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Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has just released its Project Grants Funding Policy for funding commencing in 2008 (undated). The new NHMRC policy is to encourage open access for the research it funds:
Unlike the Australian Research Council (ARC), which announced a similar OA policy last week, the NHMRC does not (yet) require non-complying grantees to justify their non-compliance, an extra obligation that effectively converts the ARC encouragement into a mandate. However, Colin Steele writes:
For this reason, I consider the NHMRC policy to be as much a mandate as the ARC policy.
PS: Kudos to the NHMRC. There are now two Australian OA mandates from public funding agencies (ARC and NHMRC) and two from universities or departments (the Queensland U of Technology and the U of Tasmania School of Computing).
Peter Suber: "If the metrics have a stronger OA connection, can you say something short (by email or on the blog) that I could quote for readers who aren't clued in, esp. readers outside the UK?"
Researchers and discovery services: Behavior, perceptions, and needs, Research Information Network, November 2006. A major study (113 pp.) commissioned by the Research Information Network (RIN) and undertaken by Rightscom. From the full report:
EPA Scrubbing Library Website To Make Reports Unavailable, a press release from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), December 8, 2006. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
OFT says more competition for public sector information would generate £1 billion extra annually, Free Our Data: the blog, December 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Update. Michael Cross has more details on this OFT report in the December 14, 2006, issue of The Guardian.
Stevan Harnad, 4th Australian Mandate (7th Funder, 9th Institution, 16th Worldwide, Open Access Archivangelism, December 8, 2006. Excerpt:
Harvesting Knowledge in the Americas, a press release from University of New Mexico, December 7, 2006. Excerpt:
[T]hey were able to use a figure from my paper since of course, the paper in fully Open Access. So my work gets some extra exposure that might have been more difficult for the paper to pull off if it was published in a non Open Access journal. In essence, Open Access publishing is the gift that keeps on giving. As long as I keep getting credit for it, it is great for me that people do not have to get permission or pay a fee to use figures from my papers.
Update. I've learned that this one-page editorial merely introduces readers to the Oxford Open program, in which the journal participates. (Thanks to Mel DeSart.)
Gary Price, History and Overview: Microsoft Live Book Search (Beta) Now Online, ResourceShelf, December 6, 2006. The best account I've seen of the background to this initiative. I can't excerpt it without cutting most of the details that make it valuable.
PS: CUFTS describes itself as "an open source (GPL) OpenURL link resolver designed for use by library consortia." The acronym doesn't stand for anything.
A fair share, Nature, December 7, 2006. An unsigned editorial. Excerpt:
Comment. Kudos to Nature for this call for open data (and for appropriate exceptions). I hope that the APA will take the arguments to heart. Sharing data can improve research without compromising confidentiality.
John Timmer, Trolling the arXiv for plagiarism, Ars Technica, December 6, 2006. Excerpt:
Jim Till, Distributive justice and open access, Be Open Accessible or Obscure, December 7, 2006. Excerpt:
Mark Chillingworth, US elections delay open access articles bill, Information World Review, November 30, 2007. Excerpt:
OAN was down all night last night. I discovered and fixed the problem first thing this morning. Apparently my last upload yesterday got far enough to delete the old file but no further. My apologies, and curses to the FTP gremlins.
The UK government has released the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property (December 2006) and all the research, testimony, evidence, and public comments collected by the Gowers commission during its review of UK IP law. From the report:
Judea Franck, Who should have access to federally funded research? Inside the 2006 Federal Research Public Access Act, Library Connection (from Colorado State University), Fall 2006. (Thanks to Jennifer McLennan.) Excerpt:
PS: This is one of the best articles I've seen on the public interest (as opposed to the self-interest of researchers as authors and readers) in OA and FRPAA.
Fred Stoss, ALA and the EPA National Library Network, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Fall 2006. Excerpt:
PS: For more background see my blog postings on the EPA library closings.
Here's Michael Arrington's description from TechCrunch:
Comment. Swivel isn't just a home for OA data. It's a tool to automate the process of comparing data, turning data into active or clickable graphs, sharing data, and rating, discussing, and analyzing data. I hope OA-minded scientists will try Swivel for their scientific data and that science-minded OA activists will try Swivel for their data about OA. I have two reasons: I want to *use* data about OA in this easy and flexible way, and I want OA data to become so transparently useful that it will inspire others to make their data OA as well.
The presentations from the Open Knowledge Foundation Forum on Civic Information No. 2 (London, November 28, 2006) are now online.
Comment. This honor is much-deserved. I'm especially glad to see it because Melissa's many contributions have been behind the scenes and are not widely known. To appreciate them, do see SPARC's longer account of her role in the OA movement. (Disclosure: I gratefully acknowledge that I'm funded by OSI and that the funding decisions have been Melissa's.)
PS: Oxford Open is the first hybrid program to adopt such a policy.
Steve Hitchcock, Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Co-existence or Competition? Eprints Insiders, December 5, 2006. A useful compendium of listserv comments on the report by Chris Beckett and Simon Inger, Self-Archiving and Journal Subscriptions: Co-existence or Competition? An international Survey of Librarians' Preferences, Publishing Research Consortium, October 26, 2006.
Comment. This is not only a helpful companion to the Beckett/Inger report, but a good idea that should spread to other major reports and studies. Even though listserv postings are open access and remain online indefinitely, they are rarely cited, quickly fade from memory, and are very hard to collect retroactively. I hope this idea catches on, much like the now-common practice of blogging conference presentations.
The Declaration of Mexico was issued at the close of the meeting Open access: an alternative of access to scientific information (Fifth International Conference on University Libraries, Mexico City, October 26 - 27, 2006) (Thanks to Rick Luce.) It's short, so here it is in full:
Margaret Pickton and Cliff McKnight, Research students and the Loughborough institutional repository, Journal of Librarianship and Information Science, 38, 4 (2006). Excerpt:
This article investigates the potential role for research students in an institutional repository (IR). Face-to-face interviews with 34 research students at Loughborough University were carried out. Using a mixture of closed and open questions, the interviews explored the students’ experiences and opinions of publishing, open access and the proposed Loughborough repository. As both authors and readers, students were most interested in access to complete theses, postprints and conference papers. The ability to disseminate their work and to receive feedback and commentary were the most important motivators to students depositing work in the IR, closely followed by the principle of open access. The greatest deterrents were the risk of being unable to publish elsewhere later, the ownership of copyright and plagiarism. Appropriate recommendations are made for the implementation of an institutional repository.
Update. Also see Pickton and McKnight, Is there a role for research students in an institutional repository? Some repository managers' views, a preprint forthcoming from the Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. (Thanks to Steve Hitchcock.)
Abstract: Although a number of studies have investigated the attitudes of published academic authors with respect to open access (OA) publishing and institutional repositories (IRs), none have considered the views of other institutional stakeholders. Research students, in particular, are a group that could make a major contribution to an IR, both currently and in their future careers. But how acceptable is their work to those responsible for IRs? The project described here investigates the views of repository managers. A short email survey was carried out, comprising questions about student use of the repository, advocacy undertaken and attitudes toward research student content. Responses were received from representatives of 35 universities in the UK and abroad. Repository managers were overwhelmingly in favour of permitting the deposit of research student work, albeit under specified conditions. One half of the respondents mentioned allowing, or even encouraging, the deposit of theses and dissertations. The relative newness of many repositories meant that advocacy to student authors was limited, although a number of managers were including the repository as an information source in routine research training sessions. The paper concludes that there is a need for clear guidance on the quality of repository content; that evidence of use should be sought, and that IR policy should accommodate the needs of all stakeholders.
Steve Hitchcock also points out that both the above are apparently based on Pickton, Research students and the Loughborough institutional repository, Loughborough University Institutional Repository, MSc dissertation, 2005. From the abstract:
This dissertation investigated the potential role for research students in a new institutional repository at Loughborough University. The project began with an extensive search for information concerning stakeholders’ attitudes towards open access publishing and institutional repositories. It was apparent from this review that no previous research had focused on the needs and potential contribution of research students in this area. Two studies were therefore carried out. The first, an email survey of managers of existing institutional repositories, investigated student use of their repositories, advocacy undertaken, and attitudes toward research student content. Responses were received from 35 universities in the UK and abroad. The second study comprised face-to-face interviews with 34 research students at Loughborough University.
Rufus Pollock, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database: Is It Going to be Made Open? Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, December 4, 2006. Excerpt:
PS: Thanks to the Du Bois Institute for sharing their hard work.
Update. Emory University has grants from the NEH and Du Bois Institute to create the OA edition of this database. See Emory's July 2006 press release. (Thanks to John Russell.)
Kumiko Vézina, Libre accès à la recherche scientifique : opinions et pratiques des chercheurs au Québec, Partnership: the Canadian Journal of Library and Information Practice and Research, 1,1 (2006). Read it in French or Google's English.
Eric Kansa, Open Context: Community Data-sharing and Tagging, Academic Commons, December 4, 2006. Excerpt:
Bill Hooker, The bottom line, and an idea, Open Reading Frame, December 3, 2006. Excerpt:
A.J. Chen, Why publish experiment data? Web2express, December 5, 2006. Excerpt:
Brunel University in West London has launched an institutional repository, BURA (Brunel University Research Archive), and its School of Information Systems Computing and Mathematics has adopted an OA mandate. From today's announcement:
Comment. Kudos to the ARC for this important step. The policy doesn't use the language of a mandate, but it takes an approach that may be functionally equivalent: beyond requesting compliance, it shifts the burden to non-complying grantees to justify their non-compliance. This creates a strategic consideration that is not a sanction but more consequential than anything to be found in some of the policies that use mandatory language.
The December 1 issue of Forbes is running 12 essays on the future of the book in the age of the internet. From the short preface by editors Michael Maiello and Michael Noer:
Heather Morrison, Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement: Budapest, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, December 3, 2006. Heather kicks off a series of posts on Canadian Leadership in the Open Access Movement with profiles of the three Canadian OA warriors who took part in the Budapest Open Access Initiative: Jean-Claude Guédon, Leslie Chan, and Stevan Harnad.
Joseph DeRisi has won this year's Alumni Achievement Award from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in part for his work on OA. From the citation:
W.S. Snyder, Open Access to Data - Central Role for Geoinformatics, a presentation at the American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2006 (San Francisco, December 11-15, 2006). Excerpt:
Abstract: The open access to scientific information has become a contentious issue. In the United States there are calls to make all published literature available for free within 6 months of publication, the notion being that this will promote better science and policy decisions based on science. Here, I argue that this is the incorrect approach to the issue of open access to scientific information. A fundamental problem raised by the call for open access to government-supported research results is the viability of our not-for-profit professional scientific societies. These societies provide the base level framework for the exchange of scientific ideas, and hence the very core of how we do science and how scientific knowledge is advanced. Why should a scientist subscribe to a journal if they can read the article for free in six months? A large portion of a society's operational costs come from these subscriptions and the sale of specialized books, all of which contain the results of federally-funded research. Without revenue from journal subscriptions and book sales, not only will these publications disappear, but many of societies may as well. Without a broad venue to publish and in which to interact, our science suffers - many subdisciplines may fade or even die - those that don't "sell well." Very popular publications such as "Nature", "Science", "Tectonics", and "Geology" will continue to thrive, but what about the more specialized journals such as "Journal of Paleontology"? They are costly to publish yet fill a very critical niche for our science. Many will still pay for reading the Nature/Science/Tectonics/Geology article, but where do we publish the mainstream science paper? We have to guard against becoming a "Hollywood Science" - where only the glitzy gets published because those are the articles that sell. We must have peer-reviewed, independent publications and viable professional societies, or our science will severely suffer. We can better approach the need for open access to scientific information by concentrating on the data versus the written word. The written word can and should be copyrighted. This protects the viability of the journals of many societies - large and small - and therefore the viability of the societies and the science they support. Furthermore, the written word is largely interpretation - some of which flows directly from the funded research, but much of which reflects the accumulated knowledge of the scientists; knowledge that has been derived from sources that cannot be tracked. Interpretations and conclusions differ among scientists - that is what drives the progress of science, and that is the written word. The notion that all journal articles must be free to all effectively says that ideas and interpretations cannot be protected by copyright. It should also be noted that all articles are available in libraries as they are published, so it is hard to argue that they are not "freely available." What hinders science and public policy decision making, is the lack of complete access to all relevant data and metadata. To require that all relevant data and metadata be publically available six months after publication is a viable solution. The government dollars clearly pay for the data, but the source of support for scientific interpretation and discussion is impossible to determine. Once the data are public, they are free for all to reinterpret and to use as the basis for additional studies that reflect the unsolved issues of the previous study. Many of the government agencies that supply research funds already have data policies in place. What may be required is the funding base to allow them to implement these policies in consultation with the academic community that they serve.
Andy Powell, Repositories and Web 2.0, eFoundations, November 27, 2006. Excerpt:
Author’s right agreements: how to make them work for you, Open Access Anthropology, December 2, 2006. Excerpt:
Comment. All true and useful. Just remember that all OA journals and about 70% of non-OA journals already allow authors to self-archive their peer-reviewed postprints. At those journals, no negotiation or author's addendum is needed.
Comment. This is an OA success story. Kudos to UNL for wanting to make it happen. Special credit goes to Paul Royster and Jean Giesecke for delivering. Another part of the campus OA culture not mentioned in the article is that UNL provost Barbara Couture signed the July 2006 GWLA Provost Letter endorsing FRPAA.
Heinrich Stamerjohanns, Michael Schlenker, and Kim Braun, Open Access Journal Systems / Online Publications Systems. Delivered at CERN workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication (OAI4) (Geneva, October 20-22, 2005). Self-archived December 2, 2006.
Abstract: We will look at Open Journal Systems. GAPworks, a workflow software of the project German Academic Publishers (GAP) will be presented. The system allows the setup of a complete publication workflow for publishing institutions including a web-based peer review. The workflow supports different review models, can be configured to meet local requirements, and can also be used as an institutional repository with an embedded OAI Data-Provider. We will also look at the SEER/OJA system of IBICT in order to find areas of overlap as well as differences in the approach. Despite these more technical presentations, we will look at strategies how to set up Open Journals and how academic researches be motivated to contribute their papers to such journals.
Daniel Terdiman interviewed Joi Ito for News.com, November 27, 2006. Excerpt:
The National Library of Medicine has released an OA collection of the papers of Harold Varmus, Nobel laureate, former director of the NIH, president and director of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and co-founder of the Public Library of Science. Sloan-Kettering has its own collection. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
In mid-November the Council of the Rectors of Portuguese Universities approved a declaration on open access, which they presented at the Second Open Access Conference at Minho University (Braga Portugal, November 27-28, 2006). (Thanks to Eloy Rodrigues.) Excerpt: