Honors College Releases the 10th Anniversary Issue of The Eagle Feather Journal
The Eagle Feather, an interdisciplinary undergraduate research journal at UNT, celebrated the 10th Anniversary Issue at a reception in the Willis Forum on October 1, 2013. The Department of the Year, Mentor of the Year, and student authors and faculty mentors were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the online, open access journal.
The User Interfaces Unit recently redesigned The Eagle Feather to include many new features including multiple slideshow styled banners on the home page, context driven content, an image colorbox for visual interest, an article citation designed to generate a DOI for each article, and links to the Faculty Profile @ UNT for each mentor.
Three new sections were created for the journal including Mentor of the Year, Department of the Year, and Where Are They Now? highlighting former authors.
To learn more, see the article in UNT's InHouse: Honors College to celebrate student research publication.
Online Library Workshops Coming Soon!
The Research and Instructional Services Department is in the process of transitioning from in-person to online library workshops during the Fall 2013 semester. Our goal is to provide 24/7, as-needed learning opportunities for a greater number of UNT students starting in Spring 2014. In the meantime, please contact Ask Us for answers to your questions, or visit these library guides for the content of the workshops:
Basic and Advanced Library Research
RefWorks: Reference and Bibliography Manager
Find Articles: Search All Databases
The Literature Review Process
Google, FASTR and PAPS
Google Digitization Case
A United States District Court in New York heard arguments from attorneys for Google and the Authors Guild regarding Google’s right to scan over 20 million books in the past decade, provide snippet looks at these books, and allow researchers to examine data and textual patterns on the Google books platform. Judge Chin’s line of questioning suggested he may support Google’s scanning effort under fair use. For example, the Authors Guild advocated by providing snippet views a researcher could theoretically submit an infinite number of keywords at different times and freely obtain the entire contents of a book. However, Judge Chin replied to this argument with a line of questioning that appeared highly skeptical that anyone would resort to such actions, especially since researchers viewing Google book snippets are directed to Amazon. At one point Judge Chin almost rhetorically queried whether the Authors Guild's counsel thought a person would rather cumbersomely view an infinite number of snippet views of a book or just purchase a nice hard copy of that book, which one could conveniently read.
Judge Chin also questioned the Authors Guild's counsel about why he thought Google’s digitization was not transformational. To which their counsel replied that the digitization may benefit society in some regard, but that the copyright holder should get to determine whether a work is displayed or not. Such a response seems counter to the core purpose of the fair use exception. The key word in the fair use principle being “exception,” in that a purpose of fair use is to allow non-copyright holders limited uses of copyrighted works. Thus, none of the four fair use factors give credence to allowing a copyright holder to determine whether his or her works may be used by a non-copyright holder. Instead, fair use is designed to grant permission for uses (especially transformational uses, which the Google digitization project appears to be) of copyrighted works by non-copyright holders. A more humorous moment in the arguments came when the Authors Guild's counsel suggested that the United States Congress should be allowed to decide this issue, and not the federal courts. To which Judge Chin deftly replied “does anything get done in Congress these days?” Further, it is not Congress’s job to issue judicial opinions, but its job is to legislate when it gets around to it. In sum, it is never a good idea to predict the outcome of a trial based on the line of questioning from a judge. However, from the information garnered during this judicial inquiry, Google has to be confident as it awaits a decision from Judge Chin. Here is a link to the trial transcript.
FASTR and PAPS
On September 10, 2013 Congress completed a briefing examining the proposed FASTR legislation that promotes open access to taxpayer funded research. This bill was proposed in the United States Senate and in the House . Both of these companion bills were referred to their chamber committees in February of 2013. On Wednesday, September 25, 2013, the University of North Texas became a signatory to the SPARC/COAPI open letter to the higher education community in support of the FASTR legislation http://www.sparc.arl.org/blog/opportunity-your-campus-support-open-access-encourage-your-provosts-sign-open-letter-support.
Also, on Monday, September 23, 2013 another federal bill was introduced in the U. S. House that proposes legislation that would permit open access to taxpayer funded research. This bill is titled the “Public Access to Public Science Act.” Here is the text of the PAPS bill: http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/uploadedfiles/public_access_bill.pdf The proposed FASTR and PAPS bills vary to some degree. For example: PAPS is relevant to four agencies, whereas FASTR is pertinent to eleven agencies; the way the proposed legislation is written it is uncertain whether PAPS applies to a final publication, in contrast, FASTR applies to an “author’s final manuscript;” PAPS mandates open access metadata, FASTR does not; PAPS offers a default twelve month embargo, FASTR requires OA as soon as practicable but no later than six months; interestingly both mandate green, not gold, open access. For a full comparison of both bills please see: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/hoap/Notes_on_the_Public_Access_to_Public_Science_Act#Comparing_PAPS_and_FASTR
Graduate Student Library Advisory Board
The UNT Libraries strongly supports the research initiatives of our graduate students with innovative services and high quality resources and collections. The Graduate Student Library Advisory Board provides a forum for discussion and suggestions regarding all aspects of the Libraries related to graduate research.
Linking and COAPI's Response to Expensive Texts
A New York federal district court holds linking is not direct infringement, but could be indirect infringement
I am frequently asked, is it acceptable to link to an item on the Web when it is difficult to discern with certainty whether the item is copyright compliant? My response in general is that one should first do a due diligence investigation and determine how reliable the site is. If the site contains many PDFs of articles but offers no indication as to whether the site has received permission to post these articles, one should be wary of linking to such a site. Further, in general, if one is looking to link to images on the Web, a safe route is linking to the Getty or the British Museum, rather than linking to a site called Mike’s favorite art gallery. So, common sense lends some guidance. That said, recently a federal district court in New York ruled that “without more, merely providing a link to copyrighted content is not direct infringement of the copyright in that content.” But the court did caution that although linking to images, articles and other content is not direct infringement, uploading such content to a server to which the link pointed could be an infringement. Also, linking to said content could constitute indirect infringement. So, for our purposes at the academy, it is a best practice to investigate a site before linking to content. Chose reliable and valid sites (e.g., the Library of Congress, a university website, an open access newspaper…), and do not link to sites that look like they negligently post copyrighted materials. It is also wise to be consistent in one’s actions, perhaps being repetitive, but always link to valid websites. For the academy, if one performs his or her due diligence and genuinely believes a website is being cognizant of others' intellectuality property rights, then one should feel confident in linking to such a site.
COAPI’s response to expensive textbooks
COAPI has a Fox Business interview from August 29, 2013 linked on its site in which the interviewee from COAPI discusses potential open access alternatives for student textbooks compared to modern expensive texts. COAPI proposes grant and other non-profit funded open access e-textbooks written by professors and other experts that would be offered to students at no cost. In the interview, the question is posed “how is such a project sustainable if a grant runs out, or if a not-for-profit stops funding?” A deftly and logical response is given which depicts innovators continuing to fund such projects by providing tutoring or other academic assistance to students using these textbooks, and a portion of the fee for those services would be applied to sustaining the open access e-texts. Many other innovative business models would surface if such open access material is provided to students. Such new business models could benefit many stakeholders in the academic universe. For example, a freshman at the University of Florida State who participated in this interview stated she spent $200-300 on her print based books this semester. Offering open access e-texts to students from which they could print any amount of the content; annotate and collaborate online with other students; and interact with the e-texts via social media such as Twitter, Facebook, wikis and other sites; would provide a more affordable and collaborative learning tool that would create a rich-text learning environment for students. Creative innovators, such as the tutors mentioned above could create and charge the university/and or students realistic fees for perpetual tools that would assist students in leaning. Authors of these texts may even be able to generate better royalties, and thus actually gain more income than they would from the traditional publishing model. Or, authors may wish to simply have their content open for students to use for free. Regardless, there are a number of business models that would flourish and benefit many people if these open access e-texts are implemented. Rice University is currently experimenting with such an innovative model via its openstax College. I suspect other universities will experiment with these models as well.