Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Presentations on European research infrastructure

The presentations from the EC's Information Event On The First Calls For Proposals Under The E-Infrastructures Activity Of The 'Capacities' Specific Programme, FP7 (Brussels, February 6, 2007) are now online.  Note that the EC is funding projects in "Scientific Digital Repositories" and the "Deployment of e-Infrastructures for scientific communities".  (Thanks to N. Miradon.)

Measuring the success of OA repositories

Jingfeng Xiaa and Li Sunb, Assessment of Self-Archiving in Institutional Repositories: Depositorship and Full-Text Availability, Serials Review, March 2007 (accessible only to subscribers, at least so far).  Thanks to William Walsh for the alert and for posting the abstract and an excerpt to the GSU Issues in Scholarly Communication blog.  This is just the abstract:

Abstract:   This research evaluates the success of open access self-archiving in several well-known institutional repositories. Two assessment factors have been applied to examine the current practice of self-archiving: depositorship and the availability of full text. This research discovers that the rate of author self-archiving is low and that the majority of documents have been deposited by a librarian or administrative staff. Similarly, the rate of full-text availability is relatively low, except for Australian repositories. By identifying different practices of self-archiving, repository managers can create new strategies for the operation of their repositories and the development of archiving policies.

PS:  I'm using the URL that William Walsh used in his blog post, which only works for GSU-affiliated users.  I'd get a general URL, valid for any subscriber, but Science Direct is down for maintenance at the moment.

Update. Here's the DOI-based URL, which doesn't give non-subscribers access to the abstract, and here's the non-DOI-based URL, which gives everyone access to the abstract.

Update. Also see Les Carr's detailed comments in this article.

Update. This article has now been self-archived.

Public funding for open courseware at Utah State U

David Wiley, OCW and Legislative Funding, Iterating Toward Openness, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

I am extremely pleased to announce that the Utah Legislature has provided $200,000 to Utah State University for OpenCourseWare-related activities in the 2007-2008 budget year. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first state or federal funding to be set aside anywhere in the US for opencourseware-like initiatives....

Props go to Representative Stephen Urquhart for his great wiki-based Politicopia initiative, by which he encouraged normal folk like myself to send in worthy ideas, his awesome intern Scott Riding, and to USU President Stan Albrecht (who is a long-time supporter of USU OpenCourseWare) for last minute work down at the Legislature to make sure that legislators understood what OCW is about.

I’m still in shock… It’s awesome…

Velterop responds to Harnad

Jan Velterop, Challenge for open access, The Parachute, March 3, 2007.  A long post pulling together and updating several of his recent listserv messages.  Excerpt:

Stevan Harnad has posted his “Challenge to OA Publishers” in some form or other on a number of email lists....[M]y responses here will differ in some detail from the ones I have posted on the AMSCI and SOAF lists, as I now have the benefit of having received responses to my responses, as many off-line as on the lists themselves....

I identified at least seven issues in Stevan’s piece that I think are misconceptions and misunderstandings.

Misconception 1: The idea that publishers and the research establishment are each other’s natural adversaries....

Misconception 2: OA publishers opposing OA....

Misconception 3: Publishers think protecting their risks outweighs the benefits of OA....

Misconception 4: Articles are a 'product', presented as a 'gift' to publishers....

Misconception 5: Expecting non-OA journals to suffer from self-archiving mandates is hypothetical, but expecting subscriptions to continue to be paid for by institutions when the content is openly and freely available is evidence-based....

Misconception 6: If an author 'pays' for the services of a publisher by handing over rights, that payment is in addition to subscription charges....

Misconception 7: The notion that OA publishing takes away from scarce research funds....

Now, a challenge to Stevan Harnad cum suis. Would he be campaigning for a mandate imposed by funders, that institutions, when paying for published research literature out of any budgets that benefit from overheads taken from research grants, pay only for article charges for OA and not for subscriptions anymore?

Mandates are of course last-resort measures and my liberal inclinations would prefer persuasion over mandates any time. But should mandates really be the only possibility, the advantages of this mandate would be clear, and these are just some of them: structural open access, no 'double' payment, only a few tens of thousands of institutions to deal with instead of millions of researchers, no need for self-archiving mandates, no multiple-version publishing.

Comment.  Stevan can speak for himself on Jan's seven major points, and already has (on the same listservs where Jan originally posted his messages).  But because I defend OA mandates as well, I want to reply to Jan's final point about mandates as last resorts and the implied objection that they are too coercive for people with "liberal inclinations". 

  1. The first half of my response is that we should assess the coercive impact of a mandate by looking at the actual practices implementing it, not at what might theoretically be covered by the word.  As I wrote in SOAN for January 2007:  "[S]uccessful mandates rely on expectations, education, assistance, and incentives, not coercion."
  2. The second half of my response is spelled out in SOAN for July 2006:  "[T]he best rationale for an OA mandate is to get the attention of authors.  Authors control the rate of OA growth, but they're not paying attention to OA.  We can't appeal to them as a bloc because they don't act as a bloc.  It's not hard to persuade them, or even excite them, once we catch their attention, but it's very hard to catch their attention because they are so anarchical, overworked, and preoccupied.  So we have to work through the institutions that have the greatest influence on authors [namely, universities and funders]....One objection is that a mandate paternalistically coerces [authors] for their own good.  If true, this would be a serious problem for me, though perhaps not for everyone who defends mandates.  I cannot support paternalism over competent adults....Fortunately, the paternalism objection misses the target and is easily answered....First, I only support mandates that are conditions on voluntary contracts.  They might be funding contracts:  if you take our money, you'll have to provide OA to your research; if this bothers you, then don't take our money.  They might be employment contracts:  if you work here, you'll have to provide OA to your research; if this bothers you, then don't work here....Second, I only support mandates with reasonable exceptions....Third, an OA mandate [advances other interests beyond the author's].  The [author] interest is greater visibility and impact.  The university [or funder] interest is that an OA mandate will better fulfill the university [or funder] mission to share the knowledge it produces, and better assist researchers elsewhere who could benefit from this knowledge...."

Update. Stevan has responded on the AmSci OA Forum to this version of Jan's message.

Update. Jan has responded to my post above and I've replied to his response.

OA to clinical data

Jack W. Smith, Issues Related to Open Access and Clinical Data Repositories, a public lecture at Rice University, March 2, 2007.  The lecture will soon be available as a webcast.

More reflections on the Brussels meeting

Steve Hitchcock, Lack of fizzle at EC Brussels meeting disguises progress on OA, EPrints Insiders, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

The much-anticipated Brussels EC conference (Scientific Publishing in the European Research Area: Access, Dissemination and Preservation in the Digital Age, 15-16 February 2007) came and went with an official communication....[T]his report from JISC gives an overview of proceedings, and Stevan Harnad and Peter Suber blogged comments on the meeting and the communication, respectively.

For repositories the significance of the meeting was anticipated to be a policy from the EC mandating open access to the results and publications of research that it funds. Instead of "Let's mandate OA self-archiving" (the EC's proposal (A1), January 2006), however, we got "let's keep talking" (see Comments to Harnad blog above).

Expectations of a mandate were probably over-inflated, so we should be careful not to apply too negative an interpretation to the result. The lesson is that while inspired politicians will see the case for OA, we should not expect governments to take the lead on OA policy decisions....

For politicians making a decision about OA is not instinctive. They have wider interests to represent, a different balance of priorities, and ultimately votes to consider. According to Suber, writing in his more reflective monthly newsletter, "the lack of fireworks looks deliberate. The two EC Directorates General most involved in OA policy-making -- Information Society and Media, headed by Vivian Reding, and Research, headed by Janez Potocnik -- are trying to find a diplomatic trail through a minefield. They are eager to show support for the concerns on each side and postpone the day when they will have to alienate one of them."

The economic interests of OA have been given powerful weight in earlier reports (e.g. Houghton J. and Sheehan, P., The Economic Impact of Enhanced Access to Research Findings, 2006). A glance at the Brussels programme reveals that these were not the economics under discussion. The interests of publishers and publishing were to the fore, and Brussels politicians know that in Europe journals publishing is big business. Here some balance and perspective is needed: "The publishing industry has so far been successfully representing itself as if it were the industrial dimension of research activity, and as if it were publishing-industry revenues that represent the wealth-creation benefits of research, whereas in fact they are nothing of the sort: The real industrial dimension of research is incomparably bigger than the publishing industry", Stevan Harnad is quick to point out....

"The Communication is not a policy but a pointer toward a future policy", Suber continued. "It sends two signals: first that the EC has been listening to arguments from both sides and second, that all things considered it wants to move toward OA. What it does not do is squarely accept or reject the EC report's recommendation A1 for an OA mandate."

So the follow-up to Brussels for OA will involve more petitions, polls, and politics....

Best practice for archive managers: new articles first, past articles later

Steve Hitchcock, Warning on repository legacy deposit burden, EPrints Insiders, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

Repositories should focus on the present rather than the past to reduce the immediate burden on depositing authors and repository staff, an expert in repository development and management has warned. Authors are encouraged, and in some cases mandated, to deposit copies of their latest published papers in the local IR, but with many IRs just opening or beginning to grow content more quickly, managers see older, legacy papers as a rich source of repository material.

Responding to a question about providing open access to these legacy papers, Leslie Carr, who leads the team developing EPrints and manages the repository of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton, ECS EPrints, said: "Be very careful about the past, there's a lot of it and there's only a limited amount of effort that you can draw on now, in the present."

"If you are setting up a self-archiving repository for 'current science'," Carr continued, "...each researcher will have to deposit an item every few months (say 10 minutes every 3 months). This is not onerous....Now consider adding the startup requirement that you also want to include the last 4 year's literature. Suddenly you have to sell to your staff the idea that they each have to invest several hours to start the repository....

"The result? Disgruntled staff who are more likely to feel hostile and ill-disposed towards the repository, who have less patience with the software and are more likely to complain to the repository manager. While our staff got over the 'legacy mountain' after a painful few months, I did wish that we hadn't added that extra complication at the start. I would prefer to get the repository established, make sure people are happy AND THEN encourage them to fill in papers from the past."

OA repository for cultural studies calls for contributions

Gary Hall, Culture Machine: call for contributions, a post to the Cult-Stud list, March 1, 2007.  Thanks to Underscore for the alert and for reproducing the message (otherwise accessible only to list subscribers).  Hall is the co-editor of Culture Machine (an OA journal of cultural studies) and director of the Cultural Studies Open Access Archive (CSeARCH).

Open access publishing has been operating successfully within the sciences for over 15 years now. Yet compared to other online movements and practices, such as creative commons, free software, open source and peer-to-peer, which have variously been regarded as providing models for new regimes of culture, new kinds of networked institutions, even for the future organisation of society, the open access movement has had relatively little impact on the humanities to date.

By making the research literature freely available to researchers, teachers, students, investigative journalists, policy makers, union organisers, NGOs, political activists, protest groups and the general public alike, on a worldwide basis, open access is seen as having the potential to break down some of the barriers between the university and the rest of society, as well as between countries in the so-called ‘developed’ and ‘undeveloped’ worlds. It is also held as helping to overcome the ‘Westernization’ of the research literature through the creation of a far more decentralised and distributed research community. So why, given the often radical nature of the content of their work, have those in the humanities, and to a lesser extent the social sciences, been so reluctant to challenge what John Willinsky in The Access Principle refers to as the ‘complacent and comfortable habits of scholarly publishing’? Why have those in the sciences apparently proved the more institutionally, socially and politically progressive in this respect?

In an attempt to go at least some way toward addressing this situation, we are continuing to seek contributions to the CSeARCH open access archive for research and publications in cultural studies and related fields: communication and media studies, continental philosophy, literary, critical and cultural theory, new media, visual culture, psychoanalysis, post-colonial theory and so on....

Update. CSeARCH seems to accept articles for deposit, i.e. for local hosting. But Klaus Graf reports that he has been unable to find any locally-hosted articles, just links to externally hosted articles.

Recommendation for OA data on global warming

A new study of global warming from the European Science Foundation - Marine Board recommended international cooperation on an OA database.  From the ESF-Marine press release (March 2, 2007): 

...After taking in all of the recorded impacts on the European Seas for consideration, the ESF-Marine working group has identified other possible future challenges in terms of climate change monitoring, modelling, indicators and research and development. It has made several recommendations based on these challenges.

They are:

1. A concerted effort to gather, store and analyse previously and presently collected marine environmental data (e.g. common open access database and annual Pan-European reporting based on national contributions); ...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Another CERN experiment endorses OA publishing

Jens Vigen tells me that today the Collaboration Board of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) experiment at CERN adopted the same statement on OA publishing adopted last week by CERN's ATLAS experiment.  The CMS experiment involves 2,300 scientists from 159 scientific institutes in 36 countries.  Its OA statement isn't yet online.

New OA journal of economics

Economics is a new "open-access, open-assessment" journal.  (Thanks to Ulrich Poeschl.)  From the site:

Economics is a pathbreaking journal, capturing the advantages of some highly successful natural science journals. It adopts a “Linux approach” to publication, viewing research as a cooperative enterprise between authors, editors, referees and readers.

The journal has the following advantages:

  1. Economics is free: It is costless to both readers and authors. After all, research is a public good.

  2. Economics is quick: As it uses a public peer review process, publication lags are radically reduced.

  3. Economics is widely disseminated: Papers can be sent to all interested readers, permitting a far wider readership than is the case with traditional journals.

  4. Economics is democratic: The quality of an article is decided not just by the editors and referees, but also by the entire community of Registered Readers.

  5. Economics is convenient: References are hyperlinked to the literature; articles are linked to related material, e.g., data sets and mathematical derivations.

  6. Economics is up to date: Authors can upload revised versions of their publications, in response to the public peer review.

Springer persuaded that Google Book Search increases sales

Springer: More Than 29,000 Titles Live In Google Book Search, a press release from Springer, March 1, 2007. 

Springer Science+Business Media has announced that more than 29,000 Springer titles are now live in Google Book Search, allowing users to easily discover and purchase these titles from local booksellers, online retailers and Springer itself.

Springer also reported increasing interest in its older titles. The publisher attributes this growth, in part, to its involvement with the Google Book Search program.

“At first we were afraid about putting excerpts of our books on Book Search. We thought people might read and then leave,” said Paul Manning, Vice President, Book Sales at Springer. “Instead, Google has proven to be a powerful marketing tool. Last year, for example, Springer experienced increased sales of our backlist, after we started making our titles available through Google.”

Springer titles have been viewed as many as one million times in a one-month period through the Google program. Springer’s engineering and computer science books have done particularly well, representing 14 percent and 15 percent, respectively of the clicks on Google’s “buy this book” link. Springer titles published before 1997 account for 20 percent of all the company’s “buy this book” clicks on Google Book Search. In addition, 26 percent of users who click on “buy this book” select the link to Springer’s own website, driving additional traffic to the publisher’s own online platform.

OA for classics?

The American Philological Association (APA) has launched a $4 million fund-raising campaign.  It says it plans to spend $2 million on a "digital portal" to create "new tools for scholars everywhere to access primary source materials".  But it never quite tells us whether it will offer open access or priced online access.  (Thanks to Stoa Consortium.)

Comment.  If OA is part of the plan, then the APA shouldn't be shy about saying so.  Saying so should help the fund-raising campaign.  My guess is that classicists are much more likely to contribute to a portal of OA literature than a portal of priced literature.

OA data mashups with Swivel and Many Eyes

Declan Butler, Data sharing: the next generation, Nature, March 1, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Internet has already become a place for people to share knowledge, opinions, music and videos. Now, in a slightly geekier aspect of the same trend, social software is allowing people to share data too. More than 1 million data sets have been uploaded to the data-sharing site Swivel since its launch in December. And on 23 January, IBM labs launched Many Eyes, which allows users to visualize their data with tools previously available only to experts.

Once data are uploaded to these sites (which are still being tested), people can reanalyse the numbers, mix them with other data and visualize them in different ways. Swivel focuses on letting users combine data sets, with some basic ways to present the results such as scatter graphs and bar charts. Many Eyes allows users to generate more complicated graphs such as network diagrams, which depict nodes and connections within networks, and treemaps, which display data as groups of nested rectangles....

Governments, international agencies and research organizations generate huge silos of publicly available data on almost every aspect of society, but the public has never been able to explore, share and discuss these data sets easily, [Fernanda Viégas of IBM's Visual Communication Lab] points out.

Making such tools available will not only empower individuals, Viégas predicts, the collective intelligence and expertise of users will result in new insights. "Just three weeks in, people were using some of the most sophisticated visualization types," she says. Since Many Eyes launched, users have uploaded data and created graphics on everything from the stock price of Heineken against temperature, to collaborations of prostate cancer researchers, to co-occurrences of names in the New Testament.

The new sites might also provide a model for better communication among scientists, says Brent Edwards, director of the Starkey Hearing Research Center in Berkeley, California, who blogs on innovation in science. He points out that journals could use the Internet to share information and move science forward much more effectively, rather than being facsimiles of their print cousins, with static graphs and figures....

David Lipman, director of the US National Center for Biotechnology Information in Bethesda, Maryland agrees, adding that his centre might explore related possibilities. He finds it ironic that scientists have been slow to adopt social software, given how useful it could be for them. "Scientists are more interested in their careers and grants than using tools that promote better communication and data sharing," Lipman says....

South Korea's open/closed repository

Going open: advice from the dCollection, iCommons blog, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt:

...The dCollection is a nationwide project [in South Korea] to build knowledge information distribution systems on the web. It was founded by the Korean Education & Research Information Service (KERIS), which is operated under the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development of South Korea. Since 2003, KERIS has been building a web-based academic database with a unified format, so that researchers and students can access and refer to academic material in a more open environment. What makes this dCollection even more interesting is that they have done this using a combination of Creative Commons and DRM licensing options.

KERIS developed the standardized knowledge distribution system, and then invited universities’ libraries to use the system. It took some time to convince the libraries why they should participate in the project, but now libraries from 62 universities have registered 300 000 documents including academic writings, reports and theses.

The system utilizes a self-archiving mechanism, which means that anyone who wants to submit content can access an online registration center to enroll, select the copyright conditions, and register the text, thus archiving it. Every archived document has metadata embedded, which automatically integrates it into the Research Information Search Service, operated by KERIS.

What makes dCollection unique is that it has adopted both CC licensing and DRM technology – it allows submitters to choose whether they agree to apply a Creative Commons license to the material, and in the case that they do not agree to a CC license, dCollection allows them to use DRM for the material. But why did the dCollection approve of this seemingly contradictory method of licensing the archived content?

Dongwoo Kim, a researcher and project manager of KERIS, answered that dCollection placed more emphasis on persuading as many as universities as possible to participate in the project....

Currently, about 5,700 academic texts out of a 300,000 strong document archive has adopted CC licenses. This means that CC licensed materials only makes up 1.9% out of the whole collection. While this may not be a large percentage, perhaps we can be consoled by the fact that dCollection has the support of 62 universities involved in their open archiving system....

PS:  Most archiving software, and certainly the two leaders (EPrints and DSpace), give authors the choice to limit or even close access.

Australia adopts repository-based research assessment

Steve Hitchcock, Australia takes all-electronic, repository based route to research assessment, Eprints Insiders, March 2, 2007.  Excerpt: 

It seems inevitable that national research assessment exercises will become all-electronic, and likely that materials for assessment wil be accessed in institutional repositories. Furthest developed on this path is Australia with its Research Quality Framework (RQF). Announced in December 2006, the Australian Scheme for Higher Education Repositories (ASHER) program will provide $25.5M over three years to equip Australian universities with repositories in preparation for the RQF: (a) to establish or modify the RQF repository, (b) to upgrade repositories, and (c) to transform the RQF repository into an accessible OA repository. In other words, in three years all Australian universities will have repositories.

To introduce institutions in Australia to this initiative two colloquia on The RQF Explained were held in Sydney (13 Feb 2007) and Melbourne (15 Feb 2007)....[See the] report on the Melbourne meeting by Arthur Sale....

PS:  Just to be explicit, this is good news because it gives researchers one more (very strong) incentive to deposit their research output in OA repositories.

Presentations from Belgian OA signing ceremony

The presentations from the meeting, How to increase your impact with Open Access (Brussels, February 13, 2007), are now online.  This was the meeting at which Belgian university rectors and government ministers signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.

Lobbying for access

Mary Alice Baish, Librarians as Change Agents: How You Can Help Influence Public Policy in the 110th Congress, Searcher, March 2007.  Baish is the Associate Washington Affairs Representative of the American Association of Law Libraries.  Excerpt:

...While the 109th Congress was ruled more by acrimony than a spirit of collegiality and bipartisanship, the library community in fact worked very well with members of both parties on such important issues as freedom of information and access to government-sponsored research. Nonetheless, leadership changes in both the House and the Senate bode very well for many of the issues that the national library associations and allied organizations have supported during the past few years....

[L]et’s take a look at some of the key issues of concern to the library community....

The Federal Research Public Access Act was introduced on May 2, 2006, by Senators John Corny and Joseph Lieberman. The bill requires that agencies with federally funded research budgets of more than $100 million enact policies to ensure that articles are made available online within 6 months of publication. It also requires that every researcher using agency funds submit an electronic copy of the final manuscript to the agency that provided the funding after the work has been accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The agency is responsible for providing open public access to the information and ensuring the preservation of the manuscript in a stable, digital repository. The bill was referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, now chaired by Sen. Lieberman, so we hope to see quick progress in moving it forward in 2007....

"Running scholarly presses as profit centers doesn't make sense"

Ben Vershbow, AAUP on open access / business as usual?  if:book, March 1, 2007.  Excerpt:

On Tuesday the Association of American University Presses issued an official statement of its position on open access (literature that is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions" - Suber). They applaud existing OA initiatives, urge more OA in the humanities and social sciences (out of the traditional focus areas of science, technology and medicine), and advocate the development of OA publishing models for monographs and other scholarly formats beyond journals. Yet while endorsing the general open access direction, they warn against "more radical approaches that abandon the market as a viable basis for the recovery of costs in scholarly publishing and instead try to implement a model that has come to be known as the 'gift economy' or the 'subsidy economy.'" "Plunging straight into pure open access," they argue, "runs the serious risk of destabilizing scholarly communications in ways that would disrupt the progress of scholarship and the advancement of knowledge."

Peter Suber responds on OA News, showing how many of these so-called risks are overblown and founded on false assumptions about open access. OA, even "pure" OA as originally defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2001, is not incompatible with a business model....

But this begs the more crucial question: should scholarly presses really be trying to operate as businesses at all? There's an interesting section toward the end of the AAUP statement that basically acknowledges the adverse effect of market pressures on university presses. It's a tantalizing moment in which the authors seem to come close to actually denouncing the whole for-profit model of scholarly publishing. But in the end they pull their punch....

According to the AAUP's own figures: "On average, AAUP university-based members receive about 10% of their revenue as subsidies from their parent institution, 85% from sales, and 5% from other sources." This I think is the crux of the debate....[T]he purpose of scholarly publishing is to circulate discourse and the fruits of research through the academy and into the world. But today's commercially structured system runs counter to these aims, restricting access and limiting outlets for publication. The open access movement is just one important response to a general system failure.

But let's move beyond simply trying to reconcile OA with existing architectures of revenue and begin talking about what it would mean to reconfigure the entire scholarly publishing system away from commerce and back toward infrastructure....[R]unning scholarly presses as profit centers doesn't make sense. You wouldn't dream of asking libraries to compete this way. Libraries are basic educational infrastructure and it's obvious that they should be funded as such. Why shouldn't scholarly presses also be treated as basic infrastructure? ...

Here's one radical young librarian [Dorothea Salo] who goes further, suggesting that libraries should usurp the role of publishers....

March SOAN

I just mailed the March issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at the February events in Europe, primarily the EC's release of its Communication on OA, and the February events in the US, primarily the National Day of Action for OA.  The round-up section briefly notes 65 new developments from the past month.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Government OA sites that limit crawling

From Matt Knoll at RevolutionHealth (thanks to Gary Price):

We recently found a robots.txt file on an NLM site that blocks all spiders except Google.  Is the government allowed to do that? Does anyone know if this is common?

Last July, Susan Nevelow discovered that the National Science Foundation (NSF) blocked the Wayback Machine from copying its web pages, and had pretty much the same questions.  Bill Hooker at Open Reading Frame wrote to the NSF webmaster and got a direct answer:

NSF blocks all indexing of the site between 7AM and 7PM ET, our peak traffic hours, for the convenience of our users. However, there is no block on the site from 7PM to 7AM ET. This is standard policy for most high traffic sites. The owner of [the Wayback Machine] need only comply with our policy in order to index our pages.

Could there be a similar explanation at the NLM? 

Slashdot discussion of the OA action in Europe

There's now a slashdot thread on the Brussels conference, the EC Communication, and the OA petition --or at least that's where it starts.

100% of Dutch universities support OA

All the universities in the Netherlands have now signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.  See today's announcement from SURF:

Efforts to ensure open access to scientific publications are gaining support. The latest breakthrough is that all the universities in the Netherlands have now signed the Berlin Declaration. In the declaration (an initiative of the Max Planck Society), a large number of universities throughout Europe and beyond declare to make all their scholarly and scientific articles available in open access archives. The results of publicly funded research will then be available to all, free of charge, via online databases. At the moment, access to such articles is impeded by the high subscription fees for scientific periodicals. The European Commission intends experimenting with open access in the coming years. SURF was one of the first signatories of the Berlin Declaration.

According to the European Commission, the results of research financed by the European Union should be accessible to all, free of charge, after a certain period of time. Scientists submitting research proposals to the Commission are therefore invited to apply for a grant to publish the results of their research in an open access database. The Commission nevertheless favours an embargo period on free access in order to avoid antagonising publishers.

In response, SURF initiated an Internet petition in early February calling on the Commission to restrict the embargo period for research articles to six months following publication. After that six-month period, articles should be available via open access databases. Researchers may still add their names to the Internet petition, which can be found [here]. The signatures will be presented to the European Parliament in the spring.


Eoin Purcell has put Open Access News on his list of The Top Ten Blogs on the future of books, media and publishing.  (Thanks, Eoin.)

Stevan Harnad on the emerging EC OA policy

Stevan Harnad, Feedback on the Brussels EC Meeting on Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, March 1, 2007.  Excerpt:


(1) It would be a great strategic error if the EC allows the publishing industry lobby to draw it back into further talks and studies, instead of implementing the OA self-archiving mandate (EC A1) proposed in January 2006, and since implemented by the ERC and reinforced by EURAB.

(2) The other aim of both the publishing lobby and the Gold OA publishing lobby is to focus the EC on the issue of "funding of research on publication business models and on the scientific publication system" instead of on the issue of providing access.

(3) The research publishing industry is not the industrial dimension of research: The R&D industry is: R&D's revenues are orders of magnitude bigger than those of the publishing industry, and it shares in the current, actual loss of research access and impact that OA is meant to cure -- a cure the publishing industry lobby is (successfully) endeavouring to prevent:

(4) The substance of the recommendation of the EC petition and its 22,000+ signatories (so far), including 1000+ official organisation signatories -- universities, research institutes, scientific academies, R&D industries, etc. -- is that OA self-archiving (Green OA) should be mandated. The voices raised for OA were not about funding Gold OA, and certainly not about diverting scarce research funds from research to paying publishers for Gold OA.

(5) The research community rightly resists OA Mandates being coupled in any way with the redirection of scarce research funds, away from research and toward the payment of Gold OA publishing fees. There is no need at all to couple the EC OA mandate with the diversion of any funds from research to pay Gold OA fees. There is no reason for the mandate to make any reference to Gold OA fees at all. The mandate should be a Green OA self-archiving mandate. That is all.

State of OA in 2006

Alma Swan, What is new in Open Access, LIBER Quarterly, 16, 3/4 (2006).  Self-archived March 1, 2007.  Excerpt:

Abstract:   A number of quite significant developments have taken place in Open Access over the last year or so. I have already documented some of the advances in Open Access publishing and in digital repositories (Swan, 2006). In this article the focus will be upon policy developments, technological developments, new aspects of researcher behaviour, and includes the laying of a few urban myths.

OA market research (free content, unfree search)

ReportLinker is a new search engine specializing in OA information for market research.  The problem is that much of this OA information is corporate spin and PR, useless or misleading for investors.  ReportLinker promises to find and highlight the most relevant information.  From today's press release:

Reportlinker is a vertical search engine dedicated to open access market research reports. On a single screen, it gathers more than 1,2 million reports, published by trusted sources (governments, embassies, national statistics agencies, trade unions)....

General public tools promote merchant content, boosted by search marketing (SM) and search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, making relevant open access information more difficult to find....

User can now search the long tail of free market research without the noise of not so relevant merchant results. The professional research engine also includes in its index many results from the deep web that are not even accessible through general search engines....

PS:  First-level searching is free but clicking through to results is limited to paying customers.  For paying customers, the default is to limit searches to OA content.  But users can request to search non-OA content whose links lead to pay-per-view screens. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ERC officially launches its OA mandate

Jonathan Amos, European research goes for gold, BBC News, February 27, 2007.

The European Research Council (ERC) has been given a budget of 7.5bn euros (£5bn) to 2013....

The ERC was formally inaugurated at a meeting in Berlin attended by the German Chancellor, Dr Angela Merkel....

In Europe, public research is funded by individual national agencies as well as the EU's Framework Programme; but the latter has often been criticised as being over-bureaucratic, skewed towards big, complex collaborations, and subject to political pressures.

The ERC is therefore a marked departure from all that has gone before it.

Research projects will not have to be collaborative - they do not have to be pan-European even. There will be no specification of research areas or themes. There will be no "juste retour" which sees member states get back a "fair proportion" of the monies they put into the funding pot.

The ERC has really simple guiding principles: the types of projects it funds must be at the "frontiers" of knowledge. It is looking for "excellence"....

PS:  --And not least, the Scientific Council of the ERC has already pledged to adopt an OA mandate for ERC-funded research "as soon as pertinent repositories become operational".

User attitudes toward UGC-Infonet

Suresh K. Chauhan and Prem Chand, UGC-Infonet: E-Journals Consortium and Indian Academics: The Right Initiative at the Right Time, Library Philosophy and Practice, February 2007.  Excerpt:

UGC-Infonet E-Journals consortium initiative was undertaken by the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC) to facilitate free access to scholarly journals and databases in all fields and disciplines by the research and academic community across the country. All universities who are under the purview of UGC have been provided UGC-infonet Connectivity and access to scholarly e-Journals and Databases. More than 2,000 scholarly journals and databases were made available during 2004 and this number has increased to more than 4,500 full text e-journals since January 2005. As of May 2006, 122 universities are accessing resources from the programme. The access is based on IP range. This effort has had a noticeable impact on the research and academic community....

INFLIBNET, which is a library and information gateway for the scholarly community of India, has conducted five two-day national seminars with the following objectives....To inform the users about the UGC-Infonet initiatives....

Does Your Library Have All the Journals You Would Like?   86% (308 participants) persons responded No. This figure shows the crucial need that academics have for information. Only 14% of the participants are satisfied with their libraries....

Charging for E-journal Access.  The participants were asked whether, since the entire service is offered free to universities, they agreed that universities should be charged to get access to many more resources. 40% of the respondents favor a nominal access charge. 54% are not in favour of any fee....

RIN's strategic goals for public policy on scholarly communication

The UK Research Information Network (RIN) has published a new document, Research and the Scholarly Communications Process: Towards Strategic Goals for Public Policy: A Statement of Principles, February 2007.

From the RIN press release:

Scholarly communications has become a battlefield over the past four or five years. Researchers, funders, publishers and librarians have debated how best to exploit the opportunities presented by new technologies to maximise access to the information resources that researchers create. Researchers now expect immediate access to articles in scholarly journals and other information resources directly on their desktop; and there is potential to transform the provision of information still further, through text-mining and linking different information sources together.

Maximising access to research results through an effective scholarly communications system is an essential underpinning for high-quality research and knowledge transfer in the UK. But publishers are concerned that developments such as the deposit of journal articles in freely-accessible repositories may put at risk the whole future of scholarly publishing, and the highly-valued and quality-assured services that they provide.

It is in this context that the RIN has brought together the key players, and they have reached agreement on the principles and goals at the heart of the scholarly communications process. We are particularly pleased to have achieved such a convergence of views in the UK

The statement has been signed by some critics of strong OA policy, like ALPSP and STM, and by some friends of strong OA policy, like JISC, the RCUK, and the Wellcome Trust.

One reason this kind of agreement is possible is that the statement doesn't directly endorse or oppose OA.

From the statement itself:

The scholarly communications process involves a range of closely-linked activities that contribute to fulfilling seven broad purposes or objectives which flow roughly in sequence:

  1. the pursuit of research aimed at generating new knowledge and understanding
  2. assuring the quality of the information outputs generated by researchers
  3. ensuring appropriate recognition and reward for all those engaged in the scholarly communications process
  4. presenting, publishing and disseminating information outputs digitally, orally, in print and other forms
  5. facilitating access to and use of information outputs by researchers and others who have an interest in them 
  6. assessing and evaluating the usage and impact of information outputs 
  7. preserving digital, printed and other information outputs, so that those of long-term value are accessible for the indefinite future

[A]ccess to research outputs, particularly those stemming from public investment, should be provided as speedily and effectively as possible, so that researchers and members of other communities can read and make use of the latest research results.

[A] balance is struck in the public interest between the requirements for recognition, reward and protection for rights-holders on the one hand, and for speedy and effective access by users on the other....

Easy and effective access to and use of information outputs depends on the interlocking roles and partnerships between publishers, libraries, and intermediary service providers; data centres and repositories; search and navigation services; and network services. All depend on each other in creating an information infrastructure to ensure that researchers and others are made aware of, and can readily discover, access and use the information outputs of interest to them. The key goals of public policy are therefore that...access is provided in managed environments which emphasise ease of discovery and use, with as few restrictions as possible....


  1. Because the statement has the support of friends and foes of strong OA policy, it will probably carry great weight with policy-makers, which is clearly part of the idea.  But I'm not sure how far that will calm the waters of OA.  Once OA comes up as a policy question, the signatories will likely go their separate ways again.
  2. [A]ccess to research outputs, particularly those stemming from public investment, should be provided as speedily and effectively as possible.  Publishers who sign this statement should accept OA mandates and focus their lobbying on the length of the embargo period.
  3. [A] balance is struck in the public interest between the requirements for recognition, reward and protection for rights-holders on the one hand, and for speedy and effective access by users on the other.  This odd passage raises many questions for me.  Does it essentially retract the one just before it?  Are we really trying to maximize the speed and effectiveness of access or are we compromising that goal in order to protect publishers?  We know that a "balance is struck" but should a balance be struck?  If so, why and which one?  Is the balance itself in the public interest or is the balance between the public interest in research and the private interest in publisher revenue?  Is "reward...for rights-holders" another way of talking about revenue?  Profit?  How much reward will we let offset the goal of maximizing the speed and effectiveness of access?  Is this balance a goal only for private-sector publishers or also for government agencies charged with promoting research in the public interest?
  4. I support all seven goals, in part because they are so innocuously stated.  I'm all for finding common ground and building on it, but I don't see the gain in gathering signatures for goals this fuzzy.  At the same time, however, I don't mind endorsing them myself as long I can make clear (as I'm doing now) that I support a much more strongly-stated goal on access.  We know that JISC, the RCUK, and the Wellcome Trust also support a stronger position on OA, just as ALPSP and STM support a stronger position on publisher reward.  So is this progress?

Update.  Also see the press releases on the statement from ALPSP and JISC.

Seven peer-reviewed OA drug monographs

PubDrug, the wiki database of drug information, has been gearing up to publish peer-reviewed drug monographs ever since its launch last November.  The first seven monographs are now online.  They're all OA for reading, of course, but locked to prevent unreviewed edits.  (Thanks to Stewart Brower, creator of PubDrug.)

OA archiving for law student scholarship

Carol A. Parker, Institutional Repositories Offer New Avenues for Publishing Student Scholarship, Law Librarian Blog, February 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

Modern law students must write scholarly articles to fulfill upper level writing requirements or write theses and dissertations to receive graduate law degrees.  Except for the few students who succeed in publishing a law review note, however, most law students will have limited opportunities to publish their work.  An exciting development emerging from the application of open access principles to legal scholarship is the use of institutional repositories to publish student scholarship....

The students’ scholarship would attain visibility on a scale never before seen, and the students would enjoy the benefit of informing the subsequent work of others....Moreover, providing open access to student works in institutional repositories does not preclude their later publication.  In any case, because many of these student works are rarely published elsewhere, there is no existing publication structure to be threatened by open access publishing of them.... 

Law schools would also be sending the message that they take student scholarship seriously. Knowing that their work will also be subject to scrutiny beyond the four walls of their professors’ offices would give law students added incentive to produce better scholarship.  Law schools are in a position to go so far as to mandate submission of theses, dissertations, and other student papers into institutional repositories as a condition of graduation. Doing so would make a statement in support of open access that is consistent with the culture and values of legal educators and with our tradition of public access to legal information.  Alternatively, law schools may choose to limit publication to top papers, works that have been endorsed by a faculty member, or works that otherwise have earned the imprimatur of the law school before placing them in an institutional repository.

Open access repositories of theses and dissertations in other disciplines have been in use for more than a decade.  Open access proponent, Peter Suber, has written extensively on open access to scholarship, including the use of institutional repositories for publishing student scholarship (for more information see [Open access to electronic theses and dissertations].  Currently, the Registry of Open Access Repositories lists more than a dozen collections of student work; including the NELLCO Legal Scholarship Repository which is used by Vermont and Cornell law schools to publish LLM theses....

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

More on the AAUP statement

Scott Jaschik, University Presses Take Their Stand, Inside Higher Ed, February 28, 2007.  Excerpt:

The open access debate is one of the hottest topics in academic publishing, with advocates for access and publishers battling for political and public support. University presses have been feeling somewhat in the middle and sometimes ignored — and they responded Tuesday with a policy paper outlining their perspective.

In many respects, the document from the Association of American University Presses focuses on potential harm that could be done to their operations by the open access model, talking about the potential for it to hurt circulation revenues, and emphasizing that university presses are not exactly wealthy institutions. But the paper also talks about the many experiments university presses are undertaking with open access or alternative pricing models — and goes one further. While the open access debate has focused on scholarly journals, the presses suggest that models that work for journals may well also work for monographs....

Many individual faculty members, not to mention university administrators, love the idea [of OA]....

So where do university presses come in on this debate? The paper released Tuesday opens with the famous quote with which Daniel Coit Gilman, president of Johns Hopkins University, in 1880 outlined the purpose behind founding the first university press in the United States: “to advance knowledge, and to diffuse it not merely among those who can attend the daily lectures — but far and wide.” It’s the sort of rhetoric that could turn up easily in an open access document....

But while the press report expresses enthusiasm for such models, it then outlines what it sees as severe economic consequences of imposing the “more radical approaches” to open access, which “abandon the market as a viable basis for the recovery of costs in scholarly publishing.”

Among the concerns: ...

  • Requirements that journal contents be made available online and free will “undermine existing well regarded services,” such as Project Muse, that sell access to packages of journals to academic institutions.
  • If university presses lose significant portions of the $500 million they generate in sales (90 percent of their operating costs), those funds will need to be replaced or the presses will have to cut back on what they do.

  • If, as some have threatened to do, some commercial publishers back out of scholarly publishing in the wake of any open access regulations, would university presses be expected to pick up these projects and, if so, who would pay for them? ...

Peter Suber, director of the Public Knowledge Open Access Project, said he understood (but disagreed with) some of the university press concerns and praised the publishers for putting the issue of monographs on the table. While Suber has been quite critical of commercial publishers, he stressed that he recognized the difficult financial situations facing university presses.

“It’s true that the nonprofit publishers have more to fear from subscription losses than corporate giants. They are more vulnerable,” Suber said. But he said that some scholarly publishers have found ways to thrive with open access. And he added that scholarly, nonprofit publishers “are vulnerable even without open access.”

The bottom line, Suber said, is that “the subscription model is essentially unsustainable because the volume of published literature is growing faster than library budgets will ever grow, so we need to look for another model.”

Suber was especially pleased to see the university presses raise the issue of book publishing in the open access model. He said that experiments suggest that open access does not hurt sales because readers of scholarly books use open access to decide what to buy, “not for close reading,” he said. Additionally, authors will welcome the increased attention to their work and need not fear a loss of royalties because the royalties being paid are so minimal, if they exist at all, he said.  “The authors can benefit,” he said.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Self Archive Initiative

Ari Friedman's Self Archive Initiative is back online.  The original was a wiki that Ari took down when it ran into technical problems.  The new version is not a wiki, just the get the content back online, but Ari hopes to solve the technical problems one day and restore the wiki.  Note especially the OA posters for your department bulletin boards and hallways. 

Book on indigenous knowledge accessible to indigenous people

Martin Nakata and Marcia Langton (eds.), Australian Indigenous Knowledge and Libraries, UTSePress, undated.  An anthology that the press agreed to make OA in order to make it more accessible to indigenous people around the world.  (Thanks to Donat Agosti.)

UTSePress is the press of University of Technology, Sydney.

AAUP statement on open access

The American Association of University Presses (AAUP) has released a Statement on Open Access, dated today.  Excerpt:

The core mission of university presses has always been to disseminate knowledge to the widest possible audience....

In its pure form, open access calls for an entirely new funding model, in which the costs of publishing research articles in journals are paid for by authors or by a funding agency, and readers can have access to these publications for free.

However, open access need not be limited to journals and can also be achieved through other models, such as those that combine some form of market-based cost-recovery with free access for users a certain length of time after initial publication, or that offer free access to one form of publication and paid access to others. These and other models are currently being tested and refined by the members of AAUP in partnership with the academic community. Bypassing this laboratory stage of experimentation and development and plunging straight into pure open access, as attractive as it may sound in theory, runs the serious risk of destabilizing scholarly communications in ways that would disrupt the progress of scholarship and the advancement of knowledge....

The well-known Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), in promoting a solution to the high price of STM journals, defines open access as “permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself.” In principle, this definition of open access could be applied to all types of scholarly publishing, and calls for widespread use of institutional repositories and for self-archiving by individual scholars in order to promote such open access are by no means limited to just STM journal literature. Although the debate over open access has centered almost exclusively on one sector of publishing, STM journals, there is no reason to limit the discussion to that sector and indeed, given the interconnectedness of knowledge, it is unwise not to explore the implications of open access for all fields of knowledge lest an unfortunate new “digital divide” should arise between fields and between different types of publishing....

[FRPAA would require OA and] the American Council of Learned Societies, in its 2006 report on “Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences,” has advocated such open access for all social science and humanities scholarship. However, there is a wide range of models that can be subsumed under the generic term “open access,” with both risks and benefits to the entire system of scholarly communications that are as yet not fully understood....

On average, AAUP university-based members receive about 10% of their revenue as subsidies from their parent institution, 85% from sales, and 5% from other sources. Therefore the AAUP believes it is important to keep an open mind about what constitutes open access, since some kinds of open access are compatible with a market-based model. The National Academies Press, for instance, makes all of its books available online for free full-text browsing worldwide while offering both downloadable PDFs and print copies for sale.

For the more radical approaches that abandon the market as a viable basis for the recovery of costs in scholarly publishing and instead try to implement a model that has come to be known as the “gift economy” or the “subsidy economy,” the AAUP urges that the following points be kept in mind:

  1. BOAI-type open access will require large contributions from either the authors or other sources (including foundations and libraries, which pay “member” fees instead of paying for subscriptions). Scholars at less wealthy institutions or those with no institutional affiliations may experience greater difficulty in publishing unless fees are waived or reduced (a process that will increase the burden on other authors, who will have to pay higher fees to offset the waivers). This will be especially true for monographs....While inequities among users may be resolved by open-access publishing, they may resurface as inequities among authors.
  2. Costs for scholarly communication overall will not change radically, but merely be shifted from one sector of the university to another. For university presses and scholarly societies currently, only 17% to 20% of the publishing costs of monographs are spent on manufacturing, so most of their other expenses will still need to be covered....
  3. Requirements for fully free-to-user open access publishing of journal articles, whether through the journals themselves or by way of open institutional repositories or authors’ self-archiving, will undermine existing well-regarded services like Project MUSE....BOAI-style open access is inherently incompatible with site licensing as a model for journal publishing and archiving.
  4. In 2005, university presses recovered 90% of their operating costs, roughly $500 million, from sales. Of that $500 million, sales to libraries account for 15% to 20%, or $75 to $100 million. The rest comes from sales to general and college bookstores, to online retailers, and directly to individual scholars....
  5. If commercial publishers should decide to stop publishing research under the constrained circumstances envisioned by advocates of free-to-user open access, what happens to the journals abandoned by these publishers? How many of them could universities afford to subsidize through faculty grants? How much could universities with presses increase the output of their presses to accommodate the monographs now published commercially? ...In addition, the case of scholarly societies under BOAI-style open access is particularly worrying....Whether a given society’s publishing activities underwrite other services or must be supported by other revenues, funding for essential professional and scholarly activities would be jeopardized by a mandated shift to free-to-user open access, increasing the financial burdens on individual scholars as both authors and professionals.

For university presses, unlike commercial and society publishers, open access does not necessarily pose a threat to their operation and their pursuit of the mission to “advance knowledge, and to diffuse it...far and wide.” Presses can exist in a gift economy for at least the most scholarly of their publishing functions if costs are internally reallocated (from library purchases to faculty grants and press subsidies). But presses have increasingly been required by their parent universities to operate in the market economy, and the concern that presses have for the erosion of copyright protection directly reflects this pressure....

Also see the AAUP's press release.


  1. As the statement acknowledges, the OA movement applies to journal articles much more than to books.  The reason is simply that it focuses on literature "which scholars give to the world without expectation of payment" (to quote the BOAI).  There is a case to be  made for OA to monographs; I've often made it myself; and I applaud the AAUP for its willingness to consider it.  But it's no surprise that the economics of OA to books differs from the economics of OA to journal articles.  That's why no OA mandate or policy tells book publishers to convert to OA. 
  2. Likewise, no OA policy tells non-OA journals to convert to OA.  As I put it earlier this month, FRPAA "does not mandate that subscription-based journals convert to OA.  It does not tell any kind of journals what their access policies or business models ought to be.  It regulates grantees, not publishers."
  3. In its pure form, open access calls for an entirely new funding model, in which the costs of publishing research articles in journals are paid for by authors or by a funding agency.  This statement refers to OA without qualification but only applies to OA journals.  It is untrue of OA repositories.  There are several other places where the document would benefit from a careful distinction between OA journals and OA repositories.
  4. High-volume OA archiving will either cause journal cancellations or it won't.  If it won't, then publisher fears are groundless.  (This is the case in physics where OA archiving is most extensive.)  But if it will cause cancellations, then the money freed up by those cancellations will be available to pay for the OA alternative.  It's simply not true that OA journals depend on publisher gifts (even if they depend on author, editor, and referee gifts) and it's not true that the money to pay publishers must come from authors or foundations.  The money currently spent on subscription journals (ultimately from many different sources including taxpayers) is more than enough to pay for OA equivalents or successors.
  5. When the statement refers to "market-based models", it seems to mean selling something for a price --sometimes access, sometimes something else whose sale subsidizes access.  It's true, as the AAUP points out, that "some kinds of open access are compatible with a market-based model" in this sense.  For example, there are priced books with OA editions, and journals with priced access for a certain period and OA afterwards.  But it's a mistake to assume that "pure OA" rules out these kinds of revenue streams and requires an unqualified "gift economy".  The OA edition of a book can be "pure OA" even though there's also a priced, print edition.  When a journal offers OA to articles after an embargo period, it can be "pure OA" even though there was a period when access was priced.  When articles are deposited in OA repositories, they can be "pure OA" even though the journal's editions of the same articles are not OA.  In several places, the statement assumes that OA entails the end of revenue, by definition, and then draws frightening consequences from that assumption. 
  6. If the AAUP is saying that there are many business models for providing OA and that we should explore them boldly and open-mindedly, I fully agree.  I'm only puzzled at the implication that proponents of pure OA somehow denied this.  As I put it in my Open Access Overview, "OA is a kind of access, not a kind of business model....There are many business models compatible with OA....There's a lot of room for creativity in finding ways to pay the costs of a peer-reviewed OA journal or a general-purpose OA archive, and we're far from having exhausted our cleverness and imagination."
  7. [Under BOAI-type OA for journals] scholars at less wealthy institutions or those with no institutional affiliations may experience greater difficulty in publishing unless fees are waived or reduced.  This statement assumes that all OA journals charge author-side fees.  But in fact only a minority of them charge such fees --and, by contrast, a majority of subscription journals do.  The idea that any institutions will pay more for OA journals than they pay now for subscriptions is based on this false assumption.
  8. As I said, I welcome the AAUP's willingness to consider OA to monographs and I applaud (and in this blog regularly applaud) the AAUP members already running OA experiments.  I also support the AAUP's implicit argument at the end of the statement that universities are making a mistake to pressure their presses to behave more like their commercial counterparts.

OA to public TV

Laura Devaney, Open access to public TV content sought, eSchoolNews, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Association of Public Television Stations is spearheading a project that aims to digitize and preserve public TV programming. Under the plan, students, teachers, researchers, and others would have access to a vast digital archive of public TV content for research, education, and to create new digital works....

More on OA books increasing net sales of print editions

Suw Charman, Open publishing - A few questions left, Strange Attractor, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Everything I would have said in [a planned lecture for De Montfort's Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media] has already been the Open Publishing category of this blog:

But I'm left with a few questions.
  • What are the numbers? How have Penguin, Tor and Baen seen sales develop over the live of an open book? Do they have any information that would allow a comparison between downloads and sales?
  • Does open publishing prolong the shelf-life of a book?
  • Is success genre specific, and focused on internet-literate readers such as science fiction fans and tech books?
  • Do authors who open publish earn more overall? Do they get more requests to speak, or write for magazines or newspapers? Do they get other paid gigs alongside their writing?
  • Will the model work when we don't need paper at all? Is open publishing a blip, viable only during the period within which ebooks are non-interchangeable with paper books?
  • Do ebook downloaders buy more books overall?
  • What's the relationship between audiobooks and ebooks? ...

NARA wants to raise reproduction fees

The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is proposing to raise its reproduction fees.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)  Excerpt:

NARA is revising its fees for reproduction of records and other materials in the custody of the Archivist of the United States....The fees are being changed to reflect current costs of providing the reproductions. This proposed rule will affect the public and Federal agencies....

NARA does not receive appropriated funds to provide copies of our records to the public....[US law] requires that, to the extent possible, NARA recover the actual cost of making copies of records....As a result of a cost study conducted in 2006, fees for copying records must increase to recover NARA's costs. This is the first proposed fee increase in almost seven years....

Public comments are due by April 27, 2007.

Comment. The reproduction fees only apply when NARA staffers have to copy paper or microfilm originals.  Hence, you might think that digital records would be OA.  But some are and some aren't.  NARA is sometimes willing to let private for-profit companies do the digitizing and charge for access.

More controversy about SSRN policies

James Grimmelmann, SSRN Considered Harmful, a preprint posted to SSRN February 26, 2007.

Abstract:   The Social Science Research Network (SSRN) has adopted several unfortunate policies that impair open access to scholarship. It should enable one-click download, stop requiring papers to bear SSRN watermarks, and allow authors to point readers to other download sites. If it does not reform, those who are serious about open access should not use SSRN.

Also see Grimmelmann's blog summary

For background, see this Cyberprof discussion thread from September 2006 and this blog post by Daniel Solove from November 2006.

More on monopoly power, rising prices, and falling access

The ARL has published an Issue Brief on Wiley's acquisition of Blackwell, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

This document briefly outlines the growing dysfunction in the journal market resulting from the exercise of market power by an ever-shrinking group of large commercial publishers....

This planned consolidation within an already concentrated market immediately raised concerns within the library community....

Libraries have observed significant dysfunctions in the scholarly journal market place for some time.

  • Costs for resources continue the trend of past decades in rising well in excess of background inflation. Numerous studies have documented that journals from the largest commercial publishers cost many times more than comparable journals from not-for-profit publishers. In addition, prices rise more rapidly following large acquisitions.
  • A spiral of rising prices and ongoing market concentration squeezes out support for small society journals.
  • It is very difficult for other publishers to start new scholarly journals in the current marketplace.
  • The advent of electronic journal formats and large publisher bundles have increased the ability of merging companies to exercise market power to raise prices and direct compensatory cancellations onto other publishers’ journals....

History shows that mergers of large journal publishers lead to price increases....

ATLAS Experiment Statement on OA Publishing

Scientists running the ATLAS Experiment at CERN have released a Statement on Open Access Publishing.  (Thanks to Jens Vigen.)  Here's the statement in its entirety (not yet online):

The following statement was unanimously approved by the ATLAS Collaboration Board Friday 23rd February, 2007:

We the ATLAS Collaboration strongly encourage the usage of electronic publishing methods for ATLAS publications and support the principles of Open Access Publishing, which includes granting free access of our ATLAS publications to all. Furthermore, we encourage all ATLAS members to publish papers in easily accessible journals, following the principles of the Open Access Paradigm.

Here's some background on the experiment from its web site:

ATLAS is a particle physics experiment that will explore the fundamental nature of matter and the basic forces that shape our universe. The ATLAS detector will search for new discoveries in the head on collisions of protons of extraordinarily high energy. ATLAS is one of the largest collaborative efforts ever attempted in the physical sciences. There are 1800 physicists (Including 400 students) participating from more than 150 universities and laboratories in 35 countries....

Comment.  Some groups use the term "open access publishing" as a synonym for "open access".  But in this case I believe the authors are using the term carefully to refer to OA journals or gold OA.  CERN already has a green OA mandate, and the ATLAS experimenters know that it applies to them.  In this statement, they are going beyond it to show their support for gold OA.

Update. The statement is now online at the ATLAS publications committee web page (scroll to the bottom).

Monday, February 26, 2007

More on the OA diabetes data from Novartis

Stephen Pincock, Pharma goes open access, The Scientist, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

Swiss drug maker Novartis this month made the results of a genomic analysis of type 2 diabetes freely available on the Internet. Such open sharing of data might run counter to the general view of the pharmaceutical industry, but many academics see it as part of a growing awareness among firms that there are benefits to be had from making at least some information publicly available.

"Data sharing is good, and it's good to see pharma catching up with academia in this respect," Mark McCarthy from the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism, who is studying diabetes genomics, told The Scientist.

Peter Suber from the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition pointed out in an Email that the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB) recently urged the European Commission to mandate open access for EU-funded research, and half of EURAB members are in industry. "As EURAB shows, industry is starting to join with academics to deliver this message."

The new diabetes data came out of a collaboration between Novartis, the University of Lund in Sweden, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard....The results are available on the Broad Web site.

Making the data freely available -- the underlying principle of open access -- had been an important condition of the collaboration, Leif Groop, one of the study's principal investigators from Lund, told The Scientist. "Collaboration between two academic institutions and a drug company could be problematic if we would allow patenting of results," he said via Email....

Susan Gasser from the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Switzerland, which is part of the Novartis Research Foundation, told The Scientist ..., "I think [Novartis] figures that if an independent investigator has results that will help cure diabetes, [the investigator] might eventually come back to Novartis to collaborate -- since academic labs cannot do drug development," she said. "Thus sharing basic genomic, transcriptomic, and proteomic information, while unusual, makes good sense -- both business sense and research sense." ...

"Making datasets available openly is a reflection of the proverbial truth that four eyes see more than two," said [Tom Misteli, Senior Investigator in the Cell Biology of Genomes Group at the National Cancer Institute] in an Email. "Making datasets openly available allows everyone to try their favorite tool on a dataset," and more easily compare different datasets. Groop agreed. "Ten years ago everyone was expecting to get the 'big fish' and no one cooperated," he said. "We have matured, drug companies have matured," he said, causing more groups to open up their data....

The SNP consortium, which involves several drug firms and biotechs, is another example of pharmaceuticals making data public, McCarthy noted.

In another similar move, Pfizer and Affymetrix have signed up to a public-private partnership with the NIH called the Genetic Association Information Network (GAIN), which set out to determine the genetic contributions to five common diseases. All data from that collaboration, announced last year, will also be in the public domain.

Stevan Harnad from the University of Southampton, UK, said the open access movement would be reaching out directly to the R&D industry to consolidate support for open access. "The R&D industry is beginning to recognize the great benefits of [open access]," he said in an Email. "They are a perfectly natural extension of the benefits, to them, of publishing their findings in the first place."

More on PhysMath Central

Chris Leonard, Free your research with PhysMath Central, PhysMath Central blog, February 20, 2007.  Excerpt:

...A few weeks ago BioMed Central publisher Matt Cockerill and myself  were interviewed by First Author about open access publishing in general and our new endeavors in providing peer-reviewed open access research physics, mathematics and chemistry. The interview goes into some detail, so I won't repeat it all here, but rather point to the 2-way integration with arXiv, beautiful TeX templates, and the use of PACS or MCS codes for classifying articles & research. Imagine posting your article to arXiv and submitting to a journal with just one submission process....

Of course, as with BioMed Central, the full-text XML of each article is available to all for data-mining or indexing purposes (or indeed any purpose you can imagine!) under a Creative Commons license. In addition, all equations are marked-up in MathML.

One thing which I should have emphasized a little more was that while we are going to start in April by launching 3 broadly-scoped, in-house journals in physics (with several more to follow), we are very much open to suggestions for other physics journals to be run on a more independent model. Independent journals are open access journals under the editorial control of informal groups or formal societies, but using the technology platform of BMC/PMC.

But it's not all about physics. As the other part of our name suggests, we are also looking to cover mathematical sciences comprehensively as well. Again, we will be launching a series of broadly-scoped mathematics journals, but we are interested in suggestions for independent journals here too....

So this is call for action! If you want to support open access to research in physics, mathematics and computer science, mail us with your ideas for journals and we'll start the ball rolling. If you are an editor or editorial board member of a toll-access journal, you may be interested to know that we also facilitate the transfer of existing journals to an open model. So what are you waiting for? Click on one of these links below and free your research.

OA to more public data in the UK

The Manchester Information and Associated Services (MIMAS) has received an £8.4 million grant from the UK's Economic & Social Research Council to provide OA to government information.  From today's press release:

The award by the Economic and Social Research Council will renew the services which are free of charge for researchers and students until 2012....

The billions of data items managed by the School of Social Sciences and Manchester Information and Associated Services (MIMAS) give researchers access to the census and many national household surveys for free.

They are also a key source for data held by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) among others....

The new funding includes:

  • £2.01 million for census data.
  • £4.39 million for national and international economic and social data.
  • £2 million for internet and computer related social science data...

"What makes this significant is that whereas many researchers have paid for this sort of information, our work enables them to access it for free....The data is free at the end point of use and chimes with the Guardian's free our data campaign....The fact that it is freely available encourages budding researchers to come forward from many countries across the world."

Graphs of repository statistics

OpenDOAR has added 16 new graphs to show the state of the repositories in the directory.  From today's announcement:

OpenDOAR is pleased to announce the release of new statistical graphs for its database.  There are 16 different charts in all, including:

  • Repositories or Repository Organisations by Continent or Country
  • Usage of Open Access Repository Software Platforms
  • Open Access Repository Types
  • Repository Operational Statuses
  • Most Frequent Content Types
  • Most Frequent Languages
  • OpenDOAR Subjects
  • Grades for Metadata Re-use policies, [Full Text] Data Re-use policies, etc.
  • Growth of the OpenDOAR Database

By default the charts cover the full OpenDOAR database. However, as the graphs are an add-on to the existing 'Find' page, you have the option to view results as charts whatever search you do. For instance you could use the country filter to see how the "United States" and "Europe" compare. Or you could see how usage of GNU EPrints differs from DSpace and Bepress....

We hope the charts will be useful for advocacy purposes. We are therefore happy for people to include the charts in their own websites, and we provide the necessary HTML source code. The charts are dynamic, so you always see the latest data.

PS:  These are useful, especially (for my purposes) the chart of the growth in the number of repositories listed in the directory.  OpenDOAR doesn't chart the number of items on deposit in each listed repository, as ROAR does, and neither directory (yet) makes it easy to learn the total number of items on deposit in all the listed repositories.

AHRC plans to adopt an OA mandate

Richard Poynder, UK's AHRC to introduce Open Access mandate, Open and Shut?  February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

The UK is a world leader in the movement for Open Access (OA). In June 2006, for instance, the country's biggest public research funder, Research Councils UK (RCUK), published an OA-friendly position paper that has led to five of the eight constituent UK Research Councils adopting self-archiving mandates. These mandates require grant-holders to make their research freely available in online repositories.

To date, however, the Arts & Humanities Research Council (AHRC) has not introduced a mandate. Moreover, the likelihood of it doing so has not looked good. When in February, for instance, the Chief Executive of AHRC Professor Philip Esler was invited to sign a petition calling on the EC to introduce a European-wide OA mandate, he responded by sending an e-mail to the heads of all the other Research Councils, as well as to OA advocates and journalists, saying that he did not intend to sign the petition because "to do what the petition requires in a particular case could arguably entail inducing someone to breach the copyright clause of his or her publishing contract." Perhaps as a consequence of this, only one Research Council Chief Executive signed the petition.

OA advocates were quick to suggest that Professor Esler had misunderstood the petition; a misunderstanding he now appears to concede. But what is current thinking about OA at the AHRC? And has it ruled out introducing a mandate? Richard Poynder e-mailed Professor Esler to find out.

RP: Do you envisage the AHRC introducing a self-archiving mandate at some point? If so, when will that be?

PE: The AHRC is one of eight UK Research Councils that have a common policy on Open Access. This policy can be found on the RCUK website. The AHRC is committed to the principles articulated in that policy. A key principle among them is that "Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research must be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable." ...

The AHRC, like other Research Councils, is moving toward a detailed policy in line with these principles.

RP: ...My that five of the eight Research Councils have introduced a self-archiving mandate, but the AHRC has not. Does this not suggest that the AHRC is out of step?

PE: We have announced our intention to introduce a self-archiving mandate. Our policy is the same as the other Councils and this is merely a timetabling issue.
We are currently reviewing the Arts and Humanities Data Service (jointly funded with JISC) and that is a factor that has slowed us down a bit in comparison with the other Councils. We are not out of step with the other Councils on this!

RP: I wasn't aware of an announcement.

JE: We will consider the AHDS at the Council meeting on 15th March 2007, so I hope it will be shortly after that....

RP: Some argue that Open Access raises different issues for the arts and humanities than it does for the sciences? Would you agree?

PE: In my view, the principles of Open Access are as applicable to the arts and humanities as to the sciences. That is why we are moving forward on this issue jointly with the scientific Research Councils.

RP: In February you were asked to sign a petition calling on the EC to introduce a Europe-wide self-archiving mandate. You responded by saying that you would not sign it because to do so would amount to inducing researchers to breach the copyright clause of the contracts they had with publishers. OA advocates refuted this vigorously. Do you hold to your position?

PE: In my message of 8th February, I did not say that signing the Open Access petition "would" be a tortious act but that it "may" be....

RP: So have you subsequently changed your views about the implications of signing the petition?

PE: ...Every legal case must be decided on its own facts, but it is not easy for me to say how anyone signing this petition would, under English law, commit the tort of inducing a breach of contact....

RP: The EC Communication that was the focus of the petition has now been published....What are your views on the EC policy?

PE: The intentions of the Communication are worthy, both because it looks to opening up access to research and also because it proposes to do so in a way that will be integrated across Europe....

Indexing India's OA repositories

India's National Centre for Science Information has launched CASSIR (Cross Archive Search Services for Indian Repositories).  CASSIR currently indexes 15 of India's OA, OAI-compliant repositories and is on track to index the rest.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam and Filbert Minj.)

Update on the ERC's OA mandate

Stevan Harnad, ERC OA Self-Archiving Mandate Pledge Upgraded, a post to several discussion forums, February 25, 2007.  Excerpt:

This is an update on the European Research Council (ERC) Open Access Self-Archiving Mandate.

It was registered this January as a "pledged" mandate (rather stronger than a "proposed" mandate) and it will soon take effect, so I've upgraded it in ROARMAP to a full funder mandate.

Here is what Professor Jeffrey has written about it (for posting): ...

Here's the base FP7 figures for the duration of the work programme:

From this you see ERC is 7.5 bn of 50.5bn i.e. almost 15%

The key point here is the leveraging; the EC R&D funding is ~ 5% of total R&D funding in Europe and the interactions between the EC programme and national programmes are complex - basically politicians try to lever either negatively (if EC funds this area of research or researcher we won't) or positively (if EC funds this we'll fund it too).

The ERC is to fund individual researchers, not teams. It will thus give great prestige to the successful researchers. With am OA self-archiving mandate it will give a leadership to all Europe research unachievable otherwise - i.e. it is a totem. If a (prestigious) researcher with ERC funding does parallel green deposit for ERC then she will also do it for her nationally-funded research - by force of habit if nothing else! The research team around will 'get the habit' too.

Significantly this leadership should also be extended to EIT (European Institute of Technology). This will be ~75% industry funded according to the EC and will involve large numbers of researchers (15-20,000). Of course it is yet to be approved by the parliament but Barrosso (EC president) seems determined to push it through.

Another call for OA to Canadian research

Michael Geist, Open access: Reshaping rules of research, Toronto Star, February 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

Last month, five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy to require that all government-funded research be made available to the public shortly after publication....

Despite scant media attention, word of the petition spread quickly throughout the scientific and research communities. Within weeks, it garnered more than 20,000 signatures, including several Nobel prize winners and more than 750 education, research, and cultural organizations from around the world.

In response, the European Commission committed over $100 million toward facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year.

The European developments demonstrate the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge....

The [current subscription] model certainly proved lucrative for large publishers, yet resulted in the public paying twice for research that it was frequently unable to access.

Cancer patients seeking information on new treatments or parents searching for the latest on childhood development issues were often denied access to the research they indirectly fund through their tax dollars....

While today this self-archiving approach is typically optional, a growing number of funding agencies are making it a mandatory requirement....

Notwithstanding the momentum toward open access, several barriers remain.

First, many conventional publishers actively oppose open access, fearful that it will cut into their profitability.  Indeed, soon after the launch of the European petition, Nature reported that publishers were preparing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to counter open access support with a message that equates public access to government censorship.

Second, many universities and individual researchers have been slow to adopt open access, with only a limited number of universities worldwide having established institutional repositories to facilitate deposit of research by their faculty....

Third, Canadian funding agencies are increasingly at risk of falling behind their counterparts around the world by dragging their heels on the open access front.

With the notable exceptions of the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the International Development Research Agency, which last year introduced proposals to require open access for their funded research, Canada's major funding agencies have been slow to move on the issue....

The failure to lead on this issue could have long-term negative consequences for Canadian research.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for the federal government, its funding agencies and the Canadian research community to maximize the public's investment in research by prioritizing open access.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

New OA repository for catalysis research

Catalysis Database is a new OA repository from India's National Centre for Catalysis Research.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.) 

WIPO warms to the public domain

The Byzantine process of WIPO reform has great potential for OA.  Unfortunately, it's slow, complicated, largely hidden, and usually uphill.  Fortunately, some good news emerges every time to time.  Now for example.  Here's an excerpt from Jamie Love, WIPO Embraces Reform on Intellectual Property Mission, The Huffington Post, February 23, 2007.  Love is the director of Knowledge Ecology International.

Today the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) concluded the first of a two-part review of proposals for a reform effort called the "development agenda." In doing so, WIPO and its member states have done something very positive, and surprising -- both because it signals important reforms, and because it happened with very strong support from all of the WIPO members, including the United States and members of Europe, delegations that usually take a hard line in global negotiations on intellectual property issues.

The negotiations have just broken up. This is our/my statement on the outcome:

Knowledge Ecology International Statement on WIPO Development Agenda negotiation

The agreement on dozens of WIPO reforms was broader and more substantive than had been anticipated. Some of the measures signal important changes in this controversial UN body. WIPO members agreed to "consider the preservation of the public domain within WIPO's normative processes and deepen the analysis of the implication and benefits of a rich and accessible public domain." WIPO agreed to "promote measures that will help countries deal with IP related anticompetitive practices." "Norm-setting activities shall . . . take into account different levels of development" and "take into consideration a balance between costs and benefits." WIPO adopted an expanded mandate to undertake studies to assess the economic, social and cultural impact of intellectual property practices and norm setting activities. All of this signals a new tone and approach for WIPO. In a sense, WIPO is finally entering the new century, and responding to the growing demand for reforms, and a more balanced approach to intellectual property protection.

In some areas, however, the agreement was quite limited. The cluster that included "access to knowledge," was quite thin, for example....

The June [2007] meeting, which is expected to be much more difficult, will look at topics such as proposed treaty on access to knowledge -- a startling departure from WIPO's longstanding efforts to focus largely on expanding the scope and enforcement of intellectual property rights....

Here are some quotes from others who are here: ...

Teresa Hackett (EIFL.NET)
"The Chairman was breath of fresh air. After two years, it feels like things are moving forward. The public domain received unexpected attention, but it gave us the opportunity to talk about why WIPO should care about a rich and accessible public domain."

Miriam M. Nisbet (American Library Association)
"Despite some confusing and conflicting statements about the public domain, it has been gratifying to hear lively debates by the WIPO delegates that reinforce the importance of the topic." ...

David Tannenbaum (Yale Information Society Project)
"It is disorienting to see such a breathtakingly good outcome come out of a process that was largely closed. The language is very general and it will be important to use these principles to guide current and future treaty negotiations." ...

Eddan Katz (Yale Information Society Project)
"This is an important moment for the recognition of the role of human development in innovation. agreement on these principles will help us move forward in promoting access to knowledge as a commitment for the whole world."

(Senior member of the US delegation)
"We sensed a different atmosphere on both sides this time".

Vera Franz
"With this week's meeting we are a step closer to making WIPO fit for the 21st century. Back in 2003 WIPO had argued that a meeting on open collaborative knowledge projects would fall outside the agency's mandate. With today WIPO has put these issues firmly on its agenda, acknowledging that in a healthy and competitive knowledge economy more IP is not always better. What is next? These changes will have to impact future norm-setting at the agency." ...

Publisher accommodation and resistance to the Wellcome Trust OA policy

Jim Till, Compliance with Wellcome Trust’s OA policy, Be openly accessible or be obscure, February 24, 2007.  Excerpt:

The BioMed Central Open Access Colloquium on “Open Access: How Can We Achieve Quality and Quantity?“, held on February 8, 2007, included a very interesting presentation by Robert Kiley, Head of e-Strategy of the Wellcome Library. His presentation was part of the session on “The open access imperative: where are we now, and where do we want to be?“, and was entitled: “Funding open-access publications“. His PPT presentation can be downloaded.

The presentation includes some noteworthy information about compliance of publishers with the OA policy of the Wellcome Trust (WT)....

Information from Slide 7 of the presentation:

Significant number of commercial and not-for-profit publishers now offer an OA option that is fully compliant with the Trust’s requirements (e.g. PLoS, BMC, Elsevier, OUP, CUP, BMJPG, Sage, Taylor & Francis)“.

Other publishers allow the author to self archive a version of the final article and make that available within 6 months (e.g. Nature, AAAS, AMA, Am. Physiological Assoc)“.

However, some publishers have policies that do not allow Wellcome-funded authors to publish in these titles. High profile publishers that do not offer a WT-compliant policy include the American Association of Immunologists, and the American Association for Cancer Research“.

Slide 8 presents information obtained via the RoMEO database. The data indicate that 59% of biomedical publishers are compliant with the WT OA policy, 15% are in active discussion (with WT about the policy), 16% currently have no publicly-available policy, and 10% are non-compliant with the policy.

Slide 9 shows that, of the WT-compliant publishers, 75% permit compliance via the self-archiving (Green OA) route and 17% via a paid OA option. Both options are offered by 8% of WT-compliant publishers....

The audio aspect of Robert Kiley’s presentation is also available....

Increasing numbers of funding agencies, with the WT in a crucial leadership role, have become major representatives of the public interest, in the escalating tug-of-war between those who support OA and those who, at present, do not. Information of the kind outlined above is badly needed, to foster evidence-based policy decisions by funding agencies.

More on redirecting subscription revenue to OA

Heather Morrison, Elsevier Revenue to Open Access, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, February 24, 2007.  Excerpt:

Is there enough revenue in the current scholarly publishing system to fund an open access system? This post explores what would happen if Reed Elsevier's revenue were redeployed to support for open access, and the answer is a resounding yes! For example, Reed Elsevier's 2005 revenue was sufficient to pay for over 6 million BioMedCentral articles. To illustrate how this compares with Reed Elsevier's current production, 6 million articles divided by Elsevier's approximately 2,000 titles results in an incredibly prolific over 3,000 articles per journal. Even a small fraction of Reed Elsevier's revenue could fund an absolutely amazing amount of open access. For example, 10% of Elsevier's revenue would pay for 460,000 articles in Public Library of Science; divided into Elsevier's current 2,000 titles, the result is a far above average 230 articles per journal (picture a quarterly journal with 58 articles per issue). 1% of Elsevier's revenue would be sufficient to provide hosting and support services for 141,538 journals at SFU Library, or about 70 times Elsevier's current journal production.

Details are below. For numbers and calculations, see the Elsevier Revenue to Open Access: Open Data edition....

Variations on gold OA funding and the rise of green OA

Heather Morrison, Open access, scholarly communications, and the processing fee model, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, February 24, 2007.  Excerpt:

There are arguments that the processing fee model approach to open access could introduce much needed competition into the scholarly publishing industry, and that this approach could simply result in a replacing a subscriptions crisis based on a price spiral with a processing fee price spiral. In my opinion, both arguments are correct. There are many variations of approaches to the processing fee model. Some introduce incentives to seek best services at best prices, and hence stimulate competition. One example is a funding agency providing a set amount or percentage for dissemination of research results, with discretion for the author to spend the full amount on publishing one article, or seeking a better price for publishing services,and using the remaining funds for other purposes. Other approaches, such as agreeing to a blanket fee for publication that is higher than the true costs of publishing an open access article, seem designed to reward inefficiencies and hence create the processing fee price spiral....

To avoid confusion, let me first of all clarify that there are a number of business models for open access journals. The majority do not rely on processing fees at all....

Given these complexities, in my opinion it is best if funders adopt a simple mandate, requiring open access to the results of research they fund, and the authors' own work (with revisions suggested by peer reviewers). Funders have every right to make this requirement immediate on publication, or acceptance for publication. Publishers provide a valuable service, but they do not have any rights. Every business must adapt to changing environments, and the scholarly publishing industry is no exception.

Some publishers claim that if articles are available open access, there will be a precipitous decline in subscriptions. There is no evidence that this is likely, and much evidence that this is extremely unlikely, such as the experience of physics publishing peacefully coexisting with nearly 100% OA in arXiv for 15 years, the fact that those who rely on the publishing services, the authors, are faculty members who are consulted in any cancellation decisions, and the fact that many of the larger library contracts are multi-year, and could not be cancelled suddenly.

However, even if all the library subscriptions were suddenly cancelled - so what? The monies that went into subscriptions would then be free to support gold OA publishing! ...

University benefits from self-archiving

Bernard Rentier, Archivage institutionnel et vitrine bibliographique, Bernard Rentier, February 25, 2007.  In this blog post, Rentier --the Rector of the University of Liege-- lists the ways in which universities benefit by capturing their research output in their institutional repositories.  Read the original French or Google's English.

PS:  Does this mean that Liege will soon adopt an OA mandate?  Last June Rentier announced that Liege would launch an IR, though he said nothing about what policies it might use to fill it.