Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Plan for OA to American Founding Fathers' papers

National Archives Creates Plan for Online Access to Founding Fathers Papers, press release, May 7, 2008.

On Tuesday, May 6, 2008, Archivist of the United States Allen Weinstein submitted a report, entitled The Founders Online, to the Committees on Appropriations of the U.S. Congress. This report is the National Archives response to concerns raised by the Committees that the complete papers of America’s Founding Fathers are not available online. The Founders Online is a plan for providing online access, within a reasonable timeframe, to researchers, students and the general public. The report is available electronically at the National Archives website.

In announcing the completion of the report, Professor Weinstein said, “We feel this plan would provide scholars and the public access to the best available versions of the complete papers; it would also protect the longstanding interests of the publishers and host organizations which along with the Federal government have invested great resources in the past four decades. Most importantly, it would build a monument to the Founders of our nation in their own words.”

The National Archives received suggestions from the editors of the papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington, university publishers, and others in crafting a blueprint for providing access to the already completed print editions and the raw materials for the editions to come. If carried out, the plan ensures that interested readers worldwide can see the work in progress with the already complete editions accompanied by transcriptions of the papers yet to be published. To hasten the transition process, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission plans to invest $250,000 as a demonstration pilot project.

The plan outlines three basic steps that remain:

  • Digitizing the existing 217 volumes and publishing the Papers on a single website to allow for research and inquiry across America’s Founding Era collections;
  • Transcribing and otherwise preparing for publishing on the web the remaining papers (approximately 90,000 documents) and replacing these raw materials with authoritative annotated versions as these are completed; and
  • Creating an independent oversight process to ensure that rigorous performance goals are established and met by the parties carrying out all aspects of the work.

Embedding multimedia with OJS

Public Knowledge Project posted a new document on May 9 on embedding video or slides in an Open Journal Systems journal.

Development begins on new release of OPUS

Jan Steinberg, Development of OPUS 4 starts July, 1st 2008, message to SPARC-OAForum mailing list, May 9, 2008.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding of a new release of the institutional repository software OPUS. The project is carried out collaboratively by Stuttgart University Library, the Library Service Center Baden-Wuerttemberg, the Cooperative Library Network Berlin-Brandenburg, Saarland University and State Library, Bielefeld University Library and Hamburg University of Technology Library. The partners closely co-operate with the State and University Library Dresden.

OPUS has been developed at Stuttgart University and is the most common software package for institutional repositories in Germany today (with more than 60 sites using it productively). Besides OAI it already provides interfaces to Online Library Catalogs, the German National Library (DNB), the national URN registry and to the print-on-demand service ProPrint.

Development in the project will enhance this integration into service oriented infrastructures for electronic publishing with special emphasis on the European DRIVER (Repositories Infrastructure Vision for European Research) and the German OA-Network developments. Furthermore it will look into the possibility of integrating or referencing primary scientific data and of connecting with current research information systems (CRIS). Technically development in the project will be based on the Zend framework.

The partners are actively involved with the work of the DINI Working Group on Electronic Publishing. All partners are committed to develop a stable new release 4.0 of the OPUS software which will be maintained and supported well beyond the project lifetime.

The project will be funded within the Division 'Scientific Library Services and Information Systems (LIS)' of the DFG for twelve months. The project starts July, 1st 2008.

Friday, May 09, 2008

OA meta-database is a database of databases. The site launched on March 5. From the site's description:

Exploring rich data is fun, but finding it, formatting it, and tagging it with metadata is drudge work barely fit for a trained chimp. And if you want to share a large dataset online, you face two troubling prospects: either a) that no one will find it, or b) that everyone will find it.

A central, community-driven repository solves these problems and presents amazing possibilities. Once we interconnect the datasets along concepts they share, instead of 100,000 datasets, there's just one. Study the physics of baseball by comparing the hourly weather during every single baseball game to game outcomes. Uncover political campaign irregularities by comparing neighborhood per-capita income, historical voter trends, and public campaign finance records. Plan real-estate decisions based on what news-and-other-media keywords rank highly in each area. Let's start building tools that make this way of thinking available to everychimp.

  • Open: No redistribution bureaucracy, no larcenous prices for government-generated data, no teaspoon-sized servings from a sumptuous buffet. Apart from prior restrictions attached by the data provider, everything produced by the project is and will remain open.
  • Descriptive: Not just numbers — fields describe the real-world concepts they embody. Why should ints and strings get all the glory? Your data should arrive knowing that it describes a 'location', or a 'money value', or a 'book', and that it has taken the form of a 'latitude-longitude pair', or '2004 US Dollars' or 'ISBN Number'.
  • Free: Free to download, free to share, free to use, free to redistribute. Just share, give credit where credit is due, and respect existing restrictions.
  • Universal: Stop parsing flat files. As infochimps like you help to convert and import well-structured files, we can bundle and serve them in universal formats like XML, YAML, JSON, and Excel- or SQL-ready CSV.
  • Verifiable: We list all contributors and sources. If you need to reach the origins - to verify information or to shower them with thanks - it's all right there.

Case study of U. Rochester IR

Brenda Collins, UR Research at the University of Rochester: an Institutional Repository case study, Massachusetts Library Association Conference Reports, May 8, 2008. Blog notes on Suzanne Bell, UR Research at the University of Rochester: an Institutional Repository case study, Massachusetts Library Association Annual Conference (May 6-9, 2008, Falmouth, Mass.).

New OA life sciences search engine

Gino D'Oca, New, free-to-access life sciences search engine, Chemistry Central Blog, May 7, 2008.

A new, free-to-access life sciences search engine has been recently made available to the general public. NextBio allows users to search over 10,000 public experimental results, 1.2 billion data points, and 16 million PubMed literature abstracts, making "massive amounts of disparate biological, clinical and chemical data from public and proprietary sources searchable, regardless of data type and origin....".

The search engine's framework, which connects heterogeneous data and textual information, was previously only provided in an "enterprise version" for life science R&D and drug development... The "enterprise accounts" differ from the free version in that they include "added data integration services, security and support". ...

Presentation on OJS

Kevin Stranack, OJS in a Nutshell - Workshop on Open Journal Systems, British Columbia Library Association Conference 2008 (April 17-19, 2008, Richmond, BC), posted May 8, 2008. Abstract:
This workshop discussed creative ways for librarians to work with faculty, graduate students or public library patrons using freely available, open source software. An overview of Open Journal Systems (OJS) online publication management software was presented with emphasis on the publishing process, peer review, editorial workflow, and website customization. Tips were provided on increasing journal visibility.

More on the Georgia State-OA connection

Raizel Liebler, The Georgia State E-reserves lawsuit: Is Fair Use Dead? Or is it the traditional publishing model?, LibraryLaw Blog, May 7, 2008. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
... [M]y post will focus more on ... the potential options libraries have at this point, and why moving towards open access might (eventually) help to solve this impasse. ...

Option 5: The most difficult option of all is to change the dynamic between libraries, authors, and publishers. This more than the other options is a dramatic overall policy shift and therefore has little to do with copyright or fair use, but rather changing the question. Here the question is “How can professor authors help to make their work available for professors and students to use in the classroom and for scholarly work?”

One means of making more information accessible is through open access ...
See also previous OAN posts on the lawsuit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.

Criticism of SSHRC policy on funding OA journals

Maximilian Forte, Social Science Research Funding in Canada: Additional Notes (3.0), Open Anthropology, May 9, 2008.

... [The Canadaian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council's] new "Aid to Open-Access Research Journals" fund ... should be something worthy of celebration among those espousing open access, independent academic publishing, except for three major problems in the way SSHRC has arbitrarily limited the scope of the journals it will consider.

  1. SSHRC insists that the majority of members of the editorial board of the journal be affiliated with a Canadian university;
  2. SSHRC insists on the model of peer review that all of the journals it funds must adhere to; and,
  3. SSHRC demands that the journals be already well established, with at least four issues published, a minimum of 250 regular readers, and proof from citation databases that articles published have had an impact. ...

With open source collaboration on the Internet there is no reason why Canadian scholars would or should cluster together rather than form invisible colleges with colleagues from across the planet ...

Secondly ... [w]hen SSHRC imposes its preferred model of peer review, this minimizes the room for academic independence, academic freedom, and the ability of scholars to create the model that they think will work best.

Thirdly, while not impossible, how does one prove the exact identity of readers to know that 250 of them are “regulars”? How do we know they are reading, and not just downloading?

Finally, citation databases that I have seen tend not to cover electronic journals, and cover only a minority of the print journals, opting instead to cover the most highly cited ones instead. ...

While SSHRC has actually funded several open access journals in Canada, for some who read these various restrictions, the sub text might be: "serious applicants need not apply."

More on California-funded stem-cell research

California has started to distribute the $3 billion it has pledged for stem-cell research.  So far, I can't find any report that the state will put an OA condition on its publicly-funded research grants.

Comment.  I mention the possibility of an OA mandate for this research because many people (including myself) have proposed one, and for a time California was seriously considering it.  I haven't heard any new developments on this front for about 16 months, but here's a short summary I wrote in September 2007:

...[T]he University of California Academic Senate urged California policy-makers to mandate OA for this research (April 2005).  The UC President supported the Academic Senate with his own letter (May 2005).  After the research-funding agencies agreed to a data-sharing policy, industry lobbyists succeeded in watering down (July 2006).  California citizens were invited to make their own case for OA directly to the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and many did so, apparently with some effect, using background materials prepared by OA advocates at the UC (September 2006).  But as far as I know, the campaign is still stalled at partial success --a story with depressing similarities to the NIH policy.  For more detail, see my blog posts on the campaign....

Text of the Ukrainian OA mandate

The text of the OA mandate the Ukraine has now been posted to ROARMAP.  This policy is more than a proposal but less than a working policy.  It was adopted by the Ukrainian Parliament in January 2007 but has not yet been implemented.  Thanks to Iryna Kuchma for the English translation.  Excerpt:

...III. National Policy on Developing Information Society in Ukraine....

4. Development of accessible for all information infrastructure...

creation of electronic archives, library and museum collection and other collections in the area of culture...

7. Facilitating creation of accessible for all electronic information resources....

creation national information resources in the area of economics, science and technology, social sciences, cultural and environmental spheres....

creation of needed technical and technological infrastructure, and electronic information recourses in archives, libraries, museums, research and education institutions mandating electronic preservation of the research outputs and open access to research outputs created with the funding from the state budget of Ukraine; ...

PS:  See my past posts on the Ukrainian mandate.

OA mandate tallies at ROARMAP

The folks at EPrints have revamped ROARMAP, the database of funder and university OA mandates.  The front page now has a very useful tally of the worldwide OA mandates in six categories:

  • Departmental mandates (today = 4)
  • Institutional mandates (18)
  • Funder mandates (22)
  • Proposed institutional mandates (1)
  • Proposed multi-institutional mandates (2)
  • Proposed funder mandates (4)

It also has two world maps, one showing OA mandates by country and the other showing OA repositories by country. 

Trieste presentations

The presentations from from the Open Access panel at the International Science Media Fair (Fiera Internazionale dell'Editoria Scientifica, Trieste, April 16-20, 2008) are now online.  (Thanks to Bora Zivkovic.)

High-energy physics as an example for other fields

Anne Gentil-Beccot and four co-authors, Information Resources in High-Energy Physics: Surveying the Present Landscape and Charting the Future Course, a preprint, deposited in arXiv April 22, 2008.  (Thanks to SymmetryBreaking.)

Abstract:   Access to previous results is of paramount importance in the scientific process. Recent progress in information management focuses on building e-infrastructures for the optimization of the research workflow, through both policy-driven and user-pulled dynamics. For decades, High-Energy Physics (HEP) has pioneered innovative solutions in the field of information management and dissemination. In light of a transforming information environment, it is important to assess the current usage of information resources by researchers and HEP provides a unique test-bed for this assessment. A survey of about 10% of practitioners in the field reveals usage trends and information needs. Community-based services, such as the pioneering arXiv and SPIRES systems, largely answer the need of the scientists, with a limited but increasing fraction of younger users relying on Google. Commercial services offered by publishers or database vendors are essentially unused in the field. The survey offers an insight into the most important features that users require to optimize their research workflow. These results inform the future evolution of information management in HEP and, as these researchers are traditionally "early adopters" of innovation in scholarly communication, can inspire developments of disciplinary repositories serving other communities.

From the body of the paper:

...In light of this fast-changing world, it is important to assess the usage by HEP researchers of HEP-specific information resources. Such a study serves two purposes: within the field, it informs on the need for such community-based resources and their real role in the present internet landscape, inspiring their future evolution; globally, it provides an in-depth case study of the impact of discipline-based information resources, as opposed to institution-based information resources or cross-cutting (commercial) information platforms. This information is particularly relevant in light of recent worldwide moves towards self-archiving of research results at the institutional or disciplinary level, and the need to effectively incorporate these resources in the research workflow....

While the various community-based systems have stronger and weaker features, users attach paramount importance to three axes of excellence: access to full-text, depth of coverage and quality of content....

The results discussed in this Article confirm the exceptional situation of the HEP community in the field of scholarly communication: decades of efforts in developing, maintaining, populating and curating community-based services enable an efficient research workflow for HEP scientists and are met by overwhelming user loyalty. Scholarly communication is at the dawn of a new era, with the onset of institutional repositories and author self-archiving of research results. In this evolving landscape, could the decades-old success story of community-based HEP information systems, and their discipline-based content aggregation, provide inspiration for scholarly communication in other fields?

South African OA journals

Sabinet has launched the beta version of its Open Access Journal Collection.  (Thanks to Pierre Malan and Jennifer A. De Beer.)  From the site:

The collection currently comprises 44 South African journals, which may be searched individually, and provides immediate access to the PDF versions of 6 000+ full-text articles. Of the journals in the collection, 14 appear on the Approved South African Journals list, the ISI list, or the IBSS [International Bibliography of the Social Sciences] list. New journal titles and issues are added to the collection on an ongoing basis.

Some journals also contain metadata records (including abstracts) for older articles where full text is not available.

Publishers who would like to make their journals available as Open Access journals, are welcome to contact us. We would also value any feedback on the Sabinet Full Open Access Journal Collection....

Thursday, May 08, 2008

April issue of Ariadne released

The April 2008 issue of Ariadne is now available. Articles related to OA:

Profile of ChemSpider in Nature News

Geoff Brumfiel, Chemists spin a web of data, Nature News, May 7, 2008.

A chemist running a computer server from his home is quietly solving one of his colleagues' biggest frustrations by providing the community with an open-access source of chemical information.

Although biologists have enormous public databases of genes and proteins, chemists usually have to pay for access to data on molecules. Chemist Antony Williams is hoping to change this in a move likely to ruffle the feathers of the American Chemical Society. Williams, a private consultant based in Wake Forest, North Carolina, has started a website called ChemSpider that has compiled data on nearly 20 million molecules in a year.

The modest project has made chemists interested in open access take notice — last week, the number of daily users of the site surpassed 5,000. ...

Chemical data have long been available, but at a hefty price. The largest supplier of such information is the American Chemical Society's Chemical Abstracts Service. The service, which is more than a century old, includes data on roughly 35 million molecules. But university and industry chemists must pay thousands of dollars to use the database. The society will not reveal numbers, but fees for using the database are thought to make up a substantial portion of its US$311-million annual income from 'electronic services'. ...

In recent years, several public sources for chemical information have appeared on the scene. The largest, PubChem, is run by the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, and contains data on some 19 million chemical structures. But PubChem's data focus on biological information, according to Williams. Other potential sources of information, such as Wikipedia, lack the algorithms needed to search chemicals according to their structure. “I noticed there was this gap,” says Williams. “So I decided to try an experiment.”

Rather than building up a database, the ChemSpider service scans open-access sources, including PubChem and Wikipedia, for chemical data. It compiles the publicly available information in a single location, and allows users to follow links to the original source material. The site is maintained with modest profits from advertising and the work of about 30 active volunteers who double-check the data pulled in from outside.

The site is not without its flaws. ...

But Williams nevertheless believes that the service may be able to compete with for-profit services. ...

See also Williams' comments on the ChemSpider blog:
... The original investment in hardware and software costs has finally been recouped. Modest profits? No one gets paid for the work we do. ...

New OA journal of e-media studies

The Journal of e-Media Studies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal on issues in electronic media, published by Dartmouth College Library. It was announced on May 7. The inaugural issue is now available.

'Amazingly complicated' restrictions at Google Book Search

Adam Hodgkin, Amazingly Complicated Viewability Restrictions, Exact Editions, May 7, 2008.

... [T]his chat at Talis's The Library 2.0 Gang had some interesting comments ... on the recently released Google Book Search Viewability API ...

There were some particularly interesting contributions from Frances Haugen, a Google Book Search Product Manager. ... I was particularly struck by her comment that the Google rules on access limitations on international viewability are 'amazingly complicated'.

Google's lawyers are being strict on the extent to which works which may not be public domain in other countries can be accessed/viewed outside the US ... The problem is not so much copyright, as the differing terms of copyrights in different jurisdictions and the penumbra of uncertainty about who has what. ...

Comment.  Lack of access outside the US to Google-scanned public-domain books has been a problem since at least 2005.  See our past blog posts on this topic (1, 2, 3).

Open Students call for contributors

Gavin Baker, Call for contributors: Write for Open Students!, Open Students, May 7, 2008.

We’re looking for guest bloggers as well regular contributors. For more information, see this page.

Important information for guest bloggers:

Open Students accepts guests posts on any aspect of Open Access. We welcome guest posts by students, faculty, librarians, administrators, publishers, and others.

Posts must be about any aspect of Open Access and must include a discussion of the topic’s relevance to students. The topic may reflect your work, research, or personal experience.

Join the conversation! To get started, contact Gavin at

More on the Harvard Law School policy

Athena Y. Jiang, Law School Adopts Open Access for Scholarship, Harvard Crimson, May 7 , 2008.  Excerpt:

Following a growing trend toward openness in academic scholarship, Harvard’s law faculty voted unanimously last Thursday to approve a policy that would make the school’s research articles free and publicly available....

In February, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences made national headlines when it passed a similar policy, while in April, the National Institute of Health required that the research it sponsors be made publicly available through its centralized research depository....

John G. Palfrey, Jr. ’94, a Law School professor who proposed the policy to the faculty, said that he expected the implementation process to go smoothly.

“It seems like there’s no reason why the University shouldn’t be sharing its scholarship, especially when the technology exists to permit that with extremely low cost,” said Palfrey, a cyberlaw expert and incoming head of the Law School Library.

The policy, optional for the moment, will become mandatory in September.

In the past, some faculty members have expressed concerns that open access to articles would adversely affect academic journals, and thus reduce opportunities for younger scholars to be published.

But [Law School Dean Elena Kagan] emphasized that the Law School faculty was united in supporting the decision.

“The view was that legal scholarship will only be enhanced by wider distribution and the potential for greater influence that comes with it,” Kagan said in an e-mailed statement....

Rising costs of academic journals have caused some university libraries to cut back on subscriptions. But Harvard University Library Director Robert C. Darnton ’60 said that there will be “no direct conflict” between open access and journal subscriptions, unless the policy were to spread much more extensively than it has so far.

Darnton has made online publishing a priority since arriving at Harvard last year from Princeton....“These two resolutions are really about openness,” Darnton said. “Our rationale is simply that of democratization of knowledge.”

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Survey of practices with museum digital collections

Francis Deblauwe, Collating online collections. Study of 13 cultural heritage collections online,, May 5, 2008.
More and more museums and other cultural heritage organizations are offering online access to their holdings. These initiatives are varied in scope, depth and target audience. They also take different approaches to copyright and open access, esp. regarding photos of art and artifacts in their care.

For this limited investigation, I selected a more or less random sample of organizations that have online collections. I collected the following information ...

There are 13 organizations in the sample ...

Even through this small survey, we can see a huge diversity in the way projects share their content. I would imagine this diversity is unavoidable because each project has specific content-sharing goals and different types of content to share and highlight. The fact that they are sharing is great. But perhaps sharing would be easier if they had some guidelines to help maximize the exposure and use of their collections. ...

How much content of research value is OA?

Lisa Spiro, How many texts have been digitized?, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, May 5, 2008.

... I worked on my dissertation between 1996 and 2002 and used electronic collections that were available at the time ... but I did most of my research in the stacks ... If I were to begin researching my dissertation now, what new possibilities would be open to me, and what problems would I face in trying to rely on digital resources?

To find out, I searched for each of the 296 items in my original bibliography in both free and subscription-based online collections ... I found that 83% of my primary source materials and 37% of my secondary source materials are now available online as full-text. By “full text,” I mean that, at minimum, you can read the work from start to finish online and search within it. ... Furthermore, 95% of all the sources listed in my bibliography have been digitized. If a work has been digitized but is not available as full-text, it’s typically a work that Google Books offers as limited preview, snippet view, or no preview because of copyright restrictions. You can still search books that are limited preview or snippet view, but you cannot retrieve more than a few pages (limited preview) or lines (snippet view). Access to 22% of the works–mostly periodicals and secondary ebooks–requires a subscription. ...

So what are the implications of my findings that most of my primary sources are available online as full text, while many of my secondary sources are, at least in a limited fashion, in a digital format and 62% of them are searchable? As Patrick Leary, Jo Guldi, and others have argued, massive digitization projects promise not only to make the research process more efficient, but also to open up new approaches to research. For example, you can discover important works that would otherwise be invisible to you, trace the use of a phrase across works, and analyze significant patterns in a corpus of texts.

Yet we should also acknowledge that not everything is available online and that research sources are scattered across multiple collections, not yet searchable through a single tool. Despite the efforts of many archives to digitize their collections, studying most archival resources still requires a trip to the archives ...

More on CCOER

Arden Pennell, 'Bookless' textbook study launched at Foothill, Palo Alto Online News, May 5, 2008.
A group of educators will meet at Foothill College this week to begin studying how to encourage widespread adoption of free online textbooks.

Funded by a $530,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources hopes to ease the burden on students who routinely pay $150 for clunky, hard-bound books, according to Judy Baker, dean of Foothill Global Access, an online-learning program.

The majority of grant money will go to the consortium's new Open Textbook Project, a collaboration with other schools and educational groups already using Web-based books to study the long-term feasibility of switching to online books, she said. The project hopes to overcome financial and practical snarls that have sidelined attempts to move learning online so far, she said. ...

This week, consortium members — including representatives from community-college districts throughout California and the nation — will meet with online-learning advocates from institutes such as Rice University's online-book database Connexions to tackle the multi-faceted project, she said.

While some books exist online now, there are several obstacles to widespread adoption the project hopes to surmount, she said. ...

It shouldn't be tough to convince professors to begin posting their documents on the Web, she said. They make little money from writing traditional textbooks versus the time they put in, particularly community-college professors, who gain less prestige from publishing than four-year-school colleagues, she said.

Yet Web-book programs have also faced money troubles — they fail to grow into a useful resource without a good financial model, she said.

The Hewlett grant requires the consortium to present a long-term financial plan next spring to show how it can stay afloat, she said.

The Monterrey Institute for Technology and Education will help create the plan, she said. ...
See also previous OAN coverage of CCOER: 1, 2.

Four Elsevier perspectives on OA

The May issue of Elsevier's Editors' Update focuses on Access and Dissemination.  Here are the OA-related articles.  (The blurb's are Elsevier's.)

New clarity on the NIH policy

NIH Updates its Public Access Policy FAQ, a summary of the updates from SPARC, May 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

The NIH has made significant revisions to its NIH Public Access Policy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page. These revisions were posted on May 2, 2008. For your reference, we have detailed the revisions – which include one blanket change, a series of added questions and answers, and some revisions –below. Please circulate to anyone who may be interested in or affected by the policy.

The changes to the FAQ do not point to any changes in the policy or implementation procedures, but rather seem designed to provide additional clarity to those tasked with compliance.

The changes include:

  • A blanket change to the use of the term “paper” rather than “article” throughout the FAQ. Presumably, this change was made in response to concerns raised by stakeholders that the term “article” could be too easily interpreted to mean “final published article,” rather than the author’s final, accepted manuscript. 

New Questions/Answers:

Section A. General Information

  • Question A4 – Provides link to sample guidelines that can be used to alert authors to the public access policy.

Section B. Scope of the Policy

  • Question B10 – Clarifies application of the policy to papers arising from NIH core labs or infrastructure funding.
  • Question B11 – Clarifies term “directly funded” by NIH.
  • Question B12 – Addresses the compliance responsibilities of sub-recipients of NIH-funding.

Section C. How to Comply with the Policy

  • Question C7 – Addresses what author should do if a PMCID number has not yet been assigned to their paper.
  • Question C8 – Addresses need for PMCID number to be cited in NIH applications, progress reports and proposals.
  • Question C9  - Clarifies how to get required PMCID number to ensure compliance with the policy.
  • Question C10 – Clarifies what NIH might do in the case of failure of investigator/institution to comply with policy.
  • Question C11 – Addresses suggested actions investigator might take if they inadvertently sign agreement with publisher whose policies do not support compliance with the NIH public access requirement.

Section D. What Needs to be Submitted

  • Question D5 – Addresses ability of investigators to deposit papers that do not arise from NIH funding into PubMed Central.

Section E. How to Submit Papers to PubMed Central

  • Question E4 – Provides suggestions for steps authors can take to cover publication costs in the event a grant has expired or has insufficient funds to cover costs.
  • Question E5 – Clarifies who should submit paper in the event of multiple authors and/or multiple funding sources. 

Section F. Policy Background

  • Question F5 – Clarifies (lack of) publisher responsibility for compliance with public access policy.
  • Question F6 – Clarifies how copyright holders can ensure effective compliance with public access policy.

Revisions to Existing Questions/Answers

  • Questions B1-B5 – Expanded to clarify exactly what type of papers/NIH funding the policy applies to.

WHO IGWG meeting concludes

Kaitlin Mara and William New, WHO IP And Health Group Concludes With Progress; Tough Issues Remain For Assembly, Intellectual Property Watch, May 6, 2008.

The article doesn't contain much news on the OA-related provisions of the plan, but it does contain a working link to the latest available draft (as of May 3). This permits comparison to the latest version available from the WHO (dated July 31, 2007). Of note is the language in element 2.4, not present in the previous version:
(2.4) Promoting greater access to knowledge and technology relevant to meet public health needs of developing countries ...

(b) promote public access to the results of government funded research, by strongly encouraging that all investigators funded by governments submit to an open access database an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts ...
See also previous coverage of the meeting.

Harvard Law School joins Harvard FAS in mandating OA

If you recall, the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted an OA mandate in February 2008 by a unanimous vote of the faculty.

Today the Harvard Law School followed suit, also by a unanimous vote of the faculty.  From the law school announcement, May 7, 2008:

In a move that will disseminate faculty research and scholarship as broadly as possible, the Harvard Law School faculty unanimously voted last week to make each faculty member’s scholarly articles available online for free, making HLS the first law school to commit to open access.

"The Harvard Law School faculty produces some of the most exciting, groundbreaking scholarship in the world," said Dean Elena Kagan '86. "Our decision to embrace 'open access' means that people everywhere can benefit from the ideas generated here at the Law School."

Under the new policy, HLS will make articles authored by faculty members available in an online repository, whose contents would be searchable and available to other services such as Google Scholar. Authors can also legally distribute the articles on their own websites, and educators here and elsewhere can freely provide the articles to students, so long as the materials are not used for profit.

"This exciting development is something in which the whole Harvard Law School community can take great pride," said John Palfrey '01, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and newly appointed vice dean of library and information resources. "The acceptance of open access ensures that our faculty's world-class scholarship is accessible today and into the future. I look forward to the work of implementing this commitment."

The vote came after an open access proposal was made by a university-wide committee aimed at encouraging wider dissemination of scholarly work. Earlier this semester, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to adopt a policy similar to the Law School’s new initiative....

Harvard's Berkman Center has a few more details:

Stuart Shieber' and leadership, along with that of Harvard library director Robert Darnton, paved the way for Berkman's own Terry Fisher and John Palfrey to bring this open access proposal to the Law School.


  • This is not only another university OA mandate, and the first for a law school, but another unanimous faculty vote for an OA mandate.  The unanimous faculty support makes a very good development positively beautiful.  As I pointed out in my article on the Harvard FAS mandate:  "The publishing lobby has often argued that the call for OA mandates is a sign that researchers oppose OA and must be coerced.  This argument always flew in the face of the evidence, but the unanimous Harvard vote should be the last nail in the coffin in which we bury the idea.  For the same reason, the Harvard vote decisively confirms Alma Swan's finding that the overwhelming majority of researchers do not resent OA mandates and would willingly comply with one from their funder or university."
  • Kudos to all involved, especially Stuart Shieber, Robert Darnton, Terry Fisher, and John Palfrey.
  • I haven't seen the policy itself yet, but I assume it's the same as the policy adopted by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (which I analyzed in detail in the March SOAN).  If there any differences, I'll report them as soon as I learn them.

Update.  The text of the motion approved by the law school faculty is now online (also on John Palfrey's blog).  It is essentially the same as the text approved by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February.  The new policy is voluntary until September 1, 2008, when it will become mandatory.

Podcast with LII and PRO

LII Director Bruce teams with Carl Malamud for podcast, LII Announce, May 5, 2008.
On May 1, [Legal Information Institute] Director Tom Bruce and open-access advocate Carl Malamud of were featured on the popular practitioner’s podcast Lawyer2Lawyer. Also included in the podcast, but recorded separately, was Andy Martens, Senior Vice President of New Product Development for Thomson West. No doubt the discussion was less lively than it might have been had all three been present simultaneously ...

No, Oregon, your laws aren't copyrighted

Cory Doctorow, Archivists to Oregon: your laws aren't copyrighted, so there!, Boing Boing, May 2, 2008.
Rogue archivist Carl Malamud sez,

Two days, go Boing Boing ran a story on the deteriorating relations in the fight to free the supposedly copyrighted laws of the great State of Oregon. Well, the situation is definitely at an impasse and June 2 has been set as the date by which this situation is either resolved or we post the full text of all 2005 and 2007 statutes.

Karl Olson of the firm Levy, Ram & Olson LLP, Attorneys, delivered the news on behalf of Justia and Public.Resource.Org when he said:

"My clients respectfully cannot agree to the Public License. First, and most fundamentally, it would require them to acknowledge that portions of the Oregon Revised Statutes (ORS) are protected by copyright, and they respectfully but vigorously disagree that portions of the ORS are protected by copyright." ...

See also our previous post on this topic.

Recycling court documents online

Erika Wayne, Recycle your PACER documents, Free Government Information, May 1, 2008.

... In the spirit of Recyclemania, I want to share an amazing project for recycling PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records] documents. The site, brought to you by Carl Malamud and the good people at Public Resource, gives everyone a chance to liberate PACER case downloads.

How do you do it? Here are the simple instructions from the site:

"Just upload all your PACER Documents to our recycling bin. Click on the recycle bin and you'll be presented with a dialogue to choose files to upload. Then, just hit the “Start Upload” button and you'll hear the sounds of progress as your documents get reinjected into the public domain.

We'll take the documents, look at them, and then put them onto for future distribution. This is a manual process and you won't see your documents show up right away. But, over time, we hope to accumulate a significant database of PACER Documents. "

Interested in helping, but you don't have the time to recycle documents onto the site? Well, lucky for you, the site also allows you contribute with Digital Offsets. The digital offsets are a tax-deductible donation to Public.Resource.Org which will then be utilized to purchase PACER Documents for the site.

Are you lucky enough to live near one of the 16 libraries with FREE access to PACER? Perhaps, you want to sign up to join the Thumb Drive Corps, who will go to these locations with a jump drive and download as many PACER documents as possible for the Pacer recycling site. ...

See also past OAN posts on PACER.

Scholar's guide to copyright now in English

How to use copyright wisely within scholarly communication, a press release from SURF, May 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

Today, SURF is launching the English version of its website about copyright in higher education, especially for scholarly communication.... This is a translation of the Dutch site that has been online since early in 2007. Since then, SURF has received numerous requests to make this information available for the many foreign scientists and scholars working at Dutch universities.

If an author transfers all of his rights exclusively to a publisher, this restricts the options for reusing the research results, for either teaching or research purposes. Doing so may also involve additional costs. Being more aware about copyright and using alternative licence models helps to optimise access to the publicly financed results of scientific and scholarly research and to reuse those results....

Also see the guide's FAQ, which includes questions on institutional repositories.  From the final section of the FAQ, Four things that authors definitely need to know:

1. When you are going to sign a contract with a publisher, you can negotiate regarding the rights that you will transfer....

2. Copyright is intended not just to protect an author’s rights but also to promote the freedom and exchange of information....

By granting a Creative Commons licence, an author can specify precisely what use he/she permits and what type of use is prohibited.

3. Did you know that thousands of open-access peer-reviewed periodicals are included in the Directory of Open Access Journals?

A lot of new publication methods have been developed in recent years, including in your own discipline. These open-access peer-reviewed periodicals have impact factors and citation figures that are comparable to those of traditional peer-reviewed periodicals. You can find more information about Open Access on the Open Access theme page.

4. It’s easy for you to contribute to this shift in scientific/scholarly publishing.

  • Check out the possibilities of Open Access. The SPARC Open Access Newsletter (SOAN) gives a clear explanation of what Open Access actually means and what the various options are....
  • Publish your articles in an open-access periodical. 
  • Read and quote from open-access periodicals and promote their use by your colleagues. 
  • Make use of open-access repositories. All the Dutch universities have set up a repository in which thousands of articles are already available. 
  • Keep track of experiments by fellow researchers and institutions. 
  • Keep track of experiments by publishers, a number of which are also engaged in various activities in this field.

New OA journal on urology

UroToday Inc. Launches a Unique "No Cost" Open Access Journal Focused on Urology and Urologic Oncology, press release, May 6, 2008.

UroToday Inc. announces the launch of the UroToday International Journal® (UIJ), a new online, peer-reviewed, fast-tracked urology and urologic oncology publication. The uniquely targeted journal focuses on the professional global urology and urologic oncology audience. UroToday Inc. strives to elevate access to education for urology and urologic oncology professionals worldwide. ...

UroToday International Journal® runs directly off of the already prominent and internationally read web platform, introduced at launch to over 55,000 professionals in urology and urologic oncology including radiation oncology.

From the inaugural Letter from the Editor, dated May 5:

... There is no charge to register, submit or publish an article in the UIJ. Additionally there are no charges for color figures. There is no other urology journal offering this unique approach to achieve peer-review publication.

UIJ reaches currently over 55,000 professionals in urology. UIJ will open for general submission of manuscripts on May 31st, 2008 for the July issue.

All manuscripts will be subject to rigorous peer-review. All accepted articles will be given Digital Object Identifier (DOI) numbers so that they can be retrieved and indexed by Pubmed as soon as the pending application from UroToday International Journal has been accepted. ...

More on OA for theses and dissertations

Kim Thomas, Don't let the grey fade away, Information World Review, May 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

Despite its distinctly unglamorous name, “grey” a hot topic in the library world....

One of the biggest success stories has been electronic theses and dissertations. The pioneer in the field is Virginia Tech University, which began making theses and dissertations available electronically in 1995.

Many higher education institutions around the world have followed suit by making the electronic deposit of PhD theses mandatory.

While students have, on the whole, been happy to deposit their theses in an electronic repository, says [John Hagen, manager of institutional repository programs and co-ordinator of the electronic thesis and dissertation programme at the University of West Virginia], there have been some issues.

“We’ve realised the political difficulties, with the tradition of publishers being reticent to publish material that had already been distributed on the web,” he says, “so it’s taken some time for us to work with faculty, graduate students and publishers to find common ground where everyone can be comfortable in providing open access to their research.”

One of the key factors in persuading people, Hagen says, has been Stevan Harnad’s research, which showed that papers made available under an open access model are cited more frequently (sometimes as much as five times more frequently) than those that are not....

Many UK universities now have institutional repositories that hold electronic theses and dissertations. But it can still be difficult to find theses on a particular topic if it means carrying out individual searches on each institutional repository.

The Electronic Theses Online Service (ETHOS) project, a partnership between the British Library and institutions of higher education, is creating a central service that, from September, will enable users to access electronic theses and dissertations held by UK institutions. Institutions can deposit them at the central portal run by the British Library; if they choose not to, users searching for a particular thesis will be redirected from the portal to the relevant institutional repository.

Neil Jacobs, programme manager at the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), which is part-funding the project, says: “Theses are digitised on demand, so if someone comes to the service and asks for a thesis from 1861, the service will go back to the relevant institutions to ask for the thesis so it can be digitised.”

Other European countries are also making theses and dissertations available electronically. The French national catalogue, Sudoc, lets users search academic repositories throughout the country. Other countries, such as Sweden, Germany and Holland, have similar catalogues, says Christiane Stock, head of monographs and grey literature at France’s Institute for Scientific and Technical Information. Most e-repositories use the open access initiative protocol for metadata harvesting (OAIPMH), which allows search engines and catalogues to pick up their metadata....

Gramophone magazine provides OA to backfile

Gramophone to launch revolutionary website, Gramophone, May 2, 2008.
Gramophone, the world’s most influential classical music magazine, ... started in 1923, today announces its commitment to a bold two stage plan.

By September every word ever printed in Gramophone will be available for free as a fully searchable online archive – that’s hundreds and thousands of reviews, articles and interviews, by far the biggest archive of its kind. ...

The new website,, will be created in two stages. The first, the creation of the archive, will live alongside this existing website from early September. The start of 2009 will then see the creation of an all-new state-of-the-art website – where downloading, internet mail order and ticket-buying services will be linked to editorial – so visitors will be able to read reviews and features, listen to music samples and then if they wish, buy CDs or book tickets to live events.

U. Michigan launches health OER project

U-M receives grant to provide free and open, online electronic health professions educational materials, press release, April 29, 2008. (Thanks to News-Medical.Net.)

The University of Michigan has launched an ambitious pilot project to make comprehensive pre-clinical health curricula available worldwide via the Internet.

The project, made possible by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, addresses the education of health care providers in developing countries in Africa and elsewhere. It also enhances the access for health science schools around the world to materials that can be used to help educate health professionals.

The U-M Medical School is leading this project and working with U-M health science schools and partner institutions in Africa – the University of Cape Town and the University of Ghana. A key part of this effort will be converting existing educational materials into Open Educational Resources, which will be available online to anyone. The Medical School and the schools of Public Health and Dentistry will provide materials for the pilot. Other U-M health science schools and the School of Information also are supporting the OER program. ...

In addition to this grant from the Hewlett Foundation, the University of Michigan, the Open Society Institute, and the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research are providing financial support for this pilot project. ...

Several top universities have undertaken OER projects, but usually at considerable expense. The U-M project is unique for its use of dScribe, a low-cost, scalable and sustainable method developed by the U-M School of Information to convert educational materials into OER. The dScribe method involves a close working relationship between students, faculty and staff to assess the quality of materials and clear the intellectual property in course materials. U-M is also developing software tools to aid the faculty in quickly choosing materials to be posted to the OER site.

Health OER will be developed for the pilot program with participation from many parts of the University of Michigan. A larger, future OER effort is expected to include educational materials beyond the health sciences as well. ...

More information can be found on the new Open Michigan Website. ...

Publishing in the social sciences and humanities

Tracey Caldwell, Slumbering giant stirs, Information World Review, May 7, 2008.  This article on journal and book publishing in the SSH fields has only a few bits on OA, but here are those bits:

Traditionally viewed as the quieter cousin of STM (science, technology and medicine), social sciences and humanities publishing has seen many changes in recent months. Journal publishers have had to face concerns about the impact of open access, and balance funding against the escalating cost of electronic and print journals in the STM sector. Meanwhile book publishers have been wrestling with the idea of books as content and coming up with new delivery models for e-books....

Open access is a major concern for some publishers in this sector. Jayne Marks, Sage vice president of global business development, says: “The significant difference between our STM and social sciences and humanities publishing is the response to opening up back archives: where the half-life for STM content is short, for social sciences and humanities the value of archive content is much higher, and there is therefore a concern for publishers of how best to approach this model.”

More on the Open Humanities Press

Jennifer Howard, New Open-Access Humanities Press Makes Its Debut, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

Scholars in the sciences have been light-years ahead of their peers in the humanities in exploring the possibilities of open-access publishing. But a new venture with prominent academic backers, the Open Humanities Press, wants to help humanists close the gap.

The nonprofit operation —described by those involved as "an international open-access publishing collective"— makes its official debut on Monday with a roster of seven already-established journals in critical and cultural studies and related fields....Each journal already publishes in an open-access format, and each will retain full editorial independence. The press will provide editorial and technical-development services, using the Open Journal Systems software created by the Public Knowledge Project, and it will help with distribution and promotion.

The press has assembled a star-studded lineup of literary critics and theorists as its editorial advisory board....

Another member is Stephen Greenblatt, professor of the humanities at Harvard University. In 2002, as president of the Modern Language Association, Mr. Greenblatt issued a rallying cry to humanists about the crisis in traditional scholarly publishing.

Humanists "need to ask ourselves where things are going in the future," said Mr. Greenblatt in an interview. "This is a responsible and serious way of thinking that through."

Peter Suber, a research professor of philosophy at Earlham College and a well-known advocate of open-access scholarship, also sits on the press's board. "It's badly needed, and it's among the first," he said of the venture. He hopes that Open Humanities will overcome the lingering perception among some humanists that open access means a shoddy product.

"Scholars in all disciplines tend to confuse online publication with the bypassing of peer review," Mr. Suber observed. "That's simply mistaken." In the humanities in particular, he said, "we're fighting the prestige of print." ...

To begin with, the press will have no operating budget and no formal staff. Internet hosting is being provided gratis by ibiblio, a sort of Internet library —or "conservancy," as they call it— based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The founders will draw on their professional networks, and those of the journals, to get things done in the near term.

Those involved with Open Humanities Press hope to expand beyond critical theory, perhaps even beyond journals and into open-access monographs, once the enterprise has a reputation for what [co-founder David Ottina] called "rigorous academic quality."

"Ultimately," he said, "the goal is to get as much academic content into an open-access distribution model as possible."

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Columbia contributes materials to Aquifer

Columbia University Libraries Contribute to Digital Library Federation's Aquifer Initiative, press release, May 1, 2008.

Columbia University Libraries recently made The Papers of John Jay, one of its unique historical digital collections, available to the Digital Library Federation’s Aquifer database, American Social History Online. The Libraries will contribute additional collections over the next few months including the Lehman Special Correspondence Series, the Greene & Greene Architectural Drawings and Photos, Notable New Yorkers, Joseph Urban Stage Design, and a series of historical monographs related to New York City.

The Papers of John Jay, featuring more than 11,000 viewable facsimiles of John Jay’s correspondence and related documents, will be a significant addition to the Aquifer American Social History Online database. The database collects together 19th and 20th century primary resources from unique historical digital collections, and includes nearly 300,000 digitized objects, including books, pamphlets, journal articles, maps, sheet music, videos, data sets, political cartoons, posters, and oral histories from over 140 American Social History research collections. ...

Aquifer is a program of the Digital Library Federation, a consortium of libraries that are pioneering the use of electronic information technologies to extend their collections and services. ...

New OA journal of emergency medicine

The Journal of Emergencies Trauma and Shock is a new OA journal published by the INDO-US Academic Council for Emergency and Trauma and Medknow. The web site was launched on April 15. According to the announcement, the journal will be published semiannually in 2008 and quarterly from 2009. Accepted articles in advance of the first issue are now available.

Two more active lists from the Open Access Directory

The Open Access Directory (OAD) just promoted two more lists from "under development" to active lists open for community editing and enlargement:

    Remember that OAD is a wiki and you can help the OA community by adding your own entries to these lists. 

    Journal of Cytology goes OA

    JOC goes online and open access, Medknow, May 2008.
    The Journal of Cytology is the official quarterly publication of the Indian Academy of Cytologists. It is in the 25th year of publication in the year 2008. The journal covers all aspects of diagnostic cytology, including fine needle aspiration cytology, gynecological and non-gynecological cytology. JoC is now available online for free access to everyone from its newly designed website. JoC accepts articles electronically and manuscripts can be submitted online. There is no fee required to be paid for submission or processing of articles.
    The January-March 2008 issue is now online.

    Dublin Institute of Technology launches IR

    Dublin Institute of Technology has launched its IR, Arrow@DIT. (Thanks to OA@UCD.)

    ChemSpider adopts CC licenses

    Antony Williams, ChemSpider Adopts Creative Commons Licenses, ChemSpider Blog, May 6, 2008.

    Over the past year ChemSpider has been challenged over the nature of our offering in terms of Open Data etc. A small number of people focused a lot of time talking about this while we remained focused on improving the website and having it available for people to use as a Free Access website. I spoke to Peter Suber about Open Access and then John Willbanks about Creative Commons.

    Since ChemSpider is the aggregate of a number of people’s work (including provision of software by collaborators) I had to get into conversation to see what licenses would be acceptable to those groups.

    With the redesign of the website we have structured ourselves in a way to add licenses as we see appropriate now. So, as of today we have added the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0 United States License and the appropriate logo is on all sections of a Record View except for the predicted properties. Once we get approval from our collaborators for this same license (and discussions are underway) then the whole record view will be Licensed. ...

    New OA journal on medical physics

    Iratxe Puebla, BMC Medical Physics - linking physicists and physicians to improve treatment and diagnosis of disease, BioMed Central Blog, May 6, 2008.

    BioMed Central is proud to announce the launch of BMC Medical Physics ...

    BMC Medical Physics continues from its predecessor, BMC Nuclear Medicine, but has broadened its scope to cover research on all aspects of radiobiology, radiation therapy, nuclear medicine, ultrasound, imaging, photomedicine and physiological measurement.

    ... BMC-series journals impose no limits on the length of article or the number of images, so medical physics researchers will be able to present full movies and high quality color images at no extra cost. ...

    Submissions to BMC Medical Physics are fully peer-reviewed and articles are published immediately on acceptance. Like all the medical journals in the BMC series, BMC Medical Physics operates an open peer review process, which means that reviewers are asked to provide signed reports for authors, and also that the reviews will be made publicly available as part of the published article's "Pre-publication history".

    BMC Medical Physicsis indexed by PubMed, CAS, and Google Scholar. Articles published by BMC Nuclear Medicine will continue to be available via the BMC Medical Physics website. ...

    More on OA for legal research

    Richard A. Danner, Applying the Access Principle in Law: The Responsibilities of the Legal Scholar, International Journal of Legal Information, vol. 35 (2007) pp. 355-395.  (Thanks to Kevin Smith.) 

    Abstract:   This article applies to legal scholarship the ideas developed and argued in John Willinsky’s 2006 book: 'The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship' regarding the responsibilities of scholars to make their works widely available through open access mechanisms via the Internet. Willinsky’s access principle states that “A commitment to the value and quality of research carries with it a responsibility to extend the circulation of such work as far as possible and ideally to all who are in interested in it and all who might profit by it.” For Willinsky, the transformation of scholarly journals from print to online formats means that not only researchers and scholars, but “scholarly societies, publishers, and research libraries have now to ask themselves whether or not they are using this new technology to do as much as they can to advance and improve access to research and scholarship.” This article considers the roles and responsibilities under the access principle of legal scholars and the institutions that support the creation and communication of legal scholarship for improving access to legal information The article begins with a presentation of Willinsky’s access principle, then introduces the movements for open access to law and to scholarship in other disciplines, addresses questions regarding access to the legal journal literature in the U.S., the U.K., and South Africa, discusses means for enabling access to legal literature through open access journals and scholarship repositories, and describes one law school’s experiences in providing open access to its own scholarship. It concludes with suggestions for law schools and law libraries wishing to pursue the implications of the access principle in their institutions.

    From the body of the paper:

    In 1998, Duke began posting new articles from its six print journals on the law school web site. The faculty task force that developed the project considered the possible effects on print subscriptions..., but concluded that the benefits of providing greater exposure for the Duke journals to scholars...would outweigh any potential reductions in income....

    After ten years of providing and promoting free access, the impacts on print subscriptions to the journals have been minimal. Table 2 shows that subscribers to the law school’s interdisciplinary quarterly, Law and Contemporary Problems, have increased since the journal has been available on the web site, while subscribers to the Duke Law Journal have decreased slightly. Most notably, perhaps, are the totals for the school’s three subject specific journals. Those journals, which concentrate on international and comparative law, environmental law, and gender law, continue to have small numbers of subscribers, but each has shown significant increases in its subscriber base since the journals were made available on the web site. In addition, royalty income received from databases that provide access to articles published in the Duke journals has remained constant....

    In addition to making the articles in its student-edited journals openly accessible, Duke is also committed to maximizing access to works written by the Duke Law faculty, whether or not they are published in a Duke journal. The law school makes new faculty works available through SSRN....

    Since December 2005, Duke Law has maintained its own faculty scholarship repository hosted on a local server using EPrints software.130 A joint project of the law library and the law school’s information technology staff, the faculty scholarship repository aims to include comprehensive holdings of the final versions of all works by current Duke faculty members, and over time to extend coverage retrospectively to cover works by everyone who has taught at Duke....

    As the Duke Law School example suggests, the possibilities for successfully promoting greater open access to legal scholarship are enhanced in the U.S. by the unique circumstances under which legal scholarship is published. The predominant publishing model, which relies on student-edited, institutionally-published journals, largely removes the interests of commercial publishers from the list of possible obstacles to open posting of papers in institutional and disciplinary repositories, or to publishing them in open access journals. Legal scholars in the U.S. feel free to post their work in the SSRN and bepress repositories, whether or not the journals that will eventually publish their articles are openly accessible or explicitly permit author postings....

    Looking forward to the Open Humanities Press

    The Open Humanities Press will launch next Monday.  From today's announcement:

    On May 12, 2008, the Open Humanities Press (OHP) will launch with 7 of the leading Open Access journals in critical and cultural theory. A non-profit, international grass-roots initiative, OHP marks a watershed in the growing embrace of Open Access in the humanities.

    “OHP is a bold and timely venture” said J. Hillis Miller, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, a long-time supporter of the Open Access movement and OHP board member. “It is designed to make peer-reviewed scholarly and critical works in a number of humanistic disciplines and cross-disciplines available free online. Initially primarily concerned with journals, OHP may ultimately also include book-length writings. This project is an admirable response to the current crisis in scholarly publishing and to the rapid shift from print media to electronic media. This shift, and OHP’s response to it, are facets of what has been called ‘critical climate change.’”

    “The future of scholarly publishing lies in Open Access” agreed Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University and fellow member of OHP’s editorial advisory board. “Scholars in the future should give careful consideration to the where they publish, since their goal should be to make the products of their research as widely available as possible, to people throughout the world. Open Humanities Press is a most welcome initiative that will help us move in this direction.” ...

    OHP’s board includes Alain Badiou, Chair of Philosophy at the École Normale Supérieure, Donna Haraway, Professor of the History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Director of the International Center for Writing and Translation, UC Irvine, Gayatri Spivak, Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, Peter Suber, Open Access Project Director for Public Knowledge and Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, and Stephen Greenblatt, Cogan University Professor of the Humanities, Harvard University, who has been leading the public debate on the crisis of academic publishing in the humanities.

    “Open-access publishing in serious, peer-reviewed online scholarly journals is one of the keys to solving a financial crisis that has afflicted university libraries everywhere and has had a chilling effect on virtually every academic discipline” said Greenblatt....

    With initial offerings in continental philosophy, cultural studies, new media, film and literary criticism, OHP serves researchers and students as the Open Access gateway for editorially-vetted scholarly literature in the humanities. The first journals to become part of OHP are Cosmos and History, Culture Machine, Fibreculture, Film-Philosophy, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Parrhesia and Vectors.

    “But it’s not simply a matter of what Open Access can do for the humanities” added Gary Hall, Professor of Media and Performing Arts at Coventry University, co-editor of Culture Machine and one of the co-founders of OHP. “It is also a case of what can the humanities do for Open Access. Researchers, editors and publishers in the humanities have developed very different professional cultures and intellectual practices to the STMs who have dominated the discussion around Open Access to date. OHP is ideally positioned to explore some of the exciting new challenges and perspectives in scholarly communication that are being opened up for Open Access as it is increasingly adopted within the humanities.”

    Free pre-publication access at C&RL

    College & Research Libraries (C&RL) is offering free online access to its accepted articles during the period after peer review and before publication.  From today's announcement:

    College & Research Libraries (C&RL), the bi-monthly scholarly journal of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), is pleased to announce the launch of an open access, pre-publication service for accepted articles. The pre-print service, which made its debut in March 2008, moved to an open access model in an effort to make timely new research articles available to a wider audience....

    "We're pleased to make these pre-print articles openly available," said ACRL Executive Director Mary Ellen Davis. "Drawing on our long-standing concerns for the health of scholarly communication, ACRL continues to experiment with our access and business models as a publisher. We encourage our members to join us in exploring open access and other strategies to ensure the future of high-quality scholarship and journals." ...

    C&RL has an acceptance rate of 30 to 40 percent [and authors] wait approximately a year for formal appearance in the print. Such long timelines are common in traditional scholarly journal publishing, but are becoming less acceptable in new digital and networked scholarly communications....

    The addition of pre-print articles makes important new writing and ideas in academic librarianship available to the public in a much timelier manner. C&RL pre-prints are fully vetted articles that are ready for publication pending only final copy editing and space in an upcoming issue. Once formally published, the pre-publication articles will be removed and the final, copy edited version of the article made available online....


    • When this program began in March 2008, free online access was limited to ACRL members.  ACRL is lifting that restriction and extending free online access to everyone.  That's a welcome change.  Note, however, that the free online access is temporary.  After C&RL publishes an article, it takes the free version offline and limits access to the published version to ACRL members.
    • Note that C&RL is talking about articles which have been peer-reviewed but not copy-edited.  Most people I know call these postprints, not preprints.  I only point this out to help OAN readers understand the new policy.  The journal is creating free online pre-publication access for peer-reviewed manuscripts.  (Most OA people use the term "preprint" to mean any version prior to peer review, such as the version the author submits to a journal, and use the term "postprint" to mean any version approved by peer review.)

    Interview with

    Jane Park, on Open Access, Open Education, and Creative Commons, Creative Commons blog, May 5, 2008. An interview with Rima Kupryte and Iryna Kuchma of (Electronic Information for Libraries).

    Byzantine studies journal re-launches as OA

    BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA launches!, announcement, April 23, 2008.

    Taking into consideration the latest developments in scientific publishing, the Institute for Byzantine Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation has reevaluated the aims of SYMMEIKTA, a journal it has published since 1966. Under the new name BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA, it has become a peer-reviewed open access journal... Its printed version will be published at the end of each year.

    By visiting the journal's website, academics and researchers in the field of Byzantine Studies can, from now on, submit articles and book reviews.

    BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA publishes original articles and book reviews in Greek, English, French, German and Italian. BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA does not require authors to waive their copyright over their articles. ...

    BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA utilizes the Open Journal Systems (OJS) as its online publication management system. OJS is an open-source platform, and one of the most frequently used journal management and publishing systems in the world. ... Based on the University of Patras' Greek translation of the platform, the National Documentation Centre adapted into Greek many commands and system messages necessary for the operation of scientific peer-reviewed electronic journals.

    The open access peer-reviewed journal BYZANTINA SYMMEIKTA is part of the project "National Information System for Research and Technology, Phase III - Open Access Electronic Repositories and Journals" which is being developed by the National Documentation Centre under the framework "Digital Greece" and is 80% co-financed by the European Union - European Regional Development Fund and 20% by the Greek Public Domain (Operational Program for IS - OPIS, 3rd CSF 2000-2006). ...

    OA as response to research bottlenecks

    Robin Cooper Feldman and Kristopher A. Nelson, Open Source, Open Access, and Open Transfer: Market Approaches to Research Bottlenecks, Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property, forthcoming, posted May 2, 2008. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
    One of the most hotly contested issues in the field of intellectual property law concerns the existence, or non-existence, of patent thickets and the extent to which any such bottlenecks may be interfering with research. ...

    Stepping back from the rhetoric a bit, this piece suggests that one can sometimes indirectly observe effects, even if one cannot directly measure the extent of a phenomenon. ...

    Open Source, Open Access, and Open Transfer indicate ways that those in the markets for scientific research have tried to develop strategies to address research bottlenecks. These approaches suggest that relevant market participants perceive impediments to their activities and are sufficiently motivated to develop avoidance behaviors.

    The implications one can draw from the observations above are quite modest. ... [O]bservations about the three open system approaches described above cannot claim that these three systems can reveal the only places in which research bottlenecks are occurring. Nevertheless, they do suggest that research bottlenecks do create significant problems, substantial enough the research community itself has tried to develop pathways to mitigate the problems.

    One could argue that the development of these pathways suggests that research bottlenecks are not a problem with which courts and legislatures should be concerned. Perhaps those in the relevant field have proven perfectly capable of adapting to any thickets or bottlenecks that occur. The solutions described above, are limited at best. They cannot cover all participants, they provide only partial solutions to the problems that they identify, and in some cases, they have met with limited success. Thus, they are more useful for confirming the existence of a problem in scientific research than they are for demonstrating the ability of those engaged in scientific research to solve the problem.

    It is particularly interesting to note that all three approaches involve coordinated efforts. In other words, evidence of coordination of efforts could suggest that the problems are intractable on an individual level. This is precisely the type of problem that would benefit from governmental efforts. ...
    Comment. The paper also contains a thorough (several page) discussion of OA, including analysis of recent events. I skipped it in the excerpt, since it's familiar to most longtime readers of OAN, but mention it here as a potential starting point for someone interested in a thorough introduction to OA.

    Libraries: It is all not all free on the web

    Nicholas Joint, It is all not all free on the web: advocacy for library funding in the digital age, Library Review 57(4), 2008. Abstract:
    Purpose – To examine the impact on library funding of budget holders' idiosyncratic understanding of three important principles of technological innovation: the more you use a technology, the less staff you need, the better the service becomes and the lower the cost of the service.

    Design/methodology/approach – An overview of issues and opinions which inform discussions between librarians and administrators engaged in decisions about budget-setting.

    Findings – There are common misunderstandings outside the library community about both the service-enhancing impacts and the costs of “free” digital library technologies and similar innovations.

    Research limitations/implications – The issues discussed are primarily practical ones of library advocacy. But their implications have a fundamental impact on the development of library services, which creates a research topic worthy of deeper consideration.

    Practical implications – This paper attempts to give practice-oriented insights to librarians engaged in discussions of financial requirements with senior administrators. The assumption is that such administrators may well lack specialist knowledge of libraries, and digital library innovations in particular.

    Originality/value – This paper points out that the LIS community's enthusiasm for innovations such as open access may have unintended negative financial consequences for their services. The open access debate should be conducted in such a way as to avoid this outcome.

    Review of OA sources on U.S. law

    Lisa Smith-Butler, Cost Effective Legal Research Redux: How to Avoid Becoming the Accidental Tourist, Lost in Cyberspace, Florida Coastal Law Review 6, 2008. A preprint; posted April 14, 2008. (Thanks to Legal Research Plus.)
    ... To assist law students with evaluating legal web sites containing primary and secondary sources of law, this article will review certain free Internet sites pertaining to primary sources of federal and state law as well as secondary sources. When using these sites with understanding, legal researchers can be said to be performing cost effective legal research and will avoid becoming an accidental tourist, lost in cyberspace. ...

    Open database for insect semiochemicals

    Gino D'Oca, Open database for insect semiochemicals, Chemistry Central Blog, May 2, 2008.

    To continue our theme of providing overviews of free-to-access chemical databases, I feel Pherobase, a interesting database of insect behaviour modifying chemicals, to be well worth a mention.

    The database, hosted by the chemical ecology group, HortResearch, New Zealand, is aimed at "convert[ing] scientific data and knowledge from the literature and publish[ing] peer-reviewed information about behavioural modifying chemicals in insects into electronically searchable database entries." ...

    The database, which has now grown to over 50,000 entries - of which 3,000 contain details on molecules - also contains mass spectral data on over 1,500 of the compounds. ...

    23 new repository case studies

    New Treasure Trove of Case Studies, Repositories Support Project, apparently posted May 2, 2008.

    As part of the Open Repositories 2008 conference, repository managers and administrators were asked to submit case histories detailing their experiences of setting up and maintaining their repositories. These have now been processed and are available on this website in the Case Studies Section.

    There are 23 case studies altogether, half of which are from the United Kingdom. ...

    40 journals join PMC in last 60 days

    Heather Morrison, 40 new PubMedCentral journals in last 60 days!, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, May 3, 2008.
    40 more journals have begun adding content to PubMedCentral in the last 60 days! To view the list, go to PMC Journal List - New.

    Of these, 22 or more than half make content available immediately! An additional 6 make content available within 12 months or less, indicating that articles published in these journals clearly fit the NIH Public Access policy. In other words, 70% of these new PMC journals clearly facilitate compliance with the NIH policy. ...

    Blog notes on Chinese scholarly journals

    Karina Bradshaw, Monday 7 April - afternoon sessions, Karina Bradshaw & Kathryn Fielding - UKSG 2008, May 2, 2008. Blog notes on Ruoxi Li, Publishing & communication of Chinese scholarly journals, United Kingdom Serials Group 2008 Annual Conference (Torquay, April 7, 2008).
    ... The Open Access archives initiative aims to open & widen access to Chinese scholarly journals and has resulted in several projects, mainly Sciencepaper online - a non-profit making institutional repository which accepts pre-prints and PaperOpen an open access search engine which collates open access papers from across the world. More than 40,000 papers have been indexed and loaded into a beta version. There will be 6 million papers indexed from July 2008. ...
    See also these earlier blog notes on the same presentation, by Nicola Osborne.

    National Cancer Institute to use Tranche to share data

    Kaitlin Thaney, National Cancer Institute to use Tranche Network to share data, Science Commons blog, May 2, 2008.

    The National Cancer Institute will soon be using Tranche to store and share mouse proteomic data from its Mouse Proteomic Technologies Initiative (MPTI). Tranche, a free and open source file sharing tool for scientific data, was one of the earliest testers of CC0. Many thanks to Tranche for providing us with such valuable early feedback on CC0.

    From GenomeWeb News:

    The MPTI collects tissue and serum measurements from mouse models of different types of cancers using analytical techniques such as mass spectrometry. Tranche researchers, along with University of Michigan researcher Philip Andrews, deposited nearly 1 terabyte of MPTI raw data into the Tranche network, where it can be shared between participating researchers.

    The dataset is now being released in publicly accessible formats as well and is available to others in the research community. Because of the encryption used on the site, data on Tranche can be privately used by labs with access to the information until it is ready to be released to the public. ...

    More on the Rockefeller UP copyright policy

    Lila Guterman, Rockefeller U. Press Gives Away Copyright on Journal Articles, Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, May 6, 2008.  Excerpt:

    It may be a first for scientific journals that are not published under an open-access philosophy: Rockefeller University Press has announced that it will allow authors to retain copyright to the papers they publish in its three journals.

    Under the new policy, instead of giving up their copyrights to the journals, authors will now provide the journals with licenses to publish their papers. The authors may reuse their work any way they like, as long as they provide attribution to the journals. Six months after publication, third parties may use and redistribute the papers under a Creative Commons license.

    The press places one thing off-limits: creating Web sites that mirror the contents of a journal within six months of its publication. The press hopes to retain subscribers because of that six-month delay.

    In the world of scientific publishing, the three [Rockefeller] journals...may be unique in that they are maintaining subscription access but are giving up copyright. Many open-access scientific journals also allow authors to keep copyright.


    • For background, see my blog post from April 30, 2008. 
    • Open question:  If Rockefeller can do this and survive, why can't all subscription-based journal publishers do this and survive?  If Rockefeller doesn't need copyright in order to publish and pay its bills, or if it can get all it needs from a license, then why do any journal publishers need copyright? 

    Monday, May 05, 2008

    List of research questions on OA Directory

    The list of research questions I published in SOAN last week (What we don't know about open access:  research questions in need of researchers) is now up on the OAD wiki for community editing and enlargement. 

    Help the OA community by adding your own entries to these lists. 

    Harvard Magazine on the Harvard OA policy

    Open Access, Harvard Magazine, May 2, 2008.  (Thanks to Garrett Eastman.)  Excerpt:

    In an historic vote, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) moved to make the articles that its members publish in scholarly journals freely available to anyone....

    The Internet has made this possible, but there is a disturbing countertrend: even as some kinds of information become more readily available (public-domain books in Harvard’s libraries, for instance, through collaborations with such projects as Google Books), other kinds of information are becoming more difficult to obtain. In particular, scholarly articles conveying the latest breakthroughs in technology, science, and medicine —the kind of information those afflicted with a rare disease might wish to access, and, as taxpayers, might even have funded— are locked up in expensive journals (an institutional subscription to Brain Research, to cite an extreme example, is more than $22,000 a year), or are otherwise not easily accessible.

    The motion considered at the FAS meeting on February 12...[and] which passed unanimously, was, in fact, an important milestone in a much larger “open access” movement that aims to make all scientific and scholarly material, particularly articles published in peer-reviewed journals, freely available over the Internet. “The goal of university research is the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge,” said University provost Steven E. Hyman in a public statement. “At Harvard, where so much of our research is of global significance, we have an essential responsibility to distribute the fruits of our scholarship as widely as possible.” ...

    “Faculty members still retain copyright to scholarly articles they write, but any transfer of copyright they make to a publisher will be subject to the nonexclusive license to Harvard, which will retain its right to distribute the article freely and openly,” explains Welch professor of computer science Stuart Shieber, chair of the provost’s committee on scholarly publishing that drafted and presented the new policy....

    Peter Suber...has described Harvard’s new policy as the first university mandate for open access by default in the United States, and the first to be adopted by a faculty, rather than implemented by administrative fiat. Harvard’s policy is a “default,” rather than a true mandate, because it includes an opt-out provision....Either way, compliance is expected to be much higher at Harvard than at institutions where OA archiving is optional, and where participation rates rarely exceed 15 percent....

    The director of MIT’s library, Anne Wolpert, calls the FAS open-access policy “bold and visionary” —a collective action that “allows Harvard to support its faculty.” Under the current system of scholarly publishing, she says, faculty members’ intellectual content is “freely donated to private ownership.”

    T&F and Caltech create OA backfile for TA society journal

    Richard C. Flagan and Kimberly Douglas, Aerosol Science and Technology: A professional society-library-publisher partnership in open access, Aerosol Science and Technology, April 2008.  (Thanks to George Porter.)  Excerpt:

    ...In recognition of its obligation to the public that has generously supported its research, the AAAR [American Association for Aerosol Research] decided that the print backfile, the papers published in print form only, should be made openly accessible to the whole world via the Internet. The present publisher of this journal [Taylor and Francis] agreed. Moreover, Taylor and Francis expressed willingness to support the retrodigitization of the print archives of the journal, and to make them freely accessible on the present journal website. But, how is this to be accomplished?

    Here enters the third partner in the collaboration to make the products of the aerosol research community available to society at large. An institution that has borne the brunt of decades of rapacious escalation of institutional subscription prices, and that seeks improvement to information access, came forth to provide a critical service. The Caltech Libraries welcomed the opportunity to participate in making the back-files of Aerosol Science and Technology freely accessible to all, with the publisher paying nominal labor costs. The Caltech Libraries have a highly skilled staff....

    [T]he full-text of the entire back-file of Aerosol Science and Technology is now available to the world. In addition, all papers published in the journal are being made available to the world via the Internet one year after initial publication....

    Call for self-archiving in Nigeria

    Consortium tasks Nigerian scholars on information, The Tide Online, May 3, 2008.  Excerpt:

    The Nigerian University Library (NULIB) consortium has called on Nigerian scholars to submit their works for inclusion into the repository for information sharing among libraries.

    The Chairman of the consortium, Prof. Doris Bozimo, made the call today at the ongoing workshop on "Institutional Repositories and Open Access" in Zaria.

    She appealed to scholars to grant necessary permission on their works to be openly accessed.

    Bozimo said the plea became necessary because more than 95 per cent of materials in Nigerian universities and research libraries were imported and have become too precious and expensive to share.

    "Research activities within Nigerian universities and research institutes suffer isolation and fragmentation resulting from the inability or unwillingness to share resources such as thesis, dissertation, journals and printed reports," she said....

    Bozimo appealed to the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and other decision makers to assist in building repositories in institutions nationwide.

    PS:  Bozimo spoke at Open Access Repositories: New Models for Scholarly Communication (Zaria, Nigeria, April 28-29, 2008).  The conference was sponsored by and Ahmadu Bello University.

    The story of an OA journal of plastic surgery

    Bob Braun, Millburn surgeon finds Rx to help less fortunate, Star Ledger, May 5, 2008.  Excerpt:

    ...In the African island nation of Mauritius, there is one plastic surgeon....That Mauritian doctor doesn't do much cosmetic surgery....He repairs faces and bodies disfigured by burns or wounds or accidents of birth.

    And he does it with the help of a Millburn [New Jersey] plastic surgeon and that doctor's temple congregation.

    "He can be overwhelmed," says Mark Granick of fellow doctor R.P. Gunnesee. "He needs all the help he can get." ...

    But what Gunnesee says he needs even more [than equipment and supplies], Granick says, is current information. Research. New surgical techniques. The sort of material found in clinical journals that are not easily available -- a year's subscription can costs thousands.

    So Granick, a professor and chief of plastic surgery at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey at Newark, did what he could do about that, too: He and two others established their own medical journal.

    A free online, open-access journal that, while publishing scholarly articles on research in plastic surgery and related fields, also provides doctors all over the world with clinical instruction on surgical techniques.

    "In many countries, this sort of information is just not available," says Granick.

    The name of the journal is ePlasty: The Open Access Journal of Plastic Surgery.

    Granick says the open-access approach of medical publishing offers a number of advantages. The articles are free to readers -- and thereby accessible to doctors working in countries where there simply is no money for journal subscriptions....

    Unlike paper journals with limited space, open-access, on-line journals have virtually unlimited space.  "So we make decisions on what is important to be published, not on what we have space for," Granick says....

    Like paper journals, ePlasty is supported by advertising from companies that sell, among other things, surgical instruments and other devices. The publication, which had its formal opening last month, so far is not self-supporting. Granick, his co-editor Stephen Milner of Johns Hopkins, and managing editor John Kucan of Southern Illinois University support the journal with their own funds.

    "We do expect it to be financially independent soon," says Granick....

    PS:  We blogged the launch of ePlasty on April 17, 2008.

    Sunday, May 04, 2008

    Looking for neutral terminology

    Stevan Harnad, The Two Forms of OA Have Been Defined: They Now Need Value-Neutral Names, Open Access Archivangelism, May 3, 2008. 

    Summary:  Our joint statement with Peter Suber noted that both price-barrier-free access and permission-barrier-free access are indeed forms of Open Access (OA) and that virtually all Green OA and much of Gold OA today is just price-barrier-free OA, although we both agree that permission-barrier-free OA is the ultimate desideratum.

    What we had not anticipated was that if price-barrier-free OA were actually named by its logical condition as "Weak OA" (i.e., the necessary condition for permission-barrier-free OA) then that would create difficulties for those who are working hard toward the universal adoption of the mandates to provide price-barrier-free OA (Green OA self-archiving mandates) that are only now beginning to grow and flourish.

    So we are looking for a shorthand or stand-in for "price-barrier-free OA" and "permission-barrier-free OA" that will convey the distinction without any pejorative connotations for either form of OA. The two forms of OA stand defined, explicitly and logically. They are now in need of value-neutral names (e.g., BASIC vs. FULL OA).


    • Stevan is right.  Last week we introduced terms ("weak" and "strong" OA) to describe an important and widely recognized distinction.  But the terms were infelicitous and we're still looking for better ones.  We're not doing this alone and are getting good input from many different perspectives. 
    • Just to recap:  the distinction is between (1) removing price barriers alone and (2) removing price barriers as well as some permission barriers.  There's no doubt that BBB OA belongs to the second family and we're not trying to revise or reclassify it.  We just want short, clear, and neutral terms for these two fundamental types.  The effort here is not to make any kind of policy recommendation, but simply to achieve new clarity in talking about different policy options.  More later--