Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, February 02, 2008

CKAN version 0.5

The Open Knowledge Foundation has released version 0.5 of its Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN), an open-source registry of open knowledge packages.  From the site:

We’ve currently got 135 packages. If you come across a large dataset or substantial collection, please consider registering it on CKAN!

February SOAN

I just mailed the February issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at open access mandates adopted or revealed in January, with special attention to those from the  European Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health.  The round-up section briefly notes 118 OA developments from January.

Friday, February 01, 2008

US physics advisory panel supports SCOAP3

The High Energy Physics Advisory Panel of the US Department of Energy strongly supports SCOAP3, a press release from CERN's SCOAP3 project, January 31, 2008.  Excerpt:

The High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP) advises the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. National Science Foundation on the conduct of experimental and theoretical high energy physics (HEP) research and accelerator R&D. On November 30th, HEPAP listened to two presentations on Open Access. An Open Access primer by Gene Sprouse, editor in chief of the American Physical Society, and a description of the SCOAP3 model by Salvatore Mele on behalf of the emerging SCOAP3 consortium.

In its summary letter, HEPAP expressed its strong support for SCOAP3, contingent upon its sustainability and reversibility.

Sustainability is a SCOAP3 pillar....

The SCOAP3 initiative will redirect funds which are today used for subscriptions to HEP journals into an explicit payment for the organization of the peer-review service and the other value that journals add to pre-prints. The SCOAP3 model will achieve Open Access out of funds that are already in use, today, to provide content to library users, rather than requiring new sources of funding. It is thus sustainable by construction....

More on using institutional repositories for datasets

Luis Martinez, The Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) and Institutional Repositories, a briefing paper from the DataShare project.  (Thanks to Robin Rice.)  Excerpt:

...The DISC-UK DataShare project aims at improving current institutional models for dealing with curation of research generated data by exploring the possibilities of using institutional repository (IR) technologies and practices. This project brings together the distinct communities of data support and institutional repositories to bridge gaps and exploit the expertise of both to advance repository services’ ability to accommodate datasets.

One of the key issues present in IRs is dealing with the description of items held in the repository. Data are not different from other digital materials and need to be described not just for discovery but also for preservation and reuse. The social science data archiving community has been working for many years on a metadata standard to describe datasets, and a new version is about to be published, the Data Documentation Initiative (DDI) 3.0.

This document reports back from the DDI 3 workshop “Using DDI 3.0 to Support Preservation, Management, Access and Dissemination Systems for Social Science Data” held at the Schloss Dagstuhl in Germany in November 2007. It intends to present the DDI standard to repository managers, data librarians and data managers and provide background information to help them to examine how the DDI fits with developments in their institutional repositories for research-generated data. The report discusses the appropriateness of using the different DDI versions to address the requirements of research data in IRs. It brings together some of the key questions of the DataShare project with regards to access management, linking to other materials and versioning of datasets....

Report on CC licenses for Dutch public sector info

Mireille van Eechoud and Brenda van der Wal, Creative commons licensing for public sector information:  opportunities and pitfalls, University of Amsterdam Institute for Information Law, version 3.0, January 2008.  (Thanks to the CC blog.)  Excerpt:

Under Dutch law, much information held by the public sector qualifies for copyright protection (e.g. databases, maps, reports, papers, opinions)....

In general terms, one can conclude the Creative Commons model is suitable only for public sector information with the following access characteristics:

  • public access is the chief principle (either because the information is subject to the Government Information Act or sector specific regulation), and
  • access is not granted under cost recovery model (i.e. going beyond charges for the cost of dissemination)....

The idea of licensing information seems at odds with the notion that citizens have a right to access such information under the freedom of information act (Wet openbaarheid van bestuur). The longstanding debate on the relationship between copyright and freedom of information law, shows that it is generally accepted that gaining access under Wob does not dismiss the recipient of the obligation to respect intellectual property rights in the information. This implies that conditioning use is allowed, at least as long as the terms are consistent with the objective of the Wob: by stimulating openness of government information, enabling citizens to influence and control the administration and participate in the democratic process. The most compatible licenses from this perspective are CC-PD and CC-BY....

Podiatry journal converts to OA, changes its name

The Foot & Ankle Journal has converted to OA and changed its name from the Podiatry Internet Journal.  It began accepting articles for its new OA incarnation this month.  For more details on the change, see Al Kline's editorial in the January issue.

Podcast from Heather Morrison

Heather Morrison, Why I am an Open Access Advocate, a six-minute podcast.  Heather says she recorded it "for a course on librarianship and advocacy being developed by Pam Ryan and Kathleen DeLong of the University of Alberta."

Update on the Oxford hybrid journals

Martin Richardson, Oxford Open prices adjusted for open access uptake, Oxford Journals Update, Winter 2007-2008.  (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)  Excerpt:

Oxford Journals’ experiments with open access under the Oxford Open initiative have now been running for over four years. We always strive to price our journals fairly, and so some of our Oxford Open journals have seen modifications to their 2008 prices based on the volume of open access content within those journals....

Under the Oxford Open model, authors of accepted papers in participating journals have the option of paying an open access publication charge to make their paper freely available online immediately upon publication....54 journals were published under the Oxford Open model in 2006, and more have joined the initiative since.

Oxford Journals is keen to ensure that the open access content in these journals has an effect on the price. In 2008, the average increase across all Oxford Journals titles is 6.9%. For the 28 Oxford Open titles with open access uptake in 2006 (the last full calendar year on which we could calculate), the average 2008 online-only price increase is just 1.7%. This is due to adjustments to the online-only prices of these journals which reflect increases in the percentage of open access content published between 2005 and 2006....

Subscribers should pay only for non-open access content....As a result, eight out of 54 Oxford Open titles saw an absolute reduction in price from 2007 to 2008, and a further 20 titles benefited from a lower price increase....

PS:  Table 1 shows that that the rate of uptake for Oxford Open journals varies by field from 1.1% in the social sciences and humanities to 7.6% in the life sciences.  Table 2 shows the range of effective price reductions due to OA, from 0% for 26 journals to 18% for two journals.

More on open law

Paul Jacobson, Open Law Project, video of a presentation at the Society of Law Teachers of Southern Africa Conference (Pretoria, January 21-24, 2008).

A nuanced call for open data

Stewardship of digital research data:  principles and guidelines, a new report from the Research Information Network, January 2008.  Excerpt:

...Developments in information and communications technologies are transforming the nature and scale of research, enhancing both quality and productivity. They are facilitating new kinds of research, new organisational models, and collaboration across disciplinary, institutional and national boundaries. But they also demand new ways of thinking about how we manage data and information outputs, so that we can maximise their value, and ensure that precious resources are not lost. In pursuance of those goals, the fundamental policy objective is to ensure that

Ideas and knowledge derived from publicly-funded research should be made available and accessible for public use, interrogation, and scrutiny, as widely, rapidly and effectively as practicable....

The five principles are set out below in an order that reflects the lifecycle through which digital research data are created, used and made accessible over the long term. We believe that the principles should be adopted by universities and other research institutions, libraries and data services, publishers, research funders, as well as researchers themselves....

Principle 3: access, usage and credit

24. In order to achieve the fundamental policy objective of availability and accessibility, it is essential that

Digital research data should be easy to find, and access should be provided in an environment which maximises ease of use; provides credit for and protects the rights of those who have gathered or created data; and protects the rights of those who have legitimate interests in how data are made accessible and used.

25. The policy objective requires that the research community as a whole, and any others who have an interest in the data should have timely, user-friendly access to relevant data, and at the lowest possible cost. Free and open access, without restriction as to use, should be the default option wherever possible. But the access objective does not imply that all data should be made available immediately to all those who may have an interest in it, and some restrictions on access may be legitimate or necessary. Indeed, there is a need to balance conflicting interests and rights, where some rights – of research institutions or funders, data owners or subjects, or researchers themselves – may trump others....

New OA journal of transformative works

Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published under a CC-BY-NC license by the Organization for Transformative Works.  It just published its first call for papers.  From the site:

TWC publishes articles about popular media, fan communities, and transformative works, broadly conceived. We invite papers on all related topics, including but not limited to fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, machinima, film, TV, anime, comic books, video games, and any and all aspects of the communities of practice that surround them. TWC's aim is twofold: to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan community....

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Interview with Gavin Baker on the student campaign for OA

Newsmaker Interview: Student Open Access Activist Gavin Baker, Library Journal Academic Newswire, January 31, 2008.  Excerpt:

This week SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) announced the launch of its Right to Research campaign aimed at educating upcoming generations of students. It tapped Gavin Baker, a student activist and SPARC’s first summer intern, to help get the forward-thinking initiative off the ground. The LJ Academic Newswire caught up with Baker this week to discuss open access, technology, and the impact of faculty. Librarians, take note: your students, including your undergraduates, are paying attention.

LJAN: How did you first become involved with open access issues?

GB: I had been aware of open access, but only really connected with the issue when my undergraduate university, the University of Florida, prepared to cut $750,000 in journal subscriptions due to budgetary limitations. I had no idea that serials costs totaled three-quarters of a million dollars for one school, let alone that they could be much more than that. The realization that libraries really struggle with costs to provide access to their users ignited the urgency of open access for me.

How do you approach the subject of open access with students? Is there any real knowledge base there to work from?

Issues like open access are certainly niche issues for students, who are more accustomed to hearing about issues like the Iraq war, the environment, and the like when someone talks to them about political and social issues. But when I've talked with students who have no prior knowledge of open access, they grasp it pretty quickly. Everybody’s had the experience of finding a paper that looks relevant to their work, then discovering their library doesn’t have a subscription. Graduate students especially are cognizant of the academic publishing system and understand how the subscription-only model works against the research community. And, of course, most students today have grown up online. My generation expects access to information, and systems that don’t provide this seem foreign to us. Students are fertile soil for supporting open access. It just takes someone to plant the seed....

Do you often, or ever, find yourself educating your teachers about open access?

When I was a student, I did this a little. I think the only professor I ever asked directly about it already routinely posted his papers online even though he wasn’t necessarily knowledgeable about repositories, self-archiving, journal prices, or anything like that, he knew it was to his benefit that people be able to find his papers when they came to his web site. At other times, when talking with faculty or librarians who were knowledgeable about open access, the initial response was usually surprise that students were interested, followed by enthusiasm.

Do you find faculty open to exchanges with students on these issues, and, if so, how do you encourage that?

One issue we encountered when preparing the campaign was the influence of faculty advisers on student publishing decisions. Almost everyone I asked told me that a student working on an article, thesis, or conference presentation would be most influenced by their faculty when considering how to disseminate it. There are certainly many faculty who are very forward-thinking and knowledgeable on such subjects, but there are also many others who are used to the old system and somewhat passive about the success of open access....

Publishing FUD from the European Parliament

Today the European Parliament adopted a report on the European Research Area which includes some ruminations on OA policy.  Unfortunately the report itself isn't yet online, but here's the EP summary of the OA portion:

The House supports the Commission's approach of "open innovation" for sharing knowledge between public and private sectors. However, MEPs call for "a balanced and fair system" between open access to scientific results and use of such results by the private sector. They stress that the industry should officially recognise the rule of "a fair and equitable financial reward" for the use of public knowledge.

The Internet opens up "opportunities for experimentation with new models" (such as Open Access), says the report. Yet, MEPs stress that authors' freedom of choice and intellectual property rights need to be respected and quality peer review must be ensured. Through pilot projects impact and viability of alternative models such as Open Access should be evaluated....


  • It looks like the publishing lobby has persuaded Parliament that a strong OA policy would rob them of revenue, violate copyright, undermine peer review, and limit author freedom to publish in the journals of their choice --all arguments made and answered many times before. 
  • If the "fair and equitable financial reward" means that publishers should have a chance to generate revenue to cover their costs in facilitating peer review, I agree.  But in every funder mandate to date, that chance is assured by (1) allowing an embargo period on the OA edition, and (2) providing OA only to the author's peer-reviewed manuscript, not to the published edition.  But if it means more than this, for example, if it is code for a revenue guarantee, then it turns the fairness argument upside down.  Fairness requires public access to publicly-funded research.  While an embargo would compromise that interest, a revenue guarantee would put a private interest positively ahead of the public interest, and make access depend on the fortunes of private-sector companies that did not conduct the research, write it up, or fund it.

Update.  The report text is now online.  Scroll to p. 42 for the start of the report, and to p. 47 for the start of the part on Sharing Knowledge (points 36-41).  The full text doesn't add much to the summary, but here are the relevant passages.  Parliament...

36. Believes that investments in infrastructure, functionality and electronic cross-reference initiatives have enabled major improvements in the dissemination and use of scientific information and that the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is an example of how opportunities for experimentation with new models have been opened up by the internet; underlines the importance of respecting authors' freedom of choice and intellectual property rights (IPR), ensuring the continuation of quality peer reviews and the trusted secure preservation of refereed work, and encourages stakeholders to work together through pilot projects to evaluate the impact and viability of alternative models, such as the development of Open Access;

37. Agrees with the ‘open innovation’ concept promoted by the Commission according to which the public and private sectors become full partners and share knowledge, provided that a balanced and fair system is developed between open access to scientific results and a use of such results by the private sector (fair sharing of knowledge); believes that the rule of a fair and equitable financial reward for use of public knowledge by industry should be officially recognised;

38. Firmly believes that the legal uncertainty and high costs currently prevailing in the field of IPR contribute to the fragmentation of research efforts in Europe....

Update. For some background on this language, see my later post (March 14, 2008) on the stronger, original language.

Students can help universities adopt OA mandates

Stevan Harnad, The University's Mandate To Mandate Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, January 30, 2008. 

This is a guest posting (written at the invitation of Gavin Baker) for the new blog "Open Students: Students for Open Access to Research." Other OA activists are also encouraged to contribute to the Open Students blog.

Summary:  Open Access (OA) will not come until universities, the research-providers, make it part of their mandate not only to publish their research findings, as now, but also see to it that the few extra keystrokes it takes to make those published findings OA -- by self-archiving them in their institutional repositories, free for all online -- are done too. Students are in a position to help convince their universities to go ahead and mandate OA self-archiving, at long last....

PS:  I'm blogging the version of this post at Stevan's blog because the version at Open Students isn't up yet.

Update. The post is now up at Open Students.

Information-for-all success stories

UNESCO launches IFAP Success Stories platform, a press release from UNESCO, January 30, 2008.  Excerpt:

UNESCO’s Information for All Programme (IFAP) wishes to encourage communities using information for development to share their success stories....A project funding support of US$5,000 will be granted to up to five of the most innovative success stories, one in each UNESCO’s region.

The aim of IFAP is to promote good practices in using information for development in all parts of the world. The stories collected in this open platform will provide practical examples that we believe will inspire others and raise the visibility of the critically important role that information plays in development. The purpose of the support IFAP is providing is to help expand the reach of the most successful initiatives to other communities.

The focus is on short stories that describe how communities have benefitted from the use of information. That means that communities must have access to information first....

Repository Search now Simple Search

Intute has renamed Repository Search, Simple Search, and upgraded the site.

Access to research data in Africa

Spotlight on access to research data at conference, Computing SA, January 31, 2008.

Cost-effective access to digital data that results from publicly-funded research is one of the topics to be highlighted at an international conference.

The first African digital curation conference will be held in Pretoria from February 12 - 13.

The exchange of ideas, knowledge and data is fundamental for human progress and part of the core of values of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

"The governments of SA, China, Israel and Russia as well as of the 30 OECD countries have adopted a declaration on open access to research data resulting from public funding. According to the declaration, they asked the OECD to develop guidelines and principles for facilitating optimal access to digital research data," explains Dr Martie van Deventer, research information expert at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and chairperson of the conference organising committee....

The SA Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Mosibudi Mangena, will talk on the implications of the OECD declaration for African and South African policy on research data and information management....

The infrastructure to provide access to research data is still underdeveloped in Africa....

OA for George W. the first

The Verizon Foundation is funding the digitization and OA of 20,000 pages of George Washington's writings.  From yesterday's press release:

The Constitutional Sources Project, the only free fully-indexed online library of Constitutional sources, announced it is receiving an $80,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, to digitize approximately 20,000 [pages] of George Washington's writings. The digital collection will be accessible [starting February 13, 2008]  in raw text format and will provide public access to thousands of documents that have lain dormant and inaccessible since our nation's inception....

In conjunction with the digitization of George Washington's papers, ConSource announces the release of a public online proofreading tool to facilitate the transcription process for these precious historical documents. After documents are scanned and converted to text, a process which typically renders the text 90-95 percent accurate, anyone with Internet access who meets a few simple reading qualifications can volunteer through to proofread the transcriptions along-side the original source, improving the accuracy and legibility of the documents. After the review, the document's transcription will be given the ConSource certification seal of accuracy and placed in the ConSource Archive.

As the papers are proofread by the public, ConSource staff will add images of the original documents from all of the 300+ private and public archives housing George Washington's documents included in the project....

Last year, the Verizon Foundation committed more than $31 million to, which provides more than 55,000 educational resources, K-12 lesson plans and student interactives online for free.

Institutional repositories and copyright

Stephanie Taylor, Copyright, IPR and the Institutional Repository, a slide presentation at Queen's University Belfast, January 17, 2008.

Monitoring research systems in developing countries

Barbara Axt, UNESCO develops research monitoring tool, SciDev.Net, January 28, 2008.  Excerpt:

UNESCO is preparing a tool to help evaluate how research is generated, disseminated, received and used in developing countries.

The aim is to provide a detailed picture of research systems in low- and middle-income countries, allowing policymakers to evaluate and compare their country's research performance with others of a similar profile.... 

A template of indicators was presented at a symposium for research policy experts in Paris, France, last week (16–18 January). These should allow countries to set benchmarks for progress in building their research systems.

The template consists of nine indicators: political, economic, the educational and social context of science, history of science, policies, research and development performers, the science community, human resources, funding, research output and scientific cooperation and agreements....

The final version of the indicators will be launched in May.

Comment.  Does anyone know whether the template includes indicators of OA?  For example:  How many universities in the country have OA repositories?  How many have policies to fill them?  How many of the public funding agencies make OA dissemination of peer-reviewed manuscripts a condition of funding?  If the template does not yet include OA indicators, does anyone know how to lobby UNESCO to include them before the final version is released in May?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Max Planck Society will pay gold OA journal fees

The Max Planck Society has agreed to pay the publication fees for MPS authors when they publish in any of the 17 OA journals from Copernicus Publications.  (Thanks to Jean-Pierre Gattuso.)  From the MPS press release, January 28, 2008:

...With 17 peer-reviewed journals and 10 access-reviewed discussion forums, Copernicus Publications is the largest open access publisher in the Geo- and Earth system sciences. After the signature of similar contracts in the disciplines Physics and Bio-Medicine, the MPS is now enlarging its open access support to several other disciplines in the natural sciences....

Most of the journals of Copernicus Publications use an innovative two-stage publication process. This offers free accessibility to reviewer reports as well as comments of the scientific community alongside a discussion paper with the aim to develop the revision towards a very high quality journal article. "This contract also sends a clear signal that innovative review concepts, facilitated through open access and online tools, have the potential to enhance the effectiveness and transparency of scientific quality assurance" said [Martin Rasmussen, managing director of Copernicus Publications]....

Inventory of UK repositories

JISC released the final report of the Digital Repositories and Archives Inventory (DRAI) project, January 1, 2008.  From the executive summary:

HE institutions, education and research organisations, and research groups in the UK have created and provide access to a wide range of electronic content for use in learning, teaching and research.  Access to this content is provided through a number of different routes including web accessible digital archives, open access repositories, and web-based collections. These repositories and archives are hosted by departments, institutions, consortia, and national bodies such as research councils, learned societies and other publicly funded organisations. Some registries and services aggregate these sources of content, but there is currently no single place where these sources are listed.

There has been a clearly articulated need for a “one stop shop” for information discovery across different digital collections.  The catalogue of resources created during the Digital Repositories and Archives Inventory (DRAI) project updates and complements previous aggregation efforts and provides more specific information about the preservation of each collection (which has not been part of the scope of previous portals)....

The overall approach was focussed on interoperability with the JISC IESR [Information Environment Service Registry] and in future the DRAI data can be incorporated with the minimum of effort. The DRAI project aggregated and classified nearly 2000 records from a variety of critical existing sources and reports....The project also delivered the MySQL database data, the data in XML format, the conversion script, a document showing mapping to the JISC IESR, and full documentation for the project.

If data had been open

Cameron Neylon has tried to imagine what the last three or four decades of chemistry would have been like if researchers had routinely made their data OA.  (Thanks to Peter Murray-Rust.)

Columbia and Microsoft sign book-scanning deal

Columbia University has struck a deal with Microsoft to digitize public-domain books from the Columbia library.  From yesterday's announcement:

Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books.

Columbia University and Microsoft are partners in the Open Content Alliance, along with the Boston Library Consortium, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto among others. The alliance, which has made open access a core component of its mission, is scanning only out-of-copyright materials....

Columbia University Libraries is playing a key role in book selection and in setting quality standards for the digitized materials. Microsoft will digitize selected portions of the Libraries’ great collections of American history, literature, and humanities works, with the specific areas to be decided mutually by Microsoft and Columbia during the early phase of the project.

Microsoft will give the Library high-quality digital images of all the materials, allowing the Library to provide worldwide access through its own digital library and to share the content with non-commercial academic initiatives and non-profit organizations....

PS:  Columbia joined the Google Library Project just last month (December 13, 2007), making it one of a small but growing  number of universities to work with both Google and OCA/Microsoft. 

Also see the story on the Columbia-Microsoft deal in today's Library Journal Academic Newswire.

Reducing the cost of facilitating peer review

Martijn J. Schuemie and Jan A. Kors, Jane: Suggesting Journals, Finding Experts, Bioinformatics, January 28, 2008.

Abstract:   With an exponentially growing number of articles being published every year, scientists can use some help in determining which journal is most appropriate for publishing their results, and which other scientists can be called upon to review their work.

Jane (Journal/Author Name Estimator) is a freely available web-based application that, on the basis of a sample text (e.g., the title and abstract of a manuscript), can suggest journals and experts who have published similar articles.

Comment.  This is a nifty tool with far-reaching potential.  It will help readers find new literature on a given topic, help authors find appropriate journals for new work, and help editors find referees for new submissions.  The last function should reduce the cost of facilitating peer review, by at least a little, and thereby reduce the costs of journal publishing.  That will help both OA and TA journals.  But since, on average, OA journals operate on tighter budgets than TA journals, it will give OA journals a relatively larger bump in viability.  Currently, the Jane author/title index is limited to Medline, and therefore to biomedicine.  But over time the concept could be extended to cover all disciplines.

Elsevier's WiserWiki adopts an open license

Elsevier has officially launched the beta edition of WiserWiki, its medical wiki open for editing by board certified doctors.   From yesterday's announcement:

Elsevier, the world's leading publisher of science and health information, announced today the beta launch of WiserWiki, a wiki that allows board-certified physicians to collaboratively contribute and update medical information online. The site, which is open to and viewable by the public, is seeded with content from The Textbook of Primary Care Medicine (3rd Edition, 2001) by John Noble, M.D. The textbook was published by Mosby, an Elsevier imprint, and was one of Elsevier's best-selling medical textbooks....

WiserWiki hopes to maintain a high level of relevancy and trustworthiness by ensuring that editorial privileges remain restricted to medical professionals....

WiserWiki is free to users, and contributors retain the copyright to information they contribute to the site, subject to usage rights provided to other users on the site. In order to encourage open collaboration and the exchange of information, WiserWiki uses an "attribution share-alike" license that allows contributors to build upon other authors' works as long as they credit and license derivative works under the identical terms of its license....

"There's a lot we can test and learn from WiserWiki," said Virkler. "A majority of healthcare wikis aren't fully trusted by users, and attempts to create new wiki communities are hindered by the inability to create a critical mass of information. We're in the best position to provide a medical wiki due to our expertise in the medical content, as well as our know-how in creating valuable tools for physicians."

Comment.  See my comments on WiserWiki's first appearance last November.  Again, I commend Elsevier for this experiment with free online research.  I also commend it for adopting an open license, which addresses my chief criticism of the pre-beta edition.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Copyfraud and the public domain

Carol Ebbinghouse, 'Copyfraud' and Public Domain Works, The Searcher, January 2008 (accessible only to subscribers).  Thanks to Free Government Information for the alert and for this excerpt:

You find a PDF version of the Federalist Papers on the internet that is just what you need, but it carries a copyright date of 2001. Now that's odd, considering that the last Federalist paper was written and published in 1788. Cautious, you find an ASCII text version, but it has a copyright date of 1999. Can you download this one? Does the fact that one is an image and the other plain text make any difference? And how the heck does anything written in the 18th century end up with post-1923 copyright dates?

Can someone legitimately move public domain text into copyright? What about when you go to an archive, only to find open source and nonpublic domain titles mixed in with public domain items, but the archive seems to put restrictions on your subsequent use of everything (no copying without permission; no commercial re-use, etc.)? ...

As Jason Mazzone points out, "Copyright law suffers from a basic defect: The law's strong protections for copyrights are not balanced by explicit protections for the public domain. Accordingly, copyright law itself creates strong incentives for copyfraud. The limited penalties for copyfraud under the Copyright Act, coupled with weak enforcement … give publishers an incentive to claim ownership, however spurious, in everything. Although falsely claiming copyright is technically a criminal offense under the Act [17 U.S.C. §506(c)] prosecutions are extremely rare. Moreover, the Copyright Act provides no civil penalty for claiming copyrights in public domain materials. … [and] no federal agency is specially charged with safeguarding the public domain.

More on Microsoft's OA chemistry project

Richard Van Noorden, Microsoft ventures into open access chemistry, Chemistry World, January 29, 2008.  Excerpt:

Computational chemists have secured funding from computing giant Microsoft to showcase how chemistry can benefit from open access data sharing on the internet.

The two-year eChemistry pilot project represents 'a major test case' for proposed new protocols for sharing scholarly information over the web, said Lee Dirks, director of scholarly communications at Microsoft Research. Microsoft's support is also a boost for the small band of chemists keen to promote open access internet publishing....

Most chemical information on the web is published in closed journals and databases which guarantee high quality but also require a subscription to view. Pre-print servers, collaborative documents, open databases, video sites, online lab notebooks and blogs provide other ways of communicating research. Combining the lot offers the enticing prospect of a vast, free-to-access repository. This could transform the sharing of scientific research if the disparate data sources were machine-readable, so that a search engine could automatically gather data about a particular molecule from a crystal structure, a movie, an online lab book, and an archived article, for example.

The international standards required for this challenge are being developed by the Open Archives Initiative Object Reuse and Exchange Project (OAI-ORE), based at Cornell University, Ithaca, US. Their model protocols will be officially launched on 3 March at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.  

The eChemistry project, Dirks explained, was chosen as an exemplar to show that the new standards are actually useful to scientists....

'It will be a radical change from traditional static databases,' said Peter Murray-Rust, an eChemistry participant and computational chemist based at Cambridge University.  

Dirks would not say how much cash Microsoft is giving to support the project, but he stressed that its discoveries would not be proprietary....So far Microsoft Research has not talked to chemistry publishers about the project, Dirks said, but the company is broadly supportive of open access science.

PS:  For background, see Peter Murray-Rust's blog post on the eChemistry project from last December.

Aggregator of blogs on OERs and OA

The Open Courseware Consortium has launched OER Blogs, an aggregator of blogs devoted to open educational resources (OERs) and OA. 

Educating Minnesota faculty about copyright and OA

Amber Kispert, Libraries teach faculty authors about copyright issues, The Minnesota Daily, January 28, 2008.  Excerpt:

...University libraries are trying to educate faculty with the release of a tutorial explaining the gray areas of copyright.

Karen Williams, associate University librarian for academic programs [a the University of Minnesota], said the tutorial is part of a larger campaign started last year to educate faculty on authors' rights....

Williams and the libraries are encouraging authors to negotiate with publishers so authors can maintain some of their copyrights for the future.

"It's really restrictive on scholars if they give away all of their rights, and costly for students to gain access to them," she said.

The University offers the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition authors addendum, which is an agreement between authors and publishers for the use of material for education-related purposes....

Dr. Jagdev Sharma, of the College of Veterinary Medicine, is the editor of the journal Avian Diseases and allows his authors a lot of their copyrights....Sharma maintains the rights for first publication of a work, but all republication rights are awarded to the authors, he said....

Both Sharma and Williams see the trend of authors keeping some of their rights becoming a more common practice in the future....

"This is the future of scientific publication," he said....

Update.  Also see Minnesota's 6-minute self-playing PowerPoint presentation on author rights. 

OA textbooks for Florida schools

Meris Stansbury, Florida adopts open-content reading platform, eSchool News, January 24, 2008.  (Thanks to the Creative Commons blog.)  Excerpt:

Tired of investing in expensive textbooks and proprietary software programs, Florida education officials are looking to an open online-learning platform to teach young students basic reading skills.... is a free, sequential, research-based reading intervention program designed for students in kindergarten through first grade....

The site’s content is provided under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License....

[Co-founder and CEO Larry Burger] said he believes can help free up funding for other services that can improve teaching and learning....

Florida has adopted on its short list of K-3 supplemental reading programs....This is the first open instructional program to be approved through an official state adoption, officials said....

Berger said Florida’s decision suggests state officials understand how the current practice of K-12 education being “wedded to the traditional model of educational publishing, in which textbooks are updated and reprinted every five to seven years, and schools pay as much as $150 for a single book,” is outdated....

Primer on OA journal publishing

Jan Velterop, Open access and publishing, part (pp. 117-121) of the E-Resources Management Handbook from UKSG, January 24, 2008.  Velterop is the Open Access Director at Springer.

Abstract: Open access (OA) is attractive and desirable as a means by which to achieve the goal of improving the efficacy and efficiency of communicating scientific research results. The arguments most heard in favour of open access are, unfortunately, often not very strong or persuasive for researchers in their role of author, even though it is on them, and their funders, that the success of open access ultimately depends.Yet there is an inevitability of open access eventually becoming the norm, merely due to the technological possibilities of the Internet. Both publishers and the academic community should recognize this and create publishing models that satisfy the need for universal access in an economically viable fashion.

From the body of the chapter:

...A stronger argument for open access is that it increases the efficiency of scientific discovery. The likelihood of wasting resources and time on duplicate investigation decreases when researchers have comprehensive access to the results of earlier work. ‘Cross-fertilization’ between disciplines and specialities would also be enhanced. Hypothetically, this comprehensive access could be provided by the traditional publishing model, but it would require that every research institution in the world had access to all the relevant and potentially relevant literature. The realities of the traditional model make this impossible. There is, arguably, not a single institution in the world that has access to all the literature that is, or might be, relevant to the research carried out there.

But the strongest argument for open access is simply that it is possible, now that the Internet has reached a level of stable maturity and reliability. Add that to the benefits of OA and the case is compelling. The question is not ‘why open access?’ It is ‘why not?’...There are no technical barriers to open access, just barriers of habit....

The impact of the Internet on the environment in which scientists communicate and in which science journals are being published is enormous and fundamental. Being a geologist originally, I see an analogy here to the impact of the meteorite on the environment on Earth which precipitated the end of the era of dinosaurs. Some of them survived. Not the largest, not the strongest, but the most adaptable. They evolved into animals that include some of the most beautiful and plentiful creatures that exist now: birds. Publishers who recognize the impact of the Internet on the environment in which they work, and who are willing and able to adapt to the new environment, have a very good prospect of surviving and thriving....

In the whole process [of journal publishing] – from submission, registration, via the organization and facilitation of peer review and editorial judgement leading to a kind of official certification and a unique reference, to copy-editing and redaction, dissemination in formats suitable for consultation of the literature as well as for archiving, and embedding in the literature via inclusion in appropriate abstracting and indexing services – dissemination is just one of the many functions performed. Dissemination, however, is the one on which the economic value of a publisher is built. This is unfortunate for publishers in the new environment of the Internet, because dissemination is the one function that can now very easily and cheaply be performed by many others, including the author....

If a method could be found to attach economic value to the other functions of scholarly journal publishing...the vulnerability of complete dependence on dissemination could be lessened considerably. That is if the service of publishing could represent its value rather than the published content. The method is ‘author-side’ paid publishing and it entails asking authors for a financial contribution for performing a service to them instead of selling these authors’ content to libraries....This is commonly known as open access publishing. The ‘open access’ here is a consequence of the model. If publishing is a service to authors and is being paid by them or on their behalf, there is no need for getting income from readers, and any financial barriers to providing access disappear. Indeed, it becomes part of the service to authors to maximize the article’s visibility, and open access is an indispensable tool to achieve that....

New webometric ranking of world universities

The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities has released its January 2008 rankings. 

From the "about the ranking" page:

The original aim of the Ranking was to promote Web publication, not to rank institutions. Supporting Open Access initiatives, electronic access to scientific publications and to other academic material are our primary targets. However web indicators are very useful for ranking purposes too as they are not based on number of visits or page design but global performance and visibility of the universities....

The Web covers not only only formal (e-journals, repositories) but also informal scholarly communication....

The January 2008 edition includes "a completely new Repositories Ranking according to the webometrics criteria for classifying all the institutional and thematic repositories with an autonomous web domain or subdomain." 


  • This ranking rewards progressive OA policies rather than other strengths, and it's fascinating to see how this alters the conventional standings.  For example, under last year's rankings, Stevan Harnad pointed out that the University of Southampton was "6th in UK, 9th in Europe, and 80th among the top 3000 universities."  This year it's 5th in the UK, 13th in Europe, and 77th among the top 4000.
  • Unfortunately the link to the repositories ranking is dead at the moment, at least for me.  But I'd assume that the problem is temporary and keep trying.
  • Webometrics is an initiative of Spain's Centro Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), which earlier this month launched an OA repository and a policy to encourage grantee self-archiving.

Monday, January 28, 2008

OA portal of medical education

Vangelis G. Alexiou and Matthew E. Falagas, an open access medical education web portal, BMC Medical Education, January 24, 2008.  Abstract:  

Background:  Internet can serve in opening the door to a brand new world of high quality medical information. However, the chaotic size of data available in the WWW is often misleading. We sought to provide the world medical community with a web portal that may be used as a clearinghouse providing the outlet for dissemination of high quality WWW educational products.

Methods:  Directories of the relevant WWW resources have been compiled and others are being currently under development to cover most medical fields. A custom-built medical search engine was created. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds and video sharing services were reviewed for their quality and were presented along with case-based educational presentations through a user-friendly web portal interface. A directory of guidelines database is currently under development.

Results:  The educational portal e-meducation available [here] has been launched in December 2006 and at the moment, provides links to more than 800 educational web-pages, more than 2100 clinical practice guidelines, 32 news feeds, and 14 educational videos. The web site also hosts 40 case-based presentations and a custom medical search engine.

Conclusions:  Based on the incorporation of simple and tested educational strategies such as case based instruction and interactive learning, aims to become a prototype platform that offers a more convenient interface to existing products, resources and medical contents.

Student guide to OA to scholarship

SPARC releases new campaign for student engagement, a press release from SPARC, January 28, 2008.  Excerpt:

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) has released a new educational initiative to engage students on the topic of Open Access. "The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to scholarship" repeats SPARC's call for student voices to broaden the ongoing discussion of access to research.

The Right to Research is the anticipated product of a yearlong relationship SPARC has explored with college students. Beginning with the launch of a Day of Action for Open Access in February 2007 ­ conceived of and realized by Students for Free Culture ­ the partnership culminated with the hire of the first SPARC summer intern, Gavin Baker, and the genesis of The Right to Research campaign.

The Right to Research:

  • Helps students recognize the problem of access, saying they shouldn't have to skip over research that could be important to their papers.
  • Introduces the principle of Open Access, making a clear distinction between the principle and the ways Open Access is being realized ­through OA journals, repositories, copyright management, and policies.
  • Indicates how Open Access can make life as a student easier, advance research, widen access to those who need it, and increase visibility for student scholars.
  • Offers ways to support OA for both graduate students approaching publishing decisions and undergraduates who wish to adopt the OA cause.

"Today's students have come of age in the Internet era," Baker said. "Access to knowledge is the norm for them, rather than the exception. Students recognize how the lack of access is detrimental to research and education, and how the subscription-only model can conflict with the ethic of the academy, which is to share knowledge with everyone. I hope this guide will engage students and help them become more active participants in the campus conversation." ...

The Right to Research is a comprehensive educational initiative available for use by libraries, student organizations and governments, and anyone else interested. Tools include The Right to Research brochure, which is available for free download or to buy in print, and The Right to Research Web site, which takes the discussion a level deeper and offers tools and guidance for students to share their work, use Open Access research, take action, and show their support. The campaign also points to Open Students, a new independent blog moderated by Gavin Baker.

Text for The Right to Research campaign was developed by Gavin Baker and refined with input from undergraduate and graduate students across the U.S. For more information, visit the SPARC Web site at

PS:  Explore the richness of the Right to Research web site and check out the bibliography, timeline, brochure, blog, email list, list of OA benefits for students, and list of what students can do to support OA.

DSpace plans for India

HP to power 'knowledge society' in India, Chennai Online, January 28, 2008.

HP will power the ‘knowledge society’ in India by networking libraries in the country through its DSpace Open Source platform.

“India has a lot of knowledge and what it needs now is to have digital repositories, which make it easier for storing, managing, and accessing information...,” [said] Nick Wainwright, director of Content and Media program at HP laboratories....

Wainwright said that DSpace has applications across a wide spectrum of areas, which not only includes libraries, but also anthropology departments, museums, archaeological departments, research centers across various disciplines are users of DSpace.

“Using DSpace, information is being digitized which enables are a wider reach and also preserves the content....Digital libraries are being created for diverse communities and in different fields such as education, science, health, culture and so on. To build a digital library under economical conditions, open source software is preferable. Open access of knowledge is possible only if repositories are made online,” he informed....

“The HP DSpace foundation funds the initiatives at a global level and we are exploring ways to do it in India too. We want to continuously improve on the platform by allowing users to access and take their feedback and evolve the product based on the inputs,” he added....

Support for OA from high-energy physicists

CERN's SCOAP3 project has created a page OA endorsements from high-energy physicists. 

More on mandates, self-interest, professional responsibility, consent, and coercion

Stevan Harnad, On Open Access, Self-Interest and Coercion, Open Access Archivangelism, January 27, 2008.  Excerpt:

On Thu, 24 Jan 2008, James J. O'Donnell (JJO'D) wrote (on liblicense):

JJO'D: "...Whether to include [books] in OA "mandates" is Stevan Harnad's question, and since I regard such mandates with skepticism, that question doesn't concern me." ...
So this might be an opportune time to re-examine the basis of one's skepticism about OA mandates...
JJO'D: "I am struck by the assertion that "all authors would want OA for their articles" if certain conditions are met. That's an interesting hypothesis, but I would simply underscore that the number of authors who currently do want OA for their articles is low enough that Harnad and others recommend they be coerced to achieve the goal. That fundamental disjuncture is important to understand and is advanced by empirical work, not by thought experiments."

(1) "Coerced" is a rather shrill term! (Is every rule that is in the public interest -- smoking bans? seatbelt laws? breathalyzer tests? taxes? -- coercion? Is academia's "publish or perish" mandate "coercion"?)

(2) It is empirically incorrect to assume that the number of authors that do want OA for their articles is the same as the number who spontaneously self-archive or publish in an OA journal today:

(3) Considerable empirical work has been done on these questions: The surveys by Alma Swan and others have repeatedly shown that (a) many authors still don't know about OA, and (b) many of those who know about it agree that they would want it for their articles, but they fear (wrongly) that it might be illegal, prejudicial to their publishing in their journal of choice, or just plain (c) too complicated and time-consuming to do it.

(4) As a matter of empirical fact, (a) - (c) are all wrong.

(5) More important, the surveys have found that although most authors still do not self-archive, 95% report that they would self-archive if their institutions and/or funders mandated it -- and 81% of them report they would do so willingly.

(6) In other words, most authors regard Green OA self-archiving mandates not as coercion, but as facilitation, for doing what they would want to do, but otherwise daren't (or otherwise could not assign it the proper priority in their academic publish-or-perish obligations)....


  • First some my own past comments on mandates and coercion:
    • From July 2006:  "[T]he best rationale for an OA mandate is to get the attention of authors.  Authors control the rate of OA growth, but they're not paying attention to OA.  We can't appeal to them as a bloc because they don't act as a bloc.  It's not hard to persuade them, or even excite them, once we catch their attention, but it's very hard to catch their attention because they are so anarchical, overworked, and preoccupied.  So we have to work through the institutions that have the greatest influence on authors [namely, universities and funders]....One objection is that a mandate paternalistically coerces [authors] for their own good.  If true, this would be a serious problem for me, though perhaps not for everyone who defends mandates.  I cannot support paternalism over competent adults....Fortunately, the paternalism objection misses the target and is easily answered....First, I only support mandates that are conditions on voluntary contracts.  They might be funding contracts:  if you take our money, you'll have to provide OA to your research; if this bothers you, then don't take our money.  They might be employment contracts:  if you work here, you'll have to provide OA to your research; if this bothers you, then don't work here....Second, I only support mandates with reasonable exceptions....Third, an OA mandate [advances other interests beyond the author's].  The [author] interest is greater visibility and impact.  The university [or funder] interest is that an OA mandate will better fulfill the university [or funder] mission to share the knowledge it produces, and better assist researchers elsewhere who could benefit from this knowledge...."
    • From January 2007:  "[S]uccessful mandates rely on expectations, education, assistance, and incentives, not coercion."
    • From March 2007:  "[W]e should assess the coercive impact of a mandate by looking at the actual practices implementing it, not at what might theoretically be covered by the word."
  • Second, I'd like to quote Les Carr's wonderful take on mandates and coercion (yesterday on the AmSci OA Forum):  "No-one refers to the examinations process as "coercion" or a "mandate", it is just a part of our professional activities. Not to fulfill our duties is simply unacceptable when that's what we're paid for and so many people are depending on us. I don't think I'm making an inappropriate comparison when I say that Science, Research and Scholarship are collaborative ventures, with colleagues all over the world depending on us to provide them with some shoulders on which to stand. Being unusual, the language of mandate makes some people cry "foul", but that is perhaps because we don't have an equivalent word for "the process by which you force lecturers to attend Exam Board". An OA mandate isn't an unusual, invented and offensive concept, it is simply a realisation of our professional duty to our research colleagues."
  • For more discussion, see the ongoing thread at the AmSci OA Forum.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A P2P-based repository for digital content

Offsystem is a new P2P-based repository for digital content.  The system scrambles deposits and the download URL reassembles them.  Deposits may be OA (if you share the download URL) or private (if you don't).  From the site:

The OFFSYSTEM is the Owner Free File System....

As in any local File System, you can store and retrieve files. In the OFFSYSTEM is that done online, which means, any user having access to the internet, can store or upload and download own, foreign or public files.

All files, which you upload to the OFFSYSTEM, are [cut] into...small pieces, bits and bytes - we call them Blocks -, which are then stored by peer-to-peer-technology into the machines of other users....

So you can store as well your private files in the OFFSYSTEM, no peer will ever be able to read them....

You can imagine the OFFSYSTEM as a very big distributed hard disk: The vision of the OFFSYSTEM is to be the biggest online storage solution all over the world by a constantly growing peer-to-peer-network, supported by you and other users. Upload a file into the OFFSYSTEM in Asia, turn off the computer and download it from the OFFSYSTEM-network with another machine in America a few weeks later. The file will be still available in the OFFSYSTEM. That is the library of the future for any kind of media! And the access to the library is owned by the users, by you! - No central authority can keep you away from education or a visit in the library. The network is owner free....

Without the OFF-Url-Link, you cannot get any File out of the SYSTEM. Nor you can read any Block. That is also the reason, why any file stored in the offsystem is secure and safe and private: you can upload any private file into the OFFSYSTEM world library, and it stays private, as long as you do not give away the OFF-Url-Link, which is the key to your uploaded file....

Also see today's announcement on the official launch and Ars Technica's August 2006 article on the pre-launch edition.

More notes from APE 2008

Peter Murray-Rust has blogged some notes on the Academic Publishing in Europe conference (Berlin, January 21-23, 2008).  Excerpt:

...The second plenary was from Arne Richter: European Geosciences Union. He concentrated on the success of their OA journal - J. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics....

Points from the talk…

The internet is key and effectively drives scientific communication to Open Access. There is enormous benefit when everything is Open.  It’s the only realistic platform for digital info - full multimedia....Search engines are only possible with the Internet and support actions against plagiarism and IPR violations (OA is fundamental here).

OA supported by scientific organizations. We need worldwide repositories. These will be domain-specific, e.g. topical data bases and archives (e.g. space science)....

New models of publishing process for authors and publishers:

  • authors compile entire work in digital
  • all software free of charge
  • camera-ready[*]  -  if publishers provide macros, then it can be compiled into journal style
  • servers have customised XML files
  • upload to all archives, databases, etc.

[* PMR “camera-ready” extends easily into semantic content and I think this is the more appropriate term. The idea  is that authors author in a natural fashion, not driven by the needs of the journal.] ...

ACP uses Copernicus. The better the software gets the cheaper the artcile. => 300 EUR or less.

The EGU has shown how learned societies can have a major role. The messages I took away was then when you have an enthusiastic and competent learned society (or international union) which is committed to communication and the support of its discipline then this is the ideal medium. This was reinforced during the meeting - there seem to be significant costs in conventional closed access publishing which simply go away for OA -  one example is licence management - another is access control....

Update. Peter has blogged more notes on APE2008 (one, two).


An alpha version of DRIVER's portal of European research repositories is now online.  (Thanks to David Mattison.)  From the site:

Please note that the portal is currently at its testing phase....

Use this site to access various DRIVER products and services, such as the DRIVER Support site. Here you will find information about the project itself and its relevance to researchers, institutional and repository managers, funding agencies and others, as well as information about building repositories and activities in European countries....The DRIVER portal offers a number of features and characteristics that are ready to use and others that will become available soon. More specifically:

Features & characteristics

  • Access to public documents in a consistent and harmonized way from over 70 repositories (click here to get a full list )
  • Advanced searching capabilities
  • Use of Collections and Communities allowing virtual views on the data
  • Personalized services that allow registered users to systematically filter their searches based on their individual research interests
  • Dynamic growth of the DRIVER content by real-time repository data harvesting
  • Distributed and scalable infrastructure supporting
    1. dynamic deployment of DRIVER nodes and services
    2. integration of external services requiring minimal effort
    3. provision of existing DRIVER services to other service providers

Coming soon

  • Browsing and navigating capabilities
  • User and community related recommendation and alerting services
  • Repository managers' tools for easy registration and data quality feedback

Unanimous OA recommendations from the European University Association

On January 25, the European University Association (EUA) unanimously adopted the recommendations of its Working Group on Open Access.  (Thanks to Bernard Rentier via Stevan Harnad.)  Excerpt:

...The WG [Working Group] recommendations (below) are based upon the following core premises: the university's role and responsibility as guardian of research knowledge as a 'public good'; the results of publicly-funded research should be publicly-available as soon as possible; and quality assurance peer review processes are pre-conditions for scholarly publishing and therefore are essential to be maintained in the digital publishing mode.

It is important to emphasise that the scope of the WG recommendations cover as a priority the need for the enhancement of open access to peer-reviewed published research literature only, and not scientific research data, teaching materials etc. Issues of access to research data, its archiving and preservation need further attention from universities, funding agencies and scientific professional bodies, and are subject to several initiatives at the national and European level which are not addressed here (e.g. the Alliance for Permanent Access and European Digital Information Infrastructure).

A. Recommendations for University Leadership

1. Universities should develop institutional policies and strategies that foster the availability of their quality controlled research results for the broadest possible range of users, maximising their visibility, accessibility and scientific impact.

2. The basic approach for achieving this should be the creation of an institutional repository.  These repositories should be established and managed according to current best practices (following recommendations and guidelines from DRIVER and similar projects) complying with the OAI-PMH protocol and allowing inter-operability and future networking for wider usage.

3. University institutional policies should require that their researchers deposit (self-archive) their scientific publications in their institutional repository upon acceptance for publication. Permissible embargoes should apply only to the date of open access provision and not the date of deposit....

4. University policies should include copyright in the institutional intellectual property rights (IPR) management. It should be the responsibility of the university to inform their faculty researchers about IPR and copyright management in order to ensure the wider sharing and re-use of the digital research content they have produced. This should include a clear policy on ownership and management of copyright covering scholarly publications and define procedures for ensuring that the institution has the right to use the material produced by its staff for further research, educational and instructional purposes.

5. University institutional policies should explore also how own resources could be found for author fees if 'author pays model' of open access publishing prevails in the future in some scientific fields/domains.

B. Recommendations for National Rectors' Conferences

1. All National Rectors' Conferences should work with national research funding agencies and governments in their countries to implement the requirement for self-archiving of research publications in institutional repositories and other appropriate open access repositories according to best practice models of the ERC and existing national research funding agencies operating open access mandates. National Rectors' Conferences should encourage government to work within the framework of the Council of the European Union Conclusions on Scientific Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation" adopted at the EU Competitiveness Council meeting on 22nd-23rd November 2007.

2. National Rectors' Conferences should attach high priority to raising the awareness of university leadership to the importance of open access policies in terms of enhanced visibility, access and impact of their research results.

C. Recommendations for the European University Association

1. EUA should continue to contribute actively to the policy dialogue on Open Access at the European level with a view to a self-archiving mandate for all research results arising from EU research programme/project funding, hence in support of and building upon the ERC position and other international initiatives such as that of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)....


  • These are the strongest OA recommendations for universities I've seen to date.  Kudos especially to Lesley Wilson, Secretary General of the EUA, and Sijbolt Noorda, chair of the Working Group on Open Access.
  • Here's a digest of the most important of the recommendations.  European universities should...
  1. launch OAI-compliant institutional repositories (A2)
  2. adopt OA mandates for their research output (A3)
  3. educate faculty about copyright and encourage the removal of permission barriers at least for users in the author's institution (A4)
  4. consider paying publication fees for faculty who publish in fee-based OA journals (A5)
  5. work with public funding agencies with OA mandates to encourage deposit in institutional repositories (B1)
  6. educate university rectors about the importance of OA (B2)
  7. support OA mandates for publicly-funded research in the EU (C1)
  • The EUA represents 791 universities in 46 countries throughout Europe.  These unanimous recommendations should carry great weight with this wide range of institutions.
  • The recommendations are not EU-specific and should also carry weight with universities and university associations worldwide.  While many university associations have already made public statements in support of OA, I hope they will take note of these strong recommendations, and the strong support for them, and use this opportunity to tighten and reiterate their own support for OA and their own specific recommendations to members.
  • Note how the EUA recommendations dovetail with the recent signs that rectors and provosts are organizing (in South America, Europe, Finland, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, and the US) to promote OA mandates at universities and public funding agencies.