Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Open Web Awards

Voting has begun for the second annual Open Web Awards.

PS:  "Open" here seems to mean nothing more than openness to voting by anyone.  The award categories include sports and fitness, celebrity and gossip, and dating and romance.  All right.  But why not a category for science and scholarship?  (There are a few scholarly nominations in the Wiki and Environmental categories.)  Or how about some web-wide awards for sites that are open in the stronger sense, as in open source and open access?  The anthropologists have made a good start, but how about something for all disciplines, all countries, and all languages?

More on the quality of OA journals

Richard Poynder, Open Access: The question of quality, Open and Shut?  November 22, 2008.  Excerpt:

Does Open Access (OA) publishing mean having to accept lower-quality peer-reviewed journals, as some claim, or can we expect OA to improve quality? How good are the current tools used to measure the quality of research papers in any case, and could OA help develop new ones?

I started puzzling over the question of quality, after a professor of chemistry at the University of Houston, Eric Bittner, posted a comment on Open & Shut in October....[H]is main point seemed to be that OA journals are inevitably of lower quality than traditional subscription journals.

With OA advocates a little concerned about the activities of some of the new publishers — and the quality of their journals — we need perhaps to ask the question: could Bittner be right? ...

Like most researchers, Bittner appears to believe that the best tool for measuring the quality of published research is the so-called journal impact factor (IF, or JIF). So apparently does his department. Explained Bittner:

"[O]ur department scales the number of articles I publish by the impact factor of the journal. So, there is little incentive for me to publish in the latest 'Open Access' journal announced by some small publishing house."

What Bittner didn't add, of course, is that some OA journals have an IF equal to, or better than, many prestigious subscription journals....

Another point to bear in mind is that many OA journals are relatively new, so they may not have had sufficient time to acquire the prestige they deserve, or an IF ranking that accurately reflects their quality — not least because there is an inevitable time lag between the launch of a new journal and the point at which it can expect to acquire an impact factor score, and the prestige that goes with that....

In order to properly assess Bittner's claim we also need to ask how accurate impact factors are, and what they tell us about the quality of a journal....

[W]hen Bittner's department scale his articles against the IF of the journals in which he has published they are conflating his personal contribution to science with the aggregate contribution that he and all the authors published alongside him have made.

In reality, therefore, Bittner is being rewarded for having his papers published in prestigious journals, not for convincing fellow researchers that his work is sufficiently important that they should cite it. Of course, it is possible that his papers have attracted more citations than the authors he has been published alongside. It is equally possible, however, that he has received fewer citations, or even no citations at all....

Suber sums it up in this way: "IFs measure journal citation impact, not article impact, not author impact, not journal quality, not article quality, and not author quality, but they seemed to provide a reasonable surrogate for a quality measurement in a world desperate for a reasonable surrogate."

Or at least they did, he adds, "until we realised that they can be distorted by self-citation and reciprocal citation, that some editors pressure authors to cite the journal, that review articles can boost IF without boosting research impact, that articles can be cited for their weaknesses as well as their strengths, that a given article is as likely to bring a journal's IF down as up, that IFs are only computed for a minority of journals, favouring those from North America and Europe, and that they are only computed for journals at least two years old, discriminating against new journals." ...

For OA journals this is bad news, since it leaves them vulnerable to the kind of criticism levelled at them by Bittner.

However, the good news is that, in the age of the Web, new tools for measuring research quality can be developed. These are mainly article-based rather than journal-based, and they will provide a far more accurate assessment of the contribution an individual researcher is making to his subject, and to his institution.

The Web, says OA advocate Stevan Harnad, will allow a whole new science of "Open Access Scientometrics" to develop. "In the Open Access era," he explains, "metrics are becoming far richer, more diverse, more transparent and more answerable than just the ISI JIF: author/article citations, author/article downloads, book citations, growth/decay metrics, co-citation metrics, hub/authority metrics, endogamy/exogamy metrics, semiometrics and much more. The days of the univariate JIF are already over." ...

For those still in doubt there are two other factors to consider. First, it is not necessary to wait until suitable OA journals emerge in your area before embracing OA. It is possible to publish a paper in a TA journal and then self-archive it in a subject-based or institutional repository (a practice referred to as "Green OA")....

Second, whether they choose to self-archive or to publish in an OA journal ("Gold OA"), researchers can expect to benefit from the so-called "citation advantage". This refers to the phenomenon in which papers made OA are cited more frequently than those hidden behind a subscription paywall....

But there is many a slip twixt the cup and the lip....[There is a] danger that the actions of a few OA publishers might yet demonstrate that OA journals do indeed publish lower quality research than TA journals. And unless the OA movement addresses this issue quickly it could find that the sceptical voices begin to grow in both volume and number. That is a topic I hope to examine at a later date....

PS:  In addition to the September 2008 article of mine which Richard quotes here (Thinking about prestige, quality, and open access), also see my article from October 2006 (Open access and quality).

Update.  Also see Stevan Harnad's comments.  Excerpt:

Peer review selectivity determines quality, not open access vs. toll access....

It should also be pointed out that the top journals differ from the rest of the journals not just in their impact factor (which, as Richard points out, is a blunt instrument, being based on journal averages rather than individual-article citation counts) but in their degree of selectivity (peer revew standards): If I am selecting members for a basketball team, and I only accept the tallest 5%, I am likely to have a taller team than the team that is less selective on height.

Selectivity is correlated with impact factor, but it is also correlated with quality itself. The Seglen "skewness" effect (that about 80% of citations go to the top 20% of articles) is not just a within-journal effect: it is true across all articles across all journals....

OA will give richer and more diverse metrics; it will help the cream (quality) to rise to the top (citations) unconstrained by whether the journal happens to be TA or OA. But it is still the rigor and selectivity of peer review that does the quality triage in the quality hierarchy among the c. 25,000 peer reviewed journals, not OA.

(And performance evaluation committees are probably right to place higher weight on more selective journals -- and on journals with established, longstanding track-records.)

OA and the transformation of knowledge

Jean-Claude Guédon, Digitizing and the Meaning of Knowledge, Academic Matters, October/November 2008.  Excerpt:

...Open Access and the New Possibilities Offered by Digitization

As open access takes on strength and visibility, new possibilities appear. The capacity to link documents together constantly grows in importance. Linking research articles with their underlying data is also being increasingly discussed. Researchers are not yet used to sharing data with others. But, with computers, new forms of exploitation of vast corpora of documents and data are becoming possible. Even a perfunctory use of Google makes this point clear. In the end, one may even wonder whether the venerable article and the mode of publishing it has generated for the last three and a half centuries will make sense much longer in the new environment.

In the end, exactly as Origen has taught us, the changes in communication technologies shift our relations to documents and transform the meaning we ascribe to their existence. If this is true, then it is time to go back to fundamentals. Fundamentally, science is open knowledge and its energy flashes out of the shock of ideas. The end result of this fundamentally agonistic activity is a critical edition of sorts, always striving to reach perfection, yet never ended or ending. Seen from on high, science is little more than an endless concatenation of texts that correct or refute each other, topic by topic, argument by argument, fact by fact. One might say, however scandalous this might sound at present, that science is a kind of Wikipedia, but a Wikipedia where attribution is closely monitored and where participation depends on credentials. If this characterization of science succeeds in capturing some of its essence, it becomes legitimate to ask whether the researcher will still be an “author” of “articles” 30 years from now. The author form is a child of print, and authorship is different from attribution. Whether authorship will still be needed in a few decades is a question well worth asking.

The answer is far from certain....But a choice remains before us: will scientists and scholars finally recover the control over the tools needed for their great conversation, or will it increasingly be taken over by commercial interests? This is what open access is all about....

Dead link to the MRC OA mandate

The UK Medical Research Council adopted an OA mandate in June 2006.  At the time you could find it here.  But four months later the link was dead and the policy moved here.  Now the new link has died too and I can't find the policy's current location.  If anyone can point me to it, I'd be grateful.

Meantime, here's the FAQ on the MRC OA mandate.  The link to the FAQ works, but even the FAQ continues to use the dead link to the policy statement itself.

Update (11/24/08).  Several readers simultaneously sent me the current URL.  Here's the policy at its new location:  MRC position statement in support of open and unrestricted access to published research.  (Thanks to all who wrote.)

Update (12/4/08). The new link, which was live 10 days ago, is dead today. I'll assume the problem is temporary and keep trying. But if anyone knows what the problem is or where the policy has moved this time, please drop me a line.

Friday, November 21, 2008

French report on national research policy recommends OA

A new but undated report on national research and higher education policies in France (Rapport sur les politiques nationales de recherche et de formations supérieures), an annex to the 2009 finance bill, picks up some OA recommendations from the May 2008 Salençon Report on scientific and technical information (Rapport du comite 1st information scientifique et technique).  It recommends talking with publishers about modifying their contracts and access policies, funding publication in fee-based OA journals, using HAL as the national platform for publicly-funded research, and digitizing French scholarly journals.  (Thanks to the INIST Libre Accès blog and Hélène Bosc.)

The reports are PDFs and I can't link to machine translations.  But here's Google's English translation of the INIST Libre Accès blog post.

New French OA thesis repository

DUMAS (Dépôt Universitaire de Mémoires Après Soutenance) is a new OA repository for Master's theses launched by the humanities division of the Université Pierre-Mendès-France and hosted by HAL. (Thanks to INIST.)

More on OA to speed health research

Kaitlin Mara, Ministers, Stakeholders Meet In Mali To Strategise On Health Research Systems, Intellectual Property Watch, November 20, 2008.

Ministers of health, science and technology, and social development met this week with scientific researchers and representatives from foundations, the private sector and civil society to discuss the future of research for health on diseases disproportionately affecting the developing world.

“Data matters, and the sharing of data matters,” Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust and member of the recently-named expert working group on financing for neglected diseases at the World Health Organization told the conference. ...

He was speaking at the Global Ministerial Forum on Research For Health, held in Bamako, Mali from 17 - 19 November, an event unique in bringing together high-level leadership in sectors of health research that do not always have the chance to interact. It was co-sponsored by the World Health Organization, the United Nations Cultural, Scientific and Educational Organization, the World Bank, the Global Forum on Health Research, and the Republic of Mali.

The final call to action and communiqué were expected to be released shortly at ...

Revision to license for NLM databases

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has released an updated license for its databases, including MEDLINE and PubMed.
The primary change in the new license is that it eliminates the distinction between licensees located in the US or outside the US. All licensees, those inside and outside the US, may redistribute the licensed NLM data under the same terms and conditions. ...

Update to Drug Information Portal

A new version of the National Library of Medicine Drug Information Portal was released in October 2008. See this announcement. The portal is an OA resource of information on over 16,000 drugs.

Universities sharing knowledge

Hans-Ulrich Rüegger, Martina Arioli, and Heini Murer (eds.), Universitäres Wissen teilen : Forschende im Dialog (Universities share knowledge:  Researchers in dialog), a new OA book on OA, based on a symposium at the University of Zurich in March 2008.  A print edition is for sale from v/d/f.  (Thanks to Digithek.)

Two Israeli organizations join SCOAP3

The Israeli Science Foundation and the Israeli Committee for High Energy Physics have joined the CERN SCOAP3 project.

ESRC updates its Intro to OA

The UK Economic & Social Research Council has updated its Introduction to Open Access.

The new version is undated.  But the link to it appeared on the ESRC's OA page yesterday, and the link to the previous version is now dead. I believe this is the doc's first update since December 2007.

The ESRC adopted an OA mandate in June 2006.

Facebook app for repository deposits

Stuart Lewis announces the SWORDAPP Facebook Repository Deposit Tool, an application to perform repository deposits from within Facebook via the SWORD protocol.

See also our past posts on SWORD.

Update. See also Pete Johnston's comments.

Table of article processing fees

The Libertas Academica blog has a table comparing the APC fees of various OA and hybrid journals, including price and rights.

Update. See also these comments:

  • Stephen Downes:
    ... The one fee I don't see represented is "none" - even though this is (to my knowledge) the most common option. ...
  • Gunther Eysenbach:

    ... What I am missing in both tables is an overview of what journals are actually offering for these costs. ...

    There are several copyediting and proofreading steps in the production process, which not all journals seem to employ. I invite authors to critically assess what they get for the money instead of just looking at the article processing fee. ...

    And open access journals not charging any Article Processing Fees are almost guaranteed to skip these steps. ...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

David Shulenberger criticizes AAUP and ACS for supporting Conyers bill

Andrew Albanese, At SPARC Digital Repository Meeting, Shulenberger Calls Out AAUP, ACS, Library Journal, November 20, 2008.  Excerpt:

In his closing keynote address at the 2008 SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting, in Baltimore, MD, David Shulenberger, VP of academic affairs at the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), offered seven steps toward a brighter, digital repository future. Then, in notable aside to one of the steps, he called out the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) and the American Chemical Society (ACS) for working against the best interests of the academy.

Describing one of his seven steps, Shulenberger urged participants to educate campus units, “such as university presses,” to help convince them “to support, not oppose” the best interests of their faculty. He criticized AAUP and the American Chemical Society for their support of the controversial Fair Copyright in Research Works Act [a.k.a. Conyers bill], which would bar federal agencies from requiring public access in exchange for grant funding, and, he said, “make building digital repositories far more difficult....[W]e can’t afford to have those who benefit from the university environment working in ways so detrimental to it,” he asserted. “[Presses and ACS] need to understand the perspective of the community in which they live. Their organizations’ continued good health is dependent on the health of the larger academic community,” he noted, urging attendees to work with these organizations to “change such organized resistance.” ...

In 2007, there was a significant backlash among academic presses over the role AAUP’s partner organization, the Association of American Publishers (AAP), played in the PRISM (Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine) campaign, the publishing communities’ PR attempt to block the NIH public access policy. James Jordan, president and director of Columbia University Press,resigned from the AAP’s Executive Council over PRISM, and Stephen Bourne, chief executive officer of Cambridge University Press, slammed the campaign as “oversimplistic and ill-judged.” ...

Shulenberger offered strong support for digital repositories, which he said was the “most effective way” to get scholarly information to the public that needs it. “With digital repositories in place, the limitations on distribution imposed by scholarly journals, proximity of the viewer, etc., no longer have to constitute a bar to access,” he noted. He offered participants seven steps to help get to that next level:

  • Make sure that there is a digital repository available for your university’s faculty. 
  • Work with administrators to acknowledge the benefits of broadening distribution, and that your university will reap those benefits by using the repository.
  • Initiate discussions involving administration and faculty about current practices and intellectual property policies—in other words, “emulate Harvard.”
  • Support efforts to spread public access policies like those of NIH to all federal funding agencies and foundations.
  • Work with e campus units, (such as university presses), to support, not oppose, the best interests of their faculty.
  • Work with departments and faculty to develop habits of depositing in the repository. 
  • Work with PR units so that the public, donors, and legislators know to look to your institutional repository to find reliable information....

[H]e also suggested that promoting the digital repository could be a “means to entice additional funding” from their states or donors. “The digital repository can be the equivalent of the unchaining of the bibles. Real access can be had from every kitchen table.”

Comment.  The Conyers bill would directly overturn the NIH policy and block similar policies at every federal agency.  Kudos to Shulenberger for criticizing the AAUP and ACS for supporting the bill.  Also see my own criticism of the AAUP for supporting the bill:  1, 2, 3, 4.  Note items 2 and 4 in particular.  The AAUP says it supports the Conyers bill without opposing the NIH policy.  But it has not qualified its endorsement of the bill in order to spare the policy, criticized the breadth of the bill or its effect on the policy, or endorsed the policy.

Update. Also see Kevin Smith's comments.

New version of DRIVER guidelines

The DRIVER project has released version 2.0 of its guidelines for participating repositories. See a brief announcement.

See also our past posts on the DRIVER project.

More recommendations for the new U.S. government

Thomas Kalil, Overview: Science, Technology, and Innovation Challenges, Change for America, in print January 5, 2009.

... America’s innovation policy needs to recognize that even the way we change is changing. The executive director of the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for Open Innovation, Professor Henry Chesbrough, observes that many leading companies are pursuing “open innovation” strategies. ...

A related concept is what scholars such as Harvard Law School professor Yochai Benkler have called “commons-based peer production,” which is the creative energies of large numbers of people who are using the Internet to create information, knowledge, and culture, often without financial incentives or traditional hierarchical organizations. ...

The new administration should identify appropriate steps that the federal government can take to promote the economic and societal benefits of the information revolution. Among the steps it could take would be to ... develop multimedia digital libraries that place our shared cultural and historic heritage at the fingertips of every American. ...

To improve government, the 44th president must make government more open, transparent, efficient, and user-friendly by taking a page from former Center for American Progress fellow Carl Malamud, who put the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR database of corporate filings online, and successfully urged C-SPAN to expand citizen access to its online video of congressional hearings, agency briefings, and White House events. The new administration should require government to make it easy for citizens, community-based organizations, and the private sector to add value to data, especially given the power of “mash ups” and other Web 2.0 tools and techniques. ...

More on OA and developing countries

Peter Binfield, New Academic Editor Interview - Niyaz Ahmed, Public Library of Science blog, November 18, 2008. Ahmed is PLoS ONE's Section Editor for Microbiology and Genomics.

... [Q:] And finally, what would you say is the thing about Open Access that most excites you?

[A:] Developing countries are in great need of Open Access. The fruits of the scientific and technological revolution are not reaching them because they have to pay to receive the content. In an Indian case scenario, while the library budgets are dwindling, internet access has become affordable for masses, thanks to our technology driven economy. And that is where OA comes to enhance research productivity as well as the pace of discovery. Finally, I will say, that knowledge should not be kept bound. Knowledge is created to be open. It’s a free world! ...

OA and the "nano divide"

Kaitlin Mara, IP Model Proposed For North-South Nanotechnology Divide, Intellectual Property Watch, November 19, 2008.

... [Richard] Gold said that “as nanotechnology is still in a relatively embryonic state of development, with few products and services on the market and few companies actually moving products to market, governments need to focus on facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge.”

To achieve this, he said, governments need to ensure access to scientific information, such as through open access science journals ...

Benefits of repositories to users

Les Carr, The Value that Repositories Add, RepositoryMan, November 18, 2008.
... A repository should be able to provide lots of benefits to its users. In particular, it should make things more valuable when they are deposits than when they are just files on a laptop or on a web server. This presentation is written to inform researchers of the kinds of things that should be able to do with their material in repositories. It starts off with the basic functions that are provided for them (wide access, persistence, backups, bibliography pages, administrative reports etc) and then tackles the kinds of ways that researchers can take advantage of the material for themselves. ...
So who (among researchers) actually likes repositories? There may be a place to collect those stories soon.

Tracking and advocating OA for Australian PSI

Kylie Pappalardo, New: literature review and website on access to public sector information, OctaviaNet, November 21, 2008.  (Thanks to Brianna Laugher.)  Excerpt:

Professor Anne Fitzgerald of the QUT Law Faculty is currently undertaking the massive task of reviewing the literature around policies and principles on access to and reuse of public sector information in Australia and worldwide....[She] will be releasing the literature review in installments as each chapter is completed.

She has just released Chapter 1: Australia and Chapter 2: New Zealand....The literature review so far is extremely comprehensive – chapters 1 and 2 alone comprise 268 pages! ...

Currently, the literature review is available in the QUT ePrints Repository (here), but it will soon appear on the new website...of a new research group with which I am involved – Access to and Use of Public Sector Information (auPSI). auPSI’s mission is to provide a comprehensive web portal that:

  • promotes debate and discussion about the re-use of PSI in Australia and more broadly throughout the world;
  • focuses on developing and implementing an open content licensing model to promote access to and re-use of government information;
  • develops information policy products about delivering access to and encouraging the re-use of PSI;
  • keeps users informed about international developments in this area; and
  • assists governments and policy makers on the development of appropriate policy about the creation, collection, development and dissemination of public sector information....
The literature review will be released in full on this website, as will a forthcoming article by Neale Hooper, Timothy Beale, Professor Anne Fitzgerald and Professor Brian Fitzgerald entitled, “The use of Creative Commons licensing to enable open access to public sector information and publicly funded research results – an overview of recent Australian developments”....

On Open Library's scan-on-demand

Josh Hadro, Scan on Demand: Open Library and Boston Public Library Put a Twist on Scanning Projects, Library Journal, November 18, 2008.

... The recently announced program allows individuals to request the digitization of any public domain book listed in the Open Library ...

If a public domain work in Open Library’s catalog hasn’t yet been scanned, the item record will display a “Scan This Book” button. Click it, and a librarian at [Boston Public Library] will be prompted to grab the item off of the shelf and queue it up for digitization. In three to five days, you’ll get an email telling you that the digital copy of your chosen book is ready to go. Of course, in the spirit of openness, the digital copy isn’t yours alone—copies will also be made available through the Open Library item page and through Open Library’s parent venture, the Internet Archive. For more info, and a list of public domain books along with each item's scanning status, check out

See also our past posts on scan-on-demand at Open Library.

More on OA and citation rates

Stevan Harnad, Open Access Allows All the Cream to Rise to the Top, Open Access Archivangelism, November 19, 2008.  Excerpt:

Tenopir & King's confirmation [in the Nov/Dec issue of D-Lib] of the finding (by Kurtz and others) -- that as more articles become accessible, more articles are indeed accessed (and read), but fewer articles are cited (and those are cited more) -- is best explained by the increased selectivity made possible by that increased accessibility:

The Seglen "skewness" effect is that the top 20% of articles receive 80% of all citations. It is probably safe to say that although there are no doubt some bandwagon and copycat effects contributing to the Seglen effect, overall the 20/80 rule probably reflects the fact that the best work gets cited most (skewing citations toward the top of the quality distribution).

So when more researchers have access to more (or, conversely, are denied access to less), they are more likely to access the best work, and the best work thereby increases its likelihood of being cited, whereas the rest correspondingly decreases its likelihood of being cited. Another way to put it is that there is a levelling of the playing field: Any advantage that the lower 80% had enjoyed from mere accessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated, and with it any handicap the top 20% suffered from inaccessibility in the toll-access lottery is eliminated too. Open Access (OA) allows all the cream to rise to the top; accessibility is no longer a constraint on what to cite, one way or the other.

(I would like to point out also that this "quality selectivity" on the part of users -- rather than self-selection on the part of authors -- is likely to be the main contributor to the citation advantage of Open Access articles over Toll Access articles. It follows from the 20/80 rule that whatever quality-selectivity there is on the part of users will be enjoyed mostly by the top 20% of articles. There is no doubt at all that the top authors are more likely to make their articles OA, and that the top articles are more likely to be made OA, but one should ask oneself why that should be the case, if there were no benefits [or the only benefit were more readers, but fewer citations!]: One of the reasons the top articles are more likely to be made OA is precisely that they are also the most likely to be used, applied and cited more if they are made OA!)

10 days to comment on EU green paper

Remember that public comments on the EU green paper, Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, are due on November 30.  Send your comments to

See especially Section 3.3 (pp. 16-19), Dissemination of works for teaching and research purposes, and Question 19 (p. 18):

Should the scientific and research community enter into licensing schemes with publishers in order to increase access to works for teaching or research purposes? Are there examples of successful licensing schemes enabling online use of works for teaching or research purposes?

For background, see our July 2008 blog post on the green paper.

Repository fauna

Inspired by Dorothea Salo's habit of calling herself a repository rat, Les Carr has looked into the other wildlife to be found the repository niche of the OA ecosystem.  Some are solitary and some social; some are wild and some domesticated; some are hunters and some scavengers; some are preeners and some slovenly; and some are valued while some are vermin.  He takes a stab at characterizing four repositories according to the animal behavior they embody.

PS:  Compare this with a more systematic and prosaic study of the different policies and practices among repositories.  At least the animal comparisons are more mnemonic and vivid.  A professor of mine liked to say that the medieval comparisons of human traits with animals --busy as a bee, loyal as a dog, sly as a fox, stubborn as a mule, happy as a pig-- were more helpful than contemporary ethics and psychology.

Plans for an OA archive of Landsat data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced today that it would create an OA archive of Landsat data.  From the announcement:

In a breakthrough applauded today by the international Group on Earth Observations, scientists and decision-makers will soon have unrestricted global access at no charge to the USGS Landsat archive, the world's most extensive collection of continuously-acquired land imagery. By the end of this year, the full collection will, for the first time, be freely available online to users around the globe under a policy initiated by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne.

Prof. José Achache, Director of the GEO Secretariat, said, "...The wide availability of images from Landsat and other Earth-observation satellites will be crucial for both developing and developed countries, especially as the world's increasing population deals with the effects of climate change and the limitations of water, petroleum and other vital resources."

Some 300 officials from nearly 80 GEO member governments and organizations are attending the GEO-V plenary meeting in Bucharest, Romania, this week. U.S. participation in GEO (USGEO) includes 14 Federal agencies and two White House offices.

USGS Director Mark Myers, who leads the U.S. delegation to GEO, stated, "By opening its entire archive of Landsat data for free electronic access, the USGS seeks to promote a common global understanding of land conditions - historical and contemporary - for users worldwide. This new policy supports a central GEO goal: to promote the distribution of Earth observation data to any scientist, analyst, or citizen who can use this information to better understand the nature of our world." ...

Survey of science 2.0

Randy Barrett, Science 2.0: You Say You Want a Revolution? HHMI Bulletin, November 2008.  (Thanks to Bora Zivkovic.)  A survey of science 2.0, including blogs, wikis, and OA.  Unfortunately the PDF is locked (why?) and I don't have time to rekey an excerpt.

Benefits from a university OA fund

Heather Morrison, Who benefits from the University of Calgary authors' fund? Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, November 19, 2008.  Excerpt:

Who benefits from the University of Calgary open access authors' fund? ...Obviously, the U of C's OA Authors' Fund at $100,000 is not meant to cover a full switch to open access publishing-by-article-processing-fees at the U of C.

My thoughts are that there are two main groups of beneficiaries. First, U of C faculty and students who wish to publish in an open access journal that charges article processing fees at least have a place to submit a request for assistance. Contrast this with a recent message from a librarian friend of mine, who had a grad student come to the library wishing such help, but the library had no procedures in place at all to help....

Second, we all benefit from this pilot project. I was very glad to hear that U of C has figured out that it makes sense to support fully open access journals, such as Public Library of Science, BioMedCentral, and Hindawi, and also hybrid journals that recognize the revenue from author fees and lower subscription fees for libraries accordingly, such as Oxford and the American Institute of Physics. This is a great model for other libraries. If others develop open access funds with similar criteria, then the odds that other publishers will develop responsible policies lowering subscription fees to reflect OA revenue are that much greater. If subscription fees go down, libraries will have more money to pay open access article processing fees; a potential positive cycle to replace the vicious cycle of the serials crisis....

Please note that the vast majority of open access journals do NOT charge article processing fees. This should not be a barrier to finding creative ways to support those that DO. It is also not necessary to publish in an OA journal to make your work OA. The green approach, publishing in a traditional journal and self-archiving for open access, is another perfectly good approach, and one recommended as appropriate by the U of C as part of the authors' fund process....

PS:  See our past posts on the Calgary authors fund.

Berlin 6 videos and presentations

The videos and presentations from the Berlin 6 meeting, Changing Scholarly Communication in the Knowledge Society (Düsseldorf, November 11-13, 2008), are now online.  All of them are OA-related.

APA revises its self-archiving policy

The American Psychological Association revised its self-archiving policy on November 1.

Both the old and new policies say that "Authors...may post a copy of the final manuscript...on their Web site or their employer's server...."  However, the old policy added that "APA does not permit archiving with any other non-APA repositories" and the new policy deletes that rule.

The deletion looks progressive, removing a restriction on the set of eligible repositories.  But the unchanged parts of the policy may leave that restriction in place.  May APA authors now deposit in a disciplinary repository, such as the Social Science Research Network?  It's not clear.

PS:  For background, see our past posts on the evolving APA self-archiving policy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More on peer review and OA

Greg Boustead, Garrett Lisi's Exceptional Approach to Everything, Seed Magazine, November 17, 2008.

... Why did you choose not to submit your paper to a traditional peer-reviewed journal?

I think peer review is important, but the journal-operated system is severely broken. I suspected this paper would get some attention, and I chose not to support any academic journal by submitting it. Under the current system, authors (who aren't paid) give ownership of their papers to journals that have reviewers (who aren't paid) approve them before publishing the papers and charging exorbitant fees to view them. These reviewers don't always do a great job, and the journals aren't providing much value in exchange for their fees. ... I think a better peer-review system could evolve from reviewers with good reputations picking the papers they find interesting out of an open pool, such as the physics arXiv, and commenting on them. This is essentially what happened with my paper, which received a lot of attention from physics bloggers?—?it's been an example of open, collaborative peer review. ...

How will "open science" and other new ways of sharing information transform science?

I think we're in the midst of a gradual revolution, following the rise of the Internet. The success of the physics arXiv?—?where physicists post freely available versions of their papers?—?has made it possible for anyone to access the literature from anywhere. This let me move to Maui 10 years ago and stay in touch with the field. Now an NIH mandate, requiring that publicly funded papers be posted to PubMed [Central], will produce the same liberating effect in other fields. The net is also affecting the way scientists work directly, with wikis and blogs used for discussions, collaborations, and individual note keeping. These new tools, along with online social networks, allow geographically independent researchers to keep in perpetual, productive contact. ...

Virginia Hughes, Reviewing Peer-Review, Seed Magazine, November 17, 2008.

... Most OA advocates are quick to point out that open-access doesn't necessarily mean the end of publishers or peer-review. "In my view, it makes them both even more important, though both will of necessity be forced to evolve some new methods to deal with the new world," John Wilbanks wrote last month.

But....what about that peer-review system? Will that be the next stodgy institution to go? ...

New Fedora front-end

The Fascinator is "a simple interface to Fedora that uses a single technology [Apache Solr] to handle all browsing, searching and security". See the demo and the blog post by Peter Sefton.

Launch of Europeana

Today the European Digital Library Foundation launched Europeana, the OA digital library of European literature, art, history, and culture.  From today's announcement:

...Internet users around the world can now access more than two million books, maps, recordings, photographs, archival documents, paintings and films from national libraries and cultural institutions of the EU's 27 Member States....[A]nyone interested in literature, art, science, politics, history, architecture, music or cinema will have free and fast access to Europe's greatest collections and masterpieces in a single virtual library through a web portal available in all EU languages. But this is just the beginning. In 2010, Europeana will give access to millions of items representing Europe's rich cultural diversity and will have interactive zones such as communities for special interests....

[S]aid Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media[:]  "I now call on Europe's cultural institutions, publishing houses and technology companies to fill Europeana with further content in digital form....My objective is that in 2010, Europeana will include at least 10 million objects." ...

Europeana makes it possible to search and browse the digitised collections of Europe's libraries, archives and museums all at once. This means users can explore themes without searching for and visiting multiple sites and resources.

Europeana was initiated by the Commission in 2005 and brought to fruition in close cooperation with national libraries and other cultural bodies of the Member States as well as with the strong support of the European Parliament. Europeana is run by the European Digital Library Foundation, which brings together Europe's major associations of libraries, archives, museums, audiovisual archives and cultural institutions. Europeana is hosted by the Dutch national library, the Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Over 1,000 cultural organisations from across Europe have provided material for Europeana. Europe's museums, including the Louvre in Paris and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, have supplied digitised paintings and objects from their collections. State archives have made important national documents available, and France's Institut National de l'Audiovisuel supplied 80,000 broadcasts recording the 20th century, right back to early footage shot on the battlefields of France in 1914. National libraries all over Europe have contributed printed and manuscript material, including digitised copies of the great books that brought new ideas into the world....

PS:  For background, see our past posts on Europeana.


OA journals now in SUNCAT

The UK Serials Union CATalogue (SUNCAT) has added the DOAJ.  From today's announcement:

The addition of the DOAJ to the catalogue ensures that these free titles are made visible and accessible to SUNCAT searchers alongside any subscription electronic journals they have access to. SUNCAT searchers can find these titles interspersed in their search results or can choose to limit their search to these titles alone....

Nature OA specials

Last month Nature launched OA special on what the financial crisis will mean for science and today it launched another on Darwin at 200.

Presentations from Armenian OA workshop

The presentations, in English and Russian, from the Open Access Awareness Raising Workshop in Armenia (Yerevan, Armenia, October 15-16, 2008) are now online.

Arrow repository day presentations

The presentations from ARROW Repository Day (Brisbane, October 14, 2008) are now online.

Timo Hannay on OA at Nature

An interview with Timo Hannay, Publishing Director,, Knowledge Speak, November 12, 2008.  Excerpt:

Q:  Tell us a little about your Manuscript Deposition Service. How is this service expected to help authors meet funder and institutional mandates?

A:  Our Manuscript Deposition Service makes it quick and simple for authors to comply with funder and institutional mandates, by depositing manuscripts to open-access repositories on their behalf.

Authors opt in to the service via a simple form during our usual submission process. This has the advantage that the author will have a lot of the necessary information to hand, and can be assured that this requirement will be taken care of. On acceptance, NPG automatically deposits the accepted version of the author's manuscript to their specified repository, setting a public release date of 6-months post-publication. All the author should need to do is validate the submission with the repository when asked to do so.

We currently offer this service for depositions to PubMed Central and UK PubMed Central on about 40 of our journals. We're working to expand this to all NPG journals that publish research content.

Also, NPG's self-archiving policy allows the author's final version to be made freely accessible six months after publication, so authors can be confident that they can comply with the requirements of all major funders, even for repositories to which we can't currently deposit on their behalf.

Q:  Talking of open access journals or free content on the web, how much is this a challenge to you.

A:  Open access is just another aspect of online publishing that makes it so much more multi-faceted and interesting than print publishing. Whether it's a threat or an opportunity depends on how individual organisations respond. Some publishers have certainly tried to resist it, but the common claim that publishers in general have been resistant (at least since I came into the industry just over a decade ago) is a long way from the truth. Some publishers have embraced it while others haven't, though there's an increasing realisation that it's not going away. (Incidentally, I think much the same can be said about the attitudes of scientists themselves).

It's also important to recognise that there are multiple routes to open access. A lot of attention has been given to author-pays journal publishing, but this model isn't currently sustainable for journals with high rejection rates and heavy editorial input, so at best we're going to end up with a mixture of business models, not all of them open access. This is what we see in the industry today, and it's what we have at NPG too. Some of our journals publish papers that are free to readers, paid for by author fees, but most of them continue to charge subscription fees because that's the only model that's currently sustainable for high-end journals. Personally, I wish it were otherwise.

The most likely way in which content from across the full range of different journals will be made available for free is through funder-mandated self-archiving, most notably the NIH's PubMed Central project and its British counterpart, UKPMC. Eventually these kinds of initiatives are likely to result in the majority of research content becoming freely available in some form 6-12 months after publication in a journal. Nature has been a strong supporter of these initiatives -- see my earlier comments about our Manuscript Deposition Service....

Launch of ENCES for OA-friendly copyright laws in Europe

A group of OA-supporting researchers from 12 countries launched ENCES (European Network for Copyright in support of Education and Science) at the recent conference, Copyright Regulation in Europe – An Enabling or Disabling Factor for Science Communication (Berlin, November 13-15, 2008).  (Thanks to the Informationsplattform Open Access.)

Read the founders' press release in German or Google's English.  Also see Stefan Krempl's article in yesterday's Heise online, in German or Google's English.

ENCES will be an EU-wide counterpart to Germany's Aktionsbündnis ,,Urheberrecht für Bildung und Wissenschaft" (Coalition for Action "Copyright for Education and Research"), founded by Rainer Kuhlen in 2004.  For background, see our past posts on Kuhlen and the coalition.


Search through a printed book with your Android phone

Imagine scanning the barcode of a printed book with your cell phone and then running a search, from the phone, of a digital copy of the same book.  You can now do that with a Google Android phone --at least for books already scanned by Google and showing their barcodes. 

See the Google Book Search blog for details.

Comment.  Very cool.  Because Android is open source, this mashup could easily extend to books scanned by the Open Content Alliance and other projects as well.  Even cooler.

SPARC's work for OA in 2008

SPARC's 2008 letter to members and three things we focused on this year, SPARC, November 4, 2008.  Excerpt:

2008 marked the debut of two game-changing policies:

  • The landmark NIH Public Access Policy, the first of its kind in the U.S., which now ensures that the results of our collective $29 billion investment in biomedical research is made openly accessible to the public.
  • The groundbreaking vote by the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Sciences, which served notice that Open Access is on its way to becoming the norm – rather than the exception – on our campuses.

SPARC worked throughout 2008 to support these policies and to continue to enable the climate of openness pictured in our shared vision, by ensuring public access to the results of publicly funded research, raising libraries’ role in campus policy, and expanding the coalition for Open Access to research....

Ensuring public access to the results of publicly funded research

In 2008, SPARC worked to secure the first U.S. mandate for public access and to support similar policies at the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Research Councils UK, the European Commission, and in numerous other countries around the world. SPARC:

  • Ensured that the library voice continues to be heard clearly at the highest levels of government, through SPARC’s leadership of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access and the Open Access Working Group.
  • Brought to bear the power of our members’ voices as congressional constituents, rallying Nobel Prize-winners, attorneys and law professors, patient groups, and hundreds of librarians to weigh in with policy makers.
  • Brought crucial balance to the congressional hearing on The Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (HR6845), speaking as the only supporter of public access on behalf of libraries, researchers, and families.

Raising libraries’ profile in campus policy

...SPARC, collaborating closely with allied organizations:

  • Published a timely guide to help define for institutions their responsibilities and options for complying with the NIH Public Access Policy and observing copyright law.
  • Produced a guide for colleges and universities to create institutional open-access policies, setting out 10 clear steps for policy development and adoption.
  • Showcased the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ adoption of a default policy for Open Access through the popular SPARC Innovator Series, the SPARC-ACRL forum, and subsequent video broadcasts.
  • Highlighted the creation of open-access funds by profiling actions taken by the University of California at Berkeley, in conjunction with those of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Calgary.
  • Became an original signatory on the Cape Town Declaration for Open Educational Resources, signaling libraries’ commitment to further pioneering open scholarship initiatives.

Expanding the coalition for Open Access to research

In 2008, SPARC welcomed students to the conversation on information sharing and access to research....SPARC-student collaborative activities have included:

  • The launch of “The Right to Research: The student guide to opening access to research” campaign.
  • The new blog.
  • The second annual Sparky Awards. This year, the contest has expanded to involve five new collaborators: ACRL, ARL, Penn Libraries, Students for FreeCulture, Student PIRGS, and Campus MovieFest, the largest student filmmaking competition.
  • The production of the new “Voices of Open Access” video series, with the Public Library of Science, to showcase the views of librarians, students, research funders, scientists, and teachers on Open Access....

OAD list of volunteer opportunities

The Open Access Directory (OAD) just opened a list of Volunteer opportunities

This is a place where volunteers can look for jobs that will help the cause, and where everyone can list the jobs they'd like to see someone do. 

At the moment, many of the jobs listed are about building the OAD itself.  But it's not at all limited to OAD-building.  Use your imagination, take note of work that needs doing, and harness the energy and good will of the OA community.

Update on the UK DataShare project

Robin Rice, DataShare deliverables over last 6 months, DataShare blog, November 12, 2008.  Excerpt:

Having just submitted our October progress report, it seems we've accomplished quite a lot over the last 6 months....

The project members have continued to engage with contacts at UK and international institutions – especially in the US and Australia - who are building services for data sharing....The findings from Oxford’s Scoping digital repository services for research data management project were disseminated. Several project team members participated in the Edinburgh Repository Fringe....An article in Online by Luis Martinez Uribe and Stuart Macdonald and an interview in CILIPS Update brought attention to the profession of data librarians, which was further amplified by the recent JISC-commissioned report by Key Perspectives....

The partners have created and received peer review on a Dublin Core based metadata schema for datasets in DSpace and EPrints, worked on procedures for storing and preserving databases, and have developed a content model for a database of sound files in Fedora. The Edinburgh DataShare repository was soft-launched, with an option for depositors to append the open data license developed by the Open Data Commons....

Norka Ruiz Bravo also steps down from the NIH

Andrea Gawrylewski, NIH research director steps down, The Scientist, November 13, 2008.  Excerpt:

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) deputy director for extramural research stepped down last month to take on a new post.

Norka Ruiz Bravo, who had been in her position at the NIH for five years, vacated the role at the end of October and is now a special advisor to the NIH director (another position that recently changed). For the meantime she will be replaced by Salley Rockey, who has been in the Office of Extramural Research for three years.

Ruiz Bravo had been at the head of many NIH initiatives, including the hotly-debated public access mandate....

"I personally believe that the leadership of high level positions like that of the [deputy director of extramural research] should turn over every five or six years to make room for new perspectives and direction," Ruiz Bravo said in a statement posted on the extramural research Web site. She added that in light of Zerhouni's departure it seemed like the right time to make the change.


More on green v. gold OA

John Harnad, Approaches to Open Access in Scientific Publishing, a preprint forthcoming in Physics World, self-archived November 19, 2008.  (Note that this is John, not Stevan, Harnad.) 

Abstract:   Approaches to scientific journal publishing that provide free access to all readers are challenging the standard subscription-based model. But in domains that have a well-functioning system of publicly accessible preprint repositories like arXiv, Open Access is already effectively available. In physics, such repositories have long coexisted constructively with refereed, subscription based journals. Trying to replace this by a system based on journals whose revenue is derived primarily from fees charged to authors is unlikely to provide a better guarantee of Open Access, and may be in conflict with the maintenance of high quality standards.

From the conclusion:

...The research community provides not only the published material, but also the refereeing services that, with distribution, form the main “value-added” that journals offer. It is therefore up to its members to make the choices, and exert the necessary pressure to assure that they are beneficiaries of transformations in scientific publishing that are occurring as a result of evolution in technology and consumer reaction against inflated subscription prices.

Meanwhile, at least in most branches of physics, mathematics, computer science and some other domains, the benefits of Open Access will continue to be adequately provided by widely used repositories such as arXiv. Other fields seeking to develop effective vehicles for Open Access could do well to first consider such an approach, where preprint/postprint repositories have long been seen to coexist constructively with refereed journals, providing in a complementary fashion for rapid dissemination, universal access, assurance of quality standards and long-term preservation of the results of scientific research.

China joins the World Digital Library

Library of Congress, National Library of China Sign World Digital Library Agreement, a press release from the Library of Congress, November 17, 2008.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  Excerpt:

The Library of Congress and the National Library of China have concluded an agreement to cooperate in developing the World Digital Library....

The two libraries agreed to provide content to the World Digital Library and to cooperate in such areas as the development and maintenance of the Chinese-language interface, the convening of international working groups to plan and develop the project, and the formation of an advisory committee of leading scholars and curators to recommend important collections about the culture and history of China for inclusion in the World Digital Library.

The Web-based World Digital Library, slated to launch in April 2009, is an initiative of the Library of Congress and other cultural institutions around the world in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Other institutions participating in the project include major libraries from Brazil, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Russia, Serbia, and Sweden, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, the John Carter Brown Library, and the libraries of Brown and Yale Universities....

The project will digitize and make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials of many cultures, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings and other materials of interest both to scholars and the general public.

PS:  Also see our past posts on the WDL.

Plans for an OA repository of video modules in math and science

MIT helps launch interactive video education project in Jordan, a press release from MIT, November 13, 2008.  Excerpt:

Two MIT professors traveled to Jordan this month to help kick off a new initiative called Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies (BLOSSOMS), a joint international collaboration of educators from the United States, Jordan and Pakistan....

BLOSSOMS aims to develop a large, free repository of science and math interactive video modules for high school students created by gifted volunteer teachers from around the world, seeded initially by MIT faculty members and partnering educators in Jordan and Pakistan....

Another platform for open design

Thingiverse is a new site for sharing designs for physical objects. All downloads are gratis, and the site includes integration for various open licenses. (Thanks to Creative Commons.)

See also our past post on SomeRightsReserved, a similar site.

Sit-ins for OA

From a transcript of Lawrence Lessig's keynote at the Students for Free Culture Conference (Berkeley, October 11-12, 2008):
... I think the obvious, low-hanging-fruit fight for the Students for Free Culture movement right now is to start having sit-ins in universities where they don’t adopt Open Access publishing rules. It’s ridiculous that scholars publish articles in journals that then charge 5, 10, 15 thousand dollars for people around the world to get access to it. I mean it’s no problem for Stanford or for Berkeley or for Harvard, but the developing world cannot get access to this stuff easily because of these extraordinarily idiotic 20th Century restrictions on access to knowledge. ...
Update. Stevan Harnad hopes Lessig is talking about green OA.

Archive of documents about the Virginia Tech attack

The Prevail Archive is an OA collection of official documents related to the the shootings at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. The archive is the result of a volunteer student effort to scan documents released under Virginia's Freedom of Information Act. (Thanks to the Chronicle of Higher Education.)

See also our past post on the April 16 Archive, another OA archive about the events.

JMIR gets funded by Canada's SSHRC

Gunther Eysenbach announced that the OA Journal of Medical Internet Research has received a $90,000 (CAN) grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
... Only 4 years ago, at the last SSHRC competition, JMIR was discouraged to submit a proposal, because it was an Open Access journal - 4 years ago, SSHRC did not consider to fund journals with no "subscribers" (the number of paying subscribers was seen as a quality criterion for an academic journal). ...

Blog notes on Charleston Conference

Molly Keener has posted notes on OA Exposed!, a panel at the Charleston Conference (Charleston, November 5-8, 2008).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog notes on SPARC repositories meeting

Some blog notes on the SPARC Digital Repositories Meeting (Baltimore, November 17-18, 2008):

OCLC fighting OA to bibliographic data

There's been a dust-up lately over a policy change announced by the Online Computer Library Center for the terms of use for WorldCat, the union catalog of bibliographic records contributed by OCLC member libraries.

It's disputed whether OCLC provides OA to the full WorldCat data: Open Library's Aaron Swartz says it doesn't; OCLC's Karen Calhoun says it does.

The new Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records supercedes the earlier Guidelines for the Use and Transfer of OCLC-Derived Records, last revised in the pre-Web era. (Karen Coyle points out that the Guidelines were themselves a response to an earlier attempt by OCLC to claim copyright in WorldCat records. The new policy avoids the term copyright, but does make an oblique reference to "the intellectual property rights [in WorldCat or WorldCat Records]".) The new policy is slated to go into effect in February 2009.

Aside from the name change (from "guidelines" to "policy", implying enforceability), key points of the new policy include prohibitions on commercial or "unreasonable" use. (An earlier version of the policy also required attribution to OCLC in each record re-used; in the latest version, the attribution requirement has been weakened to a recommendation.) The "reasonableness" standard is summarized as:

Use must not discourage the contribution of bibliographic and holdings data to WorldCat or substantially replicate the function, purpose, and/or size of WorldCat.

The restriction has drawn the ire of Open Library, which is building an OA bibliographic catalog. (In a blog post, Open Library's Aaron Swartz also claims that OCLC has "been trying to kill [Open Library] from the beginning -- threatening its funders with lawsuits, insulting it in the press, and putting pressure on member libraries not to cooperate.")

See this page on the code4lib wiki of links to commentary on the changes (including defenses by OCLC), and Aaron Swartz's petition against the changes.

See also our past post on OA to bibliographic data, or all post posts on WorldCat (especially the Open WorldCat project) and Open Library.

More on helping researchers understand their OA options, and more on Harvard's OA plans

Jennifer Howard, For Advice on Publishing in the Digital World, Scholars Turn to Campus Libraries, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2008.  Excerpt:

"Rapidly changing" is the term most often used these days to describe the landscape of scholarly communication. Scholars have to clear new and higher hurdles as they bump up against copyright and fair-use issues, open-access mandates, and a baffling array of publication and dissemination models.

How much of his own published work can a scholar post on a personal Web site without raising his publisher's ire? How much of someone else's work can he use in his course pack without trampling on fair use and risking a fine or legal action? How does a researcher upload her work to her institution's repository, and are there consequences if she opts out? Those are just some of the questions that professors may find themselves tripping over.

Where can researchers find a guide to lead them through this 21st-century obstacle course?

The library, of course.

More institutions are creating or beefing up offices and programs in scholarly communication or hiring librarians with expertise in copyright and intellectual property....

[Harvard's Stuart Shieber] told The Chronicle that just about all of Harvard's dozen or so faculties are considering open-access policies. "Each school has its own characteristics, and the policies need to be responsive to the differences among the schools," he says. "The process has to be faculty-based and consensual. But the [Office of Scholarly Communication] can help by advising and serving as a source for information."

Ambitions don't stop there. Mr. Shieber expects the office to evolve as "a laboratory for expanding and evolving scholarly communication practices." Perhaps its most important objective focuses on something of concern to librarians and scholars alike: figuring out a system to support authors who want to publish in open-access journals "by underwriting reasonable publication charges for those journals." ...

Update.  The article is now OA.  (Thanks to the Chronicle.)

Preliminary approval of Google settlement

Larry Neumeister, NY judge tentatively OKs Google copyright deal, Associated Press, November 17, 2008.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)  Excerpt:

A judge has tentatively approved a settlement of lawsuits between Google and book authors and publishers that may put millions of out-of-print texts online.

The settlement was announced by Google and the publishing industry in October. Final court approval is still needed.

Federal Judge John Sprizzo in Manhattan gave initial approval Friday. His order was put in the public record on Monday.

Sprizzo set a June hearing date for a final settlement and hearing to decide if the deal is fair, reasonable and adequate....


  • I'm a little surprised, in part because there are many serious objections to the settlement (alongside many serious endorsements), and in part because the settlement is so large and complicated that I would not have thought a judge could read it with the care required for a preliminary judgment, and weigh up its vast array of pros and cons, this soon after its release.  The settlement was released on October 28, and Judge Sprizzo filed his preliminary approval on November 15, just 19 days later.
  • See my own comments on the settlement and my four collections of comments by others (1, 2, 3, and 4).

More on self-selection and the OA impact advantage

Patrick Gaule and Nicolas Maystre, Getting cited: does open access help? CEMI Working Paper, November 12, 2008.  (Thanks to Phil Davis.)

Abstract:   We reexamine the widely held belief that free availability of scientific articles increases the number of citations they receive. Since open access is relatively more attractive to authors of higher quality papers, regressing citations on open access and other controls yields upward-biased estimates. Using an instrumental variable approach, we find no significant effect of open access. Instead, self-selection of higher quality articles into open access explains at least part of the observed open access citation advantage.

Creative Commons annual drive

A letter from Lawrence Lessig, CC blog, November 17, 2008.  Excerpt:

...I’m writing today to ask you to think again about one of those projects that will always be important to me — Creative Commons. We’re in the middle of our annual drive. The success of this drive is essential to our ability to run. The vast majority of CC’s supporters, including of course its Board, and current CEO, are volunteers. But the organization depends upon a small number of wildly underpaid staffers, as well as modest infrastructure to keep the system alive.

This is a tough year to ask for support, I know. All of us are facing difficult decisions about what we can really afford to do....

Whatever you can give is important....

Please support Creative Commons today.

Comment.  I don't run ads, but I do have opinions and make recommendations.  And I recommend CC.  It's a non-profit that needs your support and will use your money well.  Many non-profits directly support OA, such as the ATA, and when more of them have annual drives I'll recommend more of them for your annual consideration.  But this year CC is alone in the field, and very worthy.  Please give what you can.  I did.

Anticipating SCOAP3, EPL converts to no-fee OA for some topics

Another journal to offer Open Access while waiting for SCOAP3, an announcement from CERN's SCOAP3 project, November 18, 2008.  Excerpt:

Europhysics Letters announced that it will "offer open access free of charge to all authors submitting experimental and theoretical letters in [the subjects of] 'Physics of Elementary Particles and Fields' and 'Nuclear Physics'[,] two research areas focussing on the High-Energy Physics community".

EPL is published under the scientific policy and control of the European Physical Society by EDP Sciences, IOP Publishing and the Italian Physical Society (SIF) for a partnership of 17 European physical societies.

With this offer, EPL joins Springer's European Physical Journal C, which offers Open Access free of charges for all articles in experimental High-Energy Physics, and Elsevier's Physics Letters B and Nuclear Physics B, which will publish Open Access without any author fees the first articles describing the physics results of the LHC.

Some other Open Access options in HEP are those of SISSA/IOPP, where libraries of institutions active in HEP can have a yearly institutional membership and provide Open Access to all articles produced by their scientists; APS, where authors can pay fees to make their articles Open Access through the free to read scheme; and full Open Access journals such as the New Journal of Physics and PhysMath Central Physics A, supported by author fees.

Those steps signify the engagement of publishers towards Open Access in HEP, which is the ultimate scope of the SCOAP3 initiative. SCOAP3 target is universal and sustainable Open Access for all articles in the discipline without any direct financial burden for scientists nor additional costs for libraries.

From the EPL announcement:

...EPL is delighted to offer open access free of charge to all authors submitting experimental and theoretical letters in PACS codes 10 and 20. This offer will remain open until the SCOAP3 agreement at CERN takes effect.

Authors submitting any article to EPL will continue to be offered the opportunity to make their published letter open access for a one-off payment. However, with effect from 1 November 2008, any author who submits work related to subject areas within PACS 10 and 20 will benefit from open access at no charge, meaning their published article will be available free to all readers, forever....

Comparing publication lag at OA and TA journals

Peng Dong, Marie Loh, and Adrian Mondry, Publication lag in biomedical journals varies due to the periodical's publishing model, Scientometrics, November 2006.  Only the abstract and page one are free online, at least so far:

Abstract:   Research manuscripts face various time lags from initial submission to final publication in a scientific periodical. Three publishing models compete for the market. Professional publishing houses publish in print and/or online in a “reader-pays” model, or follow the open access model of “author-pays”, while a number of periodicals are bound to learned societies. The present study aims to compare the three business models of publishing, with regards to publication speed. 28 topically similar biomedical journals were compared. Open access journals have a publication lag comparable to journals published by traditional publishers. Manuscript submitted to and accepted in either of these two types of periodicals are available to the reader much faster than manuscripts published in journals with strong ties to specialized learned societies.


  • I won't comment on the overall argument, since I don't have access to the article.  But even the abstract shows that the authors presuppose that all OA journals charge publication fees when, in fact, most charge no fees at all.
  • Here are some comments from Charlie Mayor, who was able to read the piece:
    ...Though their method is marred by small sample sizes in the open access group, time from receipt to publication online compared well between traditional-publication and OA articles. Nature Publishing Group titles were selected as representative of the traditional model. However, I would have liked to have seen data for other titles - Nature publishes every week and is the biggest academic journal in the world.  It may not be entirely typical in its editing processes and timeliness.  Nature titles took on average 120 days from receipt to online publication. Open access titles from BioMed Central took on average 139 days....

OA v. commercialization of research in Australia

Bernard Lane, No gags in new rules for CSIRO, The Australian, November 19, 2008.  Excerpt:

The federal Government has promised not to "interfere improperly" in the scholarly work of the CSIRO [Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation], but new charters for public research agencies also warn scientists not to trespass on the politicians' policy turf.

Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Minister Kim Carr said it was the first time that the liberties and duties of these agencies had been set out in charter form....

The CSIRO charter endorses "open communication and dissemination of the findings of research" as a general principle, but makes this subject to contractual arrangements or other legal or moral obligations.

The Government defers to its agencies as independent managers of research dissemination, allowing them to strike a balance between open access to knowledge and commercial exploitation of research results....

Asked about the tension between open access and commercialisation, Senator Carr said: "I have a preference for encouraging the highest levels possible of open access (but) there are some commercial implications in terms of IP that we are still examining (for the innovation white paper)."

Broadly similar charters have been signed with the CSIRO, the Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

PS:  Also see Colin Steele's February 2007 argument for OA at CSIRO.

Twidox repository now in private beta

Twidox launches private beta, CC blog, November 17, 2008.  Excerpt:

Twidox, “a free, user generated online library of ‘quality’ documents,” launched their private beta today. The “private” beta can be accessed with a beta-code, which virtually anyone can obtain by registering. For readers of this blog, you can simply type in the beta-code “creativecommons” to check out Twidox.

Twidox is a content repository where anyone can upload and publish their work under a Creative Commons license, donate it to the public domain, or retain “all rights reserved” copyright. They have built in CC licensing, so you can easily tag your resources under the license of your choosing. Twidox’s focus is on:

  • academic papers and articles
  • research material
  • professional and industry specific documents
  • coursework and dissertations
  • data and statistics...

Twidox...“[does] not see [other OA repositories] as competitors.” They state that “Rather than trying to compete with organisations such as the ‘Max-Planck Institute’ and ‘Frauenhofer Institute’, for example, we see them as potential co-operation partners and welcome partnerships.” They also differ from other content repositories in that they are working to [gather] content on a wider scale by collaborating with various European organizations, versus simply hosting individually contributed materials. So far, Twidox is working with the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking and also their Office on Drugs and Crime.

Twidox was founded by Nicholas and Daniel MacGowan von Holstein and Jan Deppe. The idea for Twidox began in a university when they began “discussing the difficulty of searching for relevant quality documents for research purposes (access to knowledge). The greatest obstacle lay in the relevance of search results returned from search engines, getting access to subscription-paying sites that did have relevant information and the vast number of websites from different organisations that held documents on the same subject.”

PS:  Also see our past posts on Twidox.

More on the quality of OA journals

OA to geo-coded biodiversity information in the Himalayas

Today's Nepal News has a report on the conference, Linking Geodata with Biodiversity Information in the Himalayas (Kathmandu, November 15-16, 2008).  Excerpt:

A two-day workshop "Linking Geodata with Biodiversity Information in the Himalayas" organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the Global Mountain Biodiversity Programme (GMBA) concluded on Sunday (Nov 16) with a call to create a mountain biodiversity information network in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region for mutual benefit and trans boundary cooperation....

ICIMOD and GMBA shared their experiences in developing GIS-enabled biodiversity portals as a gateway for biodiversity information and demonstrated the benefit of geo-referenced biodiversity data for integrated analysis and spatial visualisation of biodiversity information in relation to climate, land use, physiography, and other important parameters. The workshop participants deliberated on ways of improving the biodiversity database at the national and local levels, the need for standardisation and harmonisation for data exchange, and providing a way to facilitate easy and open access to geo-coded biodiversity information....

OA to 60 years of the J of the Polynesian Society

The Journal of the Polynesian Society has provided OA to the first 60 years of its 100+ year backrun.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nov/Dec issue of D-Lib

The November/December 2008 issue of D-Lib is now available. See especially these articles:

OA for health researchers in developing countries

Joanna Adcock and Edward Fottrell, The North-South information highway: case studies of publication access among health researchers in resource-poor countries, Global Health Action, November 13, 2008. (Thanks to Peter Byass.) Abstract:

... More than half of the respondents (n=12, 52%) expressed dissatisfaction with their access to print and online journals, directly relating this to inadequate university and research budgets. ...

[Barriers to publishing in a peer-reviewed journal included] insufficient access to existing information on the research subject.

Thirteen respondents (56%) were opposed to the author-pays model of publishing. Seventeen respondents (78%) stated that they would be unwilling or unable to pay a fee to publish their work, although 4 of these individuals stated that they would be willing to publish in an author-pays journal if their employer or funder paid the fees. ...

The impact of new open-access initiatives on [the lack of access to up-to-date literature] will be an important outcome measure of their overall effectiveness. ...

Current open-access and aid-based initiatives are invaluable and have undoubtedly improved access to information. However, based on views expressed by study respondents, the author-pays model of open access appears to fall short of successfully overcoming unidirectional information flow. ... Further investigation into the knowledge and attitudes of academics from resource-poor settings in relation to open-access and author-pays models is important ... Whatever the cause, however, there is a danger that this unwillingness or inability to pay to publish may perpetuate the imbalance of a North to South information flow, in that academics in resource-poor countries are still not contributing to academic literature ...

[A] powerful message from the preliminary findings presented here is a need for more direct editorial support, coupled with efforts to improve access to academic literature, in order to open up bidirectional information flow. More innovative thinking around the entire publication process is therefore needed. Along the lines of AuthorAID and INASP, models offering author mentoring schemes (scientific as well as editorial) combined with low publication fees and open access platforms whilst maintaining scientific rigour are likely to play a significant role in addressing the gross inequality between North and South. ...

Case study in open notebook science

Jean-Claude Bradley, From ONS to Peer Review: our JoVE Article is Published, Useful Chemistry, November 13, 2008.

Our article "Optimization of the Ugi Reaction Using Parallel Synthesis and Automated Liquid Handling" is now published on the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE). I am very pleased with this because it showcases some interesting approaches to communicate science that were not possible not so long ago.

First, and foremost, this demonstrates that lab notebook pages and blog posts can be used to support claims made in a peer reviewed article. ... When providing a reference for a melting point or spectrum, nothing is more relevant that the lab notebook page where the specific batch of product was obtained and characterized.

Second, we have demonstrated that it is possible carry out research under Open Notebook Science conditions, write an article openly on a wiki, post it on a pre-print server (like Nature Precedings) and finally publish it in an peer reviewed journal. ...

Third, this is a good example of the use of video to enhance the communication of a protocol for a chemical reaction. ...

Finally, JoVE is an example of an Open Access journal with some Web2.0 capabilities, like the ability to leave comments and label them as agreeing or disagreeing with the authors. The final article can now also serve as a location for continuing the scientific conversation.

OA discussion list at U. Toronto school of education

Open Access @ OISE is a discussion list for students, faculty, and staff at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. Thanks to Stian Haklev, who notes:
... To me personally, a long-term goal might be an institutional mandate, similar to what the Arts and Sciences at Harvard, and the Faculty of Education at Stanford, have come up with. ...

Intro video to DSpace

DSpace has released a brief introductory video to its repository software. See the November 5 announcement. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

More blog notes on Berlin 6 conference

Cornelius Puschmann has posted a round-up of blog notes on the Berlin 6 Conference (Düsseldorf, November 11-13, 2008). See especially the posts by Kaitlin Thaney (which we posted previously), Cornelius Puschmann, Mark Liberman, and Robert Forkel.

Voting for best OA content in anthropology

The blog Savage Minds is now accepting votes for the best OA content in anthropology, with categories for best blog, best journal, and best digital miscellany. (We previously posted the call for nominations.) Winners will be announced at the American Anthropological Association conference this weekend.

Journal issue on very large digital libraries

The International Journal on Digital Libraries has a special issue on very large digital libraries. See especially these articles:

Journal issue on the Neuroscience Information Framework

A special issue of Neuroinformatics is dedicated to the Neuroscience Information Framework, an NIH project to develop a (OA) framework for identifying and locating neuroscience resources. The theme issue is OA. See also the press release on the theme issue. (Thanks to Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.)

We previously posted an article from the issue, on Textpresso for Neuroscience.

More on OA to CRS reports

Shirl Kennedy, Resources of the Week: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others, ResourceShelf, November 17, 2008.

Regarding the public availability of Congressional Research Service reports…maybe the situation will be different in the new administration. Maybe these valuable, taxpayer-funded documents will finally be posted online by the Congressional Research Service as they are issued. In our opinion, there is no logical reason for the hoop-jumping necessary to pry these things loose from the CRS.

Granted, access is a lot better than it used to be, thanks to the tireless efforts of various academic and nonprofit organizations to corral as many of these reports as possible and make them freely available online. ...

The sheer volume of government information now available online is amazing, and has made life infinitely easier not only for researchers, but for the average citizen. We have not yet heard a compelling reason why the Congressional Research Service — a division of the Library of Congress — remains a black hole. This Washington Post story, from February 2007, blames “a wall erected by lawmakers” who regard the agency “as an extension of” their own staff.

We’re not buying that excuse. Equivalent agencies in other countries routinely place their reports online: [links to reports by various parliamentary research services from around the world] ...

See also our past posts on OA to CRS reports.

Protesting US bishops' decision to require use of a TA text in mass

Jeffrey Tucker, A Serious Issue on the Revised Grail Psalter, New Liturgical Movement, November 16, 2008.  Excerpt:

Last week, CNS [Catholic News Service] reported that the USCCB [U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops] has voted in favor of incorporating into the English translation of the Mass the "Revised Grail Psalter," and there is speculation that this translation will become the universal Psalter in the English-speaking world....

[A comment on Tucker's blog pointed out] the emerging problem:

The copyright on the new psalter is held jointly by the Conception Abbey and The Grail. GIA Publications, Inc., is proud to serve as the worldwide agent and pledges to administer the rights in an efficient and impartial manner. The first publication of the new text will occur in the form of a book containing the complete text and will be available as soon as the formal imprimatur is received.

Think of what this means. A private, commercial publisher --whose budget and financial dealings is entirely hidden from public view because it is said to be a religious nonprofit-- has struck a deal with another huge institution that has the power to mandate the text that all Catholics in the United States use at Mass. This private publisher will control the rights to use the text, charging whatever price they deem suitable and preventing independent composers from setting the Psalms for Mass....

[I]t is not too early to raise alarm bells about what this new-found power of GIA could portend.

2. All money to pay the royalty fees will be paid by Catholic parishes and other publishers, which raises barriers to entry into the market and gives a monopolistic privilege to GIA over everyone else. The money paid for these royalties comes directly out of the pockets of faithful Catholics in the pews, who will be charged money just for the privilege of singing the Psalms....

4. This is a major threat to Catholic composers, who might be prevented from posting their Psalm settings online for paid or even free download, without jumping through whatever hoops the GIA wants to set up....

7. It is of interest to know precisely what kind of financial arrangements that the USCCB has made with GIA in order to bring this result about. Did the GIA pay the USCCB in some form or any form to bring this result about? If not, a flat denial would be a good way to start. If there was some sort of arrangement, Catholics have a right to know what it was. After all, the USCCB has no money that it didn't gain from the voluntary gifts of Catholics in the pews. Everyone has an interest in knowing more about this.

8. What would be the downside of having the USCCB purchase the whole rights to these Psalms...and making them public domain, free for anyone to use? ...

10. We must never forget that the very idea of copyright is an invention of positive law,...first under the rule of Queen Elizabeth in England, who used the copyright power as a tool for enforcing religious adherence to the Church of England....Meanwhile, we see the Catholic Church making use of these state institution[s] to variously include and exclude people from the field of religious publication and composition....It is long overdue for the Catholic Church to detach itself from the old forms for enforcement and embrace the new world of digital and rivalrous publication and composition....

This of it: A private company using a legal monopoly to sell at a profit the Psalms we are mandated to sing and using the state to crack down on all who attempt to compete or give them away for free. The GIA and the USCCB are playing with fire here. The Reformation was prompted by injustices less egregious. All Catholics must stand up and insist that this must not be allowed to happen. If the Church is going to authorize the Revised Grail, access must be efficient and impartial in the only way it can be: the rights to the texts must be completely open access.

PS:  Also see Tucker's call for OA to English translations of public-domain Latin texts required by US bishops for use in mass.

Bioline seeks members and sponsors

Bioline International has launched a membership and sponsorship program.  From today's announcement:

Currently, the world’s research knowledge base is incomplete. Research carried out in the developing world is little known and under-used.

A joint initiative between the Centre for Environmental Research Information in Brazil and the University of Toronto Scarborough, Bioline International has as its main goal the global exchange of essential research information published in developing countries, thereby improving the South to North and South to South flow of research knowledge. To this end, it is launching a major drive towards sustainability by inviting international Membership and Sponsorship by organizations and individuals supporting its aims.

Bioline currently provides access to 70 journals from 15 countries published in the developing world. Subject areas focus on issues of global importance, including medical research, emerging infectious diseases, global public health, climate change, food security and biodiversity. In 2007, a further 70 new journals applied to join Bioline International in order to take advantage of open access to their publications. These publishers have taken note of the greatly increased usage of existing journals on the system  3.5 million full text downloads were recorded in 2007.

In order to meet this high demand for Bioline’s services, Bioline must now establish a long-term, sustainable funding model which includes support from the worldwide community. “ Too often we think of scientific knowledge and the developing countries in terms of what ‘we’ can do for  ‘them’, ” says Lynn Copeland, Dean of Library Services and University Librarian, Simon Fraser University Library, Canada. “We need to nurture the organizations and initiatives that challenge this limiting point of view, enriching the international scholarly community with important research and neglected perspectives from the developing world.”

By participating in the new Bioline Membership and Sponsorship program, libraries and research organizations can express their support for the publication of open access journals, ensure continued access to valuable and unique content, and help bring new titles to the Bioline International website. As no charges are made to publishers, all fees and donations are used directly to support the website and document enhancement costs.

Institutional membership fees are set at the modest level of $500/year to enable widespread support.  Foundation and special sponsorship fees may be negotiated on an individual basis....

More on data sharing in biomedicine

Heather A. Piwowar and Wendy Chapman, Identifying data sharing in biomedical literature, AIMA Annual Symposium Proceedings, November 2008.  Since the 2008 proceedings are not yet online (OA or TA) at the AIMA web site, I'm linking to the abstract at PubMed.

Abstract:   Many policies and projects now encourage investigators to share their raw research data with other scientists. Unfortunately, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these initiatives because data can be shared in such a variety of mechanisms and locations. We propose a novel approach to finding shared datasets: using NLP techniques to identify declarations of dataset sharing within the full text of primary research articles. Using regular expression patterns and machine learning algorithms on open access biomedical literature, our system was able to identify 61% of articles with shared datasets with 80% precision. A simpler version of our classifier achieved higher recall (86%), though lower precision (49%). We believe our results demonstrate the feasibility of this approach and hope to inspire further study of dataset retrieval techniques and policy evaluation. 

PS:  See our blog post linking to two OA versions of the preprint.

OA as reparation now hosts an OA database of Slave Registers of former British Colonial Dependencies, 1812-1834.  There's an unusual story here, reported by

A campaign to get free community access to the register of enslaved Africans in the Caribbean has borne fruit after the intervention of petitioner Martin Booth, community worker Arthur Torrington and over 9000 supporters.

Several months ago the [UK] Prime Minister rejected a petition to “Give African descendants free access to slavery records” arguing that the original versions of these records are available for anyone to go and see, free of charge, at The National Archives’ reading rooms in Kew.

In response, Arthur Torrington, secretary of the Equiano Society and the Windrush Foundation wrote a letter to the government stating; “Free online access may be regarded as a form of reparation for the cruelty and injustice by the British in the era of African enslavement. Saying that the government considered that free access “would incur significant cost” highlights the disregard for the hurt felt by our ancestors and their descendants at the hands of the British. Your statement ignores the many billions of pounds (£) earned by British traders/traffickers who relied on the forced labour of African prisoners. This country’s wealth was built on that labour.”

The website requires users to register with its American parent company [] that owns the data but after that access is free....


  • The Ligali story says that the data are owned by  But I don't understand that.  The data must be in the public domain, and it appears that the original paper documents are in the custody of the UK National Archives.  I can't tell in what sense has an ownership claim here, although I can understand why it might require registration in exchange for hosting the files. 
  • The Ligali story also suggests, without quite asserting, that the UK government paid to digitize the records.  Can anyone confirm that UK taxpayers footed the bill?  If so, why aren't the files hosted by the UK government with no access restrictions for users, perhaps as another OA collection of the National Archives

Test driving repository deposits with SWORD

Stuart Lewis reports that the SWORD 2 project has launched a test repository.  Excerpt:

Have you ever wanted to try out SWORD, but don’t yet have a repository that supports it? As part of the JISC funded ‘SWORD 2? project, we have now made available a test DSpace repository....

If you’ve not used SWORD before, and want to give it a go, here’s what you’ll need to [take the following 6 steps]....

You’ll have seen from going through this process that a really good client is needed to make SWORD easy to use by all users....Clients need to be user friendly, work in the way that users expect them to, and work in the environments that users want them to. The Microsoft Office SWORD deposit tool is a good first example of this.

Watch out for the launch of a new easier to use and more fully featured SWORD deposit client that also deals with the packaging issue in the next 24 hours whilst I’m at the SPARC digital repositories meeting.

Update (11/18/08).  The test repository is DSpace-based.  But for those who would like to test drive SWORD on an EPrints-based repository, Les Carr points out that "the standard EPrints public demo repository has been supporting SWORD for some time now...."

New OA journal of wetlands

The Journal of Wetlands Ecology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Wetland Friends of Nepal.  (Thanks to Otterman speaks.)  The inaugural issue now online.

Open knowledge definition now in Greek

Ireland's Digital Humanities Observatory

The EU Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities (DARIAH) has launched the Irish Digital Humanities Observatory.  From the DHO site:

...The DHO has in a few short months begun to effectively establish its presence and deliver on its pledge to become a knowledge resource providing outreach and education on a broad range of digital humanities topics. As a digital repository it positioning itself to provide data management, curation, and discovery services supporting long-term access to, and greater exploitation of, digital resources in the creation of new models, methodologies, and paradigms for 21st century scholarship.

Activities of the DHO include organising the very successful first Digital Humanities Summer School in Ireland; a series of internationally-recognised speakers during its autumn speaker series; and delivering workshops on topics including digital project management, text encoding, and digital imaging. Over the coming months the DHO will launch a community-focused web portal and Database of Research and Projects in Ireland (DRAPIer). DRAPIer will help to raise the visibility of digital humanities projects throught the island and connect researchers and resources in the humanities in Ireland and throughout the world. An article about the DHO by Dick Ahlstrom, The Irish Times Science Editor, appeared in The Irish Times on Thursday 23 October....

According to the Irish Times article cited above, some of the DHO contents will be TA, but "a growing amount of this material is being made freely available to the public over the internet."