[Irtalk] ETD under attack

Denise Nicholson Denise.Nicholson at wits.ac.za
Thu Sep 27 09:22:13 SAST 2012

Wits owns the IP in theses and dissertations and it is our policy to load them onto our institutional repository.  We do get requests from time to time to take them down until the work has been published, because the publishers won't publish them while they are on the repository.  We suppress them until publication and then make them accessible again.  It is seldom that a publisher will not publish because the ETD is online, as a thesis/dissertation is not usually written in a publication form and needs to be re-worked into a book format before publication anyway, so they are not generally identical. A new publication should be created from the ETD - not be identical.
Obviously if the thesis or dissertation contains sensitive material, it is embargoed through our Ethics committee and the Faculty concerned and it does not go onto our IR.  The IPR from Public Financed Research and Development Act may require some works to be embargoed through our IP or Tech. Transfer Office (Wits Enterprise) if they are likely to be commercialised, e.g. patent applications, etc.
There are however publishers (some in Germany with affiliates in Mauritius, e.g. LAM or Lambert Academic Publishers and V.D. Laag Publishers) that harvest African research through our institutional repositories and then write to students offering to publish their works.  All they do is change the title and then publish as is (and then sell their books back to the same institutions that they took the material off their IRs in the first place!)  - without adding any value, e.g. proper editing, peer-review or other usual services that publishers provide.  The student just gets a copy of the book.  We are encouraging our staff and students not to use these publishers and to approach well-known reputable publishers if they want their works published.  There is also a list of predatory OA publishers (who unfortunately are giving OA a bad name, despite there being very reputable OA publishers too. - see:- http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-publishers-are-corrupting-open-access-1.11385. You can find a list of these publishers at : http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/
However, in general, the fact that material is on an IR, should not prevent a publisher from publishing a reworked version of that work. In fact, the majority of publishers (see SHERPA/ROMEO website) now allow copies of academics' publications to be placed on an IR, so why should they be concerned about an ETD being on an IR.
Our University Librarian was at an international conference a year or so ago where a speaker showed how reputable publishers actually target institutional repositories sometimes to find excellent papers that they want to publish.  Some PG students had had up to 3 different publishers wanting to publish their works, so the fact that they were on the IR were not negatively affecting publication but in fact resulted in publication because they were on the IR.   I will give you an example of an IFLA paper I had on the IFLA website a few years ago (not even on our IR at the time), which was translated into Polish for publication in a Polish journal, published as a book chapter (UK) and published as an adapted version for a legal newsletter (USA) - and also translated into Spanish for librarians in Uruguay, all because it was on the Internet.  I was approached by publishers or editors of publications to rework the paper for the above publications, so in this instance, it was because they were online, that they approached me to rework them and publish them in 3 different publications, all by reputable international publishers.
With regard to academic publications on our IR, Wits is introducing an Author's Addendum (based on the SPARC Author's Addendum (http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/addendum.shtml), so that academics can retain some of their rights to place copies of their works on our institutional repository and we hope that this will cut out some of the copyright problems in the future.  However, it is not a compulsory document  but academics will be encouraged to use it when they publish in the future.

From: Allison Fullard [mailto:afullard at uwc.ac.za]
Sent: 26 September 2012 04:11 PM
To: irtalk at lists.lib.sun.ac.za
Subject: [Irtalk] ETD under attack

Dear colleagues
How do you manage "scare talk" from University executives who express displeasure that full texts of theses appear online "before supervisors have protected the IP" or before the authors "have published in high impact factor journals"?

1. UWC has a process for supervisors to work with the Office of Technology Transfer who advises us to embargo specific theses.
2. There is an operational time-lag of around a year before the theses are available online in our ETD.

My sense is to remind them that NRF is behind the NETD project and that South Africa is in step with international practice in knowledge management.

What do publishers think about articles that have been derived from content that has previously been available online?  I recall there was a paper at 2011 ETD conference about publishers' stance on such articles.

I'd be most interested to learn of practices at other institutions where students plan to publish out of a thesis and therefore do not want to submit to ETD.

Thanks in advance

Allison Fullard
Deputy Director: Library Services
University of the Western Cape
Ph:  27-(0)21 959-2923
Fax:  27-(0)21 959-2659

Private Bag X17, Bellville 7535
South Africa

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