Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, June 26, 2004

New institutional repository service from ProQuest and Bepress

ProQuest has launched Digital Commons@, software to create OAI-compliant institutional repositories. DC@ is based on the same platform from the Berkeley Electronic Press that powers the University of California's eScholarship Repository. DC@ is not free. While it competes with several open-source packages (to quote the press release), DC@ "will be able to offer key services such as full-text searching, export to XML, full support for OAI, personalized email notification for new updates, and more. These features cannot be matched by any so-called freeware solutions available on the market." DC@ has already been adopted by the University of Pennsylvania and the University of New Brunswick. (Thanks to Gary Price.)

DRM in higher education and research

JISC and Intrallect have released an interim report on their Digital Rights Management Study (June 10). Because this is just the interim report, it lays out the issues and describes some case studies but draws no conclusions and makes no recommendations. JISC and Intrallect will collect public comments on the interim report until August. (Thanks to Gary Price.)

More on the ERIC redesign

ERIC has revised the timetable for its redesign and enlargement. On September 1, 2004, "[t]he new centralized ERIC will provide users with a modernized system that is easy-to-use, comprehensive, and up-to-date, with many free-of-charge full-text resources" and on October 1 "ERIC will introduce, for the first time, free-of-charge full-text non-journal ERIC resources."

New contributions to the Nature OA debate

There are two new contributions to the Nature OA debate.

More on OA registries to drug-trial data

Rick Whiting, Drugmakers Respond To Calls For Public Database Of Trials, Information Week, June 25, 2004. Excerpt: "Proponents of clinical-trial registries say they would alert doctors and consumers to potential drug risks. But debate continues over how such a database would be managed and what information it should include. Some industry execs say such a database could disclose trade secrets and overwhelm consumers with complex information."

Funding for Fedora

The Mellon Foundation has funded Phase 2 of the Fedora Project. Fedora is open-source software for creating OAI-compliant institutional repositories.

Major OUP journal converts to OA

Oxford University Press announced today that Nucleic Acids Research will convert to a "full open access" publishing model starting in January 2005. From the press release: "NAR will adopt a mandatory OA model whereby authors pay a fee once their paper has been accepted, and all articles published online are immediately available without charge. NAR is a highly respected journal, listed by ISI as one of the top ten 'hottest' journals of the decade in biology and biochemistry, and with a world-renowned editorial team. It has been published under a subscription model for 32 years and includes around 1000 original research papers per year, making NAR the first journal of such stature to make a complete switch from a subscription to OA model....The OA model being adopted for NAR has been designed to address various concerns raised in the OA debate thus far, as well as to safeguard the quality and financial viability of the journal. The model, which includes a mixture of author charges, institutional memberships and print subscriptions, as well as significantly lower (or no) charges for authors in developing countries, will mean that no author is prevented from publishing in NAR for financial reasons....'I both support and endorse this move,' commented Richard Roberts, a Senior Editor for NAR, and a past Nobel Prize winner. 'Open Access is the future of scientific publication and one that we should all work hard to make successful. Every scientist can help by embracing the concept of Open Access and supporting journals as they attempt to make it the norm.'"

More on Elsevier's new policy on postprint archiving

Anon., Elsevier Articles Can Be Posted On Personal/Institutional Sites, Library Journal, June 25, 2004. A brief item summarizing the new policy. This account takes the view that the new policy prohibits "authors...from putting links to their articles from centralized databases." (PS: I think this reading is not warranted by anything that Elsevier has said so far. But in any case, I hope Elsevier soon clarifies the point.)

NYTimes intro to OA

Pamela Burdman, A Quiet Revolt Puts Costly Journals on Web, New York Times, June 26, 2004 (free registration required). A good, brief introduction to the pricing crisis and the benefits of OA. Excerpt: "The high subscription cost of prestigious peer-reviewed journals has been a running sore point with scholars, whose tenure and prominence depend on publishing in them. But since the Public Library of Science, which was started by a group of prominent scientists, began publishing last year, this new model has been gaining attention and currency within academia. More than money and success is at stake. Free and widespread distribution of new research has the potential to redefine the way scientific and intellectual developments are recorded, circulated and preserved for years to come....'Elsevier doesn't write a single article,' said Dr. Lawrence H. Pitts, a neurosurgeon at the University of California at San Francisco and chairman of the faculty senate of the 10-campus system. 'Faculty write the articles for them, faculty review the articles for them and faculty mostly edit the journals for them, and then we get to buy the journals back from a company that makes a very large profit.'...The pressure is beginning to have an effect. More publishers have begun opening their archives 6 to 12 months after publication. Molecular Biology of the Cell, published by the American Society for Cell Biology, now opens up its archives after two months, and as its editor-in-chief, Mr. Yamamoto hopes to convert the journal to open access soon. Even Elsevier made a recent concession to university libraries that are moving into digital publishing and archiving, offering blanket permission for authors to post their journal articles on their own institutions' Web sites. 'We're watching open access very carefully,' Mr. [John] Regazzi [Elsevier's managing director] said. 'We're trying to learn from it.'"

Update. On June 29, the NYT published a letter to the editor from Ed White in response to Burdman's article. Excerpt: "I love to read scientific journals, when I can get to them, even though I am only a clerical worker in my 'real' life. I am no threat to anyone's research, and I am part of the public who provides financial support for the research. Meanwhile, who's to say that I or some other nonprofessional might have an epiphany from such reading and discover some connections that no academic has yet seen? The advancement of science, for the betterment of everyone, requires openness. Thank goodness for the power of the Web, and the folks in this article, in promoting more egalitarian societies!"

Trends in access, retrieval, and A&I

John J. Regazzi, The battle for mindshare: A battle beyond access and retrieval, Information Services and Use, 24, 2 (2004) (read the OA edition). Regazzi's 2004 Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture, originally delivered February 23, 2004. Abstract: "The publishing industry in general, and the abstracting and indexing (A&I) industry in particular, find themselves in the midst of significant change. There has been an explosion of technology that continues to drive significant growth in directory databases, that in turn has lead to an incredible growth in information discovery, access, and search-and-retrieval systems. Overlay upon this scenario trends in open access publishing and the new information mindsets developing within the user community, and an increasingly complex new information infrastructure emerges. Has this growth and change advanced scientific and scholarly communication? Has the increase in information access and retrieval generated parallel revenue increases within the publishing and A&I communities? And will the free search engines of today be the predominant information sources of the future? This paper examines the trends that have shaped today's information environment and suggests a future success scenario for traditional publishers and A&I services who are willing and able to apply their significant skills and expertise in meeting the needs of the new breed of information seekers."

Friday, June 25, 2004

How society publishers spend their surpluses

In the July issue of its publishing newsletter, Blackwell Publishing reports on the results of a survey that Blackwell and ALPSP conducted on how societies spend their publishing surpluses. Excerpt: "Most respondents subsidise the supply of journals to members in some way. Equal numbers said they provide their journal free of charge or at a reduced price; only three respondents offer their journal at full price....With societies that do their own publishing the average surplus is 18% of journal revenue which is an average 32% of the society’s income. With societies that use a publisher journal revenue is on average 33% of the society’s income. Overall, respondents spend their surplus as a contribution to the general expenses of the organization, followed by re-investment in publishing, subsidy of conference fees and the subsidy of membership subscription. Those that do their own publishing rank re-investment in publishing second, while those that contract out rank this lower (5=). Those that contract out rank subsidy of conferences second, while those that do their own publishing rank this lower (5=). Research grants, bursaries, and reserves and endowments ranked lower. Those that self-publish rank public education third, while those that contract out rank it much lower (8)....In the current debate on Open Access, the importance of journal profits to societies has been mentioned and indeed the right to make such profits has sometimes been questioned. This survey shows the significance of journals in the finances of societies and the benefits to members who use the journals." (Thanks to Elizabeth Lorbeer.)

Update. The full report is now online: Christine Baldwin Information Design and Management, What do societies do with their publishing surpluses? An ALPSP and Blackwell Survey, April 2004 (apparently released June 29, 2004).

Wanted: commencement speaker committed to OA

Eugene Garfield was the commencement speaker at the Drexel University College of Information Science and Technology. In commenting on possible future commencement speakers, David Fenske, the college's dean, said, "Considering the difficult times in which we live, perhaps a near-future speaker should be a public figure who is deeply concerned with issues of privacy and the protection of personal information, or someone who has built their reputation on the belief open access to information is essential to the welfare of our nation and its institutions."

Impressive impact factors for BMC's OA journals

OA journals from BioMed Central have competitive or superior impact factors, according to figures released today from ISI. Quoting BMC's press release: "Open Access journals published by BioMed Central have received impact factors that compare well with equivalent subscription titles, it was announced today. The high impact factors, all for journals that are just a few years old, prove that Open Access to research literature achieves impact fast and makes quality articles much more widely visible. Arthritis Research & Therapy jumped from 3.44 to 5.03, propelling it to rank second in the rheumatology field in only its 5th year of publication. Breast Cancer Research also increased its impact factor - moving from 2.81 to 2.93, placing it on even footing with its direct competitor, Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, which was established more than 20 years ago. Critical Care moved up to 6th in its field, and now has an impact factor of 1.9. Four journals published by BioMed Central received their first impact factors this year. Respiratory Research (5.53) comes in from nowhere to immediately take second place in the respiratory field. Current Controlled Trials in Cardiovascular Medicine has an impact factor of 3.12. BMC Cell Biology (2.61) and BMC Health Services Research (0.67) also entered well. BioMed Central saw its impact factors go up across the board. BMC Cancer now has an impact factor of 1.7, while BMC Infectious Diseases (1.25) and BMC Public Health (0.93) also saw increases in their impact factors from the 2002 Journal Citation Report." Kudos to BMC!

Nucleic Acids Research Web Server Issue

The July 1 issue of Nucleic Acids Research is open access and focuses on web servers that supply information on DNA, RNA and protein structures. As an editorial points out, the issue "aims to provide a repository in which authors of web servers can highlight their offerings and readers can find out what is available." 137 freely accessible web resources are profiled.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Skepticism for OA to clinical trials

Brian Gorman, Clinical Trials Controversy,, June 21, 2004. Gorman points out some of the negatives to open access to clinical trials. Concerns facing companies might include arming their competitors, that "phase 1 and phase 2 trials may or may not be accurate indicators of a medicine's effect on a larger population," and the difficulty of interpreting results in general. "Purists may argue that more openness is always a good idea. But in this case, releasing more of this data may increase, rather than relieve, confusion."

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Methods and Applications of Analysis debuts on Project Euclid

Methods and Applications of Analysis (MAA) is published by International Press. MAA is included in Project Euclid's Euclid Prime collection. Quoting from the journal's Aims and Scope:
Methods and Applications of Analysis (MAA) publishes high quality papers in the broad area of pure and applied analysis. The applications of the subject to different branches of natural sciences and engineering will be welcome. A sample of the subjects is: mathematical physics, mathematical theory of continuum mechanics, differential and integral equations, dynamical systems, stochastic analysis, numerical analysis, asymptotic analysis, special functions, algebraic analysis of differential or integral equations. Papers give new directions of analysis are welcome. MAA is partially sponsored by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Department of Mathematics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Zheng Ge Ru Foundation.
Methods and Applications of Analysis - Fulltext v10(3)+ (2004+); ISSN: 1073-2772

Societies retrenching -- delayed access to research articles

Even as many society publishers are moving toward liberalizing the embargo period for research journals (i.e.; BMJ Publishing Group; American Diabetes Association), others are choosing to pull back and impose longer embargoes. Make no mistake, free at some point in time is better than never, but the longer the delay the less the gesture is worth, both in monetary and scientific terms. Sadly, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene has chosen to double the embargo period for the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from 6 months to one year. I was unable to find an explanation of the rationale for the change at the society's website or on the journal website. On the plus side, the extension of the embargo period will be implemented gradually, through the end of the year, so no current, free access will be removed -- simply, no new issues will be freely accessible until early 2005. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene - Fulltext v58+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall (was 6 months); Print ISSN: 0002-9637 Regrettably, the American Psychiatric Association, in doubling the embargo period from 1 year to 2 years, appears to have shown no compunction in withdrawing free issues to implement the new lag period. [My institution subscribes to AJP, so it is difficult for me to test this.] American Journal of Psychiatry - Fulltext v154+ (1997+) 2 year moving wall (was 1 year); Print ISSN: 0002-953X | Online ISSN: 1535-7228

Ejournals cost less

CLIR has issued a press release on its recent report by Roger Schonfeld et al., The Nonsubscription Side of Periodicals: Changes in Library Operations and Costs between Print and Electronic Formats (blogged here June 17). Excerpt from the press release: "The authors found that, over time, nonsubscription costs are lower, on a per-title basis, in electronic than in print format. The per-title effect is more pronounced at smaller libraries, mainly because they license relatively large collections of electronic titles in comparison to the size of their print collections. Relative to collection size, however, the cost advantages of the electronic format exist across the board....The authors highlight an important caveat to these findings. The potentially sizeable cost of long-term archiving of electronic journals was not factored into the life-cycle analysis because it remains unclear where this responsibility will fall."

Diabetes journals free online

The American Diabetes Association (ADA), a DC Principles signatory society, publishes four journals online. Clinical Diabetes is freely available via HighWire Press. Clinical Diabetes - Fulltext v19+ (2001+); Selected fulltext 14(2)+ (March 1996+); Online ISSN: 0891-8929 The other three titles have had free access to backfiles after 1 year. ADA has improved the embargo by trimming the delay to 6 months. Diabetes - Fulltext v47(3)+ (March 1998+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0012-1797 Diabetes Care - Fulltext v21(3)+ (March 1998+) 6 month moving wall; Print ISSN: 0149-5992 Diabetes Spectrum - Fulltext v14+ (2001+) 6 month moving wall; Selected fulltext v9+ (1996+); Print ISSN: 1040-9165

Free histochemistry journal content

The Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry is but one of many Japanese scholarly societies using J-STAGE (Japan Science and Technology Information Aggregator, Electronic) for online journal publishing. From J-STAGE's About page:
In order to maintain and develop Japan's science and technology research at an international level, it is important to disseminate outstanding research and development results to the world instantaneously. To that end, it is important to computerize bulletins of academic societies and research papers that are currently appeared on paper by user organizations and release them to the appearance on the Internet. By taking advantage of the hardware and software, the user organizations are able to computerize bulletins of academic societies and research papers currently appeared with ease and at low cost.
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica - Fulltext v33+ (2000+); Print ISSN: 0044-5991 | Online ISSN: 1347-5800 The Histochemical Society, a DC Principles signatory, has chosen to shorten the embargo period for their research journal, Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, from 24 months to 12 months. Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry - Fulltext v44(12)+ (December 1996+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-1554

5 new journals from SciELO

SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) is a major source of Open Access STM literature from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain. Here are the new titles released in May and June. Journal of Applied Oral Science - Fulltext v11(3)+ (July/September 2003+); Print ISSN: 1678-7757 Planta Daninha - Fulltext v21+ (2003+); Print ISSN: 0100-8358 Medicina Oral - Fulltext v9+ (2004+); Print ISSN: 1137-2834 Estudios Pedagogicos - Fulltext v29+ (2003+); Print ISSN: 0716-050X | Online ISSN: 0718-0705 Revista de Salud Publica - Fulltext v5(3)+ (September/December 2003+); Print ISSN: 0124-0064

New brochure on OA focuses on faculty and researchers

SPARC, ARL, and ACRL have published a brochure on open access. From today's press release: "While the Create Change brochure is a general look at scholarly publishing challenges and options for faculty action, the new brochure presents the benefits of open access to authors, readers, teachers, scholars, and scientists. Facts and figures demonstrate how open access to scholarly research capitalizes on Internet connectivity to increase a research article's use and impact. The brochure also suggests steps authors of journal articles can take to provide open access to their work. For example, retaining rights to post their pre- or post-prints in institutional repositories can help ensure broad exposure for a scholar's research. Broader scale faculty actions include working towards their academic society's adoption of open access or helping to publish an open-access journal themselves....Both Open Access and Create Change can be purchased in bulk for US $12.50 per bundle of 50 brochures plus shipping and handling charges." There will soon be a printable PDF of the text online.

Correction. There is a printable PDF at the site.

J Orthodontics providing free backfiles

Maney Publishing and the British Orthodontic Society jointly publish Journal of Orthodontics, previously British Journal of Orthodontics.British Journal of Orthodontics - Fulltext v24-26 (1997-1999). Continued by Journal of Orthodontics; Print ISSN: 0301-228X | Online ISSN: 1460-2164 Journal of Orthodontics - Fulltext v27+ (2000+) 1 year moving wall. Continues British Journal of Orthodontics; Print ISSN: 1465-3125 | Online ISSN: 1465-3133

The Digital Library of India

The Digital Library of India (DLI) aims to provide "free access to all human knowledge" starting with "a free-to-read, searchable collection of one million books, predominantly in Indian languages." It already has about 100,000 books online. The DLI is part of the Universal Library project from Carnegie Mellon, which has the same goals, though it will start with English-language literature. (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

British Columbia Library Association adopts a resolution supporting OA

On June 19 the British Columbia Library Association adopted a A Resolution on Open Access. Excerpt (omitting a series of good "whereas" clauses):

Be it resolved that the BCLA formally declare its commitment to Open Access by signing onto one of: the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, the Budapest Open Access Initiative, or the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, and;

Be it further resolved that the BCLA write a letter to the Premier, with copies to presidents of BC post-secondary institutions, applauding local leadership in Open Access, such as the Public Knowledge Project, the CARL Institutional Repository Project, and Library and Archives Canada's Theses Canada Portal, and;

Be it further resolved that the BCLA encourage the BC library community to support Open Access by cataloguing and providing access to open access journals and promoting awareness of Open Access, and that the BCLA encourage post-secondary institutions to formally declare their support by signing on to Open Access initiatives, and;

Be it further resolved that the BCLA educate the library community in BC about Open Access through articles in the BCLA Reporter, sessions at BCLA Conferences, and information on the BCLA web page.

(Thanks to Heather Morrison.)

Review of Modern Logic debuts in Project Euclid

Review of Modern Logic (RML) is the latest addition to Project Euclid. RML is a part of the Euclid Prime journal collection. Quoting from:
The Review of Modern Logic is a journal of symbolic logic, foundations, the foundations of mathematics, and set theory.
Review of Modern Logic - Fulltext v8+ (1998+); ISSN: 1047-5982 Project Euclid is an initiative to advance affordable scholarly communications in the field of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics. Created by Cornell University Libraries, Project Euclid is designed to address the unique needs of low-cost independent and society journals. Project Euclid is a SPARC Partner, specifically one of the SPARC Scientific Communities.

SLA statement on OA

The Special Libraries Association (SLA) has released a Statement Regarding Open Access. Excerpt: "With journal pricing increasing at a rapid rate, the establishment of competitive Open Access journals and resources may spur a change in the pricing and access models available from commercial publishers. Open Access may shift the cost burden from the acquirer to the producer of the information. SLA encourages ongoing exploration of viable means to expand the availability of scientific and scholarly research....[The SLA is a member of the] Information Access Alliance, a coalition promoting a new standard of antitrust review which should be adopted by state and federal antitrust enforcement agencies in examining merger transactions in the serials publishing industry, and maintains communications and possible collaboration on projects with groups such as the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition's (SPARC) Open Access Working Group (OAWG). SLA will continue to monitor Open Access and journal pricing, and welcomes comments from its members and others."

Kahle v. Ashcroft submission site

Kahle v. Ashcroft is a lawsuit that challenges changes to U.S. copyright law that have created a large class of "orphan works." Orphan works are books, films, music, and other creative works which are out of print and no longer commercially available, but which are still regulated by copyright. Because the copyright system contains no mechanisms to create and maintain useful records of copyright ownership, people who would like to distribute or use these orphaned works -- digital libraries, or creators who would like to include the work in their own creative expression -- often are unable to clear rights. The copyright system thus denies public access to these orphan works, without creating any countervailing benefit either to authors or the public at large. To learn more about the case, read the Kahle FAQ. Thanks to Ali Houissa for bringing this to my attention.

LOCKSS program at ALA Annual

Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe (LOCKSS) : A Solution for Archiving and Accessing Web Materials ALA Annual, Orlando Date: Saturday, June 26, 2004 Time: 1:30-3:30 p.m. Location: Renaissance Orlando Resort, Crystal Ballroom E Librarians have always been concerned with ensuring permanent access to our collections. We know that easy access to information often depends on redundancy - i.e., "lots of copies". The shift to electronic materials that are often leased rather than owned has increased our concerns about long-term access. A new system called LOCKSS enables libraries to collect and locally store, preserve, and archive authorized content by creating low-cost, persistent digital caches of authoritative versions of web-based content. Through LOCKSS, librarians have the opportunity to retain local control of electronic content while preserving its original functionality. This program, co-sponsored by the ALCTS Serials Section Education Committee and the LITA Open Source Systems Interest Group, will present an overview of LOCKSS, including its philosophy, technology, and current development. The program will explain why LOCKSS is so important, what it can do for libraries, and how libraries can participate. The featured speaker will be Thomas Robertson, Technical Manager, LOCKSS Program, Stanford University Libraries and Academic Resources. He will be followed by two panelists, Martin Halbert (Director for Library Systems, Emory University) and Thomas Izbicki (Collection Development Coordinator, Johns Hopkins University). Jeffrey Horrell (Associate Librarian of Harvard College Collections, Harvard University) will serve as moderator. A special thank-you goes to Kluwer Academic Publishers for their generous support of this program.

Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics -- OA journal

Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG) has been freely available online since before Open Access became a popular term. Such success and ubiquity can cause problems, however, as stable can become confused with permanent. NPG's website address changed after its sponsor the European Geophysical Society merged with the European Union of Geosciences in September 2002 to form the European Geosciences Union. Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics (NPG) - Fulltext v1+ (1994+); Print ISSN: 1023-5809 | Online ISSN: 1607-7946

SPARC announces support for the OA Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

SPARC has announced its support for the unique fund-raising drive for the open-access Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP). As we noted in May, the SEP is trying to build an endowment to cover its annual expenses. SPARC is encouraging its member institutions donate to the endowment, which will be cheaper for them in the long run than paying for subscription-based access. If it works, SEP will be the first OA resource supported by an endowment.

More on fugitive government edocs

Florence Olsen, A crisis for web preservation, Federal Computer Week, June 21, 2004. Excerpt: "The Federal Depository Library Program has fallen behind in cataloging and preserving access to government documents published only on the Web. As a result, public access to those publications is spotty at best. 'This is not a problem; this is a crisis,' said Daniel Greenstein, head of the California Digital Library....Fugitive documents are electronic publications that remain outside the federal depository collections in 1,300 libraries nationwide.... Many online publications remain uncataloged and unavailable at depository libraries because federal officials fail to notify GPO that the publications exist....Even copyright issues are clouded in the online publishing world. No one is certain, for example, whether the rights are free and clear when independent contractors supply government information, [Greenstein] said."

Australia picks open-source software for its institutional repositories

The Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW Project) has selected VITAL and FEDORA for its institutional repository program. Details are in the June 16 press release.

OA data sharing in China

Today marks the start of the International Workshop on Strategies for Preservation of and Open Access to Scientific Data in Beijing (June 22-24). It's a good sign that the keynote address by Cheng Jinpei, China's Vice Minister of Science and Technology and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has already been reported in the Chinese press. Excerpt from a story in today's China View: "Cheng Jinpei said here Tuesday that the ministry isspeeding up a scientific data sharing project in an effort to reduce repeated research and money squandering....The Chinese government has already placed the scientific data sharing project as one important job for building the national scientific and technological research infrastructure, Cheng said, adding that his ministry will go all out to build up and improve the project. Experts said that scientific data are not only strategic resources for research community, but also key information for governmental decision making. Most of the scientific data in China are still not digitized and open access to those resources are limited, the experts said."

Draft EU constitution supports free circulation of scientific knowledge

Here's the draft text of Article III-146(1), released June 16, 2004:
The Union's action shall aim to strengthen its scientific and technological bases, by achieving a European research area in which researchers, scientific knowledge and technology circulate freely, and encourage it to become more competitive, including in its industry, while promoting all the research activities deemed necessary by virtue of other Chapters of the Constitution.

(Thanks to Research Research.) (PS: This is very likely "free as in speech" rather than "free as in beer". But so far, so good.)

Ann Wolpert on institutional repositories

The OCLC Members Council discussed expanding access to information at its annual meeting this year (May 23-25). Ann Wolpert, the Director of Libraries at MIT, spoke about institutional repositories and DSpace. Excerpt from the OCLC press release: "Ms. Wolpert said that faculty and administrators are recognizing the benefits of implementing institutional repositories. She noted that digitally accessible information is statistically demonstrated to be used 10 times more often than print. 'So faculty have a tremendous incentive to move their content onto the Web because they know it is going to be read on the Web,' she said. 'There are really compelling reasons for provosts and presidents of academic institutions to make an institutional repository a priority in terms of making a statement about how innovative an organization is, or the depth and breadth of its intellectual content.' "

Monday, June 21, 2004

New data showing that OA increases impact

Stevan Harnad and Tim Brody, Comparing the Impact of Open Access (OA) vs. Non-OA Articles in the Same Journals, D-Lib Magazine, June 2004. Excerpt: "The way to test the impact advantage of Open Access (OA) is not to compare the citation impact factors of OA and non-OA journals but to compare the citation counts of individual OA and non-OA articles appearing in the same (non-OA) journals. Such ongoing comparisons are revealing dramatic citation advantages for OA....The earlier Lawrence (2001) study on the impact-enhancing effects of OA in computer science needed to be replicated in other fields to check whether it was merely an artifact of the fact that computer science is conference-based rather than journal-based, and whether the advantage really reflected OA vs. non-OA rather than just online access vs. paper access. Fortunately, thanks to the ISI database licensed to the Observatoire des Sciences et des Technologies (OST) and a special contract generously provided by ISI to conduct the study, our research team at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Southampton University and Universität Oldenburg is in the process of testing the OA advantage across all disciplines in a 10-year ISI sample of 14 million articles. The physics analyses up to 2001 are already completed (Brody et al. 2004), and they reveal even larger effects than those reported by Lawrence, with OA/non-OA citation ratios of 2.5 - 5.8."

(PS: This is an important article. It's the first major study since the famous Lawrence paper documenting the proposition that OA increases impact. It's also the first to go beyond Lawrence in scope and method in order to answer doubts raised about his thesis. By confirming that OA increases impact, it gives authors the best of reasons to provide OA to their own work.)

BMJ Publishing Group opens backfiles across the board

Although several of BMJ Publishing Group's specialist journals had provided free backfiles, following a 1 year embargo, HighWire Press announced June 18 that all 25 of the BMJ specialist titles now follow this policy. This meshes well with the stated intent to provide most of these journals back to volume 1 through PubMed Central. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases - Fulltext v56+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0003-4967 | Online ISSN: 1468-2060 Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fulltext v76+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0003-9888 | Online ISSN: 1468-2044 Archives of Disease in Childhood. Education & Practice Edition - Fulltext v89+ (2004+); Print ISSN: 1743-0585 | Online ISSN: 1743-0593 Archives of Disease in Childhood. Fetal & Neonatal Edition - Fulltext v76+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1359-2998 | Online ISSN: 1468-2052 British Journal of Ophthalmology - Fulltext v81+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0007-1161 | Online ISSN: 1468-2079 British Journal of Sports Medicine - Fulltext v32+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0306-3674 | Online ISSN: 1473-0480 Emergency Medicine Journal - Fulltext v17+ (2000+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1472-0205 | Online ISSN: 1472-0213 Evidence-Based Medicine - Fulltext v5+ (2000+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1356-5524 | Online ISSN: 1473-6810 Evidence-Based Mental Health - Fulltext v1+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1362-0347 | Online ISSN: 1468-960X Evidence-Based Nursing - Fulltext v1+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1367-6539 | Online ISSN: 1468-9618 Gut - Fulltext v40+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0017-5749 | Online ISSN: 1458-3288 Heart - Fulltext v77+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1355-6037 | Online ISSN: 1468-201X Injury Prevention - Fulltext v4+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1353-8047 Journal of Clinical Pathology - Fulltext v51+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0021-9746 | Online ISSN: 1472-4146 Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health - Fulltext v52+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0143-005X | Online ISSN: 1470-2738 Journal of Medical Ethics - Fulltext v26+ (2000+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0306-6800 | Online ISSN: 1473-4257 Journal of Medical Genetics - Fulltext v36+ (1999+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-2593| Online ISSN: 1468-6244 Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry - Fulltext v63+ (July 1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0022-3050 | Online ISSN: 1468-330X Medical Humanities - Fulltext v26+ (2000+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1468-215X | Online ISSN: 1473-4265 Molecular Pathology - Fulltext v51-56 (1998-2003) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1366-8714 | Online ISSN: 1472-4154 Occupational and Environmental Medicine - Fulltext v55+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1351-0711 | Online ISSN: 1470-7926 Postgraduate Medical Journal - Fulltext v75(879)+ (1999+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0032-5473 | Online ISSN: 1469-0756 Quality in Health Care - Fulltext v7-10 (1998-2001); Print ISSN: 0963-8172 Quality and Safety in Health Care - Fulltext v11+ (2002+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1475-3898 | Online ISSN: 1470-7934 Sexually Transmitted Infections - Fulltext v74+ (1998+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 1368-4973 | Online ISSN: 1472-3263 Thorax - Fulltext v52+ (1997+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0040-6376 | Online ISSN: 1468-3296 Tobacco Control - Fulltext v1+ (1992+) 1 year moving wall; Print ISSN: 0964-4563 | Online ISSN: 1468-3318

OA overview

I just wrote an Open Access Overview and put it online. I've been concerned that our recent progress has brought the concept of OA to the attention of many new people, most of whom have no place to turn for a brief, accurate introduction. Either they find mere lists of links or essay-length analyses that don't start at the beginning. Now that the overview is online I'll keep revising it and adding useful links. I've also linked to it from the blog sidebar to make it easy to find. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

Filling institutional repositories

Andrea Foster, Papers Wanted: Online archives run by universities struggle to attract material, Chronicle of Higher Education, June 25, 2004 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: "An ambitious effort by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to build a free electronic archive of the scholarship the institute produces has hit a snag. Released in November 2002, the archive, DSpace, was seen by many in academe as a beacon for open-access scholarship. It would promote collaboration among researchers, spark ideas for new studies, and make MIT's intellectual output freely available to the world. If such archives arose at other colleges, proponents argued, they could eventually offer an alternative to high-priced scholarly journals. But the enterprise has failed to catch on with many of MIT's own professors, who have been asked to voluntarily place their research papers, data sets, and journal articles into the archive." Foster describes strategies in use at MIT and many other institutions to get faculty to deposit their eprints in OA repositories.

The Pakistan national digital library

The June 21 issue of HiPakistan features an interview with Dr. Attaur Rahman, Pakistan's Minister of Science and Technology and Chairman of Pakistan's Higher Education Commission. Here's Rahman talking about Pakistan's new national digital library: "What we have done is to launch a nationwide digital library - and this really excites me....And there are 31,600 journals which are available free of charge. Every single school or college or university - any educational institution under any ministry - will get free access. Of these, 11,600 journals are full text. Now each journal can cost thousands and thousands of dollars. And we are talking about 31,600 journals. Over 20,000 journals will be available in the form of abstracts. They will be available for all the disciplines....This means that students sitting at home in Pakistan today can go onto the Internet and download the latest issues of all these journals. It is a huge nationwide library. This is something that no other country, not even the United States, has today....The total cost is $ 350,000 per year. Which is not much considering that there are so many journals...."

Sunday, June 20, 2004

More on the Google and Yahoo indexing of OAI-compliant archives

Dave Gershman, U-M wises up to Google, Yahoo,, June 20, 2004 (free registration required). On the Google and Yahoo collaborations with the University of Michigan's OAIster. Excerpt: "After weeks of talks, U-M [University of Michigan] began providing data to Google and Yahoo this spring so Web surfers could begin finding scholarly material that wasn't previously available when using those search engines....U-M is in a position to share data with those two search engines after winning a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to start its own networked search service in June 2002. Called OAIster (pronounced oyster), which stands for Open Archives Initiative, the service began providing access to the online collections of 50 digital academic libraries. Users can pull up images and primary source materials. Now, it provides access to the collections of about 300 libraries."

More OA content for South Asian Studies

The Digital South Asia Library (DSAL) is approaching completion. The database contains both OA and TA material, much of it digitized for the first time for the DSAL. It is currently adding OA editions of major dictionaries for the 26 modern literary languages of South Asia. For details, see Francis Assisi, New Electronic Infrastructure For South Asian Studies, INDOlink, June 18, 2004.

More on OA to drug trial data

Laura Landro, How to find the latest results of clinical trials, San Francisco Chronicle, June 17, 2004 (originally in the Wall Street Journal). Excerpt: "The current push to require drug companies to disclose their unpublished clinical trials could unleash a flood of new information for doctors and patients. But in the meantime, there is already a growing effort by medical publishers, scientific groups and government agencies aimed at helping people find and interpret clinical-trials results online. Currently existing registries are run by the National Institutes of Health and a host of private organizations. Web sites like offer direct links to most published medical studies, which in some cases are free or else can be purchased directly from the journal. And more help is under development, such as an upcoming guide from the National Library of Medicine on understanding reports." Landro includes a very helpful guide to existing sites containing trial data, their summaries, and tools for finding and interpreting them.

Update. The link to Landro's article was broken for a while (my fault), but I've now fixed it.

More on OA to drug trial data

GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to provide open access to its drug trial data. From the company's June 18 press release: "GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced today that it will create an electronic database to enable dissemination over the Internet of information about GSK-sponsored clinical trials. The database, to be called the GSK Clinical Trial Register, will provide summaries of trial protocols and corresponding results for GSK-sponsored trials of marketed medicines. In addition, the register will provide references to publications that have appeared in the medical literature. The register will be accessible to physicians and the public."

Update. Merck also supports OA to drug trial data. See the details in Barry Meier, Merck Backs U.S. Database to Track Drug Trials, New York Times, June 18, 2004 (free registration required).

Transformed libraries support OA

Joseph M. Brewer and three co-authors, Libraries Dealing with the Future Now, ARL Bimonthly Report, June 2004. Covering a range of topics including library support for OA. For example, it sketches one scenario in which a library's serials budget is cut by 10%. A "muddling through" library will make cuts across the board. A "transitioning" library make cuts according to more rational criteria, targeting "journals with histories of high inflation". A "transformed" library will "[r]eallocate some of the serials budget to fees for campus authors to publish in open-access journals" and "[p]artner with other libraries to offer open access to articles through a federated network of institutional repositories."

Why BMC authors chose BMC

BioMed Central has released the results of a survey showing why its authors chose BMC. 60% of BMC authors said the reason was BMC's open-access policy --the third most common reason after speed of publication (62%) and journal scope and reputation (61%).

CrossRef supports forward linking

CrossRef and its partner Atypon have added forward linking to the basic CrossRef linking service. From the June 8 press release: "In addition to using CrossRef to create outbound links from their references, CrossRef member publishers can now retrieve 'cited-by' links -- links to other articles that cite their content. This new service is being offered as an optional tool to allow CrossRef members to display cited-by links in the primary content that they publish....As part of the same functionality powered by Atypon, CrossRef is also offering a new Forward-Match feature that eliminates the need for users to query CrossRef repeatedly for citations that do not initially return a match. When a query is marked to enable alerts, the CrossRef system automatically sends an email containing the matched results once the relevant content gets registered in CrossRef."

(PS: Forward linking can give us a new window on impact by helping us track the articles that link to a given article. It can also mitigate what I've called the many-copy problem created by OA. If there are many copies of a given OA article around the net, each one absorbing some previously unknown percentage of the user traffic, then forward linking can help us measure their relative prominence, by links if not by downloads or other parameters. Unfortunately, the same informality that leads to the proliferation of copies will lead most copyists to work outside CrossRef.)

OA news in the June Research Information

The June issue of Research Information has several short notes on OA-related subjects: Yahoo's collaboration with OAIster, Google's collaboration with CrossRef, and the Thomson ISI study of the impact of OA journals. (PS: These short news items are in addition to the major article by Vanessa Spedding that we blogged last week.)

Lessig lecture and seminar on OA

Last week (June 16) at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Lawrence Lessig delivered a public lecture, Free Society, Free Markets, Free Culture: What is at Stake in the Open Access Debate? It was followed by a seminar by Lessig and Jürgen Renn, Rechtsfragen des Open Access in Deutschland (June 17). As far as I know, neither text is online. But Matthias Spielkamp has blogged short summaries of each, in English, to which Klaus Graf has added a few comments, in German.

Detailed German intro to OA

Katja Mruck, Stefan Gradmann, and Günter Mey, Open Access: Wissenschaft als Öffentliches Gut, Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, May 2004. The article is in German but the abstract is in English: "The need to provide open access to articles published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals is becoming apparent to researchers as well as the non-scientific public as a result of 'Budapest Open Access Initiative,' the 'Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities' and other initiatives. The core question that concerns open access is the following: since scientific information is usually financed by public funding, and therefore a public good, shouldn't the access be free of cost to all interested parties. Currently the open access movement is encountering the movement against the 'Digital Divide,' and therefore it is not surprising that the demand for open access has extended to a political level as reflected in the 'WSIS Declaration of Principles' and the 'WSIS Plan of Action.' This article begins by providing a brief summary of the historical background of the open access movement and its major aims (Section 2). It then lists examples that explain possible links between the open access movement and the initiatives against the 'Digital Divide' (Section 3). Section 4 considers some important barriers responsible for the fact that open access publishing is still not part of the everyday scientific publishing practices. This has various consequences. Selected consequences concerning the recent debate on redistribution processes between 'information poor' and 'information rich' are summarized in Section 5." (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)