Scholarly Communications Librarian Jonah McAllister-Erickson can assist faculty, graduate students and undergraduates in navigating the complex journey of writing and publishing research.
“I’m passionate about intellectual property,” McAllister-Erickson said. “In particular, making sure people are able to reuse their own work and remix others’ works, and can do so with confidence they are on firm ground.”
McAllister-Erickson joined WVU Libraries as the scholarly communication librarian in June 2022. The Pittsburgh native previously worked in the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing at the University of Pittsburgh.
As the Scholarly Communication Librarian at WVU, McAllister-Erickson is responsible for managing the WVU Libraries’ publishing program, focusing on Open Access publishing and Open Educational Resources (OER). He assists WVU authors with understanding their rights as creators of copyrighted works and users of other people’s works.
He also works with the Research Repository @ WVU, assisting with Electronic Thesis and Dissertations (ETD) among other materials shared through the repository. Finally, he assists researchers in understanding best practices in research data management, and the impact of their publications through bibliometrics and altimetric.
“For a long-time I have had an interest in copyright and intellectual property issues, particularly as those tend to relate to freedom of expression is where I started approaching that question from, people who use copyright law or trademark law to suppress criticism,” McAllister-Erickson said.
He did some course work on the law and libraries when he was getting his master’s in libraries sciences at Pitt and thought it was interesting.
“There’s been some incidents where people have been critical of McDonald’s and they used McDonald’s logo, and McDonald’s tried to shut them down,” McAllister-Erickson said. “In a more scholarly, academic realm, there have been a number of lawsuits around using extensive quotations of a work when you’re being highly critical of it.”
A while back, he helped an author who was writing an article about the history of computing and he had several photographs he wanted to use and most were in the public domain because there wasn’t a copyright notice when they were first published.
They tracked places the photos were used and found one of the photos was reproduced in shareholder newsletter with no copyright notice. McAllister-Erickson explained that this meant it was in the public domain and all of the photos were free to use.
“There’s a little puzzle element; I like with that kind of stuff,” McAllister-Erickson said.
Many other copyright issues can arise when building on other’s research. For example, a lot of graduate students use at least one journal article for a chapter in their thesis or dissertation, and they need to get permission to do that.
Authors also must obtain permission to use tables, graphic, and other data they pull from published sources.
“They will need to know how to request permission; different publisher use different ways,” McAllister-Erickson said. “You need to know about the process to request; also, how to know when you don’t have to ask for permission.”
There’s also an equal number of questions a researcher has to handle to ensure their work is published in a reputable journal and they have their rights protected.
“Broader advocacy of your rights as an author, a creator and a user of materials are one of the things I enjoy about this work is helping people defend their rights as a creator,” he said.
Elizabeth James joined the WVRHC as the new Digital Archivist on September 20, 2021. During her first year, she created the foundation of the WVRHC’s first digital preservation program through writing and implementing policies and procedures to make born-digital materials more accessible and usable over time; planned and begun the implementation of the state's first self-serve Digitization Lab designed to support systematic and centralized digitization efforts; and assessed available repository options and is in the process of working with Systems Development to implement a digital repository for the WVRHC that meets employee and user needs.
Beau Smith joined WVU Libraries as KARM’s Institutional Repository Librarian in November 2021. Smith came to us most recently from Allegheny College, where he served as Digital Resources Librarian. He earned his BA in Philosophy from Slippery Rock University and his MLIS from the University of Arizona. In his first several months, Smith was involved in collaborating with other library faculty members to promote OERs at WVU and involved in creating several new collections for the Research Repository. Smith will focus on expanding the Herbarium Collection in the Research Repository, redesigning the WVU Libraries ETD website, and integrating persistent digital identifiers and linked data into the Research Repository.
Grace Musgrave joined the WVRHC as Accessioning Archivist on May 2. She earned her MLIS from Kent State University, and formerly held the position of Archives Processing Assistant in the Center. Musgrave is moving into a faculty role where she will participate in accessioning, arrangement, description, and preservation of archival materials at the WVRHC, among other duties. We look forward to working with Grace to improve our accessioning processes and make more material available to our users.