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Matthew Cockerill, BioMed Central YouTube channel debuts, BioMed Central blog, November 23, 2007. Excerpt:
Sukhdev Singh, Naina Pandita, and S. Dash, Open access: advantage authors, a slide presentation given at the 2007 meeting of the Indian Association for Medical Informatics (Kochi, India, November 16-17, 2007).
Jessie M.N. Hey, Open Access to Science: a practical Institutional Repository Perspective, a slide presentation given at the 6th CALSI Workshop (Valencia, November 14-16, 2007).
T. V. Padma, 'Open source' urged for TB drug design effort, SciDev.Net, November 23, 2007.
If you recall, authors of works published in Germany before 1995 have about one year to tell their publishers that they wish to retain electronic rights to those works. If they do, the rights are theirs and they may use them to authorize OA. If they don't, the rights will vest in the publishers. These are the terms a German copyright reform to take effect on January 1, 2008.
Klaus Graf sounded the alarm in August, urging German scholars to retain their rights. Now he reports that four German universities, as well as some other individuals and organizations, have joined the call.
By email, Klaus adds some extra detail. According to Eric Steinhauer, authors needn't write to their publishers during 2008 if they transfer non-exclusive rights to an OA repository before the law takes effect in January. The rector of the University of Stuttgart has written a letter to the Stuttgart faculty (in German) urging them to transfer non-exclusive rights to the Stuttgart institutional repository. Also see the letter (in German and English) from the Helmholtz OA project to German researchers, suggesting language for transferring "ein einfaches Nutzungsrecht" or "a simple right of use" to their IR. Scholars everywhere who want to take advantage of this option have just a bit more than one month to act.
Please spread the word to authors who might be affected, and if your rights might be affected, please read the German law itself, not just my imperfect paraphrase.
Huw Jones, EU ministers agree plan to widen access to research, Reuters, November 23, 2007. Excerpt:
Comment. I blogged the EU ministers' recommendation earlier today, and as I read it, it's weak tea. The most that can be said for it is that it's a recommendation by the government, not just a recommendation to the government. It takes the problem seriously, as well as the opportunity and the previous studies and recommendations. But it stops far short of the near-consensus recommendation for an OA mandate for publicly-funded research. The explanation lies in Mariano Gago's remark, "The question of open access is to be dealt with in parallel with the viability of scientific publishers." It doesn't matter that the organizations speaking on behalf of research want an OA mandate (esp. the European Research Council, the European Research Advisory Board, and over 1,300 European research institutions). It doesn't matter that the mission of public funding agencies is to advance research and the public interest, not the private interests of publishers. Nor does it matter that publisher lobbyists typically exaggerate the threats to their viability (see esp. Sections 5-9). Nor does it matter that there are compromises (such as embargoes and the dual deposit/release strategy) to support the publishing industry without retreating from an OA mandate for publicly-funded research. It's as if publishers have been given a veto. As I once argued about the EC, the Council "seems to see its role as mediating a controversy rather than deciding it."
Today the Council of the European Union released the Council Conclusions on scientific information in the digital age: access, dissemination and preservation. (Thanks to three friends who sent me word simultaneously.) Excerpt:
The document annex is a recommended timetable for the member states and EC to take the steps described in the body of the document.
Update. I have more comments on the Council conclusions in a blog post from November 23, 2007.
Update. Also see Andrea Gawrylewski's story in The Scientist for November 26, 2007.
Update. Also see the unsigned article in Library Journal Academic Newswire for November 27, 2007.
Digital Preservation: Alliance set to tackle science’s new frontier, a press release from the European Science Foundation, November 22, 2007. Excerpt:
The proceedings from the WissKom 2007 conference, Wissenschaftskommunikation der Zukunft (Forschungszentrum Jülich, November 6-8, 2007), are now online in the form of an anthology edited by Rafael Ball. The table of contents is available separately. Most of the articles are in German, with a few in English.
Stevan Harnad, UK Research Evaluation Framework: Validate Metrics Against Panel Rankings, Open Access Archivangelism, November 22, 2007.
Yesterday Chris Watkins released a beta version of Public Domain Search, a Google co-op search engine for online collections of public domain content. It has started with US federal government sites, but plans to expand.
If you have a comment on the beta, post it to the Appropedia forum. Your comment could nominate other sites for inclusion.
Do you want a bound, printed copy of a public domain book digitized and on deposit at the Internet Archive? Order one from the Public Domain Books Reprints Service, launched a few weeks ago by Yakov Shafranovich. From the site:
Update (1/3/08). For more details, see Philipp Lenssen's interview with Yakov Shafranovich.
Comment. This is a classic case of a half-step in the right direction. I've often called PACER --which provides case and docket information for most US federal courts-- one of the most useful US government information services that is not yet OA. So it's an important breakthrough for citizens to have any free access to PACER records at all. But PACER ought to be fully free online. Citizens shouldn't have to choose between paying an access fee and traveling to one of 16 meatspace libraries. This is taxpayer-funded information about cases and dockets in federal courts, necessary for effective participation in a federal case as a plaintiff or defendant. For these and other reasons, the American Association of Law Libraries adopted a resolution (April 2006) in support of OA to PACER records.
Bora Zivkovic has blogged some notes on the Harvard conference on Publishing in the New Millennium: A Forum on Publishing in the Biosciences (Cambridge, November 9, 2007). Excerpt:
Chandapiwa Baputaki, Batswana must own knowledge-based products-Nkate, Mmegi, November 21, 2007. Excerpt:
PS: The meeting is the SARUA Open Access Leadership Summit, Gaborone, Botswana, November 20-21, 2007.
The Japanese government is considering a new exception to Japanese copyright law that would allow pharma companies to photocopy journal articles and send them to doctors who ask about the safe and effective use of a drug. STM has filed an objection (November 14, 2007):
I haven't seen the original proposal and can only reconstruct it from the STM criticism. But according to the STM, the proposal would
Web filters used in many libraries harmfully block access even when librarians will turn them off on request. Mary Minow wants to study the extent of the harm and welcomes suggestions.
John Wilbanks, No tenure for Technorati: Science and the Social Web, john wilbanks' blog, November 19, 2007. Excerpt:
Matthew Cockerill has blogged some notes on the Harvard conference on Publishing in the New Millennium: A Forum on Publishing in the Biosciences (Cambridge, November 9, 2007). Excerpt:
Birgit Schmidt, Auf dem „goldenen“ Weg? Alternative Geschäftsmodelle für Open-Access-Primärpublikationen, Zeitschrift für Bibliothekswesen und Bibliographie 54, 4-5 (2007) pp. 177-182. Self-archived November 20, 2007. In German but with this English-language abstract:
France's National Agency for Research (Agence nationale de la recherche, ANR) has adopted a policy to assure that all ANR-funded research is deposited in HAL for open access. (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog.)
I can't tell whether the policy is a request or a requirement. The headline of the announcement says "L'ANR incite..." but the body says "...l'ANR demande...." If anyone can clarify this key detail, please drop me a line or post a note to SOAF.
Update. Thierry Chanier believes that ANR demande OA.
OpenDOAR now includes 1000 repositories, a press release from JISC, November 21, 2007. Excerpt:
Comment. The first layer of good news here is that OpenDOAR is more comprehensive than ever before. The second and more important layer of good news is that more and more institutions are launching OA repositories. Kudos to all involved --at OpenDOAR and at all IR-hosting institutions worldwide.
Ian Gallacher, Mapping the Social Life of the Law: An Alternative Approach to Legal Research, a preprint self-archived on October 24, 2007. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)
SAGE and Hindawi announce landmark open access agreement, a press release from SAGE and Hindawi, November 20, 2007. Excerpt:
On Monday and Tuesday I'll be on the road with few opportunities for blogging or email. I'll start to catch up on Wednesday.
An OA article on dietary supplements in BMC's Nutrition Journal has been downloaded more than 16,000 times in less than a month. From Matt Cockerill's blog post on the situation (Cockerill is the publisher of BMC):
Stevan Harnad, Open Access in the Last Millennium, Open Access Archivangelism, November 18, 2007. Excerpt:
Peter Murray-Rust, Open Data, A Scientist and the Web, November 17, 2007. Excerpt:
Liz Lyon, Open Science and the Research Library: Roles, Challenges and Opportunities? The keynote address (slide presentation) at the Directors' Meeting of the Association of Research Libraries in Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 2007.
Hans E. Roosendaal, Knut Barghorn, Eberhard R. Hilf, White Paper on Scientific Publishing, August 20, 2007. The authors are all university faculty but published this paper as members of the SciNE consulting firm. Excerpt:
If you recall, the European Commission (EC) Research Directorate-General issued a green paper in April 2007 asking (in Question 21) whether the EU should mandate OA for the publications and data that result from publicly-funded research --this despite the fact that the EC had already collected mountains of opinion on the question in the build-up to its February 2007 meeting on scientific publication. The EC called for public comments on the green paper (May-August 2007) and reported the preliminary results in September 2007. On September 24, 2007, it convened a meeting in Brussels to analyze the public comments specifically on Question 21, and on a similar question (KSH2) in a follow-up questionnaire, and has now released the following:
See especially the last two. The presentation of the analysis is a set of slides by Jan Velterop in which he breaks down the responses by type of respondent, highlights representative comments, and makes recommendations in light of them. Here's an excerpt from the minutes: