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Gerry McKiernan, Open Content and Access for Digital Scholarship, a PPT presentation from the WILSWorld Conference 2004 (Madison, Wisconsin, July 27-28, 2004). Abstract: "The Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) provides an application-independent interoperability framework based on metadata harvesting. There are two classes of participants in the OAI-PMH framework: Data Providers and Service Providers. Data Providers administer systems that support the OAI-PMH as a means of exposing metadata from digital collections or repositories; while Service Providers use metadata harvested via the OAI-PMH as a basis for building value-added services. In this presentation we will profile several major OAI-PMH Data and Service Providers, and describe and discuss their innovative content, features, and functionalities."
ChangeThis is an open-access anthology or journal that will publish "powerful, rational arguments from leaders in politics and business", starting next month. Excerpt from the site's manifesto: "Our business model. We don't have one. It doesn't cost very much to run something on the Internet. The authors contribute their work. Our systems were built by some very dedicated summer interns. Every once in a while, we'll pay some of our expenses via a sponsorship. But the goal isn't to make money. The goal is to make a difference. How canyou help? Just do one thing for us: spread these ideas. When you find a manifesto that might change minds, spread it. Print it and distribute it. Post it. E-mail it to your friends. Until we can get comfortable talking about rational arguments, we're going to be at a disadvantage when faced with fundamentalists, who aren't at all shy about spreading their point of view. So, please...be an optimist. Share."
Colin Steele, World's knowledge base should be open to all: Are you free? Australia well placed to react to UK open access initiatives, unabridged edition of an article from the Australian Financial Review, July 26, 2004. Excerpt: "University and institutional researchers create a large part of the world's knowledge base. Researchers tend to give away their intellectual output free of charge to large multinational publishers who generate hundreds of millions of dollars of profits annually....[But things are changing.] Less than a week after a US Congressional Committee called for open access to research funded by National Institutes of Health, Britain's prestigious House Of Commons Science and Technology Committee has issued a major Report: Scientific Publications: Free for All?...In Australia Open Access developments have been ahead of the international pack....The National Scholarly Communications Forum (NSCF), a body sponsored by the four Australian learned Academies, has provided important leadership in this area....The NSCF recommends Australian research accessibility to be widened through open access research initiatives within institutions, particularly through the encouragement of institutional repositories, including the adoption of universitywide policies to collect and archive institutional research output, for example in connection with RAE exercises and the adoption of further open access mechanisms, such as open access journals and not-for-profit electronic publishing."
Colin Steele, Digital publishing and the knowledge process, forthcoming in Steve Ching et al. (eds.), eLearning and Digital Publishing. Excerpt: "The impact of Open Access initiatives could have a profound impact on scholarly knowledge distribution. The process will be both liberating and disruptive, but in the short term will undoubtedly be a hybrid situation for access to and distribution of knowledge. Liberating in that it could release a large amount of scholarly material in a variety of forms globally without the financial barriers imposed by multinational publishers. Disruptive in the sense that major changes will be required in scholarly practice to change the paradigms of scholarly communication."
Jessie Hey, Targeting Academic Research with Southampton's Institutional Repository, Ariadne, July 2004. Excerpt: "The University of Southampton has been one of the pioneers of open access to academic research, particularly, in the tireless advocacy of Professor Stevan Harnad and in the creation of the EPrints software, as a vehicle for creating open access archives (or repositories) for research....Now that change is happening in earnest with new and varied initiatives appearing so fast in the international arena that it is vital to scan Open Access News regularly to keep up with them....The [UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee] Report recommends that all UK higher education institutions establish institutional repositories on which their published output can be stored and from which it can be read, free of charge, online. It also recommends that Research Councils and other Government funders mandate their funded researchers to deposit a copy of all of their articles in this way....It is useful to compare experiences and the baselines from which other institutions are working." (PS: A profile with very useful numbers and graphics. In my excerpt I couldn't resist quoting the reference to OAN, which I believe is OAN's debut in a peer-reviewed journal.)
George Lundberg and three co-authors, Happy Birthday to Open-Access Publishing Pioneer MedGenMed: 5 Years Old and Counting, Medscape, April 8, 2004 (free registration required). Excerpt: "Medscape founded Medscape General Medicine on April 9, 1999 as an experiment to test whether an exclusively electronic, primary-source, peer-reviewed general medical journal could attract enough authors and readers to survive and contribute in an already crowded medical information field....Most medical research articles published in the United States, and many articles published in other developed countries, result from research funded by the government, often the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). We believe (and one of us [GDL] has argued for many years) that it is inappropriate for a reader in such a developed country whose tax money has paid for the research to have to pay again to read the results of such research by having to buy a subscription to the journal that publishes them. For government-funded research to be unavailable for application in the field of public health because of financial constraints seems particularly at odds with the intent of the US Congress in funding the NIH....Five years after MedGenMed was begun, our experiment can be pronounced a success....[C]hanges in the creation, packaging, and delivery of medical information brought about by the use of new technologies will only continue. And, when this information is properly used, authors, readers, the academic enterprise, and the public's health are the ultimate beneficiaries." (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
The UK is launching the Research Libraries Network and funding it with £3 million. From yesterday's press release: "A new national initiative - the Research Libraries Network (RLN) - announced today, is set to transform the way research information is collected, organised, preserved and accessed across the UK. The RLN will bring together the UK's four higher education funding bodies, the British Library, the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales and the eight members of Research Councils UK to develop the UK's first national framework aimed at addressing the information needs of researchers....Initially the RLNA's work is likely to include feasibility studies and market research to shape the longer-term programme. Early emphasis is likely to be on improved knowledge of and access to existing resources (for example, by developing search tools and 'union catalogues' which give a single point of access to a number of different collections). Future potential workstreams include collaborative work on developing and preserving digital archives, maximising access for professional researchers to key collections, and working towards collaborative development of collections to ensure access to the widest possible range of research materials." (Thanks to Gary Price.)
Yukika Awazu and Kevin Desouza, Open knowledge management: Lessons from the open source revolution, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 55, 11 (2004) pp. 1016-1019. Only this abstract is free online: "One might argue that the future of knowledge work is manifested in how open-source communities work. Knowledge work, as argued by Drucker (); Davenport, Thomas, and Cantrell (); and others, is comprised of specialists who collaborate via exchange of know-how and skills to develop products and services. This is exactly what an open-source community does. To this end, in this brief communication we conduct an examination of open-source communities and generate insights on how to augment current knowledge management practices in organizations. The goal is to entice scholars to transform closed knowledge management agendas that exist in organizations to ones that are representative of the open-source revolution."
The June issue of the International Association of Universities Newsletter is devoted to "Access to Knowledge". It contains articles on INASP by Carol Priestly (pp. 1, 4), on copyright and access by Séverine Dusollier (pp. 5, 7), on knowledge-sharing between north and south by Bonaventure Mve-Ondo (p. 6), on the DOAJ by Lotte Jorgensen (p. 11), and on Érudit by Guylaine Beaudry (p. 12). There are no deep links to individual articles.
Genes to Cells, from the Molecular Biology Society of Japan, provides fulltext backfiles with a six month embargo period. Genes to Cells has been hosted by Blackwell Synergy for several years. Today it was introduced on HighWire Press. Both provide easy access to the backfiles. Genes to Cells - Fulltext v1+ (1996+) 6 month moving wall Blackwell | HighWire; Print ISSN: 1356-9597 | Online ISSN: 1365-2443.
Plant Journal, a high impact (ISI JCR 2003: 6/136 (Plant Sciences) -- Impact Factor: 5.914) title from the Society for Experimental Biology (SEB), provides free fulltext after a one year embargo period. SEB is not (yet?) a signatory of the DC Principles. Plant Journal - Fulltext v3(4)+ (April 1993+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0960-7412 | Online ISSN: 1365-313X I've stumbled across a few embargoed titles at Blackwell Synergy, but have seen nothing akin to HighWire Press' outstanding Free Online Full-text Articles.
Paula Park, NIH research to be open access, The Scientist, July 29, 2004. Excerpt: "National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Elias Zerhouni indicated at a gathering of 43 scientific journal publishers and editors Wednesday (July 28) that eventually all NIH-financed research will be freely available to the public. Zerhouni stopped short of setting deadlines for depositing full-text materials in the searchable PubMed database, as recommended in a House Appropriations Committee report released earlier this month. Instead, he asked the publishing executives to inform him how best to manage material so that the public can freely use it. 'The public needs to have access to what they've paid for,' Zerhouni told commercial and nonprofit publishing executives at a meeting he called on the NIH campus....'The status quo just can't stand.' "
From BMJ's announcement of its 2005 pricing plan: "From 7 January 2005, bmj.com will introduce a limited charging structure for some of its content. The resulting revenue will help cover the website's current costs and allow us to fund further developments. In keeping with our commitment to open access, BMJ have devised a subscription model that allows for as much free content as possible. Original research articles will remain completely free to access, the full text of all other articles (including Editorials, Reviews and Letters etc) will be free for the first week of publication and then under access controls for the next 51 weeks. After one year, access controls will be lifted and all content will once again be free." (Thanks to Jan Velterop.)
The American Heart Association, although not a signatory of the DC Principles, provides fulltext access to all five of their scientific journals following a 1 year embargo. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, & Vascular Biology - Fulltext v15+ (1995+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1079-5642 | Online ISSN: 1524-4636. Circulation - Fulltext v91+ (1995+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0009-7322 | Online ISSN: 1524-4539. Circulation Research - Fulltext v76+ (1995+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0009-7330 | Online ISSN: 1524-4571. Hypertension - Fulltext v25+ (1995+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0194-911X | Online ISSN: 1524-4563. Stroke - Fulltext v26+ (1995+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0039-2499 | Online ISSN: 1524-4628. Here are some additional fulltext journal resources with overlapping subject coverage. Of all of the journals mentioned, only Thrombosis Journal is an Open Access title. American Journal of Physiology: Heart & Circulatory Physiology - Fulltext v273(4)+ (October 1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0363-6135 | Online ISSN: 1522-1539. Circulation Control - Fulltext v24+ (2003+); ISSN: 0389-1844. Circulation Journal - Fulltext v66+ (2002+). Continues Japanese Circulation Journal; Print ISSN: 1346-9843 | Online ISSN: 1347-4820. Hypertension Research - Fulltext v24+ (2001+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0916-9636 | Online ISSN: 1348-4214. Japanese Circulation Journal - Fulltext v60-65 (1996-2001). Continued by Circulation Journal; Print ISSN: 0047-1828 | Online ISSN: 1347-4839. Journal of Atherosclerosis & Thrombosis - Fulltext v9+ (2002+); ISSN: 1340-3478. Thrombosis Journal - Fulltext v1+ (2003+) BMC | PMC; ISSN: 1477-9560.
PMC-News mailing list provides the following update on the inclusion of BioMed Central-hosted Open Access ejournals in the PubMed Central repository. International Seminars in Surgical Oncology - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BMC | PMC; ISSN: 1477-7800. Journal of Neuroinflammation - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BMC | PMC; ISSN: 1742-2094. Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling - Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BMC | PMC; ISSN: 1742-4682. Reproductive Health Fulltext v1+ (2004+) BMC | PMC; ISSN: 1742-4755.
According to the TOC, the new issue of the Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries (vol. 1, no. 4) will have two articles on OA. Not even abstracts are free online, at least so far, but this TOC is merely a preview of a forthcoming issue.
Kevin Davies, UK MPs Debate Open Access, Bio-IT World, July 27, 2004. Excerpt: "The report – 'Scientific Publications: Free for All?' authored by British Members of Parliament and published earlier this week – concludes that research findings should be made freely available to fellow researchers and the public alike. The MPs criticized the traditional scientific publishing model, in which libraries and individuals are forced to absorb steeply rising subscription costs....The committee endorsed the alternative 'open access' model, championed by journals such as PLoS Biology and the Journal of Clinical Investigation, which requires authors to cover the costs of publishing, but in return makes the text of the published papers fully and freely available online....The UK report urges British universities to establish a network of computerized 'institutional repositories,' which would store all UK-based research papers." (Thanks to Gary Price.) (PS: Actually the report does the reverse. It would mandate institutional repositories and encourage experimentation with OA journals funded by processing fees paid by authors or their sponsors.)
Richard Smith, former editor of BMJ and an early and long-standing champion of OA, has joined the Public Library of Science Board of Directors. Excerpt from the PLoS press release: "Dr. Smith..is now calling for a complete overhaul of current biomedical publishing models. 'I thoroughly support universal free access to research,' he said, 'because the wonderful thing about ideas is more people being exposed to more ideas leads to still more ideas. I regret as somebody who has been running a medical publishing company for 13 years that publishers have made money by restricting access to research and so limiting the development of new ideas. We need a new model, and the Public Library of Science is providing one.' Dr. Smith's commitment to PLoS is a significant step in the movement toward open access to medical research. 'Under Dr. Richard Smith's leadership over the past decade, BMJ was consistently the most innovative and forward-looking medical journal in the world, and helped catalyze the open access movement,' states Dr. Patrick O. Brown, co-founder and member of the Board of Directors of PLoS. 'We are thrilled that he is now helping us to develop an innovative and outstanding open access medical journal.' "
Mary Fitzgerald, Advocate for Access To Medical Data, Washington Post, July 28, 2004. A profile of ClinicalTrials.gov, which today won one of Harvard's Innovations in American Government Awards. Excerpt: "ClinicalTrials.gov was the brainchild of Alexa McCray, director of the Lister Hill National Center for Biomedical Communications, an intramural research division of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Taking the lead from the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act 1997, which called for the establishment of a clinical trials registry that would be available to the public, McCray turned to the Internet to ensure an accessible and user-friendly resource for everyone from patients to health care professionals. Since its inception in February 2000, the federally funded database has been embraced by millions of people trying to pick their way through the often byzantine world of clinical trials....'I really believe that patients have the right to this kind of information, whether it's clinical trials data or the latest literature on medical breakthroughs or just getting a better understanding of some condition that you or a family member suffers from,' [McCray] said....Over the last two years, about 250 drug companies have registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, putting about 1,300 trials on the site, McCray said. She said she believes mandatory registration would lead to more effective research. 'It would go very far in ensuring transparency in the whole clinical research enterprise,' McCray said. "If you knew that a particular trial had taken place, you could track down what happened, and you could do better meta-analyses and systematic reviews. I believe patients have the right to know what's going on, because after all they have volunteered to participate in such an experiment and have perhaps put themselves at risk."
Update. The NIH press release on the Innovations in American Government Award is now online.
Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics is published by the Institute of Statistical Mathematics (ISM) in Tokyo. The fulltext backfiles include only those articles to which ISM holds the copyright. Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics - Fulltext v1-39 (1949-1987); ISSN: 0020-3157. Commercial distribution, v49+ (1997+), is handled via Kluwer. In addition, ISM provides free access to the Japanese-language journal, To-kei Su-ri [Proceedings of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics]. To-kei Su-ri [Proceedings of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics] - Fulltext v43-51 (1995-2003); ISSN: 0912-6112.
Annals of Mathematics is available as an Open Access journal via Project Euclid. Annals of Mathematics - Fulltext v153+ (2001+); ISSN: 0003-486X. Additional backfiles are available through JSTOR. Annals of Mathematics - Fulltext new series v1-12 (1884-1899), 2nd series v1+ (1899+) 5-year moving wall. EMIS mirrors the recent material. Annals of Mathematics - Fulltext v148(3)+ (1998+).
The World Health Organization (WHO) has released a framework paper on how intellectual property rights can help or hinder public health. The focus is much more on how patents affect the development and distribution of medicines than on how copyrights affect the publication and sharing of knowledge. However, WHO is soliciting public opinion on the issues (for about four weeks) and might welcome a copyright thread to supplement the patent thread. One of the questions for comment is whether the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH) is omitting any important issues.
From the Outsell Now blog posting on the US NIH plan and the UK report: "In Outsell's opinion, the funding question is the key to the success of open access. Until the foundations and public agencies that fund research fully commit to footing the bill for open access publication as part of their funding matrix, open access won't really take off. Both of these actions are a strong step in that direction, but 'show me the money' is the name of the game." (PS: Clearly money helps. But Outsell must distinguish OA publishing, in journals, from OA archiving. In the case of OA archiving, the focus of both the US and UK plans, funding-agency money is less important than funding-agency policies to condition research grants on a willingness to archive the results.)
Oxford to Move Journal to Full Open Access, Library Journal, July 27, 2004. A short, unsigned news note. "After positive initial results from Oxford University Press's open access 'experiment' with Nucleic Acids Research (NAR), the press announced it will move to a full open access publishing model from January 2005. It has been published under a subscription model for 32 years and includes around 1000 original research papers per year; OUP said NAR was 'the first journal of such stature to make a complete switch from a subscription to OA model.' Said Martin Richardson, managing director of Oxford Journals, 'To fulfill our role as a university press we felt a responsibility to the scholarly communities we represent to explore it as a viable publishing model.' Rachel Goode, communications manager, noted that there is a huge correlation between institutions that subscribe to NAR and authors who contribute to it, making the journal a particularly good candidate for open access. 'I don't think the market is ready beyond certain subject areas,' she said."
The presentations from the workshop, Putting Eprints Software into the User Community (London, June 23, 2004), are now online.
The ACRL has released a white paper for its members only, Open Access and the ACRL Serial Publishing Program (June 2004). It also released to the general public its scholarly communications research agenda for the coming year (June 29, 2004). The agenda includes investigating "the extent to which academic libraries are cataloging open access journals", "[u]sage patterns of open access journals" and "[t]he impact of open access journals relative to subscription-based journals, measured in article citations and other factors."
Update. If you are not a member of ACRL and want to see the document, write to Hugh Thompson at email@example.com.
The following are excerpted from the latest issue SciELO News (no14 - May/June 2004). Subscriptions to SciELO News are free. SciELO Peru launched on May 29. The Peruvian ejournal collection already has seven titles. Anales de la Facultad de Medicina - Fulltext v64(3)+ (July/September 2003+); ISSN: 1025-5583. Revista de Gastroenterologia del Peru - Fulltext v23(3)+ (July/September 2003+); ISSN: 1022-5129. Revista de la Sociedad Peruana de Medicina Interna - Fulltext v15(4)+ (2002+); ISSN: 1609-7173. Revista del Instituto de Investigacion de la Facultad de Ingenieria Geologica, Minera, Metalurgica y Geografica - Fulltext v5+ (2002+); ISSN: 1561-0888. Revista Medica Herediana - Fulltext v14(3)+ (September 2003+); ISSN: 1018-130X. Revista Peruana de Biologia - Fulltext v10+ (2003+); ISSN: 1561-0837. Revista Peruana de Medicina Experimental y Salud Publica - Fulltext v20+ (2003+); ISSN: 1726-4634. SciELO Brazil introduced a new title, Planta Daninha - Fulltext v21+ (2003+); ISSN: 0100-8358. In addition, Jornal de Pneumologia became Jornal Brasileiro de Pneumologia. SciELO Spain added Medicina Oral - Fulltext v9+ (2004+); ISSN: 1137-2834. SciELO Public Health, one of the themed SciELO collections, added Revista de Salud Publica from Colombia - Fulltext v5(3)+ (September/December 2003+); ISSN: 0124-0064. As an aside, more extensive backfiles exist for two of the Peruvian titles. Revista del Instituto de Investigacion de la Facultad de Ingenieria Geologica, Minera, Metalurgica y Geografica - Fulltext v1+ (1998+); ISSN: 1561-0888. Revista Peruana de Biologia - Fulltext v5+ (1998+); ISSN: 1561-0837.
PubMed Central has some major treats in store for science libraries and the users of scientific literature in the coming months. Biochemical Journal is the flagship publication of the Biochemical Society. Although the Biochemical Journal's website mentions 'Free online archive', I cannot locate any statement regarding the free portion of the archive. Biochemical Journal will be added to PubMed Central through the JISC/Wellcome Trust Medical Journals Backfiles Digitization Project. I infer from the description at the Wellcome Library that the material published in a calendar year is to be released for free access in January of the following year. Biophysical Journal is the primary journal of the Biophysical Society. The journal's archives at HighWire Press are freely available after a twelve month embargo. The retrodigitization of Biophysical Journal is part of PubMed Central's ongoing backfile scanning project. Biochemical Journal - Fulltext v313+ (1996+) [by subscription]; Print ISSN: 0264-6021 | Online ISSN: 1470-8728. Biophysical Journal - Fulltext v74+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0006-3495 | Online ISSN: 1542-0086. PS - Dana Roth found the following statement:
The Biochemical Journal online archive is free to anyone with internet access. Every year in January, the online content for the previous year becomes free providing access to full papers from 1996 and abstracts from 1976. Full access to the current year of the online journal is restricted to institutions that have a subscription.Biochemical Journal - Fulltext v313+ (1996+) [current calendar year requires subscription]; Print ISSN: 0264-6021 | Online ISSN: 1470-8728. In addition, Roth notes that Biochemical Society Transactions has a similar policy. Biochemical Society Transactions - Fulltext v27+ (1999+) [current calendar year requires subscription]; Print ISSN: 0300-5127 | Online ISSN: 1470-8752.
Andrea Foster and Lila Guterman, American and British Lawmakers Endorse Open-Access Publishing, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 30, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "In a double coup for the open-access movement this month, committees of the U.S. Congress and British Parliament recommended that papers resulting from government-financed research be made available free. The committees recommended that the U.S. and British governments require researchers to deposit in free, online archives any articles that arise from research sponsored, respectively, by the National Institutes of Health and any British agency. The British committee further recommended that journal publishers adopt an open-access model in which authors would pay to publish and subscription fees would be eliminated. Both governments are expected to act on the committees' recommendations this year."
PubMed Central has completed the backfile conversion of Molecular Biology of the Cell, digitizing its predecessor, Cell Regulation. Both titles are provided by the American Society for Cell Biology through PubMed Central's backfile digitization program. Cell Regulation - Fulltext v1-2 (1989-1991). Continued by Molecular Biology of the Cell; ISSN: 1044-2030. Molecular Biology of the Cell - Fulltext v3+ (1992+) 2 month moving wall. Continues Cell Regulation; ISSN: 1059-1524.
Michèle Battisti, Les modèles libres pour l'accès à l'information, Journée d'étude ADBS, May 10, 2004. Looking at different strands of the free information movement (esp. open source, open access) in light of French law. Only an abstract (in French) is free online for non-subscribers.
The July issue of the IFLA Newsletter Africa Section reprints the IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation. Although the statement was adopted by the IFLA board in December 2003, and published in February 2004 (and blogged here at the time), the newsletter only appears twice a year and this is the first issue since the statement was published.
Lorna Campbell, Kerry Blinco, and Jon Mason, Repository Management and Implementation, DEST and JISC-CETIS, 2004. A white paper for alt-i-lab 2004. Acknowledging that preservation and open access are two incentives for using repositories, this paper focuses more on the former than the latter. Also see the related Digital Repository Checklist. (Thanks to the CNI-Announce list.)
Sophie Rovner, Legislators Back Open Access, Chemical & Engineering News, July 26, 2004. On the major OA proposals for taxpayer-funded research in the US and the UK. Excerpt: "Government committees in the U.S. and U.K. are taking steps to promote free online access to scientific literature. Open-access proponents are delighted, but others are concerned about potential risks. The committees' support and other recent endorsements of open-access publishing 'amount to a stinging rebuke of the prevailing subscription-based publishing system,' according to a statement released by Public Library of Science, an open-access publisher. 'Open access is the only acceptable outcome.' Not so fast, responds the Association of American Publishers. 'We don’t oppose open-access publishing, but only its premature and unwarranted imposition through government mandate,' says Barbara J. Meredith, vice president for professional and scholarly publishing....In the U.K., a parliamentary committee last week issued a report on publishing. In 'Scientific Publications: Free For All?' the House of Commons’ Science & Technology Committee voiced its displeasure with the high prices and access limitations that characterize some scientific publishing and offered possible solutions. Research institutions should set up a network of free-access online repositories containing their staff's publications, the committee suggested, and government-funded researchers should put a copy of their publications in these repositories. The government should help fund the repositories and cover fees that authors pay publishers to make their articles open access. The U.K. government will respond to the committee’s report within the next few months."
Richard Poynder, British Politicians Call on U.K. Government to Support Open Access, Information Today, July 26, 2004. Excerpt: "Following 7 months of deliberation, the U.K. House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee has concluded that the current model for scientific publishing is unsatisfactory, and it has called on the U.K. government to support open access (OA)....Indeed the U.K. government may well reject the committee's recommendations: While it is obliged to respond, it does not have to act on the report. Nevertheless, suggested Rick Johnson, director of OA advocacy group SPARC, the case for open access is now so overwhelming that it is only a matter of time, and regardless of the fate of specific proposals there is a 'cumulative impact' evident. 'What is emerging is a broad recognition that taxpayer-funded research is a public good, and a public good that funders get more value out of from use, rather than from supporting a system that makes research a scarce good, and so drives up the price and restricts access.' Examples of the growing pressure to implement OA are not hard to find. The week before the U.K. report was published, the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Appropriations recommended that NIH --the largest science funder in the U.S. federal government-- provide free public access to research articles resulting from NIH-funded research 6 months after publication. And last month, following the example of the U.K., the EU commissioned a study of the STM publishing markets in Europe. But perhaps there is no better evidence of the traction OA now has than the positive spin placed on the U.K. report by Derk Haank, CEO of Springer (and former chairman of Elsevier Science), who appears to have concluded that traditional publishers now have little choice but to respond to calls for OA."