Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, November 24, 2007

BMC launches YouTube channel, increases support for video in articles

Matthew Cockerill, BioMed Central YouTube channel debuts, BioMed Central blog, November 23, 2007.  Excerpt:

We're pleased to announce the launch of our new BioMed Central YouTube channel, which brings together videos of our authors and editors talking about their work, BioMed Central's journals, and the benefits of open access publishing.... [PS: Omitting an example.]

Video is an increasingly important way for researchers to communicate their results, and BioMed Central is at the forefront of developments in this area. We encourage authors and editors to upload suitable videos to YouTube and contact us so that we can add these videos to the BioMed Central channel. If you want to know when we post new videos, just click the 'Subscribe' link on the channel home page.

In addition to our YouTube channel, we are working with SciVee to ensure the visibility and linking of PubCasts featuring BioMed Central articles....

BioMed Central also offers perhaps the best and most fully integrated support for video content within research articles of any scientific publisher. Thumbnails are displayed for any video files associated with an article, and these videos can be played back within the context of the article.... [PS: Omitting links to four examples.]

We encourage and support authors who wish to publish video-enhanced articles, and to this end we have recently doubled the maximum file size for additional material files to 20 megabytes (using modern video standard such as MP4, this  is sufficient for several minutes of high quality video).

How OA benefits authors

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). 

Abstract:   Authors do not write research or scholarly articles for any immediate monetary gains. They write to tell their peers about their research findings. However, the conventional scholarly publishing culture does not support authors’ desire to be read widely. Internet is providing an alternative to conventional publishing in the form of “Open Access”. There are two approaches to provide Open Access to scholarly and research literature. These are Open Access journals and Open Access repositories. In both of these approaches, authors desire to be widely read is fulfilled. They are more visible and likely to be better cited as compared to the conventional publishing culture. The paper discusses the broad meaning of Open Access and its two basic approaches. It also discusses status of Open Access in regard medical sciences with special reference to India. Authors stand to gain through this new culture of scholarly publishing. Availability of Open Access biomedical content also facilitates new methods of content aggregations and data mining and thus would give new dimension to medical informatics.

An IR perspective on OA science

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). 

Friday, November 23, 2007

An open source quest for a TB medicine

T. V. Padma, 'Open source' urged for TB drug design effort, SciDev.Net, November 23, 2007.

One of India's top genetics researchers has called for a global, collaborative effort to design a new tuberculosis (TB) drug using an 'open source' approach.

Samir Brahmachari — recently appointed director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), a chain of 38 government laboratories engaged in industry-oriented research — made the proposal at a meeting on science and innovation in Delhi last week (22 November).

He said that conducting such a project openly could lead to drugs that were more affordable to the world's poor....

According to his proposal, the problems of drug design could be divided into a number of work packages, each tackled by different teams of researchers, who would then make their proposed solutions freely available to others for comment.

Once potential solutions have been identified, the pharmaceutical industry would be able to incorporate these into the development of new candidate drugs and take them through clinical testing, just as the computer industry makes use of open source software (such as Linux) in the design of new computer programmes....

Brahmachari said that his proposals for an 'open source' approach were in the spirit of the original human genome project, where information was placed on an open database freely accessible to scientists across the world....

"Once we do this, we can start conquering other diseases using the same 'open source' model," he added....

More on the chance for OA to German scholarship published before 1995

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.

More on the EU Council recommendation

Huw Jones, EU ministers agree plan to widen access to research, Reuters, November 23, 2007.  Excerpt:

European Union ministers adopted a plan on Friday to make it easier for people to access scientific research and to help spread innovation more quickly across the 27-nation bloc....

The plan is expected to raise concern among publishers of scientific journals, who fear losing revenue if research is made available free on the Internet -- but to be widely welcomed by librarians, researchers and funding bodies. EU Research Commissioner Janez Potocnik said publishers should not be concerned, but the benefits of digital technology should be used to the full.

"It's nobody's idea to destroy the publishing industry," Potocnik told a news conference.

European researchers publish 43 percent of the world's research and scientific publishing houses in the EU employ 36,000 full-time staff and 10,000 freelancers.

Mariano Gago, science and technology minister for EU president Portugal, said many of the scientific journals were owned by not-for-profit scientific societies and federations.

"The question of open access is to be dealt with in parallel with the viability of scientific publishers," Gago said.

States will look at the way researchers exercise their copyright on scientific articles and how much it costs to disseminate research.

They will also examine tools such as refunding value added tax to libraries which take out digital journal subscriptions, and how to link national repositories of science data....

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."

EU Council of Ministers recommendations on OA

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 Council of the European Union...Recognises...

  • that over the past years scientific libraries' capacity to provide researchers with access to a wide range of publications has been affected by rising overall prices of scientific journals (including electronic distribution of publications);
  • the strategic importance for Europe’s scientific development of current initiatives to develop sustainable models for open access to scientific information.


  • the need to ensure rapid and wide access to publicly funded research results;
  • that Member States have a strong interest in an efficient scientific information system that maximises the socio-economic impact of public investments in research and technological development;
  • the importance of scientific output resulting from publicly funded research being available on the Internet at no cost to the reader under economically viable circumstances, including delayed open access;
  • the cross-border nature of many research endeavours, of their funding sources, and of their dissemination channels;
  • the importance of better access to unprocessed data and repository resources for data and material that allows fresh analysis and utilisation beyond what the originator of the data had envisaged;
  • that new forms of electronic communication have the potential to enable open access to data and scientific publications, and provide a unique opportunity for the open development of specific data mining, analysis and integration tools, possibly enhanced by common format standards; ...

Takes note

  • of recent reports calling on the Commission to improve access to results stemming from the research it funds, including reports of the European Research Advisory Board and the European Research Council's Scientific Council supporting open access to Community funded research results;
  • of the intention of the Commission to support further research on the scientific publication system, and to carry out a study on the economic aspects of digital preservation.

Invites the member

  • reinforce national strategies and structures for access to and preservation and dissemination of scientific information, tackling organisational, legal, technical and financial issues;
  • enhance the co-ordination between Member States, large research institutions and funding bodies on access, preservation and dissemination policies and practices;
  • maximise access for researchers and students to scientific publications, in particular by improving public procurement practices in relation to scientific information; this could include exchanging information on these practices and increasing the transparency of the contractual terms of "big deals", and exploring the possibilities for funding bodies, research institutions and scientific publishers from different Member States to work together in order to achieve economies of scale and efficient use of public funds by demand aggregation; ...

[and] Invites the Commission to...

  • monitor good practices in relation to open access to European scientific production, including those arising from large scale experiments by scientific communities and large research institutions, and encourage the development of new models that could improve access to European scientific research results;
  • monitor the current situation of public virtual scientific libraries in the EU and other ongoing developments across Europe relating to access of students and researchers to scientific information and to its digital preservation, as well as the relevant legal framework conditions that may have an impact on access to this information;
  • experiment with open access to scientific data and publications resulting from projects funded by the EU Research Framework Programmes in order to assess the appropriateness of adopting specific contractual requirements;
  • encourage research into digital preservation, as well as experiments on and wide deployment of scientific data infrastructures with cross-border, cross-institution and crossdiscipline added-value for open access to and preservation of scientific information;
  • support and contribute to improving policy co-ordination and to fostering a constructive debate and exchange of information between stakeholders.

The document annex is a recommended timetable for the member states and EC to take the steps described in the body of the document.


  • The document is especially good on the previous studies and recommendations that should inform EU policy, on the general problems for which OA is a solution, on the special problems within Europe that require a EU-wide solution rather than just a series of separate solutions by member states, and on the value or urgency of solving these problems.  However, its specific policy proposals are stronger on TA resources, where it recommends procurement reforms, than on OA resources, where it recommends only experiments.  It's as if it added two and two, and got three.
  • In May 2007, the same Council recommended "wide public access" to the uncopyrightable results of publicly-funded research, which I interpreted to mean data rather than peer-reviewed articles.  In that sense, it went no further than the January 2004 recommendation by the OECD for OA to publicly-funded research data, and even fell short of it insofar as "wide public access" falls short of open access.  Today's document similarly falls short of earlier EU-wide recommendations, such as the EC-sponsored study in 2006, the December 2006 statement from the Scientific Council of the European Research Council, the January 2007 report from the European Research Advisory Board (EURAB), and the petition signed by more than 26,000 European researchers and research institutions.  The Council should understand that there are already many ongoing experiments, and that competent authorities reviewing them have concluded that it's time for a policy --specifically, an EU-wide OA mandate for publicly-funded research.

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.

More on preserving digital datasets

Digital Preservation: Alliance set to tackle science’s new frontier, a press release from the European Science Foundation, November 22, 2007.  Excerpt:

...At the Second International Conference on Permanent Access to the Records of Science held in Brussels on the 15th November, the Alliance for Permanent Access, a group of stakeholders dedicated to preserving digital science records, was launched to [preserve digital science]....

In general stakeholders agree that data must be preserved in a way that guarantees open access, interoperability so that datasets can be compared within and across scientific fields, and repositories must be developed to meet these needs in a quality-controlled and sustainable manner. On the flip-side the unknown cost of losing data makes evaluating preservation more difficult still....

WissKom 2007 proceedings

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.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Making IRs an intrinsic part of research assessment

Stevan Harnad, UK Research Evaluation Framework: Validate Metrics Against Panel Rankings, Open Access Archivangelism, November 22, 2007. 

Summary:  Three things need to be remedied in the UK's proposed HEFCE/RAE Research Evaluation Framework: ...

(3) Stress that it is important -- indeed imperative -- that all University Institutional Repositories (IRs) now get serious about systematically archiving all their research output assets (especially publications) so they can be counted and assessed (as well as accessed!), along with their IR metrics (downloads, links, growth/decay rates, harvested citation counts, etc.).

If these three things are systematically done -- (1) comprehensive metrics, (2) cross-validation and calibration of weightings, and (3) a systematic distributed IR database from which to harvest them -- continuous scientometric assessment of research will be well on its way worldwide, making research progress and impact more measurable and creditable, while at the same time accelerating and enhancing it.

Beta of Public Domain Search

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.

Discussion of IRs at Charleston

The Library Journal Academic Newswire for November 15 includes some notes on the Charleston Conference 2007 (Charleston, November 7-10, 2007).  Excerpt:

...Institutional repositories (IRs) were also a prominent, if puzzling topic for many. While repositories may offer significant potential for libraries and their institutions to distribute and curate scholarly output, faculty remain either unaware or confused about the role of IRs in the scholarly communication process. So far, panelists said, the mission of the IR remains poorly defined: are they meant to be an alternative publication model? Are they serving a purpose not served elsewhere; are they necessary, useful, sustainable? Should IRs hold finished papers, chapters, or pre-prints and datasets? Copyright issues regarding finished works also confuse faculty as to what they can deposit.

On a functional level, some IRs are having trouble getting off the ground. For example: despite significant education and outreach on scholarly communication issues for faculty at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), including seminars and lectures, and the strong backing of the administration, the IR at UNCG holds just three items, noted UNCG librarian Stephen Dew. That's three more items than some IR's noted another librarian. Georgia Tech's Julie Speer and Georgia State University's Sara Fuchs offered hope, however. Although Speer and Fuchs conceded the "if you build it they will come" model hasn't worked well for IRs, they've made steady progress at their institutions. The key, they noted, is to continue to reach out to faculty, like a PR campaign, one by one if necessary, to better define the mission in terms they can understand.

"Talking to librarians is preaching to the choir," Fuchs said. The action, she pressed, is outside the library. When talking to faculty about IRs, she suggested avoiding words like "crisis, mandate, budgets, pre-print." Instead, she argued, push things like "better access" and "more citations." ...

Sweden supports OA journals

Sweden's has announced a project to launch new OA journals and convert existing TA journals to OA.  From the announcement:

The project supports the transition of scientific or learned Nordic journals to Open Access mode, either by supporting the transition of existing journals or the creation of new ones. The purpose is to provide information and tools for those university based organisations that serve as publishers for these Open Access journals, including both university libraries, university (electronic) presses, and others like these.

The target results of the project are

  1. Analysis of significant issues when scientific journals consider and execute a transition to Open Access publishing, and presentation of such analyses and the ensuing recommendations in written and electronic media
  2. Improvements in the computational infrastructure for operating a journal in Open Access mode, and analysis of its ramifications
  3. Creation of a network of stakeholders in Open Access publishing in the Nordic countries
  4. Strengthening Nordic university libraries and other university units in their publishing

The project is organized as six work groups (WG) that address different aspects of the overall topic of the project, like editorial software systems, business models, communication platforms, copyright support, low volume printing and governmental funding policies....

Project participants

  • Museum Tusculanum Press, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Copenhagen Business School Library, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  • Linköping University, together with Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm), Sweden
  • University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway
  • University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
  • Federation of Finnish Learned Societies Helsinki, Finland

The project has Nordic funding from the Nordbib programme. The Swedish participation in the project is co-financed by the the Swedish Research Council and The programme of the National Library of Sweden...

Digitized public domain books + print on demand

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:

What is This All About?
This is an experiment to see what the demand for reprints of public domain books would be. This free service can take any book from the Internet Archive (that is not in copyright) and reprint it using Prices of the books are rounded up from cost prices to the nearest $0.99 to cover the bandwidth and processing power that we rent from Amazon using their EC2 service.

How Does It Work
Anyone with an email address can place a request on this page using an Internet Archive link or ID. Your request will be forwarded to our conversion server which will convert the appropriate book to printable form, and sends it off to When the book has been uploaded, it will be made for immediate ordering and shipping, and you will receive a link to it via email.

How Long Does it Take?
It takes about 5-10 minutes to process a single book, HOWEVER larger files and larger server loads will increase this time. At this time, please allow for up to 24 hours and possibly longer....

Update (12/31/07). The service (1) now prints public domain books from Google Book Search and (2) has moved to its own domain,

Update (1/3/08). For more details, see Philipp Lenssen's interview with Yakov Shafranovich.

Limited free access to PACER records

Aliya Sternstein, Courts offer libraries free access to e-records, Government Executive, November 20, 2007.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  Excerpt:

For the first time, the U.S. court system is providing free access to its online court records at select libraries. Lawyers say that waived fees for the system known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER, which typically costs 8 cents per search, will empower citizens who choose to represent themselves in court.

On Nov. 8, the government announced that free service would be available at 16 library systems nationwide under a joint project of the courts and the Government Printing Office. The participating libraries must promote the service, administer a user survey and report activity to GPO bimonthly.

National Security Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said she is sure that most of the public is not familiar with PACER, although it has revolutionized access to court records. "Now it is possible to see the complete docket in most cases before waiting for the cases to be decided and the decisions to be published," she said.

By moving to a free system, the courts particularly will aid people who live in remote locations and individuals who are economically disadvantaged, Fuchs said....By viewing sample pleadings filed in cases, more people may be able to protect their interests without depending entirely on lawyers, Fuchs said....

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. 

More notes on the Harvard publishing conference

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:

...Anna Kushnir, Corie Lok, Evie Brown, Kaitlin Thaney (Part 2 and Part 3) and Alex Palazzo have written about it much better than I could recall from my own "hot seat". Elizabeth Cooney of Boston Globe has a write-up as well. Read them all....

Harold Varmus gave a talk explaining what Open Access is (and what it is not, but sometimes poses as OA), how it works, why it is good, and why it is inevitable. Did you know that the paper he won his Nobel for is not available online (OK, it is now, because a professor in Iowa copied it and pasted it on his course homepage)? He diagnosed the problems in the structure of academia as well as in the publishing industry that stand as obstacles to the move towards Open Access and suggested some possible ways to remove such obstacles. He understands that OA will have an effect on the way science is done and scientific departments and institutes are organized and run....

The First Panel on Open Access Publishing (with Emilie Marcus, Stuart Shieber, Isaac Kohane and Robert Kiley) was quite constructive....

Stuart Shieber did us all a service by starting the discussion with a clear differentiation between two questions. The first question is static: is OA good and inevitable? The answer is an obvious and emphatic Yes, and there is not much more to debate there. The second question is dynamic: how do we get from here to there without cataclysmic effects on scientific publishing? In other words, how do we avoid the potential negative consequences, and what aspects of the current system are worth preserving and which ones are not....

Thus, it is not surprising that most of the discussion on the First Panel centered on the business aspects of science publishing. Will the move to OA upset the current hierarchies and is that good or bad? Will it result in some organizations being forced to close shop entirely? How would it affect the publishing in humanities? What is the role of academic libraries?

This debate is obviously not all Black And White. Many of the concerns by the publishers, represented here by Emilie Marcus, are legitimate. She is the editor of Cell and obviously a very good one. She wants to preserve the high stature of Cell as a journal. Certainly nobody wants to see Cell fail. But her efforts directly feed into what Harold calls "CNS disease" - the common practice in some areas of biomedical science at some universities to decide jobs, promotions and tenure according to the number of publications in Cell, Nature and Science. This practice boosts the reputation of Cell, Nature and Science (at the expense of other good journals). Their Impact Factor goes up, leaving the competition in the dust, thus further feeding the CNS disease....

Why does the CNS disease produce super-competitiveness, secretiveness, jealousy, fear-of-scooping, motivation to cheat and other by-products that are obviously bad for the practice of science? Science is supposed to be a collaborative and joyful enterprise....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Funds for data sharing service at the UK MRC

The UK Medical Research Council (MRC) is inviting proposals for a Data Support Service.  (Thanks to Stephane Goldstein.)  From the announcement:

MRC wishes to establish a Data Support Service to underpin wider access & use of biomedical research data. Delivery requirements for the first two years of the Service include:

  • an ‘MRC Data Portal’: intuitive web access to information, tools, guidance on data curation, and population-based research datasets
  • study-specific solutions for enhancing discovery, access and use of MRC data

These early years will not include establishment of a large-scale data archive or repository....

We invite responses from individual organisations or consortia to work in partnership with MRC to deliver the Service. There will be a short-listing process involving a pre-qualification stage before full tender. For full details about the tender requirements and applying for the pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) please contact Yvonne Kiamtia....

The closing date for requesting the PQQ is 26th November 2007. Completed PQQs must be received by 17th December 2007.

Software-assisted proofs require open source

David Joyner and William Stein, Open Source Mathematical Software, Notices of the American Mathematical Society, November 2007.  (Thanks to Slashdot.)  Excerpt:

Open source software, such as TEX, Mozilla Firefox, and Linux has had a profound effect on computing during the last decade, and we hope that open source mathematical software will have a similar positive impact on mathematics....

There is a proof in the article by Campbell et al. in The Atlas of Finite Groups—Ten Years On (1998) that describes how many separate software packages were “easily used” to deduce various mathematical facts —no code is given, and some of the programs are proprietary software that runs only on hardware many years out of date. Such proofs may become increasingly common in mathematics if something isn’t done to reverse this trend....

If the program is proprietary, [verification] is not possible. We have every right to be distrustful, not only due to a vague distrust of computers but because even the best programmers regularly make mistakes....

To quote J. Neubüser, “with this situation two of the most basic rules of conduct in mathematics are violated: In mathematics information is passed on free of charge and everything is laid open for checking.”

Botswana Minister of Education calls for OA to publicly-funded research

Chandapiwa Baputaki, Batswana must own knowledge-based products-Nkate, Mmegi, November 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

...Jacob Nkate [Boswana Minister of Education] was giving a keynote address at the 'Open Access' leadership summit of the Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) at the University of Botswana (UB)....

He told the vice-chancellors that it is important for Africa to generate new knowledge and contribute to internationally knowledge-based development and innovation....

Nkate further stated that whilst the post-colonial concerns were about becoming more competent, it is now more important than ever that Africans become increasingly skilled in their own knowledge production, be active creators and contributors to international thinking and decision-making rather than be on the receiving end....

He stated that limited access to publicly-funded scientific research resulting from the traditional models and roots of disseminating this research is no longer tenable in the African environment.

He pointed out that there is a widening gap in research output and consumption relative to the rest of the world. "Open access approaches and models promote universal unrestricted free access to full-text scholarly materials and scientific research via the Internet which in turn accelerates knowledge transfer," he said, adding that public good requires the removal of prevention barriers to this research and its publication....

The meeting, under the theme, "The challenges of open access and scholarly communication" is scheduled to end today.

PS:  The meeting is the SARUA Open Access Leadership Summit, Gaborone, Botswana, November 20-21, 2007.

Funds to facilitate repository deposit

JISC is soliciting funding proposals on digital repositories, including proposals to facilitate repository deposit:

...JISC invites institutions to submit funding proposals for projects to:

  • develop interoperability demonstrators to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness with which research papers are deposited into repositories
  • develop, provide examples for, and a limited support facility for, a Data Audit Framework
  • implement a version of the 'Data Audit Framework' methodology in a range of institutions and subject areas

The deadline for receipt of proposals in response to this call is 12:00 noon on Monday 14 January 2008....

The library and the IR in one catalog

VuFind is an open-source alternative to a conventional library OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).  One nice feature is that it integrates the library's usual holdings with the contents of the institutional repository.  (Thanks to the DSpace Foundation.)

Medknow OA journals now OAI-compliant

The OA journals from Medknow Publications are now OAI-compliant.  For the base URL and five OAI-PMH request forms, see the Medknow news page.

Does medical emergency justify uncompensated copying and distribution?

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):

...The electronic, physical or other delivery of individual copies of articles and books is an important source of revenue for scholarly publishers....

I haven't seen the original proposal and can only reconstruct it from the STM criticism.  But according to the STM, the proposal would

...allow the provision of photocopies of medical articles or other STM no, or limited, compensation....[It] generally assumes that the provision of such photocopies was necessary because those cases involved the lives and bodies of patients, and therefore required prompt measures. Allegedly, the prior seeking of licenses would not be possible without putting the lives and bodies of patients at risk....

Open data for environmental research

The Open Knowledge Foundation has launched an Open Environmental Data wiki.  From the site:

Open Environmental Data is data relevant to study of the environment that anyone is free to access, re-use and redistribute (see the Open Knowledge Definition). This includes data that is in the public domain (such as data produced in the normal operation of certain US government departments), and data that has been made available under an open license....


Short term:

  • create and maintain a list of publicly accessible environmental datasets
  • create an entry for any open datasets in CKAN
  • contact relevant parties for datasets with ambiguous status/license
  • create and maintain a list of relevant environmental research groups, organisations and links
  • investigate tools to analyse/represent data - particularly those that are open
  • investigate legislation and policy relevant to environmental data in different jurisdictions

Medium term:

  • mirror/archive (selected) open datasets in a subversion repository
  • investigate and attempt to harmonise data formats

Longer term:

  • think about developing a web application to help explore datasets...

Web filters as access barriers

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.

New OA journal of computer game culture

Eludamos: Journal for Computer Game Culture is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.  The inaugural issue is now online.

US air quality data OA on Google Earth

The US Environmental Protection Agency is not only providing OA to air quality data, but is making it easy for non-scientists to use and interpret.  From Monday's announcement:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s real time scientific air quality information is now available on Google Earth. The information tool accesses the AIRNow database hourly so that the Air Quality Index displays the most current air quality conditions. Public health officials, media outlets and the general public can now view timely air quality information, by city, on Google Earth....

Social networks for research require OA

John Wilbanks, No tenure for Technorati: Science and the Social Web, john wilbanks' blog, November 19, 2007.  Excerpt:

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Social Web and the Research Web. Last time out I stuck to the latter. But I see a lot of web 2.0 pushes into the sciences and it’s got me thinking…is science a good target for these technologies and social approaches?

Let’s start with a tautology. The wisdom of crowds depends on the existence of crowds.

And let’s take neuroscience as an example of a scientific discipline....Is the crowd [of neuroscience experts] big enough to be wise?  I am unconvinced....

There’s three barriers to Social Web extracting the wisdom in sciences as it does elsewhere.

The first is the lack of a crowd – not only is the total number of scientists in any one field pretty low in terms of internet numbers, but it’s even lower in reality with specialization....

(there is a secondary problem of scientists not wanting to be followed to waterholes – what a lab is reading is a very good clue as to its unpublished research, and labs like to keep that stuff secret, for good reason…it’s how you get the next paper, the next speech, and the next grant…)

Second problem is that scientific communication is a different beast than normal human communication....

[T]he problem is that people with common knowledge don’t share it with each other, simply because of social competition (and time constraints, but that’s for another post). It’s not a matter of “web 2.0 technology will trump old ways of sharing stuff” (a statement I tend to believe is true) but a matter of “stuff that doesn’t get shared anyway isn’t likely to get shared simply because the technology exists to share it.”

Put simply, if a scientist isn’t going to say it to her colleagues at a conference, she probably isn’t going to blog it.

Third problem is that there are no rewards for participating in these new forms of communication....

So if you put together these three problems – crowd’s too small, communication’s too formal, and no one gets rewarded – how do you overcome this to get Social Web’s very-real benefits into the sciences?

There’s a few places to start. Going in order for the problems…

1. Increase the size of the crowd. This starts with Open Access, I think. More people reading the source materials is simply the only way to go. We need to get away from the AOL/Prodigy/Walled Garden approach to the content. There’s people out there who can learn this, but not without access to the canon.

It also requires Research Web – the re-formatting of the scholarly canon so that it’s not just legally accessible as a set of PDFs, but something that can be endlessly manipulated, searched, indexed, mashed up, and more....

Right now the combination of publisher firewalls and underlying data formats is a choke point on Social Web utility here, because it just keeps anyone who isn’t already in the Science Guild on the outskirts.

2. Incentivize participation....

The Harvard publishing conference and institutional funds to pay publication fees

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:

...Much of the afternoon’s discussion revolved around open access and associated issues. The benefits of open access were clearly laid out in an opening keynote by Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate and former Director of the NIH. A campus-level perspective on open access was then provided by Stuart Shieber, Professor of Computing at Harvard and Isaac Kohane, Director of Harvard Medical School’s Countway Library - both strong open access advocates.

Something which came across clearly at this forum, and in related discussions with administrators and faculty at Harvard and its neighbour MIT, is that open access is no longer simply a matter for discussion. The question has become how best to achieve it, and concrete steps are being taken.

As one example, Kohane mentioned that, in the light by the low rate of compliance by authors with NIH’s currently voluntary Public Access Policy, Harvard Medical School would be actively helping the process along by assisting faculty with the upload of  manuscript versions of their published articles to NIH’s open access archive, PubMed Central. On another front, as reported in the Harvard Crimson, Stuart Shieber has put forward a motion to the Faculty Council of Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences calling for a faculty-wide mandatory policy of open access. Over at MIT, similar moves are afoot.

More broadly, there is increasing recognition that moves towards open access will require a fundamental shift in how the communication of research findings is paid for. If full and immediate open access is to become the norm,  then publishers' subscription revenues will have to be replaced with other revenue streams. The cost of the research publication process may best  be seen as an integral part of the cost of carrying out, and then disseminating, the research, rather than being a 'content acquisition' cost payable by the library. At Harvard, there is talk of creating an Office of Research Communication that could help plan for and manage such a transition.

As previously noted on this blog, the UK Research Councils late last year issued a guidance note on the payment of publication fees, which paved the way for institutions such as Nottingham University to set up central open access funds, paid for using a share of indirect cost funding (payments received by universities from research funders to cover infrastructural expenditure etc).

Central funding of publication costs has an important role to play in facilitating the growth of open access publishing. If subscriptions are centrally supported (through library budgets), yet open access publication costs are not, authors may be put off by financial obstacles to open access publication, even when open access journals offer a demonstrably more efficient and better value service.  BioMed Central’s experience confirms that institutions which put in place a central payment schemes (such as BioMed Central membership) see an increased rate of growth in the uptake of open access publishing, as compared to when authors are expected to pay publication charges directly from their own grant funds.

To date, the National Institutes of Health, the largest funder of biological and medical research in the United States, has not yet issued any guidance regarding the applicability of indirect research funding for the central payment of research communication costs such as publication fees. Explicit confirmation from NIH, and other major US funders, that indirect costs can be used in this way could help to accelerate the growth of open access at Harvard, MIT and other US campuses, by facilitating  the creation of central open access funds. We see this as an important next step in the overall shift towards a sustainable and scaleable open access publishing model.

OA journal business models

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:

Publications in Open Access media are free of charge to the readers but nevertheless need to be financed. Scholars, their institutions and libraries as well as research funders contribute. This places them in a new position within the publication chain and changes the dynamics of supply and demand of the scientific publication market. The present report analyses current business models for primary publications with respect to this dynamics and points out some chances and risks.

OA policy at the French ANR

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 milestone: more than 1,000 repositories

OpenDOAR now includes 1000 repositories, a press release from JISC, November 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

SHERPA has announced that its OpenDOAR directory, which contains an authoritative list of institutional and subject-based repositories, now boasts 1000 repository entries from across the globe.

With each of the repositories listed by the OpenDOAR service having been visited by project staff, the gathered information is both accurate and precise, and contains a quality-controlled list of repository features....

As OpenDOAR forms a major quality target resource for services such as Intute RS (Repository Search) and the Depot, 1000 entries is, say SHERPA staff, a significant step forward in enabling the global virtual repository network to cooperate in new and innovative ways....

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.

Indexing OA legal research

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.)

Abstract:   As the law moves inexorably to a digital publication model in which books no longer play a role, the problem of how to continue to make the law available to all becomes more acute. Open access initiatives already exist, and more are on the way, but all are limited by their inability to provide more than self-indexed search options for their users. Self-indexing, although a powerful alternative to the traditional pre-indexed searching made possible by systems like West's “Key Number” digests, has inherent limitations which make it a poor choice as the sole means of researching the law. But developing a new pre-indexed legal digest would be a prohibitively expensive and complex undertaking, making it unlikely that open access legal information sites can develop and maintain a fully-implemented digesting approach to legal research. This article proposes a reconceptualization of the information already contained within most American judicial opinions in order to permit open access sites to offer a form of pre-indexed research to their users. By mapping a case's location in a graphical representation of the doctrinal development of an issue under consideration, this approach allows the court's citations to prior authority to act as a pre-indexing tool, allows the researcher to update the law by showing more recent cases that have cited to the target case, and gives the researcher the opportunity to trace network links in order to uncover connections between cases that might otherwise have been difficult to discern.

Suite of OA journals coming from SAGE and Hindawi

SAGE and Hindawi announce landmark open access agreement, a press release from SAGE and Hindawi, November 20, 2007.  Excerpt:

SAGE and the Hindawi Publishing Corporation have today entered into an agreement to jointly launch and publish a suite of fully Open Access (OA) journals.

This is a bold strategic partnership that places SAGE as the largest academic publisher to develop a collection of Gold Open Access journals, marking the company’s continued investment in widening access to important scholarly research. SAGE is the world’s fifth largest journal publisher, with over 485 journals in the humanities, social sciences, science, technology, and medicine.

The initiative further strengthens Hindawi’s leadership in developing a strong portfolio of Open Access journals. Hindawi currently publishes more than 100 Open Access journals covering a wide range of subjects in science, technology, and medicine.

The partnership will see equal ownership between the two organizations. SAGE will have sole responsibility for the editorial development, marketing, and promotion of the new journals while Hindawi will provide the technology and expertise needed to run the publication process from the point of submission, through the peer-review process, to the point of final publication. Under the model, all SAGE-Hindawi journal articles will be made freely available online via the Hindawi platform, funded by author charges....

The SAGE-Hindawi platform will be launched at Online Information 2007, December 4-6 in London. More information on the SAGE-Hindawi initiative is available [here], along with a sign-up for the latest news about the initiative.


  • This is SAGE's first venture into gold OA.  Although we don't know how many journals it will cover, it's probably the largest venture into gold OA by a journal publisher with no previous OA titles.  It appears that the partnership will apply only to newly launched OA journals, not to existing SAGE journals converted to OA.  Kudos to both publishers for working this out.  I look forward to more details.
  • I wish I knew the balance of incentives and market research that led SAGE into this deal, bypassing a one-title experiment and committing to a many-title suite.  Was it the attractions of the fee-based OA business model?  (Hindawi is profitable.)  Was it the prospect of jump-starting an OA line of journals, and reducing risk, using Hindawi technology and expertise?  Was it a response to writing on the wall for the traditional subscription model?  Was it a market study specifically focused on SAGE's present or future research niches?  Perhaps these and many other factors.  But whatever the details, the overall bundle of incentives should transfer to many other TA publishers, even if not to all, and TA publishers not considering a similar move might well wonder what SAGE knows that they do not know.

Update.  Also see the coverage in The Scientist and the Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog (with reader comments). 

Sunday, November 18, 2007


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.

16k downloads in less than a month for an OA article on dietary supplements

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):

...These remarkable access statistics demonstrate the extent to which open access journals can enhance the dissemination of
research, and emphasize the readiness of members of the public to dig behind the media coverage to read original research articles when they are accessible.

Ben Goldacre, on his excellent Bad Science blog, recently discussed the contrasting case of a research article, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and widely covered in the popular media, which reported on the relative effectiveness of acupuncture, "sham acupuncture" and standard medical treatment in the treatment of lower back pain.

Lower back pain, like nutritional supplement usage, is an issue of relevance to a large fraction of the general population. Despite this, however, Goldacre's attempts to persuade JAMA to make the article freely available so that the public could read it for themselves were unsuccessful - particularly problematic considering that, as discussed by Goldacre, much of the media coverage failed to convey the key result of the research, which was that there was no statistically significant difference in the effectiveness of 'real' and 'sham' acupuncture.

Public access to relevant medical research is not the only benefit of open access publishing, but it is a significant one. For other examples of recent articles that have attracted a wide readership, see BioMed Central 'Most viewed' page.

More pre-history of OA: from the flames

Stevan Harnad, Open Access in the Last Millennium, Open Access Archivangelism, November 18, 2007.  Excerpt:

I thought that as the American Scientist Open Access Forum approaches its 10th year, readers might find it amusing (and perhaps enlightening) to see where the discourse stood 20 years ago. That was before the Web, before online journals, and before Open Access -- yet many of the same issues were already being debated.

Alhough I might have traced it back still further, to BBS Open Peer Commentary, 30 years ago, and although my first substantive posting was September 27 1986, for me it feels as if it all began with a jolt on November 19 1986, on sci.lang, with "Saumya, have shit-for-brains" -- which led to "Skywriting" (c. 1987, unpublished, unposted), which turned into "Scholarly Skywriting" (1990), Psycoloquy (1991), "PostGutenberg Galaxy" (1991), CogPrints (1997), the Self-Archiving FAQ (as of 1997), the AmSci Forum (1998), the critique of the e-biomed proposal (1999), EPrints (2000), mandates and metrics (2001), and then the BOAI (2002).

See how much of it is already lurking in this 1990 posting on COMMED: ...

What counts as open data?

Peter Murray-Rust, Open Data, A Scientist and the Web, November 17, 2007.  Excerpt:

There are several reasons why I’m currently thinking about Open Data (see Open Data at WP for some collected wisdom and links). We’re currently collecting more chemistry data that we intend to make Openly available (see CrystalEye knowledge base as an example). I’ve been asked to write an article for Serials review (Elsevier) on the subject and am putting my ideas in order. Chemspider announced Something New and Exciting Coming Soon… which contained an image with “Open Data” (no details). And Peter Suber announced New OA database on material properties, originally from the Chemistry Central blog which announced “The database is yet another of the free, on-line chemical services to have emerged in recent years. ” The use of “OA” was, I think, Peter’s.

I didn’t agree with Peter in his description of Material Properties as an “Open Access” database, and I’m worried that we shall see the same imprecision in the use of “Open Data”. So I wrote to Peter and am amplifying the arguments here. As a baseline Peter and I are both on the advisory board of the The Open Knowledge Foundation (initiated by Rufus Pollock) which has developed the Open Knowledge Definition. I think it’s important to take this as a starting point for this analysis, thought there are aspects of databases which make the system much more complex.

It’s good that the principle is simple to summarise:

In the simplest form the definition can be summed up in the statement that A piece of knowledge is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it. For details read the latest version of the full definition (with explanatory annotations).

I’m going to look at the most important clauses for science/chemistry....

There are significantly different types of Open Data in science....

It is critical to distinguish between “Free” and Open. “Free”, in this context, simply means that the provider has mounted the data (not necessarily the whole data) on a web page. There is often no licence, no copyright, no guarantee of availability, no commitment to archival, no explicit freedom of re-use. The materials database is in this category - and to be fair it didn’t call itself Open....

Open Access for scholarly publications implicitly guarantees certain aspects which are not guaranteed by default for Open Data:

  • The whole of the work is available. This is almost always trivial for articles (but as we have seen is a problem for some sorts of data).
  • There will be continued access to the work. This is based on (Gold) the permanence of Open Access publishers and the copying to inter/national repositories and (Green) the permanence of institutional repositories and in some cases inter/national repositories (self-archival on personal webpages does not guarantee permanent access). Repositories in general do not archive data.
  • The work can be re-used. This is clear if a licence is embedded in the work or provided by the repository. Note that many repositories do not make the licence position clear.
  • The work is in a convenient and modifiable form. Trivially readable for sighted humans. The rest is not always true.

Almost all these are major problems for Open Data.

So I very much hope that we can use Open Data in a strict form which adheres to the Open Knowledge Foundation guidelines. This is a good time to cement or challenge them. But it would be a serious problem if we allow “Freely accessible” to become synonymous with “Open Data”.


  • Just a quick note on my offline talk with PMR about Material Properties, which I called "OA" in a blog post.  Neither of us could find its licensing terms, so we couldn't tell just how open it was.  I needed (I still need, we all need) a generic term for such resources when we do know they are free of charge but don't know any details about their licensing terms.  For better or worse "OA" has become that generic term, even while it has a narrower, earlier, more technical and more proper sense through the BBB definition.  I readily and often acknowledge that I use the term "OA" both ways --widely and narrowly, as a generic term and as the technical term for the BBB level of openness.  I also readily and often acknowledge that this ambiguity causes problems --see for example the Poynder interview at pp. 30-31.  I can add that I resisted this dual sense as long as I could and only acquiesced when it became an undeniable fact of actual usage.  For perspective, I've also argued that this kind of semantic spread is not a special calamity for our technical term, but affects most technical terms in wide use and needn't prevent precise communication.
  • One tempting solution is to come up with a new generic term so that "OA" can be limited to its strict BBB sense.  That's desirable but difficult, since coining terms is not the same thing as assuring their use, let alone their intended use.  BTW, "free" would not make a better generic term, at least not yet, since it suggests to many people that a work is merely free of charge and does not also remove permission barriers.  A good generic term would cover all kinds of free online content, including those that are BBB OA.
  • I share PMR's hope that the term "open data" can stay fairly well tethered to its technical definition.  But the data world needs a generic term for the same reason that the publication world does.  If we had a good generic term for free online content, perhaps it could allow "open data" to remain univocal.

Open science and research libraries

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.

Comparing OA and TA business models

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:

Starting point for this discussion is that any business model in scientific publishing should be measured by the value it creates for the research process....

To improve universal access, the process of scientific publishing has been and is continuously changing to adjust to new possibilities provided by present day technologies. Nowadays technology not only allows a new dimension to universality, but also new types of services: information can be accessible around the globe and in a federated way and new innovative and powerful services focusing on further scalability of the information can be designed and implemented....

The differences between the two models [open access and toll access] lie in the different roles they have in the research process. The costs of making the scientific results available can be considered as internal research acquisition costs. This is the basis of the open access model. The subscription model, on the contrary, sees the reader as consumer and costs for the acquisition of information are treated as external from the research process. Other differences between the models are in the different weaknesses that they have with respect to the two main parameters of wide availability and power of selection. The subscription model provides little incentive for providing wide availability for the author; the open access model provides little incentive for investing in effective selection tools for the reader....

More from the EC on the possibility of an OA mandate

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:

  • Agenda of meeting
  • Participant list
  • Analysis of responses to questionnaire - Summary Report
  • Presentation of analysis
  • Minutes of the meeting
  • 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:

    The meeting was opened by Jean-Michel Baer, Director of the Science, Economy and Society Directorate within the Research Directorate-General (DG Research). He...emphasised the importance of the hearing as a source of input for the 8-10 October 2007 Portuguese Presidency of the European Union conference on "the Future of Science and Technology in Europe", and for the next policy steps to be taken in the area of "knowledge-sharing"....

    Jan Velterop, Director of Open Access at Springer, followed with an analysis of responses to question KSH2 of the public consultation on the Green Paper on the ERA....Findings and tentative conclusions include the following:

    • 86% of questionnaire respondents (692) responded to the section on knowledge sharing.
    • 70% of respondents are in favour of making raw data more readily available, whereas 15% disagree with the notion that this would be necessary.
    • 70% of respondents favour data storage at the EU-level.
    • 65% of all respondents favour free access (for the reader) to publicly funded scientific publications; 26% disagree with this type of access.
    • About two thirds of all respondents state that research publications resulting from publicly funded research should be available immediately; some 25% favour a 6- month embargo period, and 15% a 12-month embargo period.
    • 76% of the respondents state that articles should be available in an EU-level repository....
    • The distinction between repository levels (local, national, EU-level) is largely irrelevant in a digital world. The question is not where scientific information is located, but how it can be accessed....

    The meeting continued with a presentation by Deirdre Furlong (DG Research) on an internal information gathering exercise on how long embargo periods would need to be in the case of an open access mandate for publications resulting from Framework Programme-funded projects....

    After these presentations, participants were invited to engage in debate on the information presented and to make individual statements. The debate was very lively. Individual statements and comments are not reported here, but the following list gives and overview of the issues raised:

    • ...All stakeholders seem to recognise that, in the field of access to scientific information, a lot of change has already taken place and that further change is inevitable. While publishers stress that access has improved considerably over the past years, the research community believes that it must be improved further....
    • There is a need to move beyond entrenched positions in order to help policymakers make sound decisions. Some form of Open Access is a direction supported by many, but not by all. In what direction should and will positions evolve? What compromises are possible?
    • The debate persists on whether to move towards open access through repositories and funding body mandates (“green” open access) or through paid open access models / “reader pays” solutions (“gold” open access). Are there are other paths towards open access? Can the two options coexist?
    • The research system functions through the incentives of academic career advancement and recognition rather than financial reward. It traditionally places most emphasis on publication in journals with high impact factors. Effective dissemination or open access publication are not rewarded in themselves. How could the research incentive system be altered to improve access and dissemination?
    • IPR and access/dissemination issues are often not addressed together or not sufficiently managed by public research organisations (e.g. universities). What are the issues that these types of policies need to pay attention to and how can public research organisations be encouraged to develop policies on knowledge sharing?
    • The focus on the open access debate is on scientific journals in the natural and applied sciences. The somewhat different issues raised by the social sciences and humanities and by the case of monographs must not be forgotten.
    • The European Commission should make use of existing initiatives and principles such as the OECD principles on access to data, the 2003 Berlin Declaration, and the previous work done by national research funding bodies....