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May 1999 Minutes


MAY 17, 1999

Present: Lowell Wenger (Chair), Richard Slaughter (Co-Chair), James Moseley, Victoria Neale, Martin E. Newcomb, Georgia Reid, Jim Woodyard, Rita Gupta (Student Representative),
Robert Holley (Secretary), Jessica Litman (Guest)

1. Lowell Wenger, Chair, convened the meeting and welcomed Jessica Litman, Professor, Law School, as an invited guest to speak on copyright. The minutes were approved with minor corrections.

2. Jessica Litman gave a background briefing on
copyright in the academic world. Universities can claim copyright on works produced by the faculty under the principle of works made for hire. Currently, about 1/3 give copyright to faculty; 1/3 explicitly retain copyright for the university; and 1/3 say nothing on this issue. Even when a university such as the University of Michigan claims copyright, the practical implications of this decision are minor so as not to face faculty ire. At Wayne State University, the faculty have explicitly been given ownership of copyright. Any change in this area would be a collective bargaining issue. Publishers want the full transmittal of copyright, but most allow faculty to post their own work to their personal Web sites. Bob Holley reported that nothing
has happened with the Kansas Board of Regents policy because an acceptable depository for electronic articles does not yet exist.

Discussion among Committee members raised the following points. Non-tenured faculty are in a weak bargaining position with publishers since getting their research published is so critical. Some publishers will not accept research that has already appeared on the Web. Libraries would find it difficult to make use of articles on individual Web sites because of the difficulty in finding them. Peer review and some guarantee of archiving are important factors within the scholarly communication system. Print is often the limiting factor for scholars who want to see their work made available; an electronic system could include peer review. As a practical matter, little is happening right now to address this problem because the publishers, for a price, now provide the structure needed for the scholarly communication system. Another model is the Social Science Research Network.

3. The Committee felt that the ULC should move this matter forward including getting in touch with the faculty. The faculty should support a change in copyright ownership if the matter is presented correctly. Actions will include looking at University documents for the exact copyright language, consulting with the AAUP about desired changes, and presenting the issue to the Provost and Legal Counsel. At some point, the Board of Governors would need to support any action on having faculty retain certain rights that they now sign away under their copyright agreements.

Jim Woodyard reported on choosing materials for the Web site including walking us through his slides and sharing an important article. The Web site should include the possibility of sending comments
to a ULC designated person.

4. On the question of indirect cost recovery, Bob Holley reported on his survey of Association of Research Library directors. Of those responding (about 25), only a small few get an automatic portion of indirect cost recovery. He also distributed a copy of the current allocation of indirect cost recovery funds. At Wayne State University, library expenditures
account for about 1% of the costs used to calculate the 49% indirect cost recovery rate. The Library System, as part of its general funding, may get part of the University portion of the indirect cost recovery. The Committee recommended further investigation of indirect cost recovery as a possible funding source for the Library System.

5. The Committee reaffirmed the importance of having student input and gave as an example concern about computer access in the UGL for students in competition with non-Wayne State University affiliated users. Students should get priority, especially now that they pay a fee for information technology.

6. In the absence of Dean Patricia Breivik, Bob Holley expressed his appreciation for the hard work of this year’s ULC. The Committee had questions about the appointment process for next year and affirmed the need to appoint strong members. Next year, the ULC should forcefully follow up on the current issues and be even more proactive as new issues arise.

Prepared by Robert P. Holley

September 1, 1999

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