Open Access Week Day 4: Is Your Work Still Yours? Author’s Rights

whyopenWe have made it to the fourth day of Open Access Week!  At this point, we helped answer the questions What is Open Access? and What are we doing at Connecticut College?  We only have two more days left and there is still so much to discuss! This post will be devoted to author’s rights – something that concerns our entire faculty.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

“Congratulations! Your paper has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Reputable Scholarship. Please sign and return the Copyright Transfer Agreement.”

Did you know that the standard Copyright Transfer Agreement actually transfers ALL rights associated with your work to the publisher? You are, of course, giving them the right to publish the article, but often you are transferring wholesale rights to your work. You will not be able to distribute your scholarship via Digital Commons or other online repositories like ResearchGate or, provide copies to colleagues or students(!), or reuse parts of it in upcoming publications (like books!). This is certainly more control than the publisher needs, and likely more than you want to hand over. The agreement varies by publisher, some publishers allow you to deposit a version into the digital repository, for example. Be sure to read the document carefully.

If you are unhappy with the agreement you are asked to sign, there ARE ways to work within the existing system, publish your work in the best journals in your field, and retain rights to your work. The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) created the SPARC Author Addendum to to help you “secure your rights as the author of a journal article.” This addendum to the publisher’s agreement provides the publisher with the rights that it needs to publish your article, but allows you to retain some important rights to your work, including the right to include it in an institutional repository, reproduce it for colleagues and students, and to create derivative works. In addition, the agreement sends a message to the publisher that you value your intellectual property and desire to have the broadest readership possible.

Using the addendum is as simple as downloading a form, filling it out, and attaching it to your publisher’s agreement with a note calling attention to the addendum. The language is all there for you – no need to hire a lawyer or spend hours crafting a response to the publisher. Find out more and download the addendum here.

Tomorrow’s post, our last post for Open Access Week, will be about additional steps you can take to further the goals of open access.
Image Credit: Project 365 #303: 301009 Blink And You’ll Miss It! / Pete / CC BY

Local to Global Open Access

CamelEarthHow are we promoting open access here at Connecticut College? How can you get involved in this global movement on a local level?

You already are! Connecticut College is one of a few progressive institutions that have formally adopted an open access policy. In 2013 faculty approved the “Open Access Policy of the Connecticut College Faculty” stating that the faculty “is committed to disseminating the results of its research and scholarly as widely as possible.”

In addition, Digital Commons @ Connecticut College, our institutional repository, makes participating in the policy easy for you. The repository stores your published work (if permissible by the publisher), archives the work, makes it discoverable through Google Scholar and other popular search engines, and reliably accessible to scholars regardless of institutional affiliation. Over the past year, student and faculty research papers in the repository have been downloaded 169,982 times. Who knows what new information will be created based on the research we made available? We are proud to help make your research openly available to scholars, independent researchers, students and lifelong learners around the world.

Don’t see your research in Digital Commons? Simply send Ben Panciera your CV or fill out the manuscript submission form on CamelWeb and his team will do the necessary research to determine what can be made available and post it for you.  You may be surprised at what can be included – most publishers, including Elsevier, Springer, and most university presses allow authors to place a version of their article in their school’s institutional repository.

Our next post for Open Access Week will focus knowing your rights before and after publishing.

Missed our previous Open Access Posts? Read Happy Open Access Week and What is Open Access?

What is Open Access?

Do you know what open access is? There are many myths surrounding open access. Take a minute (or a few) to learn about open access by watching these brief but informative videos.

Have 8 minutes? Watch Open Access Explained! by Nick Shockey and Jonathan Eisen.

Only have one minute? Watch The Library Minute: Open Access from Arizona State University.

Tomorrow we’ll be posting about open access at Connecticut College. Missed yesterday’s post? Find it here!

Happy Open Access Week!

OAlogo (1)Happy Seventh Open Access Week! This week is a global celebration of the open access movement in scholarly research. Throughout this week I will use this blog to share information about open access. But first, why should you care about open access?

  • The price of access to scholarly research, the same research that you produce, is rising at a much higher rate than library budgets (over the past 30 years, 250% above the rate of inflation, according to the Association of Research Libraries). Simply, this means that fewer and fewer people have access to (your) quality research.
  • Publishing in open access publications, or negotiating your rights with a publisher to allow for broader dissemination of your research, increases exposure and use of your published research. Everyone wins!
  • Wide dissemination of research allows and encourages others to build upon existing knowledge to create new knowledge, regardless of the college/university they attend or funds they have to purchase research.

Stay tuned for the next installment…. What is Open Access.


The Printer Ate My Homework: Turning Assignments in Online

-No_excuses^_Watch_your_waste.-_-_NARA_-_515081.tifAre students claiming printer problems as an excuse for late assignments? Collecting papers and other written assignments online through Moodle can be an efficient and effective way of avoiding that problem. Not only do students avoid printing, and the associated financial and environmental costs, but collecting assignments online can provide benefits and efficiencies for the faculty member as well.

The Assignment Activity in Moodle works as an electronic dropbox for virtually any type of assignment. Students can submit Microsoft Word documents or PDF files for written assignments, but other file types can be collected also, including PowerPoint presentations, Video, or Audio files.

As a faculty member, you can download the assignments submitted by students and print them yourself to grade the old-fashioned way (if you must!), or read the papers online and provide grades and comments to students through Moodle. By collecting the papers through Moodle, you no longer have to physically carry them with you to grade, or worry about misplacing them. And you’ll have a record of who turned in assignments and when. You will also be able to collect and return assignments on whatever schedule you like, without regard to class meeting times.

For more detailed information, see our detailed instructions or contact your Instructional Technology liaison.

Image credit: “No excuses! Watch your waste.” Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 – 09/15/1945)

Save Time! Using Canned Responses in Gmail

Trådtelefon-illustrationDo you find yourself typing the same email response over and over again? Use a canned response!  Simply, canned responses allow you to write text one time, save it and insert it over and over within Gmail. Canned responses are very easy to set up and use, take a look!

  1. Enable canned responses in your email. This 45 second video shows you how.
  2. Create and insert canned responses. Here’s the video showing you how. 
  3. Use the time you just gained on more meaningful projects!

Image Credit: “Trådtelefon-illustration”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons –

Group Work & Active Learning in the Google Age


I had an interesting, unplanned “teaching with technology” experience last week with my First Year Seminar students. To supplement the students’ reading of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, I adopted the exercise outlined here. Students are assigned one of 16 historical figures who took part in President Kennedy’s 1962 Scientific Advisory Committee on the use of pesticides. They were charged with researching an historical figure and preparing for an in class re-enactment of the Advisory Committee’s debate.

In preparation for the debate, we allocated one class meeting for the students to plan their debate strategy. I put them in separate classrooms and checked in on each group as they  formulated  game plans. All students brought their laptops so they could discuss what they researched and could individually contribute to the debate. I suggested that one student write their ideas on the blackboard. After about 10 minutes of bantering back and forth, one member of the anti-pesticides group said “Hey, lets create a Google doc so everyone can add to it and edit it.”  As a Tech Fellow professor, I smiled and watched what unfolded. Talking did not cease, but was dramatically reduced as they sat in a circle pecking at their keyboards and staring at their screens. I watched one student’s screen as a 3+ page document emerged within 5 minutes. I thought, why didn’t I think of this, and felt archaic and embarrassed for suggesting the blackboard, as I went next door to the other group to check on their progress.

Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, the other group was doing the same thing! The identical idea had sprouted organically, independently and simultaneously in separate groups of digital natives. There were many smiles and contemplative gazes as they read what emerged in between bursts of typing. There were occasional comments that to a non-doc-shared observer must have seemed disjointed such as “No wait a minute, that should go first…I’ll cut and paste it.” Unlike most class meetings, I had to remind them when our time was up so another class could use one of our rooms. They seemed a bit perturbed about having to stop and I must have been grinning from ear to ear when I heard one student say, “I am sending you guys a Doodle poll so we can pick time that we can all be online to finish this.” I asked each group to share their doc with me so I could watch it develop. What emerged was a mixture of research facts, opinions on their importance and a consensus outline of the group’s strategy.

Our debate took place on Thursday. The students did a fabulous job of adopting a 1960’s view of the issues and highlighting the major points from each side’s position. They were passionate and at times I had to remind them that accusation and defensive statements were probably not constructive. The two groups ultimately found common ground and came to the same consensus as the original committees that controlled use of pesticides was the best course of action.

We ended a little early so I could ask them why they chose to use Google docs for their group strategy planning session. Unlike me, they were not surprised that the idea emerged independently in each group. One student matter-of-factly remarked, “How else would we do it?”  Another said “I can type and read faster than it would take to write while listening to everyone take turns to talk.” They also commented that oral discussions are often dominated by one person, but a digital conversation was more diplomatic and democratic. I asked them if they thought it strange that they were all sitting within 10 feet of each other, yet they were not using spoken words to communicate. No one seemed to mind that the oral aspect of their collaboration took a back seat to the efficiency of the collective digital effort. One student explained that if they were in a similar group setting talking about a social or personally relevant topic “of course we would talk to each other!” However, for collective brainstorming about a topic that they had to present as a team, the use of digital technology was second nature to them.