I was chatting with Rebecca Kukla a couple weeks ago about things we would like to do with a second edition of Yo&Lo and the following general thought occurred to me. When it comes to books that people are interested in, we have roughly two distinct media forms for philosophical interaction. We have the printed book itself, and sometimes later printed articles and reviews. And we have lots of discussions - in conferences, symposia, classes, etc. The former are permanent, but fixed - non-dialogical. The latter are interactive and dialogical, but ephemeral. Once they are over, they exist only in the memory of participants. (And if we make a web-cast of the event, then it flips to the first category.
In light of recent discussion on "work for hire" contracts (here and here), a generous reader calls our attention to how The University of Michigan "supports the goal of having its faculty maintain core intellectual property rights when their scholarly works are published." See the University of Michigan Author's Addendum. You may view an explanation of how the Addendum works here.
We write to communicate an untenable situation facing the Harvard Library. Many large journal publishers have made the scholarly communication environment fiscally unsustainable and academically restrictive. This situation is exacerbated by efforts of certain publishers (called “providers”) to acquire, bundle, and increase the pricing on journals....
Since the Library now must change its subscriptions and since faculty and graduate students are chief users, please consider the following options open to faculty and students (F) and the Library (L), state other options you think viable, and communicate your views:
1. Make sure that all of your own papers are accessible by submitting them to DASH in accordance with the faculty-initiated open-access policies (F).
2. Consider submitting articles to open-access journals, or to ones that have reasonable, sustainable subscription costs; move prestige to open access (F).
3. If on the editorial board of a journal involved, determine if it can be published as open access material, or independently from publishers that practice pricing described above. If not, consider resigning (F).
Dear ...., thank you for relaying the correspondence from your legal team in which I am categorized as a "freelance contributor," and am asked to waive my moral rights as an author so that [name of publisher witheld for the time being] can, among other things, edit my contribution (with an example of going from 10K to 7500 words), without my consent.
The proposed contract and explanation represents a fundamental shift in the accepted relations between academic authors and publishers of scholarly work, proposing a new status for us, that of "freelance contributors." Consequently, I will have to propose an amendment to the contract before I sign.
Always trying to lead the nation in something bad, Louisiana has now come up with a policy in the University of Louisiana (UL) system allowing university admins to claim a share of royalties on standard scholarly publications as well as to require that university lawyers vet any publication contract (e.g., for articles and books) to see if they can claim ownership.
The best part? The "trust me" attitude the admins are putting forth. "You have to sign away your rights, but we won't be enforcing the claims which we've explicitly put in the policy we're adopting. Honest!"
Philip C. Williams, president of McNeese State since 2010, said that while the university system's intellectual-property policy appeared to give campuses "a broad window" in which to operate, he had no intention of demanding royalties from faculty members for traditional academic activities.
"We do not and would not expect any faculty member to share royalties" for books, articles, or artworks, he said in an interview on Tuesday. He said it might make sense for the university to formulate a campus-specific policy that makes that clear.