Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Evolving copyright and evolving scholarly communication

Marcus A. Banks and Cees de Blaaij, "Implications of Copyright Evolution for the Future of Scholarly Communication and Grey Literature," The Grey Journal, Spring 2007.  Not even an abstract is free online, at least so far.  

IRRODL issue on open education in Asia

The new issue of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (vol. 8, 1, 2007) is devoted to Changing Faces of Open and Distance Education in Asia.

OA portal for biology

Yesterday the University of Frankfurt Library launched the OA Virtual Library of Biology (Virtuelle Fachbibliothek Biologie).  (Thanks to medinfo.)

Green over gold OA in archaeology

Jingfeng Xia, Electronic Publishing in Archaeology, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 37, 4 (2006).  Self-archived March 30, 2007.  Excerpt:

[A] pay-to-read model has been used by some electronic journals. After a period of five years of free access to its content, Internet Archaeology began to charge for individual subscriptions in December 2001. In answering critics, the journal's editor notes the high costs of producing the publication....

The availability of electronic journals in other academic fields shows that it is possible for e-publication to be free of charge to readers. Even in archaeology, some other electronic journals, such as the Journal of Social Archaeology, do not yet charge for access. Nevertheless, it is true that creating and maintaining online archaeological databases does add extra costs....Unfortunately, according to Eiteljorg's observation, 'I am aware of no archival plan in the U.S. that has found a funding system that could support an on-going archival storage program for digital archaeological data.'  What, then, are the solutions?

The author would argue that two major directions need to be explored in the development of electronic publishing in archaeology. First, it is worth making further efforts to seek reliable funding possibilities. This sounds like a question answering a question. But people are becoming more and more aware of the potential and importance of digital technology, so more funding agencies have offered support for digital initiatives.  In the United States, for example, the National Science Foundation has recently sponsored numerous repository projects, both institutional and disciplinary.

Second, it is time to seek alternatives for electronic publishing. Online databases have proven to be excellent in disseminating archaeological data; but they are not the only solution....

E-Print Repository Is among the Alternatives

The e-print concept has developed into popular disciplinary and institutional repositories since the early 1990s. Although a variety of e-print applications is currently in use, these applications share many similar characteristics. First, they are all free for download, with the source code open for own customization. Second, they are easy to configure and maintain. Third, they can accommodate various file formats. And finally, they support metadata harvesting to broaden searchability.

Given these characteristics, the e-print repository is clearly a good alternative to current electronic publications in archaeology....

Asking society members to set society priorities

Stevan Harnad, Mobilising Scholarly Society Membership Support for FRPAA and EC A1, Open Access Archivangelism, March 30, 2007. 

Summary:  Scholarly Society officers are adopting the very same stance as commercial publishers -- opposing the Green Open Access Self-Archiving Mandates that are being adopted and proposed worldwide -- but they are opposing them in the name of protecting the society's publishing revenue streams for the sake of funding the society's "good works" (funding meetings, scholarships and lobbying) -- and they are doing so on behalf of their memberships, without consultation, disclosure, or answerability.
   The memberships have to be informed of this, and that renouncing OA to guarantee their society's publishing revenue streams so they can subsidise meetings, scholarships and lobbying would amount to members agreeing to subsidise these things with their own lost daily research impact and income. Members will be shocked once their societies' publishing revenue books are opened and they see how small a proportion of their society's publishing profits is actually being used for these good works rather than to increase their publishing division's size, staff and perquisites, exactly as with any commercial publisher.
   Scholarly society meetings, scholarships and lobbying should sustain themselves in other ways in the OA era, rather than by reducing members' research impact. Reducing research access is the exact opposite of the purpose of a scholarly society. Raising the registration fee for meetings, and adjusting membership fees to the level agreed upon for the funding of scholarships and lobbying makes the system far more open and answerable to the real needs of the membership.

From the body of the post:

The remedy, of course, is to remind the membership of the actual mandate of scholarly societies, which is to promote...scholarship, not to profit from limiting it.

Comment.  Some societies make surpluses (profits) from their journals and some don't; and among those that do, the percentage of the surplus spent on good works beyond the publishing division itself must vary widely.  But when a society decides to lobby against FRPAA or other national policies to mandate OA for publicly-funded research, they are putting the perceived threat to their revenue ahead of their avowed commitment to research and deciding to advance their general mission (conferences, scholarships, salaries, lobbying) at the expense of their specific mission to advance research in their fields. I don't know a single society that has asked its members how to choose between these competing goods, and I've often argued (esp. here and here) that members should take control of these decisions or elect leaders who will reflect their views.

OA portal for Canadian courseware

A non-profit with public funding has launched CultureSource, an OA portal for Canadian courseware and teaching materials.  From today's announcement: has arrived! Curriculum Services Canada, supported by a grant from the Canadian Culture Online Strategy of the Department of Canadian Heritage, has assembled a wide collection of websites in the Arts, Canadian Literature, and Canadian History, ideal for lesson planning and in classroom use. This FREE online access point allows teachers to collect websites and share their collections with colleagues from all across Canada in an attempt to enhance the classroom experience.

Users can:

  • Search by keyword from a database of over 100 CSC-evaluated resources.
  • Browse through titles with full descriptions and keywords to help pinpoint the best resources for lesson plans.
  • Collect resources and build a CultureSpace.
  • Share a CultureSpace and Collection with the user community....

Curriculum Services Canada is the Pan-Canadian standards agency for quality assurance in learning products and programs. This not-for-profit organization offers a wide range of standards-driven services that support and complement its core business of learning resource evaluation.

A German publisher's objections

Wulf D. von Lucius, Licht und Schatten - Strukturveränderungen im wissenschaftlichen Informationssystem,, March 2007.  A German publisher repeats old objections to OA (publishing has costs, don't fix what isn't broken, OA will undermine publishers and peer review). Read it in German or in Google's English.

January JCMC devoted to e-science

The January issue of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication is devoted to e-Science.  (Thanks to TL Infobits.)  All the articles may interest OAN readers, but these two are most relevant to OA:

  • Dan L. Burk, Intellectual Property in the Context of e-Science.  Abstract:   "E-science promises to allow globally-distributed collaboration and access to scientific research via computer networks, but e-science development is already encountering difficulty over the intellectual property rights associated with data and networked collaborative activity. The proprietary nature of intellectual property is generally problematic in the practice of science, but such difficulties are likely to be exacerbated in the context of e-science collaboration where the development and use of intellectual resources will likely be distributed among many researchers in a variety of physical locations, often spanning national boundaries. While a potential solution to such problems may reside in the mechanism of "open source" licenses, the organizational structure of scientific research may not map cleanly onto the open source model. Consequently, a firm understanding of not only the technical structure but of the social and communicative structure of e-science will be necessary in order to adapt licensing solutions to the practice of e-science."
  • Nathan Bos and six co-authors, From Shared Databases to Communities of Practice: A Taxonomy of Collaboratories.  Abstract:   "Promoting affiliation between scientists is relatively easy, but creating larger organizational structures is much more difficult, due to traditions of scientific independence, difficulties of sharing implicit knowledge, and formal organizational barriers. The Science of Collaboratories (SOC) project conducted a broad five-year review to take stock of the diverse ecosystem of projects that fit our definition of a collaboratory and to distill lessons learned in the process. This article describes one of the main products of that review, a seven-category taxonomy of collaboratory types. The types are: Distributed Research Centers, Shared Instruments, Community Data Systems, Open Community Contribution Systems, Virtual Communities of Practice, Virtual Learning Communities, and Community Infrastructure Projects. Each of the types is defined and illustrated with one example, and key technical and organizational issues are identified."

Friday, March 30, 2007

Candidate for IEEE president supports OA

John Vig, one of the candidates for president of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), supports embargoed OA.  From his campaign page on OA:

Open access, the worldwide movement to disseminate scholarly research literature online, free of charge, is a serious challenge because half of IEEE’s revenues results from the sale of publications....

Delayed open access, the most likely to be successful open access model, e.g., making publications open access a year after publication, would not be as damaging to IEEE’s revenues. Because most subscribers want immediate access to newly published articles, delayed open access would allow the IEEE to maintain most of its publication revenues while also fulfilling its mission of being “for the benefit of humanity and the profession.” We should monitor the progress of the open access movement, and, meanwhile, make plans for the IEEE’s response to governmental and other mandates for open access. We should also develop new revenue sources, products and services, to replace the revenues which may be lost as a result of open access.

The IEEE is already partly open access because IEEE policy permits “Authors and/or their companies… to post their IEEE copyrighted material on their own servers without permission…” Once an article is posted, Google Scholar, Windows Live Academic and others can find it and make it available to the world, for free.

One reason that open access is likely to grow is that, according to a recent survey, open access articles are cited about twice as often as closed access articles. Authors want to be cited, so, it is highly probable that the number of authors who post their articles in OA archives will continue to grow.

In my opinion, the question is no longer IF the IEEE will be open access some day. It is only a question of how and when....

The page includes comments from IEEE members and Vig's replies. Vince Rosati asked how Vig would prevent "a serious loss [of revenue] to IEEE".  From Vig's reply:

I would use my position to convince the IEEE Board of Directors, and the rest of the pertinent IEEE leadership, to do two things: 1) Have IEEE embrace the open access (OA) movement, within reason, and, 2) Invest more to develop new revenue producing products and services – to replace revenues lost as a consequence of OA.

OA makes sense, and it is in accord with the last phrase of our mission statement, i.e., OA is definitely “…for the benefit of humanity and the profession.” Rather than fighting the movement, let’s join them and try to influence them. As I said above, I feel that IEEE could live with delayed OA, provided that the delay is not too short....

We should also do some OA experiments. Let’s find out how delayed OA would affect our subscription revenues, citations, etc. by, for example, making two of our journals OA. (We can always discontinue the experiment in the unlikely event that we find OA to be harmful.)

Last year, we added $31M to our financial reserves while investing <$3M in new products and services. Our reserves have grown to $169M – which comes to ~$500- per member, and is well above the minimum level recommended by the experts! Surely, we can afford to spend more, a lot more, on developing new products and services – not just for the sake of revenues, but also to provide more membership benefits. We are not investing enough in our future.

None of us know what the future holds, but, as Alan Kay said, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” So, let’s invent our future! We should be doing this whether or not OA hurts us....

Open science on public radio

Janet Babin, Open source science, transcript of a radio story on NPR's Marketplace, March 28, 2007.  Hear the original story.  From the transcript:

If [lab work] could be shared, [Jean-Claude Bradley, chemistry professor at Drexel University] says researchers wouldn't have to repeat failed experiments, and could save time. So he decided to try something new. He and his students at Drexel University now post all of their lab experiments on a wiki, or website, for anyone to see.

And they're not just working in the hypothetical — they're searching for chemical compounds that could fight malaria.

Bradley says he purposely chose a disease was largely being ignored by pharmaceutical companies....

The concept of sharing scientific research is so new, Bradley's coined a phrase for it: open notebook science.

But openness comes with a price: Bradley's online lab page has a disclaimer: any contributions made on the site are given over to the public domain. No lucrative patent deals, no blockbuster drugs....

More on the vision of MediaCommons

Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Scholarly Publishing in the Age of the Internet, MediaCommons, undated but approximately March 29, 2007.  On the MediaCommons vision of a born-digital, peer-reviewed, OA monographs in the humanities.  Excerpt:

Our shift from thinking about an "electronic press" to thinking about a "scholarly network" came about gradually; the more we thought about the purposes behind electronic scholarly publishing, the more we became focused on the need not simply to provide better access to discrete scholarly texts but rather to reinvigorate intellectual discourse, and thus connections, amongst peers — and, not incidentally, discourse between the academy and the wider intellectual public. The financial crisis in scholarly publishing is, after all, not unrelated to the failure of most academic writing to find any audience outside the academy. While we wouldn't want to suggest that all scholarly production ought to be accessible to non-specialists — there's certainly a need for the kinds of communication amongst peers that wouldn't be of interest to most mainstream readers — we do nonetheless believe that the lack of communication between the academy and the wider reading public points to a need to rethink the role of the academic in public intellectual life.

The online text is accompanied by many user comments.  At the same time, Fitzpatrick is continuing to elaborate the vision in the MediaCommons blog.

How not to measure ejournal usage

Rick Ralston, Assessing Online Use: Are Statistics from Web-Based Online Journal Lists Representative?  Journal of Electronic Resources in Medical Libraries, March 15, 2007.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far. (Thanks to medinfo.) 

Many library Web sites feature hypertext lists of their online journals. This article explores the reliability of usage statistics generated by these Web-based journal lists. Reliability is assessed by comparing the number of journal title accesses from the list with the number of articles downloaded per title supplied by electronic journal vendors. The study includes 468 titles from three different vendors. While a correlation in use from the two different sources was found, this sample's usage counts from the online journal list were not accurate enough to use with cancellation decisions.

How OA Google Earth aids geoscience research

Brad Flora, Google Earth Impact: Saving Science Dollars and Illuminating Geo-Science, EContent, April 2007.  Excerpt:

Scott Madry remembers how hard it was to get a decent aerial photo before Google Earth....Google Earth changed all that.  While Madry continues to spot dig sites from above, his flyovers have gone virtual. From his Chapel Hill office, using the search-engine giant's free geo-mapping program, he is able to identify potential excavation sites more quickly and without having to use precious grant money....

Madry is not alone in singing Google Earth's praises. Though not specifically designed for scientific use, since its beta release in June 2005, the program has seen growing use by geologists, geographers, and archeologists like Madry who say the program's intuitive interface and fluid 3D satellite mapping is streamlining once cumbersome research methods and making earth science more accessible to the public than ever before. Researchers from the Alaska Volcano Observatory created a Google Earth program that graphically displays volcano threat while seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) use the program to map the intensity of post-earthquake tremors....

David Wald, a seismologist at the USGS National Earthquake Information Center...sees Google Earth as a much less expensive complement, not a replacement to existing research tools....

Moving beyond the WMD business model

Alex Golub, With a Business Model Like This, Who Needs Enemies? Anthropology News, April 2007.  An op-ed.  (Thanks to Savage Minds.)  Excerpt:

Enthusiasm for the ideal of open access is widespread in anthropology. But perhaps even more widespread is skepticism about the practicality of these new publishing models. Those who pride themselves on practicality and tough-mindedness ask: “How are we supposed to find the money to publish our journals if we don’t make our readers pay for access to our articles?” ...

Now, there are many things wrong with phrasing things in this way....[F]raming the dilemma in this way misrepresents the success and workability of the reader-pays business model. If you think that making money by giving away content is a bad idea, you should see what happens when the AAA [American Anthropological Association] tries to make money selling it. To put it kindly, our reader-pays model has never worked very well. Getting over our misconceptions about open access requires getting over misconceptions of the success of our existing publishing program. The choice we are facing is not that of an unworkable ideal versus a working system. It is the choice between a future system which may work and an existing system which we know does not....

The AAA’s solution to digital publishing, AnthroSource, has thus far been no more successful at turning a profit than our pre-digital publication program....

The result is a “weapons of mass destruction” business model: continuing faith that the profits are out there somewhere, even though there is no evidence for their existence, combined with “stay the course” mentality that insists we will find them. . . someday....

The AAA can develop a publishing program that can run in the black, but in order to do so it must take on board the central insight of the open access movement—that journals become more affordable (and open access becomes a more realistic option) when you lower production costs. Recognizing this should not in itself be a difficult task—we know how to work smarter and not harder and how to make do with limited resources but lots of resourcefulness. After all we write our articles, edit them, and peer review them for free. And of course our “product” is very ”competitive”: our members produce the finest anthropology in the world.

In order for us to develop less costly and more open publishing, we need to question some of our assumptions about how our publishing program works and how
successful it has been. This means talking with each other about the effect that AnthroSource and the outsourcing of our production processes has had on our membership. It means demanding accountability and transparency from our staff. It means asking our leaders to lead. It means rolling up our sleeves and having a public discussion about the economics of publishing in the AAA which asks hard questions and is not satisfied with easy answers. And above all, it means moving beyond the idea that our current reader-pays model is somehow more “realistic” than open access alternatives.

The same issue contains a counterpoint piece by Stacy Lathrop, "Friends, Why Are We Sinking?"  Unfortunately I only have access to the first page, which appears on the self-archived copy of Golub's piece.  Excerpt:

[I]n my own cautious explorations of open access possibilities, I have encountered some unanticipated challenges. First, the idea of a transition from print to digital suggests that the digital will ultimately replace the print. Yet, should we necessarily assume this? Respondents to the last AAA member survey rated AnthroSource almost equally to the print copies of Anthropology News and American Anthropologist as member benefits....Many anthropologists on a publish-or-perish tenure track still believe that the gold standard is publishing a print, peer-reviewed monograph....As many readers say of AN, they like discovering articles while skimming its bound pages on the subway or in the dentist’s office....

[O]pen access advocates’ argument that electronic publishing leads to a costs savings of up to two orders of magnitude differs from publishing electronic versions of printed journals. Such advocates usually only account for peer review and editing production costs, which some have pointed out is faulty for a large publishing program. An electronic publishing program must also budget for the development and maintenance of its electronic infrastructure....

Many who have adopted open-access alternatives, such as those published by the Public Library of Science (PLoS), use an author-pays model to finance their publishing programs....So one question we must ask: Is there enough funding for support author-pays models?

Comments.  Here are a few quick comments to Stacy Lathrop's counterpoint. 

  • People who want to read print can make print-outs.  People who want to publish print monographs will not be affected in the slightest by a move to OA for journal literature.  People who want to publish in high-prestige print journals are already being upended by the trend, from non-OA publishers, to move from print or dual-edition journals to online-only journals.  On the other side, one of the first OA publishers to show a profit is MedKnow, which has retained its print editions alongside the OA editions.
  • Of course the full costs of OA and TA journal publishing programs should be taken into account.  But Lathrop's list doesn't take into account any of the savings that OA makes possible, beyond the (optional) elimination of the print edition, such as the elimination of subscription management, DRM, lawyer fees for licenses and enforcement, and marketing.  Nor does it take into account the savings made possible by open-source journal management software --savings which are also available to TA journals.
  • Whether anthropology can support OA journals through author-side publication fees is a good question, and the AAA should explore it.  But regardless of how that turns out, the AAA should realize that only a minority of OA journals charge publication fees and explore the no-fee business models as well.

Update. Anthropologists are discussing Golub's article in the comments to his post on Savage Minds.

UK Free Our Data campaign talks to minister in charge of public data

Michael Cross, Minister listens to Guardian's campaign call, The Guardian, March 29, 2007.  Excerpt:

Without political involvement, a campaign about government data hasn't got much chance. So it must count as important that we got an off-the-record meeting with the minister in charge of that data. Baroness Ashton (Catherine Ashton), of the Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA), is responsible for policy on public sector information - the digital crown jewels which the Guardian's Free Our Data campaign says should be liberated....

Another familiar concern is how we get to free data from where we are today, when a number of government-owned bodies depend on sales of information and information products. To avoid jeopardising the quality of work by organisations such as Ordnance Survey, at least some of this income would need to be replaced by direct subsidy. We would like to see authoritative studies - new or existing - into how much this would cost, set against the gain to the national economy of making data as freely available as the Greenwich time signal....

For more detail, see the Free Our Data blog post on the same interview.

OA to two more journal backfiles

Persée now offers OA to the backfiles of two more journals:

(Thanks to Charles Ellwood Jones.)

AAP response to NIH call for an OA mandate

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) has publicly released its March 26 letter to Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of the Senate subcommittee that funds the NIH.  This is the AAP's response to last week's appearance by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni before the same subcommittee.  Zerhouni testified that the NIH policy should be strengthened from a request to a requirement.  Excerpt:

...We are concerned that a change to the existing NIH policy will negatively impact the private sector funded peer review process and will adversely impact many publishers, including non-profit scientific and medical societies who depend on subscription revenue from their journals to fund many important programs. We believe that the voluntary policy remains the best approach and respectfully request that the Subcommittee not direct NIH to change its public access policy.

In contrast, a public-private partnership with NIH under a voluntary policy can accomplish the goals of the NIH Public Access Policy without undermining scientific discovery or competing with the marketplace....

A mandate that articles be deposited to PMC disregards the complexity of scholarly publishing and imposes a “one-size-fits-all” approach on a diverse community of commercial, non-profit and scientific and medical society publishers....

The 10 to 15 percent figure referenced by Dr. Zerhouni does not appear to reflect the increasing deposit rate resulting from Elsevier’s direct deposit program. Based on an assessment of articles on PMC as well as publisher deposits, we believe that deposits with NIH on a current basis have increased well beyond the 10 to 15 percent rate referenced. If NIH agrees to work with additional publishers who wish to begin depositing on behalf of their authors, as does Elsevier, the deposit rate will continue to increase exponentially....

In responding to your question regarding the policy’s timeframe, Dr. Zerhouni indicated the 12 month timeframe was necessary to prevent damage to peer review. We strongly agree with Dr. Zerhouni on that point. However, we do not agree with his characterization that the 6 month timeframe would not be a problem for most journals, only those who publish less frequently. A recent study by the Publishing Research Consortium which examined librarian preference for free content found that with a six months access delay, 57% of librarians said they would opt for the free content in place of a paid subscription. Many said they would opt for free content even at 12 months....

Another issue I wish to call to your attention is the mission creep of the NIH program beyond the initial goal of Public Access. NIH’s intent goes well beyond simply posting articles for Public Access. NIH is adding extensive electronic tagging and often reentering text which requires further author review of processed manuscripts. These are among the very tasks that publishers have already performed and paid for. NIH is spending scarce taxpayer resources on duplicate processing in order to compete with the private sector with enhanced versions of articles already published....

Voluntary publisher engagement will be much more effective at making the policy a success than NIH attempting to micromanage 65,000 individual scientific researchers and their publishing output....

To implement and enforce a mandatory public access policy would significantly increase NIH’s administrative and technology costs, thereby diverting much-needed funding from the groundbreaking research that NIH funds and from which our country benefits....


  1. The AAP fought tooth and nail against the current voluntary policy at the NIH.  Now it's trying to boost compliance with the voluntary policy in order to head off pressure to impose an OA mandate.  Either it believes that it can help bring compliance with a voluntary policy up to about 100% or it doesn't.  If it does, then it shouldn't object to a mandate, which will bring about the same result more quickly and easily.  If it doesn't, then it's arguing in bad faith and supports the voluntary policy precisely because it will never work as well as a mandate.
  2. We are concerned that a change to the existing NIH policy will negatively impact the private sector funded peer review process.... As usual, the argument fails to mention that OA journals provide peer review and that subscription-based journals have suffered no cancellations attributable to OA archiving in physics, the field with the highest levels and longest history of OA archiving. More, the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) even host their own mirrors of arXiv.
  3. A mandate...disregards the complexity of scholarly publishing and imposes a “one-size-fits-all” approach on a diverse community of...publishers.... The idea is to serve researchers and those (like medical patients) who depend on research, not to serve publishers.  I don't see why the public interest in advancing research should be compromised to different degrees in different niches in order to treat different kinds of publishers differently.  But if it must be done, it can be done by tweaking the embargo period, not by abandoning the mandate.
  4. A recent study by the Publishing Research Consortium.... As I've often pointed out, the PRC study looked at hypothetical preferences of librarians, not actual cancellation decisions, and it disregarded faculty input on cancellation decisions when all librarians admit that faculty input is decisive.  Less hypothetical studies, like Mark Ware's March 2006 study for ALPSP, show that high journal prices far surpass OA archiving as a cause of journal cancellations.
  5. NIH is adding extensive electronic tagging and...spending scarce taxpayer resources on duplicate processing.... Yes, the NIH enhances deposited manuscripts before disseminating them (details here and here).  Most of these enhancements take the form of links to relevant parts of OA databases, usually other NIH-funded databases.  This does not duplicate anything that publishers are already doing and it helps researchers take full advantage of existing publicly-funded resources and therefore increase the taxpayers' return on investment. 
  6. Voluntary publisher engagement will be much more effective at making the policy a success than NIH attempting to micromanage 65,000 individual scientific researchers and their publishing output.... This is a false dilemma.  Like any other funding agency, the NIH already has individual contact with each of its grantees, and deals with them separately when receiving and evaluating their final work.  To require deposit in PMC as part of the report-submission process is a negligible addition to this work and even helps to streamline it.  The AAP argument can be reversed:  it's much easier and more effective to require deposit in PMC than to work indirectly toward the same goal with a shifting coalition of publishers of wavering resolve.
  7. To implement and enforce a mandatory public access policy would significantly increase NIH’s...costs, thereby diverting...funding from...research.... This old argument is always repeated in the same form and never responds to the answer, which is that the cost of the NIH program is about 0.01% of the agency's budget ($2-4 million/year, depending on the compliance rate, out of a $28 billion/year budget).  The question is not whether the program has expenses but whether 0.01% of the budget is a good investment to insure that the research funded by the rest of the budget is as useful as it can be and available to everyone who can make use of it. 

Thursday, March 29, 2007

OA repository adds tell-a-colleague button

dLIST, the OA repository for information science and technology, has added a tell-a-colleague button.  From the site:

You can now use the Tell a Colleague email link feature available with all articles in dLIST to spread the word about your research! To check it out, visit any item: for example, Bailey's Open Access Bibliography. Once in that record, click on the Tell a colleague hyperlink. Your email client will open with brief information about the article, including the dLIST URL and an invitation to read it. Simply insert the appropriate address(es) and send the email to interested colleagues. Do try it out - comments and suggestions are welcome.

PS: This feature is an EPrints customization already available to any sites running EPrints 2 or 3. Anita Coleman brought it to my attention because she thought too few EPrints archive managers were aware of it. Note to archive managers: the key documents for this customization are here, here, and here.

OA publisher positions on commercial use

Klaus Graf has made a useful list of the few OA publishers who don't allow commercial use and the many who do allow it.  He welcomes additions to his list.

His own view is that OA providers should permit commercial use.  That's my view as well, although as I put it in January 2002, "...I want to make this preference genial, or compatible with the opposite preference, so that the [open access] movement can recruit and retain authors who oppose commercial use."

New edition of NSF's vision for cyberinfrastructure and open data

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) has published a new version of its report, Cyberinfrastructure Vision For 21st Century Discovery, March 2007.  (Thanks to Clifford Lynch.)

Earlier versions of this report strongly supported OA to data.  See for example my blog excerpts for version 4.0 (September 2005) and version 5.0 (January 2006).  

The March 2007 edition also supports OA to data.  I haven't had time to find all the relevant passages, but here's an excerpt from the executive summary (p. 2):

Responding to the challenges and opportunities of a data-intensive world, NSF will pursue a vision in which science and engineering digital data are routinely deposited in well-documented form, are regularly and easily consulted and analyzed by specialist and non-specialist alike, are openly accessible while suitably protected, and are reliably preserved. To realize this vision, NSF’s goals for 2006-2010 are twofold: to catalyze the development of a system of science and engineering data collections that is open, extensible, and evolvable; and to support development of a new generation of tools and services for data discovery, integration, visualization, analysis and preservation. The resulting national digital data framework will be an integral component in the national cyberinfrastructure framework. It will consist of a range of data collections and managing organizations, networked together in a flexible technical architecture using standard, open protocols and interfaces, and designed to contribute to the emerging global information commons. It will be simultaneously local, regional, national and global in nature, and will evolve as science and engineering research and education needs change and as new science and engineering opportunities arise.

PS:  As far as I can tell, the March 2007 edition of this report has no version number.  The preface says that "this intended to be a living document, and will be updated periodically."  It looks like the NSF will be using dates and not version numbers for future editions.

OA book on open content licensing

Brian F. Fitzgerald, Jessica M. Coates, and Suzanne M. Lewis (eds.), Open Content Licensing: Cultivating the Creative Commons, Sydney University Press, March 22, 2007.  A new book on from Sydney UP available in both an OA edition and a priced/printed edition.  You can also jump directly to individually self-archived chapters.  (Thanks to Jessica Coates.)

Abstract:   Open Content Licensing: Cultivating the Creative Commons brings together papers from some of the most prominent thinkers of our time on the internet, law and the importance of open content licensing in the digital age. Drawing on material presented at the Queensland University of Technology conference of the same name in January 2005, the text provides a snapshot of the thoughts of over 30 Australian and international experts – including Professor Lawrence Lessig, Futurist Richard Neville and the Hon Justice Ronald Sackville – on topics surrounding the international Creative Commons, from the landmark Eldred v Ashcroft copyright term decision to the legalities of digital sampling in a remix world. Edited book: Contributors include: Richard Neville, Professor Arun Sharma, Mark Fallu, Professor Barry Conyngham AM, Greg Lane, Professor Brian Fitzgerald, Nic Suzor, Professor Lawrence Lessig, Professor Richard Jones, Professor Greg Hearn, Professor John Quiggin, Dr David Rooney, Neeru Paharia, Michael Lavarch, Stuart Cunningha, Dr Terry Cutler, Damien O’Brien, Renato Ianella, Carol Fripp, Dennis MacNamara, Jean Burgess, The Hon Justice James Douglas, The Hon Justice Ronald Sackville, Linda Lavarch MP, Tom Cochrane, Ian Oi, Dr Anne Fitzgerald, Neale Hooper, Keith Done, Sal Humphreys, John Banks,

More on the Science Commons author addenda

Regaining author’s rights over published material, iCommons blog, March 29, 2007.  I'd like to see an article on regaining rights, but in this case I believe the anonymous author meant retaining rights.  Excerpt:

This is the second piece in a series of articles written to provide a better understanding of Science Commons and shed light on how the principles of open access tie into Creative Commons’ efforts in the sciences.

Last month, we took a look at open access – touching on the key points needed to garner a basic understanding of its core principles. (...The “green” and “gold” roads were discussed....)

The first branch – the “green” road – is at the heart of our Scholar’s Copyright Project. This model involves self-archiving, where authors first publish in a subscription-based journal, then make their scholarly works available on the public internet after-the-fact.

Our Scholar’s Copyright Project takes on this issue directly. Authors can choose from one of our Author’s Addenda, fill out the form, print and attach to the copyright transfer agreement from the subscription-based publisher. By attaching one of our addenda to the standard form issued by the publisher, authors retain – at a minimum – the right to make their works available and to use them in the author’s own teaching and future works....

Scholars are then empowered with the freedom to put their work in an online repository and to use it....

Currently, we have three different Author’s Addenda available: 

  • OpenAccess-CreativeCommons 1.0 Addendum – reserves the right for the author to post the published version immediately and grant others rights to reuse the work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. This addendum comes out of Science Commons’ collaboration with the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)....This amendment retains rights inspired by the SPARC Author Addendum.
  • OpenAccess-Publish 1.0 Addendum – reserves the right for the author to post the published version immediately upon publication.
  • OpenAccess-Delay 1.0 Addendum – reserves the rights for the author to post the author’s peer-reviewed manuscript immediately and the final published version six months after publication.

For more information about how to use the Addenda, visit our FAQ. Also, for a more in-depth looks at the issues driving our Scholar’s Copyright Project, visit our background briefing.

Launch of a new OA publisher and consultant

Co-Action Publishing is a new OA publisher and consultant with "real and virtual offices in Norway, Sweden and Denmark."  From its home page:

Co-Action Publishing is dedicated to Open Access, both through publishing an in-house list of journals and books and by partnering with others to help them realize their own Open Access goals....

We offer a range of tailored Open Access solutions for individual authors, editorial teams, scholarly societies, and academic and professional bodies engaged in the publication of scholarly, peer reviewed journals and books. Current activities are directed towards a broad range of fields including science, biomedicine, social sciences, the humanities, economics, and business management....

From the page on access:

All journals and books in the Co-Action Publishing portfolio are published according to Open Access principles. In short this means that they are available online immediately upon publication, and for free. Readers may download, host, print, adapt, and distribute the complete works - all use is fair use so long as the original author(s) and source are credited. It is not, however, allowed to use the works for commercial purposes. See our rules here

The journals as well as the books published by Co-Action Publishing are archived in multiple places. Apart from being accessible on our own platform, the complete version of the published work is deposited in subject or institution based repositories (such as PubMed Central for life sciences or DIVA for Nordic universities). Such archiving enhances the useability of all deposited publications by allowing sophisticated searching, manipulation, and mining of the texts and images.

All journals and books published by Co-Action Publishing use the OpenURL standard, making it easy for libraries to link users directly from the citation to the full text of the article. Co-Action Publishing is supported by the LOCKSS system to ensure a safe and permanent archive with libraries.

From the page on consulting:

Do you wish to publish and manage a journal or list of titles independently, but need some assistance to make your vision a reality? Do you need some good advice when negotiating a contract renewal with your current publisher? Do you want to learn how to improve the Impact Factor of your journal? Would you like to have a partner with whom to discuss Open Access?

Co-Action Publishing offers a wide range of consulting services to societies, editors, university presses, individual researchers and others....

PS:  This is a very auspicious launch.  Congratulations and best wishes to Co-Action and its three principals, Anne Bindslev (Senior Publisher), Caroline Sutton (Publisher), and Lena Wistrand (Production and Operations Manager).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

New OA journal of computer graphics

The Revue Electronique Francophone d'Informatique Graphique (REFIG) is a new OA journal of computer graphics.  The inaugural issue is now online.  (Thanks to IRISA.)

Open data for the semantic web

MIT's Technology Review has posted an 8.5 minute podcast of Tim Berners-Lee talking about the semantic web.  I haven't had time to listen yet, but according to Brian Robinson, TBL says that the semantic web will require "more open access to data".

Medical wikis

NCurse at ScienceRoll has put together an annotated list of 25 medical wikis.  Readers are adding more in the comment section.

Open data and citation impact

Heather A. Piwowar, Roger S. Day, and Douglas B. Fridsma, Sharing Detailed Research Data Is Associated with Increased Citation Rate, PLoS ONE, March 21, 2007.  Abstract:  

Background.  Sharing research data provides benefit to the general scientific community, but the benefit is less obvious for the investigator who makes his or her data available.

Principal Findings.  We examined the citation history of 85 cancer microarray clinical trial publications with respect to the availability of their data. The 48% of trials with publicly available microarray data received 85% of the aggregate citations. Publicly available data was significantly (p = 0.006) associated with a 69% increase in citations, independently of journal impact factor, date of publication, and author country of origin using linear regression.

Significance.  This correlation between publicly available data and increased literature impact may further motivate investigators to share their detailed research data.

CommentMany studies have shown a correlation between OA articles and citation impact.  I believe this is the first study to document a similar correlation between OA data and citation impact.  Spread the word to colleagues who are still hoarding data, waiting too long before releasing it, or unable to see any gain for themselves in data sharing.

Update (7/13/07). Also see Heather Piwowar's presentation on this paper at the NLM Biomedical Informatics Trainee conference.

Update on Blackwell in Norway

If you remember, back in January four Norwegian university libraries rejected the whole package of 778 Blackwell journals because of "unacceptable conditions and price increases" (more details here and here).

Yesterday Blackwell announced that the problem has been resolved.  Excerpt:

Blackwell Publishing and the four Norwegian university libraries of Bergen, Oslo, Tromso and Trondheim are pleased to announce that they have reached agreement to renew the libraries' subscriptions to Blackwell journals and the Blackwell journal collections....

The new three-year the libraries flexibility in determining which of [Blackwell's new journals] to add to their license....

[Steven Hall, Journal Sales and Marketing Director at Blackwell] added that a key issue for academic libraries in Norway is the 25% rate of VAT on online subscriptions; as there is no VAT in Norway on printed subscriptions this imposes a very substantial increase in costs on libraries wishing to make the move to online-only subscriptions. "We can understand that this level of taxation on electronic journals is an enormous additional burden on Norwegian libraries," he said, adding that there is little that Blackwell and other publishers can do to mitigate its effects, beyond joining with others in lobbying efforts to bring VAT on electronic publications down to the same level as VAT on printed publications.

Professor Helge Salvesen, Library Director, University of Tromso Library, said: "...Both parties were quite eager to find a solution and therefore willing to compromise. From the libraries' point of view the new license agreement is acceptable, even though the Norwegian VAT rate makes it rather expensive for us."

SPARC author addendum in Italian

Antonella De Robbio has translated the SPARC Author Addendum (intro and form) into Italian (intro and form).  Thanks, Antonella!

Helping authors choose OA

Valentina Comba, A toolkit for Research Communities: Helping Authors choose the right mode of publication to maximise impact, a presentation at the conference on Institutional archives for research: experiences and projects in Open Access (Rome, November 30 - December 1, 2006).  Abstract:

Purposes. The aim of this paper is to provide practical advice for Authors (and also for librarians as a support tool) wishing to publishing their manuscripts in an Open Access environment, and consequently deriving benefit from the wider accessibility of their work.

Procedures. After describing typical procedures of journal selection for publication currently followed by different groups of Authors, the paper gives some specific examples in the area of biology, clinical medicine and pharmacology.

Findings. A flow-chart has been designed which will make it possible the check a list of sources, directories and “Instructions for Authors” before submitting a manuscript, the paper also includes practical examples of self-archiving and subsequently usage statistics.

Conclusions. It is becoming easier to publish in an Open Access environment, which guarantees that research papers will have a greater impact. However, Authors still need the skilled support of librarians, who should also be aware of OAI-related technology and be prepared to plan costs and services.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Response to the UK's Public Service Publisher consultation

The Open Knowledge Foundation, the Open Rights Group, and Free Culture UK have written a joint response to the UK Office of Communication's Public Service Publisher consultation.  Excerpt:

The founding of a Public Service Publisher (PSP) is an opportunity to make a significant ongoing investment in the vast landscape of public, ‘open knowledge’ infrastructures already developing on the Net.

We, the undersigned, feel that the PSP could play a vital role in addressing the strategic concerns of the Net as a global and national infrastructure; exploring and protecting the educational, commercial and societal possibilities of what ‘public service’ might mean in this new context....

Firstly, we commend the suggested investment in open content and open data. In particular we urge that, where the PSP funds the generation of new content, such content should always be made available under a license such that others are free to enjoy, redistribute and, most importantly, reuse and refashion that content....

Finally, the PSP should engage in advocacy and educational initiatives to enable people, organisations and companies to publish their material using open licenses, formats and technologies. It is our sincere hope that the PSP can become a strong, public voice in favour of open knowledge structures.

PS:   For background, see Saul Albert's report on an earlier stage of the discussion (blogged here January 30, 2007).  The consultation ended on March 23.

April issue of Learned Publishing

The April issue of Learned Publishing is now online.  Here are the OA-related articles.

  • Rick Anderson, Open access - clear benefits, hidden costs.  Full-text OA, no abstract.  Also see my comments.
  • Donald W. King, The cost of journal publishing: a literature review and commentary.  Full-text OA.  Abstract:  "This article begins by describing the concepts of fixed, variable, marginal, average, direct and indirect costs of journal publishing. Hypothetical examples are given, to avoid preconceived perceptions and controversies about levels of cost. The examples demonstrate the impact of the levels of fixed and variable cost on the average cost per subscription, which is often the basis for subscription prices. Examples are also given to illustrate the effect of indirect costs on average costs per subscription, and the effect of the number of articles published on average costs. Then the implications of the examples on libraries and on the author-side payment model are examined. These hypothetical examples are followed by evidence in the literature of fixed costs, variable costs due to print reproduction and distribution, and indirect costs. Finally, the term 'economies of scale' is defined, and examples are given as to how economies of scale are achieved." (PS: For a longer excerpt and comment, see William Walsh.)
  • Teruto Ohta, An innovation-oriented publication system.  Only this abstract is OA, at least so far:  " 'Innovation' has become a keyword in many countries; to support innovation, a better publication system for academic articles is needed. In this article, a proposed new system is discussed. The current title-based contract between publishers and libraries has caused a serious information gap, particularly in small institutes. In the new model, called the 'beneficiary-pays' model, sales are at the individual article level, and not that of the journal as a whole. In addition, the publication cost of poorly accessed articles is borne mainly by authors, whereas that of frequently used articles is paid mainly by readers. The feasibility of the new model is discussed. The two currently practised models, 'author-pays' and 'reader-pays', are compared with the 'beneficiary-pays' model. It is doubtful if journals operating under the 'author-pays' open access model can ever acquire the reputation based on quality that is needed to motivate authors to pay high enough fees to finance the entire publication cost. The new variant of the user-pays model, in which libraries pay not for a subscription, but in proportion to the number of times the journal is accessed, is a fairer business model; however, the beneficiary-pays model is more sensitive to high-impact works." 
  • Mary Anne Kennan, Academic authors, scholarly publishing, and open access in Australia.  Only this abstract is OA, at least so far:  "This paper briefly describes the rapidly changing research evaluation and funding landscape in Australian universities, specifically in relation to open access and institutional repositories. Recent announcements indicate that funding and evaluation bodies are becoming increasingly concerned that publicly funded research be made publicly available. The paper then reports a survey of all levels of academic staff plus research students at one Australian university, conducted in May 2006, prior to the introduction of an institutional repository. The survey, in line with previously reported surveys, found that while there was a high level of engagement with scholarly publishing, there was a low level of awareness of, or concern with, either open access ('green' or 'gold') or the roles repositories can play in increasing accessibility of research. Practically, this indicates that much work needs to be done within this university to increase knowledge of, and change behaviours with regard to, open access and repositories if the university and its academics are to make the most of new funding requirements and research evaluation processes."

Update. Mary Anne Kennan has self-archived an OA edition of her paper.

Gallica collection added to the European Digital Library

Daniel Griffin, European Digital Library grows after new French contribution, Information World Review, March 27, 2007.  Excerpt:

The Bibliotheque nationale de France (BnF) helped the European Digital Library move a step closer to the goal of a fully comprehensive European collection of cultural heritage after announcing the development of their new Europeana portal.

According to the Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) the BnF managed to raise funds as well as provide a possible template of what a future European Digital Library may be. The funding will now allow the digitisation and uploading of an additional 80-100,000 items each year from the BnF’s Gallica collection....

Contributions from digital initiatives from other members such as those by the Polish National Library and the Dutch Royal Library are also being put into place following investment from the respective nation’s governments. Whilst private/public initiatives from those such as The British Library and Microsoft are also viewed as positive as they increase the amount of digital information available to the user.

OA scientometrics

Stevan Harnad, Open Access Scientometrics and the UK Research Assessment Exercise, a preprint self-archived March 26, 2007. 

Abstract:   Scientometric predictors of research performance need to be validated by showing that they have a high correlation with the external criterion they are trying to predict. The UK Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), together with the growing movement toward making the full-texts of research articles freely available on the web -- offer a unique opportunity to test and validate a wealth of old and new scientometric predictors, through multiple regression analysis: Publications, journal impact factors, citations, co-citations, citation chronometrics (age, growth, latency to peak, decay rate), hub/authority scores, h-index, prior funding, student counts, co-authorship scores, endogamy/exogamy, textual proximity, download/co-downloads and their chronometrics, etc. can all be tested and validated jointly, discipline by discipline, against their RAE panel rankings in the forthcoming parallel panel-based and metric RAE in 2008. The weights of each predictor can be calibrated to maximize the joint correlation with the rankings. Open Access Scientometrics will provide powerful new means of navigating, evaluating, predicting and analyzing the growing Open Access database, as well as powerful incentives for making it grow faster.

Help build Citizendium

Rex, Anthropology (and archaeology) on Citizendium, Savage Minds, March 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

As many of you may know by now, Citizendium is now live. The site aims to be like Wikipedia but with ‘quality control’—it uses a quasi-hierarchical role structure and asks its authors provide CVs and other proof of their expertise. So if you have been interested in writing open access encyclopedia articles about anthropology but have found the politicking of Wikipedia distracting, then Citizendium may be for you....

At the moment the anthropology offerings on Citizendium are pretty sparse —check out the entry on anthropology itself if you don’t believe me— and they could use some more help. So consider signing up and helping make our work as anthropologists more open to the public.

Ilmenau Technical U mandates OA editions of books from its university press

Starting today, the university press (Universitätsverlag Ilmenau) of the Ilmenau Technical University (Technische Universität Ilmenau) will publish each of its books in dual editions, one OA and one priced/printed.  (Thanks to press director Eric Steinhauer via Klaus Graf.)

This is a mandate laid down in a new university regulation published today.  Excerpt (in Google's English):

Special characteristic of the [Ilmenau University Press] is the obligation to open ACCESS....

Without open ACCESS no book! ...

A goal of the the publishing house is it to offer to the scientists of the university a favorable and easily attainable platform for their scientific publications. The university publishing house promotes the free accesibility to scientific information by a parallel, free and durable on-line publication (open ACCESS) of the publications published by the publishing house. It is anxious to ensure to offer its publishing house products to corresponding to real market conditions, but favourable prices in the book trade around as far a spreading as possible....

A similar statement appears on the University Press home page (in Google's English):

This service is an optimal visibility to contribute spreading and Rezeption of the scientific publications. Therefore the text published as book is offered not only for a favourable price in the book trade, but published parallel as electronic document in the digital library Thuringia. This form of hybrid publishing has large advantages for the authors. They profit from the world-wide accessibility in the Internet, without having to do without the user-friendly read version in form of a printed book.

Looking for OA datasets in archaeology

Eric Kansa, Development News and Requests, Digging Digitally, March 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

As many of you know, I’m leading development of Open Context, a web-based data publishing tool built on the conceptual framework (data structures) described by ArchaeoML....

[W]e're nearing public demonstration of a web-based data publishing tool for museum collections and archaeological field research. The publishing tool will allow researchers to describe their data so that it can be processed and expressed in ArchaeoML. It imports data for use in Open Context and in OCHRE, the sophisticated system in development at the University of Chicago.

I’m looking for a few good datasets (tables describing field research, or descriptions of finds and collections), as well as collaborators interested in testing the publishing tool and providing feedback on a tool that will no doubt be somewhat frustrating at first. There’s no reward other than good-will, since this publisher will be released open-source once a stable version 1 is ready.

If you’re interested in open, shared data, and want to help create an infrastructure for making data sharing a normal part of archaeology, museums, and other areas of the social sciences, please email me!

IDRC repository coming

Heather Morrison, Coming April 24: the IDRC Digital Library, Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, March 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

Canada's International Development Research Centre / Centre de Reserches pour le Développement International (IDRC/CRDI) ... will be launching its institutional repository, called the IDRC Digital Library, on April 24, with over 8,500 open access documents, and 20,000 bibliographic records to other research outputs, backed by document delivery service by the IDRC Library. Full text content will grow as new research outputs are collected under open access agreements and as IDRC/CRDI Library continues to license content already in the collection....

Details follow, in a post first sent by Marjorie Whalen to an Open Access and Development discussion list, reposted on the Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics with permission. The original purpose of this post was to explain why it makes sense to launch a repository with a mix of full text open access and contents for which only bibliographic records are available, at least so far....

[Whalen:] The stated goals of the IDRC Digital Library are to make IDRC-funded research results freely accessible in order to contribute to the public debate on development issues, to strengthen the overall scientific and research capacity of IDRC’s partners, and to give a stronger voice to southern researchers, facilitating southern contributions to global debates, and finally to support the broader global movement to remove economic, social, and geographic barriers to the sharing of knowledge....

PS:  The IDRC first announced plans to launch this repository in December 2005.

Brewster Kahle talks about the openness of the Open Content Alliance

How Digital Book Collections Will Change Academe, a 12 minute podcast interview with Brewster Kahle from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Australian commission recommends an 'author pays' OA mandate

The Australian government Productivity Commission has released a new report, Public Support for Science and Innovation, March 27, 2007.  Also see the press release and overview.

In the full report, see esp. Section 5.7 (pp. 227-244), "Access to the results of publicly-funded research".  Also see Box 5.11 (p. 229), "Some Australian Government actions to enhance access to the results of publicly-funded research"; Box 512 (p. 230), "Recommendations of the PMSEIC Working Group on Data for Science"; Box 5.13 (p. 231), "Suggestions by Houghton et al. for improving access"; Box 514 (p. 233) on the ARC OA policy.  Excerpt:

[p. xxv] The growth of the internet has made it possible to lower to zero the marginal costs of disseminating much basic scientific knowledge. Current models of scientific publication, while changing, have nevertheless been perceived as limiting the possibilities of diffusion of publicly supported research because they restrict access. Major funding bodies in the United Kingdom and the United States have already instituted reforms. There is further scope for the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) to progressively play a more active role in achieving open access to the results of their sponsored research....

[pp. 240-41] The Commission continues to hold the view that funding agencies should take an active role in promoting open access to the results of the research they fund, including data and research papers. Although the ARC and NHMRC's recent announcement of promoting voluntary access is to be commended, the Commission considers that the progressive introduction of a mandatory requirement would better meet the aim of free and public access to publicly-funded research results. US experience suggests that voluntary compliance by authors would be very low.

A concern with mandating open access is that it would reduce the incentives for subscribers to pay for conventional journal access and, in turn, the incentives for publishers to supply journals. Mandated access would, therefore, be likely to require a new payment mechanism to elicit sufficient publishing services such as through the direct subsidisation of providers or of authors. Among the possible payment mechanisms, the Commission prefers an 'author pays' approach. Here, authors would pay publishers or repositories a fee conditional that the publication is publicly and freely accessible. Fees would reflect the costs and quality of services provided. Funding agencies would need to pay a minimum amount to authors for this purpose.

Thus, for example, the fee paid by an author to a scientific publisher would need to reflect all or some of the costs of providing such conventional publishing services provided as overseeing peer review, editing, and distribution as well as arranging open access publication. Some or all of the fee could be recovered from the funding agency. If all the fee were met by the funding agency, then open access publication should occur without undue delay.

There are two key benefits of an author pays approach.

  • The aim of dissemination publicly-funded research results would be better promoted. Improved dissemination would have knock-on effects for further science and innovation.
  • Allowing authors to pay and choose how their results are to be published, as well as the services they required, would enhance competition amongst publishers and repositories in terms of price and the quality of services they provide, as well as help drive down publishing costs.

However, such an approach would clearly redistribute financial obligations. 

  • Many researchers and institutions (including libraries) would face reduced costs of access to knowledge (including subscription costs) since more material would be freely available and, therefore, funding agencies would not have to support these costs as much as before.
  • Funding agencies would need to make up any net deficit in fees imposed on authors by journals and repositories to ensure open access publication. 
  • Fees paid by authors would be a source of revenue for publishers and repositories. In some cases, this would reduce their direct reliance on government funding for their operations.

Funding agencies need not prescribe the form that open access should take, whether through a conventional scientific journal, an open access journal or a repository. But they would need to provide guidance on what forms of publishing would satisfy its open access requirement. This could link to the work currently done by the Australian Government on the Accessibility Framework, under Systemic Infrastructure Initiatives and under NCRIS.

The Commission considers that its proposal that there be a clear requirement for open access publication be implemented progressively by funding agencies to enable all participants sufficient time to adjust....

Comment. I'm glad to see that the Commission is moving toward an OA mandate.  But this particular proposal is confused and confusing.  The Commission recommends an 'author pays' OA mandate as a way to bring about OA while ensuring that journals are protected financially.  But does it realize that not all journals offer an OA option?  Does it realize that even among OA journals, most do not charge publication fees?  Does it realize that it may be forcing journals to change their business models, something that (at least in their rhetoric) publishers oppose as much as threats to their revenue streams?  Does it realize that insofar as journals do not change their business models, the new policy will limit the freedom of authors to publish in the journals of their choice?  The Commission says that the publication fees might be provided by funding agencies themselves, but is it mandating that the agencies provide the funds?  Does it realize that mandating deposit in an OA repository (green OA) rather than publication in an OA journal (gold OA) would avoid all these problems? 

Update. Also see Stevan Harnad's comments on the proposal.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Brian Crawford speaks out

Brian D. Crawford, "Chairman's Corner," Professional/Scholarly Publishing Bulletin, Spring 2007, pp. 1-2.  Crawford is the Chairman of the Executive Council of the Professional/Scholarly Publishing (PSP) of the Association of American Publishers (AAP). 

This is a strongly-worded criticism of OA advocates and defense of the AAP.  I reproduce it in full so that I can answer it in full.  (I'm relying on this statement from the end of the issue:  "All material in the PSP Bulletin is protected by copyright, but may be reproduced or quoted with proper credit."  However, if the AAP would like me to reproduce only a shorter excerpt, I will.)

Much has been made by advocates of open access publishing of the decision by the AAP’s PSP Division to engage a public relations firm to assist our association in the development of better messaging and outreach needed to educate various stakeholders and policy makers about the unintended consequences of government mandates and other funding agency intervention in peer-reviewed scholarly publishing. In essence, the premise of a January 24, 2007 article in Nature was that PSP should be admonished for seeking advice and assistance from a media consulting firm known for its effectiveness in working with high-profile clients on controversial issues. But rather than rely upon actual public statements and well documented actions by PSP and its member publishers, the reporting instead resorted to the use of innuendo and ad hominem attacks, and sought to portray in a negative manner the intentions of our Association (of which Nature’s parent firm Holtzbrink is itself a member—a fact Nature chose not to disclose). Similar “copycat” reporting in the Washington Post and elsewhere jumped on the bandwagon. Sadly, open access advocates (led notably by vocal individuals supported by the Association of Research Libraries via SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access) have subsequently sought to smear AAP/PSP as an association, and also have singled out selected member publishing organizations and individuals within our organization as targets of their myth-slinging.

The hypocrisy is breathtaking. The genesis of these biased attacks on our organization and its motives should prompt concern. Why would some people be more interested in PR firms than in debating real issues? Are they so afraid of other voices entering the debate about the folly of government intervention in the communication of scientific research? And why is there no reporting on the millions of dollars in philanthropy and other funding that has been used by open access advocates to promote their perspective?

What the myth-slingers don’t want the public and our policy makers to know is the truth. The truth is that many AAP/PSP publishers partner with the World Health Organization to provide free access to thousands of medical journals in developing countries through the HINARI initiative. The truth is that AAP/PSP, through its Executive Council, endorsed the call for voluntary participation in the National Institutes of Health’s public access policy upon its announcement, and AAP/PSP publishers are on record with repeated offers to help the NIH as it has struggled with its own implementation of that policy. The truth is that AAP/PSP publishers were instrumental in conceiving with top health organizations to provide free medical research information (both original research articles and informative contextual summaries) to patients and their caregivers-- even before the NIH embarked on its public access plans.  And the truth is that millions of research articles have been made freely available to the public by many publishers’ own independent actions—without recourse to government funds or mandates.

The truth is that non-profit and commercial publishers today give scientists, doctors and the public more access to more information than ever before. It is publishers, not taxpayers, who invest in peerreview, print and online dissemination, and archiving. And while many professionals indeed contribute their time as unpaid expert referees, the truth is that publishers invest hundreds of millions of dollars annually to support the costs associated with orchestrating the iterative process of peer-review—particularly the recruitment and funding of scientific experts who handle the ultimate editorial decision-making that is essential to the vetting of scientific research claims before publication.

The myth-slingers maintain that because the taxpayer has paid for the underlying research studies, access to the publication that describes the research outcomes and conclusions (including the author’s own creative output) should be a free public good— irrespective of the private-sector publisher investments made in the process of peer review and publication. The truth is that all this debate boils down to is some people wanting something for nothing —or claiming not to need to pay the tailor for making the suit, because they provided the starting fabric.

Government and other funding agency mandates that would undermine the independence of the private-sector journal publishers who invest in and manage the independent system of peer-review must be challenged. Such mandates pose a real threat of unintended consequences that would damage the very fabric of science and compromise the public trust. As your chairman, I will be working with the Executive Council to communicate clearly the importance we attach to maintaining the integrity of the scholarly literature. Peer-reviewed science and medicine should be free of any government intervention or funding agency bias, and we will fulfill our responsibility to communicate that point of view, because doing so is in the best interest of science and society.


  1. Like both of Crawford's previous public responses to the Dezenhall controversy (first, second; also see my comments first, second), this one suggests that the Jim Giles article in Nature was inaccurate but doesn't point out specific inaccuracies.  What's new here is that he uses the term "myth-slingers" for those who rely on uncontradicted reporting from a respected journal.
  2. What the myth-slingers don't want the public and our policy makers to know is the truth [about HINARI, support for the NIH's voluntary policy, patientINFORM, and free online access from some member journals].... I've reported all of these things on this blog.
  3. Why would some people be more interested in PR firms than in debating real issues?  Crawford has it backwards.  The AAP is the one who hired a PR advisor who reportedly said that "if the other side is on the defensive, it doesn't matter if they can discredit your statements."  It's the rest of us who are interested in the real issues.  It looks like the AAP has chosen to abandon debate on the merits for manipulation and sophistry.  To coin a phrase, the hypocrisy is breathtaking. 
  4. The truth is that all this debate boils down to is some people wanting something for nothing.... Here's how I responded the last time Crawford made this claim:  Do supporters of national OA mandates like FRPAA want something for nothing?  No.  We want something for something.  Crawford is forgetting that taxpayers have already paid for the underlying research and that publishers pay nothing to receive the written results.  Yes, publishers add value to those results.  But if publishers and taxpayers both make a contribution to the value of peer-reviewed articles arising from publicly-funded research, then what's the best way to split this baby?  The FRPAA solution is a reasonable compromise:  a period of exclusivity for the publisher followed by free online access for the public.  If the AAP wants to block OA mandates per se, rather than just negotiate the embargo period, then it's saying that it wants no compromise, that the public should get nothing for its investment, and that publishers should control access to research conducted by others, written up by others, and funded by taxpayers.  I'd call that getting something for nothing.
  5. Government and other funding agency mandates ...would undermine the independence of the private-sector journal publishers who invest in and manage the independent system of peer-review.... This is unargued and based on a misunderstanding of FRPAA.  As I put it last 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....Under FRPAA, the government will not decide what gets published or tell journals what to publish.  The government will not conduct peer review or tell journals how to conduct peer review."
  6. Peer-reviewed science and medicine should be free of any government intervention or funding agency bias.... Don't forget that the "government intervention" here is an attempt to provide public access to publicly-funded research and to maximize the return on taxpayers' considerable investment in it.  Don't forget that the NIH spends only $2-4 million/year on its public access program and about 10 times that, or $30 million/year, on page charges for subscription-based journals.  If there is a "funder bias", the OA policies are small attempts to level the playing field.  Don't forget that FRPAA only applies to articles that have been published in independent, i.e. non-governmental, peer-reviewed journals.  The peer review decisions are not made, modified, or massaged by government.  Don't forget that that the AAP's new PR firm reportedly told the AAP "that the publishers should attempt to equate traditional publishing models with peer review."
  7. I stand by this assessment I made of Crawford's previous statement:  "The Nature article has generated a wave of criticism of the AAP, Elsevier, Wiley, and the ACS.  But in this letter, Crawford chooses to ignore the actual criticism and respond to non-existent criticism.  I haven't seen anyone say or imply that they are afraid of other voices entering the debate or that the public should not know about the AAP's commitment to HINARI and patientINFORM.  Of course the AAP should honestly communicate any risks it sees in OA policy proposals.  The real criticism that Crawford doesn't address [here] is that the AAP appears willing to subordinate that honest job to a campaign of disinformation ("Public access equals government censorship") and diversion ("[I]f the other side is on the defensive, it doesn't matter if they can discredit your statements").  If the Nature version of the facts that gave rise to this criticism is inaccurate, Crawford could do everyone a favor by showing it."

Citizendium out of alpha into beta

The Citizendium beta has officially launched.  From the front page:

We are now live!

The Pilot Project concluded March 25, and the Citizendium beta is open for general reading!

Just posted: Why the Citizendium Will (Probably) Succeed ...

For readers: About the Citizendium

For contributors: How to get started as an author

Costs and benefits of OA

Here's something you don't see everyday:  a journal editorial accompanied by a press release and call for supporting signatures:

Rick Anderson, Open access - clear benefits, hidden costs, Learned Publishing, April 2007.  Excerpt:

It is the stated goal of the open access (OA) movement, in its various declarations, working groups and projects, to make scientific research articles freely available to all via the Internet....

There is no question that OA offers potentially significant benefits to society. All other things being equal, free public access to scientific information is clearly a good thing. But all other things are never equal, and to know whether and to what degree any particular OA solution is really a good thing requires a calculation not simply of its benefits, but of its net benefits once costs are taken into account.

Like any distribution system, OA incurs costs. A decision to make content freely available does not make the costs of publication disappear, but only shifts them from the library or end-user to some other party. In the case of an OA journal, costs are most commonly borne by authors....

The costs of self-archiving are no less real, but are less obvious and direct. Setting up a repository costs money, as does its ongoing maintenance. More serious is the impact on publishers, which - to the degree that their content is archived immediately, completely, and in an easily found venue - will quickly lose the ability to charge for that content. It is highly likely that rational individuals and libraries will cancel subscriptions to journals whose content is immediately, freely, easily, and reliably available at no charge....

The danger in saying that OA self-archiving is not publishing and therefore cannot harm publishers is that, if unchallenged, it may lead the general public - including policy-makers - erroneously to believe that publishers have nothing to fear from OA. In fact, mandates that result in widespread and effective OA will inevitably drive at least some publishers out of business, whether or not such an effect is intended by those who promote OA.

All of which begs an important question: so what? It is not the business of the scholarly information community to keep publishers profitable, but to produce and provide access to information. A solution that provides universal access without supporting publishers may be perfectly acceptable. There are two problems with this stance, however:

1.    It assumes that publishers add no value to the scholarly information chain, and can therefore be harmed with impunity and without concern for negative consequences to the scholarly community in general.

2    It assumes that, in fact, publishers are not a part of the scholarly community, but rather entities from outside that community that enter the scholarly information space solely for the purpose of taking profit out of it.

In fact, most STM publishers are not profit-seeking corporations from outside the scholarly community, but rather learned societies and other non-profit entities, many of which rely on income from journal subscriptions to support their conferences, member services, and scholarly endeavours - as well as the peer-review and publishing activities that will remain important in a self-archiving environment. In other words, a publishing system that undermines the ability of publishers to make money in the marketplace thereby may also undermine scholars and scientists in their ability to do their work....

Even granted that damage to publishers is an inevitable consequence of effective OA, though, could that damage be an acceptable price to pay for the public's free access to scholarly content? The answer to that question is beyond the scope of this statement....

[F]rom which is the public likely to benefit more - free and universal public access to articles based on less medical research, or more medical research?...

In summary: OA offers real benefits to society. However, the net value of those benefits cannot be determined unless its costs are computed as well. The purpose of this statement is not to call on participants in the scholarly information chain to fight against OA, but only to move forward while taking full account of costs as well as benefits, and to work towards solutions that offer a net benefit to society....


  1. A decision to make content freely available does not make the costs of publication disappear, but only shifts them.... No serious OA proponent has ever said that it makes costs disappear.  OA does shift costs, and some shifts are better than others.  But OA does more than shift costs; it also reduces them.  As I've pointed out often, OA journals dispense with print (or price the optional print edition at cost), eliminate subscription management, eliminate DRM, eliminate lawyer fees for licenses and enforcement, reduce or eliminate marketing, and reduce or eliminate profit margins. In their place they add back little more than the cost of collecting author-side fees or institutional subsidies.
  2. In the case of an OA journal, costs are most commonly borne by authors.... This is untrue and I'm surprised to see it asserted in an ALPSP journal with the unusually strong ALPSP endorsement represented by the call for signatures.  For it was an ALPSP-sponsored study that showed that only a minority of OA journals charge author-side publication fees.  For more detail on the majority of OA journals that charge no fees, see my article from November 2006.
  3. The danger in saying that OA self-archiving is not publishing and therefore cannot harm publishers is.... The argument that OA archiving might not harm publishers has never been based on the claim that OA archiving is not "publishing".  It has been based on the evidence from physics, the field with the highest levels and longest history of OA archiving.  Not only have the American Physical Society (APS) and the Institute of Physics Publishing Ltd (IOPP) seen no cancellations to date arising from OA archiving, they both host mirrors of arXiv, the premier OA archive for the field.  (Now for my standard demurrer:  while there's no evidence yet that high-volume OA archiving will kill subscriptions, it might really have this effect in some fields and, if it did, it would still be justified.)
  4. It assumes that publishers add no value to the scholarly information chain, and can therefore be harmed with impunity.... I've seen different views on this.  Speaking for myself, I've never denied that journals add value. To me the question is not whether a journal adds value but how to pay for the most essential kinds of added value without creating access barriers for readers.
  5. [F]rom which is the public likely to benefit more - free and universal public access to articles based on less medical research, or more medical research?... This is a misleading way to put the question and doesn't take into account the perversity of spending $55 billion of public money each year on unclassified research without the tiny investment needed to make the results available to all who could use, apply, build on, or benefit from them. (How tiny? The cost of implementing the NIH's policy, $2-4 million/year, is about 0.01% of its $28 billion/year budget.)  The cost of OA is a bargain.  Studies by John Houghton and others have shown that diverting a bit from the research budget in order to make all funded research OA hugely amplifies the return on investment: "With the United Kingdom's GERD [Gross Expenditure on Research and Development] at USD 33.7 billion and assuming social returns to R&D of 50%, a 5% increase in access and efficiency [their conservative estimate] would have been worth USD 1.7 billion; and...With the United State's GERD at USD 312.5 billion and assuming social returns to R&D of 50%, a 5% increase in access and efficiency would have been worth USD 16 billion."
  6. [We ought to] move forward while taking full account of costs as well as benefits, and to work towards solutions that offer a net benefit to society.... I agree and am glad to make the case for OA turn on the net benefit to society.  However, I doubt this will make the debate any easier to resolve than it has been up to now.

Update. Also see the comments by William Walsh.

KE recommendations for IRs

The recommendations from the Institutional Repositories Workshop sponsored by Knowledge Exchange (Utrecht, January 16-17, 2007) are now online.  (Thanks to Birgit Schmidt.)  The recommendations are divided into six reports:

From the report on Exchanging Research Info:

...The objective of the strand “Exchanging Research Information” was to bring together CRIS (Current Research Information Systems) and OAR (Open Access Repositories). Both applications deal with a specific segment of the academic information domain – notably the specifications, products or outcomes of academic research. Substantial commonalities exist between the two. Rooted in different units of the university (research administration vs. library) they, however, also have their individual characteristics: CRIS primarily have an institutional scope and are mainly referring to context of research whereas OAR are referring to content of research and are per definition internationally oriented.

Given their affinity, achieving interoperability between CRIS and OAR is desirable and will benefit all parties involved, including the researchers. A joint approach will avoid double input and management of redundant data as well as redundant services....

Where is the UK leadership on OA?

Bobby Pickering, Free up access to archives for all, Information World Review blog, March 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

As the Blair administration prepares to leave the stage, one has to wonder why a decade of centre-left government in the UK has failed to foster a new information era....

Mostly it has been a case of the dog that didn't bark. No leadership on making publicly funded research freely available – and damn the shareholders of all the publishing houses who are making money from it. Nor any leadership on supporting homegrown British information industries. Just wasted years.

One can hope that the next government will act, and act decisively, to support the freeing up of information locked away in government bodies, which the people of the country actually own. No more privatisation of intelligence resources, should be the cry. Let all have access, freely, and let people create businesses and livelihoods around doing creative things with that information.

Google recently demonstrated how demand for information soars exponentially through freer access. It digitised over 100 films from the US National Archives – including a selection from the NASA History of Space Flight (1962-1981), United Newsreel reports from the World War 2, and Department of the Interior films from 1916 to 1970, showing a range of public service projects. These are available on Google Video.

James Hastings, director of access programmes at the National Archives, has told the New York Times that once these had been made available, requests jumped from 200 per annum to over 200,000 a year. A thousand fold....

Will the entrenched fat cats of the information industry continue to enjoy the supine support of government once Blair has gone? I, for one, hope not.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

ScientificCommons starts citation tracking

Lars Kirchhoff, ScientificCommons starts citation analysis, Lars Kirchhoff, March 23, 2007.  Excerpt:  

As we [at ScientificCommons] have now gathered more than 500.000 full text documents, we started to extract the citations from the full text documents. Thomas [Nicolai] did a great job getting the citation extractor working, which means we could start the link creation. We setup the citation linking working in both ways. This means we link incoming publication (other publication that cite this publication) and outgoing ones (publication cited within the selected publication) and of course the authors are linked too. It will take some time to generate all links on the slow hardware we've got, but we looking forward to it. Below you find some examples, which already have this new feature:

Single direction:

Both directions:

Thomas Nicolai adds by email: "Currently we have been extracting about 0.3 Million OA citation relations, but I guess we can take this up to 1 million with a couple of improvements."

Comment. Very well done. All this is from good algorithms and OA/OAI repository harvesting. If it can scale, it will be a most useful OA layer on top of the OA literature itself, and one step away from a second layer that counts or weighs citations to and from OA literature.

Update (3/26/07). The links didn't work in the form in which I posted them yesterday, but they should work now. Sorry for the inconvenience. The problem was an HTML error at my end, not at ScientificCommons.

An OA mandate for Europe in the draft FP7 grant agreement

Napoleon Miradon, Letter to MPs, a post from the AmSci OA Forum, March 24, 2007.  In this draft letter to members of the European parliament, Miradon points out that the EU already mandates deposit or collection of EU-funded research and permits (but does not require) its OA dissemination.  Excerpt:

The Commission's "Seventh Framework Programme Grant Agreement" already requires that every research contract funded under the Seventh Framework Programme should send to the Commission an electronic copy of every publication produced, and that the Commission shall, with appropriate safeguards, be authorised to publish every document sent to it.... [See the following.]

"FP7 Grant Agreement - Annex II General Conditions Version 20.12.06 ISC clean 3."

Article II.30 (Dissemination) says - "... Furthermore, an electronic copy of the published version or the final manuscript accepted for publication shall also be provided to the Commission at the same time for the purpose set out in Article II.12(2) if this does not infringe any rights of third parties."

And Article II.12. (Information and communication) says - "... 2. The Commission shall be authorised to publish, in whatever form and on or by whatever medium, the following information: ... ­ the details/references and the abstracts of scientific publications relating to foreground and, where provided pursuant to Article II.30, the published version or the final manuscript accepted for publication; ..."

Also see Stevan Harnad, The European Commission has already mandated Green OA! Open Access Archivangelism, March 25, 2007.  In this post, Stevan quotes all of Miradon's draft letter and comments on how to improve upon his suggestion.  Excerpt:

This existing EU/EC policy is already a godsend, as it already provides the basis for the EU to adopt the Immediate-Deposit/Optional-Access Mandate (ID/OA) (also called the "dual deposit/release strategy") without any further need of legislation or consultation:

As the EU already requires (i.e., mandates) both (1) the electronic copy of the publication, and (2) the right to make it OA (if and when the copyright agreement with the publisher allows it), the only thing left to stipulate is how "send[ing] to the commission an electronic copy" should be done, immediately upon acceptance for publication, in the form of depositing it in the researcher's own IR (preferably, or in a OAI-compliant CR otherwise), in immediate Open Access if possible, otherwise in Closed Access -- and merely sending the commission the URL for the (Closed Access) deposit! ...


  1. This could be big, and for just the reasons that Napoleon and Stevan indicate.  I'm speaking guardedly because the key document, the FP7 Grant Agreement, is just a draft. It's dated December 20, 2006, and as of February 2007 (scroll to p. 7) the EC was still working on the language.  I'd welcome an update on this!
  2. But if it has been or will be adopted, this is a breakthrough.  The EC is deliberating about when, whether, or how far to adopt the OA mandate (recommendation A1) from last year's EC-sponsored report.  But the heart of that recommendation is already contained in the draft FP7 guidelines.  This could change the question for the EC.  Instead of deciding, from scratch, what policy to adopt or what to accept and what to reject from its own report, it would only have to decide what refinements to make in the existing policy or draft.
  3. I agree with Stevan that one refinement should be to require deposit in an OA, OAI-compliant repository, rather than email delivery to an EU office.  I also agree with Stevan that we should separate the timing of deposit (which should be immediate) from the timing of OA release (which may be delayed). 
  4. That makes the length of the permissible embargo another refinement.  Unlike Stevan, who would accept "optional" OA, I'd like to see a firm deadline for releasing deposited articles to OA --in effect changing the second half of his "immediate deposit / optional access" (IDOA) to "delayed access" or "eventual access" (IDDA or IDEA).  The length of the embargo might vary according to the kind of journal.  It might also vary over time, say, starting at x months and moving to x-n months over a year or two.  All that can be left for future negotiations.
  5. Each of the two key FP7 guidelines has potential loopholes.   Article II.12 only authorizes OA dissemination "where provided pursuant to Article II.30", and II.30 only authorizes dissemination where it is compatible with existing copyrights.  If the EC is clear that its policy applies to the final version of the author's peer-reviewed manuscript, and not to the published edition, then it should clear these hurdles.  But one final refinement would be ensure that with explicit language.

OA book reviews in anthropology

The journal Museum Anthropology has been providing OA to some of its book reviews through the journal's associated blog.  On the same blog, editor Jason Baird Jackson reflects on the OA experiment:

The results so far are instructive. If one does a Google web search for the three titles that they have finds that the reviews that appeared here are already showing up at the top of Google's ranking....

I recognize that a Google ranking is not a definitive measure and that many will read these other reviews in print format or via search tools other than Google, yet I still find these results remarkable. A related measure comes in the form of visitor and search statistics available for this blog. A sizable number of people are now visiting this site and a significant number of these visitors are clearly reading the reviews. This is enlightening evidence that speaks to the position of those who advocate for open access models in scholarly publishing....

The experiment has been such a success that the journal has launched an OA supplement, Museum Anthropology Review, also in blog format, just for reviews.

On a case by case basis, I am asking authors of reviews-in-hand if they would be willing to publish their review online [and OA]. Publishing reviews in this way takes advantage of the following benefits of the online medium (among others): immediate rather than delayed publication, free access to anyone in the world with internet access, the ability to incorporate internet hyperlinks, the ability to publish color images along with the review, the ability (if desired by the author) to turn on the blog's comment function for the review (thus allowing others to comment on the review or its subject matter), and the ability for an author to simply send an email link for the review to whomever they wish to share the review with. Because reviews published thus are easily found by anyone doing internet searches, they may become a subject of discussion elsewhere on the web. They can also benefit from the power of the social networking dynamic of the web today, such as with folksonomy tagging. This strategy also provides more space for publication of peer-reviewed articles in the journal itself.

For most new reviews, we are now soliciting them, from the start, with the intention of publishing them online. All the reviews published online will be noted in the table of contents of the print journal....

OA repositories in India

Fayaz Ahmed and Rafiq Rather, Open Access Digital Repositories: An Indian Scenario, KnowGenesis: International Journal for Technical Communication, 2, 1 (2007).  The article is free to read but only for registered users, and registration requires the user to agree to email alerts for new issues.  Here's a free online copy of the abstract for unregistered users:

Open access digital repositories give barrier-free access to literature for study and research to users worldwide. They solve the pricing and permission crises for scholarly materials. This paper deals with open access digital repositories in India. The results of the study reveal that the repositories contain both published and unpublished documents, like seminar proceedings, conference papers, theses, dissertations, research reports, books, and so on. The results also point out that open access digital repositories in India are mostly subject specific and commonly use open source information repository software like DSpace, Greenstone Digital Library Software, and GNU EPrints. It is observed that generally the open access digital repositories use OAI-PMH (protocol for metadata harvesting), so that they can be accessed using search tools such as Web search engines, whereas a few don't use it but provide direct access to their documents through their websites.