The Bulletin—June 12, 2012
This week's Bulletin focuses on recent announcements in publishing and digital scholarship. We hope these posts will provide space for lively discussion and debate regarding these issues.
- The Modern Language Association (MLA) announced that its journals (PMLA, Profession, and the bulletins of the Association for Departments of English and Association for Departments of Foreign Languages) have adopted new "open-access-friendly" author agreements, which "leave copyright with the authors and explicitly permit authors to deposit in open-access repositories and post on personal or departmental Web sites the versions of their manuscripts accepted for publication." MLA Executive Director Rosemary G. Feal suggested that the change might encourage open access to humanities scholarship more broadly.
- Also, the American Historical Association announced the establishment of a Task Force on Digital Scholarship to assess the state of digital scholarship in the historical profession, evaluate tenure and promotion practices and graduate training, and issue guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship similar to those released by the MLA in 2007. This task force was formed in response to an open letter drafted by graduate students, tenured and non-tenured faculty, and librarians at a THATCamp AHA session in January.
- On May 24, the University of Missouri announced that it would begin phasing out its press, the University of Missouri Press, beginning in July. The planned shutdown of the press, which was established in 1958 and is known for the collected works of Langston Hughes and series on Mark Twain and Harry S. Truman, has been met with opposition via letters to the editor in Missouri newspapers, a facebook page, and public statements by prominent alums and donors. It is unclear whether these voices will ultimately save the press, as happened with the Louisiana State University Press in 2009.