Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, February 17, 2007

EC proposing new experiments, no mandates

Commission outlines measures to ensure access to scientific information, CORDIS News, February 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

The European Commission has published a communication outlining the actions it intends to undertake at European level to help increase and improve access to and dissemination of scientific information.

The intention of the document, the Commission says, is not to mandate open access publishing and digital preservation, but to promote best practices and initiate a policy debate on these matters....

[T]he Commission's paper...makes the case that speeding up the accessibility and dissemination of research results would help accelerate innovation and increase Europe's competitive edge. The paper also argues that the system would help avoid the duplication of research efforts....

Publishers on the other hand are concerned that self-archiving in open repositories may undermine peer review and jeopardise their income....

Although European research budgets have increased, only 1% is devoted to dissemination.

The Commission document aims to address this situation, starting at European level. It says that the Commission will take measures to promote better access to the publications resulting from research funded under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). For example, 'project costs related to publishing, including open access publishing, will be eligible for a Community financial contribution,' reads the communication.

Also envisaged is the issuing, within specific programmes such as those programmes managed by the European Research Council (ERC), of specific guidelines on the publication of articles in open repositories after an embargo period. This would be done on a sectoral basis, taking into account the specificity of the different scholarly and scientific disciplines.

'This is the beginning of the process,' said Horst Forster, director of digital content at the European Commission's Directorate General for Information Society and Media....'We [the Commission] will not have a mandate on open access,' he told CORDIS News. Instead the aim is to encourage experiments with new publishing business models that may improve access to and dissemination of scientific information, and to promote best practices, he said....

Author attitudes toward OA journals

Ji-Hong Park, Exploring the Willingness of Scholars to Accept Open Access: A Grounded Theory Approach, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, January 2007.  Only a fraction of the abstract is free online, at least so far.  (Thanks to William Walsh, who has paid access and blogged the full abstract along with an additional excerpt.)

Abstract:   This article aims to explore what factors increase or decrease scholars' willingness to publish and use articles in open-access journals and discusses how these factors are related to one another. Research-oriented publications on the topic of open-access journals have been few, and there is widespread concern about whether scholars will adopt this new form of scholarly communication. The growing number of open-access journals leads scholars to encounter decision-making situations in which they must choose one journal among multiple alternatives, including open access and non–open access. We conducted open-ended and semi-structured in-depth interviews with eight faculty members and six doctoral students at Syracuse University. Based on the interview transcripts, willingness factors and their relationships were identified and refined using the iterative steps of grounded theory approach proposed by Strauss and Corbin in the 1998 edition of their Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. The findings show seven factors (perceived journal reputation, perceived topical relevance, perceived availability, perceived career benefit, perceived cost, perceived content quality, and perceived ease of use) and eight relationships. There were six positive and two negative relationships. The factors and relationships were then compared to the relevant literature to increase internal validity and generalizability of the study. Both theoretical and practical implications of the research are discussed. Theoretically, this study broadens the scope of relevance criteria studies, first identifies the relationship between two important scholarly communication activities, conceptually contributes to the concept of open access, and applies literature comparison methodology in a pure qualitative study to increase internal validity and generalizability. Practically, the findings of this study may be helpful for promoting open-access publishing by encouraging facilitators and discouraging hinderers. The research may also provide an ongoing working framework for evaluating open-access journal systems.

PS:  As Walsh points out in his blog comment, the authors focus on OA journals, not OA as such.  From the additional excerpt that Walsh posts, it appears that they focus on fee-based OA journals, not on OA journals as such.

Stevan Harnad's impressions of the Brussels meeting

Stevan Harnad, Impressions from Brussels EC Meeting, Open Access Archivangelism, February 17, 2007.  Excerpt;

My impressions of the Brussels EC Meeting:

  1. The petition demonstrating the very broad-based support for the proposed EC OA Self-Archiving mandate was presented to the EU Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potocnik. 
  2. The conference itself (which was organized before the petition) then proceeded with its programme, heavily weighted toward publishing and publishers' concerns rather than the access and impact concerns of the research community.
  3. Hence, predictably, most of the time and energy was spent on publishing finances rather than on research access and impact.
  4. Nevertheless, the overall impression (from the minority research and researcher representation at the meeting) was that the relentless focus on publishing finances was not their primary concern, Open Access was.
  5. The (rather bland) statement released at the beginning of the meeting had also been drafted before the meeting and the petition (and apparently with some involvement of the publishers, as there was evidence that they had seen it in advance).
  6. But my impression was that the EU Commissioners, Directors-General and Directors (or rather those of their delegates who were in attendance) were favorable to OA, and that concrete developments can be expected as a result of the conference and the petition.
Researcher and industrial support for OA and OA Self-Archiving Mandates will now be very vigorously consolidated.

PS I think a bit of a storm is now brewing in the physics community over the CERN initiative to promote an immediate transition to Gold OA publishing in particle physics. The concern is that this will divert scarce funds from research. I think the concern is warranted....


I'm leaving town in a few minutes, and will be on the road for five days with limited opportunities for blogging and email.  I'll be further behind than usual and will start to catch up on February 22. 

I would have been on the road for a separate trip the past three days, but I was grounded by the New England blizzard.  I'm sorry I had to cancel my talk at Bowdoin College but glad I was able to blog the first wave of news about the Brussels conference. 

Friday, February 16, 2007

U of California considers an indirect OA mandate

The University of California is considering a Draft Open Access Policy  dated January 29, 2007 (but based on a proposal from May 30, 2006).  Here's the heart of it:

This open access policy seeks to increase authors’ influence in scholarly publishing by establishing a collective practice of retaining a right to open access dissemination of certain scholarly works. University of California faculty shall routinely grant to The Regents of the University of California a license to place in a non-commercial open-access online repository the faculty member’s scholarly work published in a scholarly journal or conference proceedings. In the event a faculty member is required to assign all or a part of his or her copyright rights in such scholarly work to a publisher as part of a publication agreement, the faculty member shall retain in the publication agreement the right to grant the foregoing license to the Regents. Faculty may opt out of this policy for any specific work or invoke a specified delay before such work appears in an open-access repository in accordance with the opt-out mechanism set forth below....

The University of California eScholarship Repository is an open access repository in which UC faculty-authored materials can be placed to meet the goals of the policy. Placement of UC faculty-authored material in other trusted, publicly-accessible repositories, such as the National Library of Medicine’s PubMedCentral, or the physics arXiv will also meet the goals of the policy. Trusted, publicly accessible repositories are those which provide reliable, long-term access to managed digital resources; are internet-accessible at no fee for the reader; have explicit preservation and governance policies; and use data formats and technology management that conform to industry standards.

The draft policy also includes a draft author's addendum, to help authors retain the rights they need to authorize OA.

The policy was drafted by a working group convened by Wyatt R. Hume, the UC's Provost and Executive Vice President, who has asked (February 7, 2007) the UC campuses to review it by May 20, 2007.

Also see the policy home page and FAQ.

Comment. This is a strong policy for the largest university system in the US, and well along the process toward adoption.  It could trigger a wave of similar policies across the country.  It doesn't directly require faculty to deposit their work in an OA repository, but it does require them to give the university permission to disseminate an OA copy.  (Like other university mandates, this one has exceptions and faculty may opt out for specific works.)  One gets the impression that the university will actually provide OA whenever it has permission, but that is unstated.  If we assume it, then this "permission mandate" becomes an OA mandate.  Definitely one to watch.

Access levels to ecology articles in Google Scholar

Marilyn Christianson, Ecology Articles in Google Scholar: Levels of Access to Articles in Core Journals, Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship, Winter 2007.

Abstract:   Eight-hundred forty articles from core ecology journals were searched in Google Scholar (GS) to determine level and completeness of indexing and access. Testing occurred both on campus and off, and within each venue searching was divided evenly into basic and advanced modes. Off campus, about nine percent and on campus, about thirty-eight percent of links led to text that could be opened directly, without barriers. Fifty-seven percent of test articles had full citations or better, and over seventy-seven percent had at least some type of completable citation. Older articles were less likely to be represented. Full-text articles were concentrated at author sites and at a small number of provider sites. The advanced search found somewhat more full text than did the basic search. Highly cited articles were more likely to be included in Google Scholar.

Three new blogs from BMC

BioMed Central has started a blog, although it's still in a pre-launch phase. 

Today, for example, BMC Publisher Matt Cockerill posted a note about the Brussels Conference, and included a link to his own presentation, Open Access publishing works

The new blog also alerts us to two other new BMC blogs, one at Chemistry Central and one at PhysMath Central.

PS:  This is a smart move for an OA publisher.  Welcome to the blogosphere!

The EC Communication on OA

I couldn't blog this earlier because the document wouldn't load for me.  But it loaded for Richard Poynder, who sent me a copy.  Many thanks, Richard.

On Scientific Information In The Digital Age: Access, Dissemination And Preservation, a Communication from the Commission of the European Communities to the European Parliament, the Council and the European Economic And Social Committee, Brussels, February 15, 2006.  Excerpt:

...The Community policy on research looks to maximise the socio-economic benefits of research and development for the public good. The present Communication represents an initial step within a wider policy process addressing how the scientific publication system functions and what impact it has on research excellence....

This Communication's objective is to signal the importance of and launch a policy process on (a) access to and dissemination of scientific information2, and (b) strategies for the preservation of scientific information across the Union. To this end, it announces a series of measures at European level and points to the need for a continuing policy debate....

5.1. Commission position

Initiatives leading to wider access to and dissemination of scientific information are necessary, especially with regard to journal articles and research data produced on the basis of public funding. With respect to journal articles, the Commission is observing and considering experiments with open access publishing.

Fully publicly funded research data should in principle be accessible to all, in line with the 2004 OECD Ministerial Declaration on Access to Research Data from Public Funding....

5.3. Future actions managed by the European Commission

A. Access to Community funded research results

Within FP7, the Commission will take measures to promote better access to the publications resulting from the research it funds. In this context, project costs related to publishing, including open access publishing, will be eligible for a Community financial contribution. The Commission will encourage the research community to make use of this possibility.

The Commission also envisages, within specific programmes (e.g. the programmes managed by the European Research Council), to issue specific guidelines on the publication of articles in open repositories after an embargo period. This would be done on a sectorial basis, taking into account the specificity of the different scholarly and scientific disciplines.

B. Co-funding of research infrastructures (in particular repositories) and projects

Within FP7 the Commission will intensify its activities regarding infrastructures relevant for access to scientific information, in particular by linking digital repositories at the European level. An amount of approximately €50 million will be made available to this end for the period 2007-2008 (some 20 million of which have been allocated for 2007).

In addition, an indicative amount of €25 million will be provided during this period (some 15 million of which during 2007) for research on digital preservation (in particular a network of Centres of competence for digital preservation) and on collaborative tools for using the content.

Within the eContentplus programme (2005-2008), €10 million has been earmarked to improve the accessibility and usability of scientific content, in particular addressing issues of interoperability and multilingual access....

6. Conclusion

Access to, dissemination of, and preservation of scientific information are major challenges of the digital age. Success in each of these areas is of key importance for European information society and research policies. Different stakeholders in these fields have differing views on how to move towards improvements for access, dissemination and preservation.

Within this transition process from a print world to a digital world, the Commission will contribute to the debate among stakeholders and policy makers by encouraging experiments with new models that may improve access to and dissemination of scientific information....


  1. I'm still digesting this and will have more to say in the March issue of SOAN.  But here's a first take, limiting myself to the hard-core OA issues.  (For example, I'm not commenting on the EC's plans for digital preservation, although I applaud them.)
  2. The Communication is weakest on the most important OA issue and strongest on the secondary issues.  The most important issue is recommendation A1 from last year's EC Report:  the proposed EU-wide OA mandate for publicly-funded research.  The Communication retreats from this position and does not say why.  Instead it says that EC will "issue...guidelines" on OA archiving of publicly-funded research.  It doesn't say whether the guidelines will require or merely encourage OA.  Moreover, the guidelines will vary by discipline and by funding program, so that even if the rules in some fields and programs are strong, others will be weak.
  3. On other, less essential policy issues, the Communication is strong.  For example, the EC will help pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, a position I have supported for funding agencies that can afford it.  This policy provides unembargoed OA, supports a new generation of peer-review providers, and lessens --or ought to lessen-- the opposition of publishers.  (Unfortunately, the EC still uses the misleading term "author pays" for OA journals and still seems to believe that all OA journals charge author-side fees when in fact most of them do not.)
  4. The EC will also support a strong policy of OA for data, following the OECD Declaration on open data from January 2004, which the EU signed.  And it will spend a lot of money on OA infrastructure.  All of this is most welcome.
  5. The Communication is not the final EC policy and the guidelines for OA archiving are still under development.  There's still time for friends of OA to try to influence their direction, just as there's still time for an equal and opposite reaction from publishers who want to bury the possibility of an OA mandate.

Preview of Volltextsuche Online

Mathias Schindler, VTO, the German Google Book Search Killer?  Google Blogoscoped, February 13, 2007.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)  Excerpt:

...In Summer of 2005, the “Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels” (German publishers’ and book shops’ association) announced a project called “Volltextsuche Online” (VTO, “full text search online”) to counter the Google Book Search project. They also supported one lawsuit by the Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft (WBG) against Google [later withdrawn]....

The Börsenverein announced VTO to start in spring 2006. The start of VTO was later postponed to the book fair in fall 2006. A Powerpoint presentation [PPT] from last week says that an early system for uploading data will go online this week....

The original proposal of decentralized storage within the publishers servers turned out to be not practical, the idea was scrapped. The draft contract between VTO and the publishers reserves the right to VTO to store the data anywhere they like....

Book publishers have to pay to upload their data to VTO....However, the annual fee is suspended until March 31: Anyone who participates in VTO before that day can get one year free of charge.

Unlike Google Book Search, there is no way to just send the physical book to VTO, the publisher has to send in a prepared PDF file and several meta files. The specification of the meta files is currently in version 0.9 [PDF], it basically lacks any specific meta file information....

VTO claims that there is no way of saving or printing the pages of the book. When I spoke with VTO representatives, they acknowledged that this sentence is not meant literally but that they only prevent users (lobotomized users?) from saving the files by disabling the right mouse button or something....

As a very lame “proof of concept,” I was able to download all the 303 pages of the bestselling book “Measuring the World” by Daniel Kehlmann....No “hacking” was involved and this task can be pretty easy parallelized. Or scripted, for that matter....

I am currently unable to see VTO as a competitor to Google Book Search....

"Denial, rigidity, and attack"

Charles W. Bailey, Jr., The Brussels Declaration: You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows, DigitalKoans, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

The recent "Brussels Declaration on STM Publishing" by major scholarly publishers, such as Elsevier and Wiley, can be boiled down to: the scholarly publishing system ain’t broke, so don’t try to fix it. It provides an interesting contrast to the 2004 "Washington DC Principles for Free Access to Science" by not-for-profit publishers, which outlined a variety of strategies for making content freely available.

Sadly, it suggests that the "Brussels Declaration" publishers fail to fully understand that the decades-old serials crisis has deeply alienated several generations of librarians, who are their primary customers. Publishers count on libraries being captive customers because scholarly publishing is monopolistic in nature (e.g., one journal article does not substitute for another article) and, consequently, demand is relatively inelastic, regardless of price. However, it is a rare business that thrives by alienating its customers....

As has often been noted, the open access movement is not anti-publisher, but it is publisher-neutral, meaning that, as long as certain critical functions (such as peer review) are adequately performed, it does not matter how [OA] scholarly works are published....

The clock is ticking. The more intransigent publishers are, the stronger the incentive for those who want change to improve open source publishing tools, to fund low-cost or open access publishing alternatives, to seek remedies from governments and other organizations that fund research, and to develop new modes of scholarly publishing.

Dialog, openness to new funding strategies and publishing practices, compromise, and imagination may serve publishers better in the long run than denial, rigidity, and attack. A more flexible outlook may reveal opportunities, not just dangers, in a scholarly publishing system in flux.

FreeCulture responds to the WashPost

Gavin Baker, Let the Light Shine In, Washington Post, February 16, 2007.  A letter to the editor.  Baker is the Open Access Director at

The Feb. 9 news story "Research-Result Battle Now Pits PR 'Pit Bull' Against Barbie Blenders" was a good example of how easy it is to obscure an important issue. By playing up colorful but irrelevant imagery, the story missed the point that students have a critical stake in expanding access to taxpayer-funded research.

Because our futures will be shaped by science, we believe it is wrong to keep publicly funded, peer-reviewed research results locked in expensive journals. The Internet is the ideal way to share scientific advances quickly, broadly and economically. The National Day of Action for Open Access yesterday was designed to build awareness of this opportunity at colleges across the country.

The article said that I declined to reveal details of's plans for the National Day of Action. In fact, I said that we would have speakers, discussion panels and tables providing information about the issue to engage students in this important public debate. We think that when they are presented with the evidence, students will agree that the status quo isn't working.

We use creative means to encourage our fellow students to think about current affairs. However, political theater is not needed to make a point this time. The merits of public access to federally funded research speak for themselves.

PS:  Exactly.  For background, see my blog post on the original article and how it catered to the AAP's new campaign of media messaging.

Another call for OA to clinical drug trial data

Mike Adams, The health care reform legislation that Congress should pass, but won't, NewsTarget, February 16, 2007.  Adams makes 13 suggestions; here's #4:

Require open source publication of all clinical trials, even the negative results

Well here's an idea: let's end the secrecy of clinical trials and let the public -- and the medical industry -- see what really happens when thousands of people are dosed up on synthetic chemicals. The truth about clinical trials for prescription drugs is that most trials are a sham. The numbers and conclusions are almost universally fraudulent. They're designed to get the drug approved by the FDA for marketing, not to actually determine any level of safety of efficacy for the public.

You see, virtually no drugs are tested in combination with other drugs. Nor are drugs tested for sufficient time to determine their long-term risks. And even the trials that are completed are cherry-picked by their sponsors to drum up the most favorable results possible. This, the FDA claims, is the "gold standard" of drug safety. Which is why, of course, over 100,000 Americans were killed by prescription drugs last year alone.

To help solve this little problem, I say we make all clinical trials open source. Free the data. Let the public and the medical community read for themselves what the results are... for the "good" studies and the bad ones, too. Actually, one organization is already making great strides towards open source published studies. Check out the Public Library of Science journals, which, as far as I can tell, are the only honest medical journals in the industry.

PS:  See PLoS Clinical Trials.

Gigi Sohn on the information commons

Gigi Sohn, The Information Commons and the Future of Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity, a multimedia PPT presentation for Educause, February 14, 2007.

Unfortunately I couldn't see it because Educause funnels it through HorizonWimba's Live Classrooom software instead of just putting open-format files online.  I tried to jump through the Live-Classroom hoops but I couldn't turn off all the pop-up blockers installed on my computer.  I especially regret this because Gigi is a friend and colleague:  she's the co-founder and President of Public Knowledge, where I'm the OA Project Director.

Update. Here are Gigi's PPT slides without the audio or video (thanks to William Walsh).

Research Commissioner's opening address in Brussels

Janez Potočnik, 'Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area' – Access, Dissemination and Preservation in the Digital Age, the opening address at the Brussels conference of the same title (February 15-16, 2007).  Potočnik is the European Commissioner for Science and Research.  Excerpt:

...Let me start by addressing one question: why are we here? It’s a simple question and it has a simple answer: it is because the world has changed. And part of this change has been in the norms, the expectations and the demands of research and researchers.

It is important that we make progress in this area. Why? Because the EU's future depends on a knowledge society. The debate about how that knowledge is disseminated is fundamental. It takes in a lot of important issues – sales, copyright, jobs, access and funding. But ultimately, it's about the conditions for spreading knowledge.

Nearly all new research builds on previous work. So the access to scientific results, how rapidly this access is given and the cost of access all impact on research excellence and innovation....

But today's conference is not about previous adaptations [to the digital age], but future ones....

The European Commission has been closely following the debate on experiments with open access to scientific information. We have also been contributing to the debate through the study on the scientific publishing market that we commissioned last year.

I am aware that – sometimes controversial – discussions on open access are taking place between scientific publishers and the scientific community.

This was clear from the replies we received to our online consultation last year on the study. The consultation showed that while the respondents from the scientific community warmly received the report and its recommendations, the publishing industry was mostly critical of its methodology and conclusions....

I recognise the investment that the publishing industry has made over the years. It offers new tools, services and technologies in line with the digital revolution.  This has been highlighted in the Declaration on STM publishing adopted by the publishing community two days ago.

At the same time, the digital revolution has led the European scientific community to suggest that an alternative publishing model, with better access to research publications, could further stimulate research excellence and innovation.

In the EU, there have been two major recent statements on the issue.

In December 2006 EURAB - the European Research Advisory Board - composed of 50% research community and 50% industry representatives - recommended that the Commission (and I quote) “consider mandating all researchers funded under [the seventh Framework Programme] to lodge their publications resulting from EC-funded research in an open access repository as soon as possible after publication, to be made accessible within 6 months at the latest".

The second statement was by the Scientific Council of the European Research Council, Europe's new funding body for frontier research. It stated its “firm intention [...] to issue specific guidelines for the mandatory deposit in open access repositories of research results [...] obtained thanks to ERC grants”....

Just this morning, a research community delegation presented me with a petition of over 19.000 signatories from around the world calling on the European Commission to guarantee public access to publicly-funded research results shortly after publication.

The Commission has a role to play in this evolution and we have already made a first move. Yesterday, the Commission adopted a Communication on access to scientific information in the digital age. My colleague, Viviane Reding, will be discussing this more in detail later in the conference.

The Communication announces a series of measures on how the Commission will deal with open access in FP7 funded projects - and how it will use its funding programmes to improve the access to and the preservation of scientific information. This will include, for example, promoting the use of project costs for open access publishing under FP7.

I have outlined several positions. Allow me to give an idea of the factors influencing my position.

Over the next 7 years, the EU will invest over 54 billion euros in research and development. I want every euro of this funding to contribute in some way to developing a true European Research Area and creating a strong European knowledge society. That is my job. The European Commission, and, indeed, the European citizen, must get a good return on its investment.

So far, funding bodies and the public money more generally have tended to contribute multiple times to the research process.

They fund the research to be performed through research grants.

They also support peer review, in the sense that they usually pay reviewers’ salaries.

Finally, they often acquire the final scientific journal publications for research organisations.

From a research funding body's viewpoint, there is room to improve the impact of research on society and the development of knowledge....

The two main questions facing us today are to see:

  • First, how to offer the research community rapid and wide dissemination of results, facilitated by new information and communication technologies.
  • Second, how to combine this with fair remuneration for the scientific publishers who invest in tools and mechanisms to organise the information flows and the peer review system....

The documents from Brussels (almost)

The European Commission has finally put the documents from the Brussels meeting online, or at least it has tried.  It lists the URLs on a February 15 press release but forgot to mention which URL belongs to which document.  Normally you could click through to find this useful information, but two of the URLs fail, for different reasons.  I confirmed the URLs and learned their intended targets from other EC pages, particularly the i2010 Digital Library Initiative and the the Science and Society publication page

I'll blog excerpts from the Communication and Staff Working Paper as soon as I can load them.  But I didn't want to wait for that before laying out the titles and links.

Last year, to facilitate discussion of the OA recommendations in the EC report, the EC launched a Community on Scientific Publications on SINAPSE, its discussion forum for scientific input on policy proposals. It apparently hopes that the discussion of its new position will continue there.

Excerpt from the press release:

In terms of concrete measures, the Commission has already identified the following:

  • To improve current and future access to scientific information, the EU will support experiments with open access in its recently-launched research programme (by, for example, refunding the project costs of open access publishing).
  • During 2007-2008 the Commission has also set aside some €50 million to support and help coordinate infrastructures for storing scientific data across Europe and €25 million for research on digital preservation, supporting in particular centres of competence in digital preservation. The eContentplus programme will devote €10 million to improving interoperability of and multilingual access to collections of scientific material (see IP/05/98).
  • A major European conference on Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area, organised by the Commission will be held in Brussels on 15-16 February with the participation of the Commissioner for science and research Janez Poto?nik and the Commissioner for Information Society and Media Viviane Reding.

Excerpt from the FAQ:

What will the Commission do?

With the Communication, the Commission is launching a policy process involving stakeholders and Member States. At the same time is announcing a series of measures at European level to improve the accessibility and preservation of scientific information. The measures are the following:

a) improve access to Community-funded research results, by funding the costs of open access publishing and by providing guidelines on publishing articles in open repositories after an embargo period within specific research programmes.

b) co-funding of research infrastructures (in particular repositories) and projects relevant for access and preservation of scientific information. In total some €85 million have been earmarked to this during 2007-2008.

c) further fact-finding as input for the policy debate.

d) strengthening the policy coordination of Member State actions and the policy debate with stakeholders.

Update. I've finally seen (and blogged) the EC Communication on OA. Thanks to all of you who tried to help me around my access problem.

Update. I've also blogged an excerpt from Janez Potočnik's opening address at the Brussels meeting.

Update. Here's a new and better URL for the Staff Working Paper.

More on the EC communication on OA

Open access to scientific publishing draws controversy, EurActiv, February 16, 2007.  Excerpt:

Scientific publishers fear that the Commission's plans to support online open access to scientific information will undermine their businesses.

In Spring 2006, a public consultation was held on a study concerning the scientific publishing market. The report gave an economic analysis of European scientific publication markets and made a series of policy recommendations. 

The report and its recommendations were warmly welcomed by the scientific community, but the publishing industry was mostly critical of its methodology and conclusions....

The Commission adopted, on 14 February a Communication on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation....

The Communication...announces a series of measures planned to be taken at EU level, namely to support new ways of promoting better access to scientific information online and to preserve research results digitally for future generations. It also explains how the Commission is set to deal with open access in the projects it will fund under its seventh framework programme for research (FP7). 

"I am aware that (sometimes controversial) discussions on open access are taking place between scientific publishers and the scientific community," said Research Commissioner Janez Poto?nik. However, the Commission believes that increased access to scientific information will lead to more research activities and increased publishing activity and thus strengthen the European Research Area (ERA). 

The main challenge, according to the Commission, is to find a win-win situation for both scientists and scientific publishers. This means giving the research community rapid and wide dissemination of results, facilitated by new information and communication technologies and for scientific publishers to have fair remuneration for investing in tools and mechanisms to organise the information flows and the peer- review system....

PS:  This article gets a lot wrong about the EC report recommendations (as if they required grantees to publish in OA journals or as if they required non-OA journals to convert to OA) and the history of OA (as if it all started with the Berlin Declaration).  I've limited my excerpt to what's new from the Brussels meeting, and I hope it's more trustworthy on those developments than it is on previous developments.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

OA archiving in French mathematics

Anna Wojciechowska, Analysis of the use of open archives in the fields of mathematics and computer science, OCLC Systems and Services, 23, 1 (2007) pp. 54-69 (accessible only to subscribers).  Abstract:    

Purpose – The objective of this paper is to study the use of institutional open archives in France, and more specifically “Hyper Article en Ligne” (Hal).

Design/methodology/approach – This study analyses self-archiving of articles by those of the French researchers in mathematics and computer science who work in relation with the French National Network of Mathematics Libraries (RNBM). The survey was performed by sending a questionnaire to the researchers via libraries of the RNBM.

Findings – The paper provides information about the knowledge of open archives, about information search, experience in self-archiving and copyright awareness of French researchers in mathematics and computer science.

Originality/value – This paper tries to identify the causes of the difficult development of open archives in France.

Cooperation between institutional and disciplinary repositories

Ann G. Green and Myron P. Gutmann, Building partnerships among social science researchers, institution-based repositories and domain specific data archives, OCLC Systems and Services, 23, 1 (2007) pp. 35-53 (accessible only to subscribers).  Abstract:

Purpose – In developing and debating digital repositories, the digital library world has devoted more attention to their missions and roles in supporting access to and stewardship of academic research output than to discussing discipline, or domain, specific digital repositories. This is especially interesting, given that in social science these domain-specific repositories have been in existence for many decades. The goal of this paper is to juxtapose these two kinds of repositories and to suggest ways that they can help build partnerships between themselves and with the research community.

Design/methodology/approach – The approach taken in the paper is based on the fundamental idea that all the parties involved share important goals, and that by working together these goals can be advanced successfully.

Findings – The key message is that by visualizing the role of repositories explicitly in the life cycle of the social science research enterprise, the ways that the partnerships work will be clear. These workings can be seen as a sequence of reciprocal information flows between parties to the process, triggers that signal that one party or another has a task to perform, and hand-offs of information from one party to another that take place at crucial moments. This approach envisions both cooperation and specialization.

Practical implications – If followed, the recommendations offered in the paper will allow those implementing various kinds of repositories to work together with others in new ways, thus both enhancing the amount of information preserved and its value for the community.

Originality/value – This is one of the first times that the mutual possibilities of institutional and domain-specific repositories have been brought together.

Brussels Declaration "reads a lot like the start of a PR campaign"

Self-Evident? In a Shot at Public Access Advocates, Publishers Release Brussels Declaration, Library Journal Academic Newswire, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

Not long after a report that disclosed a publishers' meeting with a public relations executive to form a response to calls for public access to government-funded research comes the Brussels Declaration, a statement sponsored the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM). And, perhaps not surprisingly, the document reads a lot like the start of a public relations campaign. In ten bulleted points, STM outlines what it calls "self-evident" values, ranging from the sensible ("one size fits all solutions will not work"), to the obvious ("publishing in all media has associated costs"), to the outright contentious ("open deposit of accepted manuscripts risks destabilizing subscription revenues and undermining peer review").

The declaration, signed by 35 major publishers and eight trade associations, is the latest development in a once-again simmering battle between public access advocates (including libraries) and publishers. After the report of the publishers' meetings, public access advocates seized on the issue last week by releasing a statement of support from one of its allies, the American Society for Cell Biology, which called for free public access to government-funded research....

Notably, the declaration seems to follow advice reportedly given to publishers by PR "pit bull" Eric Dezenhall. For example, it touts the role of publishers in the "irreplaceable" peer-review process, even citing peer-review in assailing public access proposals. "Despite very significant investment and a massive rise in access to scientific information, [the publishing] community continues to be beset by propositions and manifestos on the practice of scholarly publishing," reads an introduction to the Brussels Declaration. "Unfortunately, the measures proposed have largely not been investigated or tested in any evidence-based manner that would pass rigorous peer review." Of course, some of the ten "self-evident" values espoused by publishers in the Berlin Declaration also seem to lack hard evidence, and the declaration even offers some ambiguous statistics, for example suggesting that "even after 12 months, on average electronic articles still have 40-50 percent of their lifetime downloads to come."

EU will support more OA

EU To Support More Cost-Free Access To Research Results, Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2007.  Only this introductory snippet is free for non-subscribers:

The European Commission Thursday said it plans to support more cost-free access to the results of scientific research, a move that could hurt medical publishers such as Reed Elsevier NV (ENL) and McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP).

Publicly funded research should be available to a broad audience, according to the commission, the European Union's executive arm. The Brussels body on Thursday and Friday....

EU will support OA experiments

EU outlines digital age strategy, The Parliament, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

The European commission has unveiled a strategy to promote better access to online scientific information.

Speaking at a major conference in Brussels, EU research commissioner Janez Potocnik outlined how Europe can best capitalise on the “excellent work” of its researchers.

“New ideas are usually built on the results of previous research,” he said. “We must make sure that the flow of scientific information contributes to innovation and research excellence in the European research area,” he said.

On the eve of the event, a 19,000-name petition from the research community was handed to Potocnik calling on the commission to guarantee public access to publicly-funded research results shortly after publication....

Potocnik said the commission had earmarked around €50m to help coordinate infrastructures for storing scientific data across Europe....

To improve current and future access to scientific information, he said the EU will also support experiments with “open access”.

“There is no quick fix,” Potocnik said. “That is why we have to look at how we can find a way forward.”

EU "throwing its weight" behind OA

Paul Meller, EU to push online publication of scientific data, InfoWorld, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

In a bid to speed up the dissemination of scientific discoveries, the European Commission said Thursday it plans to shake up the old-fashioned world of scientific publishing by throwing its weight behind a move to make scientific research results freely available on the Internet....

The Commission is hosting a two-day conference starting Thursday with the publishers as well as with advocates of a free, Internet-based model for scientific publishing.

In its statement, the Commission made it clear that it favors freer access to research results. It is planning to spend about €85 million ($111 million) over the next two years improving the digital storage and online accessibility of scientific results.

Digital technologies are reshaping how research information is viewed, analyzed, and eventually published, the Commission said. For example, about 90 percent of all science journals are now available online, often by subscription. But digital technologies are also leading to more "open access" publishing. This provides free and wide access to publications online. Better access to research data also opens the way to new types of uses and services, often through the reusing of past results as the raw material for new experimentation....

"The digital revolution has led the European scientific community to suggest that an alternative publishing model with better access to research publications could further stimulate research excellence and innovation," Commissioner for Research Janez Potocnik told delegates at the conference.

Publishers association STM had argued that it would be wrong for the Commission to favor one business model over another and urged it to back off from the scientific publishing sector.

But the association changed its tune Thursday, after learning how serious the Commission is about taking action.

"I am pleased that the Commission has recognized the complex issues that surround the publication and preservation of scientific information and has seen fit to initiate a dialogue rather than prematurely imposing a policy that could undermine STM publishing, which is such an important industry for Europe," said Michael Mabe, CEO of STM in a statement released Thursday.

The STM welcomes the Commission's action plan "in the area of creating a level playing field for publication business models, recognizing that further research on preservation and economics is essential before adopting any policy positions," the association said in its latest statement.

PS:  The EC statement still isn't available online.  To judge from this story, it's strong enough to justify the lede but squishy enough to justify publisher expressions of gratitude.  More later.

EU "may" require OA to publicly-funded research

The EU Observer news ticker reported this item (no direct URL) at 13:46 EU Central time this afternoon:

EU may tie science grants to open access

Brussels may in 2008 tie EU research grants worth €7 billion a year to commitments to make the data public down the line, EU officials said on Thursday. The suggestion comes after a 20,400-strong petition complaining that access to EU-funded data is now controlled by a coterie of publishing giants.

PS:  I know that today at the Brussels scientific publishing conference the EC distributed hardcopies of its non-binding communication on an EU-wide OA mandate.  If anyone has the electronic text, I'd be very grateful for a copy.

Canada's Synergies project awarded $5.8 million

A small announcement of big news for Canadian OA from the Public Knowledge Project:

The Canadian Foundation of Innovation awarded $5.8 million to the Synergies project over the next 4 years, for the development of scholarly publishing technologies, featuring Erudit and Open Journal Systems.

20,000+ signatures for OA presented to the EC

Worldwide petition on open access delivered to European Commission, a press release from JISC, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

More than 20,000 call for public access to publicly funded research

A petition calling on the European Commission to adopt polices to guarantee free public access to research results was delivered today to Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research. Nobel laureates Peter Agre, Martinus Veltman, and Harold Varmus...are among the more than 20,000 concerned researchers, senior academics, lecturers, librarians, and citizens from across Europe and around the world who have signed the petition.    

Organisations too are lending their support, with the most senior representatives from nearly 750 education, research and cultural organisations from around the world adding their weight to the petition, including research funders (e.g., the European Research Council, German Research Council, Swedish Research Council, UK's Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust), research organizations (e.g., CERN, CNRS, and the Max Planck Society), and national academies (e.g., Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts & Sciences (KNAW), and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences).

The petition calls on the EC to formally endorse the recommendations outlined in the EC-commissioned Study on the Economic and Technical Evolution of the Scientific Publication Markets of Europe.  Published in early 2006, the study made a number of important recommendations to help ensure the widest possible readership for scholarly articles. In particular, the first recommendation called for 'Guaranteed public access to publicly-funded research results shortly after publication'....

The petition was initiated to demonstrate the overwhelming public support for the EC to accept the recommendations of the EC-Study and implement a policy of public access to publicly-funded European research.

'Open access to the published scientific literature is one of the most desirable goals of our current scientific enterprise. How can we do cutting edge research if we don't know where the cutting edge is?'  Richard J Roberts, Nobel Prize winner for Physiology or Medicine in 1993 and petition signatory.

JISC Executive Secretary Dr Malcolm Read, said: 'Maximising public investment in European research and making more widely available its outputs are key priorities for the European Union as it seeks to enhance the global standing of European research and compete in a global market. JISC is proud to be sponsoring a petition which seeks these vital goals and which has already attracted such widespread support.' ...

The petition is sponsored by JISC, the SURF Foundation (Netherlands), SPARC Europe, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Germany), DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek, Denmark).

PS:  The short-term goal of this petition was to generate a large number of signatures for today's presentation.  But the campaign is not over until the EC adopts a strong EU-wide OA policy.  Hence, the petition is still open for signatures.  If you haven't already signed, please  do so and spread the word.  If you have already signed, thank you.  When I just checked, the signature tally was up to 21,143.

BMC OA colloquium presentations

The presentations from the BioMed Central Colloquium, Open Access: How Can We Achieve Quality and Quantity? (London, February 8, 2007), are now online.

Responses to high-priced journals

A reader named BCK has posted a long comment at Archivalia on high-priced journals in physics, the Stuttgart decision a few years ago to cancel all Elsevier titles, and the CERN project to convert all TA journals in particle physics to OA.  Read it in German or in Google's English.

Berkeley perspectives on OA

Barry Bergman, Free-science movement gains a foothold at Berkeley, UC Berkeley News, February 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

When the journal Nature reported last month that a group of scientific-publishing goliaths had enlisted a "PR pit bull" to "take on the free-information movement"...the move was widely viewed as a declaration of war....

At Berkeley, though, one scientist at the heart of the so-called open-access movement — which aims to apply that principle to the highly specialized realm of scientific and medical research — was thrilled to hear that big commercial publishers were circling the wagons to defend their for-profit, subscription-based model.

"I think it's fantastic," exults Michael Eisen, an assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and a genetics researcher at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "It's just evidence that open access is working."

Eisen, who received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers at a White House ceremony in 2004, is a co-founder of the San Francisco-based Public Library of Science, a leading advocate for free, online dissemination of scientific research....

With subscriptions for many scientific journals running to thousands of dollars — and some single-article downloads priced at more than $50 apiece — proponents of open access argue that vital medical knowledge, for example, is prohibitively expensive for individuals and families seeking reliable information, as well as for health workers caring for patients in developing countries. And as rising subscription fees force many libraries to constantly scale back their collections, even university-affiliated researchers can find themselves in the dark....

Many scientists, he adds, need not only access to printed text, but the ability to more fully exploit computer technology by manipulating and massaging other researchers' data — as was done, in one prominent example, with the Human Genome Project.

"It's completely ridiculous that I, a publicly funded scientist, am unable to get access to the articles written by my colleagues and to download them onto my computer," says Eisen. "I'm not trying to steal their ideas, I'm not trying to do anything but make that information — which they've spent their lives generating, and the government has spilled billions of dollars into funding — much more robust, much more dynamic, and much more useful...."

[B]ecause so much of the money for scientific publishing derives from the federal Treasury — in the form of direct research grants to scientists and indirect funding to publishers for printing their work — the result, Eisen says, "is a business that for decades has basically been allowed to print checks from the government to themselves with very little restraint." ...

From the sidebar:

For Berkeley's library, 'serials crisis' means shrinking access to information

When the 10 UC libraries joined the Public Library of Science as an institutional member in 2004, Beverlee French, systemwide director for shared digital collections, called the move an effort at "directing some of our scarce dollars away from overpriced journals and toward innovation."

With budgets flat and scholarly-journal prices rising far faster than inflation, however, what's known as the "serials crisis" remains a pressing problem here at Berkeley and at universities and research institutions throughout the nation. Chuck Eckman, associate University Librarian and director of collections at Berkeley, warns that without increases to its budget, the campus library faces a shortfall of roughly $1.4 million in 2008 — with a commensurate reduction in journal, book, and digital-resource acquisitions — and a still-larger deficit in 2009.

"There's normal inflation and excessive inflation," Eckman says, referring to skyrocketing prices for serial journals. According to the Association for Research Libraries, serials costs jumped 226 percent between 1986 and 2000, a period when the Consumer Price Index rose by 57 percent....

Open-source repository and DL software

Sanjo Jose, Adoption of Open Source Digital Library Software Packages: a Survey, in Manoj K. Kumar (ed.), Proceedings CALIBER 2007: 5th International Convention on Automation of Libraries in Education and Research Institutions, 2007, pp. 98-102, Punjab University, Chandigarh, India.  Self-archived February 14, 2007.

Abstract:   Open source digital library packages are gaining popularity nowadays. To build a digital library under economical conditions open source software is preferable. This paper tries to identify the extent of adoption of open source digital library software packages in various organizations through an online survey. It lays down the findings from the survey.

The survey covers DSpace, EPrints, Fedora, and Greenstone.

Open repositories presentations

The presentations from Open Repositories 2007 (San Antonio, January 23-26, 2007) are now online.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

Harvard students launch OA thesis repository

As part of the National Day of Action for OA, the students at Harvard College Free Culture have announced an OA Thesis Repository for undergraduate senior theses.  It will use CC licenses and start accepting deposits on March 1.

Comment.  Apart from the Harvard-Smithsonian digital video library, Harvard still doesn't have an institutional repository and it's time for it to launch one.  On the one hand, I applaud the students for refusing to wait for the larger institution to act.  But on the other, the student thesis repository will not, apparently, be OAI-compliant.  If Harvard launched a general OAI-compliant IR, it would help all its constituents.  Students could use a section of it, faculty would enlarge their already considerable audience and impact, and researchers worldwide would have access to Harvard's research output.

We're still in the incunabular stage of electronic publishing

John Ottenhoff, Renaissance Women, Text Encoding and the Digital Humanities: An Interview with Julia Flanders, Academic Commons, February 2007.  Excerpt:

Julia Flanders is Director of the exemplary Brown University Women Writers Project and Associate Director for Textbase Development at the Brown University Scholarly Technology Group. With those projects and as Editor in Chief of the [open access] Digital Humanities Quarterly, due to launch in 2007, Julia is a key figure in humanities computing and text encoding initiatives. Academic Commons recently caught up with her to talk about her various projects....

Academic Commons: What's your sense of how faculty are using digital resources like WWP in their research? What kinds of changes are happening in their work, and what kind of obstacles are they facing?

Julia Flanders: At the moment, I think they're using digital collections in much the same way as they use collections of printed books: to find documents they're interested in and to read them. Searching helps to speed up this process; online access makes it more effortless and exposes readers to a wider range of material. But habits of reading are not yet changing very much.

The biggest obstacle is the granularization of online resources, and the lack of cross-collection analysis functions. This is a problem partly because of funding and intellectual property issues, but also because it is something fundamental about the incunabular stage of electronic publishing we're still in. Different projects are experimenting--appropriately!--with different kinds of markup, different approaches to representing materials in digital form. Those differences pose challenges for integrated searching, but they also represent important explorations into digital modeling. Tools like the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) are making it increasingly possible to find items across digital collections, but I think the more detailed analysis functions will have to wait until a further stage in the history of electronic publishing....

Profile of Open Context

Eric Kansa, Open Context: Community Data-sharing and Tagging, Academic Commons, February 2007. 

The Alexandria Archive Institute is now “beta-testing” Open Context.

Open Context is a free, open-access online database resource for archaeology and related fields. It is a highly-generalized tool that pools and integrates individual researcher datasets and museum collections. Funding for the development of Open Context came from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Open Context has a variety of demonstration datasets now available for exploration and testing. These include field archaeology contextual records and finds registers, geo-archaeological samples, and a variety of zooarchaeological analyses. We are also adding museum and reference collection datasets. Some projects have rich image collections and narrative material, and others are of primary interest for specialist comparative analyses.

To help make sense of this widely varying body of material, we have developed a user folksonomy system....

We are working toward interoperability with other systems and developing partnerships to assist in OAI standards compliance and support from institutional repositories. We are also working with the Science Commons to find "some rights reserved" frameworks that create incentives for sharing primary data.

We would also like to see some of this framework incorporated into institutionally-backed digital repository systems. Thus, we are eager to partner with other related initiatives. We already have an established a partnership with the University of Chicago OCHRE project. The data structures underlying Open Context are based on the pioneering efforts this group. Open Context uses a subset of the global schema described in OCHRE’s  “Archaeological Markup Language” (ArchaeoML). Because of this, data imported into Open Context is fully compatible with the OCHRE system. Besides OCHRE, there are several other initiatives looking to create digital resources for archaeology, and we would like to broaden the scope of our collaborations.

More on the Brussels Declaration

Matt Hodgkinson, Declaration of Pomposity, and a Declaration of War?  Journalology, February 15, 2007.  Excerpt:

Ahead of the EC Conference on Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area, a group of publishers have released what they dub the 'Brussels Declaration', which shamelessly echoes the Berlin Declaration on Open Access, the Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing....

They have stated that "we have decided to publish a declaration of principles which we believe to be self-evident". Oh, for pity's sake! Using language that apes the US Declaration of Independence makes them sound very pompous. Is it really 'self-evident' that "Copyright protects the investment of both authors and publishers"? Insisting on transfer of copyright to the publisher certainly helps maintain publisher profits, but how does that help the authors? ...

The real target of this declaration is self-archiving. Stevan Harnad, the "archivangelist", optimistically commented on the IWR Blog that "There will be no war in Brussels. The meeting is about online access to European research findings. The European research community is meeting to decide how to maximise access, usage and impact for its research findings. The answer -- the very same answer -- has already been proposed by the European Commission [...] As a condition for receiving public research funding, all funded researchers should self-archive the resulting research publications online in an Open Access Repository, free for all would-be users"....

The ninth "principle" in this declaration is that "Open deposit of accepted manuscripts [self-archiving] risks destabilising subscription revenues and undermining peer review [...] Free availability of significant proportions of a journal’s content may result in its cancellation and therefore destroy the peer review system upon which researchers and society depend". I sense that hostilities have started... Perhaps soon the publisher tanks will be parked on the University of Southampton's driveway?

Overall this declaration makes these publishers look self-satisfied and a bit silly. I'd have expected better from the BMJ Group, who are one of the signatories.

Student action for OA in the US

In the US, today is the National Day of Action in support of OA and FRPAA, organized by FreeCulture and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

Here's a list of events taking place across the country.  (Thanks to Gavin Baker.)  Spread the word, especially to students on your campus.

A wiki for biomedical data

Jim Giles, Key biology databases go wiki, Nature, February 15, 2007 (accessible only to subscribers).  Excerpt:

Barend Mons’s first objective would be ambitious enough for most people: to meld some of the most important biomedical databases into a single information resource. But that’s just the beginning. Mons, a bioinformatician at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, also wants to apply the Wikipedia philosophy. He’s inviting the whole research community to help update a vast store of interlinked data. If he and his colleagues can pull it off — and even the project’s advocates are not sure they can — they could transform the databases that are central to the work of many life scientists.

A test version of the project, provisionally dubbed Wiki for Professionals, is due to launch in the next month. It already contains data from key sources, such as protein information from Swiss- Prot and gene descriptions from Gene Ontology. Over the past year, Mons’s team has woven together these and other archives to create what, from a user’s point of view, seems to be a single database....

But the next stage is the really radical bit. Biomedical research produces hundreds of thousands of papers a year, overwhelming database curators. To clear this bottleneck, Mons and his colleagues are allowing anyone to edit the entries, modifying and adding text and links as new work is published....

A final function, and the one that most excites Mons, is the availability of text-mining software....

[B]asic access will be free. Revenue will be generated by charging drug firms and other users for premium services, such as the option to run a private version of the system incorporating proprietary data....

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Data exclusivity for clinical trial data slows the development of generic drugs

Karin Timmermans, Monopolizing Clinical Trial Data: Implications and Trends, PLoS Medicine, February 13, 2007. 

From the PLoS press release:

Data exclusivity —the granting of exclusive rights to commercial companies over clinical and preclinical trial data— could jeopardize efforts to create generic versions of life-saving medicines and harm public health....[D]ata exclusivity could impede efforts to produce generic versions of the "flu drug" oseltamivir in the event of a global flu pandemic, and data exclusivity is already preventing patients from getting access to generic HIV medicines.

Before registering a pharmaceutical product and allowing it on the market, regulatory authorities verify its quality, safety, and efficacy. In the case of a new medicine, safety and efficacy are established via preclinical and clinical trials; hence submission of the trial data is an important prerequisite for registration. Because of data exclusivity, regulatory agencies cannot rely on clinical data from the company that originally registered the drug to approve the marketing of the generic, and so these generic manufacturers must carry out their own safety and efficacy studies.

Generic manufacturers are thus obliged to repeat clinical and preclinical trials —something that takes time and is costly. More importantly, says Ms Timmermans, "the repetition of clinical trials raises serious ethical questions, since it would imply withholding medicines that are already known to be effective from some patients (the control group), solely for commercial purposes...."

From the paper itself:

[M]ore countries should resist demands that monopolize the use of clinical trial data and blur the boundaries between the intellectual property regime and regulatory requirements for pharmaceuticals. And the health sector should pay more attention to these developments outside its immediate purview, wake up to the far-reaching implications of these developments, and voice its concerns more widely and more effectively. Failing that, the battle for access to medicines will be lost on these new and little-known fronts.

"It cannot be the purpose of the EU to keep such publishers in business"

Joan Bakewell, A blow to the idea that knowledge is for all to share, The Independent, February 2, 2007.  Primarily about cuts to the British Library budget, but eventually touching on OA to journal literature.  Excerpt:

...In the case of the British Library, such cuts threaten to do more than pare away any excess fat, but strike at the health of the body itself, the principle that knowledge is there for all to share. Meanwhile, in the EU, a conference will be held next month to debate the matter of "open access to research". European cultural commisars will be in attendance, and have been under pressure recently from the publishers of lavish and expensive scientific journals where such research findings are regularly published.

Scientific journals have become big business, worth some £5.6bn a year. Indeed, academic societies often rely on such publications to keep them going. Perhaps that's why the cost of such journals has escalated so steeply in recent years, as they reserve to themselves the right to distribute new ideas.

But the truth is, those ideas have already been paid for. Many public funders - the Economic and Social Research Council is just one - demand that their researchers place copies of published articles on the web where everyone has free access to them. A year ago, the European Union published a report suggesting they do the same. There is now a call to support such a move. 12,000 academics, including two Nobel laureates are petitioning the European Commission to that effect. The counter-argument is that, starved of their income, many worthy academic magazines would fold. But it cannot be the purpose of the EU to keep such publishers in business. Like all publishers - magazines, newspapers, journals - the reality of the web has to be confronted....

Without [research] we are unanchored flotsam adrift in a sea of rumour and make-believe. The British Library's abundance and the EU's research help us towards balance and insight. It's deluded to think their value to our civilisation can be measured in money.

Google loses newspaper suit

Tom Sanders, Belgian newspapers claim final victory in Google spat, Information World Review, February 14, 2007.  Excerpt:

A court in Belgium has upheld an earlier ruling against Google that prevents the search provider from copying newspaper headlines in its Google News service and search index.

The case was filed by Copiepress, a group that represents 18 Belgian newspapers including Le Soir, La Derniére Heure and La Libre Belgique. The organisation alleged that Google's cache and news services offered free access to its copyrighted materials.

A judge last September ordered Google to remove all the copyrighted materials and threatened the firm with a €1m daily fine if it failed to comply.  Google has since removed all references to the newspaper websites from its services, and vowed to fight the legal ruling....

Google said that it was disappointed in the ruling and said that is would continue its appeals.

"It is important to remember that both Google Web Search and Google News only ever show a few snippets of text. If people want to read the entire story they have to click through to the web publisher's site where the information resides, " the company wrote on its official blog.

"We believe search engines are of real benefit to publishers because they drive valuable traffic to their websites." ....

Also see the statement from Rachel Whetstone, Google's European Director of Communications and Public Affairs.

I'm still thinking about how the decision might affect Google's book-digitization projects, especially the opt-out Library project (as opposed to the opt-in Publisher project).  Meantime, John Blossom's comment makes good sense:

...[T]he tactic of taking Google to court is more about trying to gain some leverage in licensing negotiations. From that perspective, the Belgian court decision would seem to be a huge loss for publishers who thought that they could force Google's hand prior to a court's judgment. The truth of the matter is that many publishers don't have the foggiest notion of what the monetary value of exposure of their content in Google would be and therefore would rather chance a suit that would allow them to see what is comfortable to Google. This seems terribly bass-ackwards; why not just come up with a little research to determine that value and enter into earnest negotiations from that starting point? Google's "crawl first, ask questions later" policy may be flawed, but the technical control to prevent search crawlers from entering a Web site have been around for more than a decade. It's time for publishers to stop playing games and to take a more serious look at Google as a business partner that can deliver good value from their services - if you have a good handle on the metrics needed to prove out that value.

In short, if you don't know whether Google boosts net sales, then investigate; and if it does boost net sales, then cooperate (and celebrate), don't litigate.

Update. Here's another good comment, from Ben Vershbow:

[The newspaper suit is] an act of stunning shortsightedness....What the Belgians are in fact doing is rendering their papers invisible to a potentially global audience. Instead of lashing out against what is essentially a free advertising service, why not rethink your own ad structure to account for the fact that more and more readers today are coming through search engines and not your front page? While you're at it, rethink the whole idea of a front page. Or better yet, join forces with other newspapers, form your own federated search service and beat Google at its own game.

Cognitive dissonance at the AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is criticizing the Bush administration for censoring government science about global warming.  For the OA connection, see my comments below; but first an excerpt from the AAP's February 7 press release:

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has joined with six prominent First Amendment groups in issuing a statement condemning the suppression and distortion of information and research results of government climate scientists, and warning of the dire consequences of tampering with sound scientific method.

The statement was prompted by hearings held January 30 by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which heard testimony regarding the suppression of government scientists’ speech and writings, the suppression and distortion of research findings, and retaliatory action taken against those who protested.

The statement, which was organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship, warns that censorship of science “affronts the fundamental premises of the scientific method....Without the free exchange of ideas, science as we understand it cannot exist and progress.” In addition, “The reported acts of suppression and distortion of scientific findings violate the compact between the government and the governed that the Constitution was designed to protect. In chilling the free speech of the scientists on critical policy questions that profoundly affect the public interest and well-being, whether it is climate change or AIDS prevention, these actions hurt the people who have a right to receive accurate, reliable and valid information about critical policy decisions.” ...

The Association of American Publishers...represents an industry whose very existence depends upon the free exercise of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.


  1. First, I applaud the AAP for taking this position.  We disagree about OA, but we agree about many other things.  For example, I supported the AAP's lawsuit to overturn the US Treasury Department's use of trade embargoes to block US journals from editing manuscripts from scientists in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, or the Sudan.  And now I support its position on the political manipulation of science.  If we cannot do enough fast enough to slow global warming, the Bush administration will have to answer to hundreds of millions of displaced people.  The delays caused by his administration's deliberate, political interference with government scientists may already have done incalculable harm.
  2. But it is inconsistent for the AAP to protest the government's deliberate "distortion of information" while the AAP itself deliberately distorts the debate over open access with newspeak slogans like "Public access equals government censorship".  Why call this deliberate distortion rather than deep confusion?  Because the AAP's new PR advisor reportedly gave the tactical advice that "if the other side is on the defensive, it doesn't matter if they can discredit your statements" (according to Nature for January 24, 2007).
  3. It's also inconsistent for the AAP to protest the government's "suppression...of research findings" when an open access mandate for publicly-funded research would have prevented precisely this problem.  There are careful ways to protest suppression without endorsing OA.  But instead of taking that route, the AAP took a very different one by its apparent willingness to construe public access itself as a kind of censorship.
  4. The AAP has said that "some" of the PR proposals it received from its new PR advisor "were not adopted", but it has not said which ones those are.  Now would be a good time for the AAP to clear the air and say in public that open access to publicly-funded research is not censorship but a remedy to censorship.  It may be a remedy it cannot support for other reasons.  But by leaving the impression that it regards public access itself as censorship, it leaves the impression that its disapproval of deliberate distortion is merely selective.

OA repository for Hong Kong cultural heritage

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has donated $80 million to create Hong Kong Memory, an OA repository for the cultural heritage of Hong Kong.

Knowledge first and profit second, or vice versa?

Heather Morrison, The Mission of the STM Publisher: Scholarship - or Profit?  Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, February 13, 2007.  Excerpt:

A number of publishers have signed the Brussels Declaration on STM Publishing today, claiming, among other things, that it is self-evident that The mission of publishers is to maximise the dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining business models.

For many publishers, nonproft and for-profit alike, a genuine interest in scholarship is indeed an important part of the organization's mission. However, it is extremely misleading to claim that it is self-evident that this is the mission of publishers, as clearly many publishers have other key goals - such as profits....This is reflected in the Strategy and Vision of Reed Elsevier, who "Since 2000, set ourselves a goal of achieving higher levels of revenues and earnings growth"....

Clearly, a statement that The mission of publishers is to maximise the dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining business models - is not only not self-evident, it is glaringly inaccurate in not stating of of the key goals of many of the signatories, profit.  If this Declaration had been submitted for peer review - it should never have been published without revision....

Heather follows this with separate posts on the mission statements of McGraw Hill ("McGraw-Hill, if this is self-evident - why is disseminating knowledge not mentioned in your own mission statement?") and Wiley ("Why does the About Wiley page say nothing about knowledge or dissemination of knowledge?").

Poll shows 86% of European researchers support OA

Les Carr, The EC Petition and the EC Poll, a message posted to several discussion lists this morning.  Stevan Harnad has posted the same text to his blog and added a short preface and some relevant links.  From Stevan's version:

Below, Les Carr, head of University of Southampton's Eprints team announces the results of a poll of EC F6 projects on the EC Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate proposal (A1). The results are as overwhelmingly positive as those of the parallel petition.

These results are to be announced in Brussels tomorrow (February 15)....

The European research and academic community has demonstrated overwhelming support for the European Commission's proposed Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate (A1). A petition, launched jointly on January 14th 2007 by research organisations in a number of European countries, has drawn over 20,000 signatures from Europe and worldwide in support of the EC's proposal. The response includes almost 1,000 institutional signatories from National Academies of Sciences, Universities, Rectors' conferences, Learned Societies, national and private research funding councils, and industries that apply research.)

In conjunction with the petition, a separate poll has been conducted of the EC Open Access Mandate's specific target constituency. The administrators of currently active EU FP6 projects were asked to register a vote FOR or AGAINST open access to research results. The result was overwhelming: 85.8% in favour of open access, 14.2% against (based on a healthy 8.22% response rate from 2652 email invitations to vote).

Previous research has demonstrated the increased impact that Open Access to Research Results offers the research industry. The petition and the poll demonstrate that Open Access now receives broad-based and popular support as a mainstream requirement of the European research industry.

Unspinning the Brussels Declaration

Nice comment by William Walsh on the Brussels Declaration:

  • Number of times peer review is mentioned in the press release  3
  • Number of times peer review is mentioned in the declaration  5
  • High-priced advice given to publishers by Eric Dezenhall:  "[A]ttempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review."
  • Number of OA models incompatible with peer review  0

Definition of "free cultural works" 1.0

New "Definition of Free Cultural Works" Challenges Authors to Rethink Copyright Law, a press release from Erik Möller and Benjamin Mako Hill, February 14, 2007.

A diverse group of writers has released the first version of the "Definition of Free Cultural Works." The authors have identified a minimum set of freedoms which they believe should be granted to all users of copyrighted materials. Created on a wiki with the feedback of Wikipedia users, open source hackers, artists, scientists, and lawyers, the definition lists the following core freedoms:

  • The freedom to use and perform the work
  • The freedom to study the work and apply the information
  • The freedom to redistribute copies
  • The freedom to distribute derivative works.

Inspired by the Free Software Definition and the ideals of the free software and open source movements, these conditions are meant to apply to any conceivable work. In reality, these freedoms must be granted explicitly by authors, through the use of licenses which confer them. On the website of the definition, a list of these licenses can be found....

The definition was initiated by Benjamin Mako Hill, a Debian GNU/Linux developer, and Erik Möller, an author and long-time Wikipedia user. Wikipedia already follows similar principles to those established by the definition. Angela Beesley, Wikimedia Advisory Board Chair and co-founder of; Mia Garlick, general counsel of Creative Commons; and Elizabeth Stark of the Free Culture Student Movement acted as moderators, while Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation and Lawrence Lessig of Creative Commons provided helpful feedback.

As more and more people recognize that there are alternatives to traditional copyright, phrases like "open source," "open access," "open content," "free content," and "commons" are increasingly used. But many of these phrases are ambiguous when it comes to distinguishing works and licenses which grant all the above freedoms, and those which only confer limited rights....

Happy birthday, BOAI

Happy birthday to the Budapest Open Access Initiative, which is five years old today.

The BOAI is one of a handful of events that catalyzed the international open access movement.  The BOAI offered a definition of OA that has structured action and opinion ever since.  It was the first to call for OA journals and OA archives as complementary strategies.  It was the first to generalize the call for OA, in both forms, beyond a certain field or region, the first to be accompanied by significant funding, and the first to use the term open access

The BOAI emerged from a December 2001 meeting in Budapest convened by the Open Society Institute, which committed $3 million to implement its vision.

(Disclosure:  I helped draft the BOAI and receive support from OSI.  Dilemma:  Should I understate the BOAI's influence just because I have a connection to it?  I can't.  Hence this disclosure.  Call me biased or write your own birthday greeting, but this is my take.)

This isn't the place to recapitulate the last five years of OA activity and show the footprints of the BOAI.  But see Open Access in 2006Open Access in 2005, Open Access in 2004, and Open Access in 2003. I didn't write an OA review for 2002, but I did review OA archiving activity in the first six months after the BOAI launched. And for the details missing from these reviews, there's always my timeline.

To the BOAI, live long and prosper --and to all who have worked for OA worldwide, Happy Valentines Day as well.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DOAJ membership program

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) has launched a membership program.  See today's press release.  From the site:

Thanks to funding from Open Society Institute, The Royal Library of Sweden, SPARC, SPARC Europe and Axiell we have been able to operate, extend and improve the DOAJ over the last 3 years making the DOAJ the authoritative listing of peer-reviewed scholarly open access journals.

We need your support for the continuing operation and development of the DOAJ. In order to create a sustainable financial foundation for the continuing development and operation of DOAJ we now launch a membership program allowing individuals, universities, research centers, libraries, library organisation, library consortia, aggregators and other organisations to contribute.

Statement from Peter Suber in support of the membership program:

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is used by faculty around the world to find peer-reviewed journals where they can submit their work, as well as to find journals where they will have open access to the peer-reviewed research of colleagues. In these ways, the DOAJ enhances the value of open-access literature and helps connect authors and readers. Every institution that supports open access, or researchers who support open access, should support the DOAJ. I hope you will consider joining its membership program.

DOAJ Membership Benefits

  • Acknowledgement as a DOAJ Member on the DOAJ Membership Pages, including link to your/your institutions/your company's homepage.
  • Access to the list of recently added titles
  • Subscription to e-mail list for DOAJ members
  • Access to list of removed titles
  • The right to use the DOAJ membership in marketing activities....

PS:  I said it and I meant it.  We need the DOAJ.  Please ask your institution to help.

What does the EC communication say and who has seen it?

See the press release from the STM announcing the Brussels Declaration.  A colleague has drawn my attention to this sentence:

[T]he [European] Commission’s Communication on Scientific Information in the Digital Age issued this week does not make clear why government intervention is needed and risks promoting one business model over another.

I'm glad to see the implication that the Communication calls for some kind of "intervention" and I hope it's the EU-wide OA mandate recommended in the report commissioned by the EC itself. 

But as far as I know, the EC Communication has not yet been issued.  I haven't seen any announcement on any list (and I track the lists that would probably talk about it).  There's no mention of it in the EC's press room.  It doesn't turn up on a search of the EC site.  And the scheduled release date isn't until February 15.  Did publishers get an advance copy?

Publishers issue a Brussels Declaration

The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) has released the Brussels Declaration on STM Publishing, February 13, 2007.  Here it is unabridged, but for the signatures:

Many declarations have been made about the need for particular business models in the STM information community. STM publishers have largely remained silent on these matters as the majority are agnostic about business models: what works, works. However, despite very significant investment and a massive rise in access to scientific information, our community continues to be beset by propositions and manifestos on the practice of scholarly publishing. Unfortunately the measures proposed have largely not been investigated or tested in any evidence-based manner that would pass rigorous peer review. In the light of this, and based on over ten years experience in the economics of online publishing and our longstanding collaboration with researchers and librarians, we have decided to publish a declaration of principles which we believe to be self-evident.

  1. The mission of publishers is to maximise the dissemination of knowledge through economically self-sustaining business models. We are committed to change and innovation that will make science more effective. We support academic freedom: authors should be free to choose where they publish in a healthy, undistorted free market 
  2. Publishers organise, manage and financially support the peer review processes of STM journals. The imprimatur that peer-reviewed journals give to accepted articles (registration, certification, dissemination and editorial improvement) is irreplaceable and fundamental to scholarship
  3. Publishers launch, sustain, promote and develop journals for the benefit of the scholarly community
  4. Current publisher licensing models are delivering massive rises in scholarly access to research outputs. Publishers have invested heavily to meet the challenges of digitisation and the annual 3% volume growth of the international scholarly literature, yet less than 1% of total R&D is spent on journals
  5. Copyright protects the investment of both authors and publishers. Respect for copyright encourages the flow of information and rewards creators and entrepreneurs
  6. Publishers support the creation of rights-protected archives that preserve scholarship in perpetuity
  7. Raw research data should be made freely available to all researchers. Publishers encourage the public posting of the raw data outputs of research. Sets or sub-sets of data that are submitted with a paper to a journal should wherever possible be made freely accessible to other scholars
  8. Publishing in all media has associated costs. Electronic publishing has costs not found in print publishing. The costs to deliver both are higher than print or electronic only. Publishing costs are the same whether funded by supply-side or demand-side models. If readers or their agents (libraries) don't fund publishing, then someone else (e.g. funding bodies, government) must 
  9. Open deposit of accepted manuscripts risks destabilising subscription revenues and undermining peer review. Articles have economic value for a considerable time after publication which embargo periods must reflect. At 12 months, on average, electronic articles still have 40-50% of their lifetime downloads to come. Free availability of significant proportions of a journal’s content may result in its cancellation and therefore destroy the peer review system upon which researchers and society depend 
  10. “One size fits all” solutions will not work. Download profiles of individual journals vary significantly across subject areas, and from journal to journal

The declaration is currently signed by 8 publisher associations and 35 publishers, including some of the largest like Elsevier, Wiley, Blackwell, Springer, Macmillan, and McGraw Hill.  It is open for more signatures.


  • Is it odd to criticize evidence-free proposals in the same document in which one declares 10 principles to be self-evident?
  • There are dozens of empirical studies supporting OA.  See the Bibliography of empirical studies on open access and Steve Hitchcock's bibliography of empirical studies on the OA impact advantage
  • Publishers who call for evidence have to live by evidence.  For example, that means not asserting without evidence that OA archiving will undermine subscriptions and peer review (see Principle 9).  It means acknowledging the evidence that OA journals perform peer review.  It means acknowledging the evidence that in physics, the field with the highest levels and longest history of OA archiving, the Institute of Physics and the American Physical Society have found no cancellations attributable to OA archiving. In fact both the IOP and APS have even launched their own arXiv mirrors.  The ALPSP, which signed the Brussels Declaration, did an empirical study concluding that high journal prices were a much more significant cause of cancellations than OA archiving.  (Whenever I bring up the archiving-kills-journals objection, I have to note the two-sidedness of my position:  there's no evidence yet that high-volume OA archiving will kill subscriptions; but it might really have this effect in some fields and, if it did, then it would still be justified.)
  • The only reason why authors of scholarly articles need copyright is to assure proper attribution and the integrity of their work.  In every other way copyright is an access barrier that limits their audience and impact.  Could the publishers be confusing authors of journal articles with authors who earn royalties from their writing?
  • I welcome the endorsement of OA for data.  When STM and ALPSP first endorsed open data, I applauded them and added this note:  "I acknowledge that there are many differences between OA to data and OA to peer-reviewed articles interpreting or analyzing data. But ALPSP and STM should acknowledge that there are many similarities, and that most of their arguments for OA data (enhancing research productivity, avoiding costly repetition of research, supporting the creative integration and reworking of research) also apply to OA literature."

17 Belgian officials sign the Berlin Declaration

Last week we heard that 13 Belgian university rectors and two government ministers planned to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge on February 13 --today.  But today there are 17 new Belgian signatures on the Declaration:  15 rectors and two ministers.  This is an excellent way for Brussels to welcome the participants in Thursday's EC-hosted conference on OA and scientific publishing.

The case for using author addenda to retain rights

R. Michael Tanner, Copyrights and the Paradox of Scholarly Publishing, a preprint, Draft 3, December 4, 2006.  Tanner is the Provost of the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Abstract:   While the information revolution has made dissemination of documents faster, easier, and less expensive, scholarly publication has not evidenced the expected benefits. Journal prices have been rising much faster than inflation due to dysfunctions in the market for critical materials. Copyright ownership and control is at the fulcrum in finding a new balance between access and the financial success of publishers. To assure long-term access, authors should consider alternatives, such as including copyright addenda, before transferring copyrights to publishers.

PS:  The CIC author addendum refers readers to Tanner's article "for a fuller consideration of the issues addressed herein".

Librarian support for OA

Last month on his blog, David Warlick triggered a flood of comments by asking why librarians were still necessary.   One reader, Stephen Downes, focused his response on OA:

I would not attempt to defend the traditional role of librarians, as information brokers....I would instead support librarians - those that are willing to make the change - by appealing to their role in organizing and making available the content produced by the school or the university. A librarian plays a vital role in supporting each institutions’ contribution to open access. By supporting open access, institutions can save the money they spend on books and periodicals. This helps support the hosting of institutional archives, and helps the institution spend more time and money on the production of quality scholarship.

(Thanks to Paul Pival.)

OA is in the public interest

Bevin P. Engelward and Richard J. Roberts, Open Access to Research Is in the Public Interest, PLoS Biology, February 13, 2007.  An editorial. Excerpt:

With very little fanfare, American science will make a sizeable leap forward in the coming year —if Congress and the National Institutes of Health deliver on their promise for public access to medical research....

Yet increasingly...the availability of the information vital to our research is needlessly restricted by the publishers of the scientific literature, who are mainly large commercial entities for whom maximizing profits is their priority....

The National Institutes of Health have championed their wish to maintain all federally funded medical research in a publicly accessible online archive maintained by the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central. It stands to reason that taxpayer-supported science should be available to all. The Pew Trust recently reported that 93 million Americans searched for medical knowledge on the Web to find the latest information for their health conditions....

What about the interests of science? We know firsthand that faster, barrier-free access to scientific research findings is equally good if not more compelling for science and scientists —senior and early-career researchers alike. It's good for science because knowledge is cumulative —it advances by building on previous knowledge. Research in a vacuum has little or no value; it is infinitely more valuable when shared and used....

For younger scientists, being recognized is critical to our professional successes. Making our work openly available is a means of being recognized and emulated. Senior researchers also should be encouraging their graduate students and postdoctoral colleagues to use open access for career advancement.

Even if the prestigious journals in our fields are not yet open access, young scientists always have opportunities to make our work available in an open archive like PubMed Central or at our universities' online institutional repositories. Academic institutions and the science community are forging new, innovative partnerships to advance science and to promote the best minds by harnessing an open-access environment.

For those of us who have dedicated our lives to science, public access is a two-way street. We can more easily read other scientists' works (which helps our research), and they can read ours (making it far more likely to be cited). Younger researchers, educated and raised in the networked digital environment, are used to moving seamlessly from info source to info source. The scientific research environment should respond to and favor this effective work style.

Knowledge itself is seamless, as ideas spark other ideas, or reject unworkable ones. Through public access to science, at last we will have the advantage of being able to move from primary literature to other data sources —and back. Finally, we will have the opportunity within our grasp to follow a research thread in the ideal way, without artificial barriers, gaps, and tariffs, regardless of the type of material or who owns and curates it—and to instantly make connections. In an age rife with the potential for infectious pandemics, bioterrorism, and toxic environmental calamity, and at a time when we need new ways to cure terrible illnesses, public access is our society's compelling answer to accelerating the best science possible. This advance is much needed, both by researchers working in academic settings and in the private sector. Indeed, we should demand no less. We invite our fellow scientists to join in the demand for open access to biomedical literature.

Engelward is an Associate Professor of Molecular Toxicology at MIT; Roberts is Chief Scientific Officer for New England Biolabs and winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Nine pricing models for ejournals

Golnessa Galyani Moghaddam, Pricing and Publishing Models of Electronic Journals, SRELS - Journal of Information Management, 43, 4 (December 2006) pp. 375-390.  Self-archived February 11, 2007.

Abstract:   There has been a crisis in scholarly communication since the late 1980’s due to the spiraling costs of scientific journals. Libraries were the first to experience the effects of the breakdown as they struggled to keep up with the exploding volume and cost of journals in Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM). As the cost of serials in major libraries soared, libraries were forced to cancel millions of dollars worth of subscriptions. Most pricing and publishing models were created to offer a constructive response to this issue. The aim of these initiatives is to transform scientific journal publishing into a market-aware and fiscally responsible enterprise. There are many pricing and publishing models for electronic journals. The following models are explained in this paper: TULIP, PEAK, SPARK, BioOne, HighWire Press, Project MUSE, JSTOR, PubMed, and EPIC.

Publishers add value but their prices are unaffordable

Martyn Daniels, Open Access - Who Pays?  Booksellers Association, February 13, 2007.  Excerpt:

...[T]he European Research Council has argued that the high price of scientific journals was "impeding scientific progress"...

So on one hand, we have commercial parties who are trying to assist researchers and institutions publish and access a rich body of work, and on the other hand, we have researchers trying to publish and institutions trying to access a rich body of work. The key therefore lies in the value that the publisher brings to the table and whether that equates to the value perceived by the creator and the reader.

Yesterday paper dictated the workflow of submission, peer review, editorial, production and distribution. Today digital communications potentially turns much of this on its head. Yesterday journals were often ‘twigged’ to maximize the specialization and some would suggest their price. Today online search and discovery and referencing should change this. Yesterday publication and subscriptions were scheduled to align with issues within academic years. Today articles should be managed in real time and not bound by issues which become increasingly irrelevant....

Monday, February 12, 2007

Setting the stage for this week's EC-hosted conference

Jessica Shepherd, Open season for researchers, The Guardian, February 13, 2007.  Excerpt:

"Ours is the best of businesses: we get our raw material for free and our customers pay us a year in advance," joked the publisher of an academic journal to a university researcher.

Perhaps not for much longer. Momentum is growing for publicly funded published academic research to be available free on the internet. So-called "open access" would mean anyone could view an article in a scholarly journal shortly after it was published.

Most academic publishers are not pleased. This would sharply cut their subscriptions, the "customers who pay a year in advance". Some even fear it could make them bankrupt.

This week publishers, researchers and research funders from across Europe will debate the issue in Brussels at a conference hosted by the European commission.

"We are at tipping point," says Peter Burnhill, director of a national data centre that serves UK universities and colleges. "There is a movement towards open access and this conference...might make the difference." ...

Already more than 19,000 scholars have signed a petition to urge the European commission in favour of open access. They include Nobel laureates Harold Varmus and Richard Roberts, and the Wellcome Trust, the world's largest medical research charity.

Wellcome's head of e-strategy, Robert Kiley, says: "We believe that the dissemination of research is just part of the research process. We give an academic a grant and pay for their time, accommodation and test-tubes. It seems strange, then, that after a year or two, the outcome is an article which the academic gives to a publisher and which we then have to buy back." ...

But traditional journal publishers argue that open access would trigger a dramatic drop in subscriptions, especially for subject-specific journals published by learned societies such as the London Mathematical Society....

Susan Hezlet, publisher of the London Mathematical Society's journals, says: "If all publicly funded published research was made available free on the internet, publishers would all go bust and no one would manage the peer review, editing and distribution processes...."

Pity for the journals and their publishers has been thin on the ground. The European Research Council has argued that the high price of scientific journals was "impeding scientific progress".

And last year the European commission published an independent report showing the price of scientific journals had risen 200%-300% beyond inflation between 1975 and 1995....

Some major commercial publishers are softening to the idea of open access. Reed Elsevier, the world's largest scientific publisher, has agreed to allow contributors to post articles on their own websites....

So the daggers are drawn for this week's conference. "I think the losers need to be able to lose gracefully and feel that they have been given the chance to speak," says Burnhill.

New draft author addendum from CIC

The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) has released a draft Provosts’ Statement On Publishing Agreements.  It includes an author addendum enabling scholars to retain the rights they need to authorize postprint archiving.  (Thanks to Eric Mockensturm, who reports that CIC sent the draft to Penn State's Faculty Senate Committee on Research for comment.)  Excerpt:

Publication is the lifeblood of a research university. It is incumbent upon faculty, campus administrators and librarians to ensure the free flow of scholarly information in fulfillment of our campus missions to advance the public good through research and education....Suitable publishing partners for academic enterprises should be encouraging the widest possible dissemination of the academy’s work, and the management of copyright should be directed to encouraging scholarly output rather than unnecessarily fettering its access and use. Without some important changes in publishing practices, authors and readers will continue to be frustrated by barriers to the free flow of information that is an essential characteristic of great research universities.

The CIC Provosts...encourage authors to consider publishing strategies that will optimize short and long-term access to their work, taking into account such factors as affordability, efficient means for distribution, a secure third-party archiving strategy, and flexible management of rights....

[T]he CIC Provosts encourage contract language that ensures that academic authors retain certain rights that facilitate archiving, instructional use, and sharing with colleagues to advance discourse and discovery. Accompanying this document is a model CIC publishing addendum that affirms the rights of authors to share their work in a variety of circumstances, including posting versions of the work in institutional or disciplinary repositories....


  1. By my count, the CIC author addendum is the eighth, following earlier models (in order) from SPARC, the Boston Library Consortium, MIT, Science Commons, University of North Carolina, OhioLink, and SURF/JISC. 
  2. If you remember, CIC organized the letter supporting FRPAA from 25 university provosts, July 28, 2006, kicking off a wave of letters that now totals 132 signatures from US university provosts and presidents.

OA and the pricing crisis at Macalester College

Veronique Bergeron, Nation-wide movement seeks to open access to medical research, Mac Weekly (student newspaper at Macalester College), February 12, 2007.  Excerpt:

In hopes of gaining access to publicly funded research materials, President Brian Rosenberg recently co-signed an open letter supporting the Open Access movement....

The issue will come to a peak on Feb. 15, christened the National Day of Action for students around the country interested in open access to publicly-funded research.
Among the many issues on the agenda for the Day of Action is the Congressional passage of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA)....

“It’s important to Macalester because it’s important to all academic institutions,” Library Director Terri Fishel said. “It’s not just a small college or large research institution issue.  This initiative directly affects student and faculty access to information. Access to information is what helps advance knowledge in all disciplines, and isn’t limited just to scientific information.” ...

According to Fishel, a large portion of the library’s budget goes towards journal subscriptions, though she could not disclose the exact percentage. “Subscription prices go up ten percent, and our budget has been cut every year for the past three years,” she said....

Notes on the Open Repositories meeting

Eric Lease Morgan has written up some notes on his trip to Open Repositories 2007 (San Antonio, January 23-26, 2007).  Excerpt:

This text documents my experiences at the Open Repositories 2007 conference, January 22-26, San Antonio (Texas). In a sentence I learned two things: 1) institutional repository software such as Fedora, DSpace, and EPrints are increasingly being used for more than open access publishing efforts, and 2) the Web Services API of Fedora makes it relatively easy for developers using any programming language to interface with the underlying core....

The opening keynote was given by James L. Hilton entitled "Open Source for Open Repositories: New Models for Software Development and Sustainability". He began with two over-arching statements: 1) "Open repositories have the same potential as the printing press", and 2) "We have a moment in time to build repositories in a collaborative environment." He elaborated by first mentioning Larry Ellison as his hero for open source.  Why?  Because Ellison, through fear, has made people re-think long-lost, closed questions regarding software supporting the enterprise. "We could become hostages to the software we use to do our everyday business." ...

C. Lee Giles described the challenges of building a chemistry repositories in "ChemXSeer: A Chemistry Web Portal for Scientific Literature and Datasets". The discipline of chemistry has traditionally not been as open as computer science or physics when it comes to sharing their content. Incorporating some of the ethos of the chemistry discipline in repository applications make the process more difficult. Similarly, chemistry is primarily not text-based making traditional text searching a challenge. Building on the success of CiteSeer, ChemXSeer hopes to bring aspects of open access publishing to chemistry.

Tony Hey gave the closing keynote address called "e-Science and Scholarly Communication". His well-balanced presentation described what he saw as an evolution in the scientific process. Oldest science (think Galileo) was experimental. Science then became more theoretical (think Einstein). Using computation he sees science moving in a new direction. By gathering, sharing, and synthesizing data & information in more systematic ways, Hey sees science evolving. He sees science as becoming data-centric. Take a mini-volcano as an example. Place sensors at the volcano. Monitory the sensors. Record the volcano's activity. Share the data freely and with many communities. Allow people to draw their own conclusions from the data and combine it with other data/information. He sees new types of peer-review in the form of social networking, and new types of ranking beyond journal impact. The keys to success in this regard surround acquisition, preservation, open access of data & information....

Pharma companies provide open data from self-interest

Matthew Herper and Robert Langreth, Biology Goes Open Source, Forbes, February 12, 2007.  (Thanks to Slashdot via Garrett Eastman.)  Excerpt:

Some of the world's biggest drug companies are finding that their genetic research is worth more to them if they give it away.

Novartis, the Basel, Switzerland, drug giant, has helped uncover which of the 20,000 genes identified by the Human Genome Project are likely to be associated with diabetes. But rather than hoard this information, as drug firms have traditionally done, it is making it available for free on the World Wide Web.

"It will take the entire world to interpret these data," says Novartis research head Mark Fishman. "We figure we will benefit more by having a lot of companies look at these data than by holding it secret." ...

There was a time when drug giants tried to keep leads like that to themselves in an attempt to gain an advantage over their competitors. They paid lots of money for the privilege, too....

Novartis isn't the only drug firm embracing this "give it away for free" mentality. Pfizer has promised to make available for free a swath of genetic information emerging from a three-year collaboration with the National Institutes of Health.

For its part, the NIH has suggested making this kind of free access the standard operating procedure for all of its genetic research.

CC licenses for cultural heritage

Esther Hoorn, Creative Commons Licences for cultural heritage institutions: A Dutch perspective, IVIR, September 2006 (73 pp. PDF).  Excerpt:

...This study explores the possibilities for the cultural heritage institutions to provide free access to digital cultural heritage, based on voluntary use of standardized licences. The central question in this research is whether Creative Commons Licences constitute a tool allowing cultural heritage institutions to fulfil their mission within their funding and operational framework....

[A] general policy objective for cultural heritage institutions that cultural heritage should be broadly available and that user involvement should be facilitated. Yet the consequences of this are for a large part not yet translated into policies on access and re-use in the digital environment. From a user perspective for the participation in culture it is of importance to have access as well as the rights to re-use works. CC Licences can be instrumental to identify appropriate levels of sharing in fields of creative practice. For works of which a cultural heritage institution is the rights holder, the use of CC Licences makes re-use easier and therefore stimulates the production of new works....

Second SPARC Europe award for scholarly communications

It's time to send SPARC Europe your nominations for the Second Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications.  From today's announcement:

SPARC Europe..., a leading organization of European research libraries, today announced the opening of nominations for the Second SPARC Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications.  Launched in 2006, this annual Award recognises an individual or group within Europe that has made significant advances in our understanding of the issues surrounding scholarly communications and/or in developing practical means to address the problems with the current systems.  The First Award, in 2006, was presented to the Wellcome Trust.
Nominations are open to all who have made major contributions in the field of scholarly communications, and the judging panel, formed from members of the SPARC Europe Board of Directors, particularly wishes to receive nominations for individuals or groups working in any of the following areas:

  • Research that helps illuminate the scholarly communications landscape
  • Advocacy for new models of scholarly communications
  • Development of new tools to aid scholarly communication (e.g. repository software)
  • Interesting new projects or products
  • Implementation of policies that promote new scholarly communication models.

Nominations may come from any part of the world, but nominees should work mainly within Europe.  (Self-nominations will not be accepted.)  Preference will be given to activity within the past two years. Nominations (together with a short outline of the nominee’s work) should be sent to David Prosser, Director of SPARC Europe no later than 23 February 2007. The Award will be present at OAI5 - the 5th Workshop on Innovations in Scholarly Communication, to be held at CERN, Switzerland 18-20 April 2007.

PS:  Note that the deadline for nominations (February 23) is only 11 days from today.

The blogging rector explains why he will sign the Berlin Declaration

If you remember the announcement from last week, 13 Belgian university rectors and other officials plan to sign the Berlin Declaration on Open Access in Brussels tomorrow.  One of the rectors is Bernard Rentier of the University of Liege.  Today, Rentier blogged 11 reasons why he plans to sign, four answers to frequently asked questions that faculty might ask about OA, and notes on five OA policies worldwide.  Read it in French or Google's English.

This week's EC-hosted conference on scientific publishing

Mark Chillingworth, Scientific publishing conference, will it be war or peace pact?  Information World Review blog, February 12, 2007. 

A scientific publishing conference taking place this week couldn't come at a better time as the scientific information community teeters on the brink of all out war. At no time before has the open access publishing debate been so truculent. The decision to hire a PR attack dog has not been welcomed

Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area kicks off on Thursday 15 February in Brussels. All the key players from publishing and the open access movement are in attendance, including Nick Fowlers, Director of Strategy for publishing giants Elsevier, Robert Kiley, Head of E-Strategy at the Wellcome Trust, the funding body that is very pro-Open Access, Blackwell boss Bob Campbell and Ian Russell, the CEO of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP).

The conference will be opened by Janez Potocnik, EU Commissioner for Science and Research, whilst the closing speech will be by Viviane Reding, the Commissioner for Information Society and Media.

Discussions will include challenges and opportunities facing scientific publishing, new opportunities for the research community, business models and policy options.

Jan Velterop, open access champion at major STM publisher Springer is attending, but is worried that the scientific information is being divided into distinct camps and on a collision course towards war. "I hope this conference can be constructive," he said, "Sadly there is not enough desire by either side to actually get together and solve the problems of scientific information, which is a pity."

Some believe the conference will focus on the news in recent weeks that the Association of American Publishers (AAP) along with its members Elsevier and John Wiley & Sons has hired a notorious PR attack expert to rubbish the claims of open access supporters. "It is not very helpful, it is drawing this into a battle, when a constructive dialog would be better for everyone," Velterop said.

Subsidized journal access in Chile

Paula Leighton, Online science library boosts access in Chile, SciDev.Net, February 12, 2007.  Excerpt:

A new initiative to spread the cost of subscriptions will give Chilean researchers access to a wide variety of electronic science and technology publications. 

Known as the National Library Online, the scheme is a partnership between the Chilean National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) and the Consortium for Scientific and Technological Information Online (CINCEL).

Payments for annual subscriptions to online science databases, public libraries and journals — which are often unaffordable for one institution — will be pooled under the scheme.

The initiative, launched last week (1 February), will be part-funded by an annual grant of US$2.9 million contributed by CONICYT — which manages Chile's science and technology funding — until 2009. CINCEL's member institutions will contribute half the price of the subscriptions each year. Access will be made available to non-members....

The online library is similar to Brazil's Periodicos CAPES, which offers 188 higher education and research institutions full access to over 11,000 journals....

PS:  This is not open access but subsidized toll access, a topic I don't normally cover here.  But for other large examples in recent news, see (1) yesterday's story in The Hindu about subsidized JSTOR access in India and (2) Friday's story in CBC News about the $25 million grant from the Canadian government to the Canadian Research Knowledge Network to provide participating universities with access to social science and humanities research.

PLoS responds to the AAP

Randy Dotinga, Open-Access Debate: Public Library of Science Responds, Wired News, February 11, 2007. 

As part of my coverage of the evolution of the debate over open access (the story should run on Wired News this week), I emailed some questions to Public Library of Science, one of the leading open-access publishers.

Mark Patterson, director of publishing, responded.

First, I asked what PloS thinks about the publicity campaign that's been launched by traditional publishers who want to prevent mandatory open access:

The action by the AAP [Association of American Publishers] is an indication of how strong the open access movement has become. There has been huge progress towards open access over the past year in particular, and comprehensive open access is now inevitable.

PLoS will continue to build an outstanding open access publishing operation, and promote public access to all research publications…

The PLoS journals themselves are open access, peer-reviewed, and publish great science. The quality of these journals speaks for itself.

What about the financial status of PloS? (Some open-access journals are having trouble making a profit.)

PLoS is supported by a mixture of philanthropy and revenue from our publishing operation, and we are on a path towards financial self-sufficiency.

I also asked about the PloS system, which generally requires authors [PS: or author-sponsors] to pay to be published.

As for author payment, our current prices are listed [here].    

We offer a complete or partial fee waiver for authors who do not have funds to cover publication fees. Editors and reviewers have no access to author payment information, and so the inability to pay the fee will not influence the publishing decision about a paper.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Report on the Bangalore OA workshop

Barbara Kirsop, Open access and developing countries, Current Science, February 10, 2007.  A report on the Workshop on electronic publishing and open access (Bangalore, November 2-3, 2006).  Excerpt:

...The main aim of the workshop was to consider a national policy document for developing countries that could be used by governments or their science-funding organizations to speed up the scientific progress....

Lawrence Liang...discussed the knowledge commons and the need to protect essential publicly-funded information from commercial barriers. He invited us to resist a property discourse that conflates property rights with academic rights and turns the collegiality of academe into the hierarchy of property....

Barbara Kirsop (Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, UK) gave an overview of why developing countries should adopt open access, providing persuasive recent statistics that showed the rapid growth in the quantity of material currently available free to all. Alma Swan of Key Perspectives, a consultancy that has carried out a number of basic studies on the use and impact of open access policies, showed how the digital age is changing how science is recorded, evaluated and assessed....

Muthu Madhan of the National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, the only Indian institution to have mandated self-archiving of all faculty and student research publications, mentioned that after the mandate more than 90% of papers are being deposited by the authors.

S. Krishnan (National Chemical Laboratory, Pune) emphasized the need for archiving data. Sunil Abraham (a member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) board) suggested that citizens, as tax payers and consumers, have a right to get free access to results of publicly-funded research.

The workshop ended with a discussion chaired by M. R. N. Murthy (IISc) on a proposed national policy document that could be used to promote acceptance of the open access strategies outlined in the Budapest Open Access Initiative and based on the Salvador Declaration for Open Access for Developing Countries. The proposed policy document was discussed by all participants and a number of suggestions were made for improvement.  These were noted and after the workshop the document was revised and re-circulated to all participants for approval. The final document was prepared incorporating further recommendations received through e-mail and was circulated widely. It may be accessed from the workshop website.

It is hoped that this National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries will provide a major step forward to adopting open access as a way to release all publicly funded research publications from financial and other barriers, thus creating a level playing field for scientific development worldwide. Without the free and full exchange of scientific information, the solving of the major problems affecting countries – tsunamis, avian flu, HIV/ AIDS, global warming, emerging infectious diseases – will forever be delayed....

The indefatigable energy of Subbiah Arunachalam (M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai) allowed this important workshop to take place....Presentations, a list of participants, open access resources, the OA Policy Document and other information are all available [here].

Profile of BMC

David Weinberger, BioMed Central and Open Science Endeavors, The Filter, January 2007.  Scroll to article [1].  Excerpt:

BioMed Central is a commercial publisher of peer-reviewed scientific research that permits open (= free) access to all of its content. In so doing, it happens to exemplify a whole bunch of trends, many of which are associated with "Web 2.0." It is not a voice from the future, describing visions we cannot yet imagine. It's in some ways more valuable than that, for it's an existing business, dealing with the future in practical ways. In it we can see not just where the Web may go, but where it is right now: ...

[U]nlike most scientific journals, at BMC readers don't pay. Why not? Because putting knowledge behind a wall with a slot for dollar bills makes our species stupider. And given the economic differences in the ability to pay, it cuts off too much of the world. So, BMC's business model incorporates a sense of responsibility to the community, not just to the investors....

BMC makes its processes as transparent as possible....

BMC...urges scientists to publish their raw data so that others can mine it for knowledge....

BMC makes the reliability of its information apparent....

BMC provides a mix of top-down and bottom-up metadata....

BMC "intertwingles" its content, spinning a Web of links....

It has lots of feeds....

BMC experiments....

BMC does not pretend it's perfect....

It's not just open, it's generous....[Openness] encourages others to take content and make more of it. Generosity has built the Web....

Gold and green, not just gold

Stevan Harnad, Pitting Petitions Against Pit-Bulls: Sense Versus Sensationalism, Open Access Archivangelism, February 11, 2007.  Excerpt:

CRITIQUE OF: Goldacre, Ben (2007) Open access and the price of knowledge. The Guardian, Saturday February 10, 2007....

Ben Goldacre has his heart in the right place, but:

(1) The Open Access (OA) movement is not the "Open Access Journal movement."

Trying to convert non-OA journals to OA journals (and to convert authors to publishing in them) is only one of the two ways to make articles OA ("Gold OA"), and the far more resistant and less certain way.  The surer, faster way is just to convert authors to self-archiving their own articles (published in whatever journal they wish) on the web to make them OA ("Green OA")....The research community has just signed a petition in support of the European Commission's proposal to mandate Green OA (20,000 individuals, 1000 institutions)....

(2) It is not "two [Gold] OA publishing organisations" that have led the fight for OA, but one (Green and Gold) organisation -- the same one that first coined the term OA in 2002: the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI).

(3) The need for access to "medical literature", and in "developing countries" is just one small portion of the need for OA, which concerns all forms of research, and researchers all over the world.

(4) The primary need for OA is to make research (most of it specialised and technical) freely available not only to "part-time tinkering thinkers, journalists and the public" but to the researchers worldwide for whom it was written and who can use and apply it to the benefit of the public that paid for it.

(5) To demonize non-OA publisher Reed-Elsevier as the "sponsor of the DSEI international arms fair [that] needs police, security, wire fences, and the pitbull of PR [Dezenhall] to defend it" is to sink into the very same pit-bull tactics.  Reed-Elsevier journals are Green on OA....

Small investments with a large payoff

Heather Morrison, Year-End Investments Towards Open Access, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, February 10, 2007.

Towards the end of the fiscal year, it is not unusual for libraries and other organizations to find themselves with a small fund left over, that must be spent before year-end. For those who are looking for some ideas of how to leverage this little bit of funding to further the cause of open access, here are four suggestions: a LOCKSS box; server and hardware for hosting open access journals for your faculty; invest in ongoing open access to a very high-quality philosophy encyclopedia through contributing to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy OA endowment fund; or, sponsor a workshop or two for faculty on open access publishing, or filling that institutional repository....

Scholarly communication from an eCommerce perspective

Roger Clarke and Danny Kingsley, ePublishing's Impacts on Formal Scholarly Communications, a preprint submitted to the 20th Bled eCommerce Conference, February 11, 2007. 

Abstract:   The dimensions of change in formal communications among scholars are considered from the perspective of eCommerce researchers. The primary vehicle for formal communications in most disciplines and research domains has been articles published in journals. The digital era has brought with it major changes in how articles are accessed and in the economics of journal publishing. The new potentials for community-based endeavour create the likelihood of upheaval in what has been a highly profitable industry sector.

From the body of the paper:

For-profit corporations that have grown rich through exploitation of their multiple mini-monopolies are unlikely to permit the open access movement to undermine their wealth and power without a spirited defence. To some extent their fightback is based on enhanced services, but the scope available to them appears to be limited. So exercise of their market power and the lobbying of legislatures appear the more likely approaches for them to adopt. This is confirmed by the hiring of a very aggressive lobbyist by journal-publishing corporations with the intention of projecting the false messages that peer review is performed by for-profit publishers, and that open content approaches represent censorship (Giles 2007).

Another, contrary tendency may, however, prove to be stronger than the technology driver. The governments of a number of countries, under the sway of rationalist economic ideology, have significantly reduced the funding provided to universities. This has led to universities having to go through rapid adaptation. Their governance model has been transformed from collegiality to managerialism. Their objectives and strategies now favour profit-motivated behaviour over their longstanding goals of advancing knowledge through the conduct and support of research, and transmitting knowledge through instruction and supervision. One likely result of these changes is a reduction in the collaborative nature of research, as universities seek to commercially exploit the new knowledge they develop, suppress publication, impose competitive behaviour on their staff, and wrest control from scholarly communities....

The nature of the article has been fairly stable for generations, and the nature of the journal for several centuries. This stands in stark contrast to the substantial disruptions since about 1995, and the possibility of a complete discontinuity during the ensuing decade. Scholarly publishing has been the subject of study by librarians and computer scientists. To date, however, it has lacked attention from eBusiness researchers.