is noble, to have everything uploaded onto the internet by a human being is literally impossible. The BBC notes that 400 hours of content are uploaded onto YouTube every 60 seconds. Because of this, YouTube has an automatic system that flags and demonetizes videos that thought to be in violation of copyright. Things as innocuous as birds chirping in the background of videos have flagged copyright claims, so to have such a policy not only beefed up, but spread across the entire internet, it is argued, would be detrimental.

In voting this bill down, EU policy-makers have given themselves more time to review and rework these proposed laws, as another vote will happen in September.

Understanding Creative Commons Licenses

It doesn’t matter if you’re a student, a scholar, or just someone with a blog: we all run into issues finding images that you’re allowed to use on your website, in your research, or in an advertisement. While copyright laws have avenues for use, it’s not guaranteed that you can use the image you want, and the process of getting access to that image may be slow. That’s why looking at images with a Creative Commons license are a great alternative to traditional copyrighted images.

A Creative Commons license is a more flexible option than copyright and can be used on images, or basically any other kind of shareable work. When a creator chooses a Creative Commons license, people do not need to ask for their explicit permission to use their work. However, that doesn’t mean that the creator gives up control of the image; rather, they choose one of six current options for their Creative Commons license:

  • Attribution: The most lenient license. The attribution license lets others do what they please with your work, so long as they credit the original creator.
  • Attribution-ShareAlike: Similar to the attribution license, though all derivatives of the original work must be licensed under identical terms to that original.
  • Attribution-NoDerivs: This allows others to use the work as they please, so long as they do not change or manipulate it, and credit the creator.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial: This license allows people to use and tweak the work freely, except for commercial enterprises. The derivative works do not have to be licensed under identical terms.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike: Same as above except derivative works must be licensed under identical terms.
  • Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs: The most restrictive license. Others may download the work, but they cannot change them or use them commercially.

All-in-all, most Creative Commons works have “some rights reserved.” As a consumer, you have the responsibility to look up license of any Creative Commons work you hope to use (which isn’t very hard – most of the time any limitations are listed).

Here are some examples of images with differing Creative Commons licenses:

The only stipulation on this image is that I must provide proper attribution. “Albert Cavalier King Charles Spaniel” was taken by Glen Bowman on July 21, 2013 and is hosted on flickr.com.

This image of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel only requires creator attribution. It can be used commercially so long as I acknowledge Glen Bowman, the photo’s creator. So if I so chose, I could hypothetically edit this photo to use as a welcome banner on my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel appreciation blog, include it in a PowerPoint I use for my veterinary school class, or copy it in an advertisement for my dog-walking business.

This Creative Commons licensed image requires proper attribution. “Cavalier King Charles Spaniel” was taken by James Watson (kingjimmy81) on August 17, 2013, and is hosted on Flickr.com.

This image of a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel has a more restrictive license than the above image. You can share the image in any medium or format, but you must give appropriate credit to James Watson, the creator. You cannot use it commercially, and you cannot distribute derivatives of the photo. So I could include this on my Cavalier King Charles appreciation blog with proper attribution, but could not edit it to make it into a banner on the homepage. And while using it in my veterinary school PowerPoint is still okay, I could not use it in an advertisement for my dog-walking business.

If you’re interested in finding Creative Commons works, you can use the Creative Commons Search function, which links up to various search engines, including Google, Google Images, Wikimedia Commons, and Flickr. If you’re interested in learning more about Creative Commons licenses, check out the Scholarly Commons’ Creative Commons basics page, as well as our use/creation of Creative Commons licenses page. If you’re interested in learning more about intellectual property in general, visit the Main Library’s Intellectual Property LibGuide, or get in touch with the library’s copyright specialist, Sara Benson (srbenson@illinois.edu).

Using an Art Museum’s Open Data

*Edits on original idea and original piece by C. Berman by Billy Tringali

As a former art history student, I’m incredibly interested in the how the study of art history can be aided by the digital humanities. More and more museums have started allowing the public to access a portion of their data. When it comes to open data, museums seem to be lagging a bit behind other cultural heritage institutions, but many are providing great open data for humanists.

For art museums, the range of data provided ranges. Some museums are going the extra mile to give a lot of their metadata to the public. Others are picking and choosing aspects of their collection, such as the Museum of Modern Art’s Exhibition and Staff Histories.

Many museums, especially those that collect modern and contemporary art, can have their hands tied by copyright laws when it comes to the data they present. A few of the data sets currently available from art museums are the Cooper Hewitt’s Collection Data, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts metadata, the Rijksmuseum API, the Tate Collection metadata, and the Getty Vocabularies.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has recently released all images of the museum’s public domain works under a Creative Commons Zero license.

More museum data can be found here!

Random Facts: Copyright Edition

Source: Openclipart

This post was guest authored by Scholarly Communication and Publishing Graduate Assistant Paige Kuester.


Just in case “Copyright” is one of the categories when you finally make it on Jeopardy!

  1. Facts aren’t copyrightable

Generally, unless there is some creativity in the expression associated with them, facts aren’t copyrightable. Even if you were the first person ever to know that particular fact, unless you express it in a creative fixed way, there’s no way that copyright can attach to facts.

  1. Monkeys have yet to successfully go to court and claim copyright

While this fact seems like a statement of the obvious, if you are not familiar with the Monkey Selfie case, you’ll be surprised to learn that accomplishing this was the goal of PETA recently. It’s probably a good thing that the case settled (though unsuccessfully in the eyes of monkeys that are garnering for copyright everywhere) with the owner of the camera agreeing to donate a percentage of proceeds gained from the picture to habitat protection, because how else would we have gotten access to some of these images? However, it is questionable if images taken by animals are even copyrightable at all.

  1. Just because you can’t find the © symbol, does not mean that a work does not have copyright.

Since 1989, works no longer require a copyright symbol to have copyright attached to them. Which makes having a copyright easier than in previous eras, but makes it less obvious that a work in copyrighted in general. Of course, there are benefits to including one.

  1. Plagiarism doesn’t just plague the lazy.

Apologies in advance.

  1. You own a copyright.

At least, if you have ever written anything creative down in a fixed medium that was your own idea, you own one. Probably more than one, including marker scribbles and grocery lists and papers that you wrote in high school. As long as you don’t transfer your rights, you will hold that copyright for your entire life plus seventy years.

Make sure you share your winnings with us.

For more information about copyright, check out this undergraduate journal library guide, this Author’s rights guide,  or contact our copyright librarian, Sara Benson.

Sources:

Bailey, Jonathan. (2010). 5 Things that Can’t Be Copyrighted. Plagiarism Today.  Retrieved from https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2010/01/08/5-things-that-cant-be-copyrighted/

Bailey, Jonathan. (2015). 5 Great People Who Plagiarized. Plagiarism Today.  Retrieved from https://www.plagiarismtoday.com/2015/02/10/5-great-people-who-plagiarized/

New Media Rights. (2011). II. What Can and Can’t Be Copyrighted? New Media Rights. Retrieved from https://www.newmediarights.org/business_models/artist/ii_what_can_and_can’t_be_copyrighted

Post, David. (2017). No Monkey Business Here: The Monkey Copyright Case is Over–For Now. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/09/17/no-monkey-business-here-the-monkey-selfie-copyright-case-is-over-for-now/?utm_term=.1624b07a5524

Open Access and… Animals?

Image of a blue and white bird flying over a lake with mountains in the background.

Source: Pixabay.

This post was guest authored by Scholarly Communication and Publishing Graduate Assistant Paige Kuester.


The modern research landscape is an asset for biologists, zoologists, conservationists, etc. They can track animals, check up on them, figure out what is helping or harming their environment, and report or adjust accordingly. They tag animals and create twitter handles for them to tweet out their location (source). They can also create crowdsourcing research methods in order to utilize the interest of the public. And with open access, researchers can easily pass this information on to the public, so that they can create even more awareness and participation, too.

Great, right?

Maybe not. Think about who else has access to that information.

Poachers. Yes, we are still living in an age of poachers. This isn’t just your Tarzan poachers tromping through the jungle, though there is still some of that. This is much more threatening.

Poachers don’t have to track animals anymore, because scientists are doing that for them. Poachers can just gather data posted online through open access sources, and plan out their trip. Crowd-sourced research and tourists apps can also provide this information. If poachers are really nifty, they can tap into radio signals and the like that are sending out locations from the animal tags to the researchers.

One way that researchers can combat this is to not post such specific locations and data on animals that are likely to be poached, especially when publishing with an open access journal. Those in charge of apps can not make information about endangered species publicly available. It is a little more difficult to deter signal hackers, but monitoring and adding more security to these is one way to curb this unfortunate trend.

Open access is great, spreading information about awesome and endangered animals is great, but leaving them vulnerable to exploitation is not so much. It is a bit like Facebook. Sharing your location and your Friday night plans may be fine when you know it is just your friends seeing this information, but when making it public, maybe don’t advertise that you are going to out of your apartment for weeks on end, leaving your valuables alone and unmonitored. While animal privacy rights are not yet a thing, a little courtesy can go a long way in protecting those who don’t have a say.

Sources:

Hewitt, Sarah. (2017, June 5). Scientists Are Debating Whether Animals have a Right to Privacy. Motherboard. Retrieved from: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/43ydkb/animals-privacy-tracking-data-science-journals-open-access-banff-national-park

Scheele, Benjamin, and David Lindenmayer. (2017, May 25). Scientists Are Accidently Helping Poachers Drive Endangered Species to Extinction. The Conversation. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/scientists-are-accidentally-helping-poachers-drive-rare-species-to-extinction-78342

Welz, Adam. (2017, September 6). Unnatural Surveillance: How Online Data is Putting Species at Risk. Yale Environment 360. Retrieved from http://e360.yale.edu/features/unnatural-surveillance-how-online-data-is-putting-species-at-risk