Archive for the 'education' Category


The Washington Post has a really fascinating (and entertaining, especially for people who are familiar with the DC area) article speculating what Washington might look like in 2025: “Washington’s Future, a History.” Technology, communication, and the Internet play a major role in influencing where and how Washingtonians live in the future, at least according to the author’s view. (And for everyone who is studying for final exams, this is a good study break!)

Class notes infringe?


In what sounds like an April Fool’s joke, there is now a claim that taking notes in class infringes on copyright. Of course, it’s more complex than that in this instance, as you can read at slashdot.

HBS 2 + 2 Program: Good Web Marketing?


The business school is now offering a 2 + 2 admissions program, which permits college juniors to apply for admission. If accepted, the students work for two years before they matriculate at the business school. For a program of this type, good marketing is essential because most college juniors are likely unaware that they could apply and be accepted to an MBA program while still in college. Obviously I’m not privy to their full advertising strategy, but I’ve seen a bunch of their banner ads on Facebook. Seems like a pretty good way to get the word out to a group of digital natives that is probably not visiting the HBS admissions site at this stage of their academic careers.

Amazon/Google Plagiarism Checking


To build on what I said in class, while no one seems to have suggested using the statistically improbable phrases tool on Amazon to check for plagiarism, people are using both Google Books and Amazon’s ‘search within this book’ tool for that purpose.

An article in Slate suggests Google Books could be used to discover long-existing plagiarism.

Similarly, another source suggests that Google Books and Amazon are the “greatest plagiarism detector ever created.”

Class 13: Ownership and Knowledge (sorry for the oversimplification and longevity)


Can anyone “own” knowledge? Does the web make us think differently about the nature of ownership of information or expression?

Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences has passes a motion for Open Access to Scholarly Articles and Harvard Law School is considering a similar policy.

Junior faculty members consistently face the battle with tenure; the main requirement is to have an article published in a scholarly journal. Professors sometimes spend years waiting for an article to be published; one’s article must be accepted by a journal, peer reviewed and then published. Before being published an author must agree to a licensing agreement

Traditional Publishing Paradigm; author gives up copyright to journal

Stage 0: If the professor post working papers online. Most contracts restrict the author’s ability to direct students to working papers online. Well-accomplished journals will have contract that ensure that a previous work on the article cannot be made available author, but they are unable to control the SSRN.

Stage 1: Making of the License
Professor will give article along with rights to journal. In return author will receive intangible rewards including prestige and tenure.

Stage 2: Library buys article
Journal receives money from the library in return for a copy of the journal. Hardcopies are cheaper than online forms.

Stage 3: Professor 2 wants to use article for class
Journal receives money from the professor in return for allowing the professor to use it in his course pack.

Stage 4: Another author wants to put article in his book
Journal receives money from the author and the author is allowed to include the article in his or her book.

The traditional publishing paradigm benefits the journal much more than the professor. The market allows for the journals to conduct price discrimination. Journals are value added: they collect and present articles conveniently, have access to related work and know professor 2 in stage 3 for peer review. Faculty members have to pay for articles in stage 3 and are rarely allowed an allowance for their own article (Harvard Business School has recently allowed for authors to receive 100pdfs). While wealthy universities give allowances to their faculty for this purpose, sometimes students have to pay for the articles when buying for course packs. This is a case for journals ownership of knowledge.

University-Research relationship and Copyright law

Traditionally faculty is in work for hire contract. University split the money made off research, faculty remain happy and university will improve endowment and reputation. (Ex: Stanford benefiting from Google). As long as universities can assert rights from under copyright law, parties will usually bargain for a result that is beneficial for both parties. Although universities’ probably do not have rights to undergraduate work the line becomes fuzzy at the level of graduate work.

Open Access Grant Paradigm

Stage 1: License
Professor enters a contract with the university to grant licenses in return for the university giving the author access to the collection. University may make article open to the public. Old may still have control of the articles prior to Open access, but will not have exclusivity right to article not published under open access. All journals will have the same rights as before, but will reap less benefits then before

• Ex: FAS Open Access Agreement
o Nonexclusive (grant to as many people as the university wants and does not exclude journals)
o Worldwide
o Paid up (no additional consideration)
o Irrevocable (once the author contract with university: he or she may not take it back)
o Restriction on grant: right to distribute except for profit (exception under stage 3, where the professor uses an article in course pack)

Stage 2: Libraries
Libraries will continue to pay for journals, because they will be unable to receive the all the articles through open access. As open access grows, journals will receive less income from hard and soft copies.

Stage 3: Professor 2
Professor 2 will not longer be paying for open access articles in course packs

Scenario 1: Faulty may opt-out of Open Access under FAS and proposed HLS agreements

Some non-tenured professor may want to be published in elite distinguished articles and have the option to opt-out of open access. Deans want to keep their faculty happy and are glad to have there article published in elite journals A problem may arise if the dean does not want the article published in a particular journal. JP ask is this automatic waiver better and does this action violate the reasoning behind open access? Is the waiver better, because it saves on transaction cost? Is it easier for Harvard to take this stance because Harvard has prestige, that elite journals consider their value added.

Scenario 2: The effects of every faculty having open access

Will elite market-leading journals go out of business?

JP and class say no. Rather these journals will create a new business model. They may not be able to reap the benefits from owning the exclusive rights to articles, but they will still have exclusive rights to older articles. The Value Added that is intrinsic in journals remains: journals are a gateway and filter that separates the good from so-so articles through peer review. Elite journals may begin to compensate peer-reviewers, this may create overzealous reviewers and a push for more profitable work, but maintaining a good reputation of brand and of profession can combat these two pitfalls. A related example is CNN, Fox and MSNBC remaining in world full of bloggers. Although Carl Malamud is preparing a database the will put an end to companies profiting off of free government documents.…). Another alternative suggested is for elite journals to create scarcity as it relates to the relationship; professors may only peer review for certain journals. (For more understanding of compensation read Fischer Chapter 6 alternative compensation system).

Scholarly Societies

Forces Societies to focus on receiving income from conferences rather than journal.

Open Access Grant Paradigm for Harvard Law School

The difference between FAS and HLS is that law journals are mostly student run.

Stage 1: License
Law Journals receive several variations on the amount of rights they receive. Some journals may have exclusivity right for a year. While other produce a hard copy, sell a soft copy to an online index and put up a free copy on their website. In return professors receive subciters and prestige. In addition both side receive the features above in Stage 1 of Open Access Grant Paradigm.

Stage 2: Libraries
Law Journals receive money from the libraries when they buy hard copies or buy a access to an online index. In addition both side receive the features above in Stage 2 of Open Access Grant Paradigm.

Stage 3: Prof 2
If a professor is not a member of the open access community and the university has not opened the article to the public, the rate of the article is set by the law journal and determine by size and scope of distribution
How Does Open Access Affect Law Journals?

Considering the fact that most law journals immediately put up a free online version following release, the affect is small. Law Journals can still sell to indexes, because they make it easier for customers to access more articles through archiving and creating classifications. Law Journals have other sources of income. (Example: Harvard Law Review and the Bluebook and other journals have sponsors)

Arguments Against Open Access and Questions Remaining (by JP and the class)
• Could seriously damage student journals
o Smaller and newer journals who make money strictly off of book sales
• Law Reviews may require professors to submit waiver along with article, therefore they will not accept some articles
• Irrevocable
o What if some publisher wants to put an article into a book that he will sell for profit, but will not include article if he cannot reap the benefit
• Is there a problem with professors deciding to opt-out
o Will professors be judged on decision?
• Why do we need Open Access if most law journals already have online?
o Is there a values in saying that we want information to be free, to encourage other fields to do the same
• Want a deposit of knowledge

Further Reading
Jean-Nicolas Druey, “Information Cannot be Owned.” (an argument for free information)
Open Access for HLS…

Open Access wiki is up


Hello all,
The Ownership and Knowledge group has created a wiki (which is up at to explain and discuss a possible open access proposal for scholarly articles at Harvard Law School. Being a wiki it’s a permanent work-in-progress, so we encourage everybody in the class to contribute – please email  HLSOpenAccess at and we’ll set you up with an account.
Aaron, Kevin & L.T.

Is the Web killing reading?


Howard Gardner (the famous Harvard psychology prof) says no in a op-ed in the Washington Post.

British school kids to get lifelong numbers


According to <a href=””>The Times</a>, British school kids will be assigned a unique number that will be associated with their school records and that will follow them for life. Privacy advocates are concerned.

Harvard’s open access proposal


The NY Times has an article on an open access proposal coming before Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Sciences. Should the way we evaluate and distribute scholarly research be <em>different</em> on the Web?

(I posted my personal opinion on my blog. Again, I’m not sure it’s proper for me to point to it, but I figure my blog’s public, so you could find it if you wanted anyway. And, let me say for the record: You are entitled to disagree. In fact, since my record of being right is pretty slim, you probably should disagree.)