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Open Access publication message, epot's blog, March 14, 2006. Excerpt:
We, scientists, create, provide and judge the science presented to journals. While we are not paid by the publishers, we pay to get access to this science. Publishers who concentrate more and more journals within a few companies use their oligopoly to charge more and more and earn tremendous amounts of money. They use a snobbism about impact factors and the tyranny this exerts on the career of young scientists. We can dilute this power in a simple way. Open access is the only answer. Whenever I have to choose one reference out of several, I shall from now on choose a reference to a paper that I and my readers can access freely on the Internet PubMed. If we all do that, we shall push the impact factor of those journals (printed or not) which do not grudge us. If you agree with this message diffuse it.
Alf Eaton, Open Text Mining Interface (OTMI), HubLog, April 7, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. I have to commend the developers. Insofar as it's useful, however, OTMI will counteract what I've called the software strategy for OA: using very cool and useful tools optimized for OA files as incentives for authors and publishers to make their work OA. OTMI doesn't preserve information about what which sentences are adjacent or even proximate, foiling attempts to reconstruct a readable version of the text. While this is an essential virtue of OTMI for toll-access publishers, I suspect that it's a vice for hard-core text-mining. There have to text-mining applications for which OTMI files will be less useful than full-text originals with sentence-sequence and other contextual information intact. In any case, OTMI will reduce the number of text-mining apps that support the software strategy for OA.
Last November (11/29/05), the University of Iowa Faculty Senate adopted a resolution calling on faculty and administrators to support OA journals and repositories. George Porter has learned that the vote was unanimous.
Last month (3/22/06), the Iowa Graduate Student Senate adopted a similar resolution. Excerpt:
The University of Iowa Graduate Student Senate:
Mike Shanahan and Luisa Massarani, PanAfrica: 'Breakthrough' Reached On Access to Biodiversity Data, SciDev.Net, April 7, 2006. Excerpt:
BioResources is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from North Carolina State University. According to today's announcement, it will focus "on sustainable manufacture using lignocellulosic or woody biomass resources and agricultural residues."
Not only is the journal new, but it's the first OA journal to be hosted by Scholarly Exchange, the non-profit platform for OA journals launched last October. Congratulations to both on their joint debut.
Richard Poynder has posted his interview with Lawrence Lessig. This is the latest installment of The Basement Interviews, Poynder's blog-based OA book of interviews with leaders of many related openness initiatives. Excerpt:
Charles Bailey has written short introductions to three of the leading open-source systems for journal management: HyperJournal, Open Journal Systems, and DPubS.
In a posting yesterday to several OA-related lists, Donat Agosti summarized the good news from the recent Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Curtiba, Brazil, March 20-31, 2006).
COP-8, the follow-up conference of the parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, ended on March 31 with a decision of importance for our work. Here the excerpt:
The Spring issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. In this issue Walt digests a good number of articles on the Open Content Alliance and Google Book Search, and a few others on Google Scholar, Open J-Gate, and OA itself. Most have appeared here in OAN, but not with his comments.
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni testified today before the NIH-appropriating subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK) asked him a question about the low compliance rate for the NIH public-access policy. According to an observer present for the testimony, the dialog went something like this (not an official or even unofficial transcript):
Comment. Remember that the NLM Board of Regents recommended a mandate as the solution to the problem of low compliance.
There are two pieces of good news here. (1) Dr. Zerhouni thinks a mandate may be necessary and, contrary to appearances, even easier to adopt than a shorter embargo. (2) There's good evidence that the "sweet spot" for biomedical journals is considerably shorter than six months (more on this later), giving us a fair chance to answer his doubts.
I'll blog the official transcript of this dialog as soon as I can in order to confirm the accuracy of this account.
SHERPA is hiring a Services Development Officer "to be involved in the development of the global SHERPA/Romeo database." From today's announcement:
Work will involve liaison with publishers, authors, researchers and research-funders. This work on such a high profile international project is a great opportunity to achieve personal success and recognition within an active and rapidly developing field. The post will involve some travel within the UK and abroad.
Fewer charges for website content, BBC News, April 5, 2006. An unsigned news story. (Thanks to Jacob Bettany.) Excerpt:
The number of UK media groups charging for online content has nearly halved over the last year, according to the Association of Online Publishers (AOP). The association said just 37% of its members now charged for some online content, compared with 63% in 2005....AOP's members include IPC Media, BSkyB, Reuters, BBC, FT.com, The Economist Group, Guardian Unlimited and Which?. Its survey of members for 2006 showed that display advertising was still the main source of income, making up an average of 41% of online revenues. Paid-for content was responsible for 18% of all revenues, while sponsorship made up 9%. The AOP said that the proportion of its members saying they were unlikely to start charging for online content had risen from 18% in 2004 to 43% in 2006.
Catherine Varmazis, Web 2.0: Scientists Need to Mash It Up, Bio-IT World, April 6, 2006. Notes from the "Web 2.0" workshop at Bio-IT World’s Life Sciences Conference + Expo in Boston this week. Excerpt:
Comment. I hope someone at the conference mentioned that the first step in optimizing scientific datasets for useful mashups is to make them open access. Or is everyone just taking for granted that OA is the future, both for research literature and research data, and planning how to take full advantage of it?
Jan Velterop, Back to nature, The Parachute, April 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Information, in its natural state, flows freely. It spreads to wherever it can go, like water. It grows even in the process. Like the biblical loaves and fishes, which fed thousands and when everyone was satisfied, the remains amounted to more than the original basket full. Substitute 'food for thought' for 'food' in that story, and it doesn't sound so miraculous at all anymore....For information and knowledge, open access is nature. Unfortunately, the second part of this sentence cannot be reversed and still be true, but that may yet come. Also unfortunate is that considerable amounts of intellectual efforts as well as financial resources are devoted to keeping the constructs needed to restrict information up to the task and enforceable. This is particularly unfortunate in the academic realm, where information and knowledge is primarily generated to be added to the 'noosphere', the knowledge sphere on which the whole world should be able to draw. The reason why so much effort is being spent on restricting the free flow of information is clear, of course. Validating, organising, and disseminating information and knowledge is costly, is a value added to make the information and knowledge usable and reliable, and needs to be paid for somehow....[T]he question that needs to be asked is, shouldn't the formidable intellectual efforts and resources that are now being spent on maintaining and refining the ancient restriction regime, be better spent on finding new ways to financially support the free flow of information and knowledge, suited to the circumstances of today? Especially since, ironically, that regime was developed centuries ago when copyright was conceived as a way of supporting the technology of its day in order to make the information flow more freely. Open access is nature. Is it not better to harness and use the forces of nature to our benefit, rather than to fight them?
Péter Jacsó, Oxford Journals Collection, Thomson Gale Reference Reviews, April 2006. Excerpt:
Glyn Moody, Gutenberg 2.0: the birth of open content, LWN.net, March 29, 2006. Excerpt:
A previous LWN.net feature examined the parallels between open source and open access, which strives for the free online availability of the academic knowledge distilled into research papers. Although it has some particular characteristics of its own, open access can be considered part of a wider move to gain free online access to general digital content. The roots of this open content movement, as it came to be called, go back to before the Internet existed, and when even computers were relatively rare beasts. In 1971, the year Richard Stallman joined the MIT AI Lab, Michael Hart was given an operator's account on a Xerox Sigma V mainframe at the University of Illinois. Since he estimated this computer time had a nominal worth of $100 million, he felt he had an obligation to repay this generosity by using it to create something of comparable and lasting value. His solution was to type in the US Declaration of Independence, roughly 5K of ASCII, and to attempt to send it to everyone on ARPANET (fortunately, this trailblazing attempt at spam failed). His insight was that once turned from analogue to digital form, a book could be reproduced endlessly for almost zero additional cost - what Hart termed "Replicator Technology". By converting printed texts into etexts, he was able to create something whose potential aggregate value far exceeded even the heady figure he put on the computing time he used to generate it. The Replicator idea is similar to one of the key defining characteristics of free software: that it can be copied endlessly, at almost no marginal cost. Hart's motivation for this move - the creation of a huge permanent store of human knowledge - is very different from Stallman's reason for starting the GNU project, which is powered by his commitment to spreading freedom. But on the Project Gutenberg site, there is a discussion about the ambiguity of the word "free" that could come straight from Stallman: "The word free in the English language does not distinguish between free of charge and freedom. .... Fortunately almost all Project Gutenberg ebooks are free of charge and free as in freedom." There are other interesting parallels between the two men....
The OA Journal of Intercultural and Interdisciplinary Archaeology (JIIA) has launched the JIIA Eprints Repository, which is OAI-compliant and built on Eprints. (Thanks to IOSA.)
Comment. If JIIA is now depositing all its articles in an OAI-compliant repository, then I applaud it. When OA journals deposit their articles in OA repositories, they add OAI harvesting to the means for making their content discoverable. When the repository is independent of the publisher (as PubMed Central is independent of PLoS and BMC), they assure users that the content will remain available, and remain OA, even if the journal should fold, be bought out, or change its access policies. How independent is this repository from this journal? I don't know; but even if not at all, it can still play the first role. Will its scope be limited to JIIA articles or will it accept preprints, postprints from other journals, and generally aim to become the subject-area repository for archaeology? So far nothing at the journal site or the repository site helps to answer this question.
Michael Cross, Public services now have legal means to open up, The Guardian, April 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Heather Morrison, Open Peer Review & Collaboration, a presentation at Drexel CoAs Talks, Philadelphia and Vancouver, 2006. From the abstract:
This brief presentation summarizes my present view on the transformative potential of a fully open access approach in the area of peer review. While a great deal of research has been done on peer review per se..., progress in science depends not just on incremental progress, but also on periodically reexamining our most basic assumptions. It is timely to do this with peer review - a long-standing tradition which may have evolved from the time of the Inquisition... - not an optimal approach for Galileo, and perhaps not an optimal approach in our day and age, either....[P]eer review is really a form of collaboration, of researchers working together, critiquing and supporting each other. Why not work openly and collaboratively together as peers throughout the research process, rather than submitting finished work for blind peer review when it is finished? There likely are differences in potential for rapid change in different research areas. For example, in an area which bridges pharmacology and toxicology, where a slight error could be fatal - let's be careful with our quality controls, and keep traditional peer review until a better method is found. Most areas of research, however, have no such dire consequences, and there is no reason not to move forward, and experiment with new methods.
Rebeca Cliffe, Research Assessment Exercise: Bowing Out In Favor of Metrics, EPS Insights, April 3, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
The move to a new metrics based system will no doubt please those who see a role for institutional repositories in monitoring research quality. The online environment has thrown up new metrics, which could be used alongside traditional measures such as citations. Usage can be measured at the point of consumption - the number of 'hits' on a particular article can indicate the uptake of the research. Web usage would be expected to be an early indicator of how often the article is later cited. Some believe that institutional repositories should be used as the basis for ongoing assessment of all UK peer-reviewed research output by mandating that researchers should place material in repositories. They argue that this would allow usage to be measured earlier, through downloads of both pre-prints and post-prints. Of course, this course of action would also advance the cause of open access by making this research available free.
Paul Albright, Open Educational Resources, UNESCO, undated but released April 4, 2006. The final report of a six-week forum on open educational resources (OER) convened by UNESCO in late 2005. Forum participants included 490 individuals from 90 countries. See UNESCO's press release. Excerpt from the report itself:
The OER movement is breaking down barriers that have blocked access to academic content. Until recently, most electronic course content was locked up behind passwords within proprietary systems, noted the forum’s initial moderator, Sally Johnstone. OER represents a major step toward sharing teaching materials, methods and tools, just as academics have shared their work in scholarly papers for a long time. The result is to augment teaching resources while expanding knowledge opportunities for learners and faculty members. Throughout the forum, a forthright exchange of views stimulated thought and ideas that can advance the cause of OER. Participants stressed the importance of providing open, accessible and superior higher education content for a global community of teachers and scholars, students and lifelong learners. Whether OERs are categorized as ‘open access’ or ‘free content’, they collectively promote autonomy and self-reliance within the learning community. Without the constraints of time or geography, the power of education is released to combat economic, social and cultural obstacles. Through independent, self-determined learning and open academic content, the individual is able to grow intellectually beyond previous personal, institutional or local boundaries. Other benefits range from developing valuable work skills to engaging in life-enriching, lifelong learning....The main challenge to widening access to OER lies in overcoming reticence and uncertainty within the academic community. Although participants reported a growing awareness of OER, many emphasized the need to explain and promote the institutional benefits, and to provide incentives for faculty members to become actively involved....There appears to be a growing tension between the ‘ethical push’ to promote open access to knowledge and the need for university managers to “maximize income from their key assets.” How can OER fit into this increasingly commercial, financially and intellectually competitive framework for higher education?
As expected, the Université du Québec à Montréal has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge, becoming the first North American university to do so. At the same time, it has adopted an OA policy. From today's announcement:
Berlin is a Declaration of principle. The next step is to put it into practice, which UQaM is likewise preparing to do shortly, by relaunching its Institutional Repository and it will soon be registering its institutional commitment in:
PS: I'll blog the policy details as soon as they're available.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is developing an OA policy. (Thanks to Leslie Chan.) From yesterday's announcement:
CIHR is initiating a process to develop a research policy that will promote access to the knowledge and resources generated from CIHR-funded research. Currently, CIHR encourages recipients of research support to make the results of all research publicly available. However, CIHR does not have a formal policy governing access to the products of CIHR-funded research, including physical products, research data and published results. The aim is to establish a policy that will both help researchers gain access to the products of research and support CIHR's efforts in facilitating the translation and use of knowledge, while taking into account ethical and legal considerations. Furthermore, as a recipient of public funds there is an obligation to Canadians to ensure that the results and products of research supported by CIHR are disseminated as widely as possible so that all parties benefit from these research outcomes.
Update. The announcement above solicited comments but didn't say when they were due. A new release from CIHR says that comments are due by May 15, 2006. CIHR has also posted an online survey to collect stakeholder opinions.
Arthur Sale, Comparison of content policies for institutional repositories in Australia, First Monday, April 2006.
Abstract: Seven Australian universities have established institutional repositories (containing research articles, also known as eprints) that can be analyzed for content and which were in operation during 2004 and 2005. This short paper analyses their content and shows that a requirement to deposit research output into a repository coupled with effective author support policies works in Australia and delivers high levels of content. Voluntary deposit policies do not, regardless of any author support by the university. This is consistent with international data.
Robin Peek, NIH Public Access Update, Information Today, April 6, 2006. Excerpt:
As I reported last in April’s “Focus on Publishing” column, the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) policy on giving the public access to the research that it funds had a stormy beginning....The storm clouds are brewing again with two very different approaches to resolving the notion of how to insure access. The first is embedded rather deeply in the bowels of the bipartisan Cures Bill would seeks to expedite development of new therapies and cures for life-threatening diseases that was introduced on December 7th by Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Thad Cochran (R-MS)....Section 499H-1 of the bill will require that...Department of Health and Human Services grantees shall provide the NLM “an electronic copy of the final version of all peer-reviewed manuscripts accepted for publication for display on their digital library archive, PubMed Central, within 6 months from the date of publication.” Should grantees fail to comply with this 6 month requirement they could lose federal funding....In late October supporters of the Washington DC Principles Coalition, a group of not-for-profit publishers and societies that formed in 2004, openly offered the NIH an alternative proposal. Instead of further developing PubMed Central, they argue that a public-private partnership with NIH could use existing links from PubMed to individual journal web sites....This is the same proposal they made a year-and-half ago," observed [Heather] Joseph [Director of SPARC]. "It’s a good plan, but it doesn"t go the extra step we need it to go." That step, Joseph explained, is "access now and in perpetuity" for all publicly funded research....But the bottom line is that the NIH doesn’t need the Cures bill to change its policy-it could simply change its policy. In fact, this conversion to a firm six month requirement is what the NIH’s Public Access Working Group, established when the NIH policy was implemented, recommended at its November 15th meeting.
Ken Korman, Exploring the Digital Universe, eLearningScotland, April 4, 2006. Excerpt:
It's no surprise that the Digital Universe is scarcely mentioned in the press-or in conversation-without the word "Wikipedia" trailing closely behind. This happens not only because "the contrast with Wikipedia turned out to be a valid one," as Digital Universe Foundation president Bernard Haisch now points out, but because Larry Sanger, the Digital Universe's director of distributed content, was a co-founder of Wikipedia, and actually found his way to the Digital Universe after Haisch read Sanger's now-famous online essay, "Why Wikipedia Must Jettison Its Anti-Elitism." But the Digital Universe family tree extends back farther than the relatively recent Wikipedia....Sanger recalls that "the culture of Nupedia [which used rigorous editorial review of submissions] dominated Wikipedia for the first nine months to a year" but that things then started to change. Wikipedia's worldwide network of contributors had been "relatively respectful toward experts, but it became more of a free-for-all," something many would come to view as an extreme, if worthwhile, experiment in the democratization of the Web. Disdain for subject-matter expertise seemed to grow exponentially among Wikipedia contributors, and Sanger, in frustration, cut all ties with Wikipedia in 2003....[Joe] Firmage's vision for the Digital Universe not only encompassed Sanger's belief in content largely created, and carefully reviewed, by qualified experts, but also identified a larger need to restore depth and meaning to the Web itself....[T]he ultimate benefactor [of Digital Universe] would be the public, which would finally have free and open access to the kind of high-quality content originally envisioned by many for the Web....[Haisch] described a kind of hybrid approach in which the public contributes to the main encyclopedia by developing content in a private workspace overseen by [subject-matter experts], who eventually decide which pages are published on the live site. This process will undoubtedly undergo further development, but the goal will be to maintain openness for those who really want to contribute while achieving a level of quality for which the Digital Universe hopes to be known...."We're really trying to start a movement," Sanger explains. "Up until recently, the Web has been dominated by corporations on one hand, and by an essentially immature hacker culture on the other. I would like to see professionals and intellectuals getting together... for purposes of essentially teaching the world." Teaching the world is a big job. But the Digital Universe seems as likely a venue as any for idealism to make a welcome comeback on the Web.
Nine law professors at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen have published a 218 page OA manual on the Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen von Open-Access-Publikationen or basic legal conditions of open access publications. (Thanks to Golem.de.)
Update (April 10, 2006). Also see Klaus Graf's critical review of this book (in German).
Mark Pitsch, Libraries cut back: Universities struggle to afford academic journals, Courier-Journal (of Louisville, Kentucky), April 3, 2006. Excerpt:
University of Louisville medical professor Toni Miles said she sometimes can't get the latest scholarly information in her field, geriatrics. That's because the rising cost of academic journals and databases has forced U of L and other schools in Kentucky and nationwide to cut and forgo subscriptions, or to find more money by dipping into budgets for books, audiovisual materials and microfilm....Some [journals] are relatively inexpensive, such as Theatre Journal, which cost U of L $131 this year. But U of L is spending more than $21,000 a year on the Journal of Comparative Neurology....The University of Kentucky also has been hit by the cost of academic journals, removing 1,000 this year. "It's killing libraries," Carol P. Diedrichs, dean of libraries at UK, said of journal costs. At U of L, the increased cost of journals has led to cuts in book purchases, mostly in humanities and social sciences. This year rising journal prices have led to a $550,000 budget deficit, U of L officials said....Journal costs at U of L have risen from $5.4 million in 2000-01 to $7.2 million in 2004-05, the latest year available. During the same period, it spent less on new books, $1.2 million in 2004-05 compared with $2.2 million in 2000-01. U of L also spent less over the period on microfilm, audiovisual material and preservation. Journal costs at the University of Kentucky rose from $5.1 million to $6.8 million between 1999-2000 and 2004-05. During that period, yearly spending on books has fluctuated between $1.4 million and $2.6 million, including infusions of endowment money. Diedrichs said UK would like to subscribe to some journals and online databases that it can't afford. But she estimates she'll need $400,000 more next year just to prevent further journal cutbacks. Marty Rosen, director of library services at Indiana University Southeast, said his school has increased its access to academic journals. While it has reduced its print journal collection from 1,200 to about 800 in recent years because of rising costs, IUS has added 6,000 electronic journals, he said....Cutbacks on purchases of books, journals and other materials can interfere with student and faculty research and learning, experts say. "Libraries are able to provide access to less and less of the research that's produced, and that's slowing down the advance of research, whether it's health care, help to the local economy or pure research," said Karla Hahn, director of scholarly communication for the Association of Research Libraries, which includes the U of L and UK libraries. Hahn noted that quick access to research is especially important in medical fields. "If your research is working with patients, having to wait for access to an article is not a trivial issue," she said....Diedrichs said schools are encouraged to buy electronic journals in a package to save money, but that leaves libraries with less choice. "I'm forced to buy some of those I don't really want," Diedrichs said. Publishers also publish more research papers each year, leading to increased costs, said Karen Hunter, a vice president for Elsevier, which publishes about 1,800 journals and several academic databases. Hunter also said the publishers are in business to make money. "We know the difficulties our academic libraries have. Because if they can't afford the journals then they have to cancel, and that doesn't help anyone," she said.
Vernon Totanes, Open Access in the Third World, Filipino Librarian, March 3, 2006. Excerpt:
The European Commission has released its lengthy (108 pp.) and long-awaited report, Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe. (Thanks to INIST-CNRS.) The report is dated January 2006 but was not apparently released until today. The underlying inquiry was announced in June 2004. Excerpt:
Aware of current public debates that reveal worries about the conditions of access and dissemination of scientific publications, the European Commission’s Directorate- General for Research has commissioned a study that seeks: (i) to assess the evolution of the market for scientific publishing; and (ii) to discuss the potential desirability of Europeanlevel measures to help improve the conditions governing access to and the exchange, dissemination and archiving of scientific publications (taking into account all actors/ stakeholders of the sector)....The report considers the specificities of the market for current journal issues. In doing so, it discusses the broad facts about the market; it undertakes a quantitative analysis of journal prices; it discusses the implications of technological innovation on pricing strategies and the dynamics of entry; and it analyzes the implication of these developments in terms of competition policy. It also discusses the various alternatives for disseminating and accessing scientific publications. This includes the question of access to research results on individual web pages or in public repositories, the development of openaccess journals as well as other alternatives, such as pay-per-view, the question of the longterm preservation of electronic publications and the use of standards to ensure interoperability between systems....[M]uch of scientific activity is publicly funded: the output of research is typically not bought by journals but ‘donated’ by publicly-funded researchers; so are to a large extent refereeing services for the evaluation of research; and finally, journals are bought by publicly-funded researchers or, more often now, by publicly-funded libraries. It is therefore crucial for public authorities to form a view on the relative efficiency of the scientific publication process.... In view of the libraries’ ongoing budgetary difficulties and of the opportunities provided by information technologies, and acknowledging the significant part of public funds involved in the scientific publishing process, a movement in favor of open access to scientific information has gained scale in the research community and research-related organizations. Declarations in favor of open access, such as Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, were signed by thousands of individuals and by major research institutions and research funding bodies around the world. These concerns about access to research results have been echoed by the civil society (e.g. at the World Summit on the Information Society) and by political bodies at national and international levels (e.g. the OECD Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding). In the UK, the House of Commons (2004) recommended that public funding agencies require open access to publicly-funded research through deposit of the publications in the authors’ institutional repositories. Following these declarations and recommendations, several important research funding bodies have established policies urging their funded researchers to publish in open access journals, offering to pay the publication fees if any, and/or to deposit their articles in an open access repository (e.g. the US National Institutes of Health, the UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust, CERN…). These policies have raised publishers and learned societies’ concerns about the potential threat on their existence and activities: they fear that as articles become freely available in open archives and as search, access and retrieval facilities are enhanced by search engines and interoperability, journal subscriptions will be cancelled, thereby undermining the viability of their journals. Starting from this global economic and research-policy context, this report provides an independent analysis of the conditions regarding access and dissemination of research results, with a view to maximizing societal returns on R&D investments....
Comment. This is big. Recommedation A1 doesn't directly call for an OA mandate to publicly-funded research, but it does call for a "guarantee" of OA, asserts that OA archiving "could become a condition of funding", and proposes that a mandate is one action that "could be taken at the European level". If the authors are distinguishing a guarantee from a mandate, then I'd like to hear more about it. But "even" a guarantee would be extremely welcome. Moreover, the recommendation calls for OA "shortly after publication". I hope this report strengthens the final draft of the RCUK policy, triggers the adoption of OA policies at the national level across Europe, and increases the odds that the nascent European Research Council will mandate OA to ERC-funded research.
Kathleen Fitzpatrick, On the Importance of the Collective in Electronic Publishing, The Valve, March 30, 2006. Excerpt:
Ulrich Herb has written a review of the conference on Open Access to Grey Resources (Nancy, December 5-6, 2005). It appeared in The Grey Journal, Spring 2006. Excerpt:
Defining Grey Literature as...“Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body” OA to grey literature is – due to the absence of publishing houses – less affected by licence arrangements than OA to white literature....
I just mailed the April issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter. This issue takes a close look at the new open access policy at Germany's DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or German Research Foundation). The Top Stories section takes a brief look at the problem of OA to avian flu data, the campaign for OA to geodata in the UK, two OA presses from US universities, financial incentives at the University of Minho to fill its OA repository, and the new finding by the ALPSP that librarians are much more likely to cancel journals because of high prices than because of OA archiving.
Jan Velterop, Of cost and value, The Parachute, April 2, 2006. Excerpt:
Kate Corby's review of John Willinsky's book The Access Principle...says that "Perhaps the strongest point this book makes is that openly accessible scholarly information is more valuable [than] information published in journals with limited access."
Comment. I don't object to author-side processing fees as a business model for OA journals. In fact, like Jan, I wish universities would join funding agencies in their willingness to pay them. I only object (1) when people call this business model the "author pays" model, or (2) when people assume that this is the only business model for OA journals. In fact, these fees are usually paid by funders or employers, not by authors out of pocket; when funders and employers won't pay the fees, journals often waive them; and the majority of OA journals charge no author-side fees at all.
Kristin Antelman, Self-archiving practice and the influence of publisher policies in the social sciences, Learned Publishing, April 2006. Only the abstract is free online, at least so far.
Authors in different disciplines exhibit very different behaviours on the so-called 'green' road to open access, i.e. self-archiving. This study looks at the self-archiving behaviour of authors publishing in leading journals in six social science disciplines. It tests the hypothesis that authors are self-archiving according to the norms of their respective disciplines rather than following self-archiving policies of publishers, and that, as a result, they are self-archiving significant numbers of publisher PDF versions. It finds significant levels of self-archiving, as well as significant self-archiving of the publisher PDF version, in all the disciplines investigated. Publishers' self-archiving policies have no influence on author self-archiving practice.
(PS: Several articles from the same issue might touch on OA issues, but I can't tell from the abstracts. See the TOC.)
Update. There is now an OA copy of the full-text at E-LIS.