Recent Tabs

I’ve been dormant here for a long time, but meanwhile there’s shortage of important news and events—so much so that closing out my ever-expanding set of browser tabs is looking ever less likely. Here are a few items of note curated from that collection:

Chris Kelty, “Open Access, Piracy, and Scholarly Publication”. I was disappointed to be unable to attend this recent talk at Davis, but the good news is that it was recorded. Chris was the driving force behind the UC open access policy, author of a must-read OA monograph on free software, and a scholar of “open” communities. As such, it’s no surprise that he has an interesting thing or two to say about scholarly publishing. The talk really holds no punches, so if you want to see both Elsevier and institutional repositories taken to task (and harbor hope for something better than either), it’s worth watching.

99% Invisible, “The Giftschrank.” 99% Invisible dives into the very opposite of open access in exploring the German history of locking dangerous texts in “poison cabinets” or giftschranks. Not only does it raise all sorts of questions about the regulation of information (What do we do with dangerous information? Who decides that it is in fact dangerous? What can we learn from what past societies found dangerous?), but it has an interesting copyright nexus with Mein Kampf and all the recent news about that notorious book falling into the public domain in Germany (the Bavarian government, which held the copyright, had used that control to refuse publication of the text—copyright as giftschrank).

Public comments are out from the Copyright Office’s § 1201 study. And public roundtables are being scheduled for May in both DC and San Francisco.

Michael Eisen, “On Pastrami and the Business of PLOS.” OA business models provoke no shortage of ethical and pragmatic concerns. Michael Eisen (the PLOS cofounder/OA advocate/Berkeley biologist) takes a hard and candid look at some of the questions that have been raised about PLOS, and it’s a worthwhile read.