Open Access Policies and Academic Freedom: Understanding and Addressing Conflicts

Abstract:  The adoption of open access (OA) policies that require participation rather than request it is often accompanied by concerns about whether such mandates violate researchers’ academic freedoms. This issue has not been well explored, particularly in the Canadian context. However the recent adoption of an OA policy from Canada’s major funding agencies and the development of the Fair access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) in the United States has made addressing the issue of academic freedom and OA policies an important issue in academic institutions. This paper will investigate the relationship between OA mandates and academic freedom with the context of the recent OA policy at the University of Windsor as a point of reference. While this investigation concludes that adopting OA policies that require faculty participation at the institutional level should not be an issue of academic freedom, it is important to understand the varied factors that contribute to this tension. This includes misunderstandings about journal based (gold) and repository based (green) OA, growing discontent about increased managerialism in universities and commercialization of research, as well as potential vagueness within collective agreements’ language regarding academic freedom and publication. Despite these potential roadblocks, a case can be made that OA policies are not in conflict with academic freedom given they do not produce the harms that academic freedom is intended to protect.

Job Opportunity: Director of Product Engineering – Creative Commons

“The Director of Product Engineering reports to the CEO and will lead the development and implementation of CC’s products and services. You’ll be responsible for the CC Search roadmap and the review and enhancement of existing tools to ensure their successful adoption on the web. This is a rare opportunity to lead within an organization that is fundamental to sharing online, operating at a global scale. The successful candidate will lead a technical team to meet the needs of this vital organization, and to build a more vibrant, usable global commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude.

We believe that diverse teams build better organizations and better services. Applications from qualified candidates from all backgrounds, including those from under-represented communities, are very welcome.

The Director of Product Engineering leads the technology team to:

  • Develop, lead and implement an ambitious product strategy, including a product and service roadmap for CC Search and other relevant services. Lead a small team aligned with our goal of a more vibrant, usable commons powered by collaboration and gratitude
  • Attract and oversee a small team of software developers and UX designers to build innovative, robust software both for CC use and for public release
  • Work in the open, in public repositories, open chat rooms, public wikis and a global community
  • Work with the CEO and Director of Development to seek funding for CC’s various technical projects
  • Represent the organization and provide technical leadership within various open communities and with CC partners. Coordinate with other outside communities, companies, and institutions to further Creative Commons’ mission, for example: W3C, non-profit communities like EFF, Open Knowledge, and Wikipedians, and the open data, open access, library, and open education communities”

Kudos to the Simon Fraser University Publishing Program

“Kudos to the Simon Fraser University Publishing Program for this key provision in its updated criteria for promotion and tenure:

“In keeping with the University’s Open Access Policy of 2017, only those publications that are in compliance with the policy will be considered by tenure, promotion, and review committees….”

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I9bZK3hAHzzWAVILMO1_MvvDPT3vCWnkvdYS6vp6h_Y/edit

All universities should follow suit….”

National survey begins today to gather data on academic journal usage | UToday | University of Calgary

In light of a budgetary crisis that has forced post-secondary institutions across Canada to cancel a range of subscriptions to academic journals, the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) has launched its first-ever national survey to gather data that will inform future decisions….“Data gathered during this survey will help the University of Calgary and other Canadian institutions make evidence-based decisions when confronted with the need to cancel journals because of budgetary constraints,” explains Tom Hickerson, vice-provost (Libraries and Cultural Resources)….”

Librarian, Copyright and Licensing, University of Waterloo

“The Copyright and Licensing Librarian is the primary coordinator and campus consultant on issues that span copyright risks and accountabilities as well as information resources’ licenses and contracts. This campus role serves as a key educator on copyright and licensing issues; provides expert assessment and analysis concerning licensing and copyright issues, such as information resource usage rights; supports risk management and compliance.

[…]

As an educator and instructor, the Copyright and Licensing Librarian provides support for information sessions and educational activities by:

 

  • Developing, organizing, and delivering seminars, programs, modules, and workshops to educate faculty, students, and other campus partners about copyright, author’s rights, and licensing issues and practices 
  • Liaising with campus partners to develop and promote community engagement tools
  • Providing campus wide education on Open Access and Open Education Resources and strategies, e.g. collaborating on the coordination of local Open Access Week events.”

 

2017 list of ‘predatory’ science journals published, hundreds claim to be Canadian | Ottawa Citizen

“The annual list of the world’s shaky and outright fake science journals is out, and Canada figures prominently, with hundreds of new entries calling themselves the Canadian Journal of one thing or another. This is not a category where Canada wants to aspire to global leadership….”

Professor Geist Wins Inaugural Open Scholarship Award | Faculty of Law – Common Law Section | University of Ottawa

“Professor Michael Geist has been awarded the University of Ottawa Library’s first annual Open Scholarship Award, which recognizes faculty members who demonstrate excellence in supporting and practicing open scholarship.

Professor Geist is widely recognized as one of Canada’s leading voices on open access, having been an effective advocate for open access policies for more than a decade.  He has delivered keynote addresses on open access on campuses across Canada, appeared before House of Commons committees on the benefits of open access mandates, and written dozens of articles and op-eds on open access.  He has long been an active participant within the University of Ottawa open access community, assisting with the development of the university’s open access strategy.  In addition to his long history of publishing his own work under open access licences, Professor Geist serves as the editor of the first University of Ottawa Press collection that publishes all works under an open access licence….”

Petition · The University of Ottawa Senate: Preserve uOttawa’s library holdings · Change.org

“The University of Ottawa has announced in September 2016 to cancel its subscription to thousands of print and online journals, including 2,123 journals by Taylor & Francis and 2,368 journals by Springer, which are critically important for the education, training and research at the University of Ottawa (See other details at http://biblio.uottawa.ca/en/about/collections/titles-being-cancelled-2016-09”

“THEREFORE we the undersigned, call upon the University of Ottawa Senate and the University of Ottawa Board of Governors to protect these critically important library resources for the benefit of its students and research staff, its undergraduate and graduate programs, and its national and international reputation.”

Petition · The University of Ottawa Senate: Preserve uOttawa’s library holdings · Change.org

“The University of Ottawa has announced in September 2016 to cancel its subscription to thousands of print and online journals, including 2,123 journals by Taylor & Francis and 2,368 journals by Springer, which are critically important for the education, training and research at the University of Ottawa (See other details at http://biblio.uottawa.ca/en/about/collections/titles-being-cancelled-2016-09”

“THEREFORE we the undersigned, call upon the University of Ottawa Senate and the University of Ottawa Board of Governors to protect these critically important library resources for the benefit of its students and research staff, its undergraduate and graduate programs, and its national and international reputation.”

Journalists who fear that open access to public records will limit their scoops and exclusivity

“A draft freedom-of-information policy in Calgary, Alberta, would require that whenever FOI requests are granted, the same information released to the requestors must also be released to the public. 

Not everyone thinks this is a good idea, and the source of the opposition may surprise you….”