Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, September 25, 2009

Prestigious literary journal goes OA

Alan K. Cubbage, Northwestern Reaffirms Commitment to University Press; TriQuarterly Magazine Goes Electronic, Northwestern University NewsCenter, September 21, 2009.

... The move to digital publishing [at Northwestern University Press] will continue with the transition of TriQuarterly, the Press's literary journal, to an online format next year. TriQuarterly already has an online blog, TriQuarterly To-Day. ...

The journal ... will be made freely available on the web.

"This move will align publishing efforts more closely with the University's academic enterprise while at the same time expanding electronic dissemination and public access to the wonderful literature and essays that are published in TriQuarterly," [University Librarian Sarah] Pritchard said. "Scholarly publishing is increasingly moving to open access, allowing greater distribution of academic work. This reflects that trend and allows the journal editors to take advantage of the multimedia capabilities offered through online publishing." ...

Jennifer Howard, Literary Circles Reel at Northwestern's Plans for 'TriQuarterly', Chronicle of Higher Education, September 24, 2009. Only an excerpt is OA.

Surprised, saddened, shocked: That's how people in the literary-magazine world reacted when word came down this week that one of their own, the esteemed journal TriQuarterly, would cease print publication next year. ...

The press reports to the university librarian, Sarah M. Pritchard, who played down the idea that TriQuarterly as we have known it would cease to exist. "The magazine is certainly continuing," she said. "It's going to solicit external content from prominent writers, as it always has. It's going to go to an online environment, which will greatly expand its readership." ...

Going online, [Middlebury College professor of humanities Stephen Donadio] points out, is not a budgetary cure-all. "You might save money, but you lose revenue," he says. "Nobody subscribes to online magazines." ...

Adding to the angst among editors is the lack of detail about what a born-again TriQuarterly might look like. The Northwestern news release is vague on the point. Without its traditional editorial structure, Mr. Donadio wonders, will the journal be the equivalent of an open-source blog? ...

Neither [of the journal's current editors] sees how an online version of TriQuarterly would really work and how it would preserve the spirit of the magazine they have known. "At this point, I don't see a successfully open-source model for arts publishing," [associate editor Ian] Morris said. "For me, that's the crux of the matter."

N.B. I've focused the excerpts here on the transition to online-only publishing and OA, but a lot of the angst seems to be wound up with other changes (such as sacking the existing editors and a greater reliance on student editors). This is a journal converting to OA at a moment of internal crisis, rather than in a moment of strength.

Mendeley growing rapidly; alternative model for repositories

John MacColl, Mendeley scrobbles your papers, HangingTogether, September 24, 2009.

Mendeley is a social web application for academic authors that has been receiving quite a lot of attention recently. Victor Keegan wrote about it in The Guardian last week, likening it to the streaming music service

How does it work? At the basic level, students can “drag and drop” research papers into the site at which automatically extracts data, keywords, cited references, etc, thereby creating a searchable database and saving countless hours of work. That in itself is great, but now the bit kicks in, enabling users to collaborate with researchers around the world, whose existence they might not know about until Mendeley’s algorithms find, say, that they are the most-read person in Japan in their niche specialism. You can recommend other people’s papers and see how many people are reading yours, which you can’t do in Nature and Science. ... There are lots of research archives. For the physical (but not biological) sciences there is ArXiv, with more than half a million e-papers free online – but nothing on the potential scale of Mendeley. Around 60,000 people have already signed up and a staggering 4m scientific papers have been uploaded, doubling every 10 weeks. At this rate it will soon overtake the biggest academic databases, which have around 20m papers.

The site has grown fast, aided by significant investment capital from investors associated with, Skype and Warner Music Group. ...

If it realises the potential many people are now predicting, the library community is bound to ask why a web application based on an entertainment model should have proved so much more attractive than the painstakingly built repositories we have been holding under the noses of our academic authors over the last several years?

I think there may be a few reasons for this. First, its appeal is intuitive. Put your papers in our service and we will give you lots of webscale data back on how popular they are. The system can show you instantly how your research profile compares with the average researcher in your field. Second, it is instant. The map of research adjusts daily as new papers are added. Want to find out who is the most popular author in your field today? Mendeley can tell you. ... And third, the demands it makes are low compared to the benefits it provides. A range of simple tools allow you to ship your papers into it. ... [Y]ou can scrobble. Scrobbling is the word uses to describe the use of a tool that works invisibly in the background to add your music choices to your account. ... In Mendeley, the same notion is applied via the "Watched Folder" facility. With it, you can designate folders on your hard disk that Mendeley will monitor, and from which it will suck new papers as they appear.

By adopting these approaches, Mendeley has grabbed the attention of users because it understands what they like. They like simplicity. ... What do they not like? Tedious rules about copyright (the Mendeley FAQ, perhaps ironically, quotes the E-prints Self-Archiving FAQ to reassure authors about the extent of Open Access tolerance among publishers). They don’t like rigorous requirements for metadata (Mendeley automatically extracts metadata, and asks users to help it make corrections where it gets things wrong). In other words, the requirements libraries often put up front are almost dismissed as non-issues. ...

Comment. To me, the better analogy may be Napster. I don't necessarily mean that pejoratively: both Napster and Mendeley watch a folder on the user's computer and automatically share files in that folder. That takes the effort out of sharing, which means more documents get shared. It also means that metadata will often be incomplete or inaccurate. In addition, since there's less emphasis on copyright compliance, I'd suspect that some authors may share documents in ways that violate their publisher's contract -- more so than traditional repositories. In short, the Mendeley model seems to have some major advantages over traditional repositories, but also some significant shortcomings vis-à-vis traditional repository goals. I think there's a place for both in a healthy scholarly communications ecosystem, with both competition and collaboration.

See also our past posts on Mendeley.

Update. See also Dorothea Salo's comments.

BMC adds its 200th journal

OA publisher BioMed Central launched its 200th journal this week, the Journal of Angiogenesis Research.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Open Access Week

Open Access Week is coming up on October 19-23, 2009. Here's a taste of what's coming: See also our past posts on OA Week.

Profile of 2 OA authors' funds

SPARC, Changing the Game: Pioneers Report on Efforts to Support Open-Access Publication, press release, September 24, 2009.

Last year, the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Calgary were among a handful of institutions that established pools of money, through their libraries, to cover the cost of open-access journal fees. This approach – aimed at supporting a new academic publishing model that could ultimately relieve at least some of the burden of expensive journal subscriptions – has found a receptive audience among researchers on these two campuses.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is highlighting two approaches to establishing and maintaining open-access funds in a new SPARC Member Profile. SPARC is also preparing to launch a new initiative to provide additional information and resources detailing options for other institutions that may be considering such funds. ...

At UC Berkeley, the Berkeley Research Impact Initiative (BRII) provides faculty, post-doc and graduate students up to $3,000 to cover the cost of publishing an article in an open-access publication – and up to $1,500 for opening an article that requires copyright transfer to the publisher. During the 18-month pilot project, the fund covered 52 articles at an average cost of $1,500 for open-access publications and $1,280 for articles requiring copyright transfer. During Calgary’s first 13 months, the library’s Open Access Authors Fund received 67 official submissions to cover open-access fees at an average cost of $1,538 (in Canadian dollars). ...

First IR in Belarus

Iryna Kuchma, The first open access repository in Belarus – Belarusian State University Digital Library, EIFL, September 23, 2009.
The Fundamental Library of the Belarusian State University celebrated the National Library Day (9-15-09) by registering the first open access institutional repository in Belarus – BSU Digital Library – in the Directory of Open Access Repositories (OpenDOAR). Congratulations to our colleagues from Belarus! ...

New pro-repository group to launch during OA Week

COAR: Confederation of Open Access Repositories, DRIVER, apparently recent.

One of the objectives of DRIVER II has been the building of an organisation around the DRIVER infrastructure, capable of maintaining it over time. A process of consultation has revealed the need for an organisational model of partners representing the repository community, comprising organisations and individuals that represent a common strategic interest in Open Access scholarly communication rather than in a common technology.

An independent investigation was conducted, providing insight into the way such an organisation could be shaped, taking into account its networked and cross-border character, as well as its wide ranging stakeholder community and their differentiated needs. The goals of the new organisation, COAR, the Confederation of Open Access Repositories distinguishes between the need to continue the DRIVER network as an operation, and the need to work globally at the spread of Open Access Repositories by lobby, by influencing policy development and by providing guidance and training. COAR will be a lightweight organisation, a “registered not-for-profit” Association (eingetragener Verein, e.V.) with the host seat in Göttingen, Germany.

Summed up in the catch phrase- coined by Subbiah Arunachalam, the Indian guru and protagonist of Open Access - as ‘reaching the unreached’, the extension of the vision of DRIVER from a primarily European focus , to serve the development of a global knowledge infrastructure can sanction no “untouchables”. ...

Aim of COAR: COAR is an international not-for-profit association that aims to promote greater visibility and application of research outputs through global networks of Open Access digital repositories.

COAR strives to achieve this aim in pursuing two main goals.

  • The first goal set concerns the operation, maintenance and further development of the DRIVER Confederation not as a project but as a sustainable and viable operation

  • The second goal set concerns the more general and strategic goals with respect to development, advocacy, and representation of Open Access and repositories. ...

COAR will be launched during Open Access Week 2009. If you are interested in participating in COAR, a nominal membership subscription of €100 is envisaged in the first year, with banded subscriptions thereafter, based on organisational budget, to be agreed by the first General Assembly. ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dutch science minister supports OA

Warna Oosterbaan, ‘Maak wetenschappelijke publicaties openbaar’, NRC Handelsblad, August 1, 2009. SPARC Europe today posted an English translation:

Scientists who receive subsidies from the Dutch Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) must make their scientific publications available on the internet. That is the view of prominent library directors and scientists. Minister Plasterk (Science, [Dutch Labor Party]) agrees with them on "the principle that all research funded by public money should be accessible to everyone."

Each year NWO distributes 550 million Euros of public money, being the main funder of scientific research in the Netherlands. ...

Bas Savenije, director general of the National Library of the Netherlands in The Hague, and former director of Utrecht University says "if health centres and GPs asked me 'can you give us access to recent scientific literature’ I must tell them that the scientific publishers do not allow us to. It would be wonderful if we were able to grant access to patient associations, college programmes, training centres and SMEs”. Savenije wants NWO to grant their subsidies on the condition that scientific publications are accessible. ...

NWO does not set the condition of public access. In other countries important research financiers do so ... NWO has made it known “in principle to be in favour of open access".

Plasterk is Minister for Education, Culture and Science in the current Dutch government.

Also see:

See also our past posts on Plasterk and NWO.


Paper retracted for breaking publication embargoes on open data

Randy Schekman, PNAS takes action regarding breach of NIH embargo policy on a PNAS paper, editorial, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 18, 2009.

After the paper titled "PKNOX2 gene is significantly associated with substance dependence in European-origin women," by Xiang Chen, Kelly Cho, Burton H. Singer, and Heping Zhang, published online August 31, 2009 in PNAS, our editors became aware that Dr. Zhang had signed a Data Use Certification indicating his agreement to comply with the NIH Genome-Wide Association Studies Policy for Data Sharing, which applies to the Gene Environment Association (GENEVA) studies, of which the Study of Addiction, Genetics and Environment (SAGE) is a part. Under the policy, investigators agree not to submit findings of the SAGE dataset(s) for publication until September 23, 2009. The PNAS publication clearly violates the SAGE embargo, and the authors agreed to retract their work in PNAS on September 9, 2009. ...

This oversight does a disservice to the SAGE investigators on this National Human Genome Research Institute-funded genetic study of addiction, the other investigators who abided by the NIH embargo, and the scientific community. ...

Alan E. Guttmacher, Elizabeth G. Nabel, and Francis S. Collins, Why data-sharing policies matter, editorial, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, September 18, 2009.

... Numerous examples of broad data sharing, ranging from the Human Genome Project, to the Framingham Heart Study, to the myriad genomewide association studies deposited in the dbGaP database of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), offer compelling testimony to how broad access accelerates and empowers scientific investigation to benefit society.

However, for both ethical reasons and the purely practical concern of making broad data access workable, it is vital to recognize and protect both participants’ and investigators’ interests. ...

The interests of the investigator who places data in an accessible database also require protection. The major available protection is the guarantee of a period of exclusivity in submission of abstracts and publications for a number of months (usually 6 to 12). This exclusive period is assured by allowing data access only to end users who agree to abide by it. ...

With these principles in mind and after considerable public input, the NIH implemented a "Policy for Sharing of Data Obtained in NIH Supported or Conducted Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS)". This policy provides guidance for researchers who are interested in accessing data from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database dbGaP, requiring recipient investigators and their institutional officials to sign an agreement (the Data Use Certification) by which they will comply with the terms of data access, including a 12-month period of exclusivity. ...

[The] research community that must police itself and prevent inappropriate publication in the future. This will require that recipient users of community data resources be fully aware of data use limitations to which they agree and be scrupulous in honoring them. It will require that reviewers question whether data access terms have been followed in submitted manuscripts. It will require that publishers ensure that authors observe the same level of ethical behavior for data access as for conflict of interest or research misconduct. It will require that the NIH design effective strategies for alerting the research community to this issue and implement steps that make breaches difficult to commit and easy to discover. ...

Liberal arts colleges come out for FRPAA

The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. today released a letter supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (FRPAA, S.1373). The colleges are members of the Oberlin Group of Libraries. From the letter:

... Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nation's scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees and become productive researchers. Our faculty actively pursue research, much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with talented undergraduates. Unfortunately, access to research information paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions – and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need.

The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. ... Given the scope of research literature that would become available online, it is clear that adoption of the bill would have significant benefits for the progress of science and the advancement of knowledge. ...

Also see:

EOS, group of pro-OA univ. administrators, launches

After a premature launch in June, Enabling Open Scholarship launched today. From the press release:

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS), a new organisation for senior management in universities and research institutions, has been launched today. ...

As we rapidly approach 100 formal, mandatory, policies on Open Access from universities, research institutes and research funders a group of senior directors of universities and research institutes have come together to launch a new forum for the promotion of the principles and practices of open scholarship. ...

Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS) provides the higher education and research sectors around the world with information on developments and with advice and guidance on implementing policies and processes that encourage the opening up of scholarship. It also provides a forum for discussion and debate amongst its members and will be taking that discussion into the wider community.

EOS membership is for senior institutional managers who have an interest in — and wish to help develop thinking on — strategies for promoting open scholarship to the academy as a whole and to society at large. ...

EOS offers an outreach service to universities and research institutes — whether members or not — that need help, advice, guidance or information on open scholarship issues. We do this through our website and also by providing information on an individual basis to institutions that need it.

The EOS board is composed of people who have personally designed or instigated the kinds of changes in their own institutions that herald the benefits of the open scholarly communication system of the future. Now this expertise is available for others to tap into. ...

See also our past posts on Enabling Open Scholarship and its predecessor, EurOpenScholar.

Clarifications on the future of OAIster

Earlier this week, we posted the latest news on the transfer of the OAIster metadata harvester to OCLC, including some points of confusion and contention. Roy Tennant of OCLC has posted two updates to clarify and defend OCLC's actions:

Roy Tennant, The Straight Dope on OAIster, HangingTogether, September 21, 2009.

... I have heard lots of questions since we started contacting contributors with the most recent phase of the transfer plan, so the purpose of this post is to bring everyone up to date on why we are doing this, where things are, and what we hope to accomplish in the future.

  • OCLC wanted to do whatever we could to ensure sustainability of this aggregation when the University of Michigan realized they needed assistance. ...
  • Starting in October, the records will be freely discoverable along with all the other content in However, it will not be possible to limit a search to OAIster records alone.
  • In FirstSearch, OAIster records can either be searched along with other FirstSearch databases, or selected to search alone. OAIster records have been searchable in FirstSearch since January 2009.
  • Contributors of OAIster records can receive free access to the OAIster aggregation in FirstSearch by request. Contributors were recently contacted to offer them such access and many have already responded that they would like to have such access.
  • No money was exchanged in this transfer and OCLC is not making any money on the OAIster aggregation. OAIster records were added to FirstSearch at no extra charge to FirstSearch subscribers, and of course there is no charge for searching, where they are also exposed. ...
  • We are forming an advisory board to provide us with essential advice. ...

Roy Tennant, Clarification on OCLC/OAIster Transfer, HangingTogether, September 23, 2009.

... A comment on [the previous] post, as well as chatter via Twitter and on some mailing lists has prompted us to clarify the terms and conditions to make it absolutely clear that they only apply to the harvested metadata.

It was never our intent to harvest anything other than metadata. Unfortunately, the terminology used in the OAIster terms and conditions did not accurately state the rights that OCLC needs to make the OAIster data available. As a result, the OAIster terms and conditions have been corrected and are being re-sent to OAIster data providers. ...

See also our past posts on OAIster and OCLC.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

News from the Journals Online project

The International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications recently released its Autumn 2009 newsletter, which highlights INASP's Journals Online (JOLs) project. The JOLs provide a low-cost online publishing platform (based on Open Journal Systems) and capacity building for journals in developing countries, with the goal of providing OA to the journals' full text. Excerpt:

... The JOL project began in 1998 with African Journals Online (AJOL) as simple HTML pages on the INASP website. ...

In accordance with INASP’s mandate to develop sustainability and local capacity, AJOL was moved to Africa in 2005 and is managed by a not-for-profit trust in South Africa. It has gone from strength to strength with more than 340 journals from 25 countries on the site in June 2009. ...

Since 2006, the following Asian JOLs have been set up: Bangladesh (BanglaJOL), Nepal (NepJOL), Philippines (PhilJOL), Sri Lanka (SLJOL), Vietnam (VJOL).

The Asian JOLs now include 133 journals with 6,420 articles. As of May 2009, 73% of these are available as open access full text ...

Pakistan is also being considered for a JOL.

For more information, see the recent newsletters from BanglaJOL, NepJOL, PhilJOL, and SLJOL

Google, plaintiffs, DOJ amending settlement

The plaintiffs in the Google Book Search settlement today filed a motion with the court asking to delay the fairness hearing, scheduled for October 7. In a memo accompanying the motion, the plaintiffs explain that they are amending the preliminary settlement in light of discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice. From the memo:

... As of September 8, 2009, approximately 400 objections, briefs of amici curiae, and statements, both in support of and in opposition to the Settlement Agreement, have been filed with the Court. ...

In addition, as the Court is aware, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has been investigating the proposed Settlement and other federal government agencies, including the U.S. Copyright Office in a hearing before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, have publicly expressed views on the Settlement.

Last Thursday, September 17, 2009, plaintiffs and Google met with senior DOJ officials. In that meeting, the parties expressed their commitment to work with the DOJ regarding several concerns with the Settlement Agreement.

The next day, on September 18, 2009, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in response to this Court’s Order of July 2, 2009, filed a Statement of Interest of the United States of America Regarding Proposed Class Settlement (“U.S. Statement of Interest”). Of key importance is that the U.S. Statement of Interest confirmed the DOJ’s reciprocal desire to work with the parties to address concerns raised by the United States. ...

It is because the parties wish to work with the DOJ to the fullest extent possible that they have engaged, and plan to continue to engage, in negotiations in an effort to address and resolve the concerns expressed in the U.S. Statement of Interest. ...

Plaintiffs ... are uncertain, at this stage, whether any additional form of notice, however limited, might be required [for the amended settlement]. ...

Accordingly, because the parties intend to amend the Settlement Agreement and need adequate time to negotiate amendments among themselves and with the DOJ, plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court adjourn the Fairness Hearing scheduled for October 7, 2009.

Plaintiffs also respectfully request that the Court schedule a status conference, for the purpose of discussing the parties’ progress, on November 6, 2009, or at a date and time of the Court’s convenience. At that time, the parties expect that they will be prepared to present to the Court a schedule for further proceedings, including a Fairness Hearing, in this case.

Google has agreed that plaintiffs may represent that it does not oppose this motion.

Comment. This could be big. There's no shortage of criticism of the terms of the preliminary settlement; the question is which changes will Google and the plantiffs adopt, and whether DOJ will sign off on them.


How and why researchers disseminate their findings

Communicating knowledge: How and why UK researchers publish and disseminate their findings is a new study released this month by the Research Information Network and JISC. The report touches on some aspects related to OA; excerpts:

... Many reports have pointed to more widespread awareness (if not necessarily deeper understanding) among researchers’ of open access, particularly in some areas in the biological and physical sciences. There is some pressure on researchers from funders and from universities to make use of open access repositories, and previous surveys have indicated that a majority of researchers are prepared to respond to positively to such pressures. But uptake of open access options – either through publication in open access journals or through deposit of articles in open access repositories – has been slower than many would have hoped. Our survey shows that over 60% of researchers believe that open access repositories are either ‘not important’ or ‘not applicable’ to the dissemination of their research. This may reflect researchers’ concerns – shown in earlier studies – that open access outlets will be not be rated highly by peer reviewers – either in the [Research Assessment Exercise] or on interview panels – or in any bibliometric analysis.

There are, however, significant disciplinary differences: 52% of physical sciences and mathematics researchers say open access repositories are ‘important’ or ‘very important’; whereas only 25% of humanities researchers say the same.

The most prevalent influence on the decision to use open access repositories was maximising dissemination to the target audience (47% saying it has a lot of influence, 22.% a little influence). The requirements of research assessment has the least influence (77% saying it had none at all). There is some evidence, however, of an increase in awareness of funders’ and institutions’ policies relating to open access, prompted by the desire to reach wider audiences as rapidly as possible ...

Many researchers, especially younger ones, are clear, however, that a move to any system based even in part on citations will have a significant effect on their publication and dissemination behaviour. Thus 22% say it will lead them to produce more publications; 33% that it will lead them to submit their work more often to high-status journals; and 43% that it will lead them to make their research freely-available on open access. Researchers in physical sciences and maths are the least likely to see a move to open access, perhaps because many of them have made the move already. ...

Only a relatively small minority of researchers, however, as yet make much use of open access repositories, or of blogs, wikis and other web-based tools to publish and disseminate their work. For those who do use open access repositories, it is notable that the key influences are the desire to reach key audiences speedily: funder requirements have relatively little influence. ...

Access to material online has greatly facilitated the process of finding, reading and deciding what to cite. ... A third of researchers in the life sciences say that easy accessibility has a major influence on what they cite, and the proportion rises among younger researchers. In the humanities and social sciences, easy accessibility has less influence. ...

OASPA elects first board

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, OASPA announces new board, press release, September 18, 2009.

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) announced the results of its first election at the 1st Conference on Open Access Scholarly Publishing last week.

Board members and officers include: Caroline Sutton, Co-Action Publishing (President); Saskia Franken, Utrecht University Library/Igitur (Secretary); David Prosser, SPARC Europe (Treasurer), Bo-Christer Bjork, Electronic Journal of Information Technology in Construction; Matt Cockerill, BioMed Central; Gunther Eysenbach, Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR); Mark Patterson, PLoS; Paul Peters, Hindawi Publishing Corporation; David Solomon, Medical Education Online (MEO).

Over the coming months OASPA will be establishing sub-groups to address the situation of different publisher groups and regions, as well as sub-committees to move forward on specific issues together with the broader scholarly communications community.

Monday, September 21, 2009

End of OA to OAIster as a separate database

Thomas Krichel has shared an email sent by OCLC to OAIster contributors.

... OCLC and the University of Michigan [former maintainer of OAIster] are working together to complete the transfer of OAIster harvesting operations to OCLC.

In October 2009, OCLC will add OAIster records to ...

OAIster users will have two ways to access the records you contribute to OAIster.

  • search results will include OAIster records. is a publicly available Web site searchable at no charge. ... Each search will retrieve results from the WorldCat database along with OAIster and article-level content from [other sources]. Records from all sources are presented to users in integrated search results.
  • Authenticated users of libraries that subscribe to the FirstSearch Base Package may search OAIster as a separate database through, WorldCat Local and WorldCat Local "quick start." ...

Charles Bailey comments,

What appears to be lost in this strategy is free access to OAIster as a separate database after OCLC assumes full control of OAIster in 2010.

Also see comments by Krichel and Heather Morrison.

See also our past post on the OCLC-OAIster agreement, or all our past posts on OAIster and OCLC.

Ranking OA policies and practices

Nicholas Gruen, A League ladder of PSI openness?, Government 2.0 Taskforce, September 19, 2009.

... Google is making good progress getting hold of data to make its products – particularly Google Maps – even more useful, but it’s also hard for them not to be frustrated by the silly things which mean that data that you and I have already paid for governments to collect, data collected with the sole purpose of generating public benefits, is not simply, easily, quickly released into a serendipitous world in which we find out (so often to our own surprise) how useful it can become. ...

Then I had an idea. Since I conveyed it to Google, it seems only fair that I convey it to you. Why doesn’t Google report on governments’ preparedness to release data. It could produce a methodology and apply it consistently. ...

One thing I’ve observed is that State Premiers like to claim that their state is the best or one of the best at something. State Oppositions also spend their time drawing attention to the ways in which the government they are opposing is sending their state to the dogs, choosing whatever comparative stats demonstrate their government’s relative under-performance. And of course there’s no reason to stop at state governments. National governments could also be compared. ...

Comment. I think the same concept could be gainfully applied to OA policies and practices. I don't know of any survey or ranking of OA across governments. (Students for Free Culture's Open University Campaign aims to apply the concept across individual universities.)

Amazon Kindle Store vs. public domain books

Keith Dawson, Amazon Delaying Public Domain Submissions On Kindle, Slashdot, September 18, 2009.
John B. Hare writes

Many publishers of public domain content on the Kindle are being turned away for reasons that Amazon declines to clarify. In the past two weeks any publisher posting a public domain book (or a book that appears to be a such) has received the message 'Your book is currently under review by the Kindle Operations team as we are trying to improve the Kindle customer experience. Please check back in 5 business days to see if your book was published to the store.' Amazon claims that this is a quality control issue ...

I own and run one of the primary contributors of new public domain e-texts on the web: I am (was?) in the process of converting all of the 2,000+ e-books at sacred-texts into Kindle editions. ...

I just received the following email from Amazon:

Dear Publisher,

We're working on a policy and procedure change to fix a customer experience problem caused by multiple copies of public domain titles being uploaded by a multitude of publishers. For an example of this problem, do a search on "Pride and Prejudice" in the Kindle Store. The current situation is very confusing for customers as it makes it difficult to decide which "Pride and Prejudice" to choose. As a result, at this time we are not accepting additional public domain titles through [Digital Text Platform], including the following: [Note: omitting list.] ...

One key point is that Amazon has applied this ban completely non-selectively. Established publishers such as myself and others who have never had any quality control issues whatsoever, and give good value for the price, have all been tarred with the broad brush of "Public Domain Publisher — do not post." ...

Most NZ e-journal subscriptions don't include long-term access

Sam Rogers, Survey and Analysis of Electronic Journal Licenses for Long-Term Access Provisions in Tertiary New Zealand Academic Libraries, Serials Review, March 2009. Abstract:
A survey of New Zealand university and polytechnic libraries indicates what proportions of library e-journal holdings have archival rights or perpetual access clauses. The author then analyzes licenses from three universities for terms, permissions, and other details. The research indicates that less than 20% of the online holdings for most New Zealand educational libraries had a print duplicate, archive, or perpetual access right. Licenses failed to address these access and rights issues in 70% of the cases surveyed. The issues of long-term access to licensed materials are addressed in less than 30% of licenses and only by providers that are offering them.

New database of NEH-funded projects

National Endowment for the Humanities, NEH launches new online database, press release, September 21, 2009.

Today the [U.S.] National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) unveiled a new Funded Projects Query Form that allows visitors to search online for information on all projects funded by NEH since 1980. ... The database will be updated quarterly after new awards are made. The form has been made available as a part of NEH’s transparency efforts.

Visitors can explore the database using a variety of search terms including project director name, key words, organization, state, and award date range. Searches can also be narrowed by grant program, division, and several other fields. Search results provide project title, recipient, and award amount information. A document with answers to frequently asked questions can be found at [link]. ...

See also our past post on a similar tool from NIH.

Study suggests journal data-sharing policies are ineffectual

Caroline J. Savage and Andrew J. Vickers, Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals, PLoS ONE, September 18, 2009. Abstract:

Background: Many journals now require authors share their data with other investigators, either by depositing the data in a public repository or making it freely available upon request. These policies are explicit, but remain largely untested. We sought to determine how well authors comply with such policies by requesting data from authors who had published in one of two journals with clear data sharing policies.

Methods and Findings: We requested data from ten investigators who had published in either PLoS Medicine or PLoS Clinical Trials. All responses were carefully documented. In the event that we were refused data, we reminded authors of the journal's data sharing guidelines. If we did not receive a response to our initial request, a second request was made. Following the ten requests for raw data, three investigators did not respond, four authors responded and refused to share their data, two email addresses were no longer valid, and one author requested further details. A reminder of PLoS's explicit requirement that authors share data did not change the reply from the four authors who initially refused. Only one author sent an original data set.

Conclusions: We received only one of ten raw data sets requested. This suggests that journal policies requiring data sharing do not lead to authors making their data sets available to independent investigators.

Update. See also the comments on the PLoS Medicine blog.

OCLC starts over with drafting WorldCat data policy

OCLC, OCLC Board of Trustees convenes Council to study and develop new WorldCat Record Use Policy, press release, September 14, 2009.

The OCLC Board of Trustees has convened a Record Use Policy Council, which will draw upon the fundamental values of the OCLC cooperative and engage with the global library community to develop the next generation of the WorldCat Record Use Policy. The intent is to recommend to the OCLC Board of Trustees a new policy that is aligned with the present and future information landscape. The new policy will replace the Guidelines for Use and Transfer of OCLC Derived Records that was developed in 1987.

The formation of this council was one of the recommendations contained in the final report of the OCLC Review Board on the Principles of Shared Data Creation and Stewardship formed in January 2009 to represent the membership and inform OCLC on best practices for sharing library data.

The Policy Council is also charged with carrying out the other recommendations contained in the final report, including development of a policy to enable expanding the role and value of WorldCat in the broad information ecosystem. ...

The Record Use Policy Council will begin its work soon. ... The Council will submit a new draft policy and recommendations for implementation to the Chair of the OCLC Board of Trustees and OCLC President and CEO, for review and approval by the OCLC Board of Trustees in midyear 2010.

See also our past posts on WorldCat or OCLC.

OA survey of Indian researchers

The Open Knowledge Society is conducting a survey of researchers in India. The survey will collect responses until October 1, 2009.
The aim of this survey is to evaluate the level of awareness and attitude towards Open Access of Scholarly Literature among Researchers in India.