ERIC Number: EJ797161
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May-16
Reference Count: 0
Readers Not Wanted: Student Writers Fight to Keep Their Work off the Web
Foster, Andrea L.
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n36 pA14 May 2008
Mark Brazaitis worries that his university may sabotage the literary careers of his students. As director of the creative-writing program at West Virginia University, Mr. Brazaitis oversees the training of about 30 graduate students, who hope to become published authors. At the end of their three years in the program, they hand in their magnum opuses, master's theses that could one day appear in print in literary journals or books. For now, creative-writing students can submit their theses on paper. But starting next fall, the coordinator of the campuswide electronic-thesis program wants to require those students, like others at West Virginia, to submit their writing projects electronically and make them publicly available after five years. That policy could hurt students because publishers will not accept poems, short stories, or novels that are already freely available for everyone to read online. This article reports that tension about how theses should be disseminated is brewing on other campuses, too. Open-access advocates, often scientists and librarians, are pressing for the scholarly works to be made publicly available online. Professors of writing and their students, however, argue that literary projects are fundamentally different from laboratory experiments. They say student authors should be the ones to control how their work is distributed.
Descriptors: Graduate Students, Masters Theses, Writing for Publication, Student Publications, Electronic Publishing, Access to Information, Information Policy, Intellectual Property, Creative Writing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A