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Points for Open Access, Science Magazine, May 19, 2006. (Thanks to Jennifer Heffelfinger.) A short unsigned news story. Excerpt:
Advocates of open-access publishing got new fuel for their argument from a study published online this week in the open-access Public Library of Science (PLoS) Biology suggesting that free papers get cited more often. The analysis, conducted by Gunther Eysenbach of the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation in Toronto, Canada, looked at articles published from June to December 2004 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, after the journal started letting authors pay $1000 to make their papers immediately available for free. By April 2005, 78 (37%) of the 212 open-access articles had not been cited versus 627 (49%) of the 1280 regular articles, which are free online after 6 months. By October, 11 open-access articles (5%) were still uncited compared to 172 (14%) of regular articles. After data adjustments for factors such as authors' previous citation rates, the open-access papers were twice as likely to be cited by April and three times as likely by October. They also averaged more citations: 6.4 per paper versus 4.5.
Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen, Agreement Reached On IP And Public Health Resolution At WHO, IP Watch, May 27, 2006.
First the good news:
A technical group at the World Health Assembly today agreed on a resolution that will increase the worldwide research and development focus on diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries....The text of the resolution is not yet available but will be distributed at the meeting on 27 May by the World Health Organization (WHO)....
And then the bad news:
Participants said some language was removed due to overlaps from combining the two draft resolutions....Deleted language with no apparent overlap may have been removed because it was controversial. This might include...references to open access to public research such as the Human Genome Project and open access models in general. It might also include references to the public domain (“proper balance between intellectual property rights and the public domain”), and to the public interest (“imperative to reconcile the public interest in accessing the products and derived from new knowledge with the public interest in stimulating invention”), a global appeal from 2,500 scientists, and the importance of the WHO’s regional committees to include the CIPIH [Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health] report in their agendas.
Comment. I understand going for the low-hanging fruit before the higher-hanging fruit, and not waiting for consensus on harder questions before resolving easier ones. We do it ourselves in the OA movement. But OA isn't an easily separable side-issue in the current WHA debate. Any serious attempt to accelerate R&D on diseases that affect developing countries has to reckon with the power of open access to help the cause and the power of toll access to hurt it.
Stig Linder and Maria C. Shoshan, Is translational research compatible with preclinical publication strategies? Radiation Oncology, March 24, 2006.
Abstract: The term "translational research" is used to describe the transfer of basic biological knowledge into practical medicine, a process necessary for motivation of public spending. In the area of cancer therapeutics, it is becoming increasingly evident that results obtained in vitro and in animal models are difficult to translate into clinical medicine. We here argue that a number of factors contribute to making the translation process inefficient. These factors include the use of sensitive cell lines and fast growing experimental tumors as targets for novel therapies, and the use of unrealistic drug concentrations and radiation doses. We also argue that aggressive interpretation of data, successful in hypothesis-building biological research, does not form a solid base for development of clinically useful treatment modalities. We question whether "clean" results obtained in simplified models, expected for publication in high-impact journals, represent solid foundations for improved treatment of patients. Open-access journals such as Radiation Oncology have a large mission to fulfill by publishing relevant data to be used for making actual progress in translational cancer research.
G.W. Brian Owen, Andrew Waller, and Lesley Perkins, Open Access: Three Perspectives, a presentation delivered at Sharing a Vision: The Power of Collaboration (Burnaby, April 20-22, 2006).
Abstract: Open Access has the potential to transform scholarly communications and access to academic research, especially for libraries in smaller institutions or in economically disadvantaged areas around the world. This important and timely panel discussion will focus on three aspects of open access: 1) the library as publisher, 2) the librarian as archivist, and 3) the role of open access in the careers of upcoming professionals.
Christina Pikas, The Impact of Information and Communication Technologies on Informal Scholarly Scientific Communication: A Literature Review, a paper for a doctoral seminar at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, May 13, 2006.
Abstract: This paper provides a review of the extensive research on the social structure and process of informal scholarly scientific communication and more recent research on the adoption and use of information and communication technologies by scientists for informal scholarly scientific communication. The benefits and uses of the information and communication technologies reported in the literature were examined to determine the influence of the technologies on the prior system. Information and communication technologies have not changed the social structure of science, but have enabled new forms of remote collaboration and slightly higher productivity as measured by number of publications.
PS: Pikas only mentions OA once, in the title of one work in the bibliography. Yet according to her definitions of "formal" and "informal" (pp. 5-6), OA preprint archiving is informal.
Congratulations to John Willinsky for winning the Distinguished Book Award for 2006 from Computers and Composition: An International Journal for his book, The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship (MIT Press, 2005). The book is available in a print edition and an OA edition.
The University of Connecticut has officially launched its year-old institutional repository, DigitalCommons@UConn. From the press release:
Arthur Sale, Submission to the Australian Research Council - Funding Rules & Agreements, self-archived May 26, 2006.
Abstract: The submission is addressed to making a change in the reporting requirements for all funded schemes, which will make it a requirement of receiving the grant to deposit an electronic copy of any refereed research journal or conference articles deriving from the grant with the institution administering the grant. Minor changes are needed in the Funding Rules and the Funding Agreements. Precise wording is supplied to eliminate any concerns by publishers and to make the implementation easy.
PS: I hope other Australians will support this excellent recommendation to mandate OA for publicly-funded research in Australia. (Disclosure: I'm listed as a co-author, with Stevan Harnad and Alma Swan, but Arthur deserves all our thanks and congratulations.)
Open Business is --openly-- seeking help in defining what counts as an open business.
The Wellcome Trust has issued a Publishers' Guide and FAQ to help publishers understand its OA policy. Excerpt:
Also see the Authors' Guide and FAQ.
Note that Wellcome requires papers to be deposited in PMC or UKPMC. Hence, the new Elsevier option, which provides free online access only through ScienceDirect, will not satisfy Wellcome's requirement.
Charlie Rapple, Same debate, different forum: self-archiving of academic papers ... via iTunes? All my eye, May 26, 2006. Excerpt:
The June issue of Wired Magazine has a profile of Harold Varmus and PLoS by Jamie Shreeve, "Free Radical" (pp. 136-143). Unfortunately it won't appear in the online edition until June 1. I'll blog an excerpt when it appears, but in the meantime find the print edition.
Open access to early animations and their images is triggering an animation revolution.
David Brown, Bird Flu Fears Ignite Debate on Scientists' Sharing of Data, Washington Post, May 25, 2006. (Thanks to Eric Kansa.) Excerpt:
As fears of an influenza pandemic grow, a struggle has emerged between experts who believe the latest genetic data on the H5N1 bird flu virus should be made public immediately and others who fear that such a policy would alienate the countries collecting virus samples and the scientists analyzing them. The issue may come to a head this week at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, the governing body of the World Health Organization. Health ministers from more than 190 countries will consider a resolution that would require them to provide flu data and virus samples to the scientific community "in a timely manner."...
Comment. I strongly support the OA mandate under consideration at the World Health Assembly. For background, see my April article on OA to avian flu data.
Dorothea Salo, Both/And, Caveat Lector, May 25, 2006. Excerpt:
Mike Carroll, Put Articles by Government Researchers Online Now, Carrollogos, May 24, 2006. Excerpt:
The proposed Federal Public Research Access Act of 2006 has an important provision that would require covered agencies to mark peer-reviewed articles by agency employees as being in the public domain and to post such articles online immediately. This is an incontestibly sensible requirement, but federal agencies and members of the public need not await the outcome of this pending legislation to make this provision effective.
U-M Library launches Deep Blue: More access to U-M scholarship, press release from the University of Michigan, May 25, 2006. (Thanks to William Walsh.) Excerpt:
Congratulations to Charles W. Bailey Jr. for winning the first Dr. Ilene F. Rockman Award. The award recognizes his work in editing last year's special issue of Reference Services Review on Reference Librarians and Institutional Repositories.
Semantic Web emerges from the sidelines at Edinburgh conference, a JISC press release, May 26, 2006. Excerpt:
Speaking in an interview for JISC at the end of the week-long International World Wide Web conference, David De Roure, Professor at the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton and one of the conference organisers, said it would be remembered for the emergence of the Semantic Web from specialist and academic discussions into the mainstream of public debate.
Also see Jonathan Bennett, Semantic Web ready for mainstream use, News.com, May 24, 2006. Excerpt:
Announcement from IRRA (Institutional Repository and Research Assessment):
The software to allow EPrints and DSpace institutional repositories to be used for RAE 2008 is now available in Silver release form. This means that it has been adopted internally on the test institutions and has undergone some months of testing. It is now being made avalable to the UK academic community for repository managers to gain the experience of fitting it into their Institutional RAE processes.
Xiaolin Zhang, Sustainable Digital Library Development for Scientific Communities in China, IFLA Journal, 32, 2 (2006) pp. 140-146. Xiaolin Zhang is (among many other things) the Director of the Chinese Science Digital Library and chair of the national project to develop Open Access Policy Guidelines. Excerpt:
Scholarly communication is taken new a turn when forces like Google Scholar/Print, the open access movement, and institutional repositories10 are creating a new information supply chain. Access to information is no longer solely intermediated by and channeled through a library; ‘library services’ can be more effectively provided by open or commercial systems. A distributed, producerdriven, value-enriched, and competitive market is here to stay, and providing access to information alone is no longer enough for a sustainable future, as predicted by a PEW study which found that any organization relying on intermediary services will be fundamentally changed within the near future....
Eric C. Kansa, Jason Schultz, and Ahrash N. Bissell, Protecting Traditional Knowledge and Expanding Access to Scientific Data: Juxtaposing Intellectual Property Agendas via a “Some Rights Reserved” Model, a preprint (draft) forthcoming in the International Journal of Cultural Property.
Abstract: The 21st century has ushered in new debates and social movements that aim to structure how culture is produced, owned, and distributed. At one side, “open knowledge” advocates seek greater freedom for finding, distributing, using, and reusing information. On the other hand, “traditional knowledge” rights advocates seek to protect certain forms of knowledge from appropriation and exploitation and seek recognition for communal and culturally situated notions of heritage and intellectual property. Understanding and bridging the tension between these movements represents a vital and significant challenge. This paper explores possible areas of where these seemingly divergent goals may converge, centered on the Creative Commons concept of “some rights reserved”. We argue that this concept can be extended into areas where scientific disciplines intersect with traditional knowledge. This model can help build a voluntary framework for negotiating more equitable and open communication between field researchers and diverse stakeholding communities.
The AAP has publicly released its May 23 letter to Sen. Susan Collins, Chair of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, the Senate committee considering the FRPAA. Excerpt:
Our Executive Council is writing to you on behalf of member publishers within the Professional and Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP), as well as other concerned publishers among the undersigned, to express our strong opposition to S. 2695, the Federal Research Public Access Act....This unnecessary legislation would adversely impact the existing peer review system that ensures the high quality of scientific research in the United States. In addition, it would impose costly new mandates on federal agencies....
Comment. The bill is that bad and yet it duplicates what publishers are already doing. It would be terrible if peer review disappeared, but don't ask for the evidence that the bill would make peer review disappear. Public research money should be spent on research, even if the results are locked away for the economic benefit of a private-sector industry, even if a small investment would make them available to everyone who can use them, and even if the same agencies spend roughly 10 times the cost of this program on page charges and other subsidies for subscription journals. For more detail, see my 10-point rebuttal to the AAP's objections to the FRPAA.
The presentations from the UNICA Seminar, Trends in Education and Research (Helsinki, May 18-19, 2006), are now online. There are presentations on OA by David Prosser, Lars Bjørnshauge, Antonio Fantoni, Bo-Christer Björk, Robert Terry, Nicole Dewandre, and Paul Ayris. (Thanks to Kimmo Kuusela.)
Biomicrofluidics is a forthcoming peer-reviewed, OA journal from the American Institute of Physics. (Thanks to George Porter.) From the site:
As an electronic-only, open access journal with rapid publication time, Biomicrofluidics will be responsive to the rapid developments expected in this field. The interdisciplinary approach inherent in biomicrofluidics research draws scientists from diverse fields — engineering, physics, materials science, chemistry, and biology.
It will start accepting submissions on July 6, 2006, and the first issue should appear by January 2007.
From yesterday's press release:
The American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced today that Prof. Hsueh-Chia Chang has accepted the position of Editor of AIP's new rapid-publication, open access journal, Biomicrofluidics. Dr. Chang is Bayer Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Director of the Center for Microfluidics and Medical Diagnostics at the University of Notre Dame....
Update. The official launch date was November 9, 2006. See the AIP press release.
Articles of contention, Indiana Daily Student, May 25, 2006. An editorial. Excerpt:
PS: This is the first discussion of FRPAA I've seen in a student paper. Kudos to the editors for covering it and for their sensible endorsement. Just one small correction: The OA requirement wouldn't depend on the journal publishing the research but on the agency funding the research.
Michael Cross, One small step on a long-haul journey, The Guardian, May 25, 2006. Excerpt:
Ten weeks after Guardian Technology launched the "Free Our Data" campaign on March 9, government advisers are starting to consider its message. Last Friday, the Advisory Panel on Public Sector Information - set up in 2003 to advise the government on how to exploit its digital crown jewels - published the minutes of its annual seminar. They reveal that "the 'Free Our Data' campaign organised by The Guardian was raised". The chair of the advisory panel, Professor Richard Susskind, told us this week: "We welcome the thrust of your campaign because you recognise the value of public-sector information, and are doing a fine job of raising awareness."...
Prayas Abhinav has written a two-part summary of the First Monday conference, Openness: Code, science and content (Chicago, May 15-17, 2006).
From Part I:
Jennifer Papin’s paper (she was from Trinidad & Tobago), which was about Open Access Publishing, was a good introduction to the concepts, challenges, motivations of OA. I got thinking, are there any OAP consultants around, who can help institutions help shape their OA policies and programs? And maybe even help them setup the systems to go open.
From Part II:
Charlotte Tschider’s paper talked about the impact factors of different journals - Open Access and other. She spoke about how “giving necessiates reciprocity”, about the concept of hau about how givers and receivers are connected infinitely.
Comment. On the consultant question, the answer is yes. I'd be glad to help institutions shape their OA policies (time permitting, no charge). If I'm too busy or speak the wrong language, I can also recommend others from around the world.
Kathleen B. Oliver and Robert Swain, Directories of Institutional Repositories: Research Results & Recommendations, a paper to be delivered at the 72nd IFLA General Conference (Seoul, August 20-24, 2006).
Abstract: At its 2005 business meeting in Oslo, the Health and Biosciences Libraries Section (HBLS) agreed that an international directory of institutional repositories would be a useful tool for IFLA. Members suggested that it could be mined and monitored for growth in numbers of repositories, their collections and content development, the services they provide, their acceptance and use by scholars, and their impact on scholarship. With that in mind, HBLS funded Johns Hopkins to 1) identify existing directories, and, for those found, 2) to describe their scope, record structure and updating mechanisms. In this paper, we will describe the results of our research. One directory, the University of Nottingham’s OpenDOAR, stands out as the leader among the directories identified, particularly for the purposes envisioned at the Section’s 2005 business meeting. This paper will describe and compare the scope, structure and update methodology of OpenDOAR and 23 other directories of institutional repositories, with particular attention to the health sciences. Based on our findings, we will offer suggestions for how the HBLS and IFLA might support an international directory of institutional repositories and how such a directory might be used for the advancement of scholarship globally.
Comment. The abstract suggests that, although HBLS likes OpenDOAR, it might launch yet another directory of OA repositories. But the body of the paper suggests that HBLS is more likely to support OpenDOAR than launch a new one --which is good news. We don't need another directory. We need to merge the best ones (OpenDOAR and ROAR), avoid the present duplication of labor and resources, persuade existing repositories to list themselves, and support the merged result.
The June issue of Cites & Insights is now online. This issue contains a good opening section on Libraries and Access. Excerpt:
Think of...this essay as an extended answer to the question, “Why do I write about library access at all --and why don’t I stick to open access?”...I would not dissuade anyone from focusing on open access to scholarly articles (with or without capital “O” and “A”) and improving both “green” and “gold” aspects of such access. That’s important work. Peter Suber sustains a high level of clarity and completeness in discussing and advocating both forms of open access; Charles W. Bailey, Jr. and (more recently) the bloggers at OA librarian add to that effort, as do others. Many other librarians and scholars are engaged in creating and building OA journals (“gold” OA) and encouraging scholars to deposit their articles in OAI digital repositories (“green” OA). More power to them. Library access involves more and, in some ways, less than open access....
PS: Like Walt, I've argued that some OA initiatives help scholars without helping libraries and that long-term we have to help both.
Deanna B. Marcum, International Dimensions of Digital Science and Scholarship, the keynote address at the 148th Membership Meeting of the ARL (Ottawa, May 17-19, 2006). Marcum includes a succinct summary of recent OA developments in the US. Also see her slides.
The National Research Council has published a new report, Globalization, Biosecurity, and the Future of the Life Sciences, National Academies Press, 2006. (Thanks to Debra Lappin.) Like all NAP books, it's available in a free online edition and in a priced, print edition. From the executive summary:
It is undeniable that this new knowledge [in biology] and these advancing technologies hold enormous potential to improve public health and agriculture, strengthen national economies, and closee the development gap between resource-rich and resource-poor countries. However, as with all scientific revolutions, there is a potential dark side, to the advancing power and global spread of these and other technologieis. For millenia, every major new technology has been used for hostile purposes....
Comment. This is not the first time the National Research Council has looked closely at the threats from bioterrorism and concluded that "the free and open exchange of information in the life sciences" is worth preserving. Open science not only has overriding peacetime benefits but also enables us to develop countermeasures to protect ourselves against bioterror. For the NRC's previous analysis of the tension between the benefits of open science and the risks of terrorism, see Seeking Security: Pathogens, Open Access, and Genome Databases (September 8, 2004) and my thoughts on it, Reflections on 9/11, four years later (September 2, 2005).
Christopher N. Carlson, Open Access oder Fair Use? Ein Vergleich nach Kosten/Nutzen-Aspekten, in Maximilian Stempfhuber (ed.), Proceedings In die Zukunft publizieren. Herausforderungen an das Publizieren und die Informationsversorgung in den Wissenschaften, 2006, pp. 43-54. Self-archived May 23, 2006. In German but with this English-language abstract:
Following the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI) of 2001, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access of 2003 gave the OA discussion a new impetus. The Declaration takes a very different approach from the Fair Use doctrine in the U.S., which is embodied in copyright law, whereas the Berlin Declaration postulates a voluntary system of Internet-based publication repositories together with incentives for depositors. Both approaches endeavour to make scholarly research and cultural heritage as broadly available as is possible, while freeing them of the status of trade-goods. This paper addresses the question of which of the two approaches is more promising in the long-term.
Comment. My German isn't strong enough to read the article with the care it deserves. But it looks like Carlson enumerates the strengths and weaknesses of OA and fair use, in full prose as well as a table, and then leaves the question for the reader to decide. If so, then something is amiss, since properly understood OA (at least where it exists) offers everything that fair use offers and more, including more permitted uses, more certainty about permission, and of course free online access to boot. Fair use does apply to more literature than OA, as Carlson points out, but that isn't a reason to "prefer" fair use in the sense that one stops working for OA.
Update. Also see Klaus Graf's criticism of Carlson's article (in German).
Simon J. Coles and 14 co-authors, An E-Science Environment for Service Crystallography-from Submission to Dissemination, Journal of chemical information and modeling, May 22, 2006. Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:
Abstract: The U.K. National Crystallography Service (NCS) has developed a prototype e-science infrastructure for the provision of a small molecule crystallography service from sample receipt to results dissemination. This paper outlines the two strands of this service, which (a) enable a user to contribute in the conduction of an experiment and (b) provide an effective route for the archival and dissemination of the arising results. Access to use the NCS facilities and expertise and a mechanism to submit samples is granted through a secure Grid infrastructure, which seamlessly provides instantaneous feedback and the ability to remotely monitor and guide diffraction experiments and stage the diffraction data to a securely accessible location. Publication of all the data and results generated during the course of the experiment, from processed data to analyzed structures, is then enabled by means of an open access data repository. The repository publishes its content through established digital libraries' protocols, which enable harvester and aggregator services to make the data searchable and accessible.
Starting this month, Elsevier is making six of its physics journals into hybrid OA journals, and will do the same for 30 more, in different fields, in the next two months. The announcement came from Carl Schwarz, Elsevier's publishing editor for physics and astronomy, in a message to PAMnet this morning. Excerpt:
From May onwards some Elsevier journals will be offering to their authors the option to pay a sponsorship fee to ensure that their article, already accepted for publication, is made freely available to non-subscribers via ScienceDirect.
Comment. This is important. A few comments now and more to come.
Update. Soon after the Carl Schwarz announcement appeared on PAMnet, the same announcement, now signed by Tony McSean and Daviess Menefee (Elsevier, Library Relations), began appearing on other lists.
Richard Poynder has posted his interview with Vitek Tracz, founder of BioMed Central. This is the latest installment of The Basement Interviews, Poynder's blog-based OA book of interviews with leaders of many related openness initiatives. Like all of Poynder's interviews, this one is long and rich in historical detail --in this case, on the rise of the OA movement, the founding of BMC, the choicepoints between OA journals and OA repositories, and the recent troubles or growing pains at BMC. This excerpt is a small part of what's worth reading:
Esther van Zimmeren and three co-authors, A clearing house for diagnostic testing: the solution to ensure access to and use of patented genetic inventions? Bulletin of the World Health Organization, May 2006.
Abstract: In genetic diagnostics, the emergence of a so-called "patent thicket" is imminent. Such an overlapping set of patent rights may have restrictive effects on further research and development of diagnostic tests, and the provision of clinical diagnostic services. Currently, two models that may facilitate access to and use of patented genetic inventions are attracting much debate in various national and international fora: patent pools and clearing houses. In this article, we explore the concept of clearing houses. Several types of clearing houses are identified. First, we describe and discuss two types that would provide access to information on the patented inventions: the information clearing house and the technology exchange clearing house. Second, three types of clearing houses are analysed that not only offer access to information but also provide an instrument to facilitate the use of the patented inventions: the open access clearing house, the standardized licences clearing house and the royalty collection clearing house. A royalty collection clearing house for genetic diagnostic testing would be the most comprehensive as it would serve several functions: identifying patents and patent claims essential to diagnostic testing, matching licensees with licensors, developing and supplying standardized licences, collecting royalties, monitoring whether users respect licensing conditions, and providing dispute resolution services such as mediation and arbitration. In this way, it might function as an effective model for users to facilitate access to and use of the patented inventions. However, it remains to be seen whether patent holders with a strong patent portfolio will be convinced by the advantages of the royalty collection clearing house and be willing to participate.
Stefan Krempl, Wissenschaftler und Verleger liegen bei der Urheberrechtsnovelle über Kreuz, Heise online, May 22, 2006. On the controversy surrounding the OA bill now under consideration by Germany's Bundesrat. (In German.)
PS: It sounds like the debate in Germany is much like the debate in the US and UK: scientists and librarians support the move to OA and publishers oppose it but claim to speak for the interests of science rather than the interests of publishing.
Dean Krafft, Building a National Science Digital Library, a webcast lecture and PPT slides from the Educause webinar series, delivered May 8, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.) From the summary:
Since 2000, the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Core Integration team has been creating the infrastructure for a digital library of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics resources. That library now contains more than a million resources from approximately 100 collections. In this talk, Dean Krafft will give a short historical overview of the NSDL and describe the current NSDL community and participants. He will then review the technical underpinnings of NSDL 1.0, a library built on metadata harvesting, and describe some of the challenges encountered. For the past year, the project has been working on NSDL 2.0, a new version of the library built on the Fedora repository architecture. For the last part of the talk, Krafft will describe this new library architecture and explain how it supports creating context for science resources, how it enhances the selection and use of library materials, and what these capabilities mean for the users of the NSDL.
Hindawi Publishing has acquired Neural Plasticity and will immediately convert it to OA. From today's announcement:
Richard Horton, Trial registers: protecting patients, advancing trust, The Lancet, May 20, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). An editorial. I don't have access and quote from an excerpt posted by William Walsh:
This flourishing of clinical research for the benefit of patients is the overarching objective of WHO's effort to gain agreement on a practicable way of registering all clinical trials, from the moment of their inception and for a minimum set of scientifically and ethically essential elements. In today's Lancet, Ida Sim and her colleagues at WHO set out two principles that must underpin trial registration. First, that all interventional trials, including early-phase studies...should be registered. And second, that all elements of the 20-item minimum dataset must be disclosed at the time of registration...Journal editors can help. Just as the editors of general medical journals played a part in raising the profile of trial registration, so editors could again help to move the current debate beyond merely an aspiration and towards a necessity. Results disclosure will be the next major step on the road to full transparency of all relevant information about a particular trial. Editors could drive that disclosure process by insisting that trialists and sponsors deposit key results information into a publicly accessible database, akin to GenBank. But...some editors are operating policies that inhibit rapid disclosure of trial data. Editors have been tough on pharmaceutical companies resistant to registering their trials. They have urged companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, to put public interest before commercial interest. Yet journals now find themselves in a similar position to industry, but with respect to results disclosure. They --we-- have a self-interested motivation to delay full disclosure of results until publication of a final paper --the Ingelfinger rule. In the past, editors have sought to control access to research results by insisting on a journal's priority in releasing data in advance of any other venue. Happily, that rule has broken down in the face of multiple outlets for data --in particular, presentation at scientific conferences. Given the ever-widening flow of information, it would be only a small step to recognise posting of trials data on an independent results database as an ethical imperative.
The Institute for the Future of the Book has published version 1.1 of its first networked book, McKenzie Wark's GAM3R 7H3ORY. The book is not only open access, but is being written online in real time with continual feedback from readers. From the announcement:
The Finnish Council of University Rectors decided today to support a wide-ranging set of initiatives to advance OA in Finland. (Thanks to Kalle Korhonen.) From the minutes of its meeting:
Comment. Finland is one of only three countries so far with a national-level OA policy that has gone beyond proposal to adoption. The other two are the US (NIH policy) and Germany (DFG policy). The minutes above link to an abstract (in English) of the policy, but also see the full-text (in English). The new initiatives supported by the rectors focus on what remains to be done: funding, educational outreach, and OA infrastructure. Kudos to Finland for these important steps. With the new OA bill in Germany I blogged yesterday, these are signs of growing momentum not only toward OA, but toward national commitments to OA.
Last Friday I blogged a note on a new bill (Entwurf eines Zweiten Gesetzes zur Regelung des Urheberrechts in der Informationsgesellschaft) before the German Bundesrat that would support OA to German science. I asked for help in translating or summarizing it in English. I just heard from Gerd Hansen, an OA advocate, doctoral candidate at the Max-Planck-Institute for Intellectual Property Law in Munich, and by good luck the author or at least the inspiration for the new bill. From his email:
Comment. Congratulations to Gerd for this creative approach to OA and for seeing it through to the Bundesrat --and thanks for the translation help. The bill in effect permits author-initiated OA to publicly-funded research in Germany, though without mandating it. A mandate would be stronger, but this approach is the most direct way I've seen to resolve doubts about permission and make publisher dissent irrelevant. In any case, the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), Germany's primary public funding agency, is already implementing an OA policy in between a request and a requirement. I'd be delighted to see the "Hansen bill" adopted and I hope German friends of OA will do what they can to support it.
Barbara Kirsop and four co-authors, Open access: more signs of its impact on citations, SciDev.Net, May 19, 2006. A letter to the editor. Excerpt:
Heather Morrison, The financial folly of pay-per-view, for the funder, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, May 22, 2006. Excerpt:
Abstract: Some of the best arguments for open access, can be found by simply looking at the alternatives, such as pay-per-view. It is hypothesized that the costs to a funding agency of reviewing the previous work of a grant applicant, following the pay-per-view model, could quite easily average $12,000 US per grant application, or more. This makes the payment of a very modest fee, such as the PLoS $1,500 US per article, for top-notch open access publishing for access to everyone, everywhere - not only a good idea, but an incredible bargain, too. Reviewing the works of the self-archiving author provides significant benefits in terms of both costs and time for the funding agency, that perhaps it makes sense for the funder to prioritize or expedite such applications. It is hypothesized that even without conscious intent, expediting of grant applications by self-archiving authors may be a natural phenomenon, due to the time savings and simplicity of review of previous work.
Bernard Rentier, Accès libre, a posting on his blog, May 20, 2006. Rentier is the Rector of the University of Liege. His posting is a succinct introduction (in French) to the irrational scholarly communication system and the OA alternative, with answers to basic questions and objections.
PS: You have to like a rector with a blog, especially one who uses it to defend OA. Kudos to Rentier. Lucky Liege.
Gilad Mishne, Information Access Challenges in the Blogspace, a paper to be presented at the International Workshop on Intelligent Information Access (Helsinki, July 6-8, 2006). (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
Abstract: This paper discusses the blogging phenomenon from an information access point of view. We examine blogs as a source of knowledge, analyzing the properties which make them unique as a data collection. We outline information analysis tasks aimed at blogs, and discuss how the properties of blogs are used in this context; finally, we point out some of the main aims of current computational blog research.