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An announcement from Neil Jacobs:
A new book, documenting the major strands and issues of open access, will be published 17th July.
Heather Morrison, Open Access for Librarians in Developing Countries, a background paper for the COADY online seminar on The Open Access Movement and Information for Development, May 29 - June 9, 2006. Self-archived July 1, 2006.
Abstract: The basics of open access are presented, as a starting point for discussion by librarians in developing countries. Open access is defined; resources for searching are presented, and resources for creating open access archives and publications. Policy development needed for open access is explained, along with what librarians in developing countries can do to promote open access.
Heather Morrison, Dramatic Growth June 2006, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, June 30, 2006. There's a lot of good data of which I can only excerpt a small amount:
Growth [in the second quarter of 2006] continued very strong in both the gold and green roads. DOAJ, today at 2,292 journals, added 134 journal titles, an increase of about 1 and 1/2 titles per day (calendar days, not business days), about an equivalent of a 25% annual increase. More than half a million items were added to an OAIster search, for a total of more than 7.6 million items, or about the equivalent of a 24% annual increase. At the current rate of growth, an OAIster search can be anticipated to encompass more than a billion items before the end of 2007....
LibertyTextbooks is taking what it considers to be the best of the open-access textbooks, putting them on a CD, and giving the CD to university professors who might not have considered using OA textbooks. It's coordinating the project with the affordable textbook campaign.
PS: Good idea. This would be especially useful in developing countries where bandwidth is low and CD copies of OA content often work better than online copies.
T.D. Wilson and E. Maceviciute, Conference Report: Third Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication, Lund 24-25 April, 2006, ScieComm.info, July 3, 2006. A version of this report also appeared in Information Research for April 2006.
Stevan Harnad, Fixing the few flaws in the RCUK self-archiving mandates by pinning down WHEN and WHERE to deposit, Open Access Archivangelism, June 30, 2006.
Summary: The three recent RCUK self-archiving mandates (ESRC, BBSRC, MRC) are extremely timely and welcome, but they still have two serious -- though easily remedied -- flaws. They are vague about both (1) WHEN and (2) WHERE research should be self-archived:
Leader, In praise of ... open access, The Guardian, July 1, 2006.
"Information wants to be free" has been a rallying cry of the digital age. This week three of Britain's public funding bodies, the Medical Research Council, the Economic and Social Research Council, and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, added their voices, announcing they would require studies they had funded to be placed in open online archives. Although some details remain to be worked out - notably the time lag between journal publication and online archiving - this marks a leap towards allowing free access to the fruits of Britain's scientific research. The three research councils are following in the wake of the Wellcome Trust's decision to require recipients of its medical research grants to make their results available online within six months of publication. This marks a serious challenge to the former middlemen of research, the journal publishers who have enjoyed a profitable business model of being able to charge substantial margins on free content and effectively compulsory purchase. That is a model that cannot not survive long into the digital era, when online publication and distribution see marginal costs disappear towards zero. This newspaper has campaigned for publicly funded data to be made available, and the case is even more compelling for publicly funded research. This maximises the benefits to society and the taxpayers' investment. Information ought to be free and should be helped to escape its chains.
JISC has issued a press release on JULIET (June 30):
Scirus Indexes Saarland University’s PsyDok Repository, a press release from Elsevier, June 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Elsevier announced today that Scirus, its free science-specific search engine, has added the contents of PsyDok, the psychology-based repository, to its index through a partnership with Saarland University, Germany. As part of its Repository Search service, Scirus is also powering the discovery service on the PsyDok site. PsyDok, developed at Saarland University and State Library (SULB), collects and preserves psychology-related journal articles, post prints, prepublications, reports, and dissertations....
Stephen J. Grabill, The Economics of Information Control, Journal of Markets and Morality, Spring 2006. (Thanks to Jonathan Spalink.) Excerpt:
It takes a lot to make me mad..., CharteringLibrarian, June 29, 2006. Excerpt:
Update. Lisa Dittrich's full post is now available on the AmSci OA Forum archive.
Balaji Ravichandran, Head of Public Library of Science defends financial security of publishing group, BMJ, July 1, 2006. BMJ only provides OA to the first few paragraphs:
The head of a leading online publishing house, the Public Library of Science (PLoS), has defended the financial viability of the venture after an article in Nature last week (2006;441:914) suggested that the author-pays model of funding publications, which PLoS uses, may be in crisis.
Richard Smith, Give it to me straight, doc, The Guardian, June 30, 2006.
The Public Domain Works DB is a new, OA database of cultural works in the public domain. Still under construction, the present alpha version focuses on musical recordings. The database is a joint project of Free Culture UK and the Open Knowledge Foundation.
Thanks to Rufus Pollock, who adds this comment on the OKF blog:
This is a great ‘open knowledge’ project in that it combines code and data and has a strong focus on information reuse. The project aims to provide much more than ‘yet another website’ by delivering a solid database of metadata in raw form that can be reused by different projects (for example those working on the public domain, those working on orphan works, those doing bibliography). To succeed in doing this one the most interesting questions is the development of an effective ‘knowledge API’ in the form of persistent identifiers for the underlying works and artists.
Comment. The perverse state of copyright law makes this project very welcome. But in a better world, we'd have a database of works under copyright (with contact info on the rights-holders) and a legal presumption that everything else was in the public domain.
NBC Nightly News broadcast a story on Wednesday about how it came to embrace YouTube after initially protesting its unpermitted use of NBC content. This is not about scholarly communication, of course, and the story starts with a clear, if beneficial, infringement of NBC's copyright. But look past those differences to the fact that NBC changed its mind about YouTube when it realized that the new medium could greatly enhance its visibility and impact. (Thanks to Public Knowledge.)
First national e-theses system launched in Wales, a press release from JISC, June 29, 2006. Excerpt:
Electronic theses held at Welsh universities can now be automatically deposited at the National Library of Wales thanks to a JISC project – the Repository Bridge - which has successfully completed its work.
BioMed Central welcomes UK research councils actions to promote open access, a press release, June 29, 2006. Excerpt:
The time for sitting on flu data is over, Nature, June 28, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). An unsigned editorial. Unfortunately, I don't have access, but here's an excerpt from Declan Butler's blog posting on it:
Indonesia has become the hot spot of avian flu, with the virus spreading quickly in animal populations, and human cases occurring more often there than elsewhere. Yet from 51 reported human cases so far — 39 of them fatal — the genetic sequence of only one flu virus strain has been deposited in GenBank, the publicly accessible database for such information.
From the Kucinich letter:
Pandemic preparedness planning demands all the scientific resources we can muster. Yet, access to some critical data on avian influenza is being restricted by countries and a few scientists for various reasons including intellectual property rights. As explained in the attached letter to Secretary Leavitt [Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services or HHS], there are already models of public databases that provide protection for such concerns. Please join me in asking Secretary Leavitt to advocate that data from HHS funded research on avian influenza, and in particular, genetic sequences, be promptly placed in a publicly accessible database....
From Declan Butler's blog posting:
[The belief that prestigious journals will not publish articles whose underlying data are already public is] ill-researched;...[anyone who read] the Dreams of Flu Data editorial [Nature, March 16, 2006]...could rest assured that: “Nature and its associated journals are not alone in supporting the rapid prior exposure of data when there are acute public-health necessities.”...
Comment. For background, see my April article on OA to avian flu data.
Note to Nature: Given the topic and urgency, wouldn't it make more sense to provide OA to this editorial than to charge $30 for pay-per-view?
Creative destruction in the library, The Economist, June 29, 2006. An unsigned news story. Excerpt:
The normal mechanism [of academic journal publication] is that scientists offer the fruits of their research-- often bankrolled by the taxpayer-- for nothing to publishers. Those publishers then charge money to people who wish to read their journals. Publishers have been making handsome profits from this arrangement. But change is afoot. Open-access publishing, in which papers are freely available immediately upon publication, is sweeping the dusty corridors. The catch is that the sponsors of research will have to fork out more money to pay for it.
Comment. This is a good survey of recent developments. I have just two corrections.
Richard Wray, Boost for free internet access to public funded research, The Guardian, June 29, 2006. Excerpt:
The push for open access to publicly funded academic research was boosted yesterday as an umbrella body supported placing subscription journals' articles on the internet for free. But the body, Research Councils UK, whose eight members grant to academics an annual £2.5bn of public money, appears to have watered down its initial support for open access.
Update. Wray now has a revised and longer version of this article, same title, same date, same paper, different URL.
British Group Retreats From Requiring Open Access to Research, Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, June 28, 2006.
Correction. In my blog posting yesterday, my quick skim of the eight Research Council web sites led me to overlook the fact that the Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has adopted an OA mandate as strong as that of the Medical Research Council (MRC). Both will mandate OA to the research they fund, effective October 1, 2006. Both will require deposit "at the earliest opportunity", though the MRC adds "and certainly within six months". The MRC requires deposit in PubMed Central while the BBSRC requires deposit "in an appropriate e-print repository". Both apply their policies to agency employees as well as grantees. My apologies for the omission.
MIT looking for African open courseware partners, Tectonic, June 27, 2006. (Thanks to Open Up.) Excerpt:
MIT OpenCourseWare is looking for African educational institutions to offer mirror sites for its free, Web-based teaching materials....Unfortunately, says MIT OpenCourseWare's Farnaz Haghseta, the OCW materials are largely underutilised in many African regions where Internet connectivity is limited. To overcome this limitation, MIT OCW is looking to collaborate with educational institutions that are interested in hosting a mirror site, or a local copy of the MIT OCW materials.
Stevan Harnad, World OA Policy Sweepstakes: UK Retakes Commanding Lead, Open Access Archivangelism, June 28, 2006.
(1) The RCUK’s decision today to let individual funding councils decide for themselves whether or not to mandate OA self-archiving is both good and bad. It is good that the individual councils will be able to mandate it if they wish (and bravo to MRC, BBSRC & ESRC for already doing so: CCLRC is close, and I am sure other councils will be mandating too!), but too bad that consensus by all the councils could not be reached.
David Bollier has blogged some notes on the iCommons iSummit (Rio de Janeiro, June 23-25, 2006). Excerpt:
iCommons is the next stage in the evolution of the movement unleashed by the Creative Commons, whose licenses are now used on more than 145 million creative works. In the course of adapting its licenses to the legal systems of several dozen nations, the Creative Commons has over the past few years attracted some formidable talent -- hundreds of free and open source software programmers, copyright and patent reform activists, bloggers, citizen journalists, indie musicians, Wikipedians, free culture champions, advocates of open access scholarly publishing, scientists seeking to build new knowledge commons, among many others. The CC realized that these folks needed to learn from each other, and collaborate with each other....
Richard Charkin is the CEO of Macmillan, the owner of Nature. Yesterday he posted a note on his blog about the recent Nature article on PLoS' finances (thanks to William Walsh):
...And finally an excellent article in Nature which analyses the financial standing of the most important open access organisation The Public Library of Science. What the article shows is that the 'author pays' model for scientific publishing is likely to be unsustainable without charitable support. I don't think that scientific publishing should be a charitable enterprise. Its innovation and growth has been driven by commercial market pressures to improve which have always been the best guarantee of high-quality service. The alternatives nearly always end in bureaucracy and protection of the status quo.
Alf Eaton has blogged some notes on the RIN conference, Data webs: new visions for research data on the Web (London, June 28, 2006).
Martin Weller, Academic publishing - a rant, The Ed Techie, June 28, 2006. (Thanks to Ray Corrigan.) Excerpt:
PS: Right. I'd just add that the remedy, or the superior alternative, does not lie in "online" journals as such, which may be guilty of the same practices. It lies in open-access journals, which are online but also free of charge and free of the restrictions that prevent authors from sharing their work as widely as possible. Open-access archives are another part of the solution, giving authors the same benefits even if they publish in conventional, non-OA journals.
Steven Bell, Honoring Ray English - ACRL Academic/Research Librarian Of The Year, ACRLog, June 28, 2006. Excerpt:
One of the best ACRL traditions that occurs at ALA conferences is the reception that follows the ACRL President’s Program. The focus of the reception, other than general schmoozing, is to celebrate the winner of the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. The winner of the 2006 award, Ray English, Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries at Oberlin College, was honored at the reception. The award, sponsored by YBP Library Services, recognizes an outstanding member of the library profession who has made a significant national or international contribution to academic/research librarianship and library development....Congratulations to Ray English on receiving the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year award.
PS: I whole-heartedly add (or repeat) my congratulations. Ray is not only a librarian's librarian, but a champion of OA. He's the chair of the SPARC Steering Committee, an active member of the Open Access Working Group --and by chance, co-author (with me) of an article published earlier this month on the FRPAA and CURES bills now before the US Senate.
David Drummond, Germany and the Google Books Library Project, Google Blog, June 28, 2006. Excerpt:
We're delighted that WBG, a German publisher, today decided to drop its petition for a preliminary injunction against the Google Books Library Project. WBG (whose legal action was supported by the German Publishers Association as an industry model) made the decision after being told by the Copyright Chamber of the Regional Court of Hamburg that its petition was unlikely to succeed.
Comment. This is an important decision, though it only applies to German law and isn't apparently final even for German law. It gives long-awaited legal support to Google's key contention: that although it makes full-text copies for indexing, without seeking permission, it only displays short, fair-use snippets to users, and that the length of the displayed snippets is more relevant than the length of the undisplayed copies. Many US lawyers and law professors specializing in copyright law believe that the same argument will prevail in US courts.
Update. Also see the growing news coverage of this story.
SHERPA has launched JULIET, a database of the OA policies adopted by various funding agencies. As of today, it covers the eight Research Councils of the UK, the Wellcome Trust, and the NIH. JULIET is the natural complement to SHERPA's RoMEO list on the OA policies of publishers and journals. From today's announcement:
SHERPA's new JULIET service breaks down the differing requirements from each of the Research Councils (and others) to try and simplify  what the policy says has to be done,  what authors should archive,  when they should archive,  where they should archive their outputs....
Comment. This is an excellent idea announced with perfect timing. It should be very useful for researchers who need to understand the terms of funding from different agencies and for advocates and analysts who need to track the progress of funder-stimulated OA.
JISC has issued a press release in support of the new RCUK OA policy. Excerpt:
JISC today welcomed the RCUK’s position statement on access to research outputs, saying that the statement represents ‘an important step’ in helping to ensure that the fruits of UK research are made more widely available. With individual research councils beginning to set out their guidance for implementing the RCUK principles, the statement will have major repercussions for the future of UK research.
Stephen Pincock, UK research to be open access, TheScientist, June 28, 2006. Excerpt:
Christian Gumpenberger wrote a report in German on the 1st European Conference on Scientific Publishing in Biomedicine and Medicine (Lund, April 21-22, 2006). Now his report is also available in English.
The Research Councils UK have issued an updated position statement on access to research outputs (dated June 2006, released today). Excerpt:
 In June 2005, the Executive Group of Research Councils UK (RCUK) issued a draft position statement on access to research outputs. Following consultation and discussion, the research councils remain committed to the principles that underpinned that statement and agree on the further activities necessary to develop their position. These principles state that:...Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable....
Also see the RCUK press release.
In recognition of the diverse research communities served by each Research Council individual Councils will publish guidelines for their communities on access to research outputs in each field. This will ensure that each discipline is best able to respond in ways aligned to their needs. Initial guidance has been published today on Research Council websites.
Here are the eight Research Councils and the web sites where they will describe (or are already describing) their separate OA policies:
Comments. This news is big but mixed.
The new issue of Data Science Journal (Vol. 5, 2006) is now online. Two of its articles are on OA:
Virginia Barbour and Mark Patterson, Open access: the view of the Public Library of Science, Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis, 4 (2006) pp. 1450-1453. Excerpt:
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants open access to Whois in order to help fight spam, scams, and spyware.
Comment. We all hate spam, scams, and spyware, but we should understand what's in the other pan of the scale here. Whois isn't research data. It includes some private information on domain registrants, such as an email address, snail-mail address, and phone number. Apart from the privacy problem, disclosing this info could worsen spam (at least for domain registrants). Some of this info is already OA or easy to find, but the FTC wants OA to all of it. It's not clear whether the FTC wants easy access just for itself, or just for law enforcement, or whether it wants easy access for everyone. ICANN wants Whois info to be used only for technical purposes.
Jan Velterop, An 'Alms' Race? The Parachute, June 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Also see Jan's follow-up post (responding to Bill Hooker's comment) in which he makes clear that he's talking about reliable ways to pay for peer review, not the value of peer review itself, which Harnad supports as much as he does. "...It is just possible that there may be reasons why researchers are researchers and publishers publishers. Everbody can sow the seed to grow the wheat to grind the flower to bake the bread. Who, after all, needs farmers, millers and bakers?"
Stevan Harnad, On Delaying and Disrupting OA, Open Access Archivangelism, June 27, 2006.
Summary: There is some difference of opinion as to what is delaying and disrupting OA: whether it is (1) promoting immediate OA self-archiving mandates (such as the FRPAA's, RCUK's, or EC's), or (2) opposing them. The following are excerpts from a series of exchanges in the American Scientist Open Access Forum. It is left to the reader (and history) to decide what, exactly, constitutes the delaying and disrupting.
The seven discussion papers structuring the the 12-day online forum, The Open Access Movement and Information for Development (sponsored by the Coady International Institute, May 29 - June 9, 2006) are now online. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)
Elsevier Cautiously Tries a Variation on Open Access, Library Journal, June 28, 2006. A short, unsigned note.
The world's leading STM publisher, Elsevier, announced this month that it will offer authors the chance to make their articles freely available for a fee. Six journals in physics will offer the option, including Nuclear Physics A, Nuclear Physics B, Nuclear Physics B, Proceedings Supplements, Nuclear Instruments and Methods A, Physics Letters B, and Astroparticle Physics. Elsevier officials say that 30 more journals across other fields also will offer this option in the coming months. The author charge for article sponsorship is $3000, excluding taxes and other potential author fees such as color charges. In addition, the articles must be accessed through Elsevier's ScienceDirect. With the move, Elsevier now joins its competitors, including Springer and Blackwell, in offering authors a variation on open access, if not open access, at a cost higher than that charged by subsidized OA providers like the Public Library of Science.
Biowizard has launched PubMed Wizard. From today's announcement:
BioWizard....announces the launch of PubMed Wizard, an online resource enabling the universal open-access review of scientific and medical literature. For the first time, scientists have the ability to freely rank and discuss in real-time any of the more than 16 million published articles within the PubMed database.
Scott Carlson, Publisher Gives 10,000 E-Books to 7 New Orleans Colleges Hit by Katrina, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Perhaps people living in flood zones have a kinship that defies traditional rivalries and animus. At least that's the perspective of Robert E. Skinner, the university librarian at Xavier University of Louisiana, after his library and six others in the state were given more than $1-million in e-books by Springer, a publishing company founded in part in the flood-prone Netherlands.
Proposed Law Puts Scholarly Societies in Curious Spot, Greenhouse Associates, June 2006.
Many of the nation’s scholarly societies and associations are up in arms about a proposed law that would require research conducted with federal money to be made available to the public free of charge. The proposed Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) puts the scholarly society and associations in a contradictory spot. On one hand, they represent the interests of serious scholarship, which favors wide dissemination of research findings. But many of them also publish prestigious journals-and depend on the profits from journal subscriptions to underwrite their other activities-so a bill that might reduce journal revenues is anathema to them. In fields like medicine, most research depends on federal dollars and therefore would be subject to FRPAA’s open access rules.
T. Scott Plutchak, Funding Open Access, T. Scott, June 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Some US journal editors still interpret the US trade embargo against Iran as prohibiting the editing and publishing of articles by Iranian scholars. While this was once the correct interpretation of idiotic rules, recent amendments have made it doubtful.
The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that the latest two articles to be snagged this way have been published in Britain instead. Excerpt:
Comment. I am one who thinks the AAPG Bulletin was being overly cautious, but I also blame the US Treasury Department for vaguely relaxing the ban on scientific editing rather than clearly and utterly repealing it. Kudos to Petroleum Geoscience (although it is not OA) for refusing to let politics interfere with science.
Stevan Harnad, Joint Draft Agreement on Open Access in France, Open Access Archivangelism, June 27, 2006.
Summary: France has one of the most centralised research networks in the world. Hence it is in a better position to generate Open Access on a national scale overnight than most other countries. It is not happening overnight, but it may be happening. The French research and higher education institutions are to issue a Joint Draft Agreement on Open Access which will begin as a request but may become a requirement for all French researchers to deposit their articles in HAL, the French network of Open Access Archives. There is still some timidity about mandating, as well as about legalities, but the empirical evidence of the feasibility and the efficacy of self-archiving mandates, plus the strategy of requiring deposit but merely requesting that access be set as Open Access (while allowing the option of Closed Access) moots all practical and legal objections to an exception-free, immediate-deposit mandate -- and adding the semi-automatic EMAIL EPRINT feature to HAL will tide over research access needs during any Closed-Access embargo interval. Let us hope France will put its Joint Draft Agreement into practice soon.
The body of the posting is "a synoptic translation, followed by the original, of an important French press release about forthcoming OA developments in France." (See my blog posting on this from June 23.)
Rufus Pollock, The Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World, Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, June 26, 2006. Excerpt:
It took 12 years to produce (1988-2000) and cost 4.5 million dollars (according to its editor Richard Talbert). It has a whole page dedicated to listing donors and supporters of the project. It recruited seventy-three compilers, with ten regional editors with ninety-five reviewers and twenty-two cartographers. It is 148 pp. long and with companion gazetteer comes in at $350.00 (if you take the gazetteer on paper — 1,383 pp. — it comes down to $150.00)....
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Top Five Technology Trends, Digital Koans, June 26, 2006. Excerpt:
Liz Lyon, Digital libraries and digital scholarship: changing roles and responsibilities, a slide presentation at the SCONUL Conference and AGM (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, June 21-23, 2006).
The ALPSP has released its June 26 letter to Sen. Susan Collins, chair of the Senate committee considering FRPAA. Excerpt:
We are writing to express our concerns regarding Senate bill S. 2695, the ‘Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006’...
Comments. Most of these arguments are old, tired, and familiar, and I've already responded to them in my 10 point rebuttal. But here are a few more responses to what's new here.
The ALPSP and STM have issued a joint statement in response to the MIT copyright amendment form (June 27, 2006). Excerpt:
You are probably aware that the STM and ALPSP trade associations between them represent the publishers of more than half of the world’s scholarly peer-reviewed journals, and two-thirds of the annual global output of research articles. Many of our members have contacted us concerning communications they have received from you with respect to journal article author publishing agreements. We thought it might be appropriate to outline publisher concerns about the MIT proposals, and suggest a meeting to discuss these....
John Timmer, The state of public access publishing, Ars Technica, June 26, 2006. Excerpt:
There's a battle going on between House Science Committee, chaired by Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), and the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Joe Barton (R-TX). Barton is investigating --some say harassing-- three government-funded scientists who have concluded that human activity is largely responsible for global warming. Boehlert believes that Barton is not only interfering with the practice of science but interfering with business of the House Science Committee.
This is has been going on for nearly a year, but yesterday there was a weird escalation. An anonymous blogger claiming to write on behalf of Barton's committee is now using open-access arguments to justify the continuing investigation/harassment of the scientists. Excerpt:
Climate change is a fascinating science worthy of much study. Some recents [sic] studies have been used by overzealous regulators and politicians to push heavy-duty burdens and taxes on many industries. Before we tax potentially trillions of dollars out of the economy, we here at the House Energy and Commerce Committee thought we might have a look at it too. Turns out, that made us personna [sic] non grata.
Comment. Rep. Barton could show his good faith in using these OA arguments if he would endorse FRPAA (S.2695) and become one of its House sponsors. But he isn't seeking OA to government-funded research, or even to government-funded climate research. Here's how the Chronicle of Higher Education described his investigation:
In highly unusual letters sent to the scientists [in June 2005], Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, demanded detailed documentation of the hundreds of studies on which they have been authors or co-authors. Mr. Barton also sent a letter to the director of the National Science Foundation on the same day that requests information about the work of the three professors, as well as a list of all grants and awards the agency has made in the area of climate and paleoclimate science, which in the past 10 years number 2,700....Several independent studies have come to [similar] conclusions...But the work of [these three scientists] has served as a lightning rod for attacks by skeptics of greenhouse warming, in part because the researchers' early studies, in 1998 and 1999, figured prominently in a 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change....[Letters from Barton and a subcommittee chair] gave the scientists 18 days to assemble and send in the copious data, some of which come from decades-old projects.
Update. See Duane Freese, Hockey Stick Shortened, TCS Daily, June 27, 2006. A balanced update to the story suggesting that there may be fault on both sides. Barton may have been on a fishing expedition that intimidated climatologists, but the three scientists who were targets of his probe were reluctant to share their data even with other scientists.
This confrontation is one more reason to adopt FRPAA and mandate OA to publicly-funded research. We'll have better science, by exposing results to wider scrutiny, and preempt Congressional committees that might want to issue selective calls for access.
Stevan Harnad, Testing the Royal Society's Assumptions about Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, June 25, 2006. Excerpt:
Summary: The Royal Society -- a green publisher lobbying against funders mandating that authors should GO on GREEN (by self-archiving) to provide OA -- is instead offering to provide OA for a fee. The asking fee factors in all current publishing expenses and revenues per article, including the print run and other values added (all currently paid for by institutional subscription revenue, with no sign of any decline) on the assumption that subscription revenue will fall to zero. Is it reasonable to expect article author-institutions today to pay for everything that is already being paid for today by other subscriber-institutions, just in order to provide free online access to the author-institution's peer-reviewed final drafts? Is peer review not the only added value they should ever have to pay for? And should they have to pay for it even while it is all being paid for by institutional subscriptions? Should they not just self-archive -- as the UK, US and EC are proposing to mandate -- and then if the "assumption" (really a hypothesis) that subscription revenue will as a result fall to zero ever proves correct, will the institutional subscription revenue savings not be the natural source from which to pay for the peer review? A priori author fees are fine for those with cash to spare, but surely they are not the royal road to 100% OA today: Mandated self-archiving is.
Stevan Harnad, Mandating OA via Paid Publisher-Archiving (PPA) versus Author Self-Archiving (ASA), Open Access Archivangelism, June 25, 2006. Excerpt:
Summary: Some publishers are offering a high-priced Paid-Publisher-Archiving (PPA) alternative to free Author-Self-Archiving (ASA), and trying to redirect the OA mandates that have been proposed by the US, UK and EC toward mandating OA through PPA instead of ASA. If research institutions and funders have the spare cash to pay whatever publishers ask today for PPA without having to take it away from research allotments, then the outcome (100% OA) is welcome and optimal for all. But if they do not have the spare cash (e.g., because it is already tied up in paying subscriptions today), then it makes more sense to mandate ASA, as proposed by the US, UK and EC, and let the market decide whether and when PPA ever becomes necessary, and if so, at what price. The cash may not be needed at all, if subscriptions hold; or the subscription cancellations themselves will release the cash needed for redirection to PPA. Right now, for example, the PPA asking price is bloated with the cost of the print edition. Surely today's author-institutions wishing to provide OA for their own publication output are not to be burdened with paying for their articles' print runs too, particularly when those are already being paid for by institutional subscriptions today, with no evidence of subscription decline as a result of self-archiving?
Two weeks ago, Oxford University Press (OUP) shared some of the results of its OA experiments and promised a full report later. The full report is now out: Assessing the Impact of Open Access: Preliminary Findings from Oxford Journals, June 2006. It has three parts:
Sherman Dorn, Online encyclopedias, but not wikis, a blog posting, June 25, 2006. (Thanks to A.G. Rud.) Excerpt:
The Flu Wiki has a good page on OA to flu data. Excerpt:
Access to databases that contain influenza sequences is vital for scientists doing research and developing vaccines. Open access means scientists can deposit and retrieve this information in a timely manner. GenBank, maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a part of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), is one example of a publicly accessible database used by many scientists from around the world.
The page also includes a good collection of quotations from major flu scientists calling for OA to flu data.
PS: For background, see my April article on OA to avian flu data.
The Journal of 9/11 Studies is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal. The inaugural issue (June 2006) is now online.
Open Business interviews Kenneth Neil Cukier on open-access v. toll-access journalism (June 24, 2006). Cukier is the technology correspondent for The Guardian.