Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, January 08, 2010

Open access roundup

ROAR software upgraded

Les Carr & Tim Brody, Registry of Open Access Repositories upgraded, JISC-REPOSITORIES list, January 8, 2010.

An upgraded version of the ROAR service has been debuted, thanks to recent JISC funding shared jointly between ROAR and OpenDOAR.

The Registry of Open Access Repositories, which provides the open access community with quantitative analyses of open access repositories across the world, has now been reworked as a repository itself [using EPrints]. Collecting, updating and editing information about open access repositories is now part of a familiar repository workflow, and consequently much easier to handle. Open access repository managers can register for a ROAR account to enter and update information about their own repositories. We hope that the improved facilities will result in better quality information and an improved service for all stakeholders. ...

Study on IR users

Beth St. Jean, et al., Unheard Voices: Institutional Repository End-Users, College & Research Libraries, preprint, December 26, 2009. Abstract:
This exploratory study investigates the perceptions and experiences of a group of institutional repository (IR) stakeholders seldom heard from: end-users. We interviewed twenty IR end-users recruited through five IRs to discover how they characterize the IR, how/why they use the IR, their credibility judgments in relation to the IR, and their willingness to return to and/or recommend the IR. Despite our small sample size, we were able to ascertain that IR end-users, although not yet loyal IR devotees, recognize their value and unique nature. Our findings also revealed several areas for improvement, such as lack of visibility and transparency.

Phase 3 of White House consultation closes

Diane DiEuliis and Courtney Patterson, Phase III Wrap-Up, OSTP Blog, January 7, 2010.

Today we have reached the end of Phase Three of our public access policy forum. ...

s previously mentioned, due to the busy holiday season we will be re-opening the forum for a two-week bonus session beginning immediately. In this final session we will be soliciting comments on all the topics discussed in the three previous phases, and may periodically ask during the course of these two weeks that participants focus on a few key issues that we feel warrant additional attention.

Phase Three focused on management—particularly how to ensure compliance, how to accurately measure success, and the Federal government’s role in guaranteeing the most effective public access policy.

One clear theme throughout your comments was the need for a public access policy that is simple and could be implemented quickly. ... In terms of compliance, the majority of you focused on the need for a clear mandate that is uniform across agencies. Some suggested the use of monetary sanctions for noncompliance, or withholding future funds for a particular research area until the requirements are met. You said uniform standards across agencies would streamline the submission process.

Many of you provided examples of organizations that could serve as models with regard to evaluation processes. ...

Finally, you engaged in a great discussion concerning the role of the Federal government. Most of you agreed that the government’s main role is to ensure compliance, but you also cautioned that a burdensome compliance mechanism could be counterproductive. Another theme of the discussion was the need for a centralized depository location. Though some of you suggested using university libraries as a depository, the overall consensus seemed to lean toward the belief that this format would be unduly burdensome on universities. ...

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Open access roundup

RePEc in December, and year in review

Christian Zimmermann, RePEc in December 2009, and a look back at 2009, The RePEc Blog, January 7, 2010.

... We welcomed 8 new archives [in December 2009]: Colegio de economistas de A Coruna, Universidad de Oviedo, Revista de Economia Aplicada, National University of Ireland, Galway, Certified General Accountants Association of Canada, George Zane Institute for Economic and Social Research, China Agricultural University, Basque Centre for Climate Change. ...

As for 2009, what have we achieved? 150 new archives, 142,000 newly listed works (+21%), of which 133,000 are available online (+23%), 4,000 new registered authors (+22%). I would argue this is tremendous growth for a project that is already 12.5 years old. We started a research blogging initiative, introduced a Facebook application. We counted 9,540,461 downloads and 34,024,922 abstract views. ...

Hindawi submissions double in 2009

2009: A Year of Strong Growth for Hindawi, press release, January 6, 2010.

Hindawi is pleased to announce that its collection of open access journals has grown substantially during 2009. The number of submitted manuscripts to Hindawi's journals in 2009 increased by more than 115%, from about 7,600 submitted manuscripts in 2008 to more than 16,500 in 2009. The number of manuscripts accepted for publication increased from about 2,500 in 2008 to roughly 4,400 accepted manuscripts in 2009. ...

"It is clear now more than ever that our open access conversion, which we completed in early 2007, was the best management decision we have taken at Hindawi," said Ahmed Hindawi, the company's co-founder and CEO. ...

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Open access roundup

Will OA reinforce the pressure to publish?

Peter Gölitz, Twitter, Facebook, and Open Access..., Angewandte Chemie International Edition, editorial, December 9, 2009.

... The pressure to communicate is all-encompassing, and this is also one of the (often overlooked) dangers of the open-access philosophy. The pressure to publish is intensified, almost like an eleventh commandment. In an excellent essay in Gegenworte, the magazine of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the renowned philosopher Volker Gerhardt from Berlin recently wrote (and we translate here):

There is nothing wrong with the basic idea of open access. But for the researcher, who not only searches but also finds, open access is less of an offer but rather a norm to be executed immediately. Once a result is obtained, it needs to be published immediately if there is to be no harm to the public interest. At the same time you cannot fool yourself into believing that you are helping science with open access' pressure to publish. Science has long suffered from confusing quantity with quality. Ratings are replacing reason, and this is a sure indication that science is no longer judging itself by its own criteria.

The pressure to publish the results of publicly funded research immediately and without restriction will promote publication of the lowest publishable unit (LPU), and this will need to be kept in check ...

The pressure to publish - publish or perish takes on a different meaning - which is implicit in the idea of open access, does not only apply to authors, but also to editors and publishers, and they are subject to this pressure in more than just one sense. Firstly, they will be more than ever committed to expedite the publication of results. Should editors still insist that authors take the "nit-picking criticisms" of referees seriously and thereby delay publication? In addition to this pressure to more quickly provide the public with research results - a pressure that is already omnipresent today - there will, secondly, be financial pressure. In the open-access business model, it is widely accepted that authors (or their funding agencies or universities) pay. This means that that the earnings of the journal are directly dependent on the number of articles published. Only fools believe that editors wouldn't then tend towards acceptance of a manuscript in the many borderline cases. And if the well-being of the paying reader is no longer paramount, then there is also no need to invest in readability - to pay attention to the quality of images and language. ...

Waiting on the world to change

Michael Clarke, Why Hasn’t Scientific Publishing Been Disrupted Already?, The Scholarly Kitchen, January 4, 2010.

Looking back on 2009, there was one particular note that seemed to sound repeatedly, resonating through the professional discourse at conferences and in posts throughout the blogosphere: the likelihood of disruptive change afoot in the scientific publishing industry. ...

It has occurred to me, however, that I would likely have agreed with arguments that scientific publishing was about to be disrupted a decade ago—or even earlier. That we are speculating on the possibility of the disruption (here were are talking of “disruption” in the sense described by Clay Christensen in his seminal book The Innovator’s Dilemma) of scientific publishing in 2010 is nothing short of remarkable.

Lest we forget (and this is an easy thing to do from the vantage of the second the decade of the 21st century), the World Wide Web was not built for the dissemination of pornography, the sale of trade books, the illegal sharing of music files, dating, trading stocks, reading the news, telecommunications, or tracking down your high school girlfriend or boyfriend. As it turns out, the Web is particularly good for all these activities, but these were not its intended uses.

When Tim Berners-Lee created the Web in 1991, it was with the aim of better facilitating scientific communication and the dissemination of scientific research. Put another way, the Web was designed to disrupt scientific publishing. ...

From the vantage of 1991, it would have been impossible to predict all that has happened in the last 18 years. No one would have believed that much could change that quickly.

And yet it has.

The one thing that one could have reasonably predicted in 1991, however, was that scientific communication—and the publishing industry that supports the dissemination of scientific research—would radically change over the next couple decades.

And yet it has not. ...

New OA journals

OA journal announcements, launches, and conversions spotted in the past few weeks:

UK universities call for OA in research assessment

Universities UK response to HEFCE consultation on the Research Excellence Framework (REF), December 13, 2009. Submission to a consultation by the Higher Education Funding Council for England on national research assessment practices under the Research Excellence Framework. Excerpt:
... UUK supports the move toward ‘open access’ of research outputs and, although not mentioned in the consultation, would encourage the REF guidance to require that all submitted outputs are available through some form of open access mechanism. This would build on good research and information management practice. Work currently being undertaken by JICS [sic] and other stakeholders can support this process. ...
Update. Also see Stevan Harnad's comments.

Study suggests no quality bias to OA advantage

Yassine Gargouri, et al., Self-Selected or Mandated, Open Access Increases Citation Impact for Higher Quality Research, preprint, self-archived January 3, 2010. Abstract:
Articles whose authors make them Open Access (OA) by self-archiving them online are cited significantly more than articles accessible only to subscribers. Some have suggested that this "OA Advantage" may not be causal but just a self-selection bias, because authors preferentially make higher-quality articles OA. To test this we compared self-selective self-archiving with mandatory self-archiving for a sample of 27,197 articles published 2002-2006 in 1,984 journals. The OA Advantage proved just as high for both. Logistic regression showed that the advantage is independent of other correlates of citations (article age; journal impact factor; number of co-authors, references or pages; field; article type; or country) and greatest for the most highly cited articles. The OA Advantage is real, independent and causal, but skewed. Its size is indeed correlated with quality, just as citations themselves are (the top 20% of articles receive about 80% of all citations). The advantage is greater for the more citeable articles, not because of a quality bias from authors self-selecting what to make OA, but because of a quality advantage, from users self-selecting what to use and cite, freed by OA from the constraints of selective accessibility to subscribers only.
Update. Also see Phil Davis' critique. The authors respond in the comments.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Open access roundup

Growth of OA in 2009

Heather Morrison, Dramatic Growth of Open Access: Dec. 31, 2009 New Year's Eve Edition, The Imaginary Journal of Poetic Economics, December 31, 2009.
... DOAJ: 4,535 titles
Net growth 2009: 723 titles
Growth rate: 2 titles per day ...

OpenDOAR # archives: 1,558
New growth 2009 (ROAR): 318
Growth rate: 1 archive per day ...

Open Access Mandate Policies (from ROARMAP):
Institutional: 79 (growth 52, more than doubled); growth rate 1-2 per week
Funder: 42 (growth 12, 40% increase, growth rate one per month)
Departmental: 18 (growth 14, more than tripled); growth rate one per month ...

New year: new works join the public domain

January 1 was Public Domain Day, marking the passage into the public domain of works whose copyright expired in 2009. In countries where copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years (such as the European Union and Australia), works entering the public domain include those of Sigmund Freud, William Butler Yeats, and Zane Grey. In countries with a life plus 50 copyright (such as Canada), works entering the public domain include those of Raymond Chandler and Frank Lloyd Wright. The U.S. has a life+70 copyright but thanks to a legal quirk, no published works will enter the public domain until 2019.

White House consultation enters new phase

Diane DiEuliis, Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Phase Two Wrap-Up, OSTP Blog, December 31, 2009.

Today marks the final day of Phase Two of our public access policy forum. ...

Phase Two sparked a dynamic discussion of the technological specifications that would best serve public access. Participants analyzed the relative benefits and disadvantages of a wide range of formats, noting that some would make it easier to search while others may facilitate submission – and therefore compliance. Many participants pointed to the benefits of enabling public feedback on submitted articles, but disagreed upon whether moderation would of such input would foster or impede a productive discussion between participants. In terms of metrics, some suggested the simplest way to measure success would be to quantify the number of submissions freely available as well as the number of downloads or page views. By providing hyperlinks throughout their comments, many participants showed us some of the best examples of usability known to date. Thank you! Still others ventured beyond today’s needs to suggest the challenges and opportunities the future may bring to public access endeavors. Overall, participants underscored the importance of simplicity - in terms of standards, flexibility, and adaptability to evolving technologies. ...

Diane DiEuliis, Policy Forum on Public Access to Federally Funded Research: Management, OSTP Blog, December 31, 2009.

... Today, our discussion turns to questions of management. Phase Three will run through Thursday, January 7, 2010. Between now and then, we would like for you to address the following questions:

  • Compliance. What features does a public access policy need to ensure compliance? Should this vary across agencies?
  • Evaluation. How should an agency determine whether a public access policy is successful? What measures could agencies use to gauge whether there is increased return on federal investment gained by expanded access?
  • Roles. How might a public private partnership promote robust management of a public access policy? Are there examples already in use that may serve as models? What is the best role for the Federal government? ...