The embargo issue is multi-faceted. Generally, publisher demands are for
limited-period embargos, which in our view are shortsighted and worthy of
opposition. However, their stance is at least to some extent understandable,
though it certainly attests to a low level of confidence that the publisher adds
any value through its contributions and thus seems particularly surprising in
the area of humanistic monographs, where there is typically a vast difference
between a published monograph and the dissertation upon which the
monograph is ultimately based. And there are other sensible reasons for
temporary embargoes, notably to allow for patent filings.
It is interesting to briefly examine some of the justifications that are raised
for very long-term (e.g., duration of copyright) or permanent embargo from
public access. These primarily revolve around two concerns. The first one is
the protection of exchanges between the author and a publisher (either for
reputation in the case of a scholarly publication, or perhaps even for real
financial gain in the case of something like a work of fiction or poetry
produced for a creative writing program).
RLI 270
11
ETDs and Graduate Education: Programs and Prospects
(
C O N T I N U E D
)
JUNE 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
Institutions with Institutions without
an ETD Program an ETD Program
Somewhat Important Somewhat Important
Important Important
Concerns by faculty about public access 41% 30% 35% 15%
to ETDs limiting future publication opportunities
Concerns by students about public access 42% 20% 30% 15%
to ETDs limiting future publication opportunities
Lack of consensus about embargo policies 35% 8% 40% 5%
Concerns about adequate technical support 26% 17% 20% 35%
Concerns about additional technical skills 27% 12% 30% 15%
needed by students or staff
Concerns about potential additional costs 25% 6% 30% 15%
to students or institution
Concerns about digital preservation 32% 17% 35% 10%
General disinterest in change 38% 15% 35% 20%
Table 1. Selected results from 2008 survey of US CNI higher education members
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