News from the open access movementJump to navigation
Mike Carroll, The Publishers' "Private Market" Canard, Carrollogos, July 28, 2006. Excerpt:
In response to the Provosts' Open Letter supporting a legislative requirement for open access to federally-funded research articles, Alan Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs of the Association of American Publishers, said "what the university community is excited about is the prospect of being able to get access to all this published material free online, which is not terribly surprising. But why should universities be excited about the government inserting itself into the process of providing access to research?"
Dorothea Salo, The Behemoth Stirs, Caveat Lector, July 28, 2006. Excerpt:
Columbia University is making good progress in filling its institutional repository. From yesterday's announcement:
The Center on Japanese Economy and Business (CJEB) at Columbia Business School has become the first academic group within the University to contribute electronic versions of its publications to DigitalCommons@Columbia, the new University Libraries-sponsored “institutional repository” pilot program. The full back runs of three Center publication series --Working Papers, Occasional Papers and Event Reports-- are now available within DigitalCommons@Columbia, where they will be broadly available to scholars and researchers worldwide and where they will be permanently archived as part of the record of Columbia’s scholarly output. Future publications in these series will be deposited by CJEB staff directly into the DigitalCommons shortly after they are published....
Comment. Kudos to Columbia's CJEB. This is exactly what research centers and institutes need to do in order to maximize the visibility and usefulness of their research output and share it with everyone who can make use of it. I hope it inspires other centers at Columbia and elsewhere to follow suit --and then I hope it inspires Columbia itself and other universities to take the same step. Will Columbia be the seventh university to mandate OA to the research output of the institution?
25 university provosts have released An Open Letter to the Higher Education Community in support of FRPAA and OA (undated but released today). Excerpt:
[FRPAA] embodies core ideals shared by higher education, research institutions and their partners everywhere.
The 25 provosts represent these institutions: Arkansas State University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Indiana University, Michigan State University, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, State University of New Jersey, Syracuse University, Texas A&M University, University of California, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Iowa, University of Michigan, University of Minnesota, University of Rochester, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Vanderbilt University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Washington University.
Also see Scott Jaschik, Rallying Behind Open Access, Inside Higher Ed, July 28, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. This is big. It will lead to strong OA policies at many more universities. It will elicit endorsements from provosts not captured in the first wave. It shows that research institutions favor OA and that journal-publishing learned societies that oppose it are speaking more for their publishing arms than for their members. It exerts pressure on the Association of American Universities (AAU) to endorse OA and FRPAA or be left behind by its own members. (The AAU is a major voice in Washington on policies affecting research and education.) And finally, of course, it's decisive new support for FRPAA that is bound to be persuasive to members of Congress representing districts where these 25 universities are located.
Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, Public health Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights, World Health Organization, April 2006. Strong on access to medicines, patents, and technologies, but silent on access to literature.
Eric Kansa, Cyberinfrastructure report for Humanities and Social Sciences, Digging Digitally, July 27, 2006. Excerpt:
I have only had a chance to skim through the report, but it looks very interesting. Some highlights include:...(2) The report also calls “upon university counsels, boards of trustees, and provosts to provide aggressive support for the principles of fair use and open access, and to promote awareness and use of Creative Commons licenses.” (see page 43)
Next time you find a public-domain print document you want to share online, when speed is more important than quality, Daniel Cornwall recommends photographing the pages with a digital camera and posting the photos to Flickr. For an example, see the 1997 Army manual on conduct in battle that Cornwell posted to Flickr on Tuesday. He added a nice touch: a WorldCat link for those who want to find a print copy in a library.
JISC has released its Draft Strategy 2007-2009 for public comment. Excerpt:
If you have comments, send them to email@example.com by September 25, 2006. JISC will publish the final version of its strategy in November or December.
Scientific Journals International (SJI) is a new publisher of OA journals, headquartered in Saint Cloud Minnesota. (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.) From the July 21 press release announcing its launch:
Minnesota-based Global Commerce & Communication, Inc. (GCCI) announced today the launch of a one-stop efficient forum for publishing research and creative work from all disciplines.
More from the site:
Scientific Journals International (SJI) publishes articles individually as soon as they are accepted and edited. We do not wait until all required articles are ready for an entire issue. This time saving can be very helpful to authors, particularly in fast-moving subjects such as the sciences, where priority of publication is extremely important. Additionally, we do not set the same limitations on the length of the article as other traditional and online journals do....
Comment. I wish SJI every success and have just one suggestion. SJI sometimes speaks of itself as a publisher of journals (plural) and sometimes of one multi-disciplinary journal (singular). Though confusing, both locutions seem justified: the current issue (singular) is divided into many disciplinary sections, each named "Journal of..." If SJI picked one of these ways of speaking and stuck to it, it would minimize confusion and help potential authors and readers understand what it is doing.
Greg Tananbaum interviews Sally Morris in the June issue of Against the Grain. The interview is not online, even for subscribers. I don't have access and will borrow, with thanks, the excerpt blogged by William Walsh:
Q. What are the most common concerns about the state of publisher-library relations voiced by your membership?
Open courses in engineering can now use MIT's Engineering Design Instructional Computer System (EDICS). From the announcement in the July issue of the MIT Open Courseware Newsletter:
MIT OCW is pleased to announce the publication of a unique teaching and learning tool on the Web site. We now offer open access to the Engineering Design Instructional Computer System (EDICS).
If you liked Scott McLemee's idea for an Aggregator Academica, then you'll like Alf Eaton's partial prototype, aggademia. As Alf describes it on Nature's blog, Nascent,
Scott Carlson, Humanities, Social Sciences Should Focus on Improving Digital Resources, Report Says, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 27, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Rosie, The Guardian's Charles Arthur on the Free Our Data Campaign, Meme Therapy, July 26, 2006. Excerpt:
Steve Hitchcock, More misinformation on repositories from ALPSP, Eprints Insiders, July 27, 2006. Excerpt:
The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) has once again been undermining repositories, both institutional and subject repositories, this time in its response to the British Library's Content Strategy. As an organisation that represents publishers it is perfectly reasonable for ALPSP to seek to defend their interests, but its approach to repositories will be counter-productive for these interests. On IRs, the ALPSP approach is misleading and self-contradictory. It says, "to date, publishers’ policies with regard to author self-archiving have been remarkably relaxed." This is not a one-way street. These policies have benefitted both publishers and repositories. ’Romeo green’ policies would not have been voluntarily adopted by publishers otherwise. ALPSP then repeats its familiar canard, that "when self-archiving reaches critical mass for any given journal, a serious decline in subscriptions may shortly follow", but later says "The Library will have a position of some responsibility in directing researchers to the ‘Gold Standard’ version of the publications they need, rather than potentially variant versions which lack the full linking and other functionality in which the publisher has invested." They can't have it both ways. If the published version has sufficient value-added to differentiate it from the author-produced version, they will have nothing to worry about from self-archiving....
Michael Cross, UK fights against tide on data directive, The Guardian, July 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Britain is threatening to kill at birth a project to simplify access to data crucial to the protection of Europe's land, air and water - unless it is modified to protect the interests of state-owned mapping agencies.
The CharteringLibrarian points out that if a Greasemonkey script could tell which articles were OA, then it could add that information to Google Scholar hit page.
PS: True, but unfortunately using a robot or algorithm to identify OA articles is the hard part of this job. When this problem is solved, however, we can mashup the results with the search engines of our choice.
I don't usually cover the debate about Wikipedia's reliability, but David Weinberger makes a good point in the July 23 issue of his newsletter, Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization. Excerpt:
Wikipedia has (and deserves) credibility, in part because of its willingness to acknowledge its fallibility....If it contains a warning about the reliability of the page, we'll trust it more. This is only superficially contradictory....Here are some of the warnings available in the Disputes category.The factual accuracy of this article is disputed....
At the end of the issue Weinberger suggests some warnings that "traditional knowledge authorities" could use to match Wikipedia in candor.
The Neil Jacobs anthology, Open Access: Key strategic, technical and economic aspects (Chandos Publishing 2006), is now available for purchase from Amazon.
Most of the chapters have been self-archived and the rest soon will be.
The Chronicle of Higher Education will host a live online chat with Robert Stein, director of the Institute for the Future of the Book, on July 26, 2006, at noon U.S. Eastern time. To participate, you may submit questions in advance or during the real-time chat.
David F. Kohl, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Journal of Academic Librarianship, July 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). I don't have access and will borrow, with thanks, from an excerpt blogged by William Walsh:
As information has become more and more of a commodity, the library's countervailing role in continuing to make it available for its intellectual, i.e., research and instructional, value and purposes has risen. SPARC and Open Access agendas come to mind as do also Big Deals and consortial purchases --all new ways of increasing access to information while reducing the financial dimension for end users. But probably more important is something which every library has done for ages simply as a matter of course --removing financial considerations altogether from the day to day use of information for library patrons. Information may not be free to the library, but the library effectively makes it available without individual cost to the members of the local academic community. Professors, students and even staff do not have to consider the cost of the information they use....
Comment. If you have to pay for access, it's better to pay once for multiple views than multiple times for multiple views. But one-time subscription payments may cost less than many separate pay-per-view payments, especially when the latter are combined with the disturbing mission-costs of policing and discouraging access. We can sweat about where to strike the balance or we can move on to OA.
Zi Xun, China plans massive data sharing project, SciDev.Net, July 24, 2006. Excerpt:
The Chinese Academy of Sciences is planning a large-scale computer project to make it easier for researchers at its 90 institutes to share their data....Over the next four years, data from the academy's institutes will be entered into hundreds of databases, and computing tools will be made available to help researchers analyse the data....
Comment. This is a notable development that should greatly accelerate research in China. I support Liu Mian's suggestion that the government mandate deposit in the new OA system. If the Chinese combine the right policy with the right technology, it will maximize its return on the investment in its new and powerful infrastructure.
Edwin Horlings and six co-authors, Markets of Virtual Science: Report on the economics and policy implications of an emerging scientific phenomenon, prepared for the German Ministry of Education and Research (German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung or BMBF) and published by RAND Europe, June 2006. (Thanks to IuK.) Excerpt:
ALPSP has released its response (July 2006) to the British Library's Content Strategy (April 2006). Excerpt:
We believe that a shift towards the provision of online rather than physical access is appropriate. However, customer expectations of what is possible with online content are limited only by the capabilities of the technology, and not by realistic business considerations; at the extreme, every UK citizen might expect free online access, and unhindered re-use, at home or at work to everything in the Library’s collection, which would obviously destroy the market for publishers....
A research team from University of Arkansas and the University of Munich has launched an online survey on Open Access & Science Publishing. You can take it, in English or German, until August 11. (Thanks to Yong Liu.) From the background page:
Our research interest is with the attitudes toward and perceptions of Open Access of scientists in their double role as readers and authors of scientific publications....
Adalbert Kirchgäßner, Kauft die Bibliothek der Universität Konstanz die richtigen Zeitschriften? A presentation at the University of Stuttgart, February 14, 2006. Although the title and abstract focus on whether the university is buying the right journals, the body of the text compares subscriptions, pay-per-view, and OA, and argues that the costs and models of access are in the hands of scholars. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
The July/August issue of D-Lib Magazine is now online. Here are the OA-related articles:
PS: In his editorial in this issue, Lawrence Lannom explains that D-Lib's funding has run out and that it may have to convert from OA to non-OA. "We will be exploring subscription and author fees over the upcoming months. Comments on those approaches or any other funding path are more than welcome. These can be sent to the D-Lib address ... or directly to me...."
Pedro Beltrao, Opening up the scientific process, Public Rambling, July 23, 2006. Beltrao wants scientists working on the same problem to find a better mix of cooperation and competition. If I understand him, he wants them to share their data openly, write articles collaboratively in wikis, and compete only to contribute to the joint dataset and articles.
Joseph Scott Miller, Why open access to scholarship matters, The Fire of Genius, July 23, 2006.
From the abstract to Miller's paper:
In this short Foreword, I offer some thoughts about why all law professors should take an interest in the movement promoting open access to scholarship. The principal reason, based in current circumstances, is the way that using an open access platform extends one's reach. The aspirational reason is that open access platforms enable us to create a new social layer of networked semantic tags that improve our grasp of scholarship by organizing and commenting on that scholarship.
Sarah Everts, Open-Source Science, Chemical & Engineering News, July 24, 2006. Excerpt:
Charles W. Bailey, Jr., The American Library Association and Open Access, DigitalKoans, July 23, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. This is the most detailed discussion I've seen of this question. You should read the whole thing, as I've had to omit most of the detail on which Charles' conclusion rests. I'd only add that (1) the ALA Washington office has a page on OA, (2) the ALA Council adopted a resolution in support of FRPAA at its June 2006 annual meeting, and (3) the ALA has signed on to several public statements in support of OA, most recently a July 12 letter in support of FRPAA and a May 31 letter in support of the EC report on OA.
Jeffrey Young, Book 2.0: Scholars turn monographs into digital conversations, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 28, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). An overview of some OA-related innovations in book publishing, focusing on two projects of the Institute for the Future of the Book: McKenzie Wark's OA interactive GAM3R 7H3ORY (blogged here 5/23/06) and Kathleen Fitzpatrick's MediaCommons (blogged here 7/17/06). Young also touches on the OA-oriented, relaunched Rice University Press (blogged here 7/14/06).
Comment. From a narrow OA point of view, what's most interesting about these projects is the way they take OA for granted and move on to other frontiers, such as turn-around time, peer review, and interactivity. To me, this is the future: OA will be the default and creative energy will focus on how to build on the OA foundation to take full advantage of the networked environment for the purposes of scholarship.
Heather Morrison, Economics of Open Access Publishing: another look, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, July 22, 2006. Excerpt:
Analysis of data supplied by Magaly Báscones Dominguez in Serials earlier this year, supplemented by information from CERN, presents strong evidence for the affordability of one of the potential open access business models, OA by processing fees. This data suggest that OA by processing fees would be feasible, assuming reasonable but realistic processing fees, using library periodicals subscriptions as the only source of revenue. As an exceptionally research-intensive organization, CERN represents the worst-case scenario for this business model, which costs research organizations proportionately more than other kinds of organizations. Therefore, evidence of the affordability of this business model at CERN strongly suggests overall affordability of the model. Taking the CERN library periodicals budget as a base, an average per-article cost of 1,776 CHF / article (1,132 Euro, $1,436 USD) would be possible using current expenditure levels. If the IOP charge quoted at 573 Euro for New Journal of Physics were the average - CERN library could pay for a fully OA-by-processing fee model - AND, save half of its periodicals budget, too.
Steven Pearlstein is the Washington Post business columnist. From his column for July 19:
Here in Washington, there is nothing more amusing than watching business interests work themselves up into a righteous frenzy over a threat to their monopoly profits from a new technology or some upstart with a different business model. Invariably, the monopolists (or their first cousins, the oligopolists) try to present themselves as champions of the consumer, or defenders of a level playing field, as if they hadn't become ridiculously rich by sticking it to consumers and enjoying years in which the playing field was tilted to their advantage.
Actually, he's writing about music.