Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Interview with Heather Joseph

Mary Page and Bonnie Parks, An Interview with Heather Joseph, Serials Review, June 2008.  Only this abstract is free for non-subscribers, at least so far:

Abstract:   Heather Joseph talks about her career with SPARC and BioOne. She discusses the NIH mandate that NIH-funded research will be deposited into PubMed Central, and she shares her views on some of the controversial issues the mandate has raised about copyright, peer review, and embargo periods. She also addresses the recent decision by the Harvard faculty to make their scholarly output accessible through the university’s institutional repository, and she suggests ways that librarians can help their faculties prepare for open access.

From the body of the interview:

HJ: ...I think that one central contribution of SPARC has been raising the profile of scholarly communications issues. The issue has expanded from a library-centric issue of “journals cost too much” into a conversation about leveraging new opportunities to expand the scope of dissemination of the results of science, research, and scholarship. It involves not just the library community, but also researchers and the academy, as well as national and international policymakers. The issue of access to and use of scholarly output has become one of great public interest....

MP: Let’s talk about the recent National Institutes of Health mandate that all NIH-funded research will be deposited into PubMed Central. Is this a defining moment for the open access movement?

HJ: I think it is. The debate and discussion on this particular policy played out very publicly over the past several years. Interest wasn’t just limited to the academy and trade publications....The fact that Congress signed this policy into law imbues a significance that cannot be overstated. This isn’t simply an interesting proposal by one special interest group: this is a fully vetted, thoroughly discussed policy that is now the law of the land. Certainly that represents a watershed moment for open access, and it has implications far beyond a single government agency in the United States....

MP: How would you respond to a researcher who deposits his work in his institutional repository where it will be freely available? Why does he have to deposit it into PubMed Central as well?

HJ: First of all, I applaud researchers who take the critical step of ensuring broad access to their work by placing it in an institutional repository....Additionally, I’d expect over time that institutional repository managers will work out some system or systems with the NIH to either allow PubMed Central to sweep local repositories to automatically harvest approved, NIH-funded manuscripts, or for the local repository to automatically upload such manuscripts directly to PubMed Central....

MP: Do you think the NIH mandate will become a model for other government funding agencies? If yes, have you begun working on that effort?

HJ: ...It’s entirely probable that other United States agencies, and agencies abroad, will follow suit. I wouldn’t necessarily expect perfect clones of the NIH policy; there should and will be differences that reflect the unique nature of different disciplines. But I do think that basic premise of open access to the results of research will be a path that the majority of agencies that invest in research will pursue, as they increasingly recognize that broad access provides a greater return on their investment....