[Irtalk] ETD under attack
afullard at uwc.ac.za
Thu Sep 27 12:05:41 SAST 2012
Thanks to Denise and Ina for their comments and advice. We will
shortly be migrating our ETD to DSpace from a locally developed platform
that has done good service since 2006. This will enable us to set up
flexible embargoes and put more flexible practices in place.
It's been so valuable for me to learn from this group. Changes that
occur slowly over time should be captured and communicated clearly.
Sometimes it's better to proceed more slowly and keep everyone informed
and in step. It's an important quality management step!
>>> "Smith, Ina <ismith at sun.ac.za>" <ismith at sun.ac.za> 2012/09/27 11:54
Stellenbosch follows a similar approach than WITS. The copyright
belongs to SU. If a student is approached by a publisher to publish a
book, they must work via our IP Office Innovus, which is of great help
in this regard and keep a close eye on dodgy publishers.
Re publishing articles - we know a thesis being open shouldn't affect
the publishing of articles, but are very accommodating and would allow
for an embargo from 6 months up to two years for this reason. We
therefore 'manage' open access , rather than just open up everything.
For longer embargo periods, they must apply for permission and Senate
then decides whether it is ok or not. Sometimes authors of theses would
let us know to lift the embargo earlier (with permission from the
Supervisor/Dept.), which we then do - all because they are quite aware
of the benefits of OA. Else the embargo will be lifted automatically by
the system. All provenance info is carefully documented as part of the
metadata of an item.
Because the metadata makes the thesis highly visible, researchers
worldwide would contact us, and we will put them in touch with the dept
or researcher. They can then negotiate, and it often happened in the
past that the dept. would contact us and let us open up the thesis long
before the embargo lift date, even though the article has not been
Allison - my suggestion is that you approach them with a proper
proposal, and maybe run a pilot project to demo the value over a period
of e.g. 6 months. Also try to accommodate them. Even if the metadata is
open already, and the full text is closed for now (because of the
article publishing issue which should not be an issue) it can be a start
My question: are supervisors perhaps also concerned about the quality
of the content, and therefore do not want it in the open? Is the article
publishing issue not just an excuse?
From: irtalk-bounces at lists.lib.sun.ac.za
[irtalk-bounces at lists.lib.sun.ac.za] on behalf of Denise Nicholson
[Denise.Nicholson at wits.ac.za]
Sent: 27 September 2012 09:22 AM
To: Allison Fullard
Cc: irtalk at lists.lib.sun.ac.za
Subject: Re: [Irtalk] ETD under attack
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:-
You can find a list of these publishers at :
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
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
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
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
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
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