Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Warwick presentations

The presentations from the 29th UKSG Annual Conference and Exhibition (Warwick, April 3-5, 2006) are now online. (Thanks to William Walsh.) A good half dozen are OA-related.

Can Elsevier satisfy both its investors and its customers?

Amanda Andrews, Why Elsevier's strategy is improving with age, Times Online, April 14, 2006 --temporarily offline. (Thanks to William Walsh for both the alert and the excerpt.) Excerpt:
Erik Engstrom's job [as Elsevier CEO] is to soften Reed Elsevier's image problem. The electronic publishing giant is successful enough as a business, but it runs into controversy amid accusations that it operates a stranglehold on the scientific community. The fresh-faced Swede, who speaks with an American accent, runs the Elsevier division, the world's largest scientific and medical publisher, and his message is that once you stop worrying about prices, his business can help to change the world for the better. Engstrom joined Elsevier, home to the 183-year-old medical journal The Lancet, two years ago, at a crisis point. Libraries, the main customers, were complaining that the company planned to jack up subscriptions above the rate of inflation at a time when their budgets were squeezed. Political hostility and a House of Commons inquiry led to Ian Gibson, chairman of the science and technology committee, accusing publishers such as Reed of "ripping off the academic community". Two years on, the critics are muted. Engstrom has managed to take some of the heat out of the issue--and starts by offering sympathy: "We understand that libraries face significant budget challenges as research output has been rising faster than library budgets. In response to this, we have redoubled our efforts to work with libraries to develop flexible purchasing options." That kind of vague, well-intentioned talk won't, in isolation, convince anybody, but the company has realised that there is plenty of growth to be achieved by means other than price rises. And here, old age is critical. Elsevier's health sciences division, which accounts for 45 per cent, grew by 6 per cent last year, while the science arm--the balance of the business--improved by plus 5. "We are fundamentally in a growth market. The ageing population in the Western world is driving an increase in spend on tools to help professionals."...Engstrom's strategy appears to make sense and, once you get past the pricing argument, Elsevier is producing a valuable service to the world. It is, after all, questionable whether it is the group's job to worry about pricing when its main responsibility is to its investors.

Do copyright collectives help or hurt academic authors?

Heather Morrison, Open Access and the Copyright Collective, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:
It is time to rethink the idea of the copyright collective, for a number of reasons. In Canada, the copyright collective is called Access Copyright. According to the Access Canada website, "The agency now represents a vast international repertoire along with more than 8,000 Canadian creators and publishers".  With the world wide web, it is possible for virtually everyone to publish their own works, and a very great many of us do. What exactly is the point of a copyright collective representing only 8,000 Canadians? In a country with a population of 32 million, surely there are millions of creators, not thousands?

I myself am an example of a creator who interests are not at all represented by Access Copyright. On the contrary, as an academic I am disadvantaged by this collective. Academic institutions pay the copyright collective; this takes monies away from the educational and research functions of the universities. This makes no sense at all! Universities are major creators of intellectual content - if those who create intellectual property are to be reimbused through collectives, the cheques should be flowing to the universities, not from them. I'm not suggesting that this happen; merely, that it would make more sense.

This situation is rapidly becoming much more obvious, as university libraries take on an expanded role in serving the interests of their own creators, through the OA academic presses and open access archives....

More Matt Pasiewicz interviews

Matt Pasiewicz made several relevant podcast interviews at CNI's recent 2006 Spring Task Force Meeting (Arlington, Virginia, April 3-4, 2006).

  1. With Kristin Antelmann: "In this 22 minute recording, I'll sit down with Kristin Antelman, Associate Director for Information Technology @ the North Carolina State University Libraries to get a feel for what shaped their selection of Endeca’s Information Access Solutions.   If you haven't seen their new catalog, you've got to check it out!  We'll also chat a bit about the potential for social software, the final report of the University of California’s Bibliographic Services Task Force (PDF), and the use of  Segway Human Transporters at the library."

  2. With Denise Troll Covey: "In this 28 minute recording, I sit down with Denise Troll Covey, Principal Librarian for Special Projects at Carnegie Mellon University.  Tune-in as she shares some thoughts about her work covering the Orphan Works debate, insights on fair use and DRM, and close with some thoughts on social software."

  3. With Paul Ginsparg: "In this sixty eight minute recording, I sit down with Paul Ginsparg, physicist, scholarly communications pioneer, and the latest recipient of the Paul Evan Peters Award.  We'll chat about the history of arXiv, social computing, peer review, and a number of  other topics related to scholarly communication."

  4. With Cliff Lynch: "In this 67 minute recording, I sit down with CNI's Cliff Lynch for a wide ranging discussion about interesting activities at CNI, gather some thoughts about large scale digitization projects, net neutrality, and microformats.  We'll hear about advances in the research community, talk about a number of federal policy issues, and we'll hear some thoughts about opportunity costs associated with decisions affecting the scholars and librarians of today.   We'll also chat a bit about NCSU's deployment of Endeca and the final report of UC’s Bibliographic Services Task Force (PDF)."

  5. With Don Waters: "In this 23 minute recording, I'll sit down with Don Waters, Program Officer for Scholarly Communication at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Among other things, we'll talk about broadly about their activities relating to digital library initiatives, Mellon's call for Urgent Action to Preserve Scholarly Electronic Journals, and the undercurrents of open access."

Yochai Benkler's new book on commons-based information production

Yochai Benkler, Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, Yale University Press, 2006. Benkler has also provided an OA edition of the full text and a wiki to supplement it. (Thanks to the CC blog.) Excerpt:
At the same time, we are seeing an ever-more self-conscious adoption of commons-based practices as a modality of information production and exchange. Free software, Creative Commons, the Public Library of Science, the new guidelines of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on free publication of papers, new open archiving practices, librarian movements, and many other communities of practice are developing what was a contingent fact into a self-conscious social movement. As the domain of existing information and culture comes to be occupied by information and knowledge produced within these free sharing movements and licensed on the model of open-licensing techniques, the problem of the conflict with the proprietary domain will recede. Twentieth-century materials will continue to be a point of friction, but a sufficient quotient of twenty- first-century materials seem now to be increasingly available from sources that are happy to share them with future users and creators. If this socialcultural trend continues over time, access to content resources will present an ever-lower barrier to nonmarket production....

Bits are a part of a flow in the networked information environment, and trying to legislate that fact away in order to preserve a business model that sells particular collections of bits as discrete, finished goods may simply prove to be impossible....globe. The rise of commons-based information production, of individuals and loose associations producing information in nonproprietary forms, presents a genuine discontinuity from the industrial information economy of the twentieth century. It brings with it great promise, and great uncertainty. We have early intimations as to how market-based enterprises can adjust to make room for this newly emerging phenomenon—IBM’s adoption of open source, Second Life’s adoption of user-created immersive entertainment, or Open Source Technology Group’s development of a platform for Slashdot. We also have very clear examples of businesses that have decided to fight the new changes by using every trick in the book, and some, like injecting corrupt files into peer-to-peer networks, that are decidedly not in the book....We have an opportunity to change the way we create and exchange information, knowledge, and culture. By doing so, we can make the twenty- first century one that offers individuals greater autonomy, political communities greater democracy, and societies greater opportunities for cultural self-reflection and human connection.

Update. Here's Lawrence Lessig's short, strong review: "Yochai Benkler’s book, The Weath of Networks, is out. This is - by far - the most important and powerful book written in the fields that matter most to me in the last ten years. If there is one book you read this year, it should be this. The book has a wiki; it can be downloaded as a pdf for free under a Creative Commons license; or it can be bought at places like Amazon.  Read it. Understand it. You are not serious about these issues - on either side of these debates - unless you have read this book."

Friday, April 14, 2006

More on strengthening the NIH policy

Susan R. Morrissey, NIH Panel Reaffirms Public-Access Policy, Chemical and Engineering News, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:

An NIH advisory panel charged with implementing a public-access policy has reaffirmed its November 2005 recommendation that all NIH-funded research be made publicly available via PubMed Central no later than six months after publication.  The panel, Public Access Working Group (PAWG), reissued its call for a mandatory, six-month public-access policy at a meeting on April 10. NIH's current policy in this area was issued last May and calls for voluntary posting of agency-funded work on PubMed Central within a year of publication....[The] low rate of participation supports the need for a mandatory policy, public-access advocates say.  Several groups, such as the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), the American Cancer Society, and the New England Journal of Medicine, have expressed their support for a mandatory policy with a six-month posting deadline.  "We are very pleased that PAWG has reaffirmed its original recommendations for a mandatory policy and a maximum six-month embargo period," said ATA's Heather Joseph. She added that to achieve the agency's stated goals related to public access, a mandatory policy is needed.  Ultimately, the decision on public access falls to NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, who is in the process of considering revisions to the current policy, which are expected to be announced this year.

NIH and publishers negotiating

Janet Coleman, NIH Public Access Discussions with Publishers Proceeding, but Obstacles Remain, Research Policy Alert, April 13, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
NIH is in active discussions with Elsevier and a group of non-profit publishers over agreements that could ensure 100% particicpation in the National Library of Medicine's public access program for agency-funded research contained in those publishers' journals....[In the year since the policy took effect] many of the publishers that initially opposed the policy have moved to a more cooperative stance....Motivating the shift in attitude, in part, has been concern that if participation rates in the program do not improve, NIH will make the program mandatory or Congress will intervene with a push for more stringent rules....The currrent discussion focuses on the possibility of Elsevier making "bulk," or "batch," submissions to NLM....One of the central issues that remains to be worked is determining which version of articles would be submitted....The group of non-profit publishers that is negotiating with the agency consists of seven members [of the DC Principles Coalition]....Discussions with the seven non-profits are focusing on the possibility of the publishers submitting final articles to PMC....NLM would be able to access the articles immediately for its own portfolio management needs, and could post the full text on PMC as soon as the embargo date expired....Althoug Elsevier and many of the non-profits differ on their willingness to provide NLM with the final version of studies, both sides appear to be very troubled about the prospect of moving the embargo period to six months.

John Enderby reviews John Willinsky

John E. Enderby, Considering multiple flavors, Science, April 14, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). A review of John Willinsky's The Access Principle (MIT Press, 2005). Excerpt:
I must declare both a personal and professional interest. Until recently, I was vice president of the Royal Society and lead officer for its publishing activity, which depends for its income on the subscription model. I am also president of the Institute of Physics (IOP), which, as with many other learned societies, uses the profits from its publishing activities to promote and support its discipline, both within the United Kingdom and beyond. In addition, I am a paid adviser to the IOP’s publishing company and therefore have a strong interest in the sustainability of any new business model for scholarly journals. I inwardly groaned when I was asked to review John Willinsky’s The Access Principle....I suspected that here was another polemic pointing out the iniquities of publishers....In fact, my fears were unfounded. Willinsky, the director of the Public Knowledge Project at the University of British Columbia, offers a well-researched and scholarly account of the issues surrounding the publication of research. The book is both balanced and fair in its discussion of the various models and responses to concerns about the accessibility of publicly funded research. Perused in conjunction with the research report of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) on open-access publishing, it makes important reading for publishers, research funders, politicians, and senior policy-makers....[O]nce it is recognized that access to reliable information will have a cost, the question arises as to who will pay for validation and dissemination. Willinsky does not duck this issue and points to the many different business models that he categorizes into “ten flavors of open access.” For example, the Health Inter-Network Access to Research Initiative and International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications projects deliver free or heavily discounted journals to developing countries. Some publishers make material available after a delay, typically six months or one year. The IOP puts all its journals on the Web free of charge for 30 days. Others charge the authors either at submission or at publication....I actually think that the growth of the open-access movement and the publishers’ response to it reflect the fact that market forces will, in the end, lead to a variety of models, each well suited to particular disciplines. I am therefore uneasy about the prospects of funding organizations imposing new rules on authors because these could lead to unforeseen distortions. I would much prefer to see encouragement to use the new freedoms generated by the Web and by the more relaxed view of copyright that many publishers are now adopting (as Willinsky explains in detail)....The irony is...[that Willinsky's book] is available to those who pay....I can see no moral argument for the cost [of science journals and his book] to fall on the producer rather than the consumer (and neither does Willinsky), but there may be powerful arguments involving public engagement and support of science that need to be considered.

Comment. (1) Why are skeptics so surprised to hear an OA advocate admit that peer review and publishing have costs? What have they been reading? Does this unfamiliarity with the literatuare explain some of their skepticism? (2) Enderby's thoughts on what funding agencies should do are welcome, but in a short review like this one they take space from his evaluation of what Willinsky recommends. (3) While The Access Principle was originally available only in a priced/printed edition, MIT has since released an OA edition.

OA database for protein circular dichroism spectra

Lee Whitmore, Robert W. Janes, and B. A. Wallace, Protein circular dichroism data bank (PCDDB): Data bank and website design, Chirality, April 2006. Only this abstract is free online for non-subscribers:
Abstract: The Protein Circular Dichroism Data Bank (PCDDB) is a new deposition data bank for validated circular dichroism spectra of biomacromolecules. Its aim is to be a resource for the structural biology and bioinformatics communities, providing open access and archiving facilities for circular dichroism and synchrotron radiation circular dichroism spectra. It is named in parallel with the Protein Data Bank (PDB), a long-existing valuable reference data bank for protein crystal and NMR structures. In this article, we discuss the design of the data bank structure and the deposition website. Our aim is to produce a flexible and comprehensive archive, which enables user-friendly spectral deposition and searching. In the case of a protein whose crystal structure and sequence are known, the PCDDB entry will be linked to the appropriate PDB and sequence data bank files, respectively. It is anticipated that the PCDDB will provide a readily accessible biophysical catalogue of information on folded proteins that may be of value in structural genomics programs, for quality control and archiving in industrial and academic labs, as a resource for programs developing spectroscopic structural analysis methods, and in bioinformatics studies. Chirality, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

OA for teachers

Dorothea Salo, Open access for teachers, a presentation at HigherEdBlogCon, April 13, 2006. Also available as a podcast.
Abstract: The movement for open access to the scholarly and research literature emerged as a response to the enormous, unsustainable increases in the price of journals and journal bundles for academic libraries. When the internet made possible the dissemination of information for near-zero marginal cost (over the cost to package the information in the first place), both researchers and librarians began questioning the necessity of cost barriers to access. Educators who are not themselves researchers or librarians have not been active in the open-access movement or the debates surrounding it as yet. Third-world access to research, higher impact factors, faster research dissemination, relieving overstrained library budgets while restoring selection decisions to librarians --all these concern researchers and the research libraries they use. Institutions whose primary focus is teaching can expect little change one way or the other. Or can they?

More on Microsoft Academic Search

John Blossom, Microsoft's Windows Live Academic Joins Search for Scholarly Publishing Content, Shore ContentBlogger, April 14, 2006. Excerpt:
There is wide coverage of Microsoft's launch of the Beta for Windows Live Academic Search (WLAS), the new search portal that includes content from many major scholarly publishers....Free and premium scholarly content is served up via the OpenURL and DOI link resolvers of partners, providing consistent references for researchers requiring stable citation information.  The interface is quite nice, if a little quirky. Glide your cursor over a given search result and an article abstract pops up in the left-hand portion of the display, as well as BibTex and EndNote data tabs, further facilitating citation for researchers. The abstract panel can disappear easily if necessary. The search results themselves scroll in a sub-window of the page rather slowly, which is a little annoying if you're trying to find a result that's not near the top of the stack. My assumption is that this "user friendly" feature is probably a way to provide an interface that will work consistently on both PCs and mobile devices.

There are other nice little touches in the interface that add up to something that is tangibly different from Google Scholar; it's a tool for researchers rather than search results for researchers. Still missing is metadata on purchasing that's already available in Google results - only a warning message "The search results contain freely available and access-restricted content from peer-reviewed journals." appears in a banner above WLAS search results (premium content as a danger sign...?). Also missing is consistent navigation: at least in this early Beta version there's no tracking back to the Academic search box. But the proof of the value of this service will be in the search results themselves, which is a little difficult to judge in an offhand test with the very esoteric topics covered in the service. In general WLAS appears to rely a little more on the cataloging metadata from partners to provide relevant content in high-level category searches....The WLAS facility offers a lot of promise as a tool, but it will do little to ease many underlying issues faced by publishers trying to define their own online futures via an expanding array of search partners. If WLAS succeeds it will take some share of the market for online scholarly content search: others such as Google and Yahoo will take their own part as well, but it's a given that none of these will ever "own" the market for scholarly content searching. In short time this will require scholarly publishers to provide a more consistent cross-platform approach to content licensing that will empower content subscribers to use whatever search tools work best for them at the moment. Pay-per-view access alone as a solution in these environments is not likely to suffice for many of their targeted users.  This new entry from Microsoft is sure to heat up the competition for effective scholarly content search services online with its distinct and useful features, but it is far from solving the many commercial issues that scholarly publishers must address to thrive in an online search-driven world.

A year of progress toward OA

Lee Van Orsdel and Kathleen Born, Journals in the Time of Google, Library Journal, April 15, 2006. Accessible only to subscribers until Saturday. (Thanks to William Walsh both for the alert and, since I lack access, for the following excerpt.) Excerpt:
It was a year of competing realities: the buying and selling of electronic journals continued apace, while the posting and crawling of every kind of free content on the web captured the imagination of the scholarly world. The former was overshadowed by the latter, and no wonder. Rival projects to digitize entire libraries full of books dominated headlines and spun off copyright arguments worldwide. Robust growth of open access repositories and the drift toward author self-archiving combined to populate the web with a surprising amount of free content that was initially available only through subscription...The Open Access (OA) movement again occupied center stage in the journals marketplace in 2005, eclipsing issues of price, publisher mergers, and big deals. Public policy measures involving open access were taken up in venues all over the globe. Debate was vigorous and contentious in the United States and Britain, where sweeping initiatives were proposed. Even the Vatican weighed in, though on the side of restricting access, declaring that all Papal writings, old and new, were copyright protected and would no longer be openly accessible. It went so far as to send a bill for $18,500 in copyright fees to an Italian publisher that printed portions of Pope Benedict's writings. Negative responses to the loss of access resonate with the language of OA, albeit with an evangelical twist. Journal publishers responded to mounting interest in open access in a variety of ways-some friendly, some not. The American Chemical Society tried to persuade Congress to defund PubChem, an open access database established by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), claiming that free government information constitutes unfair competition; Congress denied the request. A number of STM (scientific, technical, and medical) publishers initiated author-select models of OA, and experimentation continued with delayed OA, advertising, sponsorships, and other methods of expanding access to scientific output without jeopardizing the financial stability of publishers...The academy is slowly embracing open access, both in principle and in practice. A Center for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) study released in October showed a significant increase in the number of scholars who know about OA. The study found that 29% of researchers surveyed had published in an open access journal, a jump of 18% over the year before. In a separate report from Key Perspectives in May, Alma Swan and Sheridan Brown indicated that 81% of authors surveyed would willingly archive their research in an OA repository if their funding agency or university mandated it. Only five research institutions currently mandate faculty to provide open access to their published scholarly output-none are in the United States.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Comparing with MAS with Google Scholar and OAIster

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., A Simple Search Hit Comparison for Google Scholar, OAIster, and Windows Live Academic Search, Digital Koans, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:

Given that Windows Live Academic Search’s content is limited to computer science, electrical engineering, and physics journals and conferences, a direct comparison of it with other search engines is somewhat difficult.  Although its limitations should be clearly recognized, the following simple experiment in comparing the number of hits for Google Scholar, OAIster (a search engine that indexes open access literature, such as e-prints), and Windows Live Academic Search may help to shed some light on their differences. (Note that OAIster does not typically include content directly provided by commercial publishers, although it does include e-prints for a large number articles published in academic journals.)

The search is for: "OAI-PMH" (entered without quotes).

"OAI-PMH" being, of course, the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting. This is a highly specific search, where many, but not all, hits should fall within the subjects covered by Windows Live Academic Search....To get a better feel for the baseline published literature about OAI-PMH, let’s first do some searching for that term in specialized commercial databases.

  • ACM Digital Library (description): 51 hits.
  • Engineering Village 2 (description): 66 hits.
  • Information Science & Technology Abstracts (description): 36 hits.
  • Library Literature & Information Science Index/Full Text (description): 13 hits.

Now, the search engines in question (the links for the below search engine names are for the search, not the search engine):

So, what have we learned? Windows Live Academic Search has a somewhat higher number of hits than the selected commercial databases and, if adjusted downward for publisher versions only (see below), is on the high end. This suggests that it covers the toll-based published literature well. However, it has a significantly lower number of hits than OAIster and Google Scholar, suggesting that its coverage of open access literature may be weaker than Google Scholar and it is quite likely weaker than OAIster....Of course, this simple experiment tells us nothing about the presence of duplicate entries for the same work in search result sets, which could be important for a meaningful open access comparison....

New OA journal of German studies

Transit is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the UC Berkeley Department of German. Its inagural issue is now online. (Thanks to the Chronicle of Higher Education.) From the site: the first online, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to critical inquiry of travel, migration, and multiculturalism in the German-speaking world. TRANSIT is a web-based, multimedia production that pushes boundaries: both of traditional scholarship and of print publication. TRANSIT publishes one issue over the course of a year with a specific thematic focus-- for 2006: Translation and Mobility. The issue appears in three rounds allowing for new submissions to it during the year. Each issue also contains an open forum for experimental work and review essays on relevant books. This issue format utilizes the features of electronic publishing to rapidly increase the ability of scholars to respond to one another's work....TRANSIT unites the academic rigor of the traditional scholarly review process with the benefits of open-access publication. Timely publication and distribution are ensured by the University of California’s eScholarship Digital Information Repository.

Still stiflling after all these years

The EFF has update its DMCA report, Unintended Consequences: Seven Years under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, April 2006. Excerpt:
Since they were enacted in 1998, the “anticircumvention” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), codified in section 1201 of the Copyright Act, have not been used as Congress envisioned. Congress meant to stop copyright infringers from defeating anti-piracy protections added to copyrighted works and to ban the “black box” devices intended for that purpose. In practice, the anti-circumvention provisions have been used to stifle a wide array of legitimate activities, rather than to stop copyright infringement. As a result, the DMCA has developed into a serious threat to several important public policy priorities:

The DMCA Chills Free Expression and Scientific Research. Experience with section 1201 demonstrates that it is being used to stifle free speech and scientific research. The lawsuit against 2600 magazine, threats against Princeton Professor Edward Felten’s team of researchers, and prosecution of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have chilled the legitimate activities of journalists, publishers, scientists, students, programmers, and members of the public....Bowing to DMCA liability fears, online service providers and bulletin board operators have begun to censor discussions of copy-protection systems, programmers have removed computer security programs from their websites, and students, scientists and security experts have stopped publishing details of their research....Following the Felten and Sklyarov incidents, a number of prominent computer security experts curtailed their legitimate research activities for fear of potential DMCA liability. For example, when Dutch cryptographer and security systems analyst Niels Ferguson discovered a major security flaw in Intel’s HDCP video encryption system, he declined to publish his results on his website on the grounds that he travels frequently to the U.S. and is fearful of “prosecution and/or liability under the U.S. DMCA law.”...Some foreign scientists have advocated boycotting conferences held in the United States, and some conference organizers have decided to hold events in non-U.S. locations. Russia went so far as to issue a travel advisory to Russian programmers traveling to the United States....Notwithstanding the First Amendment’s guarantee of a free press, the district court permanently barred 2600 from publishing, or even linking to, the DeCSS software code. In November 2001, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision. In essence, the movie studios effectively obtained a “stop the presses” order banning the publication of truthful information by a news publication concerning a matter of public concern—an unprecedented curtailment of well-established First Amendment principles.

Years of experience with the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the DMCA demonstrate that the statute reaches too far, chilling a wide variety of legitimate activities in ways Congress did not intend. As an increasing number of copyright works are wrapped in technological protection measures, it is likely that the DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions will be applied in further unforeseen contexts, hindering the legitimate activities of innovators, researchers, the press, and the public at large.

Public Access Working Group reaffirms recommendations to strengthen the NIH policy

Key Advisory Group Reaffirms That Nih Public Access Policy Should Be 6 Months And Mandatory, a press release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA), April 13, 2006. Excerpt:
A key advisory panel to the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) has reaffirmed its continued support for reforms to the NIH Public Access Policy. At its meeting on April 10, the Public Access Working Group (PAWG) – a balanced panel of stakeholders appointed by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni to provide guidance on implementing a successful public access policy – reaffirmed its November 2005 recommendation that the policy be made mandatory and that all NIH-funded works must be made publicly available in PubMed Central within six months of publication. The PAWG’s original recommendation was ratified in January by the National Library of Medicine's Board of Regents, which said in a letter to Dr. Zerhouni, "the NIH policy cannot achieve its stated goals unless deposit of manuscripts becomes mandatory."

"It's becoming quite clear that unless these much-needed changes are made, the board of regents' warning will hold true," said Heather Joseph of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access (ATA). "We are very pleased that the PAWG has reaffirmed its original recommendations for a mandatory policy and a maximum six-month embargo period." At the most recent PAWG meeting, representatives of the American Cancer Society, the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Society for Microbiology, and numerous other organizations voiced their continued support for a mandatory policy for NIH-funded investigators, with a six-month cap on withholding articles from public availability in NIH’s PubMed Central online archive.

The issue of public access was emphasized at a recent House Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee hearing at which Congressman Ernest Istook (R-OK) asked Dr. Zerhouni what needed to be done to "stimulate" the NIH policy. In his answer, Dr. Zerhouni conceded that the poor participation rate of less than 4 percent (to date) indicates that "voluntary is just not enough of an incentive."

Feedback to CIHR on its nascent OA policy

When the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) announced on April 3 that it was developing an OA policy for CIHR-funded research, it called for public comments. But it didn't say when the comments were due. Now it has made clear that comments are due by May 15, 2006. It has also posted an online survey to gather stakeholder opinions.

Microsoft Academic Search blog

Windows Academic Search has a blog written by the developers. So far the only entry is from the day of launch (April 11), but it should be worth monitoring. Bloggers Thiru Anandanpillai (MAS Product Planning) and Mike Buschman (MAS Program Management) "intend for this blog to be a communication/collaboration channel with people interested in the academic search space."

Progress of the Free Our Data campaign

Mark Chillingworth, Campaign demands end to public information rip-off, Information World Review, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:

A campaign by The Guardian newspaper to make public-funded information freely available has uncovered some embarrassing government double standards.  The Free Our Data campaign by the newspaper’s technology supplement is calling for government data held by taxpayer-funded public bodies such as the Ordnance Survey (OS) to be made available to companies and members of the public without charge.  “The aim is simple: to persuade the government to abandon copyright on essential national data, making it freely available to anyone,” said Charles Arthur, editor of Technology Guardian. Arthur said that the current restrictions placed on government information were holding back innovation and limiting the number of information services.  A campaign blog has generated a lively debate, including the revelation by civil servant Chris Hancox that British citizens pay repeatedly for the same OS data when applying for planning permission.  Hancox has revealed a complex web of payments whereby taxpayer funded local government bodies pay for OS map information as part of planning applications, with planning authorities paying again for similar OS map data. In all, eight different payments are made to the OS, according to Hancox.

There has been little response to the campaign from the government. A Cabinet Office spokesperson told IWR that the government welcomed the discussion, but was not reviewing its public sector information policy.  However, an Office of Fair Trading investigation into public sector information is in progress....The Office of Public Sector Information, which is responsible for overseeing re-use of public information, has just widened the click-use licence scheme for public organisations. “Now seemed to be the right time to launch the campaign, especially with Andrew Gowers - the former FT editor - reviewing copyright law,” Arthur told IWR. “This is an important subject. Data is becoming more valuable all the time.”

Dresden presentations on OA

The presentations from the session on OA at the conference on Network Library (Dresden, March 21-24, 2006), are now online. All the presentations are in German. (Thanks to medinfo.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

New email request button for DSpace software

Eloy Rodrigues of the University of Minho has coded the same eprint request button for DSpace that the Southampton team recently added to Eprints. From today's announcement:
I’m glad to announce that the Repository UM team at Minho University has finished the development of a new Add-on to DSpace, that we called “Request Copy” (but others may call “Request Eprint” or “Email Eprint”, etc.). This first version of the Add-on (see description below) is available [here]. As we plan to release a new the coming weeks, we will welcome comments and suggestions from early adopters or testers. Please send your comments and suggestions to:

What is the DSpace Request Copy Add-on? It was recently suggested by Stevan Harnad that we develop a "request eprint by email" feature for DSpace, similar to one that has recently been implemented in GNU Eprints for deposits whose full-text access privileges are set to Restricted Access (RA) rather than Open Access (OA), in order to tide over any RA period with facilitated email access. The Request Copy Add-on is this feature developed for DSpace 1.3.2. The purpose of this feature is to increase both the content deposited in Institutional Repositories (IRs) and its immediate usability by providing a way to accommodate the (frequently unfounded) worries of authors and their institutions about copyright infringement during any publisher embargo periods on public self-archiving, by creating a semi-automated mechanism whereby would-be users can request and authors can email an individual copy of a full-text deposited with access set as RA. This feature will be very important for advancing OA if universities and other research institutions adopt the Generic Model for an Open-Access Self-Archiving Mandate. In this model, depositing immediately (upon acceptance for publication) is mandatory whereas setting deposit immediately to OA is merely encourages, leaving the decision up to the author.

PS: See my comment on the same innovation in Eprints. I'm delighted that both the leading archiving packages now offer this feature.

Martin Frank contra OA

Martin Frank, Access to the Scientific Literature — A Difficult Balance, New England Journal of Medicine, April 13, 2006. Excerpt:

In The Access Principle, John Willinsky argues that since the knowledge conveyed in these publications is a public good, access to it should be broadened as far as possible....[Quoting Willinsky:]

In reviewing the case for open access, it makes more sense to focus readers' attention on ways of increasing access, rather than holding to a strict line on whether a journal article, a journal, or a publisher, for that matter, is open or closed. This may set me off somewhat to the margins of the open access movement....So my approach to open access is to hold to an access principle that could be put this way: A commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are interested in it and all who might profit by it....

However, Willinsky's argument on behalf of the ultimate goal of open access - the free availability of information online - falls short because it fails to weigh the benefits of such access against the costs in terms of other public goods....[His] definition, evidently more focused on a general spirit and direction than on the precise shape of the end result, places Willinsky in stark contrast to others in the open-access movement. These advocates are so dogmatically focused on promoting the purest form of open access that they dismiss any approach that falls short of their ideal. (According to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, research literature should be available free on the Internet, "permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself.") Such single-mindedness has fostered an us-versus-them fundamentalism that could undermine the efforts of publishers to make content available according to their individual business and publishing models....

In 2004, a group of nonprofit publishers, including the American Physiological Society, founded the Washington DC Principles Coalition for Free Access to Science to express our commitment to innovative and independent publishing practices and support for the release of journal content on the basis of individual business and publishing needs. Some of these publishers make the electronic version of published articles freely available immediately, and most support making content available within 12 months after print publication. We also participate in efforts such as the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative to provide access to research literature in the developing world, and we provide patients with access to articles on request....

The more extreme advocates of open access believe that the scientific literature should be free to the reader, but Willinsky recognizes that there is a cost associated with publishing. The question thus becomes how to recover this cost in a way that satisfies the need for access.

Willinsky believes that PLoS Biology, an open-access journal published by the Public Library of Science, has solved this problem. Its authors pay a $1,500 fee to have an article published, but this charge is a fraction of the real cost of publication. The remainder is covered by foundation grants from supporters of open access and by institutional membership fees....It is unlikely, however, that sufficient philanthropy exists to make up the difference between $1,500 and the true cost of publication for the more than 5000 journals indexed by PubMed. Consequently, in a world in which authors pay to publish, most journals will have to ask authors to contribute the full cost of publication, which for many will be more than $3,000....

The NIH asserted that its policy would avert the need for journals to move from subscriptions to "author-pays" publishing. Efforts are now under way, however, to make deposit mandatory within six months and require that grantees deposit the final published copy of their articles....The ready availability of content on PubMed Central could lead to subscription cancellations and accelerate the transition to an author-pays publishing model, the economic implications of which are not adequately evaluated by Willinsky.

A study at Cornell University estimated that author-pays publishing would increase that institution's expenses by $1.5 million annually....Spending some $200 million in support of open access should give Congress pause, particularly since the NIH budget has been cut this year for the first time in 36 years. At a time of shrinking budgets for biomedical research, does it make sense to spend scarce dollars on publication costs instead of on research to develop treatments and cures for disease? Willinsky makes the case for access to research literature as a public good, but the advancement of medical knowledge through research is also a public good. When there is not enough money to go around, the question facing us is this: How should we decide which public good is preferable

Comment. Six quick comments. (1) Frank tries to position Willinsky as a moderate and most other OA advocates as radicals. But we agree about almost everything. In any case, Frank doesn't agree with Willinsky either, say, about PLoS. What Frank is really trying to do is frame the question so that he can dismiss most OA advocates with name calling rather than answer their arguments. (2) I'm not very concerned to preserve my own moderate credentials. For it it's "extreme" to want research literature to be free for readers, as Frank says, then I'm proud to be extreme. Remember we're talking about articles that authors voluntarily publish without expectation of payment and, in most cases, with support from public funding. But for the record I've praised Frank's organization, the DC Principles Coalition, for the kinds of free online access that it supports and only challenged it to go further. I also make it a rule to praise steps toward wider and easier access even if they fall short of open access. (3) No responsible OA advocate has ever said that OA journals were costless to produce. The question is not whether scholarly literature can be made costless, but whether there are better ways to pay the bills than by charging readers and creating access barriers. (4) There are many reasons to think that the NIH policy will not undermine subscriptions. But if the compliance rate increases significantly, say, because of a mandate, then we don't know what will happen. If medicine is like physics, subscription-journals will thrive alongside high-volume OA archiving. If it's not like physics, subscriptions may suffer. But even in that case, it is justified to put the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research ahead of the interests a private-sector industry. (5) Frank relies on the discredited Cornell calculation, which assumes that all OA journals charge author-side fees and that all fees would be paid by universities. (6) Frank overstates the amount the NIH spends on its public-access policy more than one-hundredfold. In fiscal 2005, the agency spent only $1 million administering the program. Compare that to the $30 million/year that the NIH spends on subsidies to subscription journals like those published by Mr. Frank.

Update. Don't add the weight of the New England Journal of Medicine to Frank's opinion. I've just learned that the NEJM editor in chief, Jeffrey Drazen, in his capacity as a member of the Pubic Access Working Group, has voted to strengthen the NIH policy and make it mandatory.

More on Microsoft Academic Search

Chris Sherman, Microsoft Launches Windows Live Academic Search, Search Engine Watch, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
Microsoft has rolled out Windows Live Academic Search, a targeted search service focused connecting students and researchers with peer-reviewed scholarly information....Although search results are free, users must either have a subscription to a journal or pay on a per-article basis to access the full text of journal articles appearing in search results.  Unlike Google Scholar, which crawls the web for academic content, Windows Live Academic Search works closely with publishers and uses structured feeds to build its index. As such, all content accessed through the service comes directly from a trusted source --namely, the publisher of a scholarly journal.

The new service addresses two needs of the academic community that have traditionally been under-served, according to Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Windows Live Premium Search. Academic users want tools to help them fine tune search results, and are interested in getting more information on a search result before clicking off to specific article.  To address these needs, Windows Live Academic Search includes a number of features not found in traditional web search results. Notably, search results are presented in a split-pane view, with article titles and other information on the left, and a preview pane on the right that displays an abstract from an article when the mouse is hovered over an article title.  Users also have the ability to group and sort results by author, journal, conference and date. There's also citation support for two major bibliographic formats making it easy for a user to quickly compile a list of citations.

Tiedt said that Microsoft is collaborating with Lee Giles and his team at Penn State, who've created a specialized search tool called CiteSeer that I've raved about in the past. Windows Live Academic Search borrows a terrific feature from CiteSeer called "author live links" that will automatically connect to the search results of articles associated with a particular author by simply clicking on the hyperlink of the author's name.

The new service also provides support for Microsoft’s recently introduced "macros" tool that allows you to finely tune search results and create RSS feeds that can be used as alerts when new information on a topic or author you’re interested in becomes available....

CrossRef and Microsoft Academic Search

Ed Pentz, the Executive Director of CrossRef, sent the following memo to the CrossRef members this morning:
Microsoft has issued a press release announcing the launch of Microsoft Live Academic Search....Ten CrossRef member publishers are participating in the beta service and CrossRef is providing metadata and DOIs from these ten publishers (however, Microsoft is indexing the full text directly with the publishers). In addition, CrossRef coordinated setting the standard terms and conditions for publisher participation. The long term goal is to open participation in the service to all CrossRef member publishers on standard terms and conditions. In the short term, Microsoft will be adding publishers and content in stages based on subject areas. CrossRef will provide more information about this soon.

More on Microsoft Academic Search

Scott Carlson, Challenging Google, Microsoft Unveils a Search Tool for Online Scholarly Articles, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). Excerpt:
Microsoft is introducing a new search tool today that will help people find scholarly articles online. The service, which will include journal articles from prominent academic societies and publishers, puts Microsoft in direct competition with Google, which offers a similar service called Google Scholar. The new free search tool, which should work on most browsers, is called Windows Live Academic Search. For now, it includes eight million articles from only a few disciplines -- computer science, electrical engineering, and physics. "We will be expanding this over time to cover all the areas where there are scientific journals," said Danielle Tiedt, general manager of content acquisition for Microsoft. "We started in the place where there is the most highly structured metadata, which is these three hard-sciences areas."

People at Microsoft and at other technology companies, such as Google, have seen academic searches as an increasingly valuable sector. Some at Microsoft have estimated that the academic-search business could be worth $10-billion by 2010, although Ms. Tiedt said that others cite figures both higher and lower. Ms. Tiedt pointed out that academic users perform six times as many searches as other people. "Obviously, getting the power searchers is important to us," she said, adding that an academic-search tool fits into Microsoft's strategy to court the academic community generally. Despite the potential for making money off power searchers, Ms. Tiedt said that there is currently no business model for Microsoft's academic-search tool. "For us this is really a loyalty game," she said. "We're putting this product out to try to get a lot of loyalty in the [academic] community."...

The scholarly organizations that have signed up to work with Microsoft on the new search tool include societies like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, the American Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and the Institute of Physics. Also cooperating are major publishers -- such as the Taylor & Francis Group, Blackwell Publishing, Elsevier, the Nature Publishing Group, and John Wiley & Sons -- and library organizations, including the British Library and OCLC Online Computer Library Center....

More on OA in developing countries

Jennifer Papin-Ramcharan and Richard A. Dawe, The Other Side of the Coin for Open Access Publishing - A Developing Country View, Libri, March 2006. Only the abstract is free online for non-subscribers, at least so far.
This article presents the Open Access publishing experience of researchers in an academic research institution, in a developing country, Trinidad and Tobago, namely at the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus. It considers UWI researchers' knowledge of Open Access, their access to the scholarly literature, Open Access Archives/Repositories at UWI and related issues of Research and Library funding and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Infrastructure/ Internet connectivity. The article concludes that whilst Open Access publishing yields some obvious and well-documented benefits for developing country researchers, including free access to research articles and increased impact and visibility of "published" Open Access articles, there are some disincentives that militate against developing country researchers fully contributing to the global body of knowledge via Open Access. It finds that Open Access Journals are beneficial for scholars who consume information but are of little benefit for developing country scholars wanting to publish in these journals because of the high cost of page charges. Inadequate and unreliable ICT infrastructure and Internet connectivity also often limit access to information. It concludes that because of technical, financial, human and infrastructural limitations, Open Access via the Green Road of self-archiving is also often not an option for developing country researchers. These researchers are therefore unable to reap the real benefits, of making their research Open Access, that of increased impact and visibility. This study is to develop and evaluate methods and instruments for assessing the usability of digital libraries. It discusses the dimensions of usability, what methods have been applied in evaluating usability of digital libraries, their applicability, and criteria. It is found in the study that there exists an interlocking relationship among effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction. It provides operational criteria for effectiveness, efficiency, satisfaction, and learnability. It discovers users' criteria on "ease of use," "organization of information," "terminology and labeling," "visual attractiveness," and "mistake recovery." Common causes of "user lostness" were found. "Click cost" was examined.

Comment. The authors are apparently unaware that the majority of OA journals do not charge author-side fees, and that the percentage in developing countries approaches 100%. Their skepticism about the green road in developing countries is thoroughly rebutted by Leslie Chan, Barbara Kirsop, and Subbiah Arunachalam, Open Access Archiving: the fast track to building research capacity in developing countries, SciDev.Net, 2005.

More on the EC report on scientific publishing

Richard Sietmann, Open Access: EU-Konsultation zum wissenschaftlichen Publikationswesen, Heise Online, April 12, 2006. (In German.)

Once again: providing OA and reforming peer review are independent projects

Syncytium, Open the review process to improve quality of science publications, April 7, 2006. Here's the post in full:
Fully open access scientific journals will not exist until the full review process is made available to the readership and reviewers are identified.

Comment. I must disagree. If open forms of peer review are better than closed forms (on which I have no opinion), then by all means adopt them ASAP. But do not confuse removing access barriers with reforming peer review. These are independent projects. OA is a kind of access, not a kind of quality control. It's compatible with every kind of peer review, from the most conservative to the most innovative. Tying OA to just one model of peer review doubles the difficulty of persuading institutions to endorse OA.

Many open-content licenses incompatible with open-source licenses

Brendan Scott, Open to temptation, ComputerWorld, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:
It is tempting to think that references to "open content" have a meaning similar to those for "open source". It is equally tempting to want to make use of 'open content' in an open source project. Do not yield to temptation! [The term] Open used to refer to a broad range of licensing schemes, including Creative Commons (CC) and AESharenet, which are overwhelmingly open source incompatible. Using "open content" in an open source project is, in most cases, likely to result in the project ceasing to be open source because of licence restrictions on the content. The most popular of these restrictions is the so called "noncommercial" restriction of the CC licences - a discriminatory provision which is anathema to the open source definition. Unfortunately there are other more subtle problems which may render even apparently unobjectionable CC licences - such as BY (Attribution) and BY-SA (Share Alike) - open source incompatible....Knowing that something is "open content", or even "Creative Commons" does not assist in determining whether the content can be used in an open source project.

More on Microsoft Academic Search

Gary Price, Microsoft Launches Academic Search Beta, ResourceShelf, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:

Quick notes on this beta release. Like all things search, it's going to be some time before we know just what type of product this will really be.

1) Academic Live contains material direct from publishers (how much of each journal in the database is available via the service is unknown) coupled with some material from OAI-compliant repositories. What are the plans for articles that are available via a publisher and on the open web. Will preprints, uncorrected versions, etc. be marked?

2) Kudos to MS for providing a journal list (GS [Google Scholar] doesn't offer one and we've asked several times). However, for a journal list to be really useful we need to no more than the title. What issues/volumes of the publication are in the index?

3) No information about how often the database is updated. Hourly? Daily? Weekly? Monthly?

4) Preview pane to view abstracts on results page. Good idea. Saves clicks and user time.

4) At launch MS Academic Search ONLY contains material in three disciplines: Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Physics....

Academic Live documentation mentions that Citeseer content is included in the database. One big difference however, Citeseer offers citation searching and Academic Live doesn't at the present time. Citeseer also offers acknowledgment searching, Academic Live does not. Citeseer also offers many other features (document conversion, caching, direct links to the authors home page....

5) Microsoft says they are "not ready" to offer a "detailed timeline" when content from other disciplines will be available. OK, that's fine but how about a rough outline? When can we look for something new? Will new content be added during this version of the beta?

6) Material from OAI compliant repositories will be included. At launch, material from is in the database.

7) Fast Facts and Questions:
+ No advertising on results pages. What is MS's business plan for the product? Do they have any plans to make this a revenue generator? If so, how? Will content from the MS Live Book Search be included in the database in future releases?
+ Open URL is available via vendors. "In a subsequent release, we will add in the functionality for the user to choose his/her affiliation from a list of institutions."
+ No advanced search functionality in this release however results pages allow the user to sort results (via a pull-down), "by author of paper, journal, conference, date published or releance [sic]."
+ Get article info by hovering over title on a results page.
+ Keyword-based RSS feeds available. Good idea. Question. What will trigger a new article? Your keywords and those words in the Title? Author Field? Abstract? Full-Text?

8) From SearchDay, "The beta service is available in English versions in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Australia. Additional markets, and content in additional subject areas will be added throughout the beta period."

8) From the FAQ for Librarians, "which, in turn, will increase your libraries' value to your members." Excellent point but come on Microsoft. If you're going to write a document for the librarian how about using terminology that librarians use. While it's true that some libraries offer memberships, we've rarely heard of library patrons/users/remote users/visitors referred to a members.

9) Confusing. We've seen several articles quoting MS officials saying that material comes only from peer-reviewed journals. Also, note this banner from a results page. However, documentation also points out (see the home page) that material also comes from repositories like with more repositories on the way. For example, note the citation in this screen cap. It doesn't list a journal and the article itself sits on a server at San Jose State. It's also not a peer-reviewed article. We're have no issues with this type of content being included but the documentation needs to be clearer about what is available.

More on Microsoft Academic Search

Dean Giustini, "Academic Search" and Librarians in the new information economy, UBC Google Scholar Blog.Folio, April 11, 2006. Excerpt:
[The launch of Microsoft Academic Search marks] the beginning of a fierce battle for control of billions of dollars, and the future of the info-economy.

Hyperbole, you say. Major academic abstracting and indexing (A&I) services are sitting up and taking notice since Microsoft's announcement....The implications of two or more free academic search engines are considerable, and could easily destablize the traditional A&I vendors such as Dialog, OVID, EBSCO and even Web of Science.

Why are they taking notice now, you ask? First, most academics start their research - somewhere. And that somewhere is on the open Web. The open web (for its supposed limitations for scholars) is a rich, dynamic environment of intellectual capital. Increasingly, peer-reviewed content is being made open access, or at least partly viewable, for those who seek to uncover it. Browsing is how academics do their research, and whose information seeking behaviours have always included "seeing what’s just come in" on the new booktruck. Now, scholars have the Web, too, and two academic search tools to leverage for wayfinding.

Will commercial vendors be affected by the rise of search titans Microsoft and Google, Yahoo and Ask? Most likely. We've seen destablization in the for-profit publishing area due to open access; search vendors will be thrown into a very unstable and potentially precarious situation, for a time. Smaller colleges and libraries will not be as inclined to buy their tools, opting instead for ease of use and access to the free tools. The humanities indexes will fare better than the science ones, at least in the short term.

My recommendation to the vendors: 1) make parts of your search tools free; 2) offer free, brief bibliographic data; 3) build products to include open access content; and 4) bring much-needed valued-added aspects to your tools by indexing free content - as in indexing and controlled vocabs....Your survival - and the future of academic research - depends on it.

Microsoft Academic Search now live

From the site:
Windows Live Academic is now in beta. We currently index content related to computer science, physics, electrical engineering, and related subject areas. Academic search enables you to search for peer reviewed journal articles contained in journal publisher portals and on the web in locations like citeseer.

Academic search works with libraries and institutions to search and provide access to subscription content for their members. Access restricted resources include subscription services or premium peer-reviewed journals. You may be able to access restricted content through your library or institution.

We have built several features designed to help you rapidly find the content you are searching for including abstract previews via our preview pane, sort and group by capability, and citation export. We invite you to try us out - and share your feedback with us....

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't you have content from all fields?

Academic search has launched in a beta version so we can receive feedback from our users - ultimately allowing us to introduce a product that will provide the best possible user experience. We understand that for researchers to have a productive search experience, they need to search a comprehensive index in their field of study. Therefore, we decided to launch our beta version with journal content from Computer Science, Engineering (mostly electrical and electronics), and a good selection of Physics journals. We believe that our deep index in these chosen fields will serve the needs of our users well, so they can give us the feedback we need to improve the search experience. After launch, we will add content in phases from more subject areas. Our goal is to have the most comprehensive, largest academic index possible.

How do you determine relevance? Are you using citation counts in the relevance ranking?

We are determining relevance based on the following two areas, as determined by a Microsoft algorithm: [1] Quality of match of the search term with the content of the paper, [2] Authoritativeness of the paper. Currently, we are not using citation count as a factor in determining relevance. Among the many reasons that led us to this decision was the fact that we wanted to have an accurate and credible citation count to be used in the relevance ranking. User trust of the relevance ranking algorithm requires a very credible, trusted citation count, and we will revisit the inclusion of Microsoft derived citation count in the relevance ranking algorithm at a later date as our technology improves further....

What about open source repositories? Do you have content from them in your index?

Academic search has implemented the Open Architecture [sic] Initiative (OAI) protocol for indexing OAI-compliant repositories. For example, we indexed the content present in for the launch. We will continue to index more repositories after the launch....

Have you implemented OpenURL?

Yes. We have implemented functionality that utilizes the OpenURL standard. You will be able to click on the link to your library Open URL resolver to determine the availability of full text access....

What is your commitment to improving this product?

Microsoft believes that the academic community is of high importance. We have several initiatives where we are working with and helping to address the needs of the academic community. Consistent with this practice, we are committed to continuing to invest in improving Academic search.

Also see Microsoft's press release (4/11/06) and the growing news coverage.

Elsevier Vice Chairman on OA journals

Y.S. Chi, The Crisis of Identity in the Publishing Community, a keynote address at Buying & Selling eContent, April 9-11, 2006. The text is not online, but here's a summary from Shannon Holman's conference blog:
Y.S. Chi is delivering a very crisp, focused, humble, and accessible talk on publishing's current identity crisis. This should've been the first keynote, because Y.S. is able to talk about online innovations in a way that's not befuddling some of the incumbents, and he's positioning the current publishing space within its landscape of history. He's pointing backward to show, as with the 100-something year old journal Lancet, that publishing has always been disruptive, and has always had the same purpose: to "let in the light" or "cut out the dross."...Joe Bremner's asking about new pricing models. Y.S. is pointing out that 40% of Elsevier's revenues come from journals, leaving lots of room to experiement with new models with books, database products, etc. No details forthcoming, but "it's going to be quite revolutionary in many ways." Tom ? asking about "open access"/author pays, where authors pay to be freely accessible to everyone. Elsevier has trouble with this model --it evokes vanity publishing, rasing authority concerns, and means that the rich (in this case, colleges with bigger endowments) get a louder voice. Suggests a delayed model that combines peer review and a timed exposure...Sales model at Elsevier moving from intermediary ("we didn't know our customers") to generalists to specialists. "It's a mess. The good news is that we have excellent people..."

PS: Thanks to William Walsh not only for drawing this to my attention, but for quoting me in his comment:

Vanity publishing? Haven't we moved past this? See, for example, Peter Suber's response to a question during a January 2004 CHE Colloquy Live on OA:
...nothing deserves to be called "vanity publishing" if it includes peer review. OA journals conduct peer review. Second, the processing fees charged by OA journals are not typically paid by authors; they are usually paid by those who sponsor the author's research, such as the author's funder, employer, or government. If you're saying that OA journals might accept weak papers, papers that would not ordinarily survive their peer review process, simply to collect a fee that only covers their costs, that's very far-fetched. First, similar conflicts of interest arise at conventional journals, e.g. when an author works for an advertiser. All experienced editors think about these conflicts and are used to handling them. If anything, the problem is worse at subscription-based journals where profit margins are high and price hikes are publicly justified by the growing volume of articles.

Chi's claim that author-side fees will favor rich authors is also misleading, but I've rebutted it at length elsewhere.

Update (4/12/06). Shannon Holman writes on her blog this morning that the phrase "vanity publishing" is hers, not Chi's, a quick paraphrase to keep up with the streaming lecture. Thanks for the clarification, Shannon, and apologies to Y.S. Chi for misplaced criticism.

More on ArticleFinder

In the latest in its series of interivews, KnowledgeSpeak interviews Ian Palmer, Director of Marketing for Infotrieive US, April 12, 2006. Excerpt:

Q. How does ArticleFinder, your online scientific, technical, and medical (STM) database, differ from GoogleScholar? In 2006, Infotrieve reverted back to a free access model for ArticleFinder, from the paid service mode that was introduced in 2003. What prompted this shift and how has the market responded to this change to a free access model?

A. Infotrieve reverted back to a free access model for ArticleFinder because of customer input and our interpretation of market forces as supporting free-access search models, subsidized by advertising or other revenue streams such as document delivery. Market response has been favorable thus far, both by individual and corporate customers. In our analysis, ArticleFinder differs from GoogleScholar because users use one website and one vendor from the point of discovery to the point that journal articles are ordered, users can add orders to a shopping cart and continue searching/shopping within the original search environment, historical orders and personal preferences reside in the one online location where they can also search, and there is an absence of advertising on ArticleFinder results pages.

PS: In ArticleFinder, only the search is free; the articles themselves are mostly pay-per-view. For companies with priced content, free searching is like advertising: eminently sensible, even a business necessity, but nothing to crow about. Not providing it would be like Walmart not letting customers walk the aisles.

BMC welcomes new EC report

BioMed Central has issued a press release weloming the new EC report on scientific publication markets in Europe. Excerpt:
Open access publisher BioMed Central today welcomed a report from the European Commission that calls attention to problems with the current system for scientific publication. The EC study, prepared by economists at Toulouse University and the Free University of Brussels, identifies various reasons why the current scientific publishing system does not work as effectively as it should. The report also makes several concrete policy recommendations for improving the system. "This is a very important report," said Matthew Cockerill, Publisher at BioMed Central. "It confirms what BioMed Central has been saying for some time - that scientists and funders are getting a poor deal from the traditional publishing system, which delivers limited access at high cost. The report also supports the view that open access publication, funded by article processing charges, would provide greater transparency and so deliver a more efficient service to the scientific community."...The report notes that, if funders wish to avoid simply preserving the publishing status quo, they need to actively provide support for new publishing models such as open access. According to the report's authors:
"It is worth noting that, if the research funding authorities want to 'give a chance' to the author-pay model, they have to allow for a 'level-playing field' in comparison with the reader/library-pay model, that is, provide funding for publication costs and not only for library budgets...."

The report goes on to make several explicit policy recommendations. It strongly backs funder policies to require grant recipients to deposit in the funders open access archive:

"Research funding agencies have a central role in determining researchers' publishing practices. Following the lead of the NIH and other institutions, they should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories [...] This archiving could become a condition for funding."
In terms of open access publishing, the report recommends:
"[A]llocating money to libraries to subscribe to reader or library-pay journals but also to authors to pay for publication costs in author-pay journals, and to researchers in the reader-pay model. Establishing relative priorities in this respect should become a key policy debate."

BioMed Central welcomes the report, and calls on policy makers in Europe to pay close attention to its findings.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Four new OA journals from Hindawi

Hindawi Publishing has added four titles to its set of OA journals. Two are new launches and two are acquisitions from other publishers converted from subscription models. For more details, see today's announcement.

ALPSP meeting presentations

The presentations from the seminar, The New Publishers (London, March 31, 2006), are now online. (Thanks to Colin Steele.)

Jill Emery on OA

Norm Medeiros, On the Road Again: A Conversation with Jill Emery, OCLC Systems & Services, 2006. Self-archived April 10, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Abstract: This article features an interview with Jill Emery, Director of the Electronic Resources Program at the University of Houston. Ms. Emery discusses her career, the potential impact of the open access movement, and the nuances of licensing electronic resources.

From the body of the article:

NM: Are the hopes of open access as a means of wrestling power from publishers a realistic expectation for the library community?

JE: Information does not want to free; information is a commodity. Not with the current models of open access, no. The current models are subscriptions that just aren’t called subscriptions. Will there be a model that will change the entire scholarly communication landscape? Probably, but it isn’t around yet and I cannot, for the life of me, fathom what it would be. Here are the tenets that require ubiquitous adoption of anything new: [1] Intuitive to use by all users (those publishing/those reading). [2] It doesn’t require a huge shift in the way current organizational structures work, but rather minor adjustments (in this case tenure structures). [3] There is some type of understanding and/or trust in the entity that creates this new thing.

Comment. "The current models are subscriptions that just aren’t called subscriptions." This is flip. Emery seems to be thinking of the OA journal business model that charges author-side fees. If so, then she's making several mistakes at once. First, the majority of OA journals charge no fees at all, on either the author or reader sides. Second, where these fees exist, they are nothing like subscriptions. Subscriptions are access barriers that lock out those who cannot afford to pay. Subscriptions pay for private access or consumption. But processing fees at OA journals pay for open access, free for everyone with an internet connection, including those who have paid nothing. And third, of course, she ignores OA archiving.

More on OA in law

Olufunmilayo Arewa, Open Access in a Closed Universe: Lexis, Westlaw and the Law School, Case Western Reserve Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-03, self-archived March 2006. (Thanks to Law LIbrarian blog.)
Abstract: This paper considers issues of open access from the context of the broader legal information industry as a whole. The structure and contours of the legal information industry have shaped the availability of online open access publishing of legal scholarship. The competitive duopoly of Lexis and Westlaw is a particularly important factor in considerations of open access. Also significant is the relationship between Lexis and Westlaw and law schools, which form an important market segment for both Lexis and Westlaw. This paper begins by considering the important role information plays in the law. It then notes the increasing industry concentration that has occurred over the last 10-15 years among legal and other publishers. This industry concentration is believed to have contributed to significant price increases for scholarly journals generally. This industry concentration has potentially significant implications for questions of access, particularly in the current environment of increasing electronic dissemination of legal information. In addition to examining characteristics of the legal information industry, this paper also looks at the role of dominant players such as Lexis and Westlaw and the ways in which information dissemination has changed with the advent of electronic legal information services. Consumers of legal information, including law firms, law school users and the general public are also considered, particularly with respect to the implications of legal information industry organization and operation for questions of access to legal information.

Fedora upgraded

The Fedora Project has released Fedora v. 2.1.1. Fedora is one of the major open-source packages for OAI-compliant eprint archiving.

Scirus and Japanese IR enter partnership

Elsevier's Scirus will now index CURATOR, the institutional repository for Japan's University of Chiba, and CURATOR will add Scirus search technology to the repository. From yesterday's announcement:
CURATOR holds 2,000 records in both English and Japanese, including departmental bulletins, technical reports, preprints and articles, theses and research papers. The partnership provides the opportunity to address the technical challenges of indexing Japanese language content. “One of the known problems with Japanese Web content is indexing documents containing Japanese character strings without word boundary spaces,” said Mr. Hauruo Asoshina, Division of Information and Management of Chiba University Library. “Our collaboration with Scirus has enabled us to partner to find an efficient solution, and with Scirus’ expertise in powering search results, we know that our valuable content will be made more accessible to students and researchers worldwide.” In addition to adding CURATOR to the Scirus index, Scirus is offering its search expertise to Chiba University by powering the search capability on the CURATOR site. This two-tiered approach makes their valuable content easier to find. As part of the partnership, Scirus will also participate in a joint communications program designed to demonstrate the value and increase awareness of the repository on the Chiba University campus.

And another step toward a national OA in Spain

The Ministry of Universities, Research and the Information Society for the Government of Catalonia has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge.

PS: Add this to yesterday's post on the momentum toward a government OA policy in Spain.

ESRC moving toward OAI? OA?

In today's FE News, Vijay Pattni concludes a two-part interview with Cormac Connolly, editor of the UK's Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). At one point Connollly says, without elaboration:
We understand that there are question marks about the way people search [the social science research] on our website. Something called the ‘google’ factor; i.e., making the search engine more user friendly and intuitive. We are looking to meet the open access initiative standard.

It looks suspiciously like Connolly meant the Open Archives Initiative. But I'd like to hear from anyone who can say more about Connolly's open access plans for ESRC.

Monday, April 10, 2006

New email request button for Eprints software

GNU Eprints has a useful new feature. From today's announcement:
A new feature has been built into the GNU EPrints (free) software for creating Institutional Repositories (IRs). We hope it will dramatically increase the growth rate of open access (OA) content deposited in IRs while -- perversely it may seem -- allowing authors to opt out of providing OA! It's extremely simple, and if implemented carefully by the repository can produce immediate results without additional cost or resource implications....

(Eloy Rodrigues, the dynamic OA activist at University of Minho in Portugal has kindly implemented the feature in Dspace too, and will be announcing its availability for testing very shortly.)

This new feature is called the "Request eprint" button. It works like this: To deposit a work using EPrints an author creates a record for the eprint by filling metadata fields in the repository deposit interface. Ideally we would of course like the eprint to be both deposited *and* made OA. However, not all authors are yet comfortable with this, so rather than have authors refrain from depositing their eprints altogether, EPrints offers authors the option of either: (1) making the eprint OA, or (2) restricting full-text visibility to designated viewers, with only its metadata visible publicly, or (3) making the full-text completely invisible, with only its metadata visible publicly (although the full-text is still stored in the system)....This is where the "Request eprint" button comes in. Whenever record of a stored eprint tells a would-be user that an OA version of the full text copy is not accessible, a dialogue box appears inviting the user to paste in their email address and send a request to the author for a copy of the paper. This request is emailed automatically to the author, offering three choices in return: to email the requested eprint, to reject the request, or to make the eprint OA in the repository. Since the requested eprint is already in the repository, and merely invisible, a simple process enables the author to make a selection and activate that choice with a single click....

This furthers the objectives of increasing deposit and dissemination through the repository by reducing barriers and fears. It also gives authors valuable feedback on the degree of interest in their work (requests are counted, just as downloads of OA eprints are counted, and the statistics made available to the author). How might this affect growth of your repository? It is generally estimated that institutional repositories are capturing 15% of the annual articles that could be made OA today. There is thus an 85% gap to fill. There have been many hypotheses about the reasons for the slowness of authors in filling this gap. The "Request eprint" button enables us to overcome most of these concerns. It gives even authors who are wary of self-archiving the chance to begin depositing in their institutional repository, it improves access - even if it is not immediately OA it is better than no record at all - and it offers the prospect of conversion to OA when authors realise the level of interest in their work.

This feature also makes it possible to implement the "weaker" model for an official Open Access Policy, both institutionally: and nationally.

Comment. This is a useful innovation. It neutralizes most of the ordinary disadvantage of "dark" (non-OA) deposits in OA repositories. Repository software has long since been able to give dark deposits visible, OA metadata; now it can also remove most of the barriers to email access as well. Users who find an article by virtue of its metadata, say, in a search engine, can ask for a copy of the text by email almost as easily as clicking to open an OA file. If the author consents to share the file, then she can do so with another simple click at her end. Streamlined email access is not as good as open online repository access, but it's much better than cumbersome email access. Basically, this feature makes it easier for everyone to live with dark deposits. And when do we want to do that? Whenever authors, publishers, or funding agencies impose embargoes on OA.

Berlin 4 presentations

Most of the presentations from Berlin 4 Open Access - From Promise to Practice (Golm, March 29-31, 2006) are now online. The rest will be online shortly. (Thanks to Georg Botz.)

OA data and grid computing for weather prediction

Katie Yurkewicz, Predicting Extreme Weather with SCOOP, GRID Today, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
When a storm threatens the coastal United States, emergency-response managers look to scientists to help them prepare for potentially catastrophic consequences. Accurate predictions of the environmental response to extreme weather keep disaster recovery costs down and help save lives. Creating accurate and timely predictions requires bringing many different types of data from many different organizations together with a large amount of on-demand computing power -- a task uniquely suited to cyberinfrastructure and Grid computing. Coastal researchers can now harness only a limited amount of up-to-date monitoring information and computing power for their predictions. The Southeastern Universities Research Association (SURA) has undertaken the SURA Coastal Observing and Prediction (SCOOP) program with the hope to change that, by creating the first distributed real-time environmental prediction system. "We're creating a prototype distributed laboratory that's advancing the science of environmental prediction and hazard planning," said SCOOP program director Philip Bogden. The SCOOP cyberinfrastructure will initially be focused around the southeastern coast of the United States, first integrating diverse data flows from a variety of already established coastal ocean observing efforts and then incorporating the data flows into an open-access, scalable environmental prediction system.

From the site:

Goals: Creating an open access, distributed laboratory for oceanographic scientific research and coastal operations by: [1] Supporting the development and implementation of data standards that comprise the technical language of interoperability, [2] Demonstrating the potential for integration and added value that occurs when disparate and diverse communities employ a common, standardized framework for information exchange; and [3] Deploying the technical infrastructure to create an environmental prediction system that can be used as a research tool and handed off to the responsible entity that will use it to support the decision-making activities that benefit society.

Profile of the CERN librarians

Heather Morrison, The CERN Library Team: an OA Inspiration! OA Librarian, April 9, 2006. The latest installment of Heather's celebration of librarians who work for OA. Excerpt:

CERN - the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and birthplace of the World Wide Web, and the CERN Library Team - currently led by Jens Vigen, has been a leader in the open dissemination of scientific results since its inception decades ago. CERN’s free distribution of preprints in paper format has evolved with the technologies available, from FTP to World Wide Web distribution, to the current OAI-compliant CERN Document Server (CDS). If any discipline could afford to rest on its OA laurels, you would think it would be physics! The CERN Library Team, however, is not resting on its laurels at all, but continues to lead the way, from OA via self-archiving to a current push towards full OA publishing (and self-archiving, too). 

Accomplishments of the CERN library team include: [1] The CDS - CERN Document Server repository - as of April 9, 2006, CDS contains over 800,000 bibliographic records, including 360,000 fulltext documents, of interest to people working in particle physics and related areas. A whole team of hard working people have concentrated on this, filling it, harvesting, programming, scanning, managing, etc.  [2] Organising (along with LIBER, SPARC, SPARC Europe, OSI and the OAI) - and hosting the OAI Workshops, one of the world’s major gathering-points for the open access archiving community....[3] High Energy Physics (HEP) Libraries Webzine (an OA publication)....

CERN is now on at the least the third OA policy revision, which addresses OA journals. In 2005, the focus at CERN library was changing publication model meetings. That is, CERN - and its library - are leading the way once more in physics, to move from OA via self-archiving to full OA via OA publishing (and self-archiving too)....There are some details about CERN Library's OA history in the presentation,
CERN Document Server Software: The Integrated Digital Library
.  For the latest on CERN library’s OA leadership, have a look at the SPARC Open Access Forum Archives - look for the thread, CERN’s Historic Role in OA. CERN’s Joanne Yeomans, for example, talks about current developments, including a basket (for creating one’s own bibliographies) and rating system....

More on Zoobank

Mark Chillingworth, Zoologists bank on database, Information World Review, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
An open access register for animal taxonomy will offer a free online resource for checking animal names and registering new species. The database, called ZooBank, will be the first ever single reference resource for zoologists conducting research or naming newly discovered species when launched this quarter. “We are trying to encourage scientists, authors and journal editors to deposit the original description of a species in ZooBank, as well as registering its taxonomic details,” said Andrew Polaszek, executive secretary of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the body behind ZooBank.

Thomson Scientific’s Zoological Record database of articles relating to named species is currently the primary resource for zoologists. “Zoological Record scans and indexes the published literature on animal names,” said Polaszek. “The problem is that the descriptions can be published anywhere in over 1,100 specialised journals, so original animal names are widely scattered.” ZooBank will provide a single online interface. Polaszek expects a new interface to allow new names to be checked and registered to appear later this year. It will offer links from taxonomic records to full-text articles in Zoological Record and other sources....“Biodiversity research is calling for a site like this,” said Nigel Robinson, head of operations at Zoological Record.

Microsoft Academic Search coming tomorrow

The buzz has already started (1, 2, 3, 4), for tomorrow's release of Microsoft Academic Search, which will crawl academic journals, databases, and repositories.

PS: I was one of many people Microsoft consulted about MAS. Don't think clone of Google Scholar. Think rival in the same space, competition that should --eventually-- crawl more content and offer more services to users.

OA in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland

Bruno Bauer, Open Access Publishing - Trends in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz: Initiativen, Projekte, Stellenwert, a slide presentation at ODOK '05: Zugang zum Fachwissen (Bolzano, September 13-15, 2005). Self-archived April 7, 2006. In German but with this English-language abstract:
Open access publishing proclaims free access to scholarly journals via internet. Since the turn of the millenium scientists, non profit publishers, policy makers, international organisations and last but not least librarians strongly support open access initiatives as alternative to existing publication systems. The present report analyses current open access initiatives and projects in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Assessment deals with participation in boycotts and proclamations, the fuction of editors and authors in open access journals (eg. PloS, BioMed Central), self archiving and implementation of institutional repositories.

More on the EC report

Robin Peek, European Commission Releases Key Scientific Publishing Report, Information Today, April 10, 2006. Excerpt:
The European Commission has finally released its report on scientific publishing and now has firmly placed itself in the international discussion of where such publishing should go in the future. In June 2004, the European Commission began a study to examine the economic and technical evolution of scientific publishing in Europe....The study was carried out by a consortium led by Mathias Dewatripont of the Université Libre de Bruxelles. The study, undertaken by the directorate-general for research, sought to determine the conditions for “optimum” operation of the scientific sector and to assess how the Commission could help meet those conditions. European Science and Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said: “It is in all our interests to find a model for scientific publication that serves research excellence. We are ready to work with readers, authors, publishers, and funding bodies to develop such a model.”...

The report acknowledged that much of the scientific research conducted in Europe is publicly funded and hence recommended that access to such research should be guaranteed....The first recommendation is: “Guarantee public access to publicly-funded research shortly after publication.” Note that the following actions could be taken at the European level: “Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives.” Secondly, explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented.

Next, the report encouraged that there be a “level-playing field” so that different business models in publishing can compete fairly in the market. “It seems desirable to allow for experimentation and competition between various possible business models.” The report noted that monies should be allocated to libraries to subscribe to reader or library-pay journals “but also to authors to pay for publication costs in author-pay journals, and to researchers in the reader-pay model.”...

The report also strongly favored the development of open access archives, noting that they provide “immediate, free, and maximal access to research results, whether published or not, to anyone with an Internet connection.” And, those institutional repositories contribute to “raise the profile of the institutions, making their research output visible and accessible, and provide a potential research assessment tool.” In turn, this enhanced visibility and accessibility “may lead to higher citation,” noting that recent studies show that open access increases impact. However, there are concerns about the archival quality of the open access archives. Observing that the installation costs are low, the “maintenance costs are more difficult to plan, as they will vary with the number of records, and the long term preservation purposes.”

Specific actions at the European level to improve visibility include “establish[ing] a European policy mandating articles funded from European sources to be available in open access archives, for instance by mean of author’s self-archiving.” Also, there is a need to “specify standards that will insure that the archives are [accessible], interoperable, and have cross-searching facilities. In addition, set up a general European archive for researchers with access to a subject-based or institutional archive.”...

Another step toward a national OA policy for Spain

Spain's CIEMAT (Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas, or Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology) has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge.

Comment. CIEMAT is the second Spanish government agency to sign the Berlin Declaration this year. The Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIS) signed in late January. The signs are adding up that we may soon see a proposal to mandate OA to publicly-funded research in Spain.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Finding OA articles

Netbib reviews some of the major tools for finding OA articles. (In German.)

Improving the EC recommendation on OA

Stevan Harnad, Optimizing the European Commission's Recommendation for Open Access Archiving of Publicly-Funded Research, Open Access Archivangelism, April 8, 2006. Excerpt:
The European Commission "Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets in Europe" has made the following policy recommendation:
"Research funding agencies...should promote and support the archiving of publications in open repositories, after a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers. This archiving could become a condition for funding. The following actions could be taken at the European level: (i) Establish a European policy mandating published articles arising from EC-funded research to be available after a given time period in open access archives, and (ii) Explore with Member States and with European research and academic associations whether and how such policies and open repositories could be implemented."

There is a very simple way to make this very welcome recommendation even more effective: Separate deposit from OA access-setting: Specify that the deposit must be done immediately upon acceptance for publication, in all cases, and apply all reference to delay to the timing of the access-setting not the deposit. The full-text plus its bibliographic metadata (author, title, date, journal, etc.) can and should always be deposited in the author's Institutional Repository immediately upon acceptance for publication, without a moment's delay.  Access to the metadata can always be made immediately Open Access, webwide. What can be delayed (for the 7% of articles in journals that do not yet explicitly give immediate author self-archiving their official green light) is the setting of access to the full-text to Open Access.  It is of course preferable that access to the full-text too should be set as Open Access immediately upon deposit. But, if the author wishes, access-privileges to the full-text can instead be set as Restricted Access (author-only) rather than Open Access for "a (possibly domain-specific) time period to be discussed with publishers."...The European Commission is urged to make this small but extremely important change in their policy recommendation. It means the difference between immediate 100% Open Access and delayed, embargoed access for years to come.