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Peter Baxter, Interesting times in medical publishing, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, February 2005. An editorial. The journal offers only this abstract free online, at least so far: ' "Publish and be damned", the Duke of Wellington's reported retort to attempted blackmail in a kiss-and-tell saga two hundred years ago, has acquired a Don't in front of it in the modern academic world. However, how research should be published has become a controversial topic. In the US the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have decided that any work they support should be made freely available after six months. The subtext is eventual immediate availability, which can already happen if authors publish in some electronic fora. If so, subscription journals could disappear. It is suggested that, instead of the existing system, authors should pay to publish their work, at a generally quoted cost of US$1500 per article. Future NIH grants would include publication costs. Other large grant giving bodies in the UK and elsewhere may follow the NIH example.'
(PS: Three quick responses: (1) The editorial was published too early to take into account the last-minute weakening of the NIH policy. Not only is the six-month embargo history, but the permissible delay grew to at least twelve months rather than shrinking to zero. (2) The NIH already allowed, and still allows, its grantees to pay OA journal processing fees with grant funds. If Baxter is proposing to replace NIH-encouraged OA archiving with NIH-funded OA journal publication --which isn't clear--, that would be a mistake. It would limit the body of free online NIH-funded research to the subset that could be published by OA journals. It would also limit NIH-funded authors to a subset of journals, which is not now the case. (3) The full text of Baxter's editorial is free online at Find Articles. Note to Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology: If you allow Find Articles to offer free online full text, why not do it yourself with your own look and feel, your own links, and your own ability to monitor downloads?)
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is soliciting examples of successful knowledge-sharing experiences in developing countries. The UNDP will request more detailed reports on the 20 most effective examples, invite the authors to present them at a Trieste meeting in July 2005, and publish the results in a volume, Sharing Innovative Experiences. I'm sorry I didn't notice this sooner: the submission deadline is in two days (March 21). From the site: 'We are inviting nominations for Southern initiatives with successful experiences using knowledge networks to promote the sharing of local knowledge....National and local governmental agencies, NGOs, and scientific and technological institutions are invited to propose potential contributors as soon as possible. Self-Nominations are Welcome.'
Will Odeo do for podcasting what Blogger did for weblogging?
The Eprints UK project has released three new supporting studies:
These are the second, third, and fourth supporting studies from Eprints UK. The first came out in May 2003: Michael Day, Prospects for institutional e-print repositories in the United Kingdom.
Alexei Koudinov and the non-profit organization, Israel Scholar, have launched Israel Scholar Communication Scrolls, a blog devoted to scholarly communication and open access in Israel. Quoting the blog on its mission: 'Israel Scholar is a web based independent non-profit educational organization. Run by scholars, it aims to promote and unite global Israel Scholarship. Israel Scholar, its partners in Israel and across the global academic world are reshaping scholarly communication. Taking advantage of the modern Internet technology and its end-user availability, Israel Scholar is setting the Israel Scholar Archive, where every Israel and/or Jewish scholar could personally permanently archive his or her creative work, and make it freely available for peers and for the public. Such archive will thus provide a platform to have Israel scholars rights to regain control over their scholarship realised easily. More info on Israel Scholar Archive will be available shortly.'
Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship (ISTL) has issued a call for papers for its Spring 2005 issue on open-access journals. The submission deadline is April 15, and the publication date is sometime in May. ISTL is neither fully OA nor fully TA. It provides OA to full text for some of its articles and OA only to abstracts for others. (Thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr.)
CS Structure is a new tool for searching and browsing CiteSeer. It uses the EqRank algorithm to organize the papers into a hierarchy of topics (which CS Structure calls "themes"), sub-themes, sub-sub-themes, and so on. The grand theme of "computer science" is at the top of the pyramid and the individual papers are at the bottom. You can browse papers by theme. As you browse up and down the tree of themes, you can elect to view authors who have written on that theme, "authority articles" on that theme, related themes, and the list of sub-themes. Unfortunately, unless I'm missing something, you can't search by theme but have to find one by climbing up and down the tree. However, you can search by author and title. When you get a list of relevant papers, you can sort it by the number of citations they have ganered or click through on an article to the articles citing it. HEP Structure is a similar tool for searching and browsing the SLAC SPIRES database. (Thanks to trunov.)
Christiana Varda and Bethany Fehlinger, Increasing journal prices poses problem for library, The Digital Collegian, March 17, 2005. Excerpt: 'Buying about 30,000 journals per year for Penn State students and faculty has become a problem for the Penn State libraries. The escalating prices of serial journals -- all publications that come out more than once a year -- was brought to the attention of the University Faculty Senate in an informational report at Tuesday's meeting. Bonnie MacEwan, assistant dean for collections and scholarly communication, said if the library continues purchasing serial journals, it would run out of money to buy any material at all by 2015. In the past 17 years, a 260 percent increase in serial journal costs has been recorded....In an effort to combat the high cost of the journals, the libraries have taken a series of steps to maintain lower spending. They have cut 6 percent of serial journals....The Penn State Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing was created in October for increased cost-efficient publishing and a greater focus on electronic publishing....The office wants to provide non-commercial publications and scholarly information that professors can use in their research.'
Gary Price, France, Google & The Need for Digitization Project Cooperation, SearchDay, March 17, 2005. Excerpt: 'That said, it's not that Chirac's idea is a bad one. The more materials that are digitized and made easily findable (searchability and findability are separate issues) the better. However, it would be great if large digitization projects could cooperate to save time, money, and avoid duplication. Finally, this article makes me a bit upset. Why? It and many others like it make seem like Google is the only organization digitizing books in one form or another. Note to journalists, they're not! What about the impressive initiative from The Internet Archive? What about Project Gutenberg? What about smaller but nonetheless important digitization projects from libraries located around the world? What about organizations like ebrary and NetLibrary? Heck, what about publishers like The National Academies Press that provide free full text access to all of their publications? Btw, for a few of my favorite directories to find some of the many books that have been digitized, take a look at this post.'
Sylvia Carr, Creative Commons comes to the UK, Silicon.com, March 17, 2005. Excerpt: 'The Creative Commons has completed the UK versions of its innovative content licences, one step towards the organisation's goal of reinventing copyright and intellectual property law across the world. The licences for England and Wales, presently undergoing a final community review, will be available on the Creative Commons UK website in a few days while the Scottish versions will be available within a few weeks....Damian Tambini, UK project lead for Creative Commons, told silicon.com the UK licences will be quite similar to the US versions: "In porting the licences, we don't change the spirit of the licence... What we've done for the licences is to make entirely sure that spirit will be recognised in a UK court." One difference, for instance, is that the UK licences - there are six versions in all - do not allow the content creator to waive their moral right, which is allowed in the US....Creative Commons has seen interest in the UK primarily from galleries, museums, educational institutions and the public sector - organisations not interested in making money from selling their works. Perhaps the greatest ally has been the BBC, which developed a licence very similar to the Creative Commons for its Creative Archive, a repository of BBC content it will make available to the public for non-commercial use. The two licences are so close, explained Tambini, that people will be able to merge Creative Archive content with Creative Commons content. Another big vote of support has come from communications regulator Ofcom, which has recommended to the UK government that the Creative Commons licence be used for a potential 'public service publisher' which would commission public service content....While the licences are a significant accomplishment, it's clear Creative Commons has loftier goals when it comes to affecting copyright and intellectual property law across the world. "There's an opportunity for a new form of licensing to help to educate the public about intellectual property and make transparent to people who want to use material [that] it's legal," Tambini said. "There's a chance that we could develop a much more responsible culture about use and reuse of content," he continued. Christian Ahlert, internet projects officer at the Oxford Internet Institute and a member of the Creative Commons UK team, said the licences are "about getting people to think different" about intellectual property and "about keeping access to information and knowledge open".'
When we left off, Jean-Noël Jeanneney, former French secretary of state for communications and the current President of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF), had criticized the Google library project for Anglo-American bias and called on France to launch a comparable program. His words are having an effect. Reuters reports that French President Jacques Chirac has asked the BNF to draw up plans for a similar digitization program. Quoting Reuters: 'Chirac asked Jeanneney and France's culture minister to look at ways "in which the collections of the great libraries in France and Europe could be made more widely and more quickly accessible by Internet," Chirac's office said in a statement. Chirac would seek support among other European countries in the coming weeks for a bigger, coordinated push to get Europe's literary works online....Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres said the French move was not a direct challenge to Google's project. "It is simply the wish for a diversity of influence," he said.' The BBC is reporting the same news. Quoting the BBC: '[Chirac] held a meeting in Paris with Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres and Mr Jeanneney on Wednesday to discuss the project...."Because of France and Europe's exceptional cultural heritage, they must play a key role" in the development of the internet, Mr Chirac said.' More coverage.
(PS: Google's library project was already admirable. If it starts a new code war, sending files across the globe and developing digital arsenals ready for launch at a moment's notice, then it will be even more admirable. France is right to fight bits with bits, to recognize a digitization gap, and to escalate its cultural scan. Who's next?)
Richard Poynder, Time to Walk the Talk? Open and Shut, March 17, 2005. Excerpt: 'Berlin 3, held in the UK in March as a follow-up meeting for monitoring implementation of the 2003 Berlin Declaration, provided a timely opportunity to feel the pulse of the Open Access (OA) movement. How does the patient look? On paper, he looks good. Indeed, he turned out to be fitter than expected: instead of succumbing to factional disputes and bickering, delegates at the meeting agreed a short, very practical action plan for implementing the Declaration. But can the movement now follow through?'
The ISI Web of Knowledge has expanded its long-standing program of linking to free content at Highwire Press. From today's announcement: 'Once all links are in place, users will be able to link directly from any content area within ISI Web of Knowledge to the full text of more than 800,000 HighWire Press articles.'
James Pringle, Partnering helps institutional repositories thrive, Thomson Customer News, February 2005. Excerpt: 'Open access (OA) publishing is growing in importance, and, in parallel, the role of institutional repositories (IRs) has come to the forefront of discussion within the library community. The two are intertwined but not synonymous, and different motivations are driving the growth of each. The Thomson Scientific role in promoting institutional repositories' growth was highlighted recently in three workshops held in London, Boston, and Sydney....Our approach to IRs has been different [from our approach to journals]. Repositories represent new ways of organizing research and are taking shape in a variety of experimental forms. They vary in the types of content, the purposes of their creators, and their relationship to researchers. Increasingly, publishers are allowing researchers to archive their own content, and IRs can play a role in aiding researchers in this endeavor. We estimate that publishers now allow over half of all scholarly articles to be archived by their authors, based on average articles published in the journals of the 2003 Journal Citation Report and publishers listed as Project Romeo. But far less than half of all scholarly articles are actually posted to IRs today, often because of lack of awareness and incentive for researchers to do so. Overcoming this barrier is a critical need for IR developers. As one administrator remarked in a planning session: "The key issue is turning now on the willingness of faculty to automatically put stuff into their repository."...Seven institutions joined with us in a Web Citation Index pilot project to explore the proper relationship between ISI Web of Knowledge, Web of Science, and the world of IRs. A collaboration with NEC on the basis of its CiteSeer environment provided the technology partnership to support this new undertaking....The project has run for the past 10 months, and will continue as we move toward release of the full-scale environment for use by researchers over the next several months....At a Thomson Scientific workshop during ALA Midwinter in January 2005, Jean Poland of Cornell University and Katie Clark of the University of Rochester outlined the state of IR development at their institutions, and the potential role of the Web Citation Index in encouraging the growth of IRs. Ms. Clark emphasized the challenge of gaining faculty buy-in, noting that for researchers: "it is all about me and my research", and faculties need to be shown how the IR can help their everyday activities. Ms. Poland pointed out that citation-based tools such as the Web Citation Index can have a positive influence on user awareness and reputation of IRs.' (Thanks to Colin Steele.)
Jerald L. Schnoor, Open access and you, Environmental Science and Technology, March 15, 2005. An editorial. Excerpt: 'A new freedom is brewing. It's not mentioned in the U.S. Bill of Rights or the UN Declaration of Human Rights, but it's increasingly recognized as vital --the freedom of unrestricted access to scientific information on the Internet. Open access is a juggernaut that is permanently reshaping the landscape for scientific publishing, and it will change the way you publish and search for scientific information. The principle is simple. If the government pays for research reported in scientific journals, then the public should have free and open access to the results....Beginning May 2, authors whose research is funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) are requested to submit their published research articles to the National Library of Medicine within one year of publication. PubMed Central is the open archive of published papers and is supported by NIH. Some have criticized NIH for creating its own archive at a cost of $2–4 million per year instead of simply directing the public to the original journals' websites, but these original journals have not all released their content. Others criticize the voluntary nature of the system, which places authors in the difficult position of negotiating between the journal and NIH about the timing of the deposit. Still, PubMed Central relies on a flourishing publishing industry to process the original articles, and this industry may be undermined when its content is accessible on PubMed Central for free....We need a "catch-and-release" system whereby the publisher owns the exclusive rights to the paper for an appropriate time --generally considered as 6–18 months. Then, the paper is reincarnated into the public domain and deposited by the author to a designated online archive. It could be the original journal archive. Articles could then be reused without legal complications, and full text and figures could be "data mined" for new correlations and discoveries. Imagine searching full-text databases just like the genomic sequences in GenBank. As scientists and authors, we want as many people as possible to read, use, and cite our research. And for this, we rely on a stable publishing industry. Publishers need to find a business model by which they can capture enough revenue in the short time that the paper resides with them. That may require charging authors and institutions and/or increasing fees for current content. Change is the only thing that is certain. Right now, the American Chemical Society, home of ES&T, is considering making all back issues of its journals freely available after an appropriate period. At ES&T, we strongly encourage this policy. It will result in better dissemination of ideas, increase our readership, and, hopefully, improve environmental science and technology. Open access is an irresistible idea.'
(PS: I don't want to nitpick a friendly editorial, but I have two quick responses. First on the possibility that the NIH policy will "undermine" the system of journals that provide peer review: There are at least eight reasons to think that the NIH policy will not undermine journal subscriptions. In any case, it will certainly not undermine OA journals, which can provide peer review of equal rigor. Second, on the catch-and-release proposal: Authors need the right of immediate self-archiving. Schnoor's proposal seems to permit a six month embargo, even if it doesn't require it. In addition, after a subscription-based journal has recovered its costs, it's enough to let rights revert to the author and provide OA to the back issues. Assigning the articles to the public domain is not strictly necessary. But with these revisions, the idea of temporary transfers of rights from authors to publishers is a promising one that deserves a closer look.)
Donald Kennedy, Bayh-Dole: Almost 25, Science Magazine, March 4, 2005. Mostly about the patent issues raised by the Bayh-Dole Act, but toward the end of the piece, Kennedy touches on some OA issues. Excerpt: 'Scientific journals, including Science and other nonprofit society journals, were invited by Congress to make papers reporting government-sponsored research freely available and to find another way to finance the value added through editing, review, and evaluation. Inconsistency and ambivalence prevail. We want technology transfer, but we resent those who take federally supported work, add some value, and receive a return on their investment. The same NIH that urges nonprofit publishers to give that value away properly declines to make drug manufacturers sell drugs cheaply if they were derived from NIH research.' (Thanks to Michael Rogawski.)
(PS: If these are veiled references to the NIH public-access policy, then they are way off-base. NIH never asked subscription-based journals to stop charging subscriptions or convert to OA. Subscription-based journals are paid for their added value with subscription revenue. The NIH policy tries to repay researchers and taxpayers for their added value. Does Kennedy want to let subscription-based journals control access to research conducted by others, written up by others, funded by taxpayers, and given to journals without charge?)
Robert Terry, Funding the Way to Open Access, PLoS Biology, March 2005. Excerpt: 'Imagine this scenario. You're the director of one of the world's largest medical research charities, and you receive notification from one of your funded investigators in Africa reporting some exciting progress toward the development of a vaccine for malaria. The work has just been published, so you log onto the Web to do a quick keyword search, and a link to the article is brought up on your screen. Then imagine the frustration when you click on the link to read the message, "Access Denied --access to this journal is restricted to registered institutional and individual subscribers." And there's the rub: this actually happened to the Director of the Wellcome Trust....I now believe it is the funders of research --charities, governments, and other publicly funded bodies such as national research agencies-- who hold the purse strings that can untie scientific discoveries from a publishing market that is no longer serving the community as well as it could. That is why today the Trust is a leading advocate for enabling free access to research literature through support for new publishing models, such as that of the Public Library of Science, and the establishment of publicly accessible repositories, working in partnership with the United States National Institutes of Health–funded PubMed Central....The first Trust-commissioned study described how scientific research publishing has traditionally worked and why it can be described, in economic terms, as a failing market....This then begs the question of what alternatives there are to this traditional system, now that the Internet has become the researcher's tool of choice for searching and accessing the literature. The second piece of research commissioned by the Trust looked at different business models for research publishing, in order to address this question....This study convinced the Trust that the best way forward to improve access to research findings would be through open access to scientific research articles. This essentially means two things: first, that the copyright holder or holders must grant to the public a free, irrevocable, perpetual license to use, copy, distribute, and make derivative works of their research article, in any medium for any purpose (excepting those that constitute plagiarism or other dishonest acts, of course); and second, that a digital copy must be deposited in an open public archival repository (for example, the US National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central)....For a medical charity like the Trust, I believe it is our duty to actively encourage the most efficient processes available to maximise the likelihood that the research we fund will have the greatest possible health benefit.' Robert Terry is Senior Policy Adviser at the Wellcome Trust.
Update. Terry's article has stimulated a Slashdot discussion.
The presentations from the TSO Breakfast Briefing, Future Trends in Publishing (London, February 15, 2005), are now online. I can't tell from the front page or the presentation titles whether any of them address OA.
Penn State University is launching an Office of Digital Scholarly publishing, a collaboration of the university press and the university libraries. From yesterday's press release: 'The principal mission of the Office of Digital Publishing will be to use new media technologies to advance scholarly communication -- at Penn State and beyond. Through projects sponsored by the office, the libraries and the Press will be able to clarify the costs associated with electronic publishing and assess the long-term benefits to the scholarly communication system....While similar initiatives are under way at other universities, few involve such extensive library-press synergy....The libraries bring to the office considerable expertise in programming, digitization, Web site development, and access mechanisms such as indexing and metadata. The Press brings its own extensive expertise in editorial matters ranging from peer review to copyediting and developmental editing....One of the first tasks of the Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing will be to build the necessary technical infrastructure for moving journals and monographs to a digital environment. This task already is well under way with the announcement in August that the libraries and the Press have joined forces with Cornell University to develop an open-source publication management system. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is funding the development of this system based on Cornell's innovative publishing software, DPubS (Digital Publishing System). DPubS will be re-engineered as a general-purpose publishing platform for scholarly literature in diverse fields. It will support peer review, have extensive administrative functionality, and will provide interoperability with open-source repository systems such as FEDORA and DSpace.'
Leslie Carr and Stevan Harnad, Keystroke Economy: A Study of the Time and Effort Involved in Self-Archiving, a preprint. Abstract: 'A common objection to self-archiving is that it is an extra task that puts an unnecessary burden on each researcher. In particular, the need to enter the extra bibliographic metadata demanded by repositories for accurate searching and identification is presumed to be a particularly onerous task. This paper describes a preliminary study on two months of submissions for a mature repository and concludes that the amount of time spent entering metadata would be as little as 40 minutes per year for a highly active researcher.'
Louise Perry, Publish and be scanned, The Australian, March 16, 2005. Excerpt: 'The pressure to publish, long a bugbear of academic life, has eased at Monash University after the introduction of technology that promises to disseminate work across the world. Enter the ePress, viewed by many as an online godsend. With a click of the mouse, it gives researchers, scholars or students anywhere in the world access to Australian research. "This is the brave new world," said Cathrine Harboe-Ree, chief librarian at Monash...."This is a time of great exploration in academic publishing," Ms Harboe-Ree said. "It is an exciting time where we can look at presenting Australian research to the wider community, and with the ePress we are now well positioned to do that. To be able to present Australian research like this to the world is just a brilliant thing." RMIT University has the most highly developed university electronic publishing outfit in Australia. The Australian National University, the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney have smaller versions. Melbourne University Press has started to offer some of its material electronically, but the Monash University ePress differs from the others because - at least for the time being - it is focused on highlighting Monash academics and their research.'
(PS: According to Harboe-Ree's position paper earlier this month, the Monash ePress will at first produce priced content. But "[a]fter a period of time, Monash material published by the ePress will be made available on an open access basis.")
Robin Good, Free Open Access To Public Domain And Publicly Financed Artworks Is Every Citizen's Right: Let's Download Them! A blog posting, March 1, 2005. Excerpt: 'If we pay our state to create public works like art, music, architecture, research, is it right that these creations are then exploited for commercial uses by a restricted few?...It is therefore with some notable appreciation that I am following the passionate efforts of the Creative Commons Italian community as it launches and fuels with energy a new very inspiring initiative called Scarichiamoli! ("Let's download them!")....Here is what they say in their latest press release issued a few hours ago:..."Public access to know-how and free use of intellectual work represent a common denominator for different movements (Open Access, Open Content, Open Source, Web Accessibility), which are concerned with varied problems, but which in the respect of their own mission and principles can't refuse to acknowledge a fertile common ground: An open development of the Knowledge Society. Based on this assumption, our request, to the Italian State and to relevant government organs, for a Web portal, a meta-search engine, a P2P client and other technological solutions targeted at creating popular and secure channels for the popularization of Italian culture, must reflect the successes that the above movements have achieved and which represent an extraordinary valuable set of resources for society: For example, the requested system will need to use free software, to support the OAI-PMH protocol, to comply with WCAG 1.0 specifications, to make available all public domain works." '
Nature respects preprint servers, Nature 434, 257 (17 March 2005.) (Access restricted to subscribers.) A brief editorial argues that Nature has been unfairly maligned with regard to authors depositing their papers in preprint archives, and states: "if scientists wish to display drafts of their research papers on an established preprint server before or during submission to Nature or any Nature journal, that's fine by us." The six-month embargo on postprint self-archiving is not mentioned, however.
From a March 15 posting to Lessig's blog: 'So I did something today for the very last time in my life. I'm publishing a comment in the Minnesota Law Review about an article by Brett Frischmann titled "An Economic Theory of Infrastructure." His is a great article; I was happy to write the comment. But today, on the brink of publication, I had to confront the "Publication Agreement." In order to give the Minnesota Law Review my work, I have also to give them my copyright. In particular, they get the "exclusive right to authorize the publication, reproduction, and distribution" of my work. They have in turn sold that right to Lexis and Westlaw. Never again. It has taken me too long to resolve myself about this, and it was too late in the process of this article to insist on something different. But from this moment on, I am committed to the Open Access pledge: I will not agree to publish in any academic journal that does not permit me the freedoms of at least a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.'
(PS: This is very welcome. Not all scholars can afford to take this pledge yet, especially in law where very few law reviews are cooperating. But an author's weight is an undeniable factor in the negotiation with publishers, and Lessig should be able to get what he wants, opening the door a bit further for others. Insisting on a CC license is one good way to take the OA pledge but not the only way. All authors are copyright holders until they transfer copyright to a publisher, and as copyright holders they have the right to deposit their work in an OA repository. Retaining that right after signing a publishing contract is the least that authors should pledge to do, no matter what form that right, permission, or license may take. Note that most surveyed journals already permit postprint archiving by authors. If you have to deal with one that does not, and want some lawyer-crafted language to append to your copyright transfer agreement, enabling you to retain the rights you need to consent to OA, then look at the SPARC Author's Addendum.)
The Spring issue of the INASP Newsletter is now online. This issue focuses on initiatives to provide free and affordable access to agricultural information in developing countries around the world, including RAIN (Regional Agricultural Information Network), ICM4ARD (Information and Communication Management for Agricultural Research for Development), Anancy, and the AgroWeb Network.
Academics take the initiative in open access debate, CORDIS News, March 16, 2005. An unsigned news story. Excerpt: 'The Southampton meeting concluded that: 'In order to implement the Berlin Declaration, institutions should: (1) implement a policy to require their researchers to deposit a copy of all their published articles in an open access repository; and (2) encourage their researchers to publish their research articles in open access journals where a suitable journal exists and provide the support to enable that to happen.' Stevan Harnad, a professor at Southampton University and leading proponent of open access, said after the meeting: 'Everybody will benefit from it - researchers will be able to access what they could not before and the impact of their research will go up. At last those who agree open access is a good thing know how to provide it.' He also argued that open access to research papers would not undermine sales of those scientific journals in which they were originally published, but would in fact increase their impact in terms of the number of times they are cited. The most recent example of just such an initiative came on 14 March, when 16 university heads in Scotland concluded a Scottish declaration on open access, committing their institutions to setting up online libraries of research papers that all academics can access. They will also examine the possibility of setting up a joint repository, and some will even make it mandatory for their researchers to publish their work on an open access basis. Derek Law, librarian at the University of Strathclyde, said: 'There is now clear evidence that open access articles are more frequently cited. If Scottish-based research is made available through open access it will be cited more, which means it will, by definition, be read more. The hope is that this will in turn lead both to a positive cycle of increased research funding and also to increased inward investment as business recognises the added value of a powerful research base.' '
Ariana Eunjung Cha, Creative Commons Is Rewriting Rules of Copyright, Washington Post, March 15, 2005. Excerpt: 'Interest in Creative Commons licenses comes as artists, authors and traditional media companies begin to warm to the idea of the Internet as friend instead of foe and race to capitalize on technologies such as file-sharing and digital copying....The licenses are the brainchild of online theorist Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor. Lessig argues that the current system of copyright laws provides little flexibility -- either you give up all permissions for use of your work or you withhold everything. He proposed a solution: a set of copyright licenses that would allow artists to choose to keep "some rights reserved" rather than "all rights reserved." They could, for instance, choose to allow their works to be enjoyed and copied by others for any purpose, restrict such activity to non-commercial use or allow use of portions of the work rather than all of it. To that end, Lessig co-founded the nonprofit Creative Commons, whose aim, as he describes it, is to "help artists and authors give others the freedom to build upon their creativity -- without calling a lawyer first." What began as an offbeat legal experiment is now prompting people to reconsider the notion of copyright....In the year since the licenses were unveiled, a steady stream of works beyond popular music and videos has joined the Creative Commons public domain archive: material for more than 500 Massachusetts Institute of Technology classes, audio of every U.S. Supreme Court argument since 1950 from the Public Library of Science, the archives for Flickr's photo-sharing site, and Cory Doctorow's futuristic novel "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom."..."There is this weird sense that the Internet is broken because it lets people make easy copies.... The Internet is a machine for making copies, and artists need to come to grips with that," Doctorow said.'
Abstracts of the presentations from the AAAS Annual Meeting (Washington, D.C., February 17-21, 2005), are now online. This includes the two sessions on OA: (1) Access to Scientific Literature: A Policy Perspective, and (2) Changing Scientific Publishing: Open Access and Implications for Working Scientists. (Thanks to Barry Mahon.)
The March issue of D-Lib Magazine is now online. Here are the OA-related articles.
Stevan Harnad, The Implementation of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, D-Lib Magazine, March 2005. Excerpt: 'Open Access (OA) means immediate, permanent, free online access to the full text of all refereed research journal articles (2.5 million articles a year, published in 24,000 refereed journals, across all disciplines, languages and nations). The Berlin Declaration on Open Access, launched in October 2003, has so far been signed by 55 institutions globally, including large national research institutions such as France's CNRS and Germany's Max-Planck Institutes; national Academies of Science such as those of China, India and the Netherlands; international research institutions such as CERN; and individual universities and research funding agencies around the world....Dr. [Alma] Swan also gave a splendid talk in the special UK session (all videos and powerpoints are now accessible at the Berlin 3 website), reporting her now-famous finding (from 2 international surveys) that although researchers are still extremely uninformed about OA, with only about 25% of them providing OA today, the vast majority (79%) state that they will self-archive their work, and do so willingly --but only if and when their institutions or their research funders require them to do it. And that, of course, became the specific concrete policy recommendation of Berlin 3: Universities, research institutions and research funding agencies should require—as a matter of institutional policy—that their employees/fundees deposit a supplementary copy of each of their published research journal articles into their own institutional OAI-compliant repository....The following new recommendation accordingly emerged from the Berlin 3 meeting (bold emphasis added):
In order to implement the Berlin Declaration institutions should:
Mark Pilgrim (a contributor to this blog) has released Butler 0.1, an open-source add-on for Firefox. Of primary interest to this audience, Butler removes copying restrictions on images in Google Print and adds links to other book sites. But it does many other things as well, such as removing ads from most Google pages and adding links to Google competitors.
Beau C. Robicheaux, Harvard-Google Project Faces Copyright Woes, Harvard Crimson, March 15, 2005. Excerpt: 'Three months after undertaking an ambitious project to digitize thousands of books, Harvard University Library (HUL) and the Google Print project are facing scrutiny from publishing organizations, who claim the project may infringe copyright law. Google is in the process of scanning 40,000 Harvard library books, which will be made available for browsing on the internet....In December, Google Project Manager Adam Smith said that books in the public domain will be fully available online so researchers can use Google Print in place of a trip to the library. He added that much smaller excerpts of copyrighted works will be displayed....But Sally Morris, chief executive of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers --an international association of over 300 not-for-profit publishers-- wrote in an e-mail that even with these safeguards, she and the publishers she represents object to the project, which plans to digitize copyrighted books. "The law does not permit wholesale copying (which is what digitisation is) by a commercial organisation of works that are still in copyright," she wrote. "It is also illegal to make those works available digitally once they have been copied."...But Jonathan Zittrain, faculty co-director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, wrote in an e-mail that he believes the pilot project is not a copyright infringement. "This is what fair use is designed for," he wrote. "By showing only snippets, the market for the books themselves is not harmed." '
Martha Mendoza, AP Review: Gov't Reducing Access to Info, Associated Press, March 14, 2005. Excerpt: 'Since 1998, many federal departments have been reducing the amount of information they release to the public — even as the government fields and answers more requests for information than ever, an Associated Press review has found. The locations of stores and restaurants that have received recalled meat, the names of detainees held by the U.S. overseas and details about Vice President Dick Cheney's 2001 energy policy task force are all among the records that the government isn't sharing with the public. The tightening began even before the Sept. 11 attacks, and now government defenders say the nation needs protection from its enemies in the war on terror. But open government advocates worry that U.S. citizens' freedom is eroding with every file they can't access. "This is an immensely troubling clampdown," said Steve Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Secrecy Project. "The law itself is unchanged, but it's being interpreted more broadly to withhold more information."...States all have their own public records laws, and have closely followed the federal government's lead. Since Sept. 11, 2001, at least 20 states have proposed new laws to control public records, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. These changes mostly try to prevent terrorists from seeing evacuation, emergency and security plans. But in the process, limits are being placed on everything from birth and death records to architectural and engineering drawings of public buildings, said Davis, at the University of Missouri-Columbia....Sens. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, introduced a bill in February that would significantly reform federal FOIA laws, requiring agencies to give people seeking documents a tracking number that could be checked online. The bill also aims to reduce the kinds of excuses the government can give for refusing to release material.' (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has launched the JHSPH OpenCourseWare project. From the site: 'The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is pleased to welcome you to the initial phase of its pilot OpenCourseWare (OCW) project, providing free and open access to the School's most popular courses to students, self learners, and educators anywhere in the world. We are launching our OCW web site with two courses and expect to publish eight additional courses by April 2005, followed by many more courses in the coming years. Challenges to the world's health escalate daily. As part of its mission to protect health and prevent disease and disability, the School feels a moral imperative to provide equal and open access to information and knowledge about the obstacles to the public's health and their potential solutions.' For more information, see the FAQ.
The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) is digitizing all its print and microfiche publications in order to make them OA. From a March 9 call for comments: 'GPO is working with the library community on a national digitization plan, with the goal of digitizing a complete legacy collection of tangible U.S. Government publications. The objective is to ensure that the digital collection is available, in the public domain, for no-fee permanent public access through the FDLP [Federal Depository Library Program].' For details, see the GPO's June 2004 report. If you have comments on the project, send them to Judith C. Russell by Monday, March 28, 2005. (Thanks to digitizationblog.)
Cathrine Harboe-Ree, Transforming scholarly communication: a Monash University perspective, Monash University, March 4, 2005. Excerpt: 'This paper takes the position that, ultimately, open access publishing is a desirable goal from the point of view of encouraging and supporting research, but particularly from the point of view of maximising research opportunities for those nations, organisations and individuals that cannot afford access to high-quality information. The approach being taken by Monash University is one of philosophical support for open access publishing within a framework of attempting to find sustainable publishing models (there being quite a gap between Monash University ePress’s partial cost-recovery model, for example, and the recent annual billion dollar profit achieved by a major commercial publisher)....[T]he Monash University ePress will be launched in March 2005 with three electronic journals and a monograph, with other publications in production. The business model for the ePress is based on partial cost recovery, derived in the main from subscription and pay per view charging. The intellectual property contracts will protect the rights of the authors and allow them to make reasonable use of their material. After a period of time, Monash material published by the ePress will be made available on an open access basis....The approach being adopted at Monash University is based on a belief that institutional repositories will only be sustainable if they add value in a systemic way. To this end, the ARROW repository will be an integral part of the annual process of gathering and reporting on research output. The landscape will change dramatically if and when government or other incentives for depositing research output into institutional repositories are brought into play. This could occur, for example, through mandating that publications arising from Commonwealth Government grants be deposited, or by increasing points allocated to publications if they have been deposited.'
(PS: Also see Harboe-Ree's February discussion paper, Managing Australian Research Output For Increased Return On Investment: The Role Of Open Access Institutional Repositories, attached as an appendix to the document above, and also available separately.)
Lila Guterman, Study Challenges Equation of Open-Access Publishing With an Author-Pays Business Model, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 15, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'The first large-scale comparison of open-access journals with traditional journals has revealed evidence of a publishing industry in flux. A new survey indicates that open-access journals -- those that make their contents free to all readers upon publication -- have widely varying business models. More than half of all of the journals in the survey, whether open-access or subscription-based, reported that they were likely to change their business model in the next three years. The survey's findings were described [by Cara Kaufman] in a presentation on Monday at the London Book Fair....[The study] was financed by groups that are affiliated largely with traditional journals: the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Learned and Professional Publishers, and HighWire Press....Starting last August, Ms. Kaufman and her colleagues at Kaufman-Wills sent 38-question surveys to journals hosted online by HighWire Press, to journals listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, and to journals published by members of the medical-college association. They received responses from 367 journals, of which 248 were openly accessible....But some results were unanticipated. Contrary to expectations, author fees were charged by a larger fraction of traditional journals than of open-access journals...."Most people think of open access as being synonymous with author pays," said Ms. Kaufman. "The open-access journals don't rely as much on author fees as one might think." '
(PS: This is a very significant study. It should put an end to loose talk about the "author pays" model as if it were the only model for OA journals. It will definitely help measure the true cost, e.g. to universities, of supporting OA journals rather than non-OA journals. And it should help non-OA journals more accurately assess the economics of adopting one of the OA business models. I've mentioned before that Cara Kaufman is my sister, and I'll mention it again as a disclaimer. But if anyone thinks that my position on OA undermines Cara's neutrality, then they don't know Cara or the groups that commissioned the Kaufman-Wills study.)
Update. Lila Guterman's article was reprinted in the March 25 issue of the Chronicle under the title, New Study Compares Open-Access and Traditional Publishing.
The presentations from the conference, Berlin 3 Open Access: Progress in Implementing the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (Southampton, February 28 - March 1, 2005), are now online. In most cases, this includes PPT slides as well as unedited video. (PS: The Berlin3 was one of the most important OA meetings in a long time. All the presentations are relevant.)
The Persée project offers free online access to the back runs of French journals in the humanities and social sciences. "Persée" stands for PERiodiques Scientifiques en Edition Electronique. Back issues are made available after a moving wall determined by each participating journal --usually between three and five years. For more information, see the FAQ. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
Euroscience has created a new, permanent Science Publishing Working Group. From the web site: 'The very lively debate on scientific publishing and open access is spreading beyond the scientific and publishing circles as shown, among others, by the announcement by the European Commission of "a study on the economic and technical evolution of the scientific publication markets in Europe" and by the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report, Scientific Publications: Free for all? However, the situation evolves rapidly, and the open questions remain more numerous than the answers proposed. Euroscience has therefore the strategic task to maintain the issue of science publishing on the front burner, preparing with much care the discussions in the frame at every next [Euroscience Open Forum].' (Thanks to Hélène Bosc.)
Christine Tsai, Postprints Service Allows the Public Free Access to UC Scholarly, New University, March 14, 2005. (Yes, there is a word missing from the title.) Excerpt: 'The University of California Office of Scholarly Communication recently launched its eScholarship postprints service, allowing the public free access to peer-reviewed articles written by UC faculty. Catherine Candee, director of publishing and strategic initiatives at the OSC, explained three ways that the OSC attempts to improve and change the system of scholarly communication. "One way is by working with faculty to try to implement and change the way copyright is managed," Candee said. "The second way is to work with the library to make informed purchases. The third is to provide alternative publishing platforms and services." The postprints service is an addition to the already existing eScholarship repository launched in 2002, which contains working papers, technical papers, professional reports, journals and monographs. Candee built and developed the repository and the postprints service in hopes that it will help fulfill the mission of the OSC. "The postprints service is a nice concentration on those aims in that there is an immediate aim of encouraging scholars to have direct control over their scholarly output," Candee said. "They're reclaiming it and we’re taking content that is generally unavailable to most of the world and making it widely available."...According to Candee, the cost of developing the postprints service was miniscule compared to publishing fees...."We think that the university is a source of knowledge that should be shared with society and by unfettering the access to all this, it will lead to a more vibrant, intellectual community and a more vibrant state for the society and economy," Candee said.'
Polly Curtis, Scottish universities sign open access deal, The Guardian, March 14, 2005. Excerpt: 'Scottish university heads have agreed to make their academic research more freely available to one another in a bid to bypass the costly fees for publishing in journals. The new Scottish Declaration on Open Access is the latest in a series of challenges by universities to break the stranglehold of the major academic publishers which costs taxpayers millions of pounds a year. Publicly funded universities have to pay to have their academics' work assessed for publication, then again to read the journals. The declaration commits each of its 16 university signatories to setting up online libraries of research findings and doctorate papers which all academics can access. Universities will also look into developing a joint repository for academic work and some will make it mandatory for academics to publish their work on an open access basis. Funders of research are also considering how they can encourage recipients of their grants to publish their work on an open access basis....Sheila Cannell, the director of library services at the university, added: "We would like to see publicly funded research being publicly available rather than locked up in academic journals." Derek Law, university librarian at the University of Strathclyde said: "There is now clear evidence that open access articles are more frequently cited. If Scottish-based research is made available through open access it will be cited more, which means it will by definition be read more.' (PS: The Scottish Declaration was released in October 2004, though the version at the link above was revised on February 1 of this year.)
Scott Carlson, Scholars Note 'Decay' of Citations to Online References, Chronicle of Higher Education, March 14, 2005 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt: 'An analysis of citations to Web addresses in scholarly articles on communications studies found that a third of the links were no longer active. The two scholars who conducted the analysis are preparing their findings for publication and coming up with a list of recommendations to stop what they refer to as the decay of online citations....Steve Jones, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago who is an editor of New Media & Society, called the decay of online citations "a real issue" that the journal has begun to examine. He wonders whether copyright law might someday allow scholars to copy and archive online articles that they used as sources. But he says such a solution is "pie in the sky." Anthony T. Grafton, a professor of history at Princeton University who has written a book about footnotes, has read a draft of the Iowa State professors' study and agrees that citation decay is "a real problem....I'm looking at a world in which documentation and verification melt into air," he says.'
The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal published by the Beilstein-Institut and BioMed Central. From the site: 'The Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry will begin publication during 2005. A Call for Papers providing full information for authors, will be released in May 2005. It will be a peer-reviewed online journal, published by the Beilstein-Institut in co-operation with BioMed Central, and the first major open access journal in this field. As such it will offer the international community of organic chemists a service that has been available to life scientists for some time - the opportunity to make their research results freely available on an open access basis and in the public archives of science....The journal will publish full research papers and short communications, as well as occasional reviews and commentary articles. Supplementary data will also be published. There will be particular emphasis on speed of publication and on presentation of the articles in a chemically intelligent way. The issues of the journal will be made freely available online, while an annual print archival edition will be available for purchase at cost price.' For more details, see today's press release.
Richard Poynder, What is Open Access? Open and Shut, March 12, 2005. Focusing mostly on the new access-widening policies from the American Chemical Society (ACS). Excerpt: '[The new ACS policy] seems like a positive signal that both commercial and non-profit STM journal publishers now accept that publicly-funded research must be made freely available on the web. The ACS announcement is significant since the ACS was one of a handful of remaining publishers that consistently refused to "go green" and allow author self-archiving (technically ACS was classified as a gray publisher)....On the surface it appears that the ACS has had a conversion....Undoubtedly the new ACS policy is a direct response to the NIH policy....The ACS announcement is also a clear marker that it wants to maintain control of the process. But is it a signal that a consensus on OA has finally begun to emerge, and can we now expect to see a smooth transition to OA? Or is the ACS move merely a cynical ploy to engineer a situation in which a 12-month embargo becomes not (as intended by the NIH) an outer boundary, but the norm? Certainly the ACS has made the most of the watered down NIH policy....Stevan Harnad, a leading proponent of the green cause, and author of The Subversive Proposal, is unimpressed with the ACS position, believing it to be an attempt to make a virtue out of necessity....[Quoting Harnad:] "[A]ccess 12 months late is not very useful in itself and in any case already becoming the norm, but from a gray publisher it is actually a pretext for not going green, and as such, is no improvement at all. We should applaud partial steps only if they lead toward and increase the probability of 100% OA, not if they lead away from it!"...As Peter Suber pointed out in the February issue of his SPARC Open Access Newsletter the “chief problem" with the final NIH policy is that "free online access could be delayed up to 12 months after publication. This is a significant delay, more serious in biomedicine than in most other fields. It will slow down research and slow down advances that promote public health."...[I]f OA does indeed imply immediate access, how should OA advocates respond to embargo creep?' (PS: Poynder also discusses the new Nature self-archiving policy, which introduces a six-month embargo on self-archiving.)
Hester van Santen, Internet als uitgever, Mare, March 10, 1005. On the Dutch DARE Project and some new open-access initiatives at the University of Leiden, including a partnership between the Leiden medical center and BioMed Central and a new effort to get Leiden faculty to deposit their work in the Leiden institutional repository.