Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Canada establishes working group on research data management

Research Data Strategy Working Group Established, press release, August 12, 2008.

The research process generates huge amounts of data that are an important part of Canada's scholarly record and hold enormous potential as an additional discovery and problem-solving tool for researchers. Unfortunately, Canada has no nationally adopted standards or policies governing how this data is collected, catalogued, or preserved.

A new collaborative effort is now underway to address the challenges surrounding the access and preservation of this data. The Research Data Strategy (RDS) Working Group is a multi-disciplinary group of universities, institutes, libraries, granting agencies, and individual researchers with a shared recognition of the pressing need to deal with Canadian data management issues.

Together, the Working Group is focusing on the necessary actions, next steps and leadership roles that researchers and institutions can take to ensure Canada's research data is accessible and usable for current and future generations of researchers.

To support this effort, the Working Group has launched the Research Data Canada Web site as a tool to communicate with the broader community and to facilitate communication within and between three task groups, which have been formed to explore issues related to policies, funding and research; infrastructure and services; and capacity (skills, training, and reward systems).

The RDS Working Group will be convening a consultation around these issues at a future date to gather input and develop an action plan.

RePEc adds RSS alerts service

Christian Zimmermann, NEP alerts now available through RSS, The RePEc blog, August 13, 2008.
NEP (New Economics Papers) is an email service that alerts subscribers to new online working papers in their area of interest. About 80 fields are currently available, and the roughly weekly emails are sent free of charge. While the RePEc team thought email dissemination was sufficient, there also appears to be demand for RSS feeds as for this and other blogs. This is now available, and the RSS feeds can be subscribed to by clicking on the relevant field report on the NEP home page. ...

Author rights and the NIH policy

On August 15, the Association of Research Libraries released "PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights: Agreements between 12 Publishers and the Authors Subject to the NIH Public Access Policy", analyzing policies adopted by several policies to facilitate author compliance with the NIH policy. From the press release:
[ARL] has released “PubMed Central Deposit and Author Rights: Agreements between 12 Publishers and the Authors Subject to the NIH Public Access Policy,” by Ben Grillot, ... legal intern for ARL.

To help authors make informed choices about their rights, Grillot compares how the agreements of 12 publishers permit authors to meet the requirements of the recently revised National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Policy and share their works while they are under embargo. The NIH Public Access Policy requires authors of NIH-funded research to deposit their works in PubMed Central and make them publicly available within 12 months of publication.

Grillot focuses his analysis on how the agreements differ in: the terms and procedures of deposit of the work, the length of any embargo period, and the rights of the author to use and share the work during the embargo period. Grillot presents summary tables that clearly show the similarities and differences across agreements. He also analyzes the implications of these agreements.

Grillot concludes that the significant variability in publisher agreements requires authors with NIH funding to closely examine publisher agreements and the rights granted and retained when deciding where to publish their research. His analysis of these 12 agreements will help authors determine what to look for in an agreement and what questions to ask before signing.
Update. See also Kevin Smith's comments:
Two quick points struck me as I read Grillot’s article beyond those conclusions that he reaches. First, I think many authors would be very surprised at just how limited their rights to make their own work available to others are when they sign publication agreements. ... The very limited set of open access rights retained by authors under these standard publication agreements argues forcefully for the approach taken recent by the Harvard Arts and Sciences faculty to grant Harvard a license for use in an institutional repository prior to any transfer of copyright to a publisher. The second thing that caught my attention is the brief notation, in a footnote to table 2, that Oxford University Press charges authors more for participation in their “author pays” open access program if the author is affiliated with an institution that does not subscribe to Oxford’s journals. Authors’ rights are thus directly and explicitly tied to institution’s expenditure of monies with that publisher. ... I suggest that institutions emulate it. Whenever we negotiate a new contract for a journal database, whether a new acquisition or a renewal, we should insist that the rights that authors at our institutions who publish with that publisher retain are spelled out. For some of us it has seemed inopportune to tie the rights of individual scholarly authors to our enterprise-wide subscriptions, but it is starting to seem more and more logical. ...

Update (10/9/08). STM, ALPSP, and the AAP/PSP released an open letter to the ARL in order to "express concern regarding [the] accuracy" of the paper.

OAI-ORE and SWORD support in OJS

From the Public Knowledge Project blog on August 12, 2008:

The Australian Partnership for Sustainable Repositories (APSR) has recently produced a screencast of an OJS-SWORD-DSpace deposit using their forthcoming OJS SWORD plugin.

This exciting development comes from their work on submitting materials from OJS and OCS to institutional repositories through the OJS/OCS Repository Deposit Project.

The group also contributed the OJS and OCS METS export plugins (based on the Australian and OJS METS Journal Profiles) included in the latest releases. ...

New OA journal of systematic zoology

ZooKeys is a new peer-reviewed OA journal on systematic zoology published by Pensoft Publishers. Page charges are €12 per page, subject to discounts and waivers. Authors retain copyright to their work and articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License. The inaugural issue is now available, including an editorial which discusses OA.

GPO seeks to digitize 2.2 million documents

The U.S. Government Printing Office has issued an RFP for Mass Digitization. Proposals are due September 19, 2008. (Thanks to Free Government Information.)
[GPO] plans to digitize the entire collection of legacy materials that have been disseminated through the Federal Depository Library Program. The estimated size of the collection is approximately 2.2 million documents, which amounts to about 90 million pages. GPO has a requirement to digitize publications that are within scope of GPO's dissemination programs that only exist in tangible format. ... In exchange, the private or public sector participant will be able to maintain a collection of files produced in the process for inclusion in their collections ...
See also our past posts on OA at the GPO.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Science-related social networking sites and data portability

Euan Adie, Data portability for scientific web apps, Nascent, August 11, 2008.

Having the ability to share one network (or a particular subset thereof) of friends and contacts across different social networking sites is a good idea. It has been kicking around for a while and it's a feature Nature definitely wants to support in its social software. ...

We've been thinking quite hard about how we could enable this (as well as debating whether or not we should do anything before a wider standard is developed). ...

Your thoughts are welcome. We've created a room on FriendFeed to try and help organize any discussion (feel free to share relevant links and blog posts there!).

Update to Repository 66 service

Stuart Lewis, Repository mashup map software update, Stuart Lewis’ Blog, August 12, 2008. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

The Repository Mashup Map has just undergone a bit of a software upgrade. Here are some details:

  • ... The code has now been tidied up and rationalised, which will hopefully make it faster and more efficient ...
  • Extra filter: You can now filter on the country where the repository is located, as well as the software platform it runs on, and the date it was created.
  • Auto-zooming: When you select a filter (e.g. “Show me all DSpace repositories in the UK”) the map will automatically zoom to show just the area covered by the repositories (in this case, just the UK).
  • Auto-filtering: When you select a filter (e.g. “Show me repositories in Austria”) the maps update on their own, without you having to press the filter button.

To make my life easier, I also now have a development copy of the maps where I can test upgrades. The URL for this is ...


I'll be on the road August 16-23 with few opportunities for blogging or email.  But Gavin will be on the job, and I'll start to catch up as soon as I return.

Thinking about open science

Chris Patil, Opening science: How unconferences changed my life, Ouroboros, August 14, 2008.  Excerpt:

As I mentioned, I spent most of last week and weekend attending two unconferences, BioBarCamp and Scifoo....

For me, the most powerful and important theme emerging from the week was the idea of “open science.” This term refers not to any one initiative or project, but the cloud of concepts that includes open access publication, use of open source solutions (especially for protocols and software), commons-based licensing, and full publication of all raw data (including “failed” experiments). It also incorporates more radical ideas like opening one’s notebook in real time, prepublishing unreviewed results, replacing current models of peer review with annotation and user ratings, and redesigning (or ditching) impact factors. The world implied by these concepts is one of radical sharing, in which credit still goes where credit is due but by dramatically different mechanisms.

Open science isn’t so much “pay it forward” (though there is a bit of that) as an effort to create a (scientific) world in which no one is paying at all, a world in which there’s no incentive to withhold or protect ownership of data. The science fiction writer Iain M. Banks once wrote that “money implies poverty” — indeed, many of the current models of data ownership and publication, and their accompanying “currencies” of proprietorship, prestige and closed-access publication, imply a world in which data is scarce and must be hoarded. But data is not scarce anymore.

Given a suitable set of one-to-one and one-to-many agreements between the stakeholders, then, the benefits of sharing could come to outweigh any conceivable advantage derived from secrecy. Perhaps “open science” could be defined (for the moment) as the quest to design and optimize such agreements, along with the quest to design the best tools and licenses to empower scientists as they move from the status quo into the next system — because (and this is very important) if it is to ever succeed, open science has to work not because of governmental fiat or because a large number of people suddenly start marching in lockstep to an unnatural tune, but because it works better than competing models....

Rima Kupryte recognized for her work on info sharing and OA

Rima Kupryte, Director of Electronic Information for Libraries (eIFL) was awarded the 2008 IFLA Medal for her work on global information sharing, including OA.  From yesterday's announcement:

...The IFLA Medal is one of the highest professional accolades  and is awarded to an individual for their distinguished contribution to international librarianship.

Rima Kupryte received the award in recognition of her groundbreaking work with the Open Society Institute (OSI) and in sharing information at a global level....

“eIFL is extremely fortunate to have had Rima at its helm”, said Hannie Sander, Chairperson of the Advisory Board. "Rima has worked with amazing energy to build eIFL up from a small project into a global network encompassing 50 countries and more than 4,400 libraries. Under her leadership, program areas have expanded from bulk licensing of e-resources and support for the development of sustainable library consortia, to advocacy and capacity building in open access and local institutional repositories, fair copyright laws and the benefits of open source solutions for library management systems....”

Comment.  Rima is one of the original 16 signers of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and under her leadership eIFL has become a major force in promoting OA in transition and developing countries.  See for example OAN's 73 past posts on eIFL's OA projects.  Congratulations, Rima, on this richly deserved honor.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A conversation about OA in anthropology

Christopher Kelty and six co-authors, Anthropology of/in Circulation:  The Future of Open Access and Scholarly Societies, Cultural Anthropology, August 13, 2008. 

Abstract:   In a conversation format, seven anthropologists with extensive expertise in new digital technologies, intellectual property, and journal publishing discuss issues related to open access, the anthropology of information circulation, and the future of scholarly societies. Among the topics discussed are current anthropological research on open source and open access; the effects of open access on traditional anthropological topics; the creation of community archives and new networking tools; potentially transformative uses of field notes and materials in new digital ecologies; the American Anthropological Association’s recent history with these issues, from the development of AnthroSource to its new publishing arrangement with Wiley-Blackwell; and the political economies of knowledge circulation more generally.

OA journals of oncology

OncologyWatch has put together a list of 19 OA journals of oncology.

Google Scholar results starting to appear in vanilla Google

Stuart Lewis, Google bring Scholar richness into normal search results, Stuart Lewis' Blog, August 13, 2008.  Excerpt:

Some good news for open access repository advocates: It seems that the normal Google search engine has now started bringing the richness of Google Scholar results into the main Google search results. This extra information includes:

  • The (first) author’s name
  • Links to papers that have cited it
  • Links to related articles
  • Links to other versions

For me this is great news. When we go out selling repositories to academics, one of our arguments is “your paper will appear in Google Scholar, and other specialist search engines such as Intute Repository Search and OAIster“. However, if we are honest, how many people use these, and I’m including Google Scholar in this, as their first point of call? Not many I suspect....

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

T&F will deposit in PMC, reaffirms embargo on self-archiving

An announcement from Taylor & Francis, August 13, 2008:

As part of our author services program, Taylor & Francis will deposit to PubMed Central (PMC) author manuscripts on behalf of Taylor & Francis, Routledge and Psychology Press authors reporting NIH funded research.  This service is offered as part of Taylor & Francis’ new 2008 deposit agreement with the NIH....

Taylor & Francis will deliver to PMC the final peer-reviewed manuscript, which was accepted for publication and that reflects any author-agreed changes made in response to the peer review. Taylor & Francis will also authorize the author manuscript’s public access posting 12 months after final publication in print or electronic form (whichever is the sooner).  Following the deposit by Taylor & Francis, authors will receive further communications from the NIH with respect to the submission.

Under our Author Rights policy introduced in 2005, authors also have the right to post their version of the submitted author manuscript (pre-print), or their version of the final published article (post-print) on their personal or institutional web site.  Post-print web postings are subject to an embargo of 12 months in STM subjects and the behavioral sciences. Please note that, in line with Taylor & Francis’ author  publication agreements, authors should not post manuscripts directly to PMC or other third party sites for any systematic external distribution by a third party (for example to a listserv or database connected to a public access server)....

Journal prices and gas prices

Mike Dunford, For-Profit Scientific Publishers and the Culture of Entitlement, The Questionable Authority, August 13, 2008.  Excerpt:

I used to have a hard time explaining the anger, resentment, and hostility that many scientists feel toward the big academic publishing houses....

Gas prices are going up. You've been combining trips, cutting your mileage as much as you can, driving a more efficient vehicle, and your fuel costs are still going up. You drive home from work, stopping along the way to put $30+ dollars worth of gas into the 10 gallon tank in your Prius. You sit on the sofa, turn on the news, and hear that Exxon-Mobil just reported quarterly profits of about $1,500 per second....

If you want to understand the anger that the major publishing houses are generating, that's a good place to start.

Publishers don't make money at anything close to the clip that Big Oil does, but they're not doing badly. Elsevier is probably the biggest fish, and they come in at a respectable $1,700 per minute. That's 60 times less than Exxon-Mobil, but it's still a nice chunk of change.

The university libraries that make up a large proportion of their customers have been feeling the pinch more and more. The cost of the journals has been rising at a much higher rate than inflation. This means that either the library need to receive a significant budget increase every year (and if you've ever worked at a university you know exactly how easy that is to do) or they need to cut spending somewhere else to make up the difference.

It's important to remember that access to journals is, for scientists, as much of a necessity as gasoline.... 

[Gasoline and journals are both] necessities....Both have been increasing in price. And the providers of both are making large profits, while their customers suffer.

That's where the analogy ends, though, because scientists are not only the end customers for journals, they're also the people who provide the content. For free. If you want to continue the analogy, you'd have to pretend that during the whole time that gas prices and profits have been rising you were spending five or ten hours a week working on an oil rig, and that you're doing it without pay....

[T]he major academic publishers seem to feel that they are entitled to continue to make enormous profits selling scientific research to scientists at outrageously inflated prices.

This sense of entitlement has been at its most obvious where the open access movement is involved. Publishers like Reed Elsevier fought tooth and nail against legislation that would require researchers to make a copy of their work freely available within a year of publication. Along the way, they claimed credit for the entire peer review process, slighting the editors and reviewers who actually do the work - for free - for them. Then, when they finally give in after fighting tooth an nail against open access requirements for years, they brag about their "leadership" when it comes to making their products more accessible.

Were it not for their track history, I suspect that neither the Mad Biologist nor I would have been quite as irritated when they "borrowed" some of our work for internal use. With the track history, though, seeing our words sitting, without proper credit, permission, or attribution, on a page that bears a prominent notice protecting their copyright becomes something more. It goes from being a minor discourtesy to being another symptom of the company's lack of respect for the people who do the bulk of the work to produce their profits, and provide the bulk of their customer base.

Bringing information sharing to the classroom

New web tools help educators use Sparky video awards in fall courses, an announcement from SPARC, August 11, 2008.  Excerpt:

The organizers of the Sparky Awards video contest have released several new resources to help college instructors and librarians engage students in an exploration of information sharing and copyright by encouraging their participation in the 2008 contest. The competition, which recognizes the best new short videos on the value of sharing, is well suited for use as a class assignment. 

The 2008 Sparky Awards contest theme is “MindMashup: The Value of Information Sharing.” Contestants are invited to submit videos of two minutes or less that imaginatively portray the benefits of the open, legal exchange of information on the Internet. Mashup is an expression referring to a song, video, Web site, or software application that combines content from more than one source....

NSF Task Force calls for OA to NSF-funded research, data, and OERs

Fostering Learning in the Networked World: The Cyberlearning Opportunity and Challenge, August 11, 2008.  A Report of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) Task Force on Cyberlearning.  The report is dated June 24, 2008, but wasn't released until August 11, 2008.  (Thanks to Clifford Lynch.)  The report focuses on access to technology and teaching materials, but has something to say about OA to research literature and data:

...All these developments [in OA to research literature and data] will help to contribute to the effectiveness of cyberlearning initiatives. We would certainly welcome, for example, a NSF policy on articles reporting research results that was at least as strong in encouraging open access as that adopted by NIH (and would also urge that some thought be given to consistency of policy across Government agencies).

With regard to materials developed with NSF funding that are primarily educational in nature (rather than reports of research results or research data) —and recognizing that this is a slippery distinction— we believe that an NSF-wide policy that encourages principal investigators to make their materials open and to be concerned about their sustainability is essential....

Comment.  Kudos to Christine Borgman, who chaired the task force.  The NSF Task Force on Cyberinfrastructure (as opposed to this one, on Cyberlearning) also supports OA, at least to data

The NIH policy is working

Kevin Smith, Updates on NIH Public Access, Scholarly Communications at Duke, August 12, 2008.  Commenting on a series of developments with the NIH policy (all of which were covered here at OAN).  Excerpt:

...Taken together, I think these reports indicate two things. First, the Public Access Policy is working, by which I mean that public access to bio-medical research is increasing dramatically without creating any real danger to the publishing industry. The announcement by OUP that they would cooperate in depositing articles indicates that publishers are coming to terms with the requirement and accepting it. Even the news that most publishers elect the 12 month embargo is a sign of growing accommodation; that overly-long embargo provides even the most skittish publishers enough security to adapt to the growing open access movement. Shorter embargoes are undoubtedly sufficient to protect publisher revenues, but the move to those shorter delays will have to take place gradually, as more and more publishers realize that, whatever the threats to their traditional business models are, NIH Public Access is not one of them.

Second, I hope that we are seeing an awakening realization on the part of scholarly authors that they have genuine choices as they consider how to disseminate their work. The soaring PMC submission rate, and the decisions by major publishers not to resist it, suggest that making submission easier for authors is rapidly becoming a competitive advantage. As authors realize that they have control over their work for as long as they retain copyright ownership, publishers might have to take on a service role they have never really played before, competing for the best scholarship by help authors meet the requirements of the funders who underwrite the research.

Student participation in the OA movement

Gavin Baker, The Right to Research: student involvement in open access to scholarly communication, a 53 minute podcast of a talk at the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science.

OA collections of Ukrainian literature

Liladhar Pendse has gathered links to seven Open Access Ukrainian Digital Collections

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

OA to widely-used textbook

Andy Guess, Open Textbook Meets Community Colleges, Inside Higher Ed, August 12, 2008.

... Connexions, a prominent online “open educational resources” hub based at Rice University, announced Monday that it has published a statistics textbook online that’s widely used in transfer-level community college courses. ...

The book, Collaborative Statistics by Barbara Illowsky and Susan Dean, is not only available as a full download. The content between the covers has been sliced and diced into “modules,” Connexions’ basic building blocks, that any student or instructor can rearrange or adapt for their own use. Developers of the project also plan on adding videos of class lectures by Illowsky as well as other supplementary classroom materials ...

“This is a big deal for community colleges because there are many students who can’t afford to go to school not necessarily because of tuition but because of the costs of textbooks and what have you ...” said Joel Thierstein, Connexions’ executive director.

He expects “close to 1,000 students in the fall” to be using the free version of the book in classes across the country. The text has been used for over a decade in California community colleges in courses accepted as transfer credits by the University of California system. ...

The authors first reacquired the rights to their book and published it themselves for a period, he said. More recently, the rights were transferred to Rice, which obtained them with backing from the Maxfield Foundation ... Connexions ... now offers the textbook content online under a Creative Commons license. Readers can also opt for an on-demand printed version, priced at $31.95.

The textbook was published in coordination with the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources ...

Update. See also this story from Wired Campus:
“We’re hoping that this is the first of many,” said Joel Thierstein, executive director of Connexions ...

New OA journal on environment and society

Surveys and Perspectives Integrating Environment and Society is a new peer-reviewed, no-fee OA journal, sponsored by the Institut Veolia Environnement and published by Copernicus.  The inaugural issue came out in February 2008.  (Thanks to John Reidelbach.)

"A National Research Park system for ideas"

John Wilbanks, Meme testing, John Wilbanks' blog, August 11, 2008.  Excerpt:

Back in the office today after two weeks, thousands of miles, and what feels like at least 50 national forests driven through....Everywhere you go in the West, you drive across a national forest. 8.5% of the land in the United States is part of the National Forest system.

As I was driving through the Wasatch-Cache Forest at night, it struck me that the vision required to start the protection of lands in 1891 was the kind of vision we need now in intellectual property. If nearly 10% of this country’s physical property can be reserved as a commons – which is so much harder to provide dual-use, public and private – why not for IP?

In other words, we have battles over who gets to use national lands. Drilling in the ANWR is a good example here. But there is such less conflict between dual-use options in non-rivalrous property, we should absolutely be able to pull off a National Research Park system for ideas…

I’m going to be playing with this meme for a while. Comments and suggestions welcome, either here or in email....

OA pharma journals cited more than non-OA pharma journals

Kevin A. Clauson and three co-authors, Open-access publishing for pharmacy-focused journals, American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, August 15, 2008.  Only this abstract is free online, at least so far:

Purpose. Pharmacy-focused journals that are available in open-access (OA), freely accessible, hybrid, or traditional formats were identified.

Methods. Relevant journals were accessed from PubMed, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, EMBASE, and the Pharmacology and Pharmacy category of Thomson Scientific Journal Citation Reports. Criteria were established to select journals that satisfied the definition of pharmacy focused. Journals were assessed based on accessibility, copyright transfer requirements, and restrictions. If tracked, the journal’s impact factor (IF) was identified according to classification, and medians were calculated for each journal category.

Results. A total of 317 pharmacy-focused journals were identified. The majority of pharmacy-focused journals identified were traditional/non-OA (n = 240). A smaller number of journals were freely accessible/ non-OA (n = 37), freely accessible/non-OA with content restrictions (n = 20), or freely available/non-OA with date restrictions (n = 18). The fewest number of journals were completely OA (n = 2). The median IF for the 185 journals whose IF was tracked was 2.029. The median IF for freely accessible and hybrid journals (n = 42) was 2.550, whereas the median IF for traditional journals (n = 143) was 1.900.

Conclusion. A very small number of pharmacy-focused journals adhere to the OA paradigm of access. However, journals that adopt some elements of the OA model, chiefly free accessibility, may be more likely to be cited than traditional journals. Pharmacy practitioners, educators, and researchers could benefit from the advantages that OA offers but should understand its financial disadvantages.

The same issue has an editorial by C. Richard Talley, Open-access publishing: why not?  It's accessible only to subscribers, at least so far.

Update (8/13/08).  I've now seen the full-text of Talley's editorial.  He acknowledges that OA to pharma journals "might indirectly improve public health", but tries to explain why AJHP is not OA.  He starts with a potshot at the article by Clauson et al., which he just agreed to publish, by asserting flatly that "Davis et al. found that open-access publishing does not increase article citations."  He doesn't attempt to reconcile the Clauson and Davis studies, and doesn't mention that the Davis study found no short-term citation increase while dozens of previous studies have found long-term citation increases.  He seems to believe that all OA journals charge publication fees (unaware that most OA journals charge no fees), and claims that AJHP would have to charge a publication fee of $7,000 to cover its expenses.  He says that free online abstracts and interlibrary loan will meet much of the demand.  In the meantime, he will consider delayed OA.  "The projected effect of this on membership recruitment and retention, as well as other economic concerns, will influence this decision."

Journals, magazines, and newspapers that publish articles about OA

The Open Access Directory (OAD) just opened a list of Periodicals that frequently publish articles about open access.  As the editors point out in the scope note, the list "should be useful for readers looking for work on OA, and even more for authors looking for places to submit their work or media releases on OA."

OAD is a wiki and appreciates your help in keeping its lists comprehensive, accurate, and up to date.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Survey of Asian commons initiatives

Frederick Noronha, Copyleft ... but without violating anyone's rights, TestMatch, August 11, 2008.
... [Subbiah Arunachalam] outlines the strengths [of OA], for journals: Many leading journals published in India are already open access. ...

Says he: "Thus India publishes about 100 OA journals. Actually these are hybrid journals (print plus electronic, with the print version sold against a subscription). No Indian journal charges a fee from the authors for publishing papers. ..."

At the level of repositories: About thirty institutions have set up their own interoperable institutional open access repositories ... Indian Institute of Science was the first to set up and the IISc EPrints archive has over 8000 records. NIT Rourkela is the only Indian institution to have mandated open access for all faculty and student research publications.

There are three subject-based central repositories. Of these, there is one each for library and information science (DRTC), medicine (NIC) and catalysis (IIT Madras).

At the level of course ware: The NPTEL programme (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning), jointly mounted by IITs and IISc is a world class open course ware programme. ...

The National Knowledge Commission has recommended mandating open access to all publicly funded research and the recommendation is now with the Prime Minister. ... offers books and publications available in Creative Commons, FDL, Open Content in Nepal. It is a project to develop digital collection, storage, and distribution strategies for multimedia anthropological information from the Himalayan region. ...

Nepal on the Directory of Open Access Journals: Some links to professional journals published from Nepal can also be found here. These include the Journal of Nepal Medical Association, Kathmandu University Medical Journal, Nepal Journal of Neuroscience, and Our Nature. ... is the most comprehensive and most technologically-advanced digital library and research portal on Philippine studies. Among's special features is a fully-indexed collection of books, documents and other artifacts on Philippine history, culture, and society. ...

Another society launches an OA journal

The Journal of African Real Estate Research is a new peer-reviewed journal from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (UK) and the African Real Estate Society (South Africa).  The inaugural issue (January 2008) is now online.  (Thanks to John Reidelbach.)

EC funds more digitization for OA, calls on member states to do the same

Opening soon: a digital library for Europe, a press release from the European Commission, August 11, 2008.  Excerpt:

Europe's cultural diversity in books, music, paintings, photographs, and films open to all citizens at the click of a mouse via one portal – this dream of a European Digital Library could become reality this autumn. However, further efforts by the EU Member States are needed, said the Commission today in a new Communication on making available digital versions of works from cultural institutions all over Europe. Digitisation of cultural works can give Europeans access to material from museums, libraries and archives abroad without having to travel or turn hundreds of pages to find a piece of information. Europe's libraries alone contain more than 2.5 billion books, but only about 1% of archival material is available in digital form. The Commission therefore called on Member States to do more to make digitised works available online for Europeans to browse them digitally, for study, work or leisure. The Commission itself will provide some € 120 million in 2009-2010 for improving online access to Europe's cultural heritage.

[S]aid Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media: "...[E]ven though Member States have made significant progress in making cultural content accessible on the Internet, more public and private investment is needed to speed up digitisation. My goal is to have a European Digital Library, called Europeana and rich in content open to the public before the end of the year."

The Commission today confirmed its commitment to help Member States bring their valuable cultural content online. In 2009-2010 € 69 million from the EU's research programme will go to digitisation activities and the development of digital libraries. In the same period, Europe's Competitiveness and Innovation Programme will allocate about € 50 million to improve access to Europe's cultural content....The Commission today called on Member States to raise digitisation capacities to make their collections available for Europe's citizens....

Some Member States have taken exemplary steps to accelerate digitisation of cultural collections....

However, the Commission's assessment also shows that in many cases there is a gap between the objects which have been digitised and their online accessibility....


The European Digital Library is part of the i2010 initiative adopted by the Commission on 1 June 2005 (IP/05/643)....

The World Digital Library

The European Library


Update (8/13/08).  Thanks to Fleur for pointing out the accompanying Progress Report and Staff Working Paper.  From her post:

...The Staff Working Paper accompanying the progress report includes this paragraph: “Public domain content in the analogue world should remain in the public domain in the digital environment. If restrictions to user access and use are necessary in order to make the content available at all, these restrictions should only apply for a limited time period” (7.1.3., p.23)

‘An interesting statement’, says Patrick Peiffer (National Library of Luxembourg) ‘since Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) deals and institutions tend to cover public domain works with new exclusive rights’....

Profile of the IR at the Spanish National Research Council

Agnes Ponsati and Pablo de Castro, Repository increases visibility, Research Information, August/September 2008.  Excerpt:

...In January 2006 the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) became one of the first Spanish signatories of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities....

CSIC’s OA strategy aims mainly to increase the visibility of its research output and has several different strands. These include establishing an online platform for offering OA to the full-text contents of all journals edited by the institution and starting up a new subscription model via partnerships with OA editors for significantly reducing publication fees for CSIC researchers.

Another major OA initiative of CSIC was the launch earlier this year of its institutional repository (IR). The IR, known as Digital.CSIC, is intended to organise, disseminate and preserve the institution’s research output....[T]he development of Digital.CSIC is also intended to become a model process for other public research centres in Spain when they build up their own IRs in the near future....

CSIC teamed up with the public universities in Madrid and became a member of the e-Science Open Access platform, funded by the Autonomous Region of Madrid....

Several strategies are being established by the Digital.CSIC Technical Office in order to quickly populate the CSIC repository with help from the researchers. One of the most fruitful activities, especially at the CSIC research institutes in physics, is to synchronise Digital.CSIC with local publications databases at CSIC research institutes. References are thus brought into the repository database and completed by the Digital.CSIC team, so that all that is left for the researchers to do is to attach their fulltext files when they are permitted to do so by publishers. Recently a complete module of statistics has also been incorporated to the IR in order to let the authors measure the effects of depositing their work in Digital.CSIC on its visibility.

One of the main challenges for the near future in the development of the CSIC IR is the design and setting up of a series of application programming interfaces (APIs) which will integrate the IR contents into the scientist’s desktop, allowing for the transfer of lists of publications between Digital.CSIC and a series of corporate tools, such as annual-report-building-applications, author or departmental web pages or standardised CV formats. The subsequent reduction in administrative tasks seems a very sensitive point to appeal to when trying to persuade researchers to self-archive their publications.

And there are other ways to progress, such as coupling the institutional repository with the respective thematic repositories in the different disciplines. This would mean, for example, that physicists used to depositing their pre-prints at arXiv would not need to duplicate their work in order to file them in Digital.CSIC....

Looking to the future, members of the IR-development community in Spain are keen to see institutional mandates from the European Union environment and from the Spanish Scientific Agencies. There is presently no explicit CSIC institutional mandate that requires the researchers to deposit their work in Digital.CSIC either.

Despite this, the other efforts to populate the IR seem to be paying off....

PS:  For background, see our post on the CISC repository and policy to fill it.

Presentation on DRIVER

Dale Peters, Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research (DRIVER), a slide presentation at the JISC/CNI meeting on Transforming the User Experience (Belfast, July 10-11, 2008). 

The other presentations from the meeting are now online as well.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

University OA policies in the public interest

John Willinsky and Deborah Stipek, Open access responds to public's hunger for knowledge, Mercury News, August 10, 2008.  Willinsky and Stipek are both professors of education at Stanford University.  Excerpt:

...In February, Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences voted to create "open access" copies of all their scholarly articles. In May, Harvard Law School followed suit. Then in June, Stanford University School of Education faculty unanimously voted for a similar motion.

By endorsing this open-access policy, my Stanford colleagues have agreed that publishing an article in a respectable journal is no longer the end of it. They will also post a copy of their work online, where educators and the public can freely read what we have learned about learning. Such public access to knowledge only makes sense, given Stanford's belief that educational research - whether it examines how children master subtraction, how communities can improve opportunities for youth, or how teachers can improve their teaching - should be available to those who are interested as well as those, such as teachers, who can make productive use of such knowledge.

It also makes sense, in light of the recent public scrutiny over whether tax-exempt private universities like Harvard and Stanford do enough to further the public good. Yet it is our hope that now that we have broken this new ground, other public and private institutions will follow our lead in pursuit of knowledge as a public interest.

Certainly, the public's hunger for accessing knowledge online has never been stronger....

Even if this new access to knowledge has yet to affect test scores or improve U.S. rankings in international comparisons in education, it does provide students with richer sources from which to learn. Citizens have new opportunities to consider and critically review sources of information. Open access of scholarly research can only add to the educational and deliberative quality of democratic life.

Are there risks with such access? Will policy blogs and school board meetings distort and misunderstand academic research and scholarship? Inevitably. But that has long been a danger, and at least now, everyone will have access to a range of relevant studies....

QUT creates experimental OA journal fund

Queensland University of Technology has created an experimental $10,000 fund to pay the publication fees at PLoS journals during 2008.

Comment.  I applaud this step.  When other universities launch funds to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, I applaud them too, but I wonder why they haven't already taken steps to provide green OA for their entire output of peer-reviewed research articles.  Fortunately, that question is unnecessary here.  QUT has had a green OA mandate in place since January 1, 2004.  It was the first university anywhere to adopt one, and now it's the first university to launch an OA journal fund to supplement an existing green OA mandate.


U. Washington developing social site for researchers

Research1 is being developed by staff of the University of Washington as a service of the Research Channel. The site will be a social platform for researchers, including sharing documents and integrated Creative Commons licensing. See the July 24 story in University Week. (Thanks to Wired Campus.)

Blog notes on LIBER conference

John MacColl, LIBER, Equality, Fraternization,, August 8, 2008. Blog notes on the LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche / Association of European Research Libraries) conference (Istanbul, July 1-5, 2008).

... A lot of attention in the European research library community at present is on Europeana, the European digital library which is being built collaboratively with the assistance of large-scale digitisation funding from member states. Elisabeth Niggemann, Director General of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek and Chair of the Conference of European Librarians, updated the conference on its progress to date. A final prototype is expected in November this year, which will provide access to 2m items. When finally launched to the public, it should have 6m items. But there are some concerns about the pace of development. ...

Ricky [Erway] gave a presentation on mass digitisation of special collections material, based on the Shifting Gears work which she and Jen Schaffner reported last year. ...

Among other highlights was a presentation from the academic perspective by Professor Sijbolt Noorda (Chairman of the Dutch Association of Universities). We thought digitisation would save us money; now we know it’s about investment. Universities should be paying for their own libraries’ investments in this area, and not leaving it to external bodies. ...

A presentation which also gave me heart was that of Dr Ralf Schimmer of the Max Planck Digital Library, who updated us on SCOAP, the initiative in high energy physics (HEP) which is seeking to convert the whole commercial journal literature to author-pays open access. A lot of funding has now been obtained from funders worldwide, and the collaborative effort is inspiring. Consortial regions and entire countries are being asked to assess their collective spend on HEP journals, and to divert it to the initiative. A tender will be issued, and publishers who respond will be obliged to unbundle their HEP subscriptions from their other offerings. If successful, this will be an important breakthrough in allowing the consumer to influence the terms of the offer. It would also offer an example to other disciplines which could open some powerful new directions in scholarly publishing ...

Launch of MyDriver

MyDriver goes live!, DRIVER, August 8, 2008.
Researchers and Repository managers are invited to register with the MyDriver service to access a range of features. This service allows users to filter their searches of repository content and subscribe to communities and collections. In the near future, registered repository managers will be granted additional rights to run the DRIVER Validator on their published data and follow their repository conformance to the DRIVER guidelines. Further details of MyDriver are available here.
See also our past post on MyDriver.