Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, January 20, 2007

SPARC Japan will extend SPARC's effectiveness

Bette Brunelle, Launch of SPARC Japan Adds Worldwide Momentum to SPARC Agenda, Outsell Now, January 19, 2007 (accessible only to subscribers).  Excerpt:

Important Details:  SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, announced the launch of SPARC Japan, a collaboration of Japanese academic institutions and scholarly societies to promote the work of Japanese researchers and make it widely available. SPARC Japan...will promote Japanese research and facilitate open access repositories at Japanese university libraries. SPARC Director Heather Joseph said this event highlights the "growing worldwide momentum behind SPARC’s mission to improve access to research, empower scholarly societies, and return control of individual works to the author." ...

In Outsell's Opinion:  ...SPARC is a 10-year old membership organization of a wide variety of libraries in the US and Canada. SPARC Europe was formed in 2001, and the creation of SPARC Japan can be seen as part of a worldwide movement among libraries "to act positively in applying pressure for increased access to scholarly literature for the academic community," as Joseph put it. SPARC has done this through a variety of education programs; incubation programs with grant money; consulting or in-kind contributions for programs such as Project Euclid and PLoS; and successful advocacy and policy work at both the local and national/international levels. Local advocacy work has focused on university presidents and provosts, and at the national and international level has been instrumental in the creation of the NIH Public Policy and the Cornyn Lieberman Act (which was referred to the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee and will have to be re-introduced in a new session of Congress)....

SPARC relies heavily on working with strategic partners and has had mixed success in engaging publishers with its agenda, particularly around author rights and open access. The growing public acceptance of the open access concept is in part a testament to this organization’s education, outreach, and lobbying over the past five years, during which open access has moved well into the mainstream of publishing as one possible business model for journals (see Outsell’s HotTopics, "Publishers Speak Up On Open Access: Big Promise, Small Uptake” Volume 2, November 16, 2006). If nothing else, publishers should note that a focused and concentrated outreach program within the scholarly community is effective over time, and keep in mind that SPARC has an effective network into this community, which remains an important one to journal publishers.

OA to Spanish neurological journals

Javier González de Dios, Ángel Pérez Sempere, and Rafael Aleixandre Benavent, Las publicaciones biomédicas en España a debate (II): las ‘revoluciones’ pendientes y su aplicación a las revistas neurológicas, Revista de Neurología, January 16, 2007 (accessible only subscribers, at least so far).  There's an English-language abstract in PubMed: 

Aim and development. To debate about the application of on-going 'revolutions' in medical knowledge to Spanish neurological journals in the 21st century. This article reviews the current status of five revolutions in the field of health sciences, in general, and in neurological sciences, in particular: 1) the knowledge revolution: to translate the scientific investigation to the patient, with knowledge needs-driven research agenda with founder commissioning research to answer questions posed by clinicians, managers and patients, and systematic and critical appraisal reviews as the creator of quality improved knowledge; 2) the evidence based medicine revolution: the pyramid information of '4S', with systems (guidelines and computerized decision support systems), synopses (secondary journals), syntheses (systematic reviews and meta-analysis) and studies (original studies published in journals); 3) the web revolution: the possibility of dissemination of biomedical documentation by means of the Internet network are producing changes in the traditional way of conceiving scientific publication; the Internet represents a great advantage for investigation and also for clinical practice, since it permits free, universal access to databases and the interchange of texts, images and videos; 4) the open access revolution: to take full control over all operations related to the process of publish (to create, publish, communicate, distribute, reproduce and transform) with no need of any intermediaries, and to transform fundamental aspects concerning the circulation of knowledge, its use and availability; and 5) the librarian revolution: the project of a Virtual Health Library in Spain as a tool to access and disseminate scientific and technical knowledge on health through the Internet.

Chinese book publisher joins Google project to increase sales

Jessie Ho, Google teams up with publisher of Chinese books, Asia Media, January 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

US Internet search giant Google Inc yesterday announced that it has signed up Cite Publishing Holding Group as its first content provider of Chinese book titles for Google Book Search, a service that will be introduced to Taiwan in the near future.

"Google Book Search aims to help book lovers locate and explore more book resources, and generate more sales for publishers," Rebecca Kuei, head of sales and business development at Google Taiwan, told a press conference yesterday.

Through the service, readers can search for books and read part -- or up to 20 percent -- of the content online, instead of going "physically" to bookstores to flip through the books. And to ensure copyright protection, the system prevents users from printing or saving the content to a file.

Publishers in the US saw their sales increase after hooking up with Google Book Search, Kuei said.

Of the more than 10,000 Chinese book titles, in both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, about 1,000 will be put online during the initial stage, said Ho Fei-peng, executive director and CEO of the group.  By the end of the year, Cite, an associate of the Hong Kong-based Tom Group, hopes to have 2,000 to 3,000 titles in Google Book Search, Ho said....

With information access becoming easily available through the Internet, book sales in Taiwan have been sliding over the past few years, Ho said. The local publishing market last year shrunk 20 percent to 30 percent from the previous year, Ho added.  Making use of the Internet, such as working with Google, will help Cite to extend its marketing reach and enhance its presence, Ho said.

Getting the best deal on a mass digitization contract

Richard K. Johnson, In Google’s Broad Wake: Taking Responsibility for Shaping the Global Digital Library, forthcoming in the ARL Bimonthly Report No. 250 (February 2007).  Excerpt:

...Given the growing base of experience in framing such agreements --and the prospect of more agreements to come-- this is a good time to consider the issues of practice and principle that surround contracts specifying how library collections can be used by other parties and what can be done with the digital files created or managed by those parties....

While Google’s aim is not at odds with the needs or goals of the academy —indeed it promises to advance information sharing dramatically— Google Book Search isn’t a perfect substitute for library digitization. And it does not necessarily anticipate the spectrum of opportunities and risks presented by digitization. For example, can anyone else build services that use the data —not just for indexing and access but also for other forms of computation?...

The Open Content Alliance, established in November 2005, pointedly embraced principles of open accessibility....

Microsoft is one of the OCA participants and committed to fund the scanning of 150,000 public domain books....According to the October 2006 Cornell announcement [of a Microsoft deal]:
Microsoft will give the Library high-quality digital images of all the materials, allowing the Library to provide worldwide access through its own digital library and to share the content with non-commercial academic initiatives and non-profit organizations.

But whether third parties will be able to develop services using these files is not stated and none of the Microsoft contracts have been made public....

PS:  The most important parts of this article are impossible to excerpt:  Johnson has brought in applicable principles from nine organizations that might guide the parties in drafting mass digitization contracts.  He's also offered his own extensive checklist for institutions that might enter into such an contract.

Citizendium unforks experimentally

Larry Sanger, The Citizendium unforks, Citizendium blog, January 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

After considerable deliberation, indicating broad support, we have decided to delete all inactive Wikipedia articles from the Citizendium pilot project wiki.  This will leave us with only those articles that we’ve been working on.  The deletion will take place on Saturday at noon, Eastern time.

This is an experiment.  In other words, we’re quite seriously thinking of not forking Wikipedia after all....

Let me emphasize that we have had good success on the wiki so far....We merely think that we can do better, and this change might be a way to do better....

We probably have had as much or more activity as Wikipedia did in its early months, and a similar number of contributors, but --well, the passion hasn’t been the same.  I have been idly puzzling over what the difference might be.  Then it occurred to me, a few days ago, that Citizendians (or maybe we’ll be “Citizens”) are just disheartened by the fact that their first obligation seems to be to edit mediocre Wikipedia articles.  After all, that’s what forking Wikipedia seems to require....

So why not simply get rid of all those articles, and encourage people, by default, to start new articles altogether?...

When you come down to it, it’s a question of our identity.  Do we want to be Wikipedia 2.0–but still a version of Wikipedia?  Or, instead, do we want to be the Citizendium, a newer and better project, with its own identity that takes the best of Wikipedia’s process and jettisons all sorts of stuff that hasn’t worked for Wikipedia?  If we start over, then we can create our own more distinctive culture, and we can take more pride in our articles and in the processes we develop.  In short, we can be ourselves.  And putting yourself into a piece of work is what gives you passion in creating it....

A survey of AAAS members on copyright and research

The presentations from the symposium, Effects of Intellectual Property Protections on Scientific Research:  Results of a Survey of U.S. AAAS Members (Washington, D.C., January 16, 2007), are now online.  Excerpts from the summary document:

  • Individual scientists [web sites?] or their respective institutional departments were second to peer-reviewed journals as a reported means of publishing (13 percent of respondents); in contrast, only 1 percent of respondents reported using freely-accessible archives to publish their work [without also publishing them in peer-reviewed journals?]....
  • Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents reported that their most recent publications were placed in an electronic bibliographic service or index; among those respondents, just over half (54 percent) had their publication deposited into a national/governmental library, and 19 percent of those respondents had their publication placed in a freely-accessible archive.
  • Over half (60 percent) of the survey respondents indicated that difficulties associated with accessing or disseminating copyrighted materials did not affect the conduct of their scientific work; just under one-third (29 percent) reported having been affected by such difficulties.
  • Among those who reported that their work had been affected by difficulties in accessing copyrighted scientific literature, the most frequently-reported responses were that their research was delayed by less than one month (42 percent), or by one month or longer (21 percent ).
  • The majority of survey respondents (58 percent) believed that access to most scientific literature had become easier over the past three years; a considerably smaller number reported that it has become “more difficult” or “much more difficult” (9 percent and 2 percent, respectively.)
  • The majority of respondents reported not having used alternative, open access (OA) licensing models to publish their most recent work: less than 10 percent reported having done so.
  • About five times as many respondents from academia published through OA models than respondents from industry; 10 percent of academic respondents reported using OA models, versus 2 percent of industry respondents.
  • Almost three-fourths of respondents, however, reported having referenced OA publications more frequently or about as much as they had (at the time of taking the survey) before three years ago....
  • Among those respondents who reported having difficulties in using data from a publicly funded source, the two most highly-cited problems were a substantial delay in the transfer of data, and that access to data was denied (by 44 percent and 39 percent of respondents, respectively); 59 percent of those respondents who reported the types of difficulties encountered represented the life sciences field....

The whole world in your hands

Peter Kaufman, Statistics to contemplate, from Google, PMT Forum, January 19, 2006.

Yesterday I attended a meeting sponsored by Google at the New York Public Library in which Google's Jim Gerber presented the following statistics. Since 1982, the costs and size requirements of computer processing have gone down by a factor of 4,500; computer memory, by a factor of 45,000; and computer disk space by a factor of 3.6 million. If this trend continues, as it surely will, he said, then an iPod, or a device its size, will be able to hold a year's worth of video (8,760 hours) by 2012, all the music ever created by 2018, and all the content ever created (in all media) by 2020.

This will be roughly when my three children will be (if I let them out of the house at all)....


  • This kind of memory capacity is coming.  I want to let my fantasy horses run, but I have to clear some underbrush first.  Capacity is not content.  The fact that a device could hold all the content ever created doesn't mean that it actually will hold all that content.  It doesn't matter whether it's the size of an iPod or the size of a city bus.  But if it did hold all that content, then it's not likely to provide free access to it.  (As we've noticed for a couple of centuries, technology improves faster than copyright law, even if anti-DRM hackers also work faster than pro-DRM hackers.)  Fortunately, these caveats don't stop my fantasy horses from running and I hope they don't stop yours.
  • Think about the difference between free online access to all the content you'll ever need and free offline access to all the content you'll ever need.  Online access has its advantages because the content will always be current and we'll be in real-time contact with other users who have the same access to the same content.  Offline access has its advantages because we won't always have connectivity, we won't always want connectivity, and lots of copies keeps stuff safe.  Because all our work for free online access will also help the cause of free offline access, we don't have to choose between the two.  We just have to start thinking about them.

U of Texas joins the Google Library project

The University of Texas at Austin has joined the Google Library project.  From Google's announcement yesterday:

Today, Google welcomes its latest library partner - the University of Texas at Austin - to the Google Books Library Project. Known as the fifth largest academic library in the United States, the University of Texas Libraries house some of the nation's leading collections, including the world-renowned Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection.   Soon, researchers and history lovers all over the world will be able to search more than one million books and materials from the University of Texas, including selections from these unique works from early Latin American history.

Initially endowed with a unique set of rare books and manuscripts relating to Mexico, the Benson Collection now maintains a wealth of information from Latin America, with special concentrations on Brazil, Chile, Peru, and the countries of the Rio de la Plata and Central America.  The Benson Collection chronicles the rich history, politics and society of the region and includes the works of notable Latin American authors.

"Intellectual discovery is at the heart of the scholarly research process," said Fred Heath, vice provost and director of libraries at the University of Texas.  "The best collections of information are only as useful as the quality of the tools available for discovering and accessing that information. Joining with Google's Book Search program will mean that the intellectual content of our collections are discoverable by a much wider range of scholars and students."

Working together, Google and the University of Texas will digitize over a million books from the university's collection. Anyone will be able to freely view, browse, and read the university's public domain documents. For books protected by copyright, users will be able to see basic background (such as the book's title and the author's name), at most a few lines of text related to their search, and information about where they can buy or borrow a book....

Also see the UT announcement.

Fedora 2.2 ready

Fedora 2.2 is now available for downloading.

New issue of Portal

The January issue of Portal is now online.  Here are the OA-related articles. 

Thanks to William Walsh both for the alert and for blogging excerpts.

Notes from Google's conference on book publishing

Caroline McCarthy has published some notes at C|Net on Thursday's Google-sponsored conference, Unbound: Advancing Book Publishing in a Digital World (New York, January 18, 2007):

To anyone who thinks digital content is a threat to the book-publishing market, Google wants to tell you two things: first, you're wrong; second, second, its Google Book Search product is the solution, not the problem.....

Tim O'Reilly, founder and CEO of technical manual publishing company O'Reilly Media, said: "We're in a period of tremendous change, and have to embrace that change. We as publishers have to become part of the new digital ecosystem that Google is working so hard to build." ...

In a speech describing his experience as a profitable author who has always distributed his books for free online under a Creative Commons licence, in addition to selling them in bookstores and online marketplaces, [Cory] Doctorow said: "No matter how you look at it, free e-books make commercial sense."

Fellow tech-savvy author and blogger Seth Godin, another speaker at the event, echoed Doctorow's opinion that making content available for free online and letting it spread virally is ultimately helpful to authors. "By putting something into the grapevine and having the word spread, people are going to respond and pay you with something really valuable: their attention," said Godin.

Confused Slashdot thread on OA

There's a new Slashdot thread on the European petition for OA to publicly-funded research.  Unfortunately, it got off to a bad start by confusing open access and the public domain:  "How do scientists feel about it? Does public funding really turn their results into public property?"

Friday, January 19, 2007

Ten years of SPARC

SPARC at Ten: A Decade Later, Organization Still Aims to Be Part of The Solution, Library Journal Academic Newswire, January 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

What a difference a decade makes. In 2007, SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) celebrates its tenth anniversary, now with an expansive mission to work not only on behalf of libraries but for the welfare of the higher education community at large, and for individual researchers and the public. "It's pretty amazing to me to look back and see how far we've come to with the organization," SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph, who replaced Rick Johnson in 2005, told the LJ Academic Newswire.... "Today, we spend so much more time talking with policy makers about how to create an overall better climate. The day-to-day work very little resembles what we were doing when SPARC first started." ...

Membership is up 15 percent over the last two years, now numbering more than 200 institutions in North America, Asia, and Australia, with an additional 100 institutions belonging to SPARC Europe.

With its partners, SPARC's agenda has included some high-profile battles on behalf of open access and public access initiatives, such as the 2005 effort to support the National Institutes of Health's public access policy. While SPARC has concentrated recently on such activities, Joseph says SPARC remains committed to three program areas: education, such as its Create Change and Author's Rights campaigns; incubation and business development, such as its involvement with BioOne and Project Euclid; and advocacy campaigns, such as the NIH effort....

Where would Joseph like to see SPARC be in five years? "I'd like us to be positioned as an organization that facilitates new opportunities," she says, "rather than addressing a crisis."

Case study in OA publishing: Medical Education Online

David J. Solomon, Medical Education Online: a case study of an open access journal in health professional education, Information Research, January 2007.  Number two in a series on Case studies on open access publishing.  Abstract:  

Introduction.  The development of the World Wide Web (WWW) has made it possible of small groups of colleagues or even single individuals to create peer-reviewed scholarly journals. This paper discusses the development of Medical Education Online (MEO) an open access peer-reviewed journal in health professional education.

Description.  MEO was first published in April 1996 partly as an experiment and partly out of frustration with existing options for publishing in health professional education. The journal a forum for disseminating information on educating physicians and other health professionals and contains a variety of material including a peer-reviewed journal. The case study discusses the process of establishing the journal, the development of the journal over time, its struggle coping with an increasing number of submissions, review procedures, journal management software, indexing and archiving issues, journal policies, and access statistics.

Conclusions.  MEO is one of many examples of successful small open access journals that operate largely on volunteer effort and are providing a useful niche in scholarly publishing.

Writing competition on access to knowledge

The Yale Law School Information Society Project and the International Journal of Communications Law and Policy are hosting a writing competition on access to knowledge in conjunction with the Second Conference on Access to Knowledge (New Haven, April 27-29, 2007).  Excerpt:

Submissions for the writing competition must be received by noon EST, February 15th, 2007. The author of the best paper, as well as two runners-up will be invited to present their work at a panel during the conference. The author of the winning paper will receive coverage of his/her travel to and accommodations at Yale University for the conference.  Selected papers will be announced by April 1st, 2007. The authors of the award-winning papers will automatically be invited to publish their work in a special Autumn 2007 volume of the International Journal of Communications Law & Policy devoted to Access to Knowledge....

The Wiley-Blackwell deal will reduce access to research information

Five European library organizations have sent an open letter (January 10, 2007) to the European Commission's Directorate General for Competition, opposing the Wiley plan to buy Blackwell.  Excerpt:

Recently, John Wiley & Sons Inc announced an agreement to purchase Blackwell Publishing (Holdings) Ltd, a publisher of academic books and journals. As representatives of the primary customers of academic publications within Europe, we are deeply concerned that this transaction will have an adverse effect on prices and result in a further reduction in access to critical research information....

Studies have shown that mergers in the publishing industry result in larger price increases than would be expected from inflation. Every journal produced by each publisher is unique - no two journal articles are identical and Wiley describe the material they publish as "must-have". Therefore, the normal market forces of competition do not come into play. If university staff and students need the content in a particular journal, the owners of that journal will be able to raise the price without fear that the library will go to a competitor. To re-coup their investment and raise profit margins Wiley will be able to raise prices knowing that the unique nature of the academic publishing market will allow them to do so with impunity. This was recognized in a recent study commissioned by your colleagues in DG-Research that showed that "publishers with large journal portfolios have an incentive to set higher prices." The study concluded that future acquisitions by large publishers should undergo scrutiny....

In September 2002, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in the UK concluded that "there is evidence to suggest that the market for STM journals may not be working well." On page 7 of the OFT Statement a list was given of the largest STM publishers in 1998. If the proposed purchase of Blackwell by Wiley were to take place the largest 15 publishers in 1998 would condense into just 9 companies....

The letter is signed by the directors of Consortium of Research Libraries (CURL), European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations (EBLIDA), Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche (LIBER), the Society of College, National & University Libraries (SCONUL), and SPARC Europe.

PS:  Compare this with the open letter from the Information Access Alliance to the US Justice Department opposing the same deal for the same reasons (November 26, 2006). 

Digitized public-domain docs from US history behind access barriers

Dan Cohen, The Flawed Agreement between the National Archives and Footnote, Inc., Dan Cohen's blog, January 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

I suppose it's not breaking news that libraries and archives aren't flush with cash. So it must be hard for a director of such an institution when a large corporation, or even a relatively small one, comes knocking with an offer to digitize one's holdings in exchange for some kind of commercial rights to the contents. But as a historian worried about open access to our cultural heritage, I'm a little concerned about the new agreement between Footnote, Inc. and the United States National Archives. And I'm surprised that somehow this agreement has thus far flown under the radar of all of those who attacked the troublesome Smithsonian/Showtime agreement. Guess what? From now until 2012 it will cost you $100 a year, or even more offensively, $1.99 a page, for online access to critical historical documents such as the Papers of the Continental Congress.

This was the agreement signed by Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein and Footnote, Inc., a Utah-based digital archives company, on January 10, 2007. For the next five years, unless you have the time and money to travel to Washington, you'll have to fork over money to Footnote to take a peek at Civil War pension documents or the case files of the early FBI. The National Archives says this agreement is "non-exclusive" —I suppose crossing their fingers that Google will also come along and make a deal— but researchers shouldn't hold their breaths for other options....

Moreover, you'll also be subject to some fairly onerous terms of usage on, especially considering that this is our collective history and that all of these documents are out of copyright. (For a detailed description of the legal issues involved here, please see Chapter 7 of Digital History, "Owning the Past?", especially the section covering the often bogus claims of copyright on scanned archival materials.)...

Comment.  Thanks to Klaus Graf for pointing out Dan Cohen's post and for collecting some other comments on the NARA-Footnote deal.  The new Democratic Congress should look into this problem.  It shouldn't try to undo the Footnote deal, which is better than nothing for readers who can't get to Washington.  But it should try to swing a better deal, perhaps even funding the digitization and OA directly.

EPrints 3.0, Release Candidate 2

EPrints has issued Version 3.0, Release Candidate 2.  More details at EPrints Insiders

[L]ead developer Christopher Gutteridge says "Chances are high that 3.0 will be identical to this version. We recommend anybody using earlier versions of 3.0 upgrades to this version."

Improving the CIHR draft OA mandate

Stevan Harnad, CIHR's proposal to mandate self-archiving, University Affairs, January 2007.  A letter to the editor.  Excerpt:

If research is freely accessible online, it is read and used more, thereby increasing research productivity and progress. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research have accordingly proposed an Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate (viewable on CIHR’s website):

1. CIHR grant recipients must deposit all final peer-reviewed manuscripts (called “eprints”) in PubMed Central or their own institutional repository immediately on publication; a publisher-imposed embargo of no more than six months on setting Open Access to the deposit is allowed.

2. Alternatively, recipients may submit their manuscripts either to a journal (if a suitable one exists) that provides immediate open access to published articles or to a journal that allows authors to retain copyright and/or to archive in an Open Access repository within six months of publication. (Note that the second part, in my italics, is completely redundant with 1.)

A few small but critical changes would make this policy much more coherent and would also provide a best-practice model for all fields, whether or not funded by CIHR:

Grant recipients (i) must deposit their final peer-reviewed eprint (ii) in their own institutional repository, (iii) immediately upon (acceptance for) publication; (iv) access to the eprint must be set as Open Access within six months at the latest; (v) also, where possible, authors should try to publish in a suitable Open Access journal.  This way, everything gets deposited immediately and access is Open Access within six months....

During any closed-access embargo interval, Institutional Repositories will have an “email eprint request” button; all would-be users immediately see the deposit’s openly accessible metadata and can send the author an individual eprint request semi-automatically.

Unlike the Wellcome Trust’s self-archiving mandate in the United Kingdom, CIHR’s does not offer to fund publishing in an Open Access journal. Apparently CIHR did not feel it had the spare cash for this. This is quite understandable: all potential publication funds are currently tied up in institutional journal subscriptions, worldwide. If and when self-archiving should ever lead to institutional cancellations that make the subscription model unsustainable, then those same institutional windfall savings will be the natural source for the cash to pay for Open Access publishing....

Open Access is the immediate and urgent – and long-overdue – priority today.  Five U.K. research councils have already mandated what CIHR is proposing to mandate; it’s time for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council to get off the fence, and for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council to come up with a proposal. Let’s not wait to see whether the United States adopts its own proposed mandate. For more on this, click here.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

One model for OA to public info in the UK

Michael Cross, Statistics are free - now let's work on the rest of the data, The Guardian, January 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

...The Statistics and Registration Service Bill, now before Parliament, aims to create a new body to produce and scrutinise official statistics, free from political spin. However, critics say the proposals do not go far enough.

Technology Guardian's Free Our Data campaign is interested in the bill for two reasons. First, national statistics are an important example of public sector information being posted free on the web. We would like to see all impersonal data collected by government to be made available this way, for the benefit both of democracy and the knowledge economy. Second, the governance regime now before Parliament could be applied to other types of data, from maps to weather forecasts....

"We welcome the general idea, but it doesn't go far enough," said Keith Dugmore of the Statistics Users' Forum. He warned that, as currently drafted, the bill would only guarantee the independence of statistics produced by the present Office for National Statistics - but not by other bodies which generate the headline-grabbing figures on education, health and crime....

More on OA podcast lectures and courseware

Jon Gordon has conducted a podcast interview with Dan Colman, director of Stanford University's continuing studies program, on the rise of free online audio and video podcast courseware.

The OA impact advantage seems to be the same for green and gold OA

Stevan Harnad, Citation Advantage For OA Self-Archiving Is Independent of Journal Impact Factor, Article Age, and Number of Co-Authors, Open Access Archivangelism, January 17, 2007. 

SummaryEysenbach has suggested that the OA (Green) self-archiving advantage might just be an artifact of potential uncontrolled confounding factors such as article age (older articles may be both more cited and more likely to be self-archived), number of authors (articles with more authors might be more cited and more self-archived), subject matter (the subjects that are cited more, self-archive more), country (same thing), number of authors, citation counts of authors, etc.

Chawki Hajjem (doctoral candidate, UQaM) had already shown that the OA advantage was present in all cases when articles were analysed separately by age, subject matter or country. He has now done a multiple regression analysis jointly testing (1) article age, (2) journal impact factor, (3) number of authors, and (4) OA self-archiving as separate factors for 442,750 articles in 576 (biomedical) journals across 11 years, and has shown that each of the four factors contributes an independent, statistically significant increment to the citation counts. The OA-self-archiving advantage remains a robust, independent factor. 

Having successfully responded to his challenge, we now challenge Eysenbach to demonstrate -- by testing a sufficiently broad and representative sample of journals at all levels of the journal quality, visibility and prestige hierarchy -- that his finding of a citation advantage for Gold OA (articles published OA on the high-profile website of the only journal he tested (PNAS) over Green OA articles in the same journal (self-archived on the author's website) was not just an artifact of having tested only one very high-profile journal.

Update (1/22/07). This post has now been expanded into a technical report for the U of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science, self-archived January 22, 2007.

The future of large open databases

The Database Revolution, Nature, January 18, 2007 (accessible only to subscribers).  An editorial.  Excerpt:

...Which strategies best support the collection, analysis and dissemination of large databases of related information?...At a meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, last month, it was clear that the NIH is struggling to find a middle road between two diametrically opposed approaches to the development of such databases. Top-down pressure by the agency on researchers to use certain software or formats would probably impede their development. But a bottom-up strategy that merely encourages cross-project cooperation, while allowing researchers total freedom to devise their own databases, is bound to be chaotic, does not guarantee cross-compatibility of data, and ultimately reduces the likelihood that their contents will be used to maximally benefit research.

What is clear is that individual labs can no longer make much progress alone. Currently, many researchers feel they are drowning in data. For all they know, a database might contain answers to patient safety issues or glimmers of new therapeutics — but this is being lost through an inability to effectively harvest the data already available. Other opportunities are missed because both experts and data are ‘silo’-ed in isolated and often inaccessible systems. On top of these issues is the fact that neither databases nor the experts that create them are permanent or inseparable.

The NIH and its equivalent agencies elsewhere in the world are now turning their attention to working out how best to assist the growth of validated and accessible databases. This should involve, at the least, development of policies for evaluating proposals on databases and associated analytic tools, for their sustained funding, and for ensuring that the data deposited remain accessible long after the project originators have moved on.

The NIH itself, if it chose, could aim for something grander. It could take it upon itself to define a broad reference model and the basic architecture for knowledge environments. It could even build a centralized warehouse with Google-like storage, a veritable National Biomedical Resource of raw data and the tools to access and analyse them....

But perhaps it will prove more realistic for the US agency to concentrate on improving the inter-operability of databases, rather than pushing for their merger, and to provide incentives for building in ‘joins’ from the start. The NIH should work on this with industrial companies and other government agencies....

Researchers also need stronger incentives to sustain their own participation in building knowledge environments. At a minimum, contributors should receive a citable acknowledgement of depositions. Leadership and trust are required to ensure that primary researchers personally benefit from storing their data in open databases....

Comment.  It's striking how similar this question is to the choice between central and distributed eprint repositories.  One difference is that the interoperability of data repositories will be much more difficult to ensure than the interoperability of text repositories. 

Progress toward OA in legal scholarship

Lawrence Solum, Download It While Its Hot: Open Access and Legal Scholarship, Lewis & Clark Law Review, Vol. 10 (2006) pp. 841ff.  Self-archived January 16, 2007.

This Article analyzes the shift of legal scholarship from the old world of law reviews to today's world of peer reviews to tomorrow's world of open access legal blogs. This shift is occurring in three dimensions. First, legal scholarship is moving from the long form (treatises and law review articles) to the short form (very short articles, blog posts, and online collaborations). Second, a regime of exclusive rights is giving way to a regime of open access. Third, intermediaries (law school editorial boards, peer-reviewed journals) are being supplemented by disintermediated forms (papers on the Internet, blogs). Blogs and internet conversations between academics are expanding interdisciplinary legal scholarship and increasing the avenues of communication among legal scholars, practitioners and a wide array of interested laypersons worldwide.

Time for researchers to step forward

Stevan Harnad, Researchers of the World: Unite to Support European Commission Open Access Policy, Open Access Archivangelism, January 17, 2007.  I described the OA petition in my own post yesterday but omitted this key argument for researchers to sign:

...There are powerful non-research interests lobbying vigorously against these policy recommendations [for OA in Europe], so a display of support by the research community is critically important at this time.

A consortium of European organisations working in the scholarly communication arena is now sponsoring a petition to the European Commission to demonstrate support for these recommendations on the part of the European and worldwide research community....

Please sign the petition here....

OAI Best Practices wiki

The Digital Library Federation (DLF), with help from the National Science Digital Library, maintains an OAI Best Practices wiki.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  From the wiki front page: 

Workspace for the DLF and NSDL working group to define best practices for the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) and for the metadata shared/exposed by its use. We also aspire to discover or create methods to overcome impediments to more widespread use of OAI for digital library aggregation.

This workspace is intended to be the staging area for development of documents, etc. for the target audience consisting of OAI data providers, OAI service providers, metadata creators, etc.

Review of the Neil Jacobs anthology

Michael Gutiérrez has written a review of Neil Jacobs (ed.), Open Access: Key strategic, technical and economic aspects, Chandos Publishing, 2006.  (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.)  Excerpt:

If you know nothing about the open access debate, then this book will surely inform you and make you an advocate for the cause. "Open Access: Key Strategic, Technical and Economic Aspects" is composed of twenty thoughtfully researched and well written chapters that bring the open access debate into the public sphere.

The open access dispute has been raging in the scholarly world for more than a decade, tracing part of its origins to the 'serial crisis' that began in academic libraries more than twenty years ago. Neil Jacobs has gathered leaders in this debate to contribute their thoughts, observations and research toward a book that can be equally appreciated by scholars as well as the general public....

[A] succinct open access definition is developed by Charles W. Bailey, Jr., which assists readers and scholars in understanding the concepts and reasons behind the open access debate.

The second half of the book is devoted to the economic aspect of open access and its effect in other countries. These chapters present a major argument of the book, which contends that open access is more economically effective for the publishing industry as well as academic libraries. Other chapters look at open access around the world, but focus mainly on the industrialised world, including the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. India is given as the only example of a newly industrialised country dealing with the open access debate....

While reading "Open Access", I found that there was not much attention given to the legal aspects of the open access debate. In fact, only Clifford Lynch, in his futuristic chapter on open access, spends some time discussing the legal challenges of an open access reality. In addition, the book has a distinct Eurocentric focus that detracts slightly from the notion that open access is a worldwide concern.

In his chapter, Stevan Harnad openly asks, 'Is open access needed?' He concludes that it is needed because the evidence suggests that access has not been maximised. The chapters in this book do the same to present the case for open access. Neil Jacobs has done a considerable task of organising this book to build upon each authors' line of reasoning to support the open access argument.

I would highly recommend this book for its excellent overview of the open access debate as well as its ability to discuss a complex argument so concisely. This book should be viewed as a cornerstone in bringing the open access debate into the public forum -- a discussion that will be benefits scholars, researchers and the public worldwide.

Disclosure:  I wrote the chapter on Open Access in the United States.

In Canada, legal deposit sans DRM, OA preferred

Michael Geist, One Down, 29 to Go, Michael Geist's blog, January 16, 2007.  Excerpt:

Many readers will know that over the summer I launched a 30 Days of DRM series that focused on the concerns associated with DRM and anti-circumvention. Day Seven called for DRM-free library deposits.  Well, one down and 29 to go - my weekly Law Bytes column (Ottawa Citizen version, homepage version) highlights recent changes to Canada's legal deposit regulations designed to accommodate the emergence of online publications and to address the DRM issue.  Canada introduced mandatory legal deposit in 1953, requiring publishers to provide copies of all published books to the National Library of Canada. With little fanfare, the rules for legal deposit have gradually been adapted to the Internet and digital technologies....

As of January 1st of this year, the rules have changed yet again....The latest changes will require many online-only publishers to begin submitting their publications to the LAC [Library and Archives Canada]....

The new rules also address mounting concern about the potential impact of DRM to deny future generations access to the publications in digital form.  DRM has been viewed as a threat by many within the library community, who fear that they and their patrons may literally be locked out of digital works as DRM systems are used to restrict otherwise legitimate access or become obsolete. In response, Ottawa has implicitly acknowledged that the DRM-related concerns necessitate legal intervention.  The regulations now require publishers to decrypt encrypted data contained in a publication and to remove or disable systems designed to restrict or limit access to the publication before submitting it to the LAC.  Moreover, publishers are required to also provide the LAC with a copy of the software necessary to access the publication, the technical information necessary for access, and any "meta-data" associated with the electronic publication.   

These regulations mark the first time that the Canadian government has stepped in to protect the public interest against the potential negative consequences of DRM.  Given these new legal deposit program provisions, thousands of libraries across Canada may soon demand similar protections for their electronic publication collections, which now account for as much as 25 percent of library budgets.

One more bit from Geist's longer version in the Ottawa Citizen:

As part of the deposit process, publishers can choose between open access, which allows the public to view and download the publication through the Internet, or restricted access, which limits public access to selected computer terminals at Library and Archives Canada's main building in Ottawa. The archives encourages publishers to select open access whenever possible.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New issue of Learned Publishing

The January 2007 issue of Learned Publishing is now online.  Here are the OA-related articles.  Only abstracts are free online, at least so far.

Several others might be relevant as well, but I can't tell because their abstracts are missing or too short. Check out the table of contents.

New issue of Focus on UKOLN

The December 2006 issue of Focus on UKOLN is now online.  This issue has several short pieces on institutional repositories and one each on the DRIVER project, eScience, eBank, and open licenses. 

Editorial from a new OA journal

Danny N. Dhanasekaran, An open access journal of molecular signaling: a critical need at a critical time, Journal of Molecular Signaling, November 2006.  JMS is an OA journal from BioMed Central and recently published its second issue (December 2006).  This is the editorial from the inaugural issue.  Excerpt:

"The free, unhampered exchange of ideas and scientific conclusions is necessary for the sound development of science, as it is in all spheres of life." (Albert Einstein, 1952).

At a time where new theories and discoveries are being made almost on a daily basis, it is essential for the scientific community to have free and ready access to these new findings in order to accelerate further progress. It is also important to make sure that the dissemination of scientific information transcends the geopolitical as well as economical barriers so that it reaches all in the far corners of the world. A forum for such a free and rapid flow of scientific information is acutely needed for the molecular signaling area of research....Therefore, rapid publication of results from these endeavors and, more importantly, free access to such publications can truly accelerate the progress in this field leading to the development of novel targeted drugs....

The open access model of publishing has several advantages over the traditional subscription-based access (both print as well as online) to research information . The immediate benefits to the authors are 1) the free and universal visibility of the publication 2) author retention of copyright privileges for the work along with the license to allow anyone to reproduce and disseminate the published article provided due attribution is given to the author and 3) the archival of the published articles in the repositories such as PubMed Central of the US National Library of Medicine, University of Potsdam in Germany, INIST in France, and e-depot of National Library of the Netherlands. Likewise, the key benefits of open access to the scientific community and the general public can also be enumerated. First, open access allows authors to reach a large number of targeted readers immediately and irrespective of their locations. In fact, such an enhanced readership in the open access model has been correlated with the progressively increasing impact factor of these journals. Second, open access readily eliminates the economical disparity in accessing vital scientific information. Third, the central archiving that has become inherent to the open access journals, allows enhanced literature search and meta-analyses of data. Fourth, considering the fact that most research endeavors are funded by the tax-payers, open access journals strive to make sure that the outcome of these research efforts are accessible to the public free of cost....

Disciplinary "craft practices" as obstacles to re-usable OA data

Samuelle Carlson and Ben Anderson, What Are Data? The Many Kinds of Data and Their Implications for Data Re-Use, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12, 2 (2007) article 15.

Abstract:   One key feature of e-science is to encourage archiving and release of data so that they are available in digitally-processable forms for re-use almost from the point of collection. This assumes particular processes of translation by which data can be made visible in transportable and intelligible forms. It also requires mechanisms by which data quality and provenance can be trusted once "disconnected" from their producers. By analyzing the "life stages" of data in four academic projects, we show that these requirements create difficulties for disciplines where tacit knowledge and craft-like methods are deeply embedded in researchers, as well as for disciplines producing non-digital heterogeneous data or data derived from people rather than from material phenomena. While craft practices and tacit knowledges are a feature of most scientific endeavors, some disciplines currently appear more inclined to attempt to formalize or at least record these knowledges. We discuss the implications this has for the e-science objective of widespread data re-use.

New OA database of European research policies

The European Commission has launched ERAWATCH, an OA database of research policies throughout Europe.  From the January 12 press release:

The Commission is today launching ERAWATCH, a new online information platform on research systems and policies within the European Union. ERAWATCH supports the ongoing construction of the European Research Area (ERA) by providing policy makers and policy analysts working in the field of science and research with condensed and updated information and analysis on the development of research systems and policies in all Member States of the European Union plus selected other countries. It contains information on recent policy documents, research programmes, funding agencies, research performance as well as major indicators such as expenditure, publications and patents....

ERAWATCH offers for the first time, in one single place, comprehensive and timely information on the research systems of all EU Member States, countries associated with the Framework Programme as well as the US, China and Japan....

The service is kept up-to-date by a network of national contact organisations who collect and organise the information presented.... 

Comment.  From the description, you'd think that OA policies would fall within its scope.  But so far, it doesn't contain any of the European OA policies I've blogged and analyzed over the past few years. 

More on the OA impact advantage

Philip M. Davis, Citation advantage of Open Access articles likely explained by quality differential and media effects, PLoS Biology, a letter to the editor, January 16, 2007.  Here's the abstract from Davis' self-archived edition of the letter: 

In a study of articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Gunther Eysenbach discovered a significant citation advantage for those articles made freely-available upon publication (Eysenbach 2006). While the author attempted to control for confounding factors that may have explained the citation differential, the study was unable to control for characteristics of the article that may have led some authors to pay the additional page charges ($1,000) for immediate OA status. OA articles published in PNAS were more than twice as likely to be featured on the front cover of the journal (3.3% vs. 1.4%), nearly twice as likely to be picked up by the media (15% vs. 8%) and when cited reached, on average, nearly twice as many news outlets as subscription-based articles (4.2 vs. 2.6). The citation advantage of Open Access articles in PNAS may likely be explained by a quality differential and the amplification of media effects.

New OA journal of design

The International Journal of Design is a new peer-reviewed, OA journal.  It posted a call for papers in September 2006 and is now assembling its inaugural issue.

Law schools should launch or use IRs

Carol Parker, University Institutional Repositories: Are You Underutilizing A Valuable Resource? Law Librarian Blog, January 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

In July 2006, I attempted to count the number of Law Schools that had established institutional repositories (IRs) which, among other things, enable open access to legal scholarship via author self-archiving.  I identified 77 repositories in use by approximately 40% of ABA-approved schools.  The vast majority of these schools (67) had paid to sponsor a Law School Research Papers collection in SSRN’s Legal Scholarship Network, and another 30 had paid to sponsor a bepress Legal Repository Working Paper Series.  What was interesting to me was that 19 of the schools that elected to pay SSRN or bepress to host a repository did so rather than use existing university repositories that presumably are freely available to them.   Another 13 schools did not use their university repository nor had they established separate law school repositories through SSRN or bepress.   

Schools that do not use their university IRs are underutilizing a valuable resource.  Even if a law school determines that it needs to purchase the services of SSRN and bepress, schools can still host other digital content on these multi-media university IRs.  We should not overlook the contribution that could be made if law faculties digitized and shared original research material or original historical documents discovered in the course of scholarly research.  The potential for IRs to disseminate important material that otherwise languishes in file cabinets or on computer hard drives is one of the most exciting applications emerging from the development of IRs. Developers of policies governing IRs often choose to not limit what faculty can place in repositories, but instead step back to see how creatively the repositories can be used. 

For example, a member of the University of New Mexico law faculty used our university repository, DSpace, to publish the 1974 transcript of a federal district court trial that led to a U.S. Supreme Court opinion affirming tribal sovereignty. The transcript is in the public domain and was easily scanned to convert it to PDF.  Now that it is in DSpace, the transcript is indexed by Google.  Its DSpace abstract states: “A search of the Westlaw and Lexis databases shows that this case is among the most cited in constitutional and federal law as well as the focus of continuing law review articles and critiques by scholars. Until this transcript was made available here, the scholarship on Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez was done without the benefit of the trial transcript details....” The transcript has since formed the basis for three new scholarly publications.... 

Carol A. Parker, Law Library Director & Assistant Professor of Law, Univ. of New Mexico School of Law

[Derived from a work that is forthcoming in 37:2 New Mexico Law Review (Summer 2007)]

Spanish guide to OA and rights management

Ignasi Labastida Juan and César Iglesias Rebollo, Guía Sobre Gestión de Derechos de Autor y Acceso Abierto en Bibliotecas, Servicios de Documentación y Archivos, Sociedad Española de Informacion y Documentacion Científica (SEDIC).  Undated but the authors signed the preface December 15, 2006, and the SEDIC blog announced its publication yesterday.

Petition for OA to publicly-funded research in Europe

A group of European institutions is petitioning the European Commission to mandate OA for EU-funded research.  Specifically, the petition calls on the Commission to adopt the recommendations of the report on scientific publishing it requested in 2005 and published in 2006.  (See my article on the report from May 2006.)  From the petition:

In January 2006 the European Commission published the Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe. The Study resulted from a detailed analysis of the current scholarly journal publication market, together with extensive consultation with all the major stakeholders within the scholarly communication process (researchers, funders, publishers, librarians, research policymakers, etc.). The Study...made a number of balanced and reasonable recommendations to improve the visibility and usefulness of European research outputs.

Now, a year after publication of the Study, we urge the EC to endorse the recommendations in full. In particular, we encourage you to adopt the first recommendation as a matter of urgency:


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.

We would recommend that, in accordance with the recent recommendations from the European Research Advisory Board and the statement of the European Research Council on Open Access, any potential 'embargo' on free access should be set at no more than six months following publication.

Research must be widely disseminated and read to be useful. Adopting Recommendation A1 will immediately ensure the widest possible readership for EC-funded research, increasing the potential benefits resulting from the research, and promoting European scholarship both within Europe and beyond. Evidence is accumulating to indicate that research that is openly accessible is read more and used more and that open access to research findings would bring economic advantage across the European Research Area. The Commission has a unique opportunity to place Europe at the forefront of the dissemination of research outputs and we encourage you to adopt the Study recommendations for the benefit of European research.

The petition is sponsored by JISC (Joint Information Systems Committee, UK), SURF (Netherlands), SPARC Europe, DFG (Deutsches Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany), and DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek, Denmark).

Comment.  The 2006 report not only made excellent recommendations for OA, but made the prospect of an EU-wide OA mandate suddenly realistic.  This petition can make a real difference and it's critical that we get as many signatures as possible from researchers and research institutions, worldwide but especially from Europe.  Please sign and spread the word.

Update. Also see JISC's press release on the petition.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Three more German institutions sign the Berlin Declaration

Three of Germany's national research institutions have signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge:
  1. Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und —prüfung (BAM, or Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing)
  2. Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR, or Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources)
  3. Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB, or National Metrology Institute of Germany)

Overview of the Zwolle principles

Kenneth D. Crews and Gerard van Westrienen, Copyright, Publishing, and Scholarship, The "Zwolle Group" Initiative for the Advancement of Higher Education, D-Lib Magazine, January / February 2007.  Excerpt:

The relationship of copyright law to the creation and publication of scholarly works is a critical concern for the advancement of new knowledge. The owner of the copyrights in scholarly publications can often control access to the information in those publications, as well as control many uses of [them]....Readers and other researchers are often constrained in their ability to access and use those new works by the limitations and controls that can result from copyright protection. How faculty authors, working with their universities and publishers, make decisions about the management of the copyright can have profound consequences for the ability of researchers, students, libraries, and other users to obtain, read, disseminate, and learn from scholarly works and the information they embody....

In the 1990s many of the stakeholders in these developments began to witness immediate and complicated implications for research related to copyright law. These developments prompted SURF initiate an international copyright project. SURF Foundation was seeking a cooperative approach to these often contentious issues. The initiative became known as the "Zwolle Group," and it has now completed five years of developing and sharing guidance for faculty authors, publishers, librarians, and other stakeholders who are seeking to improve their management of copyright issues. The cooperation of major stakeholders as equal partners makes the Zwolle initiative unique in the world.

This article marks...provides an examination of the issues and the projects of the Zwolle Group....

A most recent product pursuing implementation of the Zwolle Principles is a paper examining Open Access [Frederick Friend, December 2004]. The paper concludes that good rights management procedures are as important for open access content as they are for purchased content. The paper examines the issues and interests at stake in the management of copyrights, with a view toward facilitating open access, particularly the availability of scholarly works through institutional repositories. The purpose of the procedures is not to hinder the legitimate use of the open access content but to protect the legitimate interests of stakeholders. Licences and clear copyright and other rights statements are the key tools in the implementation of the Zwolle Principles in relation to open access content....

On the road

I'm on the road with intermittent opportunities to blog.  I'll start catching up on recent news tomorrow or the next day.

Bibliography of OA in biomedicine

Elena Giglia, Open Access e ricerca in area biomedica : un'introduzione, Università degli studi di Torino, Servizio Informazioni Biomediche, 2007.  Self-archived, January 15, 2007.  In Italian but with this English-language abstract: 

Introductory bibliography to Open Access in the biomedical field, as made out for the congress Institutional archives for research: experiences and projects in Open Access, Rome 29 nov-1 dec 2006. It lists "Web resources" with a practical target and more theoretical "Contributions". Online version [here].

More on the OA mandate proposal from EURAB

Stevan Harnad, EURAB's Proposed OA Mandate: Strongest of the 20 Adopted and 5 Proposed So Far, Open Access Archivangelism, January 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

The ROARMAP Registry of University and Funder Self-Archiving Mandates keeps growing: 56 policies, 20 adopted mandates, and 5 proposed mandates so far, worldwide. But the latest mandate proposal from EURAB is the best of them all: So good that I don't have a single recommendation for improving it! It has all the essential ingredients:

  1. Deposit of peer-reviewed postprint is required
  2. Deposit required immediately upon acceptance for publication (no exceptions, no delays)
  3. Deposit in Institutional or Central Repository
  4. Set access to deposit as Open Access as soon as possible, within 6 months at the latest.

Optimizing OA Self-Archiving Mandates:  What? Where? When? Why? How?

That's it. It's not possible to design a better policy, or one that is surer to get the entire international research community to 100% OA more reliably, quickly or effectively....Please emulate it at your university, research institution or funding agency and we'll reach the optimal and inevitable at long last....

Mandating OA department by department

Arthur Sale, The Patchwork Mandate, D-Lib Magazine, January/February 2007. 

This article is written mainly for repository managers who are at a loss as to what policies they (or their universities or research institutions) ought to deploy in order to ensure that most, if not all, of the institution's scholarly output is deposited in the institution's repository. In essence, there are only two pure policies:  [1] requiring (mandating) researchers to deposit, and [2] relying on voluntary (spontaneous) participation, with or without encouragement.  This short article describes a third policy that provides a transitional path between the two....

I call it the patchwork mandate for reasons that will become obvious....What is the patchwork mandate? Simply this:

  1. Knowing that you have been unable to convince the senior executives, you nevertheless personally commit to having a mandate across your institution.
  2. You aim to pursue a strategy that will achieve an institutional mandate in the long term. (It is highly recommended that you register your intention to do this in ROARMAP so as to encourage other repository managers caught in the same dilemma.)
  3. Since you haven't been able to get an institutional mandate, you work instead towards getting departmental (school/faculty) mandates one by one. Each departmental mandate will rapidly trend towards 100%, and little activism is needed to maintain this level....

PS:  This is the published version of paper I blogged as a preprint on November 11, 2006.  See my earlier post for a supportive comment.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tim Brody's doctoral dissertation on the OA impact advantage

Timothy David Brody, Evaluating Research Impact through Open Access to Scholarly Communication, a doctoral thesis at the University of Southampton School of Electronics and Computer Science, May 2006.  Self-archived January 14, 2007.

Abstract:   Scientific research is a competitive business – in order to secure funding, promotion and tenure researchers must demonstrate their work has impact in their field. To maximise impact researchers undertake high priority research, aim to get results first, and publish in the highest impact journals. The Internet now presents a new opportunity to the scholarly author seeking higher impact: s/he can now make their work instantly accessible on the Web through author self-archiving. This growing body of open access literature (coupled with new publishing models that make journals available for-free to the reader) maximises research impact by maximising the number of people who can read it, and making it available sooner. Open access also provides a new opportunity for bibliometric research. This thesis describes the relatively recent phenomenon of open access to research literature, tools that were built to collect and analyse that literature, and the results of analyses of the effect of open access and its effect on author behaviour. It shows that articles self-archived by authors receive between 50-250% more citations, that rapid pre-printing on the Web has dramatically reduced the peak citation rate from over a year to virtually instant and how citation-impact – now widely used for evaluation – can be expanded to include a new web metric of download impact.

PS:  Tim Brody is one of the first, one of the most prolific, and one of the most knowledgeable people to study the ways in which OA amplifies citation impact.  I've cited his work on my blog and newsletter 47 times already.  Congratulations, Dr. Tim, on this milestone in a career that has already had a large public impact.

Profile of CARL's support for OA

Heather Morrison, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL): Canadian Leader in Open Access, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, January 13, 2007.  Excerpt:

Synopsis.  Recently, the CARL/ABRC (Canadian Association of Research Libraries / Association des bibliothèques de recherche du Canada) decided to freely, and immediately, release their E-Lert / Cyberavis. This is good news; but, not too surprising, because CARL/ABRC is yet another of Canada's early leaders in the open access movement.

It was less than a month after the announcement of the world's first defining moment in open access, the Budapest Open Access Initiative, when CARL/ABRC issued a report endorsing the Initiative, and less than a year before CARL/ABRC held a conference to discuss the results of their own open access pilot, the CARL Institutional Repository project.

CARL/ABRC was among the first to endorse the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the organizations still have a close and ongoing relationship.
Current CARL/ABRC open access leadership is shown on the advocacy front, as with their recent response to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Draft Policy on Access to Research Outputs, and implementation, in the ongoing (and growing) CARL Institutional Repositories Project, and the Allouette Canada Open Digitization Initiative.

Some of the principles of CARL/ABRC's Hamilton Principles of 1995, especially the right of all individuals to have access to all expressions of knowledge, creativity and intellectual activity, and the fundamental role of academic research libraries in facilitating and enhancing the process of scholarly communication, were, in my opinion, more than prescient for their time, as these principles have much to offer to libraries of today and tomorrow to guide the way to open access....

Advice for OA database maintainers

The January 2007 issue of Nucleic Acids Research is devoted to databases, mostly OA databases.  (Thanks to bbgm.)  From Alex Batemen's editorial introduction to the issue:

The 2007 Database Issue of Nucleic Acids Research is the fourteenth in a series dedicated to databases in the field of molecular biology. These databases are essential resources for experimental and computational biologists alike and this compilation provides descriptions and updates of the most important of these databases, and serves to introduce newly compiled resources that provide specialist information in the biological area. The current issue is the largest yet and presents 68 new databases and updates of 106 existing databases. The 2007 Database Issue is not included in the print subscription to NAR. Instead, the Database Issue is freely available online to all under NAR's open access model. However, print copies are available for separate purchase by institutions and individuals....

Having now edited the database issue for 4 years and carefully inspected over a thousand different biological databases. I feel I am well placed to give advice to prospective authors. There are many important aspects to any web accessible database that might be published in [a future edition of] this issue....

  • Do attribute the original sources of derived data.
  • Do make sure that you are not breaching any license terms by redistributing data....
  • Do make data available for bulk download as flat files or relational database tables with associated documentation.
  • Web services and DAS are becoming popular ways to make databases programmatically available. Making these available can stop your website being ground to a halt by users trying to screen scrape all your data.
  • Do allow users to provide feedback on your data and submit new data....