Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

OA policy at a Boston U research center

Boston University’s Superfund Basic Research Program is providing OA to its research results.  (Thanks to Donna Wentworth.)  Excerpt:

The use of open source wiki software encourages communication and collaboration on research, both externally with the public and internally within a research group. BU SBRP is developing an internal wiki for research collaborations.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) allows subscribers to automatically see the latest products of research, including new publications, events, and research tools freely accessible through a web site.

Emerging permissionless licensing systems allow researchers to choose the terms under which they want to share their work; these include Creative Commons Licenses and the General Public License.

Finally, open access journals are those which make content available to everyone, without requiring a subscription. With the emergence of web-based publishing, this model can make research more easily available to more researchers in more locations. A list of open access journals can be found at DOAJ.

As the products of research come in many forms, these tools can be used in different ways. Statistical techniques and computer code for modeling environmental exposures and health outcomes can be licensed through permissionless systems, written in open source languages and fully commented, and shared through a wiki. Laboratory methods and synthetic data created to test different techniques can also be shared, updated, modified by individual researchers or collaboratively, and discussed through wiki software. Published articles can be made accessible through Open Access on-line journals.

Our ultimate goal is to provide a compelling model for sharing scientific findings, analytical tools, data, and research methods developed by research programs. With the help of alternative licenses for scientific work and web-based technologies that promote information sharing and collaboration, we are making these research results freely available to anyone who can use them. We hope these new technologies will enable research to be shared in a more open, accessible way, ensuring that it will be used widely and effectively for the general welfare.

Comment.  I applaud what the SBRP is doing.  But I have lots of questions.  Is it putting all its peer-reviewed research articles on its wiki?  (Some publishers who have no problem with depositing postprints in repositories do have problems with depositing postprints in wikis.)  Either way, does it require this kind of OA archiving?  Merely encourage it?  Does it have an OAI-compliant OA repository in addition to its wiki?  Are these questions (largely) moot because all its articles are published in OA journals?  Does it require submission to OA journals?  Encourage it?  Does it pay processing fees at fee-based OA journals?

Update (7/31/08).  Raphael Adamek from the Boston SBRP has answered my questions and allowed me to post his answers.  (Thanks, Raphael.)

Our current policy is to strongly encourage our researchers to submit to OA journals. With the development of the NIH Public Access Policy we have also developed a centralized method of submitting articles to PubMed Central for our researchers. While still under development, we hope to create an internal archive that will be OAI-compliant while also fulfilling the requirements of the NIH Public Access Policy.  We also pay the processing fees for our researchers to submit publications to fee based OA journals.

Additionally, we have also advocated for other Superfund Basic Research Program's to adopt similar Open Access Policies for their institutions.