Upcoming Lecture: Richard Danner on Open Access (4/29 at 12:30 p.m. at Harvard)

I’m just thrilled that Richard Danner has agreed to give a major lecture on the Harvard campus about open access on April 29, 2010.  As a rookie law library director, I’ve asked many people in the profession about the leaders in the field, and roads inevitably lead to Danner, among a small handful of others consistently mentioned (in my totally-non-scientific survey).  Danner is the Senior Associate Dean for Information Services and Archibald C. and Frances Fulk Rufty Research Professor Of Law at Duke Law School.  His talk will be entitled, “Taming Multiplicity in the Post-Print Era: Law Librarians, Legal Scholarship, and Access to the Law.”  It will take place on Thursday, April 29th, from 12:30-1:30pm, Lamont Forum Room, in Lamont Library on the Harvard College campus.  RSVP via this link; we expect a good crowd, so please do let us know you’ll be there.   The lecture is sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the Office for Scholarly Communication, and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, our partners in the open access movement on campus.  (Thanks especially to Michelle Pearse, Librarian for Open Access at HLS, for organizing this event.)

Professor Richard Danner has been at the forefront of the open access to legal scholarship movement for many years and has also recently written about the role of academic law librarians in supporting faculty scholarship.  For an article out in this month’s edition of the Journal of Law & Education (April 2010), on the role of the academic law librarian, click here.  See also the Durham Statement, drafted during a meeting in Prof. Danner’s conference room at Duke and now proudly posted on the Berkman Center’s web site; or listen to Prof. Richard Leiter‘s podcast about it, featuring Prof. Danner.

Peter Suber at Harvard University on the Future of Open Access

Peter Suber is addressing a standing-room-only house today at Harvard, in a session jointly hosted by the Berkman Center, the Office for Scholarly Communications, and the Harvard Law School Library. He insisted on a question-mark at the end of the talk’s title, so his topic is “The Future of Open Access?”, not “The Future of Open Access.”

The premise of Peter’s talk is his assessment of a series of cross-over points which move us from a proprietary world for scholarly information to an open world. There are different cross-over points for information found in books, journals, funder policies, peer-reviewed manuscripts, author understanding of the issues involved in open access, and university policies.

Peter mentioned, in passing, that the OA movement has no equivalent to the Free Software Foundation in the context of free/libre/open source software. This comment gives rise to a series of interesting side-issues. Who are the members of the OA movement? How are they (we?) organized? What is the trajectory of the movement? Is there anything that the OA movement’s leadership or followership could learn from other similar movements as to effective modes of advocacy?

It’s also interesting to think about the many disciplines involved in moving the world toward open access. Many specific fields are implicated: computer science, economics, law, and library sciences, among many others. FWIW, the crowd here at Harvard Hall is dominated by librarians, so far as I can tell, which I think is great.

Stay tuned for the archived version of the talk, to be posted soon at the Berkman Center’s site.

The Future of Open Access

It’s our great pleasure at the Harvard Law School Library and the Berkman Center, along with the university’s Office of Scholarly Communications, to host Peter Suber for a public talk next week on the Future of Open Access. It will take place on Thursday, February 26 at 12:30 p.m. We’ve had a tremendous response from the Harvard community, but also across Boston, for this talk. Please do let us know — at rsvp AT cyber dot law dot harvard dot edu — if you plan to attend.

Duke and Open Access

It’s been noted that Duke Law School has a long history of leadership in this area, beginning with an online repository for its faculty’s scholarship (dating from 2005) and its journals made accessible online (starting back in 1997!), both of which well predate HLS’s vote on an opt-out Open Access policy last week. Prof. Richard Danner, the school’s law librarian, has a fine article on the open access topic. (Thanks to Paul Lomio at Stanford for the note.) Prof. Jessica Litman, of Michigan, also has an article on this topic, which I found extremely useful when preparing to discuss Open Access with the HLS faculty.

HLS Goes Open Access, Unanimously

I’m just delighted that the Harvard Law School faculty has voted unanimously to adopt an open access policy. This policy is consistent with the policy adopted by the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences earlier this year.

Here is what we approved:

“The Faculty of the Harvard Law School is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows of Harvard College permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles. More specifically, each Faculty member grants to the President and Fellows a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles authored or co-authored while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy. The Dean or the Dean’s designate will waive application of the policy to a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need.

Each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article at no charge to the appropriate representative of the Provost’s Office in an appropriate format (such as PDF) specified by the Provost’s Office no later than the date of its publication. The Provost’s Office may make the article available to the public in an open-access repository.

The Office of the Dean will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty.”

There have been many champions of this and related issues throughout the academic world, including Peter Suber and Michael Carroll. At Harvard, the university librarian, Robert Darnton, and Berkman Center faculty director Stuart Shieber, of the new school of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard, are chief among them.

Prof. Robert Darnton said of this vote: “That such a renowned law school should support Open Access so resoundingly is a victory for the democratization of knowledge. Far from turning its back to the outside world, the HLS is sharing its intellectual wealth.”  Amen.