Cultural Osmosis: UCI Libraries

Thanks to a chance meeting and a kind invitation extended during my time at ALA annual conference, I had the opportunity to visit the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Special Collections and Archives last Friday.

UCI Special Collections and Archives

Part of the collections

Beautiful, sunny reading space

The highlight of the visit for me was the trip to the Science Library to talk to UCI’s Scholarly Communications Coordinator. Lots more on that meeting in a bit, but first, some tidbits about the architecture. The brand-new library building is designed to resemble a womb. The overall structure is circular with an empty space in the middle — the womb; the entrance into the building is low and narrow — the birth canal into the womb; for the finishing touches, our guide told us that the two white poles heading into the canal resemble sperm swimmers to some people’s eyes. How about that, eh?

UCI Science Library. Do you see the womb?

With the Scholarly Communications librarian, we got to talk about three separate works-in-progress: the California Digital Library (CDL) Goals and Objectives for 2012-2013, the proposed UC Open Access Policy, and the UC Open Access Fund Pilot. This last is a fund set up to subsidize faculty’s costs in publishing in open-access journals. For an idea on what such a project may eventually shape up to be, see Duke’s COPE program which provides money “to support article-processing fees for publication in any peer-reviewed [open-access] journal”.

The second initiative, the UC Open Access Policy, is an effort to get the UC campuses to adopt a policy like that currently in place at UCSF, Duke, PrincetonHarvard, MIT, and most recently, the UK government. The Questions and Concerns section was particularly informative for me, addressing such issues as “the decision not to restrict commercial (re)uses of scholarly articles”, the “disadvantage of [“an extremely generous opt-out clause” in allowing] publishers to abuse the clause by routinely demanding opt-out waivers in order to publish”, and the intentional use of “strategically vague” words such as “scholarly articles” in describing the scope of the proposed policy.

Both of the above policies dovetail with the CDL Goals and Objectives for 2012-2013.  They fit neatly within the goal to “advance transformation in scholarly communication related to openness/sharing”. Within those goals and objectives are such action items as to make my heart palpate: “negotiate for open access provisions in content licenses”, “advance responsible determination by participating in HathiTrust Copyright Review Management System”, “expand ebook collections”, “track and report on consortial value of licensing activies”, “continue exploration of affiliate licensing opportunities”,  and and and . . .

All this is to gush that I’m super excited about the issues sloshing about in library scholarly communications circles. I just need to land a job that deals in such work upon graduation, and I’m ready to jump in head first!

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