Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Presentations from Harvard publishing conference

The presentations from the Harvard conference, Publishing in the New Millennium (Cambridge, November 9, 2007), are now online.  All of them are OA-relates.  (Thanks to Graham Steele.)

Free online math and physics books

John Baez has collected links to a good number of free online textbooks in mathematics and physics.  (Thanks to Entertaining Research.)

OA journal starts using CC licenses

The University of Edinburgh's OA journal, SCRIPT-ed ("A Journal of Law, Technology & Society") has started using CC-BY-NC-ND licenses.

OA newsletter converts to OA blog

The CAC Review from the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink has converted from an OA newsletter to an OA blog.

AIR converts to OA

The Annals of Improbable Research has converted to OA.  (Thanks to Wired News.)  From the announcement:

Welcome to the grand Improbable Research experiment. We are putting the entire magazine online for free.

Beginning with the current issue — vol. 13, no. 6, November/December 2007, the special Ig Nobel issue — the Annals of Improbable Research will be available online in three forms. Several years of back issues are also online (though not in quite as many forms).

Fear not. The magazine will also continue to be available in the best of all possible forms: traditional on-the-toilet-readable paper-and-ink....

Comment.  At the risk of being a wet blanket, let me point out AIR has to be serious about its business model even if it's not serious about anything else.  It's making new issues available in four forms:  priced print, priced hi-res PDF, free low-res PDF, and free HTML.  I don't know whether this system will pay the bills, and AIR probably doesn't either.  But I'm fascinated by it.  It lets AIR provide free online access to 100% of its new articles without embargoes, abridgments, or publication fees.  Is there any reason why "serious" journals shouldn't experiment with the same model?

Friday, December 28, 2007

Profile of the SSPAL learning object repository

Lucia Antonelli, Il repository istituzionale SSPAL.doc, a presentation delivered at Verso la circolazione dei saperi pubblici (Rome, December 11, 2007).  In Italian but with this English-language abstract:

SSPAL.doc, the institutional repository by italian Scuola Superiore della Pubblica Amministrazione Locale, allows the consultation of learning objects used by students in the courses organized by national, regional and inter-regional schools. It contains also proceedings of conference and workshop organized by SSPAL and researches and studies materials.

Campaign against DRM on ebooks and ebook readers

Joshua Gay, Don't let DRM get between you and a good book, Defective by Design, December 20, 2007.  (Thanks to LIS News.)  Excerpt:

...Amazon Kindle (Swindle), Sony Reader (Sh-reader), and others are all competing to control how, what, and when we can read with their competing Digital Restrictions Management technologies. Let's let them know that we won't buy their ebook readers until they get rid of the DRM! ...

We want to send a message about DRM on ebooks and ebook readers that everyone will understand with just four simple points:

  • Amazon, Sony, and others want to change the way you read: They want to put locks on your books. Their "ebook readers" use Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) technology to control how, what, and when you can read.

  • When you purchase a DRM ebook, it is locked to a single device. When the device breaks or becomes outdated, you can no longer read your ebook. You buy a lock, but you don't own the key! If you try to pick the DRM-lock on an ebook so you can read your book on another device, you break US Federal Law (The Digital Millenium Copyright Act).

  • DRM ebooks are bad for authors and publishers. The owners of DRM technology get to decide which books, newspapers, and magazines can be put into their DRM formats. The DRM technology owners can deny whomever and whatever they wish from using their format. DRM allows for digital censorship.

  • Every few years you will have to buy a new copy of your favorite books, and a new ebook reader to go along with it. Any ability to lend your ebook to family or friends is severely limited at the whim of the DRM owner. For the future of reading: Don't buy ebook readers that use DRM technology—our books will end up locked shut.

Join us in action in teaching the world about DRM on ebooks....

More on the NIH victory

Here are a few more notes from the celebrations around the web.  (Thanks to Bora Zivkovic for several of these.)

From Georgia Harper at the Texas Digital Library:

Those of us who are proponents of open access (OA) are celebrating the passage of the bill that makes the NIH mandate the law of the land....[I]t’s time to start thinking about how to take advantage of this opportunity to offer services to our library patrons who have NIH-funded research to post. Here at the UT Libraries, we’ve been working on a little initiative to enable our School of Nursing faculty to get their research papers posted, in anticipation of the mandate. So far we have an outline of a training module...and the School of Nursing is willing to work with us to test out this module and institute a service for the faculty. We want it to be as easy for the faculty as possible....Here’s our training module, as it exists in its rough form....

From Brandon Keim at Wired News:

...[The OA mandate is] bad news for the science publishing industry, who've used some dubious tactics to preserve the right of journal publishers to charge exorbitant fees for access to federally-funded findings.

But for cash-strapped scientists, academics and other interested citizens -- and for anyone who believes, as a matter of principle, that knowledge bought by the public belongs to the public -- it's good news indeed....

From Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb:

...This should open up a whole world of new opportunities for online research....Researchers, academics and others have loudly criticized the soaring prices of academic journals - which make access to publicly funded research cost-prohibitive to all but the largest institutions and double-charges institutions that paid for researcher salaries already.

From Barbara Kirsop at the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development:

...The NIH now joins 6 of the 7 UK Research Councils, the Wellcome Trust and many other prestigious providers of research funding in acknowledging the immense value of open access to research publications and scientific progress....

From Mark Patterson at the PLoS blog:

...One of the most effective ways to comply with this new requirement is for researchers to publish their work in fully open access journals such as those of PLoS. As part of the service we provide to authors, we deposit every article in PubMed Central so that it can be a part of this evolving and important online archive. And this happens as soon as the article is published – so that anyone with an interest in the work can immediately read it and build on it....

From Fernando Pereira at Earning My Turns:

A very important value of this opening will be to allow full indexing and analysis of the past literature. Sometimes we have the illusion that the latest publication is the one that matters, but in many cases, discovery is bumpy and long-drawn, so the ability to find and synthesize the whole history of a topic is very important in assessing the current state of knowledge. The potential of automated biomedical literature mining has just become that much greater.

From Rich at The New Freedom:

...I find it incredibly frustrating when I want to read an article, but can only read the abstract because I don’t have access to the publishing journal. While this law doesn’t mean that I’ll be able to read all of the journals I want to, it does mean I’ll be able to read a significantly larger portion of them. It makes sense, of course, that we the tax payers funding the research should be able to benefit from it. I’m sure companies like ACS Publications are unhappy about this, but I think that’s great, because those companies are really an affront to science.

We should be thankful to the Alliance for Taxpayer Access for their hard working in campaigning for this law. Their work isn’t finished yet, but this is a massive step in the right direction. Their cause is logical and noble....

From Kevin Smith at Scholarly Communications @ Duke:

...How can we [librarians] help faculty researchers understand the new mandate?  What publishers can we recommend, and can we help faculty review their publication contracts to be sure compliance (or even earlier public access to the article) is allowed?  Some publishers, like Elsevier, already promise to deposit copies of articles they publish for researchers.  Publishing with such a publisher is an easy way to comply with the mandate, but it will almost certainly result in the full 1 year delay before open access.  For many researchers, there will still be significant advantage in accomplishing open access much sooner than this.  So the task of assisting faculty with understanding their alternatives, negotiating their publication contracts and navigating the mechanics of open access deposit are even more urgent services that academic libraries can and should provide.

From Blake Stacey at Science After Sunclipse:

...This is what happens when those slinky, no good Reds are "both elusive and in possession of a better message".

Also see the shorter comments by Richard Akerman, BTurtle, Jason Buberel, Martin Fenner, Barbara Fister, Robert Gehring, Greg Laden, Mark Leggott, Heather Morrison, Lorena O'English, Open Helix, Neel Smith, Andrew Staroscik, and David Weinberger.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New OA project from Carl Malamud, Brewster Kahle, and the Boston Public Library

John Markoff, Documents of Library in Boston to Go on Web, New York Times, December 27, 2007.  Excerpt:

The historical record of the United States government will soon be more accessible.

A digital library partnership, including two nonprofit organizations and the Boston Public Library, is preparing to begin making digital copies of the library’s paper-based government documents collection, which will then be made available on the Internet.

The project, which will take two years and require the hand scanning of millions of pages of government hearings and related publications, will cost an estimated $6 million, according to the project’s sponsors.

Boston Public Library librarians said they planned to begin by digitizing the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings from the 1950s, which is regularly sought after by its patrons.

The project is being undertaken by Public.Resource.Org, a nonprofit group seeking to open public access to government records, and the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based digital library.

The project is the brainchild of founders of the two organizations, Carl Malamud and Brewster Kahle, and it is initially being financed by a $250,000 grant from a foundation established by Mr. Kahle and his wife, Mary Austin, and a matching grant from the Omidyar Network, a support organization created by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay.

Mr. Malamud said his goal is to digitize the entire United States government documents collection, which has been estimated to include up to 100 million pages of publications ranging from the Congressional Record to the Federal Register....

Public.Resource.Org’s online collection [from other projects] includes 21 million copyright records, 5 million G.P.O. pages as well as information from the Securities and Exchange Commission, Patent Office and other federal agencies.

Also see the Public.Resource.Org press release.

Update. Also see W. David Gardner's story in Information Week.

Update. Also see the editorial in the Boston Globe supporting the project.

Egyptian law would put ancient monuments under copyright

Egypt 'to copyright antiquities', BBC News, December 25, 2007.  Excerpt:

Egypt's MPs are expected to pass a law requiring royalties be paid whenever copies are made of museum pieces or ancient monuments such as the pyramids.

Zahi Hawass, who chairs Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told the BBC the law would apply in all countries.

The money was needed to maintain thousands of pharaonic sites, he said....

"Commercial use" of ancient monuments like the pyramids or the sphinx would also be controlled, he said.  "Even if it is for private use, they must have permission from the Egyptian government," he added.

But he said the law would not stop local and international artists reproducing monuments as long as they were not exact replicas....

Thanks to Eric Kansa for the alert and for this comment:

...Egypt’s move to claim copyright over 4000-year old monuments obviously has nothing to do with motivating new creativity or invention, since the creators of these antiquities are long dead. (Note: neither does Walt Disney’s continually demand to exclusively own Mickey Mouse…) In our legal system, such works would belong to the public domain, and would be available to all for any purpose....

I wonder how the Egyptian state will try to enforce this far-reaching copyright claim. The Egyptomania genie is long out of the bottle (at least since the New Kingdom!). There are some 17,000 images tagged as “Giza” just in Flickr. Attempting to extract licensing rents on such uses will be monumental task, on par with building the pyramids in the first place....

How this law will impact research and education about Ancient Egypt is another issue of great concern. Making it harder to use images in journals and textbooks is no way to encourage understanding of the past....

Comment.  I see the need for funds to protect Egyptian antiquities.  But there's a category mistake in seeking those funds through the retroactive extension of copyright to objects that have already entered the public domain.  I've called that piracy against the public domain, and I have to use that description here as well.  The problem in Egypt is not that copying harms the original creators, or that those creators need an artificial monopoly, but that the cost of preserving those antiquities is not adequately borne by those who benefit from them.  That kind of cost-spreading is normally done through taxes, and the real problem here is that Egypt cannot tax non-Egyptians.  (I'm conceding that all of us benefit from the existence of Egyptian antiquities, a point that some might not concede.)  The problem is hard and Egypt cannot solve it alone.  But I'd rather see nations use local taxes to create a worldwide fund for objects of worldwide interest than to see nations use copyright law as a general vehicle for fund-raising.  The policy principle at stake here is that the public domain should grow every year and never shrink.

New issue of ISU

The new issue of Information Services and Use (vol. 27, no. 4, 2007) is now online.  The issue is devoted to presentations from last year's Academic Publishing in Europe conference (Berlin, January 23-24, 2007).  The articles are TA, and in most cases, not even abstracts are free online, at least so far.  Here are the OA-related articles:

Update.  The full-texts of all the articles in this issue are free online in a single large PDF.  (Thanks to Gavin Baker.)

More on the NIH victory

Here are some notes from the celebration around the web:

From John Gordon at Gordon's Notes:

...I'd also like to thank the biomedical publishing industry. This could never have happened without the transformation of a cottage industry into short-sighted publicly traded corporations dedicated to maximizing near term revenue. Publishers pushed journal subscription and archive access prices to stratospheric levels, knowing their subscribers had no real options. It was a great short term strategy....

From Stevan Harnad at Open Access Archivangelism:

Worldwide, that now makes 21 funder-mandates, 11 institutional-mandates, and 3 departmental-mandates, plus 5 proposed-funder-mandates, 1 proposed-institutional-mandate, and 2 proposed-multi-institutional-mandates -- a total of 35 mandates already adopted and 8 more proposed so far. See ROARMAP....

From Glyn Moody at Open...:

...[E]ven though the choice of 12 rather than six months is slightly pusillanimous, it's still a huge win for open access in the US. It will also have a knock-on effect around the world, as open access to publicly-funded research starts to become the norm....

From Peter Murray-Rust on A Scientist and the Web:

...[N]ow all fulltext derived from NIH work will be available on PubMed. Other funders will follow suit (if they are not ahead). So our journal-eating-robot OSCAR will have huge amounts of text to mine.

The good news is that we believe that this text-mining will, in itself, uncover new science. How much we don’t know, but we hope it’s significant. And if so, that will be a further argument for freeing the fulltext of every science publication.

Also see the shorter comments by Charles Bailey, Jonathan Eisen, Klaus Graf, Leslie Johnston, Paula Kaufman, Oliver Obst, Dorothea Salo, and the discussion thread about it on Slashdot.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

More on the NIH victory

Public Access Mandate Made Law, a press release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, December 26, 2007.  Excerpt:

President Bush has signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007 (H.R. 2764), which includes a provision directing the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to provide the public with open online access to findings from its funded research. This is the first time the U.S. government has mandated public access to research funded by a major agency.

The provision directs the NIH to change its existing Public Access Policy, implemented as a voluntary measure in 2005, so that participation is required for agency-funded investigators. Researchers will now be required to deposit electronic copies of their peer-reviewed manuscripts into the National Library of Medicine’s online archive, PubMed Central. Full texts of the articles will be publicly available and searchable online in PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication in a journal.

"Facilitated access to new knowledge is key to the rapid advancement of science," said Harold Varmus, president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Nobel Prize Winner. "The tremendous benefits of broad, unfettered access to information are already clear from the Human Genome Project, which has made its DNA sequences immediately and freely available to all via the Internet. Providing widespread access, even with a one-year delay, to the full text of research articles supported by funds from all institutes at the NIH will increase those benefits dramatically."

"Public access to publicly funded research contributes directly to the mission of higher education,” said David Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs at NASULGC (the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges). “Improved access will enable universities to maximize their own investment in research, and widen the potential for discovery as the results are more readily available for others to build upon.”

“Years of unrelenting commitment and dedication by patient groups and our allies in the research community have at last borne fruit,” said Sharon Terry, President and CEO of Genetic Alliance. “We’re proud of Congress for their unrelenting commitment to ensuring the success of public access to NIH-funded research. As patients, patient advocates, and families, we look forward to having expanded access to the research we need.”

“Congress has just unlocked the taxpayers’ $29 billion investment in NIH,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, a founding member of the ATA). “This policy will directly improve the sharing of scientific findings, the pace of medical advances, and the rate of return on benefits to the taxpayer."
Joseph added, “On behalf of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, I’d like to thank everyone who worked so hard over the past several years to bring about implementation of this much-needed policy.”

OA mandate at NIH now law

This morning President Bush signed the omnibus spending bill requiring the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to mandate OA for NIH-funded research.  

Here's the language that just became law:

The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

For the major steps along the way, and my evaluation of the bill, see my three newsletter articles from August, November, and December.

Here's a fast recap:  In July 2007 (for the second time) the House of Representatives adopted an appropriations bill requiring an OA mandate at the NIH.  In October 2007 (for the first time) the Senate adopted the same language.  In November, President Bush vetoed the bill for reasons unrelated to the NIH provision, and the House failed to muster enough votes to override the veto.  Congress responded by combining many of the vetoed appropriations into one omnibus bill, cutting spending down to levels that the President could accept, and retaining the NIH provision without modification. 

Thanks to all supporters of open access in Congress and the Executive branch, including the NIH itself.  Thanks to SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access for their energetic and effective work with policy-makers.  Thanks to Heather Joseph for her masterful and untiring leadership of both organizations.  Thanks to all of you who wrote to your Representatives and Senators to support public access for publicly-funded research.  Thanks, Santa! 

More later, you can bet.

New free journal on evolution outreach

Evolution: Education and Outreach is a new peer-reviewed journal from Springer.  (Thanks to John Timmer.) 

Each of its articles is free online, and it doesn't seem to use the Springer Open Choice hybrid model.  I'd call it Springer's first full OA journal except that it requires individual request and permission for all "reuse" (no qualifications).   By contrast, Springer's hybrid OA articles use CC licenses.

Clearly something is wrong:  the same "reuse" page incorrectly says that access requires payment ("To purchase or view a PDF of this article, 'add to shopping cart' "), and of course copyright law permits some reuse without permission.

The editorial in the inaugural issue says nothing about the journal's access policy.

Nature starts depositing chem data in ChemSpider

Antony Williams, A Growing Collaboration with Publishers - Nature Initiates Deposition of Spectral Data Onto ChemSpider, ChemSpider blog, December 21, 2007.  Excerpt:

...I am happy to announce that we have the first deposition of analytical data onto ChemSpider from a publisher. Bronwen Decker of the Nature Publishing Group (NPG) has facilitated the deposition of data onto the system. A paper entitled "Use of Raman spectroscopy as a tool for in situ monitoring of microwave-promoted reactions" has had two accompanying NMR spectra submitted online (and hooked back to the original article using the DOI number)....

New cross-archive search engine and LIS encyclopedia

Archivopedia: The online archives encyclopedia, LibSite, December 24, 2007.  Excerpt: on the management and research of primary source materials....

The wiki encyclopedia is open for anyone to edit and contains information relevant to archivists, librarians, public historians, and museum professionals [such as news headlines, job ads, grant notices, teaching modules, and a terminology guide]....

In addition to the wiki, the site offers a search engine specially customized to find primary source materials around the world by keyword. This feature takes advantage of open source / open access initiatives and is designed to promote repository collections containing original materials by enabling researchers the opportunity to find and link to collections and specific items held at various repositories that might interest them in a single search. Try a sample search like “George Washington” in the [Google co-op] search engine....[PS: but beware of the distracting graphics.]

O is for open Access

Michael Geist, The year in Canadian tech law, A to Z, Toronto Star, December 24, 2007.  Excerpt:

...O is for the Open access rules adopted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, one of Canada's leading research granting institutions. The new rules require researchers to ensure that their work is openly available to the public within six months of publication....

More on the variety of access barriers

Akobundu Dike Ugah and Michael Okpara, Obstacles to Information Access and Use in Developing Countries, Library Philosophy and Practice 2007.  Excerpt:

Experts have identified various obstacles to information access and use. Uhegbu...identifies five: economic, social, environmental, occupational, and infrastructure. Etim...lists seven, including physical infrastructure, technical, and managerial capabilities, among others, though her work focused mainly on scientific and technological information. This paper will discuss obstacles in the following areas: lack of awareness; inaccessibility; information explosion; bibliographic obstacles: environment; poor infrastructure; declining budgets and rising costs; costs for users; staff attitude toward users; and crime.

No more registration requirement for NEJM access

Since 2001 the New England Journal of Medicine has provided free online access to its research articles after a six month embargo.  But it required users to register.  On December 19, it dropped the registration requirement.

Another society launches an OA journal

In 2008, the Pediatric Cardiology Society of India will launch a peer-reviewed OA journal, the Annals of Pediatric Cardiology (no web site yet), published by Medknow.

OA policy from the Flanders Marine Institute

The Flanders Marine Institute (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, or VLIZ) has adopted a policy to deposit the Institute's research output in its OA repository, the Open Marine Archive (Open Marien Archief, or OMA).

OA for improving research metrics

Christine Kosmopoulos and Denise Pumain, Citation, Citation, Citation : Bibliometrics, the web and the Social Sciences and Humanities, Cyberego: European Journal of Geography, December 17, 2007.

Abstract:   The use of digital resources and the affirmation of research assessment exercises throw a new light on the issue of bibliometrics. The paper reviews the main data bases and indicators in use. It demonstrates that these instruments give a biased information about the scientific output of research in Social Sciences and Humanities. Emerging publishing and editing strategies on the web are analysed. The paper supports open access solutions and sharing resources policies for the social science's literature.

From the body of the paper:

It remains true that in the field of bibliometrics, as also for evaluation in general, trusting in a single indicator, however sophisticated, is an objective totally unsuited to what we know of the complexity of social systems, and that it would be advisable to set up not only batteries of indicators, but also multifarious methods for analyzing them and for preparing all decisions. Placing research in [an open access] network on a global scale thanks to electronic support and communication should cause the emergence of new forms of scientific evaluation, better harmonized, and of which the tools of bibliometry are only one aspect.

OA archiving in France

Rachel Creppy, Archives ouvertes, archives institutionnelles et protocole français, Bulletin des Bibliothèques de France, October 2007. (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog.)  An update on OA archiving in France.  Because it's a PDF, I can't link to a machine translation.

Update. Thanks to Marlène Delhaye for letting me know about an HTML edition of the article, which allows me to link to Google's English. (Unfortunately, however, Google's machine translator doesn't work on this article; I'm leaving the link in place in case the problem is only temporary.) Marlène also points to this English-language blurb from the table of contents:

After presenting the European context of the Open Archives Initiative, the article looks at the current state of the French project in terms of signatories, approach, objectives, strategic axes, current works on communication issues, metadata structure, interoperability and ongoing archiving, the involvement of university institutions, and issues to be resolved.

Danes join SCOAP3

The Danish Library Agency is joining CERN's SCOAP3 project (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics).  From the December 20 announcement:

The Danish Library Agency is pleased to announce, that it has signed an Expression of interest to join SCOAP3.

The Danish Library Agency hosts the secretariat of Denmark's Electronic Research Library (DEFF)....

DEFF has been closely monitoring the development of Open Access from its birth and is active in advocating for Open Access solutions and doing pilot projects. The invitation to join SCOAP3 to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation was discussed by the ministries in DEFF’s Coordination Committee and on Tuesday 18 December they approved the signing of the Expression of interest.

DEFF considers a more widely access to scientific information as an important pillar for the Danish Government’s strategy ‘Denmark in the Global Economy’.

OA for maximizing research impact

Stevan Harnad, Harvesting the Fruits of EU Research, Opening Scientific Communication, December 24, 2007.  In French and English.  Excerpt:

Europe invests many million of euros of European tax-payers’ money in funding research. The purpose is to generate maximal returns for the European tax-payer from the uptake, usage and application of those research findings, in the form of further research progress as well as R&D industrial applications.

This is called “research impact.” ...

In order to be used and applied, research has to be accessible. Research is published in peer-reviewed journals, but journal subscriptions do not maximize research access, because not all researchers’ institutions can afford subscription access to all research journals. Hence research impact is needlessly lost. How much research impact is being lost?

Studies across all fields of research have now demonstrated that if subscription access is supplemented with free online access (Open Access, OA) — by researchers self-archiving their final drafts in their own Institutional Repositories (IRs) — research impact is doubled. That means twice as much research impact for the same level of research funding....

Mandating OA self-archiving for funded research is a natural extension of mandating that the research should be published at all (”publish or perish”). It is also the optimal way to monitor and showcase research output, for institutions and funders, to maintain a record of research assets, and to credit and reward research impact, by harvesting research impact metrics (citations, downloads, etc.) as part of a system of continuous research productivity monitoring and assessment.

And, most important, mandating OA self-archiving will also maximise European research impact, thereby maximising the return on European tax-payers’ investment in research.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


  1. I'm slowing down for the holidays, and will catch up later with whatever I missed while making merry. But if President Bush signs the spending bill Congress passed on Wednesday requiring an OA mandate for the NIH, then I'll blog it the same day. 

  2. Sometime last week Open Access News passed the milestone of 12,600 posts.

Happy holidays!

Another reason for a Bush signature

The same spending bill directing the NIH to mandate OA for NIH-funded research also directs the Environmental Protection Agency to re-open its libraries after a two-year frenzy of agency-led destruction.  For details, see the press release from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

OA for software protocols

The Protocol Freedom Information Foundation (PFIF) is a new, non-profit organization devoted to OA for software protocols.  It recently persuaded Microsoft to open up the Windows server protocols in order support full interoperability with Samba, the FOSS suite of networking tools for Unix and Linux machines.  For details, see Serdar Yegulalp's article in Information Week.

Santa helps those who help themselves

Stevan Harnad, From Father Christmas to all the little boys and girls wishing for Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, December 23, 2007.  Excerpt:

On Sun, 23 Dec 2007, [anonymous] wrote:

Dear Father Christmas,
   My wish goes towards allowing any researcher free access to current scientific information -- and when I say free, I mean without any constraint of fees, subscription, copyright. And what would be better than having open archives/repositories? ...
   How to get out of this dilemma? Recently, in France and Germany, lawmakers wrote a new law, punishing anybody intending to infringe copyright with enormous fines...
   My fellow European scientists are afraid and no longer dare to express their ideas....


Dear little boys and girls everywhere who yearn for Open Access:

Yes, there is a way that you can have the Open Access you say you so fervently desire. But Father Christmas cannot give it to you, any more than Father Christmas can give you big muscles, if that is what you yearn for. All Father Christmas can do is tell you how you yourselves can build the big muscles you desire (by exercising daily with increasing weights). And for Open Access it is exactly the same: It depends entirely on you, dear children, each and every one of you.

Nor can you build big muscles from one day to the other. If you try to lift too heavy a weight, too early, you only cause yourself muscle strain. So don't insist on too much overnight. Start with one simple fact that is easy to assimilate: There is nothing whatsoever -- nothing physical, nothing legal -- that prevents you from depositing your own final, peer-reviewed drafts (postprints) of every single one of your own current research journal articles in an OAI-compliant Institutional Repository, right now: Nothing. Not copyright law. Not technology. Not cost. Not expertise. No point in writing to Father Christmas to wish for that, because it is already entirely in your own hands:

Your institution has no Institutional Repository yet? Then, for the time being, deposit your postprints in a central repository, like CogPrints or Depot or Arxiv or HAL or PubMed Central. But do the deposit now.

The journal in which it is published does not yet endorse immediate OA self-archiving? Then, for the time being, set access to the deposit as Closed Access rather than Open Access for as long as the journal embargoes access. But do the deposit now.

That's all. If all the little boys and girls did that before Christmas this year, on Christmas day all the current research worldwide would be visible worldwide, 62% of it already Open Access (because 62% of journals already endorse immediate OA self-archiving).

For the remaining 38% deposited in Closed Access, the metadata (author, title, journalname, date etc.) would be immediately visible worldwide, so any user who wanted to access the full-text could immediately email the author to request an eprint by email....

[I]nstead of just writing to St. Nick, I suggest writing to the Principal, Rector, Vice-Chancellor or Provost of your school...asking that the school itself should make this digital muscle-building part of its standard athletic curriculum for all its pupils -- making the keystrokes mandatory for all of you -- then that mandate will ensure OA self-archiving its proper place in your hierarchy of priorities. The rewards will be felt in your year-end marks...because self-archiving builds the citations as surely as it builds muscles....

Your faithful old
Kris Kringle