Open Access Tenure: Self-Archiving, Moving On

For those who have been waiting on tenterhooks (all three of you), the publisher is unwilling to allow me to self-archive the book chapter I had submitted last December. So the chapter will be dropped from the publication.

I’m disappointed. I’d done what I thought was my due diligence last December in alerting the editor about the need to self-archive.  However, it is that publisher’s chosen business model and they prefer to rely on librarian authors to write for them who will hand over all rights for a single copy of the finished product.

So now I’m back to the manuscript, which frankly I haven’t looked at in nearly five months.  It’s still my intent to get what I had written published, though I’m envisioning a pretty heavy overhaul due to changes that have come up and where I’m considering submitting it to in the future.

I wouldn’t consider this any kind of open access tenure victory or failure. No one really lost anything: the publisher still has a product they’ll publish, I still have a manuscript, and I had a good experience working with the editor who was most involved. Yes, I could have gotten a publication credit out of it but as in current format it is not Capital-R Research, it’s not hugely influential insofar as what I need to have in my tenure dossier. But it’s something I’ve gone through now. I have a better idea on process and I’m more comfortable asking in the initial inquiries, making it clear that this is a requirement for me before I submit even a proposal.

For today, it just means it goes back on the white board.


  1. Comment by Andromeda:

    Well, I’m happy to consider it a victory. Principles are the things we have when it costs something to stick to them. And you didn’t take the path of least resistance. So. Respect and cookies.

  2. Comment by Abigail:

    Thanks 🙂 Cookies are always appreciated.

  3. Comment by Colleen Harris:

    Hopefully it’ll also season your editors to find out about the publisher’s stance early so they can inform authors ahead of time. (Sadly, I danced this dance as an editor with McFarland in late 2011 and lost some good chapters because of it; but now I know up front what the stakes are when I talk to my authors. So, the situation isn’t really ‘better,’ aside from that my authors are well-informed of their loss of rights from the get-go, but I do hope that keeps them from feeling they wasted their time with my project.) Do let us know where you place the piece when you do, though, I’d like to read it!

  4. Comment by Mike Taylor:

    Let me add my congratuations to the chorus. It might not feel like a victory — I’m sure it doesn’t right now — but it is. You did the right thing rather than the expedient thing.

    For another tale of a book publisher doing The Wrong Thing, see this story of how I withheld copyright transfer for a chapter in a Geological Society book but they slapped their copyright notice on it anyway!

  5. Comment by Abigail:

    Thanks Colleen! I hope you told them that you lost good chapters because of it.

  6. Comment by Stephen Francoeur:

    When you eventually find yourself making a bid for tenure, I hope your tenure and promotion committee will be fully aware of this principled stand you took so early on. If I were on the committee, I’d be sure to mention it as a praiseworthy episode.