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Faculty Senate Minutes Summary, Aug. 31, 2009

September 30, 2009    

I.  Roll – The following senators were absent:  Fraas, Harvey, Morgan, Rodriguez, and Simos.  Excused were Aliouche, Drake and Bob Woodward.  Guests were President Huddleston, Provost Aber, Lisa MacFarlane, and Sherry Vellucci.

II.  Remarks by and questions to the president and the provost – The president welcomed the faculty senators and said that the freshmen moving in had gone very smoothly.  He introduced John Aber as the new provost.  The provost said that last year he was a faculty senator and gained a clearer understanding of how the senate does business.  One of the themes of his work this year will be to break down barriers and bring people together.  He would like to set up a policy on cross-disciplinary schools, in order to provide new opportunities for faculty to work together.  He would also like to discuss the definition of research faculty.  Senior Vice Provost Lisa MacFarlane said she would be happy to be the senate's primary liaison with the provost’s office and said senators could contact her with any concerns.  The former senate chair said that a senate committee will work on the implementation of the Discovery Program and will want to liaison with the provost’s office on that matter.  Several faculty senators are on the Discovery Committee.  The senior vice provost said that she expects Discovery Program courses to be offered in the fall of 2010.  Regarding the January term, she said that a committee has looked at the logistics and found that there appear to be solutions to the non-academic logistics concerns.  She expects that the deans will send forward courses shortly for the January term and for the Discovery Program.  She added that the strategic plan is currently in the drafting stage and that the consultant is pulling together the input received.  The draft will go to the steering committee in October.

III.  Remarks by and questions to the dean of the university library – Sherry Vellucci said that development of an Open Access Policy is a very important issue.  Open-access literature is digital, on-line, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.  This literature may be published in open-access journals or paid subscription journals.  There has been a huge increase in the cost of journals, and the cost to UNH in 2009 for Elsevier journal subscriptions was $1,048,420.  One study found that, even though ninety-one percent of library dollars are spent on commercial publishers, only thirty-eight percent of the citations were to commercial journals.  The author is the copyright holder unless and until the author signs an agreement to transfer the copyright to someone else.  Decisions about any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder.  If the author transfers the copyright to a publisher without retaining some of these rights, the author may not be able to place the work on course websites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public on-line archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work.  The law allows authors to transfer copyright while holding back rights for the author and others.  The author may add an addendum to the copyright transfer document in order to hold back certain rights.  The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) gives information about such addenda at the following link:  http://www.arl.org/sparc/author/.

The purpose of open access is to provide access to a larger and larger body of literature, so that libraries and the public are not constrained by the high cost of journals.  There is abundant evidence that open-access articles are cited more often than non-open-access articles.  In recent years, many journal subscriptions have been eliminated by the UNH library for budgetary reasons.  The goal is to remove access barriers but not quality filters.  Most open-access journals use peer review.  There is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) mandate that funded researchers deposit a copy of their research results in the open access database, PubMed Central.  The Federal Research Public Access Act now before congress will require eleven U.S. Government agencies, with annual extramural research expenditures over $100 million, to make publicly available via the internet the manuscripts of journal articles stemming from research funded by those agencies.

The library dean recommended that faculty prepare an access policy for the university.  A digital repository could preserve, showcase and distribute faculty scholarly articles and other research outputs.  This would (1) promote openness and free communication of knowledge, (2) resist a publishing model that is leading to spiraling prices of journals and siphoning resources from library purchases, (3) realign publishing in a way that favors learning, and (4) comply with the NIH mandate on public access.  The dean recommended that a Task Force on Open Access be constituted with representatives from faculty, librarians, deans, academic affairs, legal counsel, the AAUP, and students.  The charge could be to examine the institution's scholarly communication policies and practices, to explore university licenses for scope and options, to review the possibilities for author addenda, and to develop a set of policy recommendations on open access.  There could be an opt-out clause in the UNH policy, if a faculty member needs to publish in a journal that will not allow open access.   The Library Committee of the Faculty Senate should have major input on these issues.

The dean of the university library said that the process would include (1) obtaining feedback from faculty and other stakeholders, (2) identifying critical resources and support that would be needed to implement the policy, including maintaining an institutional archive and resources to assist faculty in complying with the policy and working with publishers, (3) drafting the policy recommendations, and (4) bringing them for a vote by the Faculty Senate.  Further information can be obtained from the library's website at http://libraryguides.unh.edu.  A professor asked if an opt-out clause for such a UNH policy would require a standard of justification.  The dean replied that different institutions have different policies but that many have criteria.  A senator said that the chemists must deal with the American Chemical Society which does not have open access but does have reasonable journal prices.  He expressed concern that forcing that society into open access might lead to the closure of chemical abstracts.  The dean said that, as shown on the SPARC website, there have been a few studies done on traditional journals which have allowed open access; and the subscriptions have not been substantially reduced.  She added that the goal of open access is not to punish publishers, and the opt-out clause would deal with situations like the ACS.  Many faculty publish cooperatively with faculty from other institutions; but before going to publication, the authors could form an agreement on these issues.  A senator asked if there are studies on what fields most welcome open access and what fields are most resistant.  The university library is a member of the Boston Library Consortium.  The senate chair said that the open-access issue is a charge for the senate's Library Committee.

IV.  Remarks by and questions to the chair – The senate chair said that the senate's Finance and Administration Committee chair will ask for further information about the workings of RCM, so that faculty can ask better questions about RCM as the review comes up.  The name of the new senior vice provost for research will be announced within the next week.  The senate chair said that all UNH faculty and staff were asked to fill out a harassment survey this summer.  That is an issue for the AAUP.  If a certain percentage of the UNH employees complete the survey, the cost of insurance will be reduced.  Faculty are concerned about the length of the survey and the way it is written, as well as how the answers may be used and the mandatory nature of the request.  Human Resources apparently did not clear the request with the provost's office before sending out the survey.  Faculty would like to know how much the insurance cost savings would be.  Also, how would taking the survey affect any possible future liability issues for faculty?

V.  Minutes – The minutes of the last senate meeting were approved unanimously except for one abstention.

VI.  Orientation – The senate chair said that most of the substantive work of the Faculty Senate is done in the senate's standing committees.  When faculty raise a question about an issue, the Agenda Committee usually assigns it as a charge for a senate committee to consider and then to present a recommendation to the Faculty Senate.  The senate may also create ad-hoc groups such as the Task Force for Promotion, Tenure, Teaching and Standards.  The University Curriculum and Academic Policies Committee was created by the senate, and its faculty membership is elected by the schools and colleges.  Last spring, UCAPC considered the issue of interdisciplinary schools, and the senate will take this matter up this year.  The Faculty Senate operates according to Robert's Rules of Order.  Mimi Becker is the parliamentarian.  The senate chair will make sure that each senator who wishes to speak on an issue has a chance to do so, before the chair calls on a senator to speak for a second time on that matter.  Senators should direct their comments to the entire group.  Changes at UNH should be accomplished via shared governance.  The purview of the Faculty Senate is academic matters, which include but are not limited to teaching and research.  The AAUP addresses labor concerns and bargaining issues.  Senators will be assigned membership on a senate standing committee.  The senate chair will meet with the senate committee chairs.  Faculty are welcome to bring up issues of concern to the senate chair or the Agenda Committee members.

VII.  New Business – Faculty are requested to ask their colleagues and students to participate in the university dialog on health.  Yoga and tai chi sessions will be held on the lawn in front of Thompson Hall.  Information on how to prevent or avoid swine flu and other diseases may be downloaded from the University Health Services' web page.

VIII.  Adjournment – The meeting was adjourned.

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