Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, July 12, 2008

EFF calls for OA study at WIPO

The World Intellectual Property Organization's Committee on Development and Intellectual Property met in Geneva on July 7-11, 2008. Among the statements made was the following by the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
... WIPO could undertake a study of the impact of these new innovation methods to identify the impacts of standardized, low-transaction cost licensing and a survey of the various Open and Public Access policies being considered in the US, Europe, Australia, Brazil and Canada, to assist Member States to identify how the outputs of government funded research could be managed to best promote innovation in science and education. ...
See also the statement by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the coverage at IP Watch (1, 2, 3).

Update. See also the blog notes from Knowledge Ecology International.

OA and IRs in Turkey

Yaşar Tonta, Open Access and Institutional Repositories: The Turkish Landscape, in Turkish Libraries in Transition: New Opportunities and Challenges, 2008; self-archived July 10, 2008. Abstract:
The development of the “Open Access” (OA) movement since early 1990s has been radically changing the scientific communication landscape. Within the last decade more universities and research institutions are recommending their scholars to make their works freely accessible through their web sites and/or institutional repositories (IRs). The research impact of OA articles as measured by the number of citations is much higher than that of printed ones. Several universities have developed policies to mandate OA and set up IRs to guarantee public access to the output of publicly funded research projects. Refereed journal articles, conference papers, theses and dissertations, and courseware (i.e., lecture notes, audio and video records of lectures) can be given as examples of such research output. This paper defines the concepts of OA and IR and briefly reviews the current situation of IRs in Europe. It then chronicles the development of IRs in Turkey. The paper concludes with some recommendations.

Spanish overview of OA archives

Alejandra Marcela Nardi, La ciencia, un recurso público, La Voz del Interior, July 8, 2008. (Thanks to Vilma Raquel Fontana.) English abstract:
This note explains the importance and scope that holds for developing countries the movement called "Open Archives Initiative." The author mentions a project currently in the Biblioteca Manuel Belgrano de la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba (Argentina). A summary of this note was published in a newspaper widely recognized and trajectory of the city of Córdoba (Argentina), La Voz del Interior. The purpose of this communication in the newspaper is that society knows the changes that are occurring in the system of scientific communication.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Signs of the Ingelfinger rule in education

In a blog post yesterday, Gabi Reinmann laments that more and more journals in the field of education are following the Ingelfinger rule, that is, refusing to consider submissions which have been self-archived as preprints.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)  Read it in German or Google's English.

OA archiving at the U of Pittsburgh

Kimberly Barlow, Open Access: Online archives, University Times (from the University of Pittsburgh), July 10, 2008.  (Thanks to Colin Steele.)  Excerpt:

...Pitt’s [use of]... scholarly archives yields rewards in the form of more widespread dissemination of the University community’s academic work.

Graduate dissertations, for example, are archived online, and have been accessed more than a half-million times, Provost James V. Maher noted in a presentation on scholarly publishing to Faculty Assembly in April....

There’s no need for people to know that Pitt has a repository, noted University Library System [ULS] director Rush Miller, because “It’s indexed where people look.” Anyone searching on a particular topic will see the Pitt results pop up in the search.

In addition to posting dissertations online, the University hosts author self-archiving academic sites (with content contributed by the authors rather than selected by librarians) for the philosophy of science, minority health, aphasiology and European integration. Miller noted that the library’s infrastructure and technical support make it possible for various disciplines to launch and maintain such open-access repositories....

One such example is the Minority Health Archive, which Tim Deliyannides, head of the ULS Department of Information Systems, said is the first e-archive in its field. Having well-respected Pitt editors such as Stephen Thomas, who heads Pitt’s Center for Minority Health, “lends a lot of clout and credibility to the archive” and encourages contributions, Deliyannides said. The site, which aims to be the leading repository for health-related information on minority racial and ethnic groups in the United States, currently houses 779 documents....

Pitt’s first author self-archiving repository, the PhilSci Archive, houses conference proceedings and author-submitted preprints of scholarly articles in the field of philosophy of science.

Conceived in 2000, the archive — known informally in the field simply as the Pittsburgh archive — has secured its place as the worldwide clearinghouse for preprints in the discipline. The archive also is used for circulating papers in advance of conferences. Papers accepted for the Philosophy of Science Association’s conferences are posted so they can be read ahead of time — replacing a bound volume.

The archive is increasing in usage, adding 200-250 new submissions a year and logging hundreds of thousands of visits. In 2006, for instance, the site was accessed by registered users from 65 countries totaling 320,000 site visits and more than 1.2 million page views....

ULS’s Deliyannides said the University intentionally began with the strategy of subject-based archives, but the concept of an institutional archive has been on the radar here for five or six years.

“Only now are faculty at the point that they understand the need for a general-purpose repository,” he said. Awareness has been raised through recent developments such as the creation of an institutional archive at Harvard...and the National Institutes of Health’s new [OA] requirement....

“A lot of things are converging,” Deliyannides said, as ULS prepares for a September launch of Pitt’s institutional repository....

Deliyannides said the repository is intended for documents such as those that would be published in scholarly journals or professional society newsletters. The repository also could contain data files or other electronic files that support that research....

Authors would not be required to place their work into the open-access archive, but would be able to make submissions voluntarily....

Universities prefer combined OA repository and publications database

Kate Price, Results of repository/research database poll, a message to the JISC-Repositories list, July 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

I would like to thank everyone who replied to my e-mail last week....Here are the results so far.

Replies were received from 21 universities (19 in the UK, one in Australia and one in Europe)....

Key to models:

A) Operates separate open access repository and central publications databases

B) Operates a combined open access repository and central publications database - using the same input/output interface (same software used for both open access and publications database components)

B2) Operates a combined open access repository and central publications database - using the same input/output interface (different software used for open access and publications database components)

C) Operates a central open access repository and distributed publications databases

D) Has an open access repository but no publications database


  • Model A – 3 universities (one of which may move to model B in the future)
  • Model B – 13 universities (including three currently using different models, but moving to model B)
  • Model B2 – 4 universities
  • Model C – 0 universities
  • Model D – 1 university

There is a definite trend amongst the respondents towards model B, where the same software is used to host the metadata-only records to provide a complete overview of a university’s research publications, and also to host the freely available full text where this is possible (open access). The three universities which are currently in transition are all moving towards model B, two from model A and one from model B2....

Update.  In blogging the same Kate Price message, Charles Bailey adds the following:

In a related message [on the JISC-Repositories list], David Groenewegen points to the ARROW HERDC Working Group Interim Report May 2008.

Here's an excerpt from the report's "Introduction":

...As a first step the Working Group has identified and developed four potential broad models to represent the relationship between the university's research management system and the institutional repository.

The purpose of these models is to suggest possible workflows and processes, to stimulate discussion, and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each approach....

More on OA to promote conservation

Veerle Van den Eynden, Michael P. Oatham, and Winston Johnson, How free access web-based electronic resources benefit biodiversity and conservation research – Trinidad and Tobago's endemic plants and their conservation status, Oryx, July 2008.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Botanists have been urged to help assess the conservation status of all known plant species. For resource-poor and biodiversity-rich countries such assessments are scarce because of a lack of, and access to, information. However, the wide range of biodiversity and geographical resources that are now freely available on the internet, together with local herbarium data, can provide sufficient information to assess the conservation status of plants. Such resources were used to review the vascular plant species endemic to Trinidad and Tobago and to assess their conservation status. Fifty-nine species were found to be endemic, much lower than previously stated. Using the IUCN Red List criteria 18 endemic species were assessed as Critically Endangered, 16 as Endangered, 15 as Vulnerable, three as Near Threatened, and three as Data Deficient (i.e. insufficient data are available to assess their conservation status). Although such rapid assessments cannot replace in depth research, they provide essential baseline information to target research and conservation priorities and identify specific conservation actions.

Thanks to Kevin Zelnio for the alert and for blogging this excerpt inaccessible to me:

Research institutes that use information technology to catalogue and distribute information online promote the advancement of knowledge at a global scale. Using such free-access online resources, and advice offered freely by taxonomy experts, a review of the endemic vascular plant species of Trinidad and Tobago and an assessment of their conservation status was carried out in a relatively short time and without significant cost. This in turn has been made freely available online (Van den Eynden, 2006). Such rapid evaluation of conservation status cannot replace the need for in depth field-based monitoring and assessment but it provides valuable baseline information for the identification and targeting of specific conservation and research needs. The methods used can be applied by most countries for initial assessments of plant extinction risks. Lack of resources or research data is no longer an argument not to do so.

Milestone for Scientific Commons

Scientific Commons has passed the milestone of 20 million publications and 8 million authors.  (Thanks to Heather Morrison.)

Personal publication lists to motivate self-archiving

Michael Smith has blogged a testimonial to SelectedWorks from Bepress.

For me, his post is more evidence that the desire for personal publication lists (handsome, comprehensive, up to date) can motivate self-archiving.  This incentive for populating repositories isn't limited to SelectedWorks, and was taken up by PublicationsList in April 2007 and by EM-Loader in June 2008.

Update.  Charles Bailey points out that RePEC offers a related tool for creating Customized Publication Compilations.  These are not lists of one's own publications but lists of publications by selected authors or publications on a topic of interest.

More on OA for science journalism

Lisa Conti, Filtered Science, Stimulating Aliquot, July 10, 2008.  Excerpt:

I ask every science writer I meet the same question.
Trace science blog articles back to the primary literature and you'll notice a strikingly high proportion source from open access articles. This goes for many news headlines too. Especially freelance science writers are disabled when it comes to accessing journal articles....

But now that [I am not at a university]... and my password not functional, titles jump from the screen, topics may seem tantalizing --but they're just titles, topics and abstracts. Getting the article, the details of the research --or the background-- is another story.

My question to the science writers I meet: Access, how do you get it? The solutions I've come across are always disappointing. The best involve relying on open access articles and retrieving the articles directly from the author. Sure there are ways; but the once deft, gloved hands are now somewhat tied.

What's more disappointing than not having fingertip access to all the cutting edge research, is the realization that the public in turn doesn't either --the science to some degree is filtered.

PS:  See my past posts on how OA promotes science journalism, not just original research.

Why public health requires open data

Brandon Keim, Crowdsourcing the Flu Vaccine, Wired Science, July 10, 2008.  (Thanks to Glyn Moody.)  Excerpt:

A bit of data sharing and networking could prevent a repeat of last winter's catastrophic flu vaccine failure.

Selected six months before each flu season by an expert World Health Organization panel, the influenza vaccine is made from three common strains of the virus....For the last half-century, the system worked. But last season was different: By the time the vaccine went public, a real-world strain had already mutated. People who received the vaccine were no better protected than those who didn't. Influenza and pneumonia mortality in the United States reached epidemic levels and stayed there for five months.

It's unknown whether the disaster could have been averted. But according to University of Maryland bioinformaticist Steven Salzberg, it was enabled by the WHO's old-fashioned approach: The meeting was open only to select invitees, depriving them of the expertise of other virologists and geneticists. Data used to justify their decision was released only afterward, in limited form. The genomes of circulating flu strains weren't shared with the scientific community.

"I can't be sure that a more open process would have prevented the epidemic, but it's possible, maybe even likely," said Salzberg, who argued his case in a commentary published yesterday in Nature....

"I wouldn't change the people responsible for the final decision, but had the process been more open, it's possible that other voices would have spoken up and said, 'You can't leave the strain the same,'" said Salzberg. "That's how science works. The process works better when everyone gets to contribute." ...

"What if there was an open process, and there were 100 scientists trying to grow it in eggs? It's not a secret technology," said Salzberg. "Someone else might have stepped forward and said, 'I've got a good match and this one grows in eggs.'" But the WHO and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don't share up-to-date flu genome sequences. Nobody else could help.

"Sequence data is very easy to share if you're willing to share it. It's just data," said Salzberg, who cites as relevant examples the GISAID bird flu database and the Influenza Genome Sequencing Project, started by Salzberg and NIH biologist David Lipman.

"The architecture is there. It's already been scaled up. All they have to do is put the sequences in there...," he said.

From Salzberg's paper in Nature:

...The WHO and the CDC have stated publicly that they support placing sequence data in the public domain. Unfortunately, the WHO’s own centres do not release all their influenza sequences, and when they do, they often use the Los Alamos National Laboratory influenza database. This database is, as reported on its own website, “a private database for collaborators” — access is restricted to a private group of subscribers. A closed database limits the free exchange that is so important to scientific research, and it sets the wrong example....

Nature's editorial in the same issue calls for redoubled efforts to prepare for an avian flu pandemic, but doesn't comment on Salzberg's call for open data.

Related:  See my past posts on OA to avian flu data.

CC meeting and Science Commons

Slides and videos of the presentations at the Creative Commons Technology Summit (Mountain View, June 18, 2008) are now online.  The Panel on Science Commons is covered in the first YouTube video.  (Thanks to Donna Wentworth.)

Interview with Padmanabhan Balaram

K. S. Jayaraman, Open archives — the alternative to open access,, July 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

Padmanabhan Balaram, director of the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bangalore, India and editor of India's leading science journal, Current Science, tells K. S. Jayaraman why he favours 'open archives' as the way forward for scientific publishing....

What is the solution?

One proposal is open access. But I want to argue for 'open archives'.

Open access requires the publisher to make an electronic version of the paper freely available. But open archives are electronic repositories maintained by a scientist's institution that anybody in the world can access for free.

If I publish a paper in Nature, for example, it can be made freely available in my institute's repository after six months. Some journals let archived papers be made available immediately. Because of the increasing power of Internet search engines, open archives will become a valuable resource to scientists....

So what do you propose for developing country scientists?

Since the question of who pays for open access journals is unresolved, scientists should go ahead and promote open archives. The IISc already has over 10,000 articles in its institutional repository, and that will soon rise to 20,000....

I think every institution should be encouraged to set up the repository. This is a problem-free model I want to promote. There may be a few glitches at start, but the next generation of scientists will be comfortable with it.

One issue that is yet to be resolved, however, is copyright. I argue that we should be permitted to put in the repository the full text article as it appears in a journal. For this, countries such as India should have a law specifying that the copyright for articles published with publicly-funded research always vests with the authors and their institutions.


  • I fully support Balaram's recommendation for institutional repositories.  But he speaks as if OA were one thing and "open archives" were an "alternative".  But open archives deliver OA.  It's true that repositories are an alternative (or supplement) to journals, but it's not true that repositories are an alternative to OA.  It's a mistake to think that only journals can deliver bona fide OA.
  • OA archiving creates no copyright problems at the roughly two-thirds of TA journals which consent in advance to allow it.  For the remaining journals, some funder and university policies completely solve the copyright problem.  For example, both the NIH and Harvard policies require researchers (grantees and faculty, respectively) to retain the right to comply with the OA mandate, even if they transfer all other rights to a publisher.  Consequently, the OA archiving they require is authorized by the copyright holders and publishers never even acquire the rights they would need to deny permission or claim infringement.  (Also see my earlier comments on Balaram's earlier discussion of OA and copyright.)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Nature coverage of OA in developing countries

Massimo Sandal, Future of open access could be online and peer-reviewed, Nature, July 10, 2008.  A letter to the editor.  Excerpt:

Raghavendra Gadagkar (Nature 453, 450; 2008) argues that the open-access 'pay to publish and read for free' model leads to a disadvantage for scientists in developing countries. I disagree. Gadagkar correctly states: "page charges may be waived for authors who cannot afford to pay." He then adds: "a model that depends on payment by authors can afford only a few such waivers." This is not necessarily true: for example, some open-access journals provide discounts to particular institutions.

I would prefer to see what little money is available to a developing country spent on helping to publish their scientists' papers rather than financing publishing houses based in First World countries. At present, open-access publication may be hard for those in the developing world to afford, but in the long run it will be advantageous, offering them free access to educational and academic resources.

Most important, the future of open access probably does not lie in journal publishing models. The huge success of online literature databases such as arXiv, free to publish and access, is significant. Such databases currently host mostly non-peer-reviewed preprints, and so are of little value for career building. But academic organizations throughout the world could, if they wished, build an equivalent archive of peer-reviewed papers.

I also disagree with Gadagkar's view: "If I must choose between publishing or reading, I would choose to publish". No one can expect to do serious science without access to the current academic literature....


  • Sandal's letter is a reply to Gadagkar's deeply uninformed letter of May 22, 2008. Gadagkar made two false assumptions:  that all OA journals charge publication fees and that all OA is delivered by OA journals.  Sandal rebuts both assumptions, but weakly. (1) His reply to the first buys into Gadagkar's false assumption.  Instead of responding with the fact that most OA journals charge no fees at all, Sandal merely points out that some OA journals offer discounts and that the fees (at least from journals published in developing countries) are worth paying.  He is correct on both points, but needlessly allows the deeper misunderstanding to pass unchallenged.  (2) His reply to the second rightly points out the existence of OA repositories.  But he fails to point out that OA repositories charge no fees, the key fact needed to rebut Gadagkar.  And Sandal incorrectly assumes that all OA repositories are like arXiv in focusing more on preprints than postprints. 
  • This is disturbing because Nature chose to publish Sandal's reply in lieu of three other replies offering more complete rebuttals to Gadagkar's letter.  One rejected letter was by Stevan Harnad, one was by Subbiah Arunachalam, Leslie Chan, and Barbara Kirsop, and one was by me.  (My letter is based on my blog post of May 22.)  When Nature rejected our letters, Barbara Kirsop put them together and sent them to the AmSci OA Forum, where you can now read them for yourself.   
  • Gadagkar argued against the effect of publication fees on researchers in developing countries.  But Nature gave his letter the very misleading title, "Open-access more harm than good in developing world", as if OA as such rested on author-side fees.  Sandal argues that fees are often affordable or worth paying and that OA archiving is an alternative to OA journals.  But again Nature gave his letter a very misleading title, "Future of open access could be online and peer-reviewed", as if OA as such bypassed peer review, at least so far.  Leaving my own letter entirely to one side, Nature's selectivity in publishing responses to Gadagkar, and its misleading titles, suggest that it is not interested in the full story here and is not even neutral on the issue.

Update.  Also see Barbara Kirsop's comment, concluding that the Nature headlines, not OA, do more harm than good.

New OA journal on energy research and policy

Energies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of energy and "Related Scientific Research, Technology Development and Studies in Policy and Management", published by the Molecular Diversity Preservation International.  The inaugural issue is now online.

New OA press from Carnegie Mellon

ETC-Press is a new OA press from a partnership of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and  (Thanks to the Creative Commons blog.)  From the site:

ETC Press is a publishing imprint with a twist. We publish books, but we’re also interested in the participatory future of content creation across multiple media. We are an academic, open source, multimedia, publishing imprint affiliated with the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and in partnership with ETC Press has an affiliation with the Institute for the Future of the Book....ETC Press also has an agreement with the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) to place ETC Press publications in the ACM Digital Library.

ETC Press publications will focus on issues revolving around entertainment technologies as they are applied across a variety of fields. We will accept submissions and publish work in a variety of media (textual, electronic, digital, etc.). We are interested in creating projects with Sophie, and all ETC Press publications will be released under one of two Creative Commons licenses [CC-BY-ND-NC and CC-BY-NC-SA]...

ETC Press is currently in Beta and welcomes all comments and suggestions....

More details from the about page:

Every book will have an associated website open for comments, which could be considered for subsequent versions of texts. The ETC Press website allows registered users to download versions of publications, and share creative new interpretations as well as add comments to the current publications....

Hybrid OA journal boosts impact factor in 2007

The hybrid OA journal, Genome Research, boosted its impact factor significantly in 2007.  From its July 7 press release:

...[In 2007] Genome Research, published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, ...[had] an impact factor of 11.224, a considerable gain over 10.256 in 2006....

Genome Research now ranks #2 amongst primary research journals in the "Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology" category, #3 in "Genetics & Heredity," and seventh in the "Biochemistry & Molecular Biology" category....

PS:  GR's policy is to make all its articles OA after a six month moving wall and to offer an immediate OA option for a $2,000 fee. 

More OA publishers spamming researchers

Gunther Eysenbach has named Dove Medical Press and Libertas Academica (run by the same person, Tom Hill a.k.a. Tim Hill) as spammer of the month for spamming researchers to solicit articles.

Update to Bioinformatics Links Directory

M.D. Brazas and four co-authors, Keeping pace with the data: 2008 update on the Bioinformatics Links Directory, Nucleic Acids Research, July 1, 2008.  Because the article isn't yet online at the journal site, I'm linking to the abstract at PubMed.

Abstract:   The Bioinformatics Links Directory, is an online resource for public access to all of the life science research web servers published in this and previous issues of Nucleic Acids Research, together with other useful tools, databases and resources for bioinformatics and molecular biology research. Dependent on community input and development, the Bioinformatics Links Directory exemplifies an open access research tool and resource. The 2008 update includes the 94 web servers featured in the July 2008 Web Server issue of Nucleic Acids Research, bringing the total number of servers listed in the Bioinformatics Links Directory to over 1200 links. A complete list of all links listed in this Nucleic Acids Research 2008 Web Server issue can be accessed online [here]. The 2008 update of the Bioinformatics Links Directory, which includes the Web Server list and summaries, is also available online at the Nucleic Acids Research website.

Update.  The article is now online and OA at the journal site.  (Thanks to Francis Ouellette.)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

OA book publishing in Australia

Colin Steele, We must e-publish or perish, The Australian, July 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

...Many university presses in recent years have moved into trade publications, aimed at widening their audience and increasing their revenue stream. University presses found themselves in a quandary. On the one hand, they had a foundation brief to publish original and often esoteric scholarship, but on the other, they needed to achieve financial viability. They were between an academic publishing rock and a financial hard place....

The 21st century may be one in which university press publishing goes "back to the future", in that institutions again assume responsibility for access to and distribution of institutional scholarship, scholarship that combines authority with public accessibility within digital frameworks....

California eScholarship is now one of the success stories in the distribution of institutional scholarship. This repository is part of the California Digital Library initiative. Research and scholarly output included is selected and deposited by the individual University of California units.

In one week late last month the website recorded 17,199 full-text downloads of repository content, while to date there have been a remarkable 6,587,012 full-text downloads....

The blunt fact is that the vast majority of students will never see their theses published in monographic form and they would be far better advised placing them in the various institutional and nationally linked digital theses programs....

The Australian National University and the University of Sydney have moved into the e press and eScholarship arenas, with electronic access being the main provision, supplemented by print copies through print-on-demand.

The aim of the E Press is to distribute ANU research globally....

ANU E Press complete pdf and html downloads from January to November 2007 totalled 1.16 million....

New prices for Elsevier hybrid journals reflect rate of author uptake

Charles Bailey, Elsevier Says Its 2009 Journal Price Increases Average Six Percent or Less, DigitalKoans, July 8, 2008.

Elsevier has made public a letter to librarians stating that it is targeting "a global average list price increase of not more than six percent" for its journals in 2009. It notes that "the 2008 average list price increase across all STM publishers was 8.70% in Europe and 10.10% in the U.S."

Elsevier is taking author publication fees into account for pricing a subset of its journals: "For individual journals, we are realigning prices to reflect a number of factors, including differences in the number of articles made available, quality, and usage, as well as new factors such as Sponsored Articles." (The Sponsored Articles program allows authors publishing articles in over 40 journals to pay a $3,000 fee to make them open access.) ...

Gold OA publisher now green too

Scientific Journals International has turned green.  (Thanks to Richard Poynder.)  From the SJI front page:

SJI allows authors to deposit their post-prints in open-access archives or repositories.

All SJI journals, current and forthcoming, are OA.

NPG's conditions for IR deposits are met

Stevan Harnad, Batch Deposits in Institutional Repositories (the SWORD protocol), Open Access Archivangelism, July 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

In the context of Nature's just-announced offer to do proxy deposits for its authors, Peter Suber has asked Les Carr of EPrints to comment on whether the software has the capability of downloading and uploading deposits automatically, in batch mode, rather than just singly, with the keystrokes done by hand.

Les Carr's reply is affirmative:

"Both EPrints and DSpace allow batch uploads, but more to the point, both of them support the new SWORD [Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit] protocol for making automatic deposits in repositories. We (the SWORD developers) very much hope that we will be able to work with established discipline [i.e., central] repositories to allow automatic feed through of deposits from Institutional Repositories into Discipline Repositories and vice versa."

Comment.  Here's a little more of the context.  The Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is willing to deposit peer-reviewed manuscripts from NPG journals in institutional repositories, at least for authors bound by institutional OA mandates.  But it "will need institutional repositories to accept automated deposits by publishers on behalf of authors, preferably using a similar batch upload service to that offered by PubMed Central...."  Now we know that EPrints and DSpace support batch uploads --and of course if they do, then the vast majority of IRs around the world do so as well.  Good news.  The ball is in NPG's court.

Impact of the NIH policy

Kristopher A. Nelson, The Impact of Government-Mandated Public Access to Biomedical Research: An Analysis of the New NIH Depository Requirements.  A preprint, self-archived June 2008.

Abstract:   On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008. The bill, which became Public Law 110-161, contained a new requirement that manuscripts developed through funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) be made available to the public, free of charge, within one year after publication. This new mandatory requirement struck a compromise position between the existing pay-to-access model of private journal publishers and the potential free-for-all of the public domain. But did it go far enough? Should Congress have adopted a more aggressive policy of opening access to research? Alternatively, did Congress go too far, and as a result have we crippled scientific publishing?

From the conclusion:

...[The permissible 12 month embargo is too long.]  A year is simply too long a time period for the law to have a significant impact on how scientists learn from other scientists. Nonetheless, this time frame is good enough in many cases for the general public, for students, and for researchers working outside their primarily discipline. It also provides useful access for scientists and doctors in developing countries. For these groups, free access may well open up opportunities for research that they would otherwise never have had. A move from no access to some access is significant. In addition, by retaining works outside the bounds of the business operations of journal publishers, there is a much-reduced possibility that large swaths of manuscripts will be lost over time....

One unanticipated negative impact has been on the scientific support staff at institutions and universities....

But overall, the move towards greater public access to research is a move in the right direction. The benefits of long-term archiving and free access by those who might not otherwise be able to afford it outweigh the negatives of increased support-staff workload and potentially reduced markets for traditional publishers....

More on OA to legal scholarship

Richard Danner, Applying the Access Principle in Law: The Responsibilities of the Legal Scholar, International Journal of Legal Information, Vol. 35, No. 355, Winter 2007.  (Thanks to Joe Hodnicki.)

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.

More on the Stanford OA mandate

Kathleen Sullivan, Education faculty to make articles available to all, Stanford Report, July 9, 2008.  Excerpt:

In a move designed to broaden access to faculty research and scholarship, the School of Education at Stanford recently adopted a policy requiring its faculty members to make their scholarly articles available for free to the public.

The school's faculty unanimously approved the new "open access" policy in June, becoming the first education school in the nation to enact a mandatory policy.

An estimated 30 universities around the world have adopted similar plans.

Deborah Stipek, dean of Stanford's School of Education, said its faculty acted out of a sense of duty to the students, teachers and schools that could benefit from their research.

"Educational researchers have a responsibility to ensure that their findings are accessible to anyone who can use the new knowledge to improve student learning," Stipek said. "This policy is more than a symbolic stand. It will have the tangible effect of making the most recent findings related to effective education available to the people who can use them the most—policy makers, administrators and teachers." ...

John Willinsky, a professor of education at Stanford who presented the proposal to faculty, said the people who will benefit the most from the new policy are those who lack access to university libraries, which make journals available to students, faculty and staff....

Earlier this year, Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Harvard Law School adopted open access policies in separate, unanimous votes. Willinsky said he based Stanford's policy on the one approved by Harvard Law School....

Willinsky said the School of Education's new policy recognizes the valuable contribution publishers make to the system by granting publishers rights to the final, published version of the article as it appears in journals, while giving Stanford the right to post the author's final, peer-reviewed version of the article on a university website.

PS:  For details on the Stanford policy, see my posts from June 26 and June 29.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Presentations from Italian OA conference

OA in archaeology

Francis Deblauwe, Ancient Righting: Archaeologists & Copyright,, July 7, 2008.
From 6-8 June, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a scholarly symposium at UCLA in sunny Southern California: the UCLA/Getty Storage Symposium. Preservation and Access to Archaeological Materials. I live blogged it on the IW&A Blog. ... [O]ne issue that reoccurred several times was how to deal with copyright inside a very specialised, niche academic discipline.

... The silver standard for [a career in archaeology] is the peer-reviewed article, the gold one being the monograph ... Some symposium speakers reiterated their support for web-based publications. The advantages are well known: faster publication time, ability to include tons of photos in colour, accessibility creating higher use, reduction in cost, etc. But the fact remains that when a young professor is trying to get tenure, a peer-reviewed paper output still is what matters. The web is still seen by many in the "old guard" as a hobby, not serious scholarship. The paradigm is slowly changing though. Several scholarly online-only, open access publications now exist: see my article Archaeologists Coming Out of the Cold.

At the symposium, the UCLA Encyclopedia of Egytology (UEE) was introduced. It is meant to replace and improve upon the old bulwark of traditional paper publishing: the Lexikon der Ägyptologie (7 tomes, 1975-1992). There will be free public access to core UEE materials and functionality, and an "enhanced" access to members who support the UEE financially. This is how some of the qualms of potential contributors are being addressed ...

When closed publishers support OA

Material Contributions To Open Access, Open Chemistry Web, July 7, 2008.

One of the surprises when indexing the huge array of literature available on the web is that many major names, that is the ones who are associated with the traditional closed model, pop up as by far and away the biggest contributors to open access works (defined here as those that are downloadable in their entirety free of charge or other barrier such as login giving away substantial personal info).

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (100,000+ free articles)
Royal Society of Chemistry (70,000+ free articles) ...
National Academy of Sciences of the USA (50,000+ free articles) ...

Unlocking UK PSI for re-use

The Free Our Data blog describes a new service from the UK's Office of Public Sector Information to navigate issues in re-using government data:

As the regulator for public sector information re-use, we know that people can encounter problems from time to time getting hold of the information they need in the formats they want. Difficulties can include problems with charging, licensing or the data standards that public sector information is provided in.

These problems aren't about access (which is dealt with under Freedom of Information legislation), but all the other issues which can occur when you want to do something with public sector information - copy it, remix it with other data or add value and republish it. If you are trying to re-use some public sector information, but the data you need is locked-up, this service is for you. ...

Contrasting FOSS and OA

Contrasting Open Source Software and Open Access, Plausible Accuracy, July 7, 2008.

... Open Source Software (OSS) ... is software which allows the public to view and edit the code that makes it work. The guts of the machine are allowed to be examined and perhaps tinkered with to make improvements or modifications, as the user sees fit. Most people these days use software that is at least somewhat open source, such as the Firefox web browser, or Wordpress (the software that runs this blog). ...

Open Access, the movement to remove price barriers from consumers of scientific knowledge, shares some philosophical roots with Open Source Software. Both aim to take something which has largely been controlled by for-profit corporations and held as proprietary in some way and open that up to a broader audience/participatory culture. The great thing about Open Access is that there is already a lower barrier to participation than there is for OSS. You don’t have to be well-versed in a programming language to contribute. You can go rate a PLoS article, go add a protocol to OpenWetWare, or contribute to any of the other great web-based projects from your own desk in a matter of minutes. ...

Most people I’ve come across don’t really care about whether or not their software is Open Source. ... These people don’t worry so much about the philosophical reasons for making the code open source in the first place, and are even less likely than I am to worry about looking at the programming innards for themselves. A similar group of people will be critical for the widening acceptance of Open Access. People like family members of someone who has been diagnosed with an illness and wants to read the latest research. They don’t really care about the fundamental navel-gazing that is OA vs. subscription firewalled, but they just want some solace and information on their loved one’s condition. ...

A wiki for genes

In an article published July 8 in PLoS Biology, a group of researchers describe their efforts to establish an OA "gene wiki" to collect information on the relationship and function of human genes. See also the description from the PLoS press release:
.. There is a lot of potential information about any given gene—its name, sequence, position on a chromosome, the protein(s) it encodes, other gene(s) it interacts with, etc. and presenting this information is referred to as 'gene annotation.' As information may come from many different researchers working independently, it is important that resources exist to collect the information together. Existing annotation libraries include Gene Portals and Model Organism Databases—however, the information stored in these is considered to be definitive, which requires constant updates by specific experts and formal presentation of information. The work reported in this week's PLoS Biology is intended to allow a much more flexible, organic accumulation of science, with all readers also able to edit and add to the Gene Wiki pages.

In order to stimulate the development of this Wikipedia based resource, Andrew Su and colleagues developed a system that automatically posts information from existing databases as 'stub' articles on Wikipedia. A computer program downloads information from one system, formats it according to Wiki formatting and the 'stub' template that the authors have designed, and—if a page does not already exist for that gene—posts the information on Wikipedia. The authors are confident that their stubs will seed the posting of more detailed information from scientists who encounter them on Wikipedia—and they report that, so far, they appear to be succeeding: the absolute number of edits on mammalian gene pages has doubled.

ICSTI presentations

The presentations from ICSTI 2008, New Frontiers for Scientific and Technical Communication (Seoul, June 11-12, 2008), are now online.

More on green and gold OA

Stevan Harnad, Automatic search for OA versions of cited articles, Open Access Archivangelism, July 8, 2008.  Excerpt:

Matt Cockerill (publisher of BioMed Central) makes the following comment on "The #1 Myth About Open Access":

You take issue with Mike Dunford's comment: "Just what is open access?... In an open access journal, there's no charge for reading articles..." and note that you feel that author deposit of manuscripts in open access repositories, in parallel to the existing subscription-based pay-to-access journals, is a faster and surer way to achieve open access.

But do you not agree that when a reader of an article spots an interesting item in a reference list, and clicks to follow a link to the article concerned, it does not "feel" like open access when they are faced with a publisher's pay-wall asking for a subscription or per-article fee to view the article. Of course, there are several ways they may be able to view a version of the article without paying. The would-be reader could search the net to see if they can track down a free copy of the article in a repository; they can send an email request to the author (who is hopefully not on holiday and has a legally sharable electronic version to hand); or they can try their luck down at their local library. Fair enough. But you must have some sympathy with a reader who would prefer simply to click a link and get straight to the article concerned, without being challenged to provide credit card details. It's not such a bad definition of open access.

That's exactly why Mike Jewell created Paracite. It would be a piece of cake to set up a bit of software that automatically transformed text that one highlights in a reference list into a Paracite or Google Scholar query. The only reason no one has yet bothered to create that piece of software is that most of that potential content is not yet OA. But Green OA self-archiving and mandates will take care of that...

Comment.  Paracite is great and I'm glad Stevan had a chance to remind everyone that it exists.  (It hasn't gotten much notice recently.)  But I'd answer Matt's question differently.  Matt is right that facing a pay-per-view screen means you didn't click on a link to an OA copy of an article, even if there is an OA edition of the same article elsewhere.  And he's right it would be very useful to click on a citation in a reference list and go straight to an OA copy of the full-text.  That's a reason to publish in OA journals. But it's also a reason to link to OA repository copies when they exist, even when we also link to TA copies in TA journals, and it's a reason to deposit all our paper in OA repositories.  We could shift the question to the relative strategic priorities of gold and green OA, but we don't have to.  Giving priority to gold OA is not a reason to change the definition of OA to exclude green OA, any more than giving priority to green OA is a reason to change the definition of OA to exclude gold OA.  That was the original question.  Let's pursue green and gold OA in parallel and hold to the definition of OA which embraces both.

Libraries and OA journals

Isabella Meinecke, Eine Verbindung mit Zukunft: Bibliotheken, E-Journals und Open Access, a slide presentation at Deutscher Bibliothekartag (Mannheim, June 3-6, 2008). 

Videos of Trieste conference, now in progress

The sponsors of the Workshop on Using Open Access Models for Science Dissemination (Trieste, July 7-16, 2008) are posting videos of the presentations as they occur.  (Thanks to Leslie Chan.)

Notes from meeting on overlay journals

Here are some blogged notes on the RIOJA meeting, Emerging publishing models: exploring new ventures for delivering science publishing (Cambridge, July 7, 2008):

  • From an anonymous blogger with the U of Sussex Repository
  • From Owen Stephens and/or Damyanti Patel:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Nature will deposit into disciplinary and institutional repositories

Nature Publishing Group to archive on behalf of authors, a press release from the Nature Publishing Group, July 8, 2008.  Excerpt:

Nature Publishing Group (NPG) is pleased to announce the initiation of a free service, launching in 2008, to help authors fulfil funder and institutional mandates.

NPG has encouraged self-archiving, including in PubMed Central, since 2005. Later in 2008, NPG will begin depositing authors’ accepted manuscripts with PubMed Central (PMC) and UK PubMed Central (UKPMC), meeting the requirements for authors funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), The Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and a number of other major funders in the US, the UK and Canada who mandate deposition in either PMC or UKPMC. NPG hopes to extend the service to other archives and repositories in future....

For eligible authors who opt-in during the submission process, NPG will deposit the accepted version of the author’s manuscript on acceptance, setting a public release date of 6-months post-publication. There will be no charge to authors or funders for the service....

NPG has been an early mover amongst subscription publishers in encouraging self-archiving. In 2002, the publisher moved from requesting copyright transfer for original research articles to requesting an exclusive license to publish. In 2005, NPG announced a self-archiving policy that encourages authors of research articles to self-archive the accepted version of their manuscript to PubMed Central or other appropriate funding body's archive, their institution's repositories and, if they wish, on their personal websites. In all cases, the manuscript can be made publicly accessible six months after publication. NPG’s policies are explained in detail [here].


  • What's interesting here is not that NPG will automatically deposit peer-reviewed manuscripts by NIH-funded authors in PMC.  In fact, 366 journals already do better than that:  they deposit the published editions, not just the peer-reviewed manuscripts.
  • What's interesting is that NPG is willing to accommodate university mandates as well as funder mandates, and deposit in institutional repositories as well as disciplinary repositories like PMC.  I asked NPG's Grace Baynes about this, and she gave me permission to quote from her reply:
    NPG do hope to eventually deposit directly into institutional repositories in line with institutional mandates. In order to do this we will need institutional repositories to accept automated deposits by publishers on behalf of authors, preferably using a similar batch upload service to that offered by PubMed Central and now UK PubMed Central. Once this is possible we anticipate extending the service to institutional repositories. We hope that other repostitories mandated by funders will make that functionality available as well. In all cases, NPG would need these repositories to set a public release date in line with NPG's self-archiving policy.

    As far as I know, NPG will be the first publisher willing to make direct deposits into institutional repositories.

Update.  Also see Stevan Harnad's comment:  "...If Nature really wants to help OA, then dropping its access embargo would be a lot more helpful than saving authors from having to do a few keystrokes...."

UpdateEPrints and DSpace do support batch uploads, meeting the NPG conditions for IR deposits.

Update.  Also see Dorothea Salo's comment:

...This repository-rat was very happy to see that announcement....[T]hinking strategically, this announcement can only ratchet up the momentum behind the SWORD API and OAI-ORE, never mind institutional permission mandates, and that will be good for IRs....

A lot of keystrokes were just eliminated, and very likely more will be as other publishers (who watch NPG like hawks, because NPG is amazing) follow suit....

Launch of Open Education News

David Wiley has officially announced the launch of Open Education News, July 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

The young field of open education is gaining momentum and energy. As additional projects, foundations, universities, and other participants join the movement, the need increases for a single source to gather, sort, analyze, synthesize, and disseminate news related to open education. As a field, open education is now where the field of open access was a few years ago. Peter Suber’s wonderful Open Access News provides an invaluable service to the OA community, and we intend to replicate this service with Open Education News....

Open Education News is essentially a group blog. A number of individuals from the US, South Africa, and eventually other locations daily monitor the internet for news related to open education. We then aggregate these items and publish them individually with minor commentary. Occasionally we’ll publish bigger pieces of our own authorship; analyses and such. If you know of some open education news we should write about, contact David Wiley at

Open Education News is graciously supported by the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation.

PS:  This is a very welcome development.  The Open Ed movement has needed this for a long time.  I wish everyone at OEN the best, and I recommend that OAN readers with an interest in open education make it part of their daily routine.

Monday, July 07, 2008

1m OA books

The 2008 World eBook Fair began July 4, with the theme "Own Your Own Library". Participating organizations include Project Gutenberg, the World Public Library, and the Internet Archive. See also the news posting from Project Gutenberg.

Versioning, validating, and evaluating OA repository content

Francesca Valentini, Le pubblicazioni in Open Access: versioni, validazione e valutazione, presented at Pubblicazioni scientifiche, diritti d’autore ed Open Access: il punto di vista di ricercatori, editori e biblioteche (Trento, June 20, 2008). English abstract:
This presentation focuses on peer review and version identification of digital objects as a means for Open Access scientific outputs to finally enter the "exclusive world" of research evaluation and assessment, as well as for OA repositories to become part of research assessment workflows. Some versioning projects are presented, in the frame of Italian and British research assessment situations.

U of Crete launches an IR

The University of Crete has launched an institutional repository, E-Locus.  (Thanks to Vangelis Banos.)

SPARC Europe and DRIVER work for European IRs

SPARC Europe and DRIVER sign Memorandum of Agreement, a press release from SPARC Europe, July 7, 2008.  Excerpt:

As part of the LIBER 37th Annual Conference held at the Koc University Suna Kirac Library, Istanbul, from 1 to 5 July 2008, SPARC Europe and DRIVER have agreed to work closely together on promoting repositories, signing a Memorandum of Agreement to take this collaboration forward.

SPARC Europe and DRIVER today confirmed a need for cooperation in order to progress and enhance the provision, visibility and application of European research outputs through digital repositories, in systems providing access to texts, data or other types of content.

DRIVER is a joint initiative of European stakeholders, co-financed by the European Commission, setting up a technical infrastructure for digital repositories and facilitating the building of an umbrella organisation for digital repositories. DRIVER relies on research libraries for the sustainable operation of repositories and provision of high quality content through digital repositories. SPARC Europe and DRIVER share the vision that research institutions should contribute actively and cooperatively to a common, pan-European data and service infrastructure based on digital repositories.

In recent years, research libraries have been pressed to improve scholarly communication by establishing digital repositories to expose institutional research outputs to the world. Networks of individual repositories and overarching information services for aggregation, retrieval, share and re-use are being built on the basis of institutional national and regional location, or by subject areas.

Collaboration between SPARC Europe and DRIVER is framed by their joint support for an Open Access model for repositories in research institutions. They will present a common lobby at a national and international level to leverage change through the scholarly community within respective institutions and countries. Their reciprocal support will ensure wider access to standards for interoperability between repositories, and the adoption of emerging technical standards to facilitate open archiving. This agreement demonstrates their joint commitment to promote a European network of repositories offering access to research outputs across institutional and national boundaries....

Columbia U looking for an IR coordinator

Columbia University is looking for a Digital Repository Coordinator.

PS:  If this is of interest, then you should follow the OA-related job postings on OAD.

Update on India's IR project

India's publicly-funded project to support OA repositories at Indian universities has now launched 10 pilot repositories:

One of the objectives of this project is to help the academic and research institutions of national importance to set up their interoperable, open access repositories. For the present, the following pilot IRs have been set up by with the initial technical support of the project team. Several other institutions have been contacted and we are hopeful that few more repositories will come up in the near future.

The project is not new, but I notice that I've never blogged background information on it.  It's funded by India's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR) and carried out by the National Centre for Science Information (NCSI) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).  It includes the CASSIR cross-archiving search engine for Indian repositories, which launched in February 2007.  I can't find a home page for the project, at least under what appears to be its official name, Development of OAI-Based Institutional Research Repository Services in India, but here's a description of it from the DSIR page on the Technology Information Facilitation Programme (last revised April 28, 2008):

There has been a growing realization that with the growth of internet use, the printed journals may no more be able to survive as a primary means of scholarly communication. The electronic medium offers faster, wider and cheaper means of communication as compared to the printed medium. It is therefore proposed to support Open Archive Initiative of journal articles published in India. Academic and Research Institutions would be encouraged to set up institutional or national open archives in particular disciplines - covering disciplines in which India has strength like mathematics, statistics, and geo-science, etc....

OA repositories in Mexico

Isabel Galina and Joaquin Gimenez, An Overview of the Development of Repositories and Open Access in Mexico.  A paper presented at ElPub 2008 (Toronto, June 25-27, 2008).  Excerpt:

The paper presents an overview of the current landscape of repositories in Mexico and focuses on the work being done at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Finally, we offer specific recommendations for the further development of repositories and Open Access, with particular focus on the needs and possibilities of developing countries....

Ten Mexican repositories were identified. This is quite a small number considering the size and academic importance of the country.  Repositories were reviewed and classified...This was followed by a case study of 3R, a repository development project at the UNAM, the national university that produces over 50% of the country’s research....

One of the most important aspects to work towards is making university administrators and national policy makers more aware of the need to promote, fund and develop repositories. Although repositories are still not ubiquitous in all developed countries academic institutions, their importance is acknowledged and discussed at policy-making level. So although Mexico is a subscriber to the Open Access movement, real steps have to be taken towards its implementation.

It is also important to gather information from the more advanced repositories that exist in Mexico, together with work being done with 3R, to develop an important body of literature and experiences in Spanish. This would allow us to build a framework so that universities can work together to develop and promote repositories and bring this to the attention of a larger group of people, in particular university authorities, national policy makers and funding bodies.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

More on the two-sidedness of OA

Stevan Harnad, The #1 Myth About Open Access, Open Access Archivangelism, July 6, 2008.  Excerpt:

"Just what is open access?... In an open access journal, there's no charge for reading articles... Yes, that's pretty much all there is to the definition."

No, unfortunately that is not the definition of OA (which actual means free online access), it is just the definition of Gold OA publishing, one of the two ways to provide OA (and not the fastest or surest way).

The single most important reason OA is not yet growing anywhere near as quickly as it could and should is this persistent perpetuation of the myth that OA is just Gold OA....

Comment.  Stevan is right to correct the impression that all OA is gold OA (through journals), and to remind everyone of green OA (through repositories).  But "free online access" is itself only part of the story.  Stevan links from that phrase to a more complete discussion.  But because he doesn't elaborate in his post, I'll elaborate a little.  The term "OA" is now used in at least two ways:  (1) to remove price barriers alone ("free online access" or gratis OA) and (2) to remove both price and permission barriers (libre OA, which includes BBB OA).  The gratis/libre distinction is not the same as the gold/green distinction.  The former is about rights or freedoms, and the latter is about venues.  Gold OA can be gratis or libre, and green OA can be gratis or libre.  Just as we can't afford to forget green OA, we can't afford to forget libre OA.

Three French journals convert to OA announced in its July 3 newsletter that it had launched 3 new OA journals: Balkanologie: Revue d’études pluridisciplinaires [Balkanology: Journal of multidisciplinary studies], Lapurdum: Revue d’études basques [Lapurdum: Journal of Basque studies], and the Revue historique des armées [Journal of military history]. (Thanks to Jean-Claude Guédon.)

Balkanology and Lapurdum have been in print for over 10 years each; the Revue historique des armées has been in publication since 1945.

In the same newsletter, also announced that its parent organization, the Centre pour l’édition électronique ouverte [Center for Open Electronic Publishing], has become the first French organization to contribute financially to the Directory of Open Access Journals.

Preview release of Digital Library of Mathematical Functions

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a preview of its Digital Library of Mathematical Functions. The library is a rewrite of the Handbook of Mathematical Functions with Formulas, Graphs, and Mathematical Tables and will be OA. (Thanks to Free Government Info.)

Profile of hydro data project

Catharine van Ingen, Researchers Create a "Digital Watershed" of Data,, undated. A profile of the California Water CyberInfrastructure project.

To help researchers gain an accurate picture of the health of a watershed, Microsoft Research collaborates with the Berkeley Water Center—located on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley—and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to build a "digital watershed."

The project goal: acquire and curate existing hydrologic data to understand historic conditions on key watersheds in California. ...

To cite just one example of immense data collection, in California, regional water quality boards, the California State Department of Water Resources, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Environmental Protection Agency each collect different sets of water quality measurements.

Says Deb Agarwal of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory: "People assume that once they have their source of data, it’ll be great, and they can do whatever they want. But the data can be frustrating. I knew one researcher who spent three months trying to get the data set he wanted from an environmental database." ...

The data cubes allow simple browsing of datasets for data availability, data quality, and data relevance along "dimensions" such as location, variable time, or time period. The use of data cubes helps researchers who don’t have programming skills to add their own data. ...

By combining publically available data, digital watershed researchers such as Dr. James Hunt of the Berkeley Water Center hope to create models and forecasts that can be used by a wide range of water interests in a manner that has not previously been possible. ...

Urban Library Journal converts to OA

Stephen Francoeur reports that Urban Library Journal (formerly known as Urban Academic Librarian) will convert to OA. It is a refereed journal published by the Library Association of the City University of New York.

RePEc June 2008 update

Christian Zimmermann, RePEc in June 2008, The RePEc blog, July 3, 2008.

June was a surpisingly busy month, especially in terms of content expansion. We have now reached 600,000 works listed on RePEc, and it took only 10 months to add the last 100,000. Traffic was also heavy for the season, reaching 584,843 downloads and 2,803,705 abstract views.

The following institutions joined RePEc with an archive: World Scientific Publishing, Queens College (CUNY), GEFRA, Kobe University, Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung (IAW), Université d’Auvergne, Universtät Freiburg, Società Italiana degli Economisti. Finally, here are the thresholds we reached this month:

140,000,000 cumulative abstract views
100,000,000 cumulative abstract views on IDEAS
45,000,000 cumulative abstract views for articles
600,000 listed works
350,000 articles listed
300,000 online articles listed
240,000 working papers listed
180,000 working paper abstracts
150,000 items with references
120,000 article abstracts
20,000 NEP reports

Comment. If I'm reading this right, then the number of papers in RePEc has grown by 20% in under a year. Those are remarkable growth figures, if that's the case.

New OA journal of biotech

The International Journal of BioSciences and Technology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal sponsored by the VM University. The inaugural issue is now available. (Thanks to ICAAP.)

New items from Medknow

Three new items from Medknow:
  • The African Journal of Paediatric Surgery converted to OA on July 1. It is a peer-reviewed, no-fee journal. Articles are available under a license similar to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license. Back issues are available to 2004.
  • The Asian Journal of Pharmaceutics is now managed by Medknow. It is a peer-reviewed, no-fee OA journal published by TIFAC-CORE in Green Pharmacy and B R Nahata College of Pharmacy. Articles are available under a license similar to the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license.
  • CytoJournal moved to Medknow from BioMed Central on June 23. It is a peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Cytopathology Foundation. Article processing charges are $1500 per article, subject to discounts and waivers. Articles are available under a license identical to the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Nobelist calls for openness in science

John Sulston, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize for medicine, has launched a new research institute, the Institute for Science, Ethics and Innovation at the University of Manchester. Sulston is using the launch to highlight his views on openness in science and the need to reform innovation and intellectual property policy. (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)

See the op-ed co-authored by Sulston and Joseph Stiglitz in the July 5 edition of The Times:
... The question of “Who owns science?” is therefore a crucial one, the answer to which will have broad-reaching implications for scientific progress and for the way in which the benefits of science are distributed, fairly or otherwise. Two of the most pressing issues concern equity of access to scientific knowledge and the useful products that arise from that knowledge. ...

The second issue we wish to highlight is that of access to science itself. The ideal shared by almost all scientists is that science should be open and transparent, not just in its practices and procedures, but so that the results and the knowledge generated through research should be freely accessible to all. There is a broad consensus in the scientific community that such openness and transparency promotes the advancement of science and enhances the likelihood that the benefits of science are enjoyed by all. For more than a hundred years, these principles have been the bedrock of academia and the scientific community.

We call upon all interested in the future of science to join with us in an active and open-ended search for answers.
See also coverage in The Times and the BBC.

Update. See also coverage in IP Watch.

Publisher policies on NIH-funded authors

The Open Access Directory (OAD) is pleased to announce that its list of Publisher policies on NIH-funded authors is now open for community editing and enlargement.

The list starts with 204 links to publisher policies and 26 annotations.  We've very grateful to Arta Dobbs (University of Connecticut Health Center), Molly Keener (Wake Forest University Health Sciences), and P. Scott Lapinski (Harvard Medical School) for their hard work in developing this foundation on which the public can now build.

OAD is a wiki  and we encourage all users to help keep it comprehensive, accurate, and up to date.  We especially encourage publishers with a policy on NIH-funded authors to make sure that their policy is included on the new list.