Fairly judging fair use: One Perspective on the Graphic Artists Guild V. College Art Association

Josh Bolick

Josh Bolick AKA Fair Use Police

*This is a guest post written by my colleague and office-mate Josh Bolick. I wholeheartedly support his rabble rousing.

This morning I came across a tweet from the Graphic Artist’s Guild regarding the recent CAA Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts:


I’ve been reading the CAA’s Code and thinking about fair use as it applies to visual arts in preparation for an upcoming presentation at a university with a strong arts emphasis. As such I was keen to know why the Graphic Artist’s Guild would protest. This is my thinking through the letter, which originated with National Press Photographers Association General Counsel and is endorsed by leaders of other relevant associations.

First, full disclosure, I am not free of bias. I work at Florida State University in the Office of Scholarly Communication where I consider and offer perspective on fair use questions as they arise in our community of researchers. As such, I’m in favor of fair use in the academy and think it’s a valuable asset that should be carefully and thoughtfully applied where appropriate. I’m no copyright radical. I strive to be dispassionate and fair in the consideration of copyright questions and the application of fair use, and value the intellectual property rights of others as well as well as the mission of the academy and researchers. So this conversation is taking place entirely within an academic context, which I think the CAA Code was also aiming for.

Second, I’m not a lawyer. However, I have colleagues at venerable institutions around the country who are. I would love to know what they think and look forward to reading their own reactions (I’m looking at you, Kevin Smith@Duke).

Finally, this is assembled pretty quickly, between meetings and other obligations, while sitting at my desk streaming The Beastie Boys Ill Communication on YouTube. I heartily invite all interested parties to engage with my ideas. If I got something wrong, I’m ready to admit it. And my goal is strictly collegial and respectful of all parties.

The NPPA Response letter is available here [PDF].

The NPPA Letter is represented in block quotes below to make it easily distinguishable from my own analysis, which follows each section. Comments are welcome on the Google Doc where I drafted this. Here we go:

“The undersigned represent the interests of a significant number of graphic artists, illustrators, photographers and other visual artists working professionally in the United States. We affirm that scholars and the public need to have the freedom to create new works and, that frequently, these derivative and new works are based on existing images through the application of the fair use doctrine. But it should also be recognized that professional visual artists create part of their income stream through licensing of their creative labors and that there must be proper balance between the needs of these various communities. Fair use is intended to provide that balance, and should not be used as an excuse to avoid paying a license, where appropriate, because it is perceived to be either difficult to obtain or too expensive.”

I agree, and so does the CAA Code. Simply invoking fair use in order to avoid paying for a license is spurious, disrespectful, irresponsible, and would result in infringement if litigated. That’s why the Code repeatedly includes language like “The writer’s/teacher’s analytic/pedagogical objective should predominate over that of merely representing the work or works used.” The takeaway is that the use has to be justified by the purpose of the use, not just added visual interest or flippant inclusion. At no point does the Code suggest that we can employ fair use to merely avoid paying for a license.

“One of the unfortunate conclusions of the Code in its current form is that copyright acts primarily as a barrier, encouraging self-censorship; and that artists are in an adversarial relationship with the marketplace. Nothing could be further from the truth. Visual artists want their works used and only seek fair and reasonable compensation for that use. The Code fails to educate the academic arts community on when licensing is appropriate. Each of the undersigned associations provides educational content on their Web sites and/or programming for the education of their members and the general public regarding the full range of options under copyright law, including, but not limited to, fair use. We understand that the Code was crafted to deal with fair use specifically, but believe it does a disservice to your community by not further discussing licensing options.”

Unfortunately, in my admittedly limited anecdotal experience, copyright does often act as a barrier and result in self-censorship, particularly in academic contexts that rely heavily on visual art. A history professor can feel confident excerpting a block of text from another work for the purpose of engaging with the ideas contained therein without worrying about their use being contested. That’s fair use. They don’t think of it as such, because it’s so integrated into scholarly practice as such. As I write this, an art history graduate student just came to our office stressed out about incorporating images into her research. The culture of permission that the CAA Code is seeking to address is directing her research because she can’t navigate the complicated landscape and lacks funds to pay for image licenses. That’s a travesty for research culture. The Code addresses “when licensing is appropriate” by providing a list of limitations to the principle. Beyond the limitations, a license may be appropriate. IMO, the Code accomplishes the stated purpose of the CAA in creating the Code by not going into great detail regarding licensing options, particularly since the undersigned associations have all that information prominently displayed on their own webpages.

“We also have a major concern that the Code itself does not deal with commercial uses made by museums and other non-profits under the claim of fair use, in particular the production of useful articles and coffee table books created for the commercial benefit of those institutions. Additionally, if educators are permitted to claim fair use for all of their classroom materials, publishers may lack the incentive to produce those materials, thus undermining the entire educational publishing business and in turn decimating the market for visual image sales.”

The creation of coffee table books created for commercial benefit falls outside the scope of fair use, and therefore outside the scope of the Code. The “Principle” under section 4 “Museum Uses” states: “Museums and their staffs may invoke fair use in using copyrighted works, including images and text as well as time-based and born-digital material, in furtherance of their core missions, subject to certain limitations [listed below].” Again, if a use falls outside the limitations, such as producing a coffee table book to sell in the gift shop to members of the public for their aesthetic pleasure, then fair use likely does not apply and licenses should be sought to purpose that content as such. Further, classroom use in limited and specific ways is clearly recognized as fair, subject again to the limitations suggested by the Code. Educators will never be able to “claim fair use for all of their classroom materials” unless all of their classroom uses were compliant with the principle given and the limitations listed, based on the 4 factor analysis, which seems highly unlikely.

“Last but not least, as partners with the academic community we would have warmly welcomed the opportunity to participate in the study groups had we been asked.”

I can appreciate this, but it seems like the CAA did its best to include various stakeholders if we can take the CAA President at their word in the opening “Message from the CAA President” and as outlined in Appendix B: How the Code Was Created.

That’s the end of the first narrative portion of the letter. Then we get to specific points:

Analytical Writing

The Code gives the impression that if one intends to write a book about a subject, and includes images that this favors fair use. This practice is in fact contrary to industry practice.

I can only speak for myself, but I didn’t get this impression at all, at least not in the broad sense that you suggest. What is stated is that “in their analytic writing about art, scholars and other writers (and, by extension, their publishers) may invoke fair use to quote, excerpt, or reproduce copyrighted works, subject to certain restrictions.” Where the use of an image clears the limitations, based on the four factors of fair use, that use may be fair and treated as such. Doing so may well be contrary to industry practice, but that’s the “culture of permission” that the CAA is addressing. They’re not saying to reuse images willy-nilly because it makes the book prettier; they’re saying that certain uses are allowed in the absence of permission if the use accomplishes an analytic object and is represented in an appropriate size/resolution to accomplish that end, etc.

While the use of a few selected images in a critical review of an artist’s work, such as an exhibition review, would be an example of fair use; a general review of an artist’s work in which the images are aesthetically used to enhance the text, even by an academic would require permission from the copyright owner.

Agreed. I don’t think the CAA Code suggests otherwise.

There is no automatic “educational” fair use exception, and all fair use factors must be taken into consideration, particularly harm to the potential market, where for many types of works and visual artists, the educational market is the only market.

Agreed; all fair use factors must be considered, but without giving particular consideration to any one over the others. The fourth factor, potential market harm, is no more or less important than the other factors and recent court cases bear this out[a].

Making Art

We believe the recommendation to prepare an “artistic objective” statement for fair use is misplaced. An artistic objective statement is what an artist writes for a gallery, exhibit or retrospective and should not be a “substitute” for the four-factor fair use test.

I think this references the second limitation in this section (Three: Making Art). I don’t think the CAA is saying to “prepare an ‘artistic objective’ statement for fair use. Rather, they’re saying the that use should be justified in view of the objective of the new work, and that artists who do so should be prepared to defend that decision. In doing so artists should work through the four factors, and doing it in writing is a good idea.

“When copying another’s work, an artist should cite the source, whether in the new work or elsewhere (by means such as labeling or embedding), unless there is an articulable aesthetic basis for not doing so.” This is already a fair use requirement for education/scholarship. And there is always some place to create a footnote.


•We assert that Appendix A, Fair Use Today, is personal opinion and should not be published side-by-side with the Code because it undermines the four-factor test in favor of an expansive fair use “two-key analytic question” test.

It’s not really a personal opinion so much as it’s a professional opinion by a recognized expert. Further, the Code’s Introduction addresses this in the first paragraph: “Appendix A is an essay by Peter Jaszi presenting a perspective on fair use.” And again as a footnote to the Appendix: “*Peter Jaszi wrote this section and is solely responsible for it.” Hooray for context. Also, the four factor test isn’t undermined by the “two key analytic questions.” And Jaszi isn’t saying, by my reading, that members of the community ought to apply these two questions. Rather that “judges today generally focus” on these two questions and lean heavily on the four factors in doing so. He’s not saying, “do this”; he’s saying “this is what judges are doing.”

The final bullet in the Code’s “Limitations” regarding the creation of reference collections states that access should be for “legitimate purposes,” yet that term is undefined.

After looking for this and being confused as to what you’re talking about, I finally found this as the last bullet point under section Two: Teaching About Art. OK, “legitimate purposes” isn’t defined. I suspect they’re referring to pedagogical aims outlined in and subject to the “Limitations” portion to which this bullet belongs.

The Code does not recommend that an academic institution provide copyright education or information when using works that rely on fair use. We suggest that students should be educated about copyright and the need to seek permission in most instances.

I, and I suspect my broader community of colleagues who consider copyright in the academic context, heartily agree that more education and information is welcome. We’re working on it, diligently, though I disagree about “the need to seek permission in most instances.”

“Without participation from all of the stakeholders in the visual arts community there can be no consensus, let alone a set of “Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts.” As developed, rather than “providing a practical and reliable way of applying” copyright law and fair use, the document creates far more misconceptions than it resolves and encourages misappropriation of copyrighted work rather than the practice of due diligence and licensing. It is not helpful to the courts because it presents biased findings and in fact helps lead the professional community astray with regard to the best way to proceed when seeking to use the works of others.”

As I’ve stated above, the CAA appears to have made a good faith effort to include a broad range of the visual arts community in the production of the Code. I can certainly appreciate that the undersigned organizations would like to have been at the table. I disagree that the Code creates more misconception than already exists (that would be difficult to do given the atmospheric level of misconception that exists regarding copyright and fair use). The Code doesn’t address licensing because that’s outside the scope of the goal of a “Best Practices in Fair Use…” document. I think the goal is to give some guidance in the application of fair use; if your use can’t be considered fair in light of the guide, then permission/license should be sought. The Code isn’t intended to be helpful to the courts, but to practitioners in the visual arts academic community to whom the CAA is speaking. From the Introduction: “Although a code cannot control the judicial interpretation of fair use, it helps courts to become familiar with best practices in a professional community when called upon to rule on fair use.” As to whether the Code, “in fact helps lead the professional community astray”, I guess that’s a matter of opinion.

Very Best,

Josh Bolick

CC-BY this sucker. Reuse at will.

Damn the man.

image used without permission. Damn the man.

It should be no surprise that I have taken a pretty bold stance in regards to how I conduct my scholarly activities. Since I began my career in an area of librarianship that just happens to be rousing the rabble, I’ve taken on some of those characteristics. A youth spent in punk rock doesn’t hurt either.

Typically, I’d do anything to help out a colleague. I’d go out of my way to contribute to a team effort and to build/create/make something worthwhile for the field. But the line has been drawn. I was fortuitously asked to review a manuscript recently, and inspired by Heather Piwowar’s recent post Sending a Message, I jumped at the opportunity to clearly state my reasons for refusing the review.

“Respectfully, I’d prefer not to.”

Thank you very much for the invitation. Congratulations on the Editorship, I’m sure your guidance will continue to produce high quality scholarship for the journal. I am absolutely interested in the subject matter of the journal, and the title of the paper you sent is very intriguing.

However, as I am working in the area of Scholarly Communications, I hold to some pretty strict standards for the publishers that I’ll work with. I have signed on to The Cost of Knowledge boycott of Elsevier, because I strongly believe we need a scholarly communication system that works to the benefit of the authors, rather than the benefit of the publishers. I’d be very interested in working with you if I knew that your goals as an Editor of this journal were to advocate for changing the copyright transfer agreements to Licenses to Publish, and to push Elsevier to revise their policies regarding archiving in institutional repositories. Currently, their “green open access” policy is that authors can if they want to, but cannot if they have to. My colleagues at institutions with mandated open access archiving policies are therefore restricted from pursuing that as an option simply because Elsevier wants to flex its muscle in the scholarly publishing arena.

Again, I sincerely appreciate the invitation, and hope you will take my comments into consideration. We librarians, contributing our service time and our collections budgets to the scholarly publishing venture, have the opportunity and right to ask that the system evolve.


Micah Vandegrift

Damn the man. Change the Empire.


UPDATE (3/25): The Editorial Board of the Journal of Library Administration has resigned, citing the reason that “…the licensing terms in the Taylor & Francis author agreement are too restrictive and out-of-step with the expectations of authors in the LIS community.” 

Read more about it on The Chronicle of Higher Ed, on Chronicle Blogs here, from one of the Editors, and from a fellow librarian who also stood his ground on licensing his work. 


Brief: I published an article. But before all that, I negotiated my publication contract and had a really great experience doing so. This is the story. 

Journal of Library Administration. Special Issue: Digitial Humanities in Libraries – New Models For Scholarly Engagement. 

Versions of Scholarly Record available at – http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/wjla20/current

alt/OA Table of Contents (Links to peer-reviewed open access versions of the articles)

I have previously written about the opportunity I was presented with, when invited to include an article in the Journal of Library Administration’s special issue on Digital Humanities. It was extraordinarily important for me to slowly walk through the process of publication. As the Scholarly Communication Librarian at Florida State University, I am constantly challenging and prodding faculty members to investigate their publishing practices and understand what is happening, especially in the Publication Agreement. So when I was presented with a similar agreement, I took it as an opportunity to practice what I preach. 

Some quick details:

1. The journal is published by Taylor and Francis. In Nov. 2011, T&F adopted new author rights policies for all their Library and Information Science journals, basically changing from the standard Copyright Transfer to an Exclusive License to Publish. I think this is a great example of a publisher working diligently to meet the evolving requests of the scholar by adapting their way of doing things. So already, by publishing with this journal and this publisher, I was a step ahead of most faculty authors who are “required” to sign full transfer of copyright to the publisher. So this was a contract negotiation rather than a negotiation for copyright.

2. I had the pleasure of working with an Editor and Guest Editor who were supportive of my many questions and went to bat for me over the rights negotiation with the publisher. I am sure the negotiation would have gone very differently if Damon Jaggers and Barbara Rockenbach had not done the leg work of translating between me and the publisher.

3. This was the first publishing contract negotiation I have ever done.

I was more surprised than anyone when after writing an audacious email stating that I refuse to sign the contact as is, and sending around a “Here are my demands Mr. Publisher” addendum to the contract, that Taylor and Francis responded, line by line, to my proposed amendments. Here’s what they had to say, interspersed with my requests (in bold) corresponding to specific line items on the orginal contract.

Win #1


The contract doesn’t use the language “exclusive license”, but implies it. I’d like clarification. 

>>> Our license to publish is not exclusive, and does not use the term.

“Full term of copyright” – dependent on the law at this time? Can I choose a different term? If so, I’d like to. (Life of author + 70 years is unreasonable in my opinion.)

>>> Yes, full term of copyright by US law in the year of execution.

“right to supply the article in electronic and online forms and systems” – is this exclusive? Would it hinder my rights to do the same?

>>> The form does not claim exclusive rights.

Appendix 1

1.3 – if right to publish is exclusive I don’t agree with 1.3 in this section. I want the right to sublicense these rights to other also.

>>> The form is not exclusive, and no one we sublicense to (Ebsco, Google Scholar, etc.) accepts individual sublicenses.  Such a striking would actually mean we could not distribute the article to many third parties who index and provide search functions.  No author wants this.  Every author I have ever spoken to wants maximum distribution of their content.

 2. Strike the sentence about addendum or memorandum. Many institutions are asking faculty to use addenda to negotiate their rights and I want to preserve that for faculty and colleagues. 

>>> While we in some cases do agree to addenda, we will never recognize an unsigned or unilateral addendum.  Such addendums are not fair to both parties.

5. Strike the sentence about these rights not being transferrable to others. If they’re allowed to do it, I want to be able to also. 

>>> We retain right to license.  We do not restrict author licensing.

7. My piece is based extensively on an article published in a important journal in my field, indexed, with an ISSN. Additionally, it was published originally under a CC-BY-NC license. I can only agree with the last sentence in this paragraph. I’d like this language to be adapted to say that “I warrant that the Article is my original work, which has been substantially revised, rewritten and adapted under a the terms of a Creative Commons license. The work published here is based on, but different from, that original piece.” Or something. 

>>>> This sentence is not at contradiction with our clause 7, which is a warranty that work is not infringing on others.

Appendix 2

3. “Systematic basis” – please remove or clarify. This language is not conducive to the culture of sharing that is developing in academia. 

>>>> We could agree to strike this via addendum.  It is meant to convey that distribution should not be via commercial channels.

In light of the recent GA State case, I’d like the right to share to include the word “Students.” It is important to me that this article be allowed to be used, without cause for legal recourse, in course packs and in CMS systems like Blackboard and Moodle.

>>>> We would agree to this

4. “the right to post the preprint…” in my institutional repository. 

>>>> The term institutional repository could be added via addendum.  That is what is meant by this clause

5. Strike the phrase “or such other acknowledgement as we or Taylor &Francis may notify you.” I’ll agree to adding the statement as supplied in the contract, but not that they can change that statement at any time.

>>>> We would agree to strike this.

6. “institution’s network or intranet or website…” Please add “or institutional repository.” We all know what they’re called, lets just say it. 

>>>> The term institutional repository could be added via addendum.  That is what is meant by this clause

“systematic external distribution by a third party…” Please clarify. Does this mean I cannot post it on my Academia.edu profile? If so, I’d like this removed.

>>>> This means that you could not post to another site that distributes the content systematically.  A profile page with a link a store of published works would not be considered this.

Please adapt the statement for the post print to read: This is the peer-reviewed version of an article publishing in…” It’s important to me that readers know this fact about my work. 

>>>> We would agree to the author adding this term to the statement

Strike the language about embargos that Taylor and Francis has now, or may at any time in the future decide to create.

>>>> [no response]

In light of recent changes by NIH to cut funding for authors who do not comply with their public access policy, please remove the language that states “You must not post manuscripts directly to PMC, or other third party sites.” If the company fails to do so, authors may lose funding. Also, I don’t like the inclusion of “other third party sites.”

>>>> Taylor & Francis actually handles deposits on author’s behalf for the NIH.  We cannot strike agreement to our embargos, although we could strike the term “in the future”.

7. add “students.” 

>>>> We can clarify that distribution to students is fine.

Systematic basis? please clarify or remove. 

>>>> We can clarify that distribution to students is fine.


Win #2

Following this response, I decided in consultation with the Editors, to not push it anymore and claim it as a victory. Weeks later I received an email saying that my proofs were ready and that the Copyright Transfer agreement had to be signed in as part of the proof approval process. Queue another flurry of emails full of my righteous indignation saying “I have only just begun to fight!” At the turn of the year, T&F graciously agreed to extend the addendum to ALL articles published in this issue, meaning that ALL authors would retain rights, be able to post the peer-reviewed version immediately upon publication, have greater clarity of their rights to the work etc.

Win #3

Two weeks before the issue was to be published, Barbara, the Guest Editor, informed me and Stewart Varner (co-author) that T&F wanted to make one article from the issue open access (for publicity), and they’d like it to be ours.

Loss #1

A week before the issue was to be published, imagine my surprise when I got an email saying the final proof was ready for my approval and I discovered that conveniently, in the top left of the page, the citation information included a nice big “Copyright © Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.” Needless to say, after all the negotiations, I was pretty unhappy to see that. And I told them:

The proof looks fine with the very blatant exception that I do not support the inclusion of the Copyright statement in the header, since I did not sign over my copyright to Taylor and Francis… including that “Copyright © Taylor and Francis Group, LLC” is the exact opposite of the License to Publish that you originally sent to me, and the agreed upon addendum that we negotiated through the Editor. Having that included on this article is confusing as to the copyright status of the piece, and if there must be a copyright statement there I want it to read “Copyright © The Authors.”

At this point, a week away from production, I was actually contacted by the VP for Production at Taylor and Francis. (You know you’re doing something right/wrong when you get the attention of a VP.) The response was coridal, and enlightening.

The copyright line is present with the Taylor & Francis name because you have granted Taylor & Francis license to publish, and also to grant permission on your article.  The presence of the line does not in any way change the agreement you have with us. The statement is in a standard place that alerts parties that seek permission as to who they may contact.  Based on the agreement you signed, our assumption is that you wish for Taylor & Francis to grant such permissions.  We thus include the line it as you see it for all authors that we receive licenses such as the one you have signed.

I agreed, bugrudingly, and with much consternation, to let this last issue go, and the VP for Production indicated that they know this is an issue and plan to look further into adapting it. I plan to hold them to that, if ever publishing with them in the future. Needless to say, immediately upon publication, a colleague of mine at FSU noticed the fancy “© Taylor and Francis” and called me out on it. So, already, I have proof that regardless of all the work I did fighting for copyrights, the simple inclusion of that symbol confused a reader as to the truth of the matter, that I OWN THE ARTICLE and that I GRANTED to the publisher A LICENSE TO PUBLISH. Still not too happy about that one.

TIE #1

Two of the authors of articles included in this issue do not have access to the published version, as their institution doesn’t subscribe to the journal. Elated as I was, I sent the link to my wife and my best friend – it asked them to pay $35. Based on the terms of the addendum, ALL authors had the right to post the peer-reviewed version of the article in their institutional repository or on their website. So, Taylor and Francis has the final Version of Scholarly Record hosted on their site, and each author is posting the post-print version (exact same text minus all the fancy layout and insignia). Win – Win. Or Tie.


After approving proofs, way back in December, I was offered the option to make my article open access… for the tasteless price of $3250. I took a screen shot to share.


I understand that publishers are fighting for ways to keep their revenue alive, but seriously? I made it open access immediately for free by amending my contract.

All in all, I feel really good about the process. I thought all the people I interacted with at T&F were very kind and patient. I am really pleased to be published with Stewart, a friend, colleague and professional I respect immensely. But most of all, I am amped, excited and chomping at the bit to run around campus saying to all the faculty I’ve worked with and will work with, “Scholarly communication is changing, and I have proof.”

See the final approved addendum that we used as an additional file at the bottom of the page here.

Open Access at FSU

Preface: These are my own thoughts and do not reflect the thoughts or opinions of my employer. 

Since May of this year, I have been working as the Scholarly Communications Project Manager for a Faculty/Librarian Task Force at Florida State University. The task force, created by the Faculty Senate Library Committee, was charged with researching Scholarly Communications* initiatives and making recommendations about how FSU might respond to evolution in the scholarly publishing cycle. As Project Manager, it has been my duty to compile research materials, prepare informational documents, manage communications within the group and conduct outreach around campus related to our work. The number one goal of the Task Force is to propose an open access policy* to our Faculty Senate, beginning FSU down the road to active participation in the adaptations happening in higher education, especially relating to how, why and who should have access to the knowledge produced therein.

So, after 6 months of hard work (2 of which I spent entirely dedicated to reading and researching), we’ve come to the apex. Tomorrow, we will present our proposed policy to the Faculty Senate, and next week I will be leading coordination of Open Access Week @ FSU. It’s strange, but it all feels kind of bittersweet, and I found myself chatting with a colleague today saying, “What happens next in a Scholarly Communications initiative?” That question remains and will be dealt with in coming weeks, but I wanted to take a second to outline some important facets of our work so far:

1) Our proposed ‘policy’ is very different than the policies passed by the likes of Duke, Kansas and Princeton, all of which have similar language about faculty granting the University a certain type of license for their scholarly articles. We are actually referring to our policy as a “Resolution” in that it is an expression of support for continuing to explore this area, more so than a dictation or mandate. Many will see this as a policy with no teeth, but we are approaching is as the best case for our university at this point, and a key first step toward developing this area here.

2) A factor in this decision was the fact that a bulk of our research and work was conducted this summer, when much of the university community is not very active. A scholarly communications initiative must be developed in tandem with an educational/informational campaign, and we just haven’t had the time or resources to do that as extensively as is necessary… yet.

3) Taking into account the culture and politics of the University organization is incredibly important when pursuing these types of grand initiatives. Having previously worked in a University, I had a little knowledge of this fact, but working so directly with it on this project has made me much more aware of the ways that administrative offices, libraries, academic departments and others have to put in a lot of work building consensus… and that is a job in itself.

4) The misunderstandings and misconceptions of open access are rampant and strongly held. This was never more evident than when talking with a friend, who happens to be a faculty member, about my work; he expressed his thoughts on this topic and was shocked when I offered some facts and ideas that countered his preconceived ideas of how open access works. There is much education to be done to combat misinformation.

5) It has been, and is constantly, an encouragement to know that there is an active, brilliant, available community of open access advocates who are willing to offer tips and advice. I contacted Scholarly Communications Librarians around the country, read their papers, viewed their presentations (shared online with CC licenses, of course), and learned so much through others’ experiences.

6) Working in collaborative bodies, like the task force I worked for, is an amazing opportunity to see what the future of the university can be. I am very interested in continuing to explore the nature of trans-disciplinary collaborative projects within the University, and I hope to remain an agent in that work, academically and as a professional librarian.

At this point, I almost feel like I am pushing my baby bird out of the nest, letting the work I’ve put into developing this open access resolution and scholarly communications initiative go to the Faculty Senate to see if it will fly. Come tomorrow afternoon, we’ll know for sure, and will proceed, fighting the good fight, and, rephrasing myself,

…to the best of our ability making it our duty to provide access to information, with the tools available to us, always and forever.

*Scholarly Communications – The cycle of producing, sharing and consuming academic scholarly work, most often focused on journal articles.

*Open Access Policy – the document by which many of these evolutions in the scholarly communications cycle become realized. OA Policies are meant to serve as an endorsement of the underlying principles at work in scholarly communications (faculty empowerment, the public good of access to research, etc.), while providing some clear goals for how open access will play out in the institution. Often an open access resolution is just the first step in the process of a university acknowledging that scholarly communications is an institutional priority.