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President Obama has nominated Kathleen Sebelius to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Sebelius is the Democratic governor of Kansas.
Comment. What's the OA connection? As far as I can tell, Sebelius has no public track record for or against OA to research, although she does have a good record on open government and OA to PSI. The important OA connection is that HHS is the home of the NIH. We haven't had an NIH Director since Elias Zerhouni stepped down last October, and we haven't had a Secretary of HHS since the regime change in January 2009. Obama initially nominated Tom Daschle to be Secretary of HHS, but Dashle withdrew when the public learned that he failed to pay $140,000 in personal income taxes until after his nomination. We have a leadership vacuum at NIH and HHS, and Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) is taking advantage of it by pushing early and hard for his Fair Copyright in Research Works Act (a.k.a. the Conyers bill, HR 801). The Secretary of HHS and Director of NIH both require Senate confirmation, and in practice the HHS position must be filled before the NIH position. So this is the first of a series of steps needed to restore leadership to the department (HHS) and agency (NIH) responsible for the country's strongest funder OA policy, at a time when the policy is under aggressive attack from the publishing lobby. Sebelius is a good person and her nomination is a good development. Friends of OA have been working hard to protect the NIH policy and oppose the Conyers bill, but there's no doubt that the Daschle fiasco gave the publishers a month-long advantage in this session of Congress. That advantage will soon end.
NECOBELAC (NEtwork of COllaboration Between Europe and Latin American Caribbean) is a new project for collaboration between Europe and Latin American and Caribbean countries to develop capacity in health-care information, including promoting OA. The project is now conducting a questionnaire to identify "terms and concepts related to those issues to determine their weight within different audience[s]".
Kevin Donovan, Notes from Georgetown Symposium on Google Book Search Settlement, Blurring Borders, February 27, 2009. Notes on Google and the Future of Higher Education (Washington, D.C., February 27, 2009).
Update. See also Timothy Vollmer's notes.
Heather West, Senator Wants to Scratch a Seven Year Itch, PolicyBeta, February 27, 2009.
See also our past pasts on: this story from the National Law Journal.
Ker Than, "Eco Hubble" to Bring Nature Data to the Public, National Geographic News, February 26, 2009.
Update. The project's name is actually "National Ecological Observatory Network"; the typo is in the source quoted. (Thanks to Alvin Hutchinson.)
I can't yet find the text of the policy and the announcement does not provide details. But the goal of the new policy is "to ensure" (gewährleisten) OA for as many articles as possible through Alexandria, the St. Gallen repository.
I've written to St. Gallen and hope to have more soon.
John Wilbanks, Sage - Open Access Data from Merck, Common Knowledge, February 27, 2009. Excerpt:
Here are some more comments from the press and blogosphere on the re-introduction of the Conyers bill (a.k.a. Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, HR 801), which would overturn the OA policy at the NIH. Also see our past collections (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
From in Kevin Donovan in The Hoya (the student newspaper at Georgetown University):
From Richard Esguerra at the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
From Esther Wojcicki at Huffington Post:
Jonas Nordin, Historisk tidskrift i nutid och framtid: Några reflektioner över läsarsynpunkter, bibliometri och Open Access, Historisk tidskrift, 128, 4 (2008).
Thanks to Martin Rundkvist for the alert and for this English summary of the Swedish:
Elisabetta Poltronieri, Controllo Semantico all'Istituto Superiore della Sanita, video of a presentation (in Italian) at Pervasive IA (Forli, February 20-21, 2009) on the OA repository at Italy's Istituto Superiore di Sanità. (Thanks to Samuel Zarbock.)
From February 24, The Evans & Reimer OA Impact Study: A Welter of Misunderstandings:
(Re: Paul Basken [in the Chronicle of Higher Education]) No, the Evans & Reimer (E & R) study in Science does not show that"researchers may find a wider audience if they make their findings available through a fee-based Web site rather than make their work freely available on the Internet."
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Program in Research in Information Technology, DuraSpace -- a joint service developed by DSpace Foundation and Fedora Commons, project report, February 13, 2009. (Thanks to Les Carr and Charles Bailey.)
... Over the next six months funding from the planning grant will allow the organizations to jointly specify and design "DuraSpace," a new web-based service that will allow institutions to easily distribute content to multiple storage providers, both "cloud-based" and institution-based. The idea behind DuraSpace is to provide a trusted, value-added service layer to augment the capabilities of generic storage providers by making stored digital content more durable, manageable, accessible and sharable. ...See also our past posts on DuraSpace.
Tim O'Reilly makes the argument for Open Publishing. A 4-minute video interview.
See also our past posts on O'Reilly.
Anne Donnelly, A Repository is not a Bookshelf!, DataShare Blog, February 25, 2009. Notes on SUETr Embedding Repositories Event (Lincoln, England, February 10, 2009).
John Palfrey, Peter Suber at Harvard University on the Future of Open Access, John Palfrey, February 26, 2009. Notes on What is the future of open access? (Cambridge, Mass., February 26, 2009).
... Peter [Suber] mentioned, in passing, that the OA movement has no equivalent to the Free Software Foundation in the context of free/libre/open source software. This comment gives rise to a series of interesting side-issues. Who are the members of the OA movement? How are they (we?) organized? What is the trajectory of the movement? Is there anything that the OA movement’s leadership or followership could learn from other similar movements as to effective modes of advocacy? ...
Notes on Open Science: Good for Research, Good for Researchers? (New York, February 19, 2009):
Izabella Taler, LIS Open Access E-Journal – where are you?, Webology, December 2008. (Thanks to Charles Bailey.) Abstract:
Access to published information is of interest to many users. Library and information science (LIS) professionals are especially interested in gaining access and guiding users to all available information. Though they are often dependent on traditional subscription-based library resources, moving away from the costly ones and replacing them with usage of available open access sources, presents practitioners with a significant budget consideration in today’s shrinking economy. This paper examines the availability of current LIS open access e-journals; their presence in well- and less-well known abstracting and indexing sources, their inclusion in standard library bibliographic tools as well as coverage by Google Scholar, a computer generated search engine.
Philip Davis, End of Free Access, The Scholarly Kitchen, February 26, 2009.
Katie Fortney, Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System, working paper, February 20, 2009. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.) Abstract:
An informed democratic society needs open access to the law, but states' attempts to protect copyright interests in their laws are a major roadblock. This article urges broader access, analyzes the implications and legal arguments for and against copyright in the law, and considers strategies for access advocacy.
Athanasia Pontika, Introducing the Open Access Directory, a wiki resource about Open Access, Open Students, February 25, 2009.
See also our past posts on the OAD.
Piero Cavaleri, et al., Publishing an E-journal on a shoe string: Is it a sustainaible project?, working paper, February 2009. (Thanks to Fabrizio Tinti.) Abstract:
The aim of this article is to report on an experiment in publishing an open access journal and learn from it about the larger field of open access publishing. The experiment is the launch of the European Journal of Comparative Economics (EJCE), an on-line refereed and open access journal, founded in 2004 by the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies and LIUC University in Italy. They embarked upon this project in part to respond to the rising concentration in the market for scientific publishing and the resulting use of market power to raise subscription prices and restrict access to scientific output. We had hoped that open access journals could provide some countervailing power and increase competition in the field. Our experience running a poorly endowed journal has shown that entry to the field may be easy, yet that making it a sustainable enterprise is not straightforward.
See also our post on a recent New York Times story on Malamud, which alluded to his aspirations (although our excerpt omits it), or our many post posts on Malamud and Public.Resource.Org.
Update. See also EFF's comments.
I'll be on the road Wednesday and Thursday, with few opportunities for blogging or email. But Gavin will be on the job and I'll start to catch up on Friday.
Lisa Spiro, Digital Humanities in 2008, II: Scholarly Communication & Open Access, Digital Scholarship in the Humanities, February 24, 2009.
... This year saw some positive developments in open access and scholarly communications, such as the implementation of the NIH mandate, Harvard’s Faculty of Arts & Science’s decision to go open access (followed by Harvard Law), and the launch of the Open Humanities Press. But there were also some worrisome developments (the Conyers Bill’s attempt to rescind the NIH mandate, EndNote’s lawsuit against Zotero) and some confusing ones (the Google Books settlement). In the second part of my summary on the year in digital humanities, I’ll look broadly at the scholarly communication landscape, discussing open access to educational materials, new publication models, the Google Books settlement, and cultural obstacles to digital publication. ...
James Boyle, Misunderestimating open science, Financial Times, February 24, 2009. Excerpt:
Fiona Murray, et al., Of Mice and Academics: Examining the Effect of Openness on Innovation, working paper, October 10, 2008. (Thanks to Rufus Pollock.) Abstract:
Scientific freedom and openness are hallmarks of academia: relative to their counterparts in industry, academics maintain discretion over their research agenda and allow others to build on their discoveries. This paper examines the relationship between openness and freedom, building on recent models emphasizing that, from an economic perspective, freedom is the granting of control rights to researchers. Within this framework, openness of upstream research does not simply encourage higher levels of downstream exploitation. It also raises the incentives for additional upstream research by encouraging the establishment of entirely new research directions. In other words, within academia, restrictions on scientific openness (such as those created by formal intellectual property (IP)) may limit the diversity and experimentation of basic research itself. We test this hypothesis by examining a “natural experiment” in openness within the academic community: NIH agreements during the late 1990s that circumscribed IP [patent] restrictions for academics regarding certain genetically engineered mice. Using a sample of engineered mice that are linked to specific scientific papers (some affected by the NIH agreements and some not), we implement a differences-in-differences estimator to evaluate how the level and type of follow-on research using these mice changes after the NIH-induced increase in openness. We find a significant increase in the level of follow-on research. Moreover, this increase is driven by a substantial increase in the rate of exploration of more diverse research paths. Overall, our findings highlight a neglected cost of IP: reductions in the diversity of experimentation that follows from a single idea.
On February 10, SURF announced the Kick Off (in Dutch) of the Dutch Open Access Year. (For some reason, Google Translate doesn't accept the page, but here's the link to the English translation in case the problem is merely temporary.)
Last November 28, the Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam hosted a mini-symposium to anticipate OA Year. The presentations are now online. (Again, Google Translate doesn't accept the page, but here's the link to the English translation just in case.)
Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Association of India. Authors retain copyright and articles are published under the Creative Commons Attribution No Derivative License. The article-processing charge ("publication donation") is 500 Indian rupees or $25 U.S. for authors who are not society members. (Thanks to Gutam Sridhar.)
Álvaro Cabezas-Clavijo, et al., Ciencia 2.0: catálogo de herramientas e implicaciones para la actividad investigadora, El Profesional de la Informacion, January-February 2009. See also the OA preprint. English abstract:
The concept of Science 2.0 is introduced and analysed based on its principal characteristics: user participation and collaboration, as well as free information exchange by means of web applications. A categorisation of tools for main web 2.0 functionalities for scientists is detailed: blog networks, journals with 2.0 tools, online reference managers and social tagging, open data and information reutilisation, social networks, and audio and video-science. Main factors influencing the use of these tools are presented. Finally, the consequences for scientific activity of general adoption of these services and applications are discussed.See also the comments in Spanish by Luis Javier Martínez Rodríguez.
Leslie Carr, The Cloud, the Researcher and the Repository, RepositoryMan, February 21, 2009.
Update. See also the comments by Wally Grotophorst and Dorothea Salo.
The Council of Editors of Learned Journals has launched a blog on principles for the future of scholarly journals. See, e.g., from the proposed second principle:
... Web 2.0 journals that take their primary responsibility as curatorial have no need for official publication from the university press system. They are not dependent on the income model of the university press, and they have no reason to collect subscriptions: their purpose is disciplinary service and public access. There is no reason for the articles published in this format to be made private, or to require elaborate fee-charging mechanisms. ...
The Göttingen Journal of International Law is a new peer-reviewed, student-edited OA journal published in English by the University of Göttingen. The inaugural issue is now available. (Thanks to Legal Research Plus.) From the inaugural editorial:
... As an e-journal, published exclusively in English, the GoJIL can be accessed free of charge – the best way for reaching the broadest possible audience. We are also of the opinion that open access to academic research is essential for the future of legal scholarship. ...
Today the project released the Repository Hardware Case Studies, released today. "This document contains a case study for each of the repositories, detailing the repository hardware purchased, and the reasons behind the purchasing decisions made."
For background, also see Stuart Lewis and Hannah Payne, How the West was won: Providing repositories across the principality of Wales, ALISS Quarterly, January 2009.
Texas A&M University is considering an OA policy. For details, see this report on its recent symposium, The Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication In the Digital Age (College Station, Texas, February 11-13, 2009). Excerpt:
PS: Also see our past posts on the OA activity at Texas A&M.
John Murphy, Acquisition raises profile of open-access publishing, Research Information, February/March 2009. Excerpt:
The March issue of Walt Crawford's Cites & Insights is now online. The whole issue is devoted to the Google book settlement.
PS: Walt does an excellent job collecting comments from many quarters. (Disclosure: some, but not the best, are mine.) If you've put off thinking about the settlement, because it's so complex and offers too much to think about, Walt's annotated anthology of perspectives is a very good place to start.
Reed Elsevier, parent company of TA publisher Elsevier and TA legal information service LexisNexis, has released its preliminary financial numbers for 2008. (Thanks to Heather Morrison.) Some excerpts:
Association of Research Libraries, Ad Hoc Task Force to Review the Proposed OCLC Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records, Final Report to the ARL Board, January 30, 2009. See also the February 20 press release. From the report's recommendations:
... OCLC needs to develop a new policy regarding the transfer and use of WorldCat records that results from a wide community review of issues; from member library engagement that builds understanding and consensus; and from a careful, widely discussed exploration of how the policy will achieve articulated goals, including whether or how restraints in record sharing may be needed. The currently proposed policy does not meet these criteria. ...
See in particular this concern with the proposed policy, reminiscent of worries about "attribution stacking" for other data licenses/policies (see also our past posts on attribution stacking):
... The task force questions whether any policy that aims to limit the re-use of individual records or portions of bibliographic data within records can be effectively and fairly applied in the modern bibliographic environment. Bibliographic records and data may now pass through many systems in the course of their useful life, and be modified and enhanced many times by different actors. Acknowledging and fairly compensating the contributions of all parties is difficult at best. If each system owner were to assert control over all subsequent uses at a micro level, the exchanges necessary for effective use of bibliographic information would be seriously impeded. ...
See also Peter Brantley's comments on the ARL report.
... There is a danger of over-reaction in this. It is one thing to tell OCLC that the community believes its licensing policy was a mistake, its tone too “unilateral” and not conversational, and its process (essentially) pig-headed. It is another to envelop OCLC’s management in restrictive committee-based decision-making over matters that are vital to its survival ...
Update. See also coverage in Library Journal.