Copyright touches many library services because we collect, share and loan original works fixed in a wide variety of tangible media. The Copyright Resources Center conducted a series of informational interviews with faculty and staff from various areas of The Ohio State University Libraries to discuss the ways in which they engage with copyright issues. This blog series documents those conversations, and highlights how copyright law helps to shape services provided by the Libraries. See all available posts in the series here.
Digital Content Services at The OSU Libraries include the Libraries’ Publishing Program and the Knowledge Bank, OSU’s institutional repository (this post focuses on the Libraries’ Publishing Program, while Digital Content Services: Part 2 will discuss the Knowledge Bank). Melanie Schlosser (Digital Publishing Librarian) and Maureen Walsh (Institutional Repository Services Librarian) are interim co-heads of Digital Content Services; Melanie and Maureen met with me to discuss how copyright affects their work in the publishing program and the institutional repository. In fact, they observed that not a day goes by when they aren’t thinking about copyright, as they are constantly working with copyrighted materials and “someone else’s content.”
Melanie Schlosser heads up the Libraries’ Publishing Program, where she works with OSU faculty, staff, and students to help them publish open access (OA) scholarly works. Melanie’s work on the publishing program includes:
- Helping OSU faculty, staff, students, and academic units to start new open access journals or convert existing journals to open access
- Supporting our existing publications through production work and technical support related to our software platforms
- Consulting with the OSU community on issues related to open access and digital publishing
- Providing educational programming around publishing issues, often in partnership with the Research Commons
Copyright and publishing go hand in hand, as authors must license or transfer some or all of their rights in order for the publisher to make and distribute copies of the author’s work. Melanie consults with editors on introducing or updating author publishing agreements to ensure that the journals obtain the rights from authors necessary to fulfill the goals of the journal while still respecting authors’ rights.
Though contract legalese seems intimidating, Melanie gets to the heart of the matter with her ‘big questions’ for journal editors: “What do you want people to be able to do with the content published in your journal? What should contributing authors be able to do with their own work after publishing in the journal? What should readers be able to do with the published content? And lastly, what does the journal need to be able to do?” Melanie uses the answers to these questions to draft an appropriate journal publishing agreement.
This blog has presented a snapshot of the impact copyright has on just one area of the Libraries. Copyright affects libraries and higher education in a multitude of ways, often with idiosyncrasies particular to various subjects and disciplines. Additional posts in this series explore other instances in which copyright affects library services and collections; you can see all available posts in the series here.
By Jessica Chan, Rights Management Specialist at the Copyright Resources Center, The Ohio State University Libraries