News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Internet Archive court case heats up, open monograph obstacles, and Google joins the chatbot arena

By Choice Staff
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Internet Archive Case: Updates and a Look Back

Cross motions for summary judgement were heard this week in the closely watched lawsuit over Internet Archive’s practice of controlled digital lending. Covering the hearing, Publishers Weekly’s Andrew Albanese highlighted Judge John G. Koeltl’s skepticism over IA’s claim that its lending practices are supported by fair use. In Judge Koeltl’s words, the case concerns “whether a library has the right to make a digital copy of a book that it owns and then lend that digital copy, which it has made without a license and without permission.” The plaintiff—publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Wiley—argued that controlled lending negatively impacts authors and publishers’ licensing fees, with IA lawyers continuing to assert that Internet Archive’s scanning of print copies is “transformative” and protected by the law. The Association of American Publishers (AAP) also commented on the trial, reiterating the plaintiff’s concerns over authors’ livelihoods. The AAP also walked through the main points made by the publishers, underscoring how IA differs from libraries and the guidelines outlined by the Copyright Act. Finally, Daniel Pfeiffer, editor of Choice’s new content vertical, LibTech Insightsprovided a refresher on the case and its effects on library patrons and the wider public.

Pearson Cuts Online Services and New Publisher Partnership

Despite the popularity of e-resources, Pearson has decided to leave its online services behindInside Higher Ed’s Doug Lederman reported that the company sold Pearson Online Learning Services to private equity firm Regent, noting that Pearson’s online education contract with Arizona State University expired last year. Lederman also underscored the increased specialization of the online services market and the prominence of new providers like Coursera. In other news, IOP Publishing announced a partnership with software company Morressier on a new submission and peer review project. As Morressier co-founder and C.E.O. Sami Benchekroun explained, “We’re going to slash the time it takes authors to submit while setting the standard in integrity and quality through the application of streamlined workflows and the latest technologies.”

The landscape remains wide open. OA feels like the most desirable future, but there’s still no clear roadmap for how to get there. If the first generation of OA pilots proved that OA can increase impact exponentially, the next generation of pilots need to find sustainable funding models to achieve this.

John Sherer, Scholarly Kitchen

Open Monograph Obstacles and New S2O Pilot

Examining the preparedness of university presses for open monographs, John Sherer, Spangler Family Director of the University of North Carolina (UNC) Press, looked at UNC Press’s Sustainable History Monograph Pilot. Sherer addressed both benefits and challenges of the pilot, including the positive impact of standardization and the difficulty of disseminating open access (OA) metadata. Sherer also observed pushback from authors, citing concerns over how OA publications would impact promotion and tenure. Sherer concluded with UNC Press’s work on Path to Open, which aims to provide a “compromise between the legacy model of university press publishing and a fully -funded OA model.” Biomedical publisher Karger also described its OA plans and integration of the OA model Subscribe to Open (S2O). Under S2O, Karger journals Pediatric Neurosurgery and Developmental Neuroscience will be made OA in 2023, with costs covered by library subscriptions.

New Google Chatbot Release, AI Policies in Higher Ed, and More

First up, Google enabled access to its Bard chatbot this week, hoping to compete with other popular language processing systems like ChatGPT. Next, M’hammed Abdous, associate director at the Center for Faculty Development at Old Dominion University, examined how AI will impact learning and research in higher education. Noting the effects of automation and the threats AI poses to the labor market, Abdous recommended that faculty and administration develop frameworks and consider the ethical challenges presented by AI. Inside Higher Ed’s Susan D’Agostino similarly looked at AI in academia, analyzing a new survey from Primary Research Group on professors’ opinions on AI tools. D’Agostino mentioned that although the majority of respondents are indifferent about their colleges’ responses to AI, some are working to develop policies and express concern over the potential overreliance on the technology. Last, academic integrity service Turnitin released an AI writing detector that maintains over 95 percent accuracy, in addition to an AI resource page for K-12 and higher education instructors.

TikTok, Book Awards, and Book Bans

Following recent attacks on higher education curricula and the freedom to read, the American Library Association (ALA) reported a nearly two-fold increase in 2022 book challenges when compared to 2021. Similar to previous years, censorship efforts largely targeted titles by and about people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, stated, “Overwhelmingly, we’re seeing these challenges come from organized censorship groups that target local library board meetings to demand removal of a long list of books they share on social media.” In other news, Johanna Alonso of Inside Higher Ed found that institutions are continuing to use TikTok despite recent restrictions. Alonso stressed the popularity of vertical video across social media platforms and explained that universities use TikTok to offer student perspectives to life on campus. Next up, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center released several Sheikh Zayed Award shortlists, featuring two university press contenders for the Culture in Other Languages category. Rounding out this week’s awards, several university presses made the Academic, Educational, and Professional Publisher of the Year shortlist for the British Book Awards’ Book Trade Awards.