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University of Oxford: Strategic Plan 2008–2009 to 2012–2013, Oxford Gazette, January 30, 2008. (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
Comment. This is very promising. It's too early to say that Oxford is considering an OA mandate. But the "strategy" is to "ensure" the dissemination of the university's research output, and the draft proposal is to use the institutional repository for "selected" parts of that research output. It could be a mandate, however, and the "selected" parts could include peer-reviewed journal manuscripts. The proposal is part of a consultation, and Oxford-connected friends of OA should make their views known:
Bora Zivkovic, From the trenches of Open Access: Interview with Hemai Parthasarathy, A Blog Around The Clock, February 8, 2008. Parthasarathy was founding Managing Editor of PLoS Biology.
When, how and why did you become a believer in Open Access publishing? I find that phrase kind of odd - like being a "believer" in evolution. I'm not sure open access is something to believe in. Its just logical, inevitable... it basically falls out of thinking about scientific communication + the internet. So, I'd say I "believed" from my first exposure, which was the open signature campaign that launched the Public Library of Science (PLoS). The question of how to make it work given the legacy of the subscription-based system, was less clear when I joined PLoS, but the last five years have seen a lot of change towards that goal.
Open Access to Scientific Research—Sharing Information, Saving Lives, Open Society Institute, January 28, 2008. Excerpt:
He has now been asked to advise the Mexican government on how to make Mexico the knowledge capital of Latin America.
Stevan Harnad, New Ranking of Central and Institutional Repositories, Open Access Archivangelism, February 8, 2008. Excerpt:
The University of Melbourne's Information Futures Commission has posted a video of a presentation by Professor Michael Geist entitled Unlocking Access delivered at the university on February 5, 2008.
The case for open access publishing has become increasingly unassailable as researchers recognise the benefits of wider distribution and greater impact as well as the consequences of funder mandates. This talk will focus on another important aspect of open access - the role it can play in countering restrictive copyright laws and onerous contractual limitations on scholarly research and dissemination.
Julius B. Lucks, Publishing on OpenWetWare, Programmable Cells blog, February 7, 2008.
The Winter issue of the Journal of Electronic Publishing is devoted to Communications, Scholarly Communications and the Advanced Research Infrastructure, guest edited by Amy Friedlander. Because the issue has a common theme, I'll list all the articles, not just those explicitly addressing OA:
The free version of MK currently searches a handful of OA sources, including OAIster, the Open Content Alliance, Open Directory, Project Gutenberg, Wikipedia, and several large library catalogs. Over time it will search other sources as well.
MK is also available as a fee-based service that will search over 100 sources, including user-selected library catalogs and OA or TA databases. For a one-time fee, it will also add a source to the free version, which will then be available to all users. (The size of the fee depends on the time it takes to set up the connection or fetch and index the metadata.)
Both versions run open-source software. The difference between the two is not the software but the accompanying database of connectors to the searchable sources. For now, IndexData is selling access to its own database of connectors, and reselling WebFeat's database of 6000+ translators for use with MasterKey.
If there were a community-developed OA connector clearinghouse, IndexData would prefer to use it. While there isn't such an OA clearinghouse today, IndexData would like to develop one and talk to other organizations interested in supporting such a project.
Science and technology for development: the new paradigm of ICT, Information Economy Report 2007-2008, UN Conference on Trade and Development, February 6, 2008.
[Information and communications technology] is a general-purpose technology and as such has a pervasive impact on the economy. It introduces a new paradigm to the configuration of economic activities, changing in a radical way the approach to technology for development, because of the importance of spillover effects of ICT economic applications. ...Comment. The report doesn't use the phrase "open access" in the limited sense employed here, but the report's descriptions apply equally well to the subjects of OA to scientific research and data; therefore, so too do the report's policy prescriptions.
Jean-Gabriel Bankier and Irene Perciali, The Institutional Repository Rediscovered: What Can a University Do for Open Access Publishing?, Serials Review, in press (posted online February 6, 2008). The full text is not OA, at least so far. Abstract:
Universities have always been one of the key players in open access publishing and have encountered the particular obstacle that faces this Green model of open access, namely, disappointing author uptake. Today, the university has a unique opportunity to reinvent and to reinvigorate the model of the institutional repository. This article explores what is not working about the way we talk about repositories to authors today and how can we better meet faculty needs. More than an archive, a repository can be a showcase that allows scholars to build attractive scholarly profiles, and a platform to publish original content in emerging open-access journals.Comment. See also Stevan Harnad's comments on the piece.
The authors, B&P, note (correctly) that Institutional Repositories (IRs) did not fill spontaneously upon creation. But their article does not mention or take into account today's swelling tide of funder and university Green OA self-archiving mandates. ...
Paul Garwood, World Climate Conference-3 To Seek More Support For Improving Climate Predictions, Innovations Report, February 7, 2008.
Next year's landmark WMO World Climate Conference 3 (WCC-3) will urge the international scientific community, including governments, to do more to improve seasonal climate predictions to enable the planet to adapt to the impacts of climate variability and change, saving lives and protecting economies in the process.
From Stian's comment:
Comment. Stian is right. The Indonesian plan is very promising but it stops short. How about inexpensive print editions and free online editions?
With Archive, Virginia Tech Librarians Document Aftermath of Tragic Shootings, Library Journal Academic Newswire, February 7, 2008.
Virginia Tech librarians are working to archive artifacts documenting the outpouring of grief and support in the aftermath of the tragic April, 16, 2007, shootings that left 32 people on campus dead. Working with consultants from the Library of Congress, librarians and university staff have collected over 87,000 items expressing condolence, including 33,000 paper cranes received in one lot, said Tamara Kennelly, a university archivist and librarian who is leading the project. ...Comment. Peter blogged about the archive upon its launch.
Anne Fitzgerald and Amanda Long, A Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies, Open Access to Knowledge Law Project, version 1, February 2008. (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
Glenn Drexhage, How Information Gets to be Free, UBC Reports, February 7, 2008.
Dubbed cIRcle (circle.ubc.ca), the site is designed to help store the vast array of UBC's research output. It’s currently in pilot mode but an official launch is planned for spring 2008. ...Comment. See also Heather Morrison's comments.
Richard Poynder, Peter Murray-Rust and the data-mining robots, ComputerWeekly.com, February 5, 2008. (Thanks to Thanks to Jennifer McLennan.)
Peter Murray-Rust, a reader in molecular informatics at the University of Cambridge, has a vision. In his vision, software robots roam the network collecting scientific information, which they aggregate and process to arrive at new insights. Sometimes they make scientific discoveries.
OAKlist is a new database of information about publishing agreements and publishers' OA policies by the Open Access to Knowledge Law Project at Queensland University of Technology. From the announcement:
"OAKList is designed to enhance open access to knowledge and research innovation by making it possible to easily determine whether researchers are permitted by publishers to distribute academic publications via the internet - for example by depositing them into an online repository such as QUT E Prints," [OAK Law Project leader] Professor [Brian] Fitzgerald said.
Update (from Peter). Also see the accompanying Review and Analysis of Academic Publishing Agreements and Open Access Policies or our blogged excerpt.
OA publisher BioMed Central has released a new journal, BMC Medical Genomics. From the announcement:
BMC Medical Genomics is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of functional genomics, genome structure, genome-scale population genetics, epigenomics, proteomics, systems analysis, and pharmacogenomics in relation to human health and disease.
Comment. It looks as though Marquette has backslid on its initial plans: in the announcement that Peter blogged, the publisher named 8 journals, including the Russian Journal of Communication. That journal has in fact been released -- but only abstracts are available from Marquette, which now mentions publishing 7 free journals rather than 8.
Paul Miller, PubMed Central ready for the Semantic Web and Open Data?, Nodalities blog, February 7, 2008. A blog post discussing open data in relation to publishing and open access repositories, and promoting the Talis Platform for use by PubMed Central.
Rather than 'simply' bolt some tags, curvy-edged boxes, and other Web 2.0 frippery onto the outside of a repository, why not think more radically? Why not throw the whole thing open, leverage the power of the Semantic Web that solutions like the Talis Platform offer, and see what we can do to maximise the value of those connections between papers, people, and areas of research... rather than simply expecting people to restate them, yet again, for some half-purpose?
Ray English and Heather Joseph, The NIH mandate: An open access landmark, College & Research Libraries News, February 2008. Contains a discussion of the NIH public access policy, including its history, library community involvement, opposition, next steps and implications. See especially this paragraph on the impact of the NIH policy:
The NIH mandate should provide a strong impetus for the implementation of similar policies by other U.S. government agencies, by governments and governmental agencies in other countries, and by additional private research funders. It should also encourage further consideration of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), which was introduced into the U.S. Senate in May 2006. The mandate is a critical step in the ongoing effort to establish public access to all funded research worldwide.Comment. This seems to have been written before the NIH announced its implementation: "It is expected that the agency will create and make public an implementation plan within the first six months of 2008." In fact, the NIH made its plan public on January 11.
Bayanihan Books is a project to develop open textbooks for the Philippines, using wiki methodology and the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license. (Thanks to Creative Commons.)
Danah Boyd, open-access is the future: boycott locked-down academic journals, Apophenia, February 6, 2008. Excerpt:
Comment. I support most of Danah's suggestions, I strongly support OA journals, and I'm glad to see that her post has created good buzz in the academic blogosphere. However, her post, and nearly all the posts I've seen in response, assume that publishing in an OA journal is the only way to provide OA to a peer-reviewed research article. That's not so, and it needlessly ties the hands of researchers who want to make their own work OA. (Boyd did self-archive a 2006 preprint of her article.) Here's the comment I posted to her blog, with a few minor touch ups:
Friday is the deadline to submit letters of support for Shirley Wu's proposed Open Science session at the Pacific Symposium on Biocomputing. (Thanks to Bill Hooker.)
One thing that would really help outside of the proposal itself is to have actual letters of support. That way the organizers will know there is serious interest and commitment for a session on Open Science - it's a gamble for them, frankly, but much less of one if there is a good crowd on board.Update. The proposal was approved.
The goal of e-Math for Africa is "to coordinate the efforts to make an African consortium for e-journals and databases." It includes both OA journals and TA journals discounted for African researchers.
Science to better service the nation, Campus Review, undated but apparently today. (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
Paul F. deLespinasse, One Way to Rein In Textbook Costs: Make Them Free, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 1, 2008 (accessible only to subscribers). (Thanks to Nicole Allen.) Excerpt:
Paul deLespinasse has written four OA textbooks.
Kerim Friedman, Self-Archiving Made Easy (for Anthropologists), Open Access Anthropology blog, February 6, 2008. A poster encouraging anthropologists to self-archive their articles in the Mana'o repository.
Kevin Smith, Where does a publication contract fit in?, Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog, February 5, 2008.
...Another right that is becoming very important is the author’s right to post her work on a personal web page, in a disciplinary repository or in an institutional repository. Again, many publication agreements are allowing authors to retain this right in some form, but they often restrict what version of the article can be used or when the article can be placed in an open access database. So for this reason also, it is important to read a publication contract carefully.
Some Evidence for the Assimilation of Blogs into the Structure of Legal Literature, Law Librarian Blog, February 5, 2008. Excerpt:
John Dupuis and Leila Fernandez, A study of Canadian authorship in selected SPARC Alternative journals in the early years after their introduction, a preprint self-archived February 5, 2008.
Comment. I've also cited Kuhn in my own approach to OA. From January 2003:
(Before anyone writes to insist that students should look at the best sources, whether free or priced, I say the same thing in the original piece. I'm just editing to highlight the reference to Kuhn.)
Chris Armbruster, Access, Usage and Citation Metrics: What Function for Digital Libraries and Repositories in Research Evaluation? A preprint self-archived January 29, 2008.
The February issue of Anthropology News is devoted to OA. Anthropology News is published by American Anthropological Association (AAA), which encourages members to comment on the new AN articles through the AAA news blog. The articles:
Comment. The AAA has a history of opposing OA and disregarding the views of its members. For some background, see my short SOAN articles from July 2006, November 2006, December 2006, or my many blog posts on the subject. It looks like the February Anthropology News, and the invitation to members to comment, represent a thaw. AAA members should take advantage of the opportunity and make their views known.
The February issue of Physics Today includes four letters to the editor in response to Paul Guinnessy, Stakeholders Weigh Costs of Open-Access Publishing, Physics Today, August 2007. The article is TA, but the letters are OA. (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.) Excerpts:
From Dana Roth:
From Robert Bronsdon:
From Thomas E. Phipps Jr.:
Comments. Two quick comments on Dana Roth's letter:
Bernard Lane, NHMRC urged to refine its message, The Australian Higher Education, February 6, 2008. (Thanks to Colin Steele.) Excerpt:
Charlotte Webber has a post on the BioMed Central blog of recent news on the state of OA for developing countries. Includes news from the Berlin 5 conference, the One Laptop Per Child project, low-cost satellite Internet access, the digital divide and health care in Cuba, open science in the developing world.
United Nations University has launched an OpenCourseWare Portal. From the announcement:
Resources available in the initial phase of the UNU OpenCourseWare Portal include six courses on electronic governance, developed by the UNU International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST, Macao); five Ph.D. training courses on the economics of technical change, innovation and development, developed by the UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Centre on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT, the Netherlands); and a course on integrated water resources management developed by the UNU International Network on Water and Health (UNU-INWEH, Canada). Several more UNU system units are currently preparing course materials for inclusion in the portal later this year.
CIHR's Policy on Access to Research Outputs is Now in Effect, an announcement from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), February 4, 2008. Excerpt:
PS: See my comments from last September on the CIHR policy.
The national libraries of 8 Balkan countries and former Soviet states have joined the European Library in January. The new members, called by their collective initials FUMAGABA, are: the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Ukraine, Moldova, Albania, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Azerbaijan. The project to integrate the 8 countries is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The new members will participate in the European Library's efforts to provide free online access to the digitized contents of Europe's national libraries. The most recent issue of the European Library's newsletter has an interview with the Armenian national library's director, David Sargsyan, about joining.
The open access argument is won, says leading advocate, a podcast interview from JISC with David Prosser, Executive Director of SPARC Europe, February 4, 2008. The blurb:
Joab Jackson, EPA the Web 2.0 way, Government Computer News, February 4, 2008. An interview with Molly O'Neill, Chief Information Officer of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (Thanks to FreeGovInfo.)
Gavin Baker, Free Culture and the University: Innovation, Information Sharing, and the Future of the Academy, a presentation at Knowledge Rights and Information Sharing in the 21st Century (University of Central Florida, January 30 - February 1, 2008). Excerpt from slides:
The University of Michigan has reached the 1 million book milestone in its OA digitization program. That figure represents around 13% of the 7.5 million books in the library's collections. The books are available via the library's catalog or via Google Book Search, as part of the Michigan Digitization Project. (Thanks to the Chronicle Wired Campus blog.)
Update. Also see the article in Library Journal Academic Newswire for February 5, 2008.
Wikitravel Press, a publishing company formed by the founders of Wikitravel, has released its first print titles, travel guides for Chicago and Singapore. The guides are based on content from the Wikitravel site, which is free to access and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. (Wikitravel runs on MediaWiki, the free software developed by the Wikimedia Foundation which also powers Wikipedia.) The guides are available for sale from print-on-demand publisher Lulu. (Thanks to Creative Commons.)
Hello, Open Access News readers. I'm Gavin Baker, the new assistant editor of OAN. I'm very pleased to join Peter in maintaining this important blog, and grateful for the support of SPARC to make it possible.
My goal here is to help Peter keep up with the quickening pace of developments in OA (and to return a bit of his time to work on other things). Through it all, I hope to uphold the high standards readers have come to expect from this blog, so that OAN can continue to be a valuable resource to the OA movement.
You can read about my involvement with the OA community in the introduction Peter posted yesterday. I also invite OAN readers, especially students, to visit the new Open Students blog which I maintain. Finally, I also write a personal blog at gavinbaker.com. Readers can reach me via email at email@example.com; please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments.
I'm happy to be here, and look forward to covering the news of the OA movement for you. Thanks for having me!
The Max Planck Society (Max Planck Gesellschaft, or MPG) and Springer have struck a deal giving MPG researchers access to Springer content as readers, and pre-paid publication fees as authors when they publish in Springer's Open Choice journals. From today's announcement:
From today's blog comments by Jan Velterop, Springer's Director of Open Access:
Update. See Bernd-Christoph Kämper's supportive comments on the deal.
Update. Also see the article in Library Journal Academic Newswire for February 5, 2008.
For two or three years now, the volume of OA-related news has outstripped the time I could give to finding and blogging it, not to mention the time I needed for digesting it. I responded by narrowing my scope and working too much. Neither solution would scale with the continuing growth of OA.
Friends and colleagues suggested that I hire a blogging assistant. I always liked the idea, but I didn't have funds to pay anyone and I worried that I'd spend more time on training and supervising than I'd save. These two problems were solved back to back when SPARC agreed to pay for an assistant's time and Gavin agreed to join me. I'm very grateful to them both.
Gavin is the founder of the Open Students, the only blog about OA directed to students. He's also the force behind The Right to Research, the SPARC web site on the student campaign for OA, and the author of some first-rate blog posts (one, two, three), presentations (one, two, three), and articles on OA. When he was still a student, he co-founded the Florida chapter of Free Culture, and organized a successful campaign to get the University of Florida Student Senate to adopt a strong resolution in support of OA. It's no surprise that when SPARC honored the student campaign for OA with its Innovator Award in December 2007, it singled out five students as notable agents of change and named Gavin "The Professional". He was interviewed last week in Library Journal Academic Newswire.
Comment. This seems very right to me. Business models that would be defeated by free and easy copying are doomed. Just as a warming climate selects for warm-weather adaptations, and a cooling climate selects for cool-weather adaptations, the internet selects for business models that charge for forms of value or layers of utility that cannot easily be copied. These business models aren't just good ideas, for example, to make OA possible. They are necessities for survival. For publishers, self-interest should be the primary driver for OA.
Update. Also see Jan Velterop's comments.
Robin Peek, What’s Next Post Mandate? A preprint of her Focus on Publishing column to appear in the March issue of Information Today. The preprint will come down at the end of this month and the postprint will go up three months after publication. Excerpt: