University communities heavily influence the landscape with the publishing practices they endorse and practice. Scholars-the authors, reviewers, and editors - create the substance of research publications, adding value at each stage. Scholarly societies influence the landscape with the publishing practices they endorse and offer to their contributors. With the goal of disseminating knowledge as widely as possible, University community members can act to improve the publishing system and increase the impact of their research results.
What scholarly societies are doing
Scholarly societies, encouraged by their members, are re-thinking their publishing practices to best support the interests of their fields. Society options include:
- exploring ancillary revenue sources to reduce dependence on subscription revenue, while maintaining a publishing revenue goal near the cost-recovery point.
- allowing authors to disseminate their work more broadly by retaining only the "right of first publication" for the society; for example, the American Mathematical Society allows authors in their journals to retain their copyright, and the AIAA allows them to self-archive their articles.
- investigating open-access alternatives when considering contracting out publishing operations.
- considering pricing, copyright, and licensing policies before transferring trusted society publishing operations to a commercial publisher. Some societies have selected publishers better fitting their mission and values, such as the Journal of the European Economic Association (JEEA), formerly the European Economic Review.
What scholars are doing
Individuals strongly influence the publishing landscape by choosing where to publish, referee, or edit. They have many opportunities for:
- retaining their authors' rights
- submitting papers to high-quality journals with open-access options or reasonable pricing practices.
- depositing their work in open-access archives such as the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy or a discipline-based repository like the arXiv.
- declining to review for or serve as an editor of unreasonably expensive journals. In fact, a number of editors or entire editorial boards have resigned from journals produced by commercial publishers to launch alternative non-profit publications, such as Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas (formerly Labor History) and the Journal of Topology (formerly Topology).
What the University of Minnesota is doing
University of Minnesota community discussions about intellectual property policies have most recently focused on legislation requiring the deposition of final, peer-reviewed manuscripts of all articles arising from NIH-funded research into PubMed Central. Sponsored Projects Administration (SPA) and the University Libraries have responded by creating a website and services to assist faculty in complying with this requirement.
A related recent development was the University's endorsement of a tool for working with publishers, the CIC Author's Addendum, which academic authors can use to retain "rights that facilitate archiving, instructional use, and sharing with colleagues to advance discourse and discovery". The University Senate endorsed the Addendum on May 3, 2007 after it was discussed by the Senate Library Committee and subsequently endorsed by the Faculty Consultative Committee.
What other universities are doing
The U joins other universities in acting to ensure that scholarly communication effectively serves the needs of scholarship. Many institutions advocate progressive principles.
- "Harvard to collect, disseminate scholarly articles for faculty": Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences has resolved to make each faculty member's scholarly articles available in their free, online depository. Full text of the resolution is available on Peter Suber's Open Access News blog.
- Indiana University (IU) recently launched a "faculty-generated" peer-reviewed open access electronic journal, the Museum Anthropology Review. The journal is published by IU Libraries using the Open Journal Systems shareware to enable local control of publishing operations.
- The University of California passed a resolution on "The University's Role in Fostering Positive Change in Scholarly Communication."
- UW-Madison passed a "Resolution in Support of Accessible Scholarly and Scientific Publication."
- Others have developed innovative publishing mechanisms, like the open-access Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the open-source Digital Publishing System developed by Cornell and Penn State.
- See: "University actions for open access or against high journal prices" for a full list of actions on other campuses, either for open access or against high journal prices.