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Eva Tallaksen, Universities urged: 'share benefits of health research', SciDev.Net, November 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. The policy recommendations in the statement are very good but sadly incomplete. The statement calls on universities "to make the fruits of their research available in the developing world" but doesn't call on them to make the research itself available in the developing world. Or, it focuses on access to new drugs and technologies and largely ignores access to literature and data. Or, it focuses on access barriers created by patents and largely ignores those created by copyrights. It should ask universities to mandate open access to the research output of their faculty. (It should also ask funding agencies, especially public funding agencies, to mandate open access to the research published by their grantees; but so far the statement is limited to university actions.) If researchers routinely deposited copies of their journal publications in interoperable OA repositories, then barrier-free access to the peer-reviewed research would complement barrier-free access to new medicines and technologies.
Jan Velterop, Price & Value, The Parachute, November 17, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. Hear, hear. Earlier this month I participated by telephone in an OA conference taking place in Hyderabad, India. It would have been much less expensive for the hosts if I participated by Skype. I have a couple more teleconferences coming up, one for a group in Vancouver and one for a group in Barcelona. I prefer them to travel because they save time (how often have you spent three days on the road to give a 40 minute talk?), money, hassle, backaches, and (no joke) carbon dioxide emissions.
Eric Kansa, Once more on FRPAA, Digging Digitally, November 17, 2006. Eric restates some of Gary Ward's excellent answers to publisher objections to FRPAA, clearly hoping that officials at the AAA will pay attention. Then he continues:
The Karman Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Bern is undertaking an OA Pantheon Project on the architecture of the ancient Roman building. More importantly, the project marks a general commitment by Karman to OA. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.) From the Pantheon site:
And more from another page within the site:
Also see Gerd Grasshoff's slide presentation on the Karman Center's approach to humanistic scholarship, its commitment to OA, and its Pantheon Project.
PS: For the OA recommendations in the draft report, see my blog posting from November 13, 2006.
Sascha Knauf, Open Access — Global Instrument for Society Development, a slide presentation (in German) at the seminar on Open Access to Knowledge: new opportunities with Internet: Part 2: Copyright and Open Access (Kiev, November 13, 2006). (Thanks to Iryna Kuchma.)
From George Porter at Caltech:
Also see the news coverage.
Comments. I don't blog this because it already has consequences for OA but because it could.
Update. David Prosser points out (by email) that "back in 2002 the UK Office of Fair Trading issued a Statement on the market for scientific, technical and medical journals. In it, they listed the publishers of ISI-rated STM journals (Table 1, page 7). If this sale goes through then the top 15 publishers (in terms of number of journals) will have become just 9 publishers - a remarkable case of market consolidation in just 8 years."
Bill Hooker, Open Question on Open Access, Open Reading Frame, November 15, 2006. Excerpt:
The problem is, I haven't seen any hard data that documents the cost of peer review, redaction, and publishing. Everyone throws numbers around as if they were confetti. We are all, supposedly (publishers and librarians) in the scientific/technical community, yet so very few people take a scientific approach to this issue.
Comments. The problem is complicated. Here are a few reasons why.
Carl T Bergstrom and Theodore C Bergstrom, The Economics of Ecology Journals, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, November 2006. (Thanks to Katie Newman and George Porter.) Only this abstract is free online, at least so far.
Over the past decade, scientific publishing has shifted from a paper-based distribution system to one largely built upon electronic access to journal articles. Despite this shift, the basic patterns of journal pricing have remained largely unchanged. The large commercial publishers charge dramatically higher prices to institutions than do professional societies and university presses. These price differences do not reflect differences in quality as measured by citation rate. We discuss the effect of price and citation rate of a journal on library subscriptions and offer an explanation for why competition has not been able to erode the price differences between commercial and non-profit journals.
Update. See the OA edition of this article. (Thanks to William Walsh.)
There's a new entry on the Weasel's Manual of Apologies for Misbehaving Monopolists from Ted Bergstrom:
Tim Brody, Google CSE added to the Registry of Open Access Repositories, Open Access Peon, November 16, 2006. Excerpt:
Eve Gray has blogged some notes on the Bangalore Workshop on electronic publishing and open access (November 2-3, 2006). Excerpt:
Michael Cross, A one-way street to postcode madness, The Guardian, November 16, 2006. Excerpt:
Péter Jacsó has reviewed the OA collection of Publishers Weekly book reviews, November 16, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) Excerpt:
PS: The review includes links to other collections of OA book reviews.
Update. Google originally released the Sitemaps protocol last year under a Creative Commons license. So the kudos for Google remain, but should go back a year.
Michael Geist, Copyright Notices on Books, Agora Vox, November 15, 2006. Excerpt:
The December issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains a long section on OA, Library Access to Scholarship, covering FRPAA (at length), the nine interviews on OA in Research Information, some OA developments from OAN, some commentary by Dorothea Salo and Charles W. Bailey, Jr., and some posts and articles by others. It's a wide-ranging review of some important recent developments and analysis. Recommended.
If that sentence needs any proof, here it is: I can post this news on this blog and count of my regular readers to understand that the award is well-deserved. Congratulations, Arthur!
Eight classicists have issued an open letter (November 7, 2006) on Classics in the Million Book Library. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.) Excerpt:
Rebeca Cliffe, "Self-Archiving & Journal Subscriptions": New Study Probes Librarian Decision Making, EPS Insights, November 14, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Gavin Baker, Sustaining the Information Society: New (and Old) Conflicts in the Knowledge Economy, a presentation at Campus & Community Sustainability (Gainesville, October 25-26, 2006).
Abstract: This presentation reports on the movement for sustainability in the information environment. The wealth of nations today relies on intangible products: information goods or "intellectual property" such as ideas, symbols, and data. IP-based industries are growing in their share of America's economic output, outpacing fields such as manufacturing and resource extraction. While those latter industries have well-documented sustainability challenges, the rise of the information society has been met with a growth of interest in sustainable management of information goods and resources. Sustainable business models, legal and political regimes, and institutional, community, and individual practices are now the subject of study and debate worldwide. Academic communities are taking particular interest as they strive to fulfill their mission to serve the public good through efforts such as Yale's Access to Knowledge project and MIT's OpenCourseWare initiative....
The November issue of D-Lib Magazine is now online. Here are the OA-related articles:
Sami Lange, Tax-funded research should be made available to those in need, Spartan Daily, November 15, 2006. Lange is an LIS graduate student at San Jose State University. Excerpt:
Henk Moed, The effect of 'Open Access' upon citation impact: An analysis of ArXiv's Condensed Matter Section, a preprint deposited in arXiv November 13, 2006.
Abstract: This article statistically analyses how the citation impact of articles deposited in the Condensed Matter section of the preprint server ArXiv (hosted by Cornell University), and subsequently published in a scientific journal, compares to that of articles in the same journal that were not deposited in that archive. Its principal aim is to further illustrate and roughly estimate the effect of two factors, 'early view' and 'quality bias', upon differences in citation impact between these two sets of papers, using citation data from Thomson Scientific's Web of Science. It presents estimates for a number of journals in the field of condensed matter physics. In order to discriminate between an 'open access' effect and an early view effect, longitudinal citation data was analysed covering a time period as long as 7 years. Quality bias was measured by calculating ArXiv citation impact differentials at the level of individual authors publishing in a journal, taking into account co-authorship. The analysis provided evidence of a strong quality bias and early view effect. Correcting for these effects, there is in a sample of 6 condensed matter physics journals studied in detail, no sign of a general 'open access advantage' of papers deposited in ArXiv. The study does provide evidence that ArXiv accelerates citation, due to the fact that that ArXiv makes papers earlier available rather than that it makes papers freely available.
Heather Morrison, That day has arrived, and Canada must seize it (more on CIHR), Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, November 14, 2006. Excerpt:
Catriona J. MacCallum, ONE for All: The Next Step for PLoS, PLoS Biology, November 14, 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
The October issue of Scholarly Communications Report is now online. Only the TOC is accessible to non-subscribers.
PS: Welcome to FreeCulture. Students have a strong interest in OA, as scholars and as citizens, and their voices will help the worldwide campaign to bring it about.
Barbara Palmer, Ongoing crisis in academic-journal pricing is the focus of recent colloquium, Stanford Report, November 15, 2006. A report on Stanford's Scholarly Communications Colloquium (Palo Alto, November 6, 2006). Excerpt:
The Australian government has published the report, Research Quality Framework: Assessing the quality and impact of research in Australia: The Recommended RQF, October 2006, which has been "endorsed by the Development Advisory Group for the RQF". (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
There's an article about the report in the November 15 issue of The Australian, but it doesn't mention the OA recommendation.
Comment. This OA recommendation converges beautifully with the OA recommendation from study by the Australian Government Productivity Commission (blogged here yesterday). The odds that Australia will adopt an OA mandate for publicly-funded research have to go up as more official commissions deliver the same message.
Ina Helms, Die neue Offenheit des Wissens, Max Planck Forschung, No. 3, 2006, pp. 26-31. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
The US National Science Foundation has published an Audit of Interest in NSF Providing More Research Results (dated September 25, 2006, but apparently released today). (Thanks to Prue Adler.) Excerpt:
Comment. I'm disappointed that the survey focused so much on citations and abstracts when the crying need is for access to full-text research articles. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) did ask interview subjects about full-text articles, but we don't know whom it interviewed or how the questions were phrased.
For more detail on the interviewed organizations, but without their names, see pp. 20f.
It appears that the OIG made access to full-text articles a minor emphasis in the interviews. For example, Table D-1 (p. 20) summarizes the interviewee responses "regarding whether or not NSF should post various results formats on its website". It lists five formats (publication citations, brief summaries, conference proceedings, journal abstracts, and final project reports) but omits full-text articles and peer-reviewed author manuscripts.
Note that the NSF is covered by FRPAA. Hence, if FRPAA passes, the NSF would have to mandate open access to full-text peer-reviewed manuscripts based on NSF-funded research.
Tracey Caldwell, Half of RCUKs opt for open access model, Information World Review, November 14, 2006. Excerpt:
Arti Rai and James Boyle, Synthetic Biology: Caught Between Property Rights, The Public Domain, And The Commons, a preprint forthcoming in PLoS Biology. (Thanks to Science Commons.) Excerpt:
PS: Despite the Creative Commons license on this preprint, Microsoft Explorer 7.0 (with the default security settings) balked at a certificate problem, didn't offer me a workaround, couldn't open it for me. I read it in Firefox with no trouble.
ARL, ACRL, and SPARC are sponsoring a Joint Webcast on Author Rights on December 14, 2006. From the announcement:
T. Scott Plutchak, A Heretic in Charleston, T. Scott, November 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. There are both moral and prudential (cost-benefit) arguments for OA, just as there both moral and prudential arguments against it. The moral arguments for OA don't absolve us of the need to make the prudential arguments, and to be scrupulous, and civil, in collecting and using the empirical evidence needed to support them. But likewise, the prudential arguments don't moot or invalidate the moral arguments. This shouldn't be surprising or controversial, since we're talking about justifications for policy change, not explanations for natural phenomena. Arguments for and against every policy change have both moral and prudential components --pick your favorite example, from ending the war in Iraq to reducing greenhouse gas emissions or helping senior citizens pay for subscription drugs.
In the taxpayer argument for OA, I agree with Scott that funding agencies pay for research, not for the value added by publishers (and I said so back in September 2003). But I've also argued that there is a both a fairness argument here and an argument for spending public money in the public interest. Those two additional layers to the taxpayer argument have irreducible moral components, even if they require patient analysis to show that fairness to taxpayers and the public interest support OA more than they support the subscription model.
I can't tell whether Scott is saying that moral issues don't even arise in this debate or merely that arguments built on them have sometimes been abused or overstated. If the latter, I certainly agree. Both sides, in fact, have gotten a lot of mileage from self-righteous moral arguments and from dismissing self-righteous zealots on the other side. I'd like to see the rhetoric on both sides disregard the worst arguments on the other side and address only the strongest --which is hard to do when the worst ones are prominently published. But even if we could succeed at that, part of the refocused discussion would, or should, be on moral questions, like fairness to taxpayers, and part on prudential questions, like costs and benefits.
Finally, it's incorrect to leave the impression that OA proponents haven't done serious empirical analysis of the costs and benefits of OA. We see this in the many studies of the connection between OA and citation impact and in the growing number of studies (most recently by Houghton, Steele, and Sheehan for Australia's DEST) on the net economic benefits to a nation in providing OA to its research output.
The Australian Government Productivity Commission has released an important study, Public Support for Science and Innovation: Draft Research Report (November 2, 2006). (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
Comment. It's important that this report was written by a government commission and important that it recommends an OA mandate.
From the file of preliminaries:
Update. The online version of the report doesn't tell us where to send comments, an unfortunate (but remediable) omission. Colin Steele tells me that the print edition of the report asks for comments to be sent by email to Science [at] pc.gov.au. The Commission prefers to receive comments in "Word or similar text format rather than Adobe PDF".
Update. The Productivity Commission has posted a circular in which it elaborates on how to submit comments on the draft report:
You are invited to examine Draft Report and to provide written submissions to the Commission. (In addition, the Commission intends to hold a limited number of consultations to obtain feedback on the draft.)...There is no specified format for submissions. They may range from a brief outline of your views, to a much more substantial assessment of a range of issues. Where possible, you should provide relevant data and documentation to support your views. Written submissions should reach the Commission by Thursday, 21 December 2006....Submissions will normally be placed on the Commission’s website shortly after receipt, unless they are marked confidential or accompanied by a request to delay release for short period of time....Submissions may also be sent by mail, fax or audio cassette....By email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The presentations from Open Scholarship: New Challenges for Open Access Repositories (Glasgow, October 18-20, 2006) are now online. (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog.)
Heather Morrison, Open Access in Practice, OA Librarian, November 12, 2006. Excerpt:
Stevan Harnad, Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Flawed Method and No Data, Open Access Archivangelism, November 13, 2006. Excerpt:
Update. Stevan has now self-archived this article.
Liz Lyon, Adding value to open access research data : the eBank UK Project, a presentation at OAI4, the CERN workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (Geneva, October 20-22, 2005). Self-archived November 12, 2006.
Abstract: This presentation will briefly examine the changing landscape of e-research and data-intensive science, together with associated trends in scholarly communications. In this context the eBank UK project will be described, which is seeking to enable open access to research data generated from an e-Science application, and to build links from e-research outputs through to e-learning materials. The role of digital repositories and OAI-based aggregator services in facilitating the linking of data-sets from Grid-enabled research applications to e-prints through to peer-reviewed articles, as resources in portals and Learning Management Systems, will be assessed. Recent developments from the eBank UK project will be presented with discussion about integration in research and learning workflows and the challenge of assuring long-term access to open data archives.
Universities UK has called for the reform of research assessment in the UK. For details, see its November 9 press release. For some of the OA connection, see its policy briefing, The future of research assessment: the principles of reform (October 2006). (Thanks to Colin Steele.) From the policy briefing:
PS: For more on the OA connection, see Stevan Harnad's frequent comments on how research assessment creates incentives for self-archiving, to facilitate the submission process and (with the transition to a metrics-based assessment) to give authors the benefit of the OA impact advantage.
Paula Berinstein, The Book as Place: The “Networked Book” Becomes the New “In” Destination, Searcher, November/December 2006. The longest and most detailed treatment I've seen of networked books, which combine OA with social networking.
Sainsbury has been the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Science and Innovation in the Department of Trade and Industry since July 1998. (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)
More news coverage.
Peter Murray-Rust, Could an Open chemistry journal fly? A Scientist and the Web, November 12, 2006. Excerpt: