Open Access, and particularly open access policies, creates opportunities for researchers to rethink about their copyright, and seek to retain their rights when they publish in scholarly journals. Here are some ideas for small, doable research projects that could be very helpful to advance our understanding about progress on Author's Rights. If you are considering such research, please consider openly posting your work on the web (with links from the Open Access Directory). This could, in my opinion, facilitate ad hoc collaborations. Others could comment on your research methodology even before you start, and/or others could do research using the same set of questions / approach elsewhere, so that results can be compared.
Following is a recent contribution I've made to the Open Access Directory:
A small study could help to get started on understanding what is happening around author's rights. For example, interview researchers in one or a few departments at one university about their experiences with seeking more rights than what a standard contract allows. How many have sought additional rights? What methods did they use - one-on-one negotiations, author's addenda? What were the results? The recent requirement policy of the US NIH means that there are likely many US authors with recent experiences in this area. A qualitative study of this nature could provide a great set of questions to follow up with a survey approach. The ideal would be a survey representative of all researchers everywhere - a smaller sample would be very useful, though. If anyone tries this, please write up your research methodology and post a link under Research in Progress - this would greatly facilitate ad hoc collaborations. Someone else might use your survey questions!