Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Saturday, January 17, 2009

New issue of Educause Review

The January/February 2009 issue of Educause Review is now available. See especially: Update. See also the special section on open textbooks: See also our previous post on the EDUCAUSE value statement.

On public domain digitization and a new free classification system

John Mark Ockerbloom, Public Domain Day 2009: Freeing the libraries, Everybody’s Libraries, January 1, 2009.

... [M]any more [public domain] works are now freely and easily available to the public today than a year ago. Much of this is thanks to initiatives like Google Books and the Open Content Alliance, which are digitizing books and other works that libraries have acquired and preserved. Many of the digitized works are in the public domain, and these projects have been making them freely readable and downloadable when they can confirm their public domain status. And now that Google has negotiated a settlement with book publisher and author groups, they plan to be more proactive about identifying and releasing public domain works, including works published after 1922 that are out of copyright (but are not so easy identified as public domain as older books are).

These works have been part of the public domain for years, but when they were simply sitting on the shelves of a few research libraries, they weren’t doing the public much good. Once they’re digitized, though, and their digitizations and descriptions are shared online, they can be much more easily found, read, adapted, and reused by anyone online. By opening up the treasure trove of public domain expression that libraries have preserved, we magnify its value. When libraries share their intellectual endowment, they better fulfill their mission to bring art and knowledge to readers, and make it easy for readers to learn, build on, and be enriched by this knowledge.

I wish I could say that libraries always acted with this understanding. ...

In the new year, I hope to encourage libraries to be more open in sharing their knowledge resources (and to support partners that also enable such openness). My gifts to the public domain this year are in that spirit.

The first one, dedicated immediately to the public domain, is the start of a simple, free decimal classification system, intended to be reasonably compatible with certain existing library standards, but freely available and usable by anyone for any purpose. (I created this after someone requested such a system for their institutional repository, and found out that the current Dewey Decimal system is subject to usage restrictions based on copyright and trademark.) While this is more of a proof of concept than something I expect libraries to adopt in great numbers, I hope it inspires further open sharing of library metadata and standards. ...

Update. See also the new version of the classification system.

Effects of copyright legislation on public domain digitization projects

Paul A. David and Jared Rubin, Restricting Access to Books on the Internet: Some Unanticipated Effects of U.S. Copyright Legislation, Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, June 2008. Abstract:
One manifestation of the trend towards the strengthening of copyright protection that has been noticeable during the past two decades is the secular extension of the potential duration during which access to copyrightable materials remains legally restricted. Those restrictions carry clear implications for the current and prospective costs to readers seeking “on-line” availability of the affected content in digital form, via the Internet. This paper undertakes to quantify one aspect of these developments by providing readily understandable measures of the restrictive consequences of the successive modifications that were made in U.S. copyright laws during the second half of the twentieth century. Specifically, we present estimates of the past, present and future number of copyrighted books belonging to different publication-date “cohorts” whose entry into the public domain (and consequent accessibility in scanned on-line form) will thereby have been postponed. In some instances these deferrals of access due to legislative extensions of the duration of copyright protection are found to reach surprisingly far into the future, and to arise from the effects of interactions among the successive changes in the law that generally have gone unnoticed.

Schedule for OA Week 2009

Liz Allen, Save the date - Open Access Week 19-23 October 2009, Public Library of Science blog, January 14, 2009.

After the resounding success of our first ever Open Access Day in 2008, where we had nearly 130 participating organizations from almost 30 countries, we are pleased to announce that this year's events will be scheduled during the week of 19-23 October 2009.

Why a week rather than a day? When we asked for feedback from the folks taking part last year, while they said that they had enjoyed the "event-in-a-box" approach, many of them found that cramming everything into one day was tricky (especially given international time differences) and that spreading activities over a week to suit their individual needs would be easier.

What is also particularly pleasing about choosing this week is that 19 October is PLoS Medicine's fifth birthday ...

[W]e also wish to add a technology partner who could assist us with streaming live web coverage of round table discussions or talks from prominent advocates and post event delivery. So if you are reading this and you work in this field or have significant experience of it and want to join the team please email Donna Okubo.

We will be launching our Open Access Week 2009 site shortly but in the meantime, you can sign up here.

More on the STM briefing document on IRs and deposit mandates

Last week, STM released a briefing document for members only.  Yesterday it made it OA.  As Michael Mabe, the STM CEO, wrote to Stevan Harnad, who had asked for permission to post excerpts on his blog:

Yes, please use the quotes with our permission. If you want to refer to the whole document please link to it on our website [here].

If you are interested in posting the full document on your website you have permission to do this - with the proviso that any modifications/commentary must be prominently noted and distinguished from our document and that you link it to the original on the STM site.

Thanks for the chance to post “background context and objectives”. Perhaps you could note to your ePrints site the gist of my emails, namely:

  1. Our document was originally intended as briefing for a STM member-publishers to help them develop policies and a greater understanding of the current environment
  2. STM welcomes open discussion of these matters and will be interested to learn about any comments you receive
  3. That I’d like to reserve the opportunity to comment at a later date if it seems that would be helpful

Thanks to Michael Mabe for releasing the document, and thanks to Stevan Harnad for seeking and obtaining permission to post excerpts.  See Stevan's response to the document, using paraphrases instead of quotations, and his update, using quotations.

Here's my selection of the key excerpts from the document:

Briefing Document (for Publishing Executives) on Institutional Repositories and Mandated Deposit Policies

Scholarly publishers recognize that Institutional Repositories (“IRs”) serve a number of useful purposes for universities and research institutions. If properly conceived and executed, they can help disseminate knowledge and promote institutions to funding agencies and recruits. IRs can usefully highlight and capture the research output of the institution, identify and post theses, dissertations, research data, historical images and illustrations from institutional archives, and serve as vehicles for electronic coursepacks.

Scholarly publishers are willing to work with institutions on opportunities to showcase research supported by the institution as long as publishers’ investments in the primary tasks of supporting scholarly communications can be maintained....

Publishers become concerned when IRs involve themselves in publishing and distribution activities currently being done efficiently and effectively by the scholarly publishing community. When this happens, a parallel publishing system is created that lacks the quality controls and value-added processes publishers already employ. If IRs become primary publishing outlets, many are concerned that key elements of today’s scholarly communication system such as quality controls, preservation standards, and the discoverability of research, will suffer.

Publishers rely on copyright transfers or publishing licenses from authors for the rights they need to ensure that the funding sources for the scholarly communications process-- which have enabled them to make more information available to more people in more ways than at any time in human history-- are not undermined by the availability of alternative versions. In return, authors’ manuscripts are improved, enriched, promoted, and branded as part of a web-based peer-reviewed journal publishing system developed and maintained by publishers. This longstanding value-given-for-value-received partnership is vitally important to publishers. Grants of broad and ill-defined rights by authors to IRs risk undermining the ability of both sides to continue this successful relationship. Many are concerned that authors are not adequately briefed on the unintended consequences of such actions. Where these conflicts exist today, many publishers and authors face dilemmas as to how they can effectively proceed with publication decisions - to the detriment of scholarly communication....

As an executive in the publishing industry, you may be asked to comment on news and developments in the academic community about these IR policies, which are sometimes also less accurately described as “authors’ rights” or “open access” policies....

Key points for internal review:

  • What publishing rights are necessary to support our business model(s)? E.g. subscription models will generally need at least exclusive publishing rights while author-pays models may not
  • In our journal publishing agreement(s), do we offer rights to authors for IR postings? If not, under what terms and conditions might we?
  • What distinctions do we draw between pre-print servers, voluntary IRs, and mandated IRs in terms of copyright policies and business model(s)?
  • Where do our business strategies and copyright policies fall in the policy categories below? (Note that the categories are not mutually exclusive and that different policies may fall into different categories):
    • Intramural Policies: We allow posting of final or near-final versions of articles on an Intranet site with no public access permitted;
    • Extramural Policies: We allow posting of early versions of articles on an Internet site with public access permitted and journal-specific embargo periods;
    • Linking Policies: We allow posting of final versions of articles on a publisher web site with links from institutional sites
    • Sponsorship Policies: We allow posting of final versions of articles on an institutional site and/or our own site and/or other repository site with direct financial support of agency, institution, author or sponsor

Key points to consider in possible interactions with the media:

  • More scholarly journal literature is more visible and more accessible to more individuals now than at any time in history, principally because of the efforts and investments of publishers....
  • Posting on an institutional repository is not the same as publishing in a journal — journals have established editorial policies and perspectives, peer review systems, editing, tagging, and reference-linking services
  • If not carefully conceived and managed, IRs can become nothing more than alternative, free-access parallel (but inferior) publishing and distribution systems which risk undermining the incentives and ability of publishers to invest in managing the peer-review of research and to provide and maintain the well-organized infrastructure necessary to publish, disseminate and archive journal articles
  • IRs require investment and management. They should be undertaken only if they have a clear mission and purpose other than merely offering an alternative parallel publishing and distribution system
  • Researchers should be fully briefed about possible adverse and long-term effects on scholarly communication before granting broad and ill-defined rights to IRs
  • Faculty authors should retain the freedom to choose how and where to publish
  • Universities proposing to obtain rights from their faculty should also work with publishers to avoid adverse effects on the system of web-based peer-reviewed journals which currently underpins today’s unprecedented rate of scientific advancement....


  • I've endorsed the comments Stevan Harnad made on 1/13.  To save time and space, I'll add just a few others here.
  • "Scholarly publishers are willing to work with institutions on opportunities to showcase research supported by the institution as long as publishers’ investments in the primary tasks of supporting scholarly communications can be maintained."  No one expects publishers to work with universities when it would undermine their investments, and I applaud their willingness to work with universities in other circumstances.  On the other side, no one should expect universities to slow down the pursuit of their own missions, to generate and share knowledge, just to protect publisher investments, even if they welcome opportunities to work with publishers in other circumstances.
  • "Publishers become concerned when IRs involve themselves in publishing and distribution activities currently being done efficiently and effectively by the scholarly publishing community. When this happens, a parallel publishing system is created that lacks the quality controls and value-added processes publishers already employ."  OA repositories do not perform peer review and therefore do not duplicate what publishers do or provide a "parallel publishing system".  The STM document itself acknowledges this toward the end when it says, quite rightly, that "Posting on an institutional repository is not the same as publishing in a journal...."
  • "If IRs become primary publishing outlets, many are concerned that key elements of today’s scholarly communication system such as quality controls, preservation standards, and the discoverability of research, will suffer."  Two points:  (1) If the objection is that OA repositories will start to perform peer review, then publishers can relax.  I see no evidence that this is happening.  If the objection is that green OA itself will undermine peer review, then I've answered that objection at length elsewhere.  (2) Is STM is seriously saying that non-OA literature facilitates preservation and discovery more than OA literature? 
  • "Publishers rely on copyright transfers or publishing licenses from authors for the rights they need to ensure that the funding sources for the scholarly communications process...are not undermined by the availability of alternative versions."  Today most non-OA publishers already allow authors to deposit their peer-reviewed postprints in OA repositories.  Most of these publisher policies prohibit deposit of the published editions, and therefore permit "the availability of alternative versions".  Moreover, many of the leading OA policies, such as the NIH policy, give publishers the option to replace the author's manuscript with the published edition, if they wish.  Hence, in most cases publishers either consent to the coexistence of multiple versions or have the option to prevent it.
  • "Grants of broad and ill-defined rights by authors to IRs risk undermining the ability of both sides to continue this successful relationship...."  I've addressed the "undermining" claim elsewhere.  But I don't understand the "ill-defined rights" claim.  Is STM saying that it would have no problem with policies that ask authors to retain sharply-defined rights?  FWIW, most of the policies I've seen that ask authors to retain rights are focused and precise in the rights they ask authors to retain, and the rest could easily be revised to tighten up the rights request.  If the objection is that these policies ask for "broad" or overbroad rights, then that's worth discussing further.  I've argue that these policies are justified and that most TA publishing contracts demand overbroad rights.  (See my June 2007 article on the joint STM/ALPSP/AAP/PSP paper on balancing author and publishing rights.)
  • "Many are concerned that authors are not adequately briefed on the unintended consequences of such actions."  Many or most authors already know that many or most publishers fear that green OA will reduce their revenue or even undermine peer review.  I wouldn't mind briefing authors on those fears if we could also brief them on the answers to those fears and the rationale for OA.  To put this another way, authors are not adequately briefed on the unintended consequences of signing exclusive rights over to publishers who will use those rights to limit access to their work.
  • "[IRs] should be undertaken only if they have a clear mission and purpose other than merely offering an alternative parallel publishing and distribution system."  The (primary) purpose of an IR is to provide OA to its contents, and the purpose of OA is to remove access barriers for readers and enlarge the audience and impact for authors.  OA repositories would not be necessary (for these purposes) if all journals already provided OA their contents.  But today we're far from that point and therefore OA repositories are still necessary.  The imperative that IRs should not be undertaken merely to offer "an alternative distribution...system", or merely to offer OA, seems to rest on the imperative that authors and universities should put publisher interests ahead of their own interests.  That principle is unargued and unwise.  It's also subject to table-turning:  authors and universities could demand, with the same justification, that publishers put author and university interests ahead of their own.  But in fact green OA makes this table-turning unnecessary:  green OA means that authors and universities don't have to demand that TA publishers convert to OA.  OA policies like those at the NIH and Harvard even make it unnecessary to demand that TA publishers permit green OA; the policies obtain all the rights they need from authors, and publishers are left free to decide whether to publish work by those authors.
  • "Faculty authors should retain the freedom to choose how and where to publish."  I agree and have argued that this principle is entirely compatible with OA.
  • "Universities proposing to obtain rights from their faculty should also work with publishers to avoid adverse effects on the system of web-based peer-reviewed journals which currently underpins today’s unprecedented rate of scientific advancement."  Publishers proposing to obtain rights from faculty (through publishing contracts) should work with universities to avoid adverse effects on authors' ability to authorize OA for their work and stimulate an unprecedented rate of scientific advancement.

Update (1/26/09).  Dorothea Salo has posted an open letter to STM, protesting the way it cited her work in the briefing document and left the impression that she supports its conclusions.  Excerpt:

...I repudiate your inclusion of this article in your briefing in the strongest possible terms, and should be obliged were you to remove mention of it from your document entirely. While I do indeed raise questions about the “expense and utility” of institutional repositories, I do so in hopes of encouraging libraries to make greater commitments of resources to them, in hopes of increasing their return on investment.

I object most strenuously to your misinterpretation of this position as expressing concern about “misuse and dangers” of IRs. IRs are not a misuse of library or institutional resources, and they do not pose dangers to the scholarly-communication process —only to outmoded business models and those who cling stubbornly to them....

Update (1/28/09). STM has agreed to remove its reference to Dorothea Salo's work from its briefing document.


More on patents on the results of publicly-funded research

Indian Government maintains anti-access position regarding publicly-funded research, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, December 21, 2008.  (Thanks to Subbiah Arunachalam.)  Excerpt:

Despite appeals from Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), and other public interest groups, the Indian government has refused to modify a secretly drafted legislation that would govern the patenting of the results of publicly funded-research including publicly-funded medical research. As it currently stands, the Bill will harm access to medicines and impede the ability of scientists to conduct innovative research due to a lack of measures to protect the public interest.

The Indian government made only cosmetic changes to the legislation: the Bill still removes publicly-funded innovations from the public sphere and permits monopoly pricing on publicly-funded products without any effective safeguards to protect the public interest. The legislation is modeled on the US Bayh-Dole Act which has led to a proliferation of patenting activity and the creation of patent thickets. These create barriers to new innovative research and fail to protect the interests of American taxpayers who end up subsidizing the discovery of medicines they are often then unable to afford.

Proponents of the Indian Bill claim it will help India to commercialize publicly-funded research by encouraging research institutions to seek patents. As a UAEM white paper on a recent version of the bill argues, the law duplicates the failures of the US Bayh-Dole act and in fact offers even fewer access protections....

PS:  See my comment from last week on a similar law in South Africa.

More on how OA challenges conventional business models

Karl-Nikolaus Peifer, "Wissenschaftsmarkt und Urheberrecht: Schranken, Vertragsrecht, Wettbewerbsrecht", GRUR 2009, pp. 22-28.  Accessible only to subscribers, at least so far.

Thanks to Klaus Graf, who provides excerpts and comments.  Read  his post in German or Google's English.

Gathering the evidence that OA books boost sales of print editions

Infobib has compiled a list of links (many from OAN) to articles providing evidence that OA editions of full-text books can stimulate a net increase in the sales of print editions.

Thanks to Klaus Graf, who has been creating a Delicious-based list of such articles since March 2007.

Copyfraud in Google Book Search

The Seegras Logbook (blog) points out examples of copyfraud in Google Book Search:  false claims of copyright on public-domain works.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

EPT urges Obama appointees to adopt OA policies at all federal agencies

Barbara Kirsop, on behalf of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, has released her January 1 open letter to four Obama appointees on OA policy.  Excerpt:

...We write as Trustees of the Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, working with developing country scientists and publishers to promote equality of access to essential research publications, and wish you well in your endeavours.

The resolution, through science, of urgent global problems is a priority for the safety and economic progress of all nations, yet cannot be achieved by any country in isolation. We write to you, therefore, to urge you to ensure that access to publicly funded research is free to all potential users, particularly to those in low economy regions where the costs of commercial journals are prohibitive, yet where the problems are most severely felt. Without an international perspective on disease control, climate change and other global problems, there will always be limited success, since scientific knowledge in the developing world is a crucial element to the implementation of appropriate and sustainable solutions....

We write in the hope that you will be able to use your good offices to ensure the adoption of Open Access policies by all federal agencies, thus encouraging further equivalent policy adoptions throughout the world....

We wish you much success in your new appointment and urge that the wider needs of the developing world will be high on your list of priorities. Open Access to research findings by mandated deposit in Institutional Repositories is a very low cost and achievable aim with disproportionately large benefits.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What makes an IR?

John Mark Ockerbloom, Repository services, Part 1: Galleries vs. self-storage units, Everybody’s Libraries, January 13, 2009.

... Special collections librarians create (or at least digitize) a thematic set of items, give them detailed cataloging, and deposit them en masse into the collection. The items are then exposed via machine interfaces to our discovery applications, that then let users find and interact with the contents in ways that our librarians think will best show them off.

The repository itself, then, can work much like a self-storage unit. Every now and then we move in a bunch of stuff, and then later we bring it out into a nicer setting when people want to look at it. Access, discovery, and delivery are built on top of the repository, in separate applications that emphasize things like faceted browsing, image panning and zooming, and rare book page display and page turning.

Our institutional repository interacts with our community quite differently. Here, the content is created by various scholars who are largely outside the library, who may deposit items bit by bit whenever they get around to it (or when library staff can find the time to bring in their content). They want to see their work widely read, cited, and appreciated. They don’t want to spend more time than they have to putting stuff in– they’ve got work to do– and they want their work quickly and easily accessible. And they’d like to know when their work is being viewed. In short, they need a gallery, not just a self-storage unit. They want something that lets them show off and distribute their work in elegant ways.

Our institutional repository applications, bundled with the repository, thus emphasize things like full text search and search-engine openness, instant downloads of content, and notification of colleagues uploading and downloading papers. ...

John Mark Ockerbloom, Repository services, Part 2: Supporting deposit and access, Everybody’s Libraries, January 15, 2009.
... In this post, I’ll describe some of the useful basic deposit and access services for institutional scholarly repositories (IRs). ...

Podcast interview with John Wilbanks

Gerry Bayne, interview with John Wilbanks, podcast, January 15, 2009. Description:
Science Commons, a project of Creative Commons, has three interlocking initiatives designed to accelerate the research cycle. These include making scientific research “re-useful”, enabling “one-click” access to research materials, and integrating fragmented information sources. Together, these intiatives form the building blocks of a new collaborative infrastructure to make scientific discovery easier by design. Wilbanks discusses the copyright and technical challenges of contemplating a true knowledge browser.

OA images from Shakespeare library

Folger Shakespeare Library Expands Access to Digital Collection, press release, January 15, 2009.

The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world’s largest collection of Shakespeare materials, is expanding access to its digital collection by offering free online access to over 20,000 images from the library’s holdings. The digital image collection includes books, theater memorabilia, manuscripts, art, and 218 of the Folger’s pre-1640 quarto editions of the works of William Shakespeare. Users can now examine these collection items in detail while accessing the Folger’s rare materials from desktop anywhere in the world. ...

The Folger’s digital image collection provides resources for users to view multiple images side by side, save their search results, create permanent links to images, and perform other tasks through a free software program, Luna Insight. ...

Overview of OA in French

Hervé Le Crosnier, Libre-accès aux publications scientifiques, Mediapart, January 15, 2009. Read it in the original French or Google's English.

Genetics journal converts to OA with BMC

Genetics Selection Evolution converted to OA with BioMed Central this month. See the January 15 announcement. The article-processing charge during 2009 is €750. Authors retain copyright.

Several steps preceded the conversion to OA:

  • In January 2007, the journal began offering a hybrid OA option to authors.
  • The journal later adopted a 1-year delayed OA policy for all content (undated).
  • In September 2007, the journal began offering OA to its backfiles from 1969-1999.
  • In April 2008, the journal announced it could convert to OA and began processing all submitted manuscripts as OA papers.

On funding OA law projects

Thomas R. Bruce, Sustainability, b-screeds, January 14, 2009.

... The open-access-to-law community (particularly in the US) has had trouble with [funding]. There are a variety of solutions, few if any complete in themselves. Most open-access providers originally depended — as we have — on grant funding, and on extensive support from a parent institution or a consortium. Most have added consulting income to the mix. And many get income from commercial partnerships, often based on the sale of back-end bulk data services. The most stable model is CanLII’s, which is financed by a head tax on Canadian lawyers. An excellent paper by Graham Greenleaf (abstract, slides), offered at the recent Law via the Internet conference in Florence, describes one prominent free-access provider’s experience in keeping the doors open.

In any case, open access to law presents some unusual sustainability problems. ...

First, open-access providers don’t really do research, in the sense of either basic science, or quantitative social science, or any of the things funded by research-oriented outfits like the NSF. We can sometimes make a plausible case for ourselves as testbeds or helpers on grants that go to others (as the LII has with its participation in the CeRI project).

Second, we are continually faced with rising costs of innovation. The new legal information products and services we imagine, and hope to build, are significantly more expensive to produce than the things we imagined when we began 16 years ago. This is partly the result of the Web’s technical evolution and partly the result of more sophisticated needs and wants ...

Like other not-for-profit projects, we have more trouble finding operating money than we do finding startup funds. ... This is a particular problem with legislation, which requires frequent updating. It also distinguishes legislation and regulations from scholarly publishing, and from many open-access repositories, which (like judicial opinions) gather material that is relatively static once mounted.

Some deep-rooted reluctance surrounds the funding of legal information, perhaps based on the idea that free legal information is just lawyer subsidy, or only answers the information problems of the rich (as Dan Dabney once put it). ...

Open-access providers could do more than they have to dispel this distrust. For the most part, we’ve made the case for open access in highfalutin’ normative terms ... We are now starting to see some work on evaluation of open access in much more hardheaded terms — how does it contribute to lawyer competence, support economic development, level the playing field between one-shot litigants and repeat players? These are important questions that will, if we are able to answer them rigorously, provide us with a strong case for support.

And then there is the “Tweed Ring” challenge — illustrated handsomely by this Thomas Nast cartoon. Everybody thinks that free legal information is the next guy’s problem. ...

Nobody thinks that free legal information is a bad thing, or unworthy. It’s just not at the top of anyone’s list. ...

This circle may break soon. Government transparency-by-web will no doubt get a lot of attention from the new administration; expectations among the “hack-the-gov” crowd are already very high, and there is good reason for this optimism. We are seeing what amount to open-access legal information projects of this kind demanded by assessments like the recent ABA committee report on e-rulemaking and realized in the efforts of people like the Sunlight Foundation ( is a good example). ...

At the LII, we are moving toward sustainable self-support; we’re not there yet. ...

Report from CC board meeting

The report from Creative Commons' December 13-14, 2008 board meeting is now online. See especially:

... Legal and technical work on the CC0 waiver was completed on 1 December. Launch is pending. CC0 is a legal tool for waiving as many rights as legally possible, worldwide, superseding the U.S.-only public domain dedication, and crucially adding explicit support for freeing databases. Enhancement of public domain certification/assertion tools is an ongoing project. ...

CC International reported that four new jurisdictions have launched: Romania, Hong Kong, Guatemala, and Singapore and three existing jurisdictions upgraded their licenses to version 3.0: Germany, Austria, and Spain.

An innovative partnership with the Eurasia Foundation led to a competitive selection of affiliate institutions in Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia and a regional South Caucasus workshop. ...

The Neurocommons project moved from R&D to release phase at the end of September with a stable version of the knowledgebase (KB). Science Commons began soliciting mirror installations, feedback, and use cases.

ccLearn has added an open database of educational projects and organizations (ODEPO) as well as an interactive map of upcoming open educational events, based on the semantic mediawiki platform. We will also be hosting the site, which aggregates all of the OER feeds from participating projects into a single clearinghouse for easier use and dissemination. ...

More on OA to Catholic liturgical music and texts

Jeffrey Tucker, Copyright, profit, and liturgical music, New Liturgical Movement, January 15, 2009.  (Thanks to Gino D'Oca.)  Tucker reprints a letter to the editor of the New Oxford Review, including this passage:

...Music that is not completely free for performance, copying, and use of any kind by the Church should be regarded as simply unfit for liturgical use....

Then he adds his own comments.  Excerpt:

...Third, I too am favorable to the public domain model of music distribution, but there are other models including Creative Commons that require attribution and can be just as effective in promoting work. Further, there is nothing per se wrong with copyright liturgical music that isn't wrong with any copyright music. It is really a different argument that concerns many technical issues concerning scarcities and intellectual property and other matters that need not concern this discussion.

Fourth, and this is the most important point, the really big problem isn't the copyright in the music as such. Composers and publishers can use it or not. The very serious problem that gets into a major moral issue concerns copyright to the texts of the liturgy. This is what is egregious, in my own view. This is what allows liturgical commissions to charge royalties for publication of the Mass texts, and will soon allow major capitalistic publishers to loot Catholic parishioners for the right to print and distribute the Psalms, for example. This is a major problem. The word simony comes to mind....

PS:  See our past posts on OA to Catholic liturgical texts and music.

Rapidly growing usage at Bioline's OA journals

Barbara Kirsop summarizes seven years of usage data from Bioline International:

Over the last four years alone, the requests for full text papers has increased four-fold, from 1.1 million to 4.2 million, while total hits grew from 2.7 million to 12.15 million, showing an impressive rate of usage of material from journals published in developing countries....

Fixing the system of OA for clinical drug trial data

M. Antonelli and G. Mercurio, Reporting, access, and transparency: better infrastructure of clinical trials, Critical Care Medicine, January 2009 (1 Supplement).  I can't find this in the journal TOC, so I'm linking to the record at PubMed. 

Abstract:   Open access to information in medical science and adequate reporting of clinical trials may allow investigators and editors to recognize bias in study designs and avoid unnecessary duplication of efforts. Unfortunately, most of clinical trials are very expensive and are often supported by industries that may have financial reasons to hide or partially disclose results. However, investigators and editors have a greater interest in publishing results that can immediately change clinical practice rather than negative results, thus contributing to facilitate publication biases. Several years ago, legislation in several countries mandated the registration of clinical trials as an effective means of promoting information access and full transparency in medical research. However, comprehensive registers have not been adequately supported by law, particularly in Europe, where legislation has ironically contributed to fragmented research, and dampened its competitiveness and productivity. In this context, appropriate strategies help to protect the independence of academic research and ensure full transparency in medical science.

CONTENTdm v. 5

The CONTENTdm repository software has released version 5 with unicode support.  For details, see yesterday's press release.  (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

PS:  Also see our past posts on CONTENTdm.

Frances Pinter on the transformation of academic publishing

Frances Pinter, The Transformation of Academic Publishing in the Digital Era, a 55 minute video of a presentation at the Oxford Internet Institute.  Undated but apparently recent.  From the description:

The digital era has created untold opportunities to broaden and deepen academic communications. It has also brought into stark relief questions of public versus private goods as new pressures are put on both for and not for profit publishing operations to be sustainable. The role of academic publishers is being challenged, as the often publicly funded research ends up being funnelled through the channels of the private sector. At the same time the Internet makes it possible to simply bypass conventional publishers altogether, though some lament the loss of the added value brought by professional publishing.

Within this context it is clear that new business models need to be constructed. Frances Pinter brings her experiences both as an academic publisher and an academic researcher herself to bear on the ways in which academic publishing needs to transform itself to respond to the opportunities and challenges of the digital age.

Pinter is the publisher at Bloomsbury Academic, the new OA imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing.  Also see our past posts on Bloomsbury Academic.

An OA stimulus for hard times

Prue Adler and Charles Lowry of the ARL have an infrastructure suggestion for the Obama stimulus package:  Establish a Universal, Open Library or Digital Data Commons.  Excerpt:

Deepening our understanding of our Nation and its culture and history, advancing scientific discovery, tackling environmental, economic issues and more, all depend on scientists, researchers, students, scholars, and members of the public accessing our Nation’s cultural, historical and scientific assets. A large-scale initiative to digitize and preserve the public domain collections of library, governmental, and cultural memory organizations will support research, teaching and learning at all levels, will help stem the current economic crisis by equipping and employing workers in every state with 21st Century skills, and it will lay a foundation for innovation and national competitiveness in the decades ahead. The goal is to establish a universal, open library or a digital data commons....

Examples of resources include:

  • Digitized full-text scientific and technical R&D reports dating from 1940s to present.
  • A wealth of resources such as non-text scientific research data including images, audio, video, and numeric data.
  • Legacy collections of government agencies spanning over 200 years and covering virtually every facet of U.S. history, government, policy and administration.
  • Course materials, including non-print media, developed throughout the Nation. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has already demonstrated the strong demand for its faculty’s lectures and related resources with their Open Courseware project....

For example, in collaboration with libraries and aided by contributions from foundations, the non-profit Internet Archive has put a million printed books online. It currently operates 18 U.S. scanning centers with capacity to employ 600 people. With an injection of funds to numerous institutions and organizations, the rate of digitization could be quickly ramped up. It is estimated that with a graduated order, 10,000 individuals in all 50 states could be trained and put to work scanning books, manuscripts, journals, and other public domain materials. With the inclusion of other resources, these numbers would increase....

A large-scale initiative to digitize public domain collections meets just about any test of an effective response to the mounting problems that challenge the United States. Beyond retraining workers with new, valuable skill sets and putting them to work, this initiative will bring high-quality public domain resources into every home, school, community college, university and workplace. It will give businesses, state and local governments, and jobseekers needed resources and will enrich education at all levels by bringing the world’s collective knowledge to parents, teachers, and students. Finally, these scientific, cultural and historical assets will provide much needed content to the extended deployment of broadband throughout the country. Above all, these online, high value intellectual resources will remain available permanently to the Nation as research libraries will provide long-term preservation and access to the digitized content.

Update (1/19/09). Also see Laurie N. Taylor's comments.

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science calls for OA to historic images

Hansjakob Ziemer of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science has published a call for OA to historic images.  Read it in German or Google's English.

Also see this related story, in English:  Christine von Oertzen, New Ways of Using Digital Images, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, undated.  Excerpt:

...Among scholars in the humanities, interest in visual sources will continue to grow. For this reason, we must ensure that researchers and curators work together to secure scholarly access well into the future. At museums, libraries, and other image repositories, financial considerations limit scholars’ access to digital media. Budget pressures have led many libraries, museums, and archives to charge substantial fees for the right to use digitized media – and this despite the fact that the original objects in question are often no longer covered by copyright. Other institutions have ceded the entire processes of digitization and marketing to commercial image providers. This for-profit approach to digital cultural heritage circumscribes scholars’ use of historical image collections. Precisely at the moment that new e-publishing practices are beginning to change the nature of scholarship itself, researchers face soaring costs for the rights to use digital cultural resources.

...Access to unique historic objects, images, or texts – cultural heritage – is only rarely a copyright issue. Access to cultural heritage is first and foremost a contractual matter. As such, access to cultural heritage is inherently negotiable. When repositories impose excessive fees on scholars, with reference to copyright they may not be operating within the boundaries of the law. In any event, by restricting access and use they are limiting in unforeseen ways the scholarly potential of digital cultural media....

Until recently, efforts to address this new digital divide between researchers and curators assumed the form of scholarly initiatives to secure open access to visual sources. One of the most important of these initiatives is European Cultural Heritage Online, launched by our Institute and supported by the European Commission. Today, a number of prominent museums are demonstrating a renewed willingness to take into account the particular needs of scholars, exploring new ways to reconcile scholarship with stewardship. Several institutions have recently begun to provide researchers free-of-charge access to some of their digitized collections....

In January 2008, our Institute brought together a small group of scholars, curators, publishers, and other stakeholders to reflect on the state of affairs described above. In light of our discussions, we feel strongly that further restrictions on scholars’ access to, and use of, digital image collections must be prevented....Researchers must be prepared to share in the cost of digitization, e.g., to pay reasonable fees for the media they need to complete their studies.

Following the January 2008 gathering of experts, our Institute, with input from all participants, drew up a set of recommendations to improve scholars’ access to digital media. This document calls upon curators and scholars to enter into a new relationship to promote mutual trust and common interests. The aim of our compact is to address the pressing challenges raised by our digital present and future. We request that curators refrain from arbitrarily restricting the public domain. We further ask our colleagues in libraries, museums, and other repositories to accommodate the needs of scholars for freely accessible, high-resolution digital images. This request concerns not only print publications, but also new forms of electronic publishing....

OA named one of the top six trends of 08-09

Michel Bauwens, The Most Important P2P Trends of 2008 and 2009, P2P Foundation, January 16, 2009.

5. The expansion of Open Access and Creative Commons for Open and Peer to Peer Learning

Open content production, and access to existing scientific and scholarly content has made tremendous progress over the last year. All this is being used in the context of many new initiatives for more peer-oriented learning such as the P2P University initiative....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Case study in an academic-friendly approach to IR development

Kerrie L. Burn and Katie Wilson, Build it and they will come?: assessing the impact of 'academic-friendly' practices on institutional repository growth at Southern Cross University, a paper to be presented at Information Online 2009 Conference, Sydney, 20-22 January 2009. 

Abstract:  Despite a proliferation of institutional repositories being established in recent years, and the significant financial and staffing resources invested in them, many have not fulfilled their initial promise. While most repository managers have been committed to providing open access to the research output of their institutions, many repositories have limited content and most academics have not yet been persuaded to engage with them in a sustained way. It has been hypothesised that better results might be obtained if population strategies were more aligned with the needs and current work practices of academics rather than the primary focus of the repository being as a showcase for the institution.

In 2008 Southern Cross University Library’s ePublications@SCU project team sought to take a more “academic-friendly” approach to repository development with the view that this would ultimately lead to improved deposit rates. Attempts were made to reduce any perceived complexities of the system that may be barriers to academic participation. Some of the strategies employed by Library staff included: producing promotional material that highlighted the personal and professional benefits for academics of the repository, creating Personal Researcher Pages for each academic in order to showcase their scholarly profiles, and taking responsibility for copyright checking and uploading of all papers into the repository.

This paper reports on the results of a study conducted at Southern Cross University in 2008.

From the body of the paper:

...The ‘academic friendly’ approach taken at SCU has had a very positive impact on the development and growth of the ePublications@SCU repository. Academics have been particularly enthusiastic about the Do It For You model and in the Library’s ability to quickly create Personal Researcher Pages to showcase the work of individual researchers....

Stats on @rchiveSIC

1000 textes pour @sic ?, Urfist Info, January 13, 2009. Read it in the original French or in Google's English. Discusses usage statistics of @rchiveSIC.

On OA in Spain

Acceso libre a la información, II: ciencia pública e información administrativa pública, Kultura Abierta, undated but recent. Read the original Spanish or Google's English. (Thanks to José Gregorio del Sol Cobos.) The site is a production of the Basque Socialist Party.
... What happens with the results of [publicly-funded] research? Should not it be made more accessible and disseminated among the people who pay? ...

LOC digitization program crosses 25,000 book milestone

Library of Congress Leads Nationwide Digitization Effort, press release, January 14, 2009. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.)

The Library of Congress will digitally scan "The Heroic Life of Abraham Lincoln: The Great Emancipator" as the 25,000th book in its "Digitizing American Imprints" program, which scans aging "brittle" books often too fragile to serve to researchers. The program is sponsored by a $2 million grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Library, which has contracted with the Internet Archive for digitization services, is combining its efforts with other libraries as part of the open content movement. ...

Books scanned in this pilot project come primarily from the Library’s local history and genealogy sections of the General Collections. For many of these titles, only a few copies exist anywhere in the world, and a reader would need to travel to Washington to view the Library’s copy. Now, the works can be accessed freely online or downloaded for closer inspection or printing. Readers can search the text for individual words, making the digital copy an even more valuable research tool than the original. ...

The Library recognizes the value of digitizing as much of the general collections as funding permits, and it intends to make building this digital collection an integral part of the overall collection-development program. Through a FEDLINK master contract with the Internet Archive, the Library is providing similar scanning services to the federal library community. ...

[Doron Weber, Sloan Program Director:] "In the great tradition of publicly funded libraries, the Library of Congress is leading the way in quality scanning of books that will make the fruits of human knowledge and human culture available to people everywhere in an open, non-exclusive archive. We encourage governments at all levels to champion this cause and to help support the movement to create a universal digital library for the benefit of scholars, researchers, and the general public."

All scanning operations are housed in the Library’s John Adams Building on Capitol Hill. Internet Archive staff work two shifts each day on 10 "Scribe" scanning stations. The operation can digitize up to 1,000 volumes each week. Shortly after scanning is complete, the books are available online at [the Internet Archive]. ... The Library of Congress is actively working with the Internet Archive on the development of a full-featured, open-source page turner. A beta version, called the Flip Book, is currently available on the Internet Archive site.

OA and IR as change agents

Mary Anne Kennan and Fletcher T. H. Cole, Institutional repositories as portents of change: Disruption or reassembly? Conjectures and reconfigurations, presented at ASIS&T Annual Meeting, (Columbus, Ohio, October 24-29, 2008); self-archived January 14, 2009. Abstract:
This paper reviews how Open Access policies (OA) and Institutional Repositories (IR) might be portrayed as agents of change within the realm of scholarly publishing. Using commentary on academic publishing as background, commentary that sees OA and IR as optimal and inevitable, and beneficially disruptive of the existing system, two theoretical approaches are presented as ways of providing a more detailed and explicit analysis of OA/IR dynamics. Both theories to varying degrees derive their inspiration from an exploration of the nature of change. The first “disruptive technology/disruptive innovation” approach (Christensen) specifies change in market theory terms, a re-structuring "driven" by innovation within, and possibly disruptive of, existing market arrangements. The second approach views change as a process of "reassembling" and reconfiguring of relationships between elements of a network (Actor-Network Theory). The application of both approaches to OA/IR is explored, including reference to a case study on a university institutional repository implementation. While "disruption" and similar terms might be in common and casual use, the basic idea gains greater clarity in these theories, and in doing so promotes greater awareness of the assumptions being made, and the aspirations being pursued.

Presentation on publishing with OJS

Arlene Mathison, Libraries and Publishing: Using Open Journal Systems, presented at the Transportation Librarians Roundtable (November 13, 2008). Slides with audio. (Thanks to the Public Knowledge Project.)

Eric Steinhauer on OA in Germany

In November 2008, Maxi Kindling und Sandra Lechelt of Libreas conducted a 28:32 minute podcast interview with Eric Steinhauer (in German) on OA in higher education.  There is also a transcript, which you can read in German or Google's English.  Steinhauer is a lawyer and Vice Director of the Library at the University of Magdeburg.  (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)

German government will re-evaluate rejected OA proposal

The German federal government's 2008 media and communications report (Medien- und Kommunikationsbericht der Bundesregierung 2008) was published last month, December 17, 2008.  (Thanks to KoopTech.)  It's a PDF, so I can't link to a  machine translation. 

At pp. 76-77, the government says it will re-evaluate a 2006 proposal for a secondary exploitation right for authors (Zweitverwertungsrecht für Urheber) of scientific research articles based on publicly-funded research.  The proposal is based on an excellent idea of Gerd Hansen's which I wrote about in SOAN for June 2006

The Upper House of Germany's Parliament (Bundesrat) is considering a bill to permit author self-archiving of journal articles six months after publication regardless of the terms in a copyright transfer agreement the author might have signed....

The government rejected the idea in 2006 and German law does not currently incorporate it.  The government is not promising to support it this time, but its willingness to re-evaluate it has to count as good news.

(Thanks to Sebastian Krujatz for help in understanding the government's position.)

Open content technologies

Joe Gollner, The Emergence of Intelligent Content:  The evolution of open content technologies and their significance, January 6, 2009.  Apparently a preprint.  (Thanks to Alles over Content Management.)  Excerpt:

Abstract:   This paper traces the history of open content technologies in an effort to understand the nature and significance of intelligent content. What is illustrated is that a common thread runs through SGML, HTML, XML, Web 2.0, the Semantic Web, DITA, and OOXML and that the evolution of open content technologies has enabled the emergence of intelligent content and with it a new form of organizational agility.

This whitepaper has been prepared as a corollary to the presentation “Content Fusion: There’s a Piece of Data Lodged in my Document” at Intelligent Content 2009, Palm Springs CA, January 29-30, 2009.

From the Introduction:

After decades of evolution, content technologies have arrived at a critical threshold. All of the pieces are now in place and it has become possible to genuinely talk about “intelligent content” – by which we mean content that expresses its full meaning in a way that is openly accessible both to applications and to people. This is important because with intelligent content comes an entirely new class of solutions the emergence of which could not come at a better time. To fully appreciate the potential of intelligent content, we should first understand the evolution of open content technologies that has led to its emergence. This is the focus of this paper.

Another publicly-funded digitization project chooses TA

The Burney Collection of 17th and 18th newspapers was digitized in a public-private partnership, but the results are TA rather than OA.  (Thanks to Glyn Moody.)  From a JISC press release (January 13):

The largest single online collection of English news media from the 17th and 18th centuries, the Burney Collection, is now available free of charge for the first time to Higher and Further Education institutions and Research Councils across the UK....

Digitised through a partnership between the National Science Foundation and the British Library, then developed and hosted online by Gale/Cengage Learning, the digital version of the Burney Collection has been purchased in perpetuity by JISC Collections on behalf of the UK academic and research community at a national level....

Comment.  Publicly-funded digitization projects have a lot to learn from publicly-funded research projects.  The same principle that requires OA for publicly-funded research requires OA for publicly-funded digitization, especially when the works being digitized are in the public domain.  The principle applies when "all or part" of the funding is from taxpayers.  When this principle would scare off private funders, and the public funding isn't enough to complete the project, then we can offer the private funder a temporary revenue stream from a toll booth on public property, in exchange for its investment, by analogy with the embargo periods on publicly-funded research.  But like an embargo, this is a compromise with the public interest and must expire.  If it doesn't expire, then for some fraction of the cost of digitization, private companies could essentially buy exclusive rights to works in the public domain.  The damage is notable even when the originals are available in non-digital form.  But the damage is severe when the originals, as here, are rare and fragile and could never be viewed by most users in non-digital form.

Sources of OA biomed articles in 2005

Mamiko Matsubayashi and six co-authors, Status of open access in the biomedical field in 2005, Journal of the Medical Library Association, January 2009.

Objectives:  This study was designed to document the state of open access (OA) in the biomedical field in 2005.

Methods:  PubMed was used to collect bibliographic data on target articles published in 2005. PubMed, Google Scholar, Google, and OAIster were then used to establish the availability of free full text online for these publications. Articles were analyzed by type of OA, country, type of article, impact factor, publisher, and publishing model to provide insight into the current state of OA.

Results:  Twenty-seven percent of all the articles were accessible as OA articles. More than 70% of the OA articles were provided through journal websites. Mid-rank commercial publishers often provided OA articles in OA journals, while society publishers tended to provide OA articles in the context of a traditional subscription model. The rate of OA articles available from the websites of individual authors or in institutional repositories was quite low.

Discussion/Conclusions:  In 2005, OA in the biomedical field was achieved under an umbrella of existing scholarly communication systems. Typically, OA articles were published as part of subscription journals published by scholarly societies. OA journals published by BioMed Central contributed to a small portion of all OA articles.

Here's an unexpected finding not evident from the abstract: 

Fewer OA articles in our sample were published in full OA journals (37.2%) than in traditional subscription journals (62.8%) [a category including hybrid OA journals]....

PS:  Also note that in first third of 2005, no form of the NIH policy had yet taken effect, and in the second two thirds only the low-compliance voluntary form was in effect. 

New services to implement the Harvard OA policies

Harvard's page on its Open-Access Policies has added links to a waiver request form and a quick-submit service for the repository.  Both require a Harvard ID for login.

Spain's science ministry may join SCOAP3

Spain's Ministry of Science and Innovation (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación) has expressed interest in joining the CERN SCOAP3 project.

South Africa's new tech-transfer law and its effects on OA

Audra Mahlong and Siyabonga Africa, IP Bill locks down innovation, IT Web, January 15, 2009.  Excerpt:

President Kgalema Motlanthe has signed the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) from Publicly Funded Research and Development Bill into action.

The legislation forms part of science and technology minister Mosibudi Mangena's initiatives to increase innovation in the public sphere. The minister hopes to do this by ensuring publicly-funded researchers get a return on their research through marketable patents and collectable royalties....

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) says it supports the objectives of the IPR Act and, at the same time, it points out the complexities of promoting effective technology transfer....

“The impact of this law is that there is now a barrier to innovations which will save lives,” says Andrew Rens, intellectual property fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation. He notes that by moving away from the open sharing of inventions and information, more people stand to lose out than gain from the system.

Rens notes the Bill works on false premise that patenting leads to profit, and cases in other countries working on a similar system of IP rights have shown this. “SA also has no patent examination system where previous patents are checked against each other. There is no assessment which is done to see whether the idea has any merit or not,” explains Rens.

The Bill will have wide-ranging consequences for the South African research community, he notes, saying the country could see a decline in research co-operation from international consortia with universities, a decline in philanthropic funding and a move away from open access.

“This is not a solution. Do we want to see research which benefits the ordinary South African, or do we want to contribute to jobless growth? The solutions are in open access and increased access to venture capital funding for companies,” states Rens.

Comment.  Tech transfer laws like this one do allow the patenting of otherwise patentable discoveries made by publicly-funded research, and to that extent they enclose more of the commons.  We can debate their wisdom.  But even if they expand enclosure and create a corrupting influence on universities, it's not clear that they impede OA to research itself.  The Bayh-Dole Act in the US did not, for example, block the NIH policy, even though the law was 24 years old and well-entrenched by the time the NIH policy was first proposed.  Looking at the other end of the stick, however, OA can advance the goals of tech transfer by making it easier for businesses to monitor new discoveries that might be ripe for investment and commercialization.  That's why the European Commission tech-transfer report of April 2008 recommended OA for publicly-funded research.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

OCLC to review policy on WorldCat records

OCLC Board of Trustees and Members Council to convene Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship, press release, January 13, 2009.

OCLC Members Council and the OCLC Board of Trustees will jointly convene a Review Board of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship to represent the membership and inform OCLC on the principles and best practices for sharing library data. The group will discuss the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records with the OCLC membership and library community.

The purpose of this Review Board is to engage the membership and solicit feedback and questions before the new policy is implemented. In order to allow sufficient time for feedback and discussion, implementation of the Policy will be delayed until the third quarter of the 2009 calendar year. ...

Jennifer Younger, Edward H. Arnold Director of Hesburgh Libraries, University of Notre Dame, and an OCLC Members Council delegate, will chair the Review Board. Members Council delegates and other leaders in the library community will be represented on the Review Board. ...

The Review Board on Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship will:

  • Consult with librarians and member representatives as appropriate.
  • Review reports, letters and comments including blog and listserv messages from the global library community regarding the revised Policy.
  • Recommend principles of shared data creation and changes in the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records that will preserve the community around WorldCat infrastructure and services, and strengthen libraries. ...

The Review Board will also take into consideration other sources of review, like the recently formed ARL Study Group. The Review Board will provide findings to the President of Members Council, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and the OCLC President and CEO.

The Review Board on Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship is scheduled to meet in late January to develop a work plan. ... [A] preliminary report will be made to Members Council during its February meeting.

Delegates will discuss the report at the May Members Council meeting, and a final report is scheduled to be submitted to the OCLC Board of Trustees following the May meeting.

Implementation of the Policy had been set for February 2009, but the Policy will be under further review by the Board of Trustees and Members Council into the third quarter of 2009.

For more on the ARL review, see: See also our past post on the policy change.

Negotiating a CC license

Michael Mandiberg, Howto Negotiate a Creative Commons License: Ten Steps, Michael Mandiberg, January 12, 2009. (Thanks to Creative Commons.)

... [T]he focus of this post is on how we were able to negotiate the Creative Commons license [for our book] from [publisher] New Riders, which is owned by Peachpit, which is owned by Pearson (a big big corporate big thing.) ...

Publishers know things are going to change, but they don’t know what that change is going to be. Know that your publisher is willing to experiment. ...

Use case studies to argue with facts. It also helps for them to see that other reputable publishers have licensed books Creative Commons. ...

Gavin Baker, How to negotiate a Creative Commons license in a work contract, A Journal of Insignificant Inquiry, January 14, 2009.

... Even friendly organizations tend to use legal boilerplate in their contracts — which typically treats your intellectual production as a work for hire, assigning exclusive copyright to your client or employer. This should be problematic for anyone: not only do you lose the right to apply a CC license to your work, you lose the right to use your work for any purpose without getting your (former) employer’s permission.

Without getting into a discussion about the work-for-hire doctrine, there’s an easy way around this. You can assign copyright to your employer, but you get a non-exclusive license, too. This is similar to the logic of the author addenda of the scholarly publishing world. They can do anything they want with the content you produced — but you can, too. ...

Updates to ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit

The ACRL Scholarly Communication Toolkit, which includes sections on OA-related topics such as digital repositories and journal economics, has been updated. From the January 13 press release:
The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) has released an updated version of its popular Scholarly Communication Toolkit in a new format and with updated content. The toolkit continues to provide context and background by summarizing key issues to offer quick, basic information on scholarly communication topics. It also links to examples of specific tools, including handouts, presentations and videos for libraries to adapt and use on their own campuses. ...

OA edition of Bollier's Viral Spiral

David Bollier's new book, Viral Spiral, now has a Web site and an OA, CC-licensed edition. See especially chapter 11, "Science as a Commons".

See also our previous post on the book, or past posts on Bollier.

Article on Science 2.0

Grant Buckler, Science 2.0: New online tools may revolutionize research, CBC News, January 13, 2009. Discusses tagging, social networking, Nature Network, Nature Precedings, blogs, Twitter, open notebooks, and preprints. (Thanks to Bora Zivkovic.)

German paleontology journal converts to OA

The Stuttgarter Beiträge für Naturkunde Serie B converted to OA and changed its name to Palaeodiversity in late 2008.  (Thanks to Bill Parker.)  The backfile to 1999 is OA and older issues will soon be OA as well.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hindawi offers publications in ePUB format

Hindawi Adds Support for the ePUB Digital Format, press release, January 12, 2009.

Hindawi is pleased to announce the addition of the ePUB digital format as one of the available formats on its online platform for all of its journal and book publications. ePUB is a modern, industry standard format developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum, of which Hindawi is a member, as an XML format for reflowable digital books and publications. ePUB is widely supported on computer systems as well as on digital reading devices such as the Sony digital book reader. A number of sample articles that have been released can be found at [here]. ...

Hindawi currently publishes all of its journal articles in PDF and HTML with full MathML support. ... All articles published since the beginning of 2008 shall be reprocessed in order to generate ePUB files. Going forward, all articles and books will be released in ePUB in addition to the other current formats.

New OA oncology journal

Head & Neck Oncology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by BioMed Central. The journal is the official publication of the Head & Neck Optical Diagnostics Society. See the January 12 announcement. The article-processing charge is £850 (€960, US$1290), subject to discount or waiver. Authors retain copyright, and articles are released under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

OA Working Group proposes an OA mandate to the Obama transition team

The US Open Access Working Group has posted an OA proposal to the Obama transition team's Citizen's Briefing Book.  Excerpt:

Public Access to the Published Results of Publicly Funded Research Will Benefit the Economy, Science, and Health

Every year, the federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in basic and applied research with the expectation that the results will accelerate the pace of scientific discovery, stimulate innovation, and improve the public good.  These research results typically are reported in articles published in a wide variety of academic journals.  However, the high cost of journal subscriptions and restrictive licensing terms severely limits public access to these articles.

Because U.S. taxpayers underwrite this research, they have a right to expect its dissemination and use will be maximized....

Expanding access to the universe of publicly funded scientific research in the U.S. offers the potential for downstream economic stimulus....

Open sharing of scientific data has already revolutionized life science research and helped establish new fields such as genomics and proteomics. For example, GenBank, the publicly accessible database of DNA sequences operated by NIH, has played a critical role in the genomics revolution.  Public access and cooperative sharing played a key role in the sequencing of the SARS virus in just seven days, expediting the development of diagnostic tests to identify the virus.  A broader public access policy will hasten progress in all scientific fields.  An accelerated pace of discovery in climate change research, the search for sustainable energy sources and hundreds of other critical areas will directly benefit the public.

Peer-reviewed articles reporting the results of scientific research funded by U.S. tax dollars should be made publicly available online no later than six months after publication.  Additionally, articles written by scientists and researchers employed by the U.S. government should be placed online simultaneously to publication.  

One U.S. agency has taken the lead in successfully implementing such a policy and serves as an excellent benchmark. After careful examination of the issues and extensive consultation with stakeholders, the National Institutes of Health implemented a reasoned policy that appropriately balances the interests of all stakeholders, requiring that the results of the $29 billion in research that it funds annually be made freely accessible to the public in its online database. The policy will lead to new and increased usage by millions of physicians, public health officials, patients, students, teachers, and scientists.

Comment.  Like Obama CTO, which also has an OA proposal, the Citizen's Briefing Book allows you to vote for the posted proposals and add your own comments.  Unlike Obama CTO, Citizen's Briefing Book lets you vote for all the proposals you like, not just your highest priorities.  Log in, vote for the OA proposal, browse around and check out the other good ideas, and spread the word.


Opening Dutch PSI

Ton Zijlstra, Open Government Data, Exciting New Project, Interdependent Thoughts, January 13, 2009.  Excerpt:

Last June I wrote about open data, after attending a session by Keith Andrews at PolitCamp Graz. I continued the discussion on that topic with others, which now has turned into a new and exciting project.

Wouldn't it be great if we, as citizens, could have access to already public data and information in a way that we can choose? ...It is...the rationale behind the British government project Show Us a Better Way, where ideas are collected around putting government data to good use....

It would be great wouldn't it? That's why the Ministry for Interior Affairs here in the Netherlands asked me and James Burke (Lifesized) to work on some appealing examples of reusing government data and opening up that data for the wider public (with APIs and some simple tools) in the coming months. At the same time we will create a map of possible government datasources to open up, and the people involved with maintaining those data sources, as well as collect ideas, examples, wishes, and needs from citizens around open government data....

Notes from Knowledge Governance conference

Gavin Baker is live-blogging (1, 2, 3) the TACD's Patents, Copyrights and Knowledge Governance conference (Washington DC, January 12-13, 2009).

Update (1/13/09).  Gavin has posted a TOC of his 9 blog posts on the conference.

Stevan Harnad's response to the STM briefing document

Stevan Harnad, STM Publisher Briefing on Institution Repository Deposit Mandates, Open Access Archivangelism, January 13, 2009.  The square brackets in this excerpt are Stevan's, not mine.

[Two members of STM have kindly, at my request, allowed me to see a copy of the STM Briefing on IRs and Deposit Mandates. I focused the commentary below on quoted excerpts, but before posting it I asked STM CEO Michael Mabe for permission to include the quotes. As I do not yet have an answer, I am posting the commentary with paraphrases of the passages I had hoped to quote. If I receive permission from Michael, I will repost this with the verbatim quotes. As it stands, it is self-contained and self-explanatory.]

The International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM) has circulated a fairly anodyne briefing to its member publishers. Although it contains a few familiar items of misinformation that need to be corrected (yet again), there is nothing alarming or subversive in it, along the lines of the PRISM/pitbull misadventure of 2007.

Below are some quote/comments along with the (gentle) corrections of the persistent bits of misinformation: My responses are unavoidably -- almost ritually -- repetitive, because the errors and misinformation themselves are so repetitive....

[Exclusive copyright transfer is essential so alternative versions do not prevent publishers from making ends meet. Publishers add value in return.]

(a) In their IRs, authors deposit supplementary versions of their own peer-reviewed publications in order to maximize their uptake, usage, applications, and impact, by maximizing access to them.

(b) So far, all evidence is that this self-archiving has not undermined the traditional toll-based (subscription/license) funding model for peer-reviewed journal publishing: rather, they co-exist peacefully.

(c) But if and when IR deposit should ever make subscriptions unsustainable for covering the remaining essential costs of peer-reviewed journal publishing, there is an obvious alternative: conversion to the Gold OA publishing funding model.

(d) What is definitely not an acceptable alternative for the research community, however, is to refrain from maximizing research access, uptake, usage, applications, impact and progress (by mandating IR deposit) merely in order to insure publishers' current funding model against any possibility that universal IR deposit might eventually lead to a change in funding model.

(e) Unlike trade authors, researchers transfer to the publishers of their peer-reviewed research all the rights to sell the published text, without asking for any royalties or fees in return. They have always, however, exercised the right to distribute free copies of their own articles to all would-be users who requested them, for research purposes. In the web era, OA IRs have become the natural way for researchers to continue that practice, in order to maximize research access, uptake, usage, applications, impact and progress....

[Talking points in responding to the media: subscription publishing does require exclusive copyright transfer; perhaps OA publishing doesn't.]
This mixes up issues: The only relevant issue here for IRs and IR deposit policies is whether or not the publisher has formally endorsed providing open access to the peer-reviewed postprint immediately upon acceptance for publication. (This is called a "Green" publisher policy on OA self-archiving. It has nothing to do with author-pays/Gold OA publishing models. And authors paying for the "right" to deposit would be absurd and out of the question.) ...
[Should we endorse deposits that are open webwide only for a fee?]
Paying to deposit in researchers' own IRs would be absurd, and roundly rejected as such by the research community....
[Inform the media that publishers have made journal articles more accessible today than ever before.]

True (though thanks also to the advent of the Web). But this literature is not yet accessible to all those would-be users webwide whose institutions cannot afford to subscribe to the journal in which it was published -- and no institution can afford to subscribe to all or most peer-reviewed journals....

(The publishing industry has to remind itself that the reason peer-reviewed research is conducted, peer-reviewed and published is not in order to fund the publishing industry, but in order to maximize research access, uptake, usage, applications, impact and progress.) ...

[Researchers should stay free "to choose how and where to publish."]

By all means. And they should continue to exercise their freedom to supplement access to their published research by depositing their postprints in their IRs for all would-be users webwide who cannot afford access to the publisher's proprietary version....

Comment.  I support all of Stevan's responses.  I also support his request to Michael Mabe to allow us to post quotations from the STM members-only briefing.  If Mabe agrees, then I'll blog the briefing (again) and include some excerpts from the text. 

Update (1/16/09). STM has given permission to quote from the statement, and Stevan has re-posted his response with quotations instead of paraphrases.

Update (1/17/09). Also see my comments on the STM briefing.

Update (1/18/09). Also see Heather Morrison's comments.

Monday, January 12, 2009

AuthorMapper adds filter for OA articles

AuthorMapper is a site by Springer which searches journal articles and plots the location of authors on a map. It recently added an option to filter for only OA articles. (Thanks to Richard Akerman.)

Getting your IR in RePEc

Christian Zimmermann, Institutional repositories and RePEc, The RePEc Blog, January 10, 2009.

... [University OA] mandates are, however, of little use if those works cannot be found by others. Search indexes like Google (Scholar) or OAIster are often not capable of sorting efficiently for the purposes of a researcher. It is therefore important that works from institutional repositories be also indexed in field specific indexes, like RePEc for economics.

RePEc does not house files, it only indexes them. Thus, the goal is not to push PDFs to RePEc, but rather to push the appropriate metadata about those PDFs. Software used in institutional repositories typically generates metadata, unfortunately not in the format required by RePEc (which predates any other format). Thus, metadata needs to be converted. We make available a variety of scripts, typically written in perl that are easily customizable to local needs, in particular for DSpace and EPrints. Other converters are always welcome to be added to the list.

U of Fribourg signs the Berlin Declaration

The Swiss University of Fribourg has signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge. (Thanks to Anja Lengenfelder.)

Making digital goods free for users, while making a profit

Caroline Bayley, Buy none, get one free, BBC News, January 8, 2009.  (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)  Excerpt:

Is the business model of the future one where the customer no longer pays? Already products in the digital marketplace are being given away free, yet companies are still making profits.

One firm believer in this increasingly common business model is Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine....

BBC Radio 4's In Business spoke to Chris Anderson ahead of the publication of his book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price....

Mr Anderson refers to Moore's Law, which states that computer power doubles every 18 months. The economic reciprocal of that, he says, is "the cost of a net unit of computer power falls by 50% every 18 months, which means that everything gets cheaper by 50% or more every year and a half...Imagine a factory of the 19th Century where the labour got cheaper, where the steel got cheaper, where coal got cheaper, the real estate got cheaper, every aspect....That's why there's such an imperative to make things digital, because you go from an economy where things get more expensive, such as oil and food - the economy of atoms - to an economy where everything gets cheaper, which is the economy of bits"....

"At the moment, people are still suspicious of 'free' and are right to be so. They often pay further down the line or pay with their time or reputation....People are right to think that somewhere, somebody is going to have to pay." ...

This new model still uses cross-subsidies - the idea that someone is paying - but in this case, Mr Anderson says, it's not you.

In the digital world, a very few paying customers can subsidise everybody else.

"The new form of cross-subsidy is one where a tiny minority of people who really appreciate the product, really get value from it, can subsidise everybody else, because the underlying cost of doing things online, in digital, is so low that you can give away 90% of it for free." ...

Chris Anderson refers to the spray of perfume given away free in the department store to encourage customers to buy a whole bottle.  One per cent of the product is given away free in order to sell 99%. In the digital world, however, the opposite applies, "you give away 99% to sell 1%," he says....

"[With computer games] the people you're charging are happy about it and the people you're not charging are the majority. So everybody's happy and the company makes money because the marginal cost of supplying that game to the free users is close to zero."


  • Anderson is generalizing the business model used by OA journals, whether or not they charge publication fees.  Here's how I generalized it in an April 2002 article:
    There are many successful and sustainable examples in our economy in which some pay for all, and those who pay are moved by generosity, self-interest, or some combination. Either way, they willingly pay to make a product or service free for everyone rather than pay only for their own private access or consumption. This funding model, which works so well in industries with much higher expenses [such as broadcast television and radio], will work even better in an economic sector with the nearly unique property that producers donate their labor and intellectual property, and are moved by the desire to make a contribution to knowledge rather than a desire for personal profit.
  • Unfortunately the link to the podcast interview with Chris Anderson and James Boyle is broken at the moment.  But keep trying in case the problem is only temporary.  If the BBC eventually posts the interview to a different URL, you should be able to find it here.
  • Also see the reflections of Peter Day, who conducted the Anderson/Boyle interview, and our past posts on Anderson and Boyle.

Update.  Here's a working link to the podcast interview.  (Thanks to Matt Cockerill.)

Citations of OA journals in three scientific fields

Tove Faber Frandsen, The integration of open access journals in the scholarly communication system: Three science fields, Information Processing & Management, January 2009.

Abstract:   The greatest number of open access journals (OAJs) is found in the sciences and their influence is growing. However, there are only a few studies on the acceptance and thereby integration of these OAJs in the scholarly communication system. Even fewer studies provide insight into the differences across disciplines. This study is an analysis of the citing behaviour in journals within three science fields: biology, mathematics, and pharmacy and pharmacology. It is a statistical analysis of OAJs as well as non-OAJs including both the citing and cited side of the journal to journal citations. The multivariate linear regression reveals many similarities in citing behaviour across fields and media. But it also points to great differences in the integration of OAJs. The integration of OAJs in the scholarly communication system varies considerably across fields. The implications for bibliometric research are discussed.

Only this abstract is free online at the journal site, but also see the self-archived preprint.

Appeal of OA journals about the same in the North and the South

Tove Faber Frandsen, Attracted to open access journals: a bibliometric author analysis in the field of biology, Journal of Documentation, January 2009.  (The DOI-based URL doesn't work for me at the  moment.) 

Purpose – Scholars from developing countries have limited access to research publications due to expensive subscription costs. However, the open access movement is challenging the constraint to access. Consequently, researchers in developing countries are often mentioned as major recipients of the benefits when advocating open access (OA). One of the implications of that argument is that authors from developing countries are more likely to perceive open access positively than authors from developed countries. The present study aims to investigate the use of open access by researchers from developing countries and is thus a supplement to the existing author surveys and interviews.

Design/methodology/approach – Bibliometric analyses of both publishing behaviour and citing behaviour in relation to OA publishing provides evidence of the impact of open access on developing countries.

Findings – The results of the multivariate linear regression show that open access journals are not characterised by a different composition of authors from the traditional toll access journals. Furthermore, the results show that authors from developing countries do not cite open access more than authors from developed countries.

Originality/value – The paper argues that authors from developing countries are not attracted to open access more than authors from developed countries.

Only this abstract is free online from the journal site, but also see the self-archived preprint.

Update (1/14/09).  See Phil Davis' comments on Frandsen's article and the comments of Stevan Harnad and Leslie Chan on Davis' comments.

From Davis:

...The fact that authors in developing nations cite as many subscription-based articles as their counterparts in developed nations questions the notion of a crisis of access to scientific information....

From Chan:

  1. From our perspective, OA is as much about the flow of knowledge from the South to the North as much as the traditional concern with access to literature from the North. So the question to ask is whether with OA, authors from the North are starting to cite authors from the South. This is a study we are planning....
  2. The more critical issue regarding OA and developing country scientists is that most of those who publish in "international" journals cannot access their own publications. This is where open repositories are crucial, to provide access to research from the South that is otherwise inaccessible.
  3. The Frandsen study focuses on biology journals and I am not sure what percentage of them are available to DC researchers through HINARI/AGORA. This would explain why researchers in this area would not need to rely on OA materials as much. But HINARI etc. are not OA programs....
  4. Norris et. al's (2008) "Open access citation rates and developing countries" focuses instead on Mathematics, a field not covered by HINARI and they conclude that "the majority of citations were given by Americans to Americans, but the admittedly small number of citations from authors in developing countries do seem to show a higher proportion of citations given to OA articles than is the case for citations from developed countries...."
  5. ...Davis's eagerness to pronounce that there is "No Benefit for Poor Scientists" based on one study is highly premature.
    If there should be a study showing that people in developing countries prefer imported bottled water over local drinking water, should efforts to ensure clean water supplies locally be questioned?

Update (1/15/09).  Also see Tove Faber Frandsen's comment on Davis' post.  Excerpt:

...I would like to stress that this article do not try to assess the benefits of OA for developing countries. The conclusion of the study is not that open access is of no benefit to developing countries. From the conclusion:

“[B]ased on this study author behaviour in terms of OA publishing and citing cannot be distinguished on the basis of the author(s) being located in developed or developing country. However, OA journals can be characterised by attracting a certain group of authors as the results show that although authors from developing and developed countries do not differ in terms of citing OA journals, publications by both authors from developed and developing countries differ from the two former groups.”

I would not recommend drawing the conclusion that OA is no benefit for developing countries on the basis of the present study. The analyses are based on publication and citation counts, and we should be careful not to confuse citation rates with usage....

Finally, I would like to say that I look forward to continuing these discussions in the primary literature where we also need to document the differences of opinion.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Restoring public access to presidential papers

In his first year of office, George Bush issued an executive order allowing former presidents to block the public release of their papers.  See our past posts on that order and the opposition it generated.

The first act passed by the House of Representatives in the first post-Bush session of Congress is the repeal of Bush's executive order.  (Thanks to FGI.)  If the Senate can pass its own version, Obama has promised the sign the bill.

PS:  It's real.  Change is coming.