Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

March SOAN

I just mailed the March issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at how "market-oriented" economic sectors differ from "mission-oriented" sectors, and where scholarly publishing belongs on this spectrum. 

The roundup section briefly notes 112 OA developments from February.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

February SOAN

I just mailed the February issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at four analogies between the political fortunes of open access and the political fortunes of clean energy. 

The roundup section briefly notes 116 OA developments from January.

Here's a quick overview of the four analogies:

  1. The gap between breakthrough and uptake
  2. Putting obstacles in our way
  3. Slowing down to protect the incumbents
  4. Some pay for all

Update (3 hours later).  A list problem has snagged delivery of the email edition.  Apologies for the delay.  Meantime, the online edition (link above) is the same as the email edition and already available.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Housekeeping: Farewell

For the past two years, my work on Open Access News has been funded by SPARC. My funding ends today, and with it my tenure at OAN.

I'll leave it to Peter to say what becomes of OAN from here. The Open Access Tracking Project, which we launched last year, continues. (Anticipating this moment was one motivation behind the project: anyone can contribute to the OATP feed, allowing the workload to be distributed.)

I give my sincerest thanks to Peter and to SPARC for affording me this incredible opportunity. There are few better ways to engage so deeply and globally with the topic of open access. I've learned so much.

I hope my work has also been useful to you, our readers. It has been a challenge and a privilege to make sense of the world of open access and communicate it to you. Thank you for your support and engagement.

As for me, I intend to begin work on my Ph.D. in the fall. Until then, I'm available to work on new projects: if you have any ideas, please contact me.

Thanks for reading, and for all you do.

Keep in touch,


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Saturday, January 02, 2010

January SOAN: Review of OA in 2009

I just mailed the January 2010 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at the progress of OA in 2009.  The roundup section briefly notes 118 OA developments from December.


Monday, December 28, 2009

OA mandate at Dublin Tech

Dublin Institute of Technology has adopted an OA mandate:

Academic staff, research assistants, research students and other members of the Institute are entitled and required to deposit digital copies of refereed and other research publications and documents. ...

Exceptionally, material that is to be commercialised, or which can be regarded as confidential, or the publication of which would infringe a legal commitment of the Institute and/or the author, is exempt from inclusion in the repository.

Uploading of items into [the IR] is the responsibility of authors and researchers. It is desirable that items be self-archived. However, this task may be delegated to others or to Library Services.

All deposits of journal articles must comply with Publishers’ policies. ...


OA mandate at U. Abertay Dundee

The University of Abertay Dundee has adopted an OA mandate:

It is the University’s policy to establish a comprehensive database of research outputs, recording bibliographic information and, where permissible under publishers' copyright policies, providing access to the full text of published research produced by University staff and research students.

The University therefore requires that all staff and research students submit the following to the repository:

  • Full text electronic copies and bibliographic details of peer-reviewed research published from 1 January 2010.
  • Bibliographic details (including abstracts, where available) of peer-reviewed research published between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2009.

and that:

  • The electronic version of theses accepted for research degrees after 10th July 2009 will be deposited in the repository on behalf of the students. ...


Friday, December 11, 2009

Columbia U. joins COPE, will create OA fund

Columbia University Commits to Open-Access Publication Compact, press release, December 11, 2009.

Columbia University has joined several leading institutions of higher learning in a commitment to a Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity. Other signatories to the compact are Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California at Berkeley.

The compact commits signatories to the timely establishment of mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication fees for open access journal articles authored by researchers without alternative funding. The effort around the compact arose as a result of discussions within the university community about providing sustainable, efficient, and effective business models for journal publishing. "The growth of this new strategy for support for high quality scholarly communication in the expanding number of open access journals requires our participation and support," said Jim Neal, Columbia’s Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian. ...

Following from the compact commitment, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is establishing a fund to help support Columbia faculty, staff, and students who wish to publish in OA journals. The Libraries are currently formulating policy and eligibility requirements for the fund, which will be administered by the Scholarly Communication Program, based at the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship (CDRS). ...

See also our past post on Columbia joining COPE.


26 OA mandates at one stroke

Last year, Finland's 26 universities of Applied Sciences launched a consortial OA repository ( and in October they adopted a joint OA mandate.  Excerpt:

After 1 January 2010, the Universities of Applied Sciences will require all teachers and researchers who work at the universities to save a copy of their research essays that are published in scientific publications, or a university publication series, in the open electronic library, Theseus....


Update.  Although there are 28 members of ARENE ry, only 26 participate in Theseus, and only 26 have adopted the OA mandate.  The 26 with mandates are those governed by the Finnish Ministry of Education.  One institution, the police academy at Tampere, is governed by the Ministry of Interior, and one, the Åland University of Applied Sciences, is in Mariehamn, an autonomous territory.  (Thanks to Anna-Kaisa Sjölund for these details.) 


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Obama administration wants OA for federally-funded research

The Obama administration is calling for public comments on ways to enhance access to federally-funded research.  From today's announcement:

With this notice, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) within the Executive Office of the President, requests input from the community regarding enhancing public access to archived publications resulting from research funded by Federal science and technology agencies. This RFI [Request for Information] will be active from December 10, 2009 to January 7, 2010. Respondents are invited to respond online via the Public Access Policy Forum...or may submit responses via electronic mail. Responses will be re-posted on the online forum. Instructions and a timetable for daily blog topics during this period are described at [the White House Open Government Initiative web site]....

[T]he Administration is dedicated to maximizing the return on Federal investments made in R&D. Consistent with this policy, the Administration is exploring ways to leverage Federal investments to increase access to information that promises to stimulate scientific and technological innovation and competitiveness. The results of government-funded research can take many forms, including data sets, technical reports, and peer-reviewed scholarly publications, among others. This RFI focuses on approaches that would enhance the public's access to scholarly publications resulting from research conducted by employees of a Federal agency or from research funded by a Federal agency....

The Executive Branch is considering ways to enhance public access to peer reviewed papers arising from all federal science and technology agencies. One potential model, implemented by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)...requires that all investigators funded by the NIH submit an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscript upon acceptance for publication no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. Articles collected under the NIH Public Access Policy are archived in PubMed Central and linked to related scientific information contained in other NIH databases....

The NIH model has a variety of features that can be evaluated, and there are other ways to offer the public enhanced access to peer- reviewed scholarly publications. The best models may [be] influenced by agency mission, the culture and rate of scientific development of the discipline, funding to develop archival capabilities, and research funding mechanisms....

Input is welcome on any aspect of expanding public access to peer reviewed publications arising from federal research. Questions that individuals may wish to address include, but are not limited to, the following (please respond to questions individually)....[PS: Here omitting the nine questions; but anyone submitting a comment should read and address them.]


  • This is big.  We already have important momentum in Congress for FRPAA.  The question here is about separate action from the White House.  What OA policies should President Obama direct funding agencies to adopt?  This is the first major opening to supplement legislative action with executive action to advance public access to publicly-funded research.  It's also the first explicit sign that President Obama supports the OA policy at the NIH and wants something similar at other federal agencies.
  • Don't forget that FRPAA has to stand in line behind healthcare reform, financial regulation, and climate change.  This is the perfect time to open a new front from the executive branch.  Also don't forget that the federal funding agencies belong to the executive branch and are subject to executive order.
  • Comments are due January 7.  Please write one and spread the word, not necessarily in that order.  As far as I can tell, comments from non-citizens addressing the nine questions are as welcome as comments from US citizens. 
  • You can be sure that the publishing lobby will be writing comments.  It's vital that the research community be heard as well, loud and clear.

Update.  For those who want to post their comment(s) to the forum (rather than by email), and/or follow the discussion at the forum, the discussion has begun at the OSTP blog.

Update (1/11/10).  The deadline for comments has been extended until January 21, 2010.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

U. Ottawa adopts OA strategy, joins COPE

University of Ottawa among North American leaders as it launches open access program, press release, December 8, 2009.

The University of Ottawa is the first Canadian university to adopt a comprehensive open access program that supports free and unrestricted access to scholarly research.

The University’s new program includes:

  • a commitment to make the University’s scholarly publications available online at no charge through the University’s repository, uO Research;
  • an author fund to help researchers defray open access fees charged by publishers;
  • a fund to support the creation of digital educational materials organized as courses and available to everyone online at no charge ;
  • support for the University of Ottawa Press’s commitment to publishing a collection of open access books; and
  • a research grant to support further research on the open access movement.

The University of Ottawa also becomes the first Canadian university to join the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) ...

For more information on the University of Ottawa’s open access program, visit [ink].

  • Although Michael Geist describes the strategy as including a mandate, it doesn't appear to. The plan doesn't seem to mention either a commitment/obligation to self-archive or a university-wide license. (If I'm wrong, please let me know.)
  • The implementation of the COPE fund differs from those of Harvard, etc.: most notably, it allows funds to be used for hybrid OA journals.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

December SOAN

I just mailed the December 2009 issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at the OA implications of the amended version of the Google book settlement.  The roundup section briefly notes 150 OA developments from November.


Monday, November 23, 2009

2 OA mandates at Brigham Young U.

David Wiley, Two Units in BYU Adopt Open Access Policies, iterating toward openness , November 23, 2009.

Two units at Brigham Young University have adopted open access policies – both the Harold B. Lee Library faculty and the faculty in my own department, Instructional Psychology and Technology, voted to adopt the policies earlier this month. IP&T’s policy was based on the HBLL policy, which was based on existing OA policies at other universities. ...

For those who are interested, here’s the text of the IP&T policy:

... Each Instructional Psychology and Technology Department faculty member grants to Brigham Young University permission to make scholarly articles to which he or she has made substantial intellectual contributions publicly available as part of the Harold B. Lee Library’s ScholarsArchive system, or its successor ...

The term “scholarly articles” includes articles prepared for presentation or publication, whether in electronic or print media. ...

The IP&T Department Chair or the Chair’s designate shall waive application of the policy to a particular article upon written request by a Faculty member explaining the need. The IP&T Chair, in consultation with the faculty, will be responsible for interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the faculty. This policy will be formally reviewed two years after implementation, by September 30, 2011.

As of the date of publication, each faculty member will make available an electronic copy of his or her final version of the article at no charge to a designated representative of the University Librarian’s Office in appropriate formats (such as PDF) specified by the University Librarian’s Office.

See also: Peter included BYU in his January newsletter's list of "mandate proposals known to be under discussion".


Friday, November 20, 2009

Oberlin adopts an OA mandate

Oberlin College Faculty Unanimously Endorses Open Access, press release, November 20, 2009.

The Oberlin College General Faculty unanimously endorsed on November 18 a resolution to make their scholarly articles openly accessible on the Internet. As a result of the measure, the rich scholarly output of the Oberlin faculty will become available to a much broader national and international audience. The Oberlin resolution is similar to policies passed at Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Kansas, and Trinity University. ...

Under the new policy, Oberlin faculty and professional staff will make their peer-reviewed, scholarly articles openly accessible in a digital archive managed by the Oberlin College Library as part of the OhioLINK Digital Resource Commons. Oberlin authors may opt out of the policy for a specific article if they are not in a position to sign journal publishing agreements that are compatible with the policy, or for other reasons. The resolution also creates an institutional license that gives Oberlin College the legal right to make the articles accessible on the Internet through the digital archive. The resolution further encourages, but does not require, authors to submit publications other than peer-reviewed articles in the same manner. ...

Adopted at the recommendation of the General Faculty Library Committee, the policy calls for the committee, in consultation with a faculty council, to establish procedures for carrying out the policy and to monitor its implementation. Policy implementation will be coordinated by a scholarly communications officer, a member of the library staff designated by the director of libraries. ...

The Oberlin College Student Senate recently endorsed the national “Student Statement on the Right to Research,” which expresses a similar commitment to making scholarly research information openly accessible.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Revised Google Book settlement: what it means for OA

Google and the plaintiffs in the Google Book settlement released their revised settlement on November 13; see the proposed Supplemental Notice. The change most directly related to OA is this:

... The Amended Settlement provides that the Registry will facilitate Rightsholders’ wishes to allow their works to be made available through alternative licenses for Consumer Purchase, including through a Creative Commons license. ... The Amended Settlement also clarifies that Rightsholders are free to set the Consumer Purchase price of their Books at zero. ...

Some other changes also may be of interest:

  • Rightsholders can negotiate with Google to change the restrictions on their included works (e.g. to remove the DRM).
  • The Book Rights Registry can allow more than one free terminal per public library building.

Also of note is that many international books will be excluded. Whereas the original settlement included any books under copyright in the U.S. (effectively, any book published anywhere in the world), the amended settlement only includes books published in the U.S., UK, Canada or Australia, or registered with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The revised settlement also establishes an independent fiduciary agent to manage unclaimed works (where no rightsholder has stepped forward to manage the options under the settlement and claim payments). The Unclaimed Works Fiduciary is meant to act as a proxy for absentee rightsholders, but it doesn't have all the abilities of an actual rightsholder. Instead, the revised settlement enumerates some specific abilities for the Unclaimed Works Fiduciary, and provides that the fiduciary also can act "otherwise as the Board of Directors of the Registry deems appropriate".

The abilities enumerated seem to not include the options to set the price at zero, apply a CC license, or remove DRM restrictions. In other words, the Unclaimed Works Fiduciary apparently does not have the ability to make orphan works OA without the agreement of the Registry board (which is composed of publisher and author representatives). I've put in a question to the parties' press contacts to confirm or clarify this.

The plaintiffs' memo proposes a 45-day period for class members to respond, with an extra week for the U.S. Department of Justice, and the final fairness hearing two weeks subsequent. (That schedule would start after the judge grants preliminary approval to the revised settlement, which hasn't happened yet.)

See also: For more information, including the many aspects to the amended settlement which aren't discussed here, see the tag on the Open Access Tracking Project.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Nobelists call for FRPAA

Alliance for Taxpayer Access, Nobel Prize-winning scientists urge Congress to act to ensure free online access to federally funded research results, press release, November 10, 2009.

“For America to obtain an optimal return on our investment in science, publicly funded research must be shared as broadly as possible,” is the message that forty one Nobel Prize-winning scientists in medicine, physics, and chemistry gave to Congress in an open letter delivered yesterday. The letter marks the fourth time in five years that leading scientists have called on Congress to ensure free, timely access to the results of federally funded research – this time asking leaders to support the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S.1373).

The Nobel Prize-winners write:

As the pursuit of science is increasingly conducted in a digital world, we need policies that ensure that the opportunities the Internet presents for new research tools and techniques to be employed can be fully exploited. The removal of access barriers and the enabling of expanded use of research findings has the potential to dramatically transform how we approach issues of vital importance to the public, such as biomedicine, climate change, and energy research. As scientists, and as taxpayers too, we support FRPAA and urge its passage.

The bi-partisan Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), introduced by Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Cornyn (R-TX), would deliver online public access to the published results of research funded through eleven U.S. agencies and departments, requiring that peer-reviewed journal articles stemming from publicly funded research be made available in an online repository no later than six months after publication. ...

The number of Nobelist signatories on this letter (41) is an increase from past letters: 33 in 2008, 26 in 2007, and 25 in 2004. The signatories include two of the three 2009 laureates in medicine.


Monday, November 02, 2009

November SOAN

I just mailed the November issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at a few threads in the argument that knowledge is and ought to be a public good.  The roundup section briefly notes 223 OA developments from October.


Friday, October 30, 2009

U.S. House Science committee considering OA -- in secret

The Association of American Universities yesterday posted a series of documents relating to a previously-unpublicized effort by the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology. From the proposal, Roundtable on Public Access to Federal Research and Data:

... The House Science and Technology Committee, which has oversight of the federal civilian R&D enterprise, has a strong interest in [the question of public access]. The Committee seeks to convene a Roundtable of the key stakeholders to explore and develop an appropriate consensus regarding access to and preservation of federally funded research information that addresses the needs of all interested parties.

The progress of science and technology is very dependent on:

  1. The wide dissemination of research results and data from which new science is born;
  2. A peer review system that ensures the quality and integrity of scientific research results and analyses; and
  3. Preservation and access to the archive of historic and current research results.

The federal government is an important funder of basic and applied research in the United States. As a result of this stewardship, the government should provide resources and establish policies where appropriate to facilitate access to scientific data and publications and preserve an accessible record to both entities. In doing so, the government must take into account the important role of the private sector in this enterprise. ...

To this end, a Roundtable forum is proposed to discuss these issues. ... Participants will be asked to contribute their expertise and proposed solutions on the respective role of the federal government, libraries, institutional repositories and the scholarly publishers on the topics of access and preservation of the results of federally funded research. ...

The total number of participants will be limited (to approximately 10) in order to facilitate the scheduling and productivity of the meetings. The initial roundtable meeting will be chaired by representatives of the House Science and Technology Committee with appropriate support and advice from staff in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Roundtable participants will be selected by the S&T Committee based on their interest and expertise on the issue. ...

To promote an open dialogue and exchange and to foster working toward a fair and balanced solution, participants will be at the table as knowledgeable individuals, but not as official representatives of their parent organizations. ... Participants will be asked to refrain from public disclosure of Roundtable deliberations until a consensus report has been completed. ...

The proposal is undated, but the status report states the roundtable was convened in "early summer 2009".

The AAU documents also include a list of participants and biographies of the roundtable members.

From the status report, dated October 29, 2009:

... In-person meetings and conference calls have taken place over the summer and early fall, with the goal of producing a consensus report containing views and recommendations before the end of the year. The Roundtable report will be submitted to the HSTC and OSTP and subsequently will be made widely available to all stakeholders as well as the broader public. Members of the Roundtable will be available for comment regarding the report after its public release. ...

Comment. Observers of American politics will know the central role of Congressional committees in policymaking. To date, two committees have given significant consideration to OA: the House Appropriations Committee, which passed the NIH mandate (and the earlier voluntary policy), and the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman introduced the anti-public access Fair Copyright in Research Works Act and which held a hearing on the bill. (FRPAA was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, but that committee has not held a hearing on that bill in either its current or previous form. In addition, questions about OA have occasionally been asked of executive branch officials and nominees in their oversight committees.) Noticeably absent from that list, as I've previously noted, are committees with jurisdiction over science or education -- arguably the committees best suited to consider policies issues facing the research community and higher education. This effort changes that.

In addition, the involvement of the Executive Office of Science and Technology Policy is the first significant public engagement of the Obama White House with OA. (The Bush White House expressed mild concern about the NIH mandate, but ultimately signed a bill containing the measure.)

Accordingly, this process has the opportunity to shape discourse about public access in a major way. Unfortunately, since it's secret, we don't have much to go on until the recommendations are released and the participants' vow of silence is lifted.

At first glance, the proposal itself is fairly even-handed. The biggest criticism I can level so far is that, while presuming increased access to be beneficial, it fails to ask the crucial question of what exactly are the benefits of access and the costs of lack of access. Nevertheless, the proposal counters two claims sometimes heard from (or implied by) opponents of OA: that greater access is not necessary (e.g. that benefits from OA would be negligible) and that government has no proper role in access and preservation.

There's also the question of focus. This roundtable was tasked with considering access and preservation to publications and data from federally-funded research, rather than a narrower focus only on peer-reviewed article manuscripts. While other types of documents should be considered, that shouldn't distract from a swift recommendation for a FRPAA-style mandate.

In tagging the documents for the OATP, Peter remarks, "Is the membership list balanced? Read it and decide for yourselves." Of course, the theory behind this arrangement is that members will check their agendas at the door and work together as unbiased experts, so "balance" wouldn't matter. We'll only learn later (if ever) if practice followed theory in this case.

Update. Post title revised to more accurately reflect the essence of the matter.


Monday, October 26, 2009

U. Virginia to vote on OA mandate next month

Katherine Raichlen, Requiring the right rights, Cavalier Daily, October 26, 2009.

... [T]he University [of Virginia] Faculty Senate is considering a resolution that would require all faculty members to retain the rights to enter their academic articles into a publicly accessible University repository. The proposed policy — which will be voted on at the Senate’s Nov. 20 meeting — brings with it larger debates and concerns about open access and preservation issues. ...

The resolution applies only to scholarly articles and does not extend to books or works of art, [education professor Brian Pusser] said.

The proposed policy also includes a waiver process, which allows faculty to opt out if they cannot complete an addendum with the publisher, Pusser said. ...

Members of the task force are currently gathering information from faculty about the resolution, conducting dialogues with faculty and making presentations to various departments and schools around Grounds, Pusser said. ...

[Faculty Senate Chair Ann] Hamric said faculty members also may find out about the policy through the Faculty Senate Web site, which has posts of the resolution, a section of frequently asked questions and a letter from Madelyn Wessel, University associate general counsel and Senate Task Force member. ...

Some faculty members, however, have raised questions about the Senate’s copyright resolution because of the waiver process and whether the policy will create obstacles for faculty, Pusser said. ...

English Prof. David Vander Meulen, editor of the journal Studies in Bibliography, supports the resolution’s aims of “[disseminating] scholarship more widely, and [giving] authors greater rights to their own writing,” but he believes that “the current proposal ignores some key components in scholarly publishing,” according to an e-mail.

The exorbitant subscription fees for scientific, medical and technological journals were an important impetus for the proposal, Vander Meulen said, but different circumstances apply to other disciplines. ...

“If the University of Virginia fails to do this, it’s going to be a huge embarrassment to our faculty,” [media studies professor Siva Vaidhyanathan] said. “Faculties at every major research university in the country are considering this and almost all of them are going to pass it, and Harvard and MIT have led the way. We would be holding ourselves out as champions of the 18th century, if we hold back from this.” ...

Hamric ... was unwilling to speculate about the outcome of the vote, though she said she hopes the resolution passes.

“A number of our colleagues have given a great deal of time to understanding this issue,” she said, “and those are the people that are the most convinced that we need to do this and I take that seriously.” ...

See also our past posts on the proposed policy at UVa (1, 2).


Saturday, October 24, 2009

Indian university plans OA mandate, launches IR

MKU to go for Open Access Mandate, press release, undated but recent.

... At Madurai Kamaraj University, an Open Access Repository using E-prints has been initiated at a School level and will be expanded to the whole University as part of its open access initiatives.

As indicated by the Vice-Chancellor of MKU, the University plans to go for a green open access policy. This will mandate its faculty to deposit their publicly funded research publications including student thesis, dissertations, faculty seminar presentations, journal publications into the open access repository.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Trinity U. adopts an OA policy

Trinity University is First Small, Liberal Arts University to Endorse Open Access for Sharing Scholarly Work, press release, October 23, 2009.

Trinity University’s faculty members today endorsed a measure to allow them to bypass some publication restrictions while sharing their scholarly research with the broader academic community.

Trinity becomes the first small, primarily undergraduate liberal arts institution to pass such a measure, known as Open Access. ...

The new Open Access policy also would enable Trinity professors to post the author’s version of the article in a freely-accessible digital repository. Such a repository already exists as part of the Liberal Arts Scholarly Repository, a collaboration among Trinity and other private liberal arts colleges, including Carleton College, Bucknell University, Grinnell College, University of Richmond, St. Lawrence University, and Whitman College. ...

The vote sends a message from Trinity to other primarily undergraduate institutions to act regarding the future of the publishing world, [economics professor Jorge G. Gonzalez] said. ...

Trinity’s Faculty Senate approved the proposal in late September. The vote by the full faculty on Friday, Oct. 23 was taken at an assembly during International Open Access Week. ...

From the Trinity University Open Access Policy Statement draft dated September 25:

... Each Faculty member grants to the President and Board of Trustees of Trinity University limited use of his or her scholarly articles. An article is defined here as a scholarly work published in a journal or as an independent chapter of a multi-authored book. ... [T]he policy applies only to works for which the author does not retain full copyright. Faculty members are allowed to opt out of this policy for any reason. ...

While faculty members are encouraged to publish their scholarly work in the most prestigious journals, when Open Access journals of equal quality are available, faculty members should give strong consideration to them. Faculty members are also encouraged to explore opportunities to retain copyright of their works regardless of the ultimate publication venue.

Each Faculty member will provide an electronic copy of the final version of the article, through a website established for this purpose, at no charge to the Open Access Faculty Committee. ... Each article will be embargoed until it has appeared either in print or on-line at the publisher’s web site, whichever comes first.

The Open Access Faculty Committee will be a standing university committee, appointed by the President with the assistance of the Faculty Senate. The Open Access Faculty Committee will be responsible for implementing and interpreting this policy, resolving disputes concerning its interpretation and application, and recommending changes to the Faculty from time to time. The policy will be reviewed after three years and a report presented to the Faculty. ...

Pending confirmation of the final text approved, it looks like a mandate.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catalan university adopts an OA policy

The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya recently adopted its Política institucional d’accés obert. The document was approved by the university's Consell de Govern on October 7. Because I don't speak Catalan, I can't tell whether the policy is an exhortation or a mandate (Google translates the relevant phrase as "calls upon") to deposit in the university's IR.

If you know more, please contact me.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UK DFID developing an OA policy

UK Department for International Development, This is Open Access Week, press release, October 19, 2009.

... DFID-funded research is publicly funded and essentially constitutes a global public good. DFID supports Open Access as a core component of its research commitment to ensure that research knowledge can be accessed, built upon and used in support of the objectives of the DFID Research Strategy. Research for Development (R4D) is an Open Access digital portal for DFID-funded research and DFID expects the research programmes it funds to make full use of the R4D repository. For more information, see the Research Programme Consortia: Guidance Note on Open Access.

A recent scoping study has looked at how DFID Research can develop an open access policy that will lead to greater public access to the research outputs it finances. Read the report 'Towards a DFID Research Policy on Open Access' and see the presentation based upon this report.

From the Guidance Note on Open Access, dated June 2009:

... DFID recognises the immense benefits that scientific and social science knowledge can have in addressing poverty, and expects the research it funds to benefit researchers, policy makers and others globally, but in particular in developing countries. DFID recognises that Southern researchers, governments and civil society need better access to global public goods research to enable them to build upon and use this knowledge. ...

DFID will develop an Open Access policy with which DFID funded research programmes will be expected to comply in due course. ...

Ideally, all DFID funded research outputs should be Open Access, meaning that that the full text of any articles and technical reports resulting from DFID funding that are published in journals, conference proceedings or as working papers, whether during or after the funding period, should be deposited, at the earliest opportunity, in an appropriate Open Access repository, and also with DFID’s R4D, subject to compliance with publisher's copyright and licensing policies. Wherever possible, the article deposited should be the published version.

DFID will also encourage its research programmes to archive quantitative and qualitative primary data sets, resulting from the research it funds, with appropriate data archiving repositories. ...

The DFID Research Strategy Monitoring and Evaluation Framework includes indicators and scoring criteria against type of publications, which will include scores for Open Access publishing. ...

Peter Ballantyne, Towards a DFID Research Policy on Open Access, report, September 2009. Summary of recommendations:

  1. Take a broad ‘open knowledge’ perspective. It is about more than journal articles.
  2. In general:
    • Require systematic deposit of outputs and metadata in open archiving systems and repositories, including in a ‘UKPubDev Central.’ ...
    • Encourage use of ‘open licenses’ that recognize authorship and enable reuse. ...
  3. For different categories of outputs:
    • Encourage publication in open access journals (or hybrid journals).
    • Provide funds for any open access charges. ...
    • Require that projects develop a data curation and accessibility plan. ...
  4. In addition:
    • Adapt DFID research contracts to mandate these provisions.
    • Require each funding proposal to present an ‘accessibility plan’ or framework.
    • Include funds for open access in proposed budgets. ...
    • Support preferential access initiatives for developing countries.
    • Support open access journal publishing initiatives in developing countries.
    • Contribute to awareness raising efforts that explain open access and how it helps DFID and its partners achieve their scientific and developmental goals.
    • Engage other research funders. ...

Also see OpenR4DFID, a wiki with more information on the study.

See also our past post on R4D and DFID.


Monday, October 19, 2009

COPE fund at Dartmouth

In September, five American universities signed the Compact for Open-Access Publication Equity, pledging to support OA journals by paying author-side fees on behalf of their researchers. Of the signatories, Berkeley previously had an OA author fund; Harvard and Cornell announced new funds, leaving Dartmouth and MIT. Although we didn't cover it (and although the COPE site doesn't list it), it seems Dartmouth also announced an OA author fund at the same time; see this September 14 announcement:

... We have encouraged faculty to consider open access publishing. Now, the Provost’s Office and the Library have designated funds to support participation, on an exploratory basis. ...

A description of qualifying works and how to take advantage of this support will be forthcoming.

Another (undated) page provides information on Dartmouth's fund. The details are mostly the same as the Cornell and Harvard funds (the Dartmouth fund is slightly more restrictive in who is eligible for funding: only faculty and graduate students). Up to $3,000 per year is available per researcher, on a first-come first-served basis. A separate fact sheet indicates that the funding is provided by the Provost's Office and the Library, with initial funding of $20,000.


OA mandate at U. Salford

University of Salford, University formally announces intention to be Open Access for research, press release, October 19, 2009.

The University has become the 100th university in the world to issue an Open Access mandate - to coincide with the first international Open Access Week.

Salford has now formally announced its intention to implement plans that will make free, easily accessible research knowledge available to a worldwide audience via the University of Salford Institutional Repository (USIR) portal. ...

For the last two years the University has been implementing systems to enable its research active staff to deposit their findings and research into the repository.

The University of Salford is pleased to now declare that from the 1 January 2010, it will be implementing a mandatory policy for all research active staff to deposit research information into the repository. This means that as of January 2010, the University of Salford will officially be an Open Access University.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

OA mandate at a US national lab

The US National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has adopted an OA mandate.  From today's announcement:

The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has passed an Open Access policy that requires that all peer-reviewed research published by its scientists and staff in scientific journals be made publicly available online through its institutional repository. The new policy has been put in place by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), the governing body that manages NCAR. A national lab, NCAR is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. It has conducted research into the atmospheric sciences since 1960.

UCAR last month formalized the new policy and is developing an institutional repository known as OpenSky, which will include all published studies by NCAR and UCAR researchers in scientific journals. The repository will be free and available to the public, but access to the works it contains will depend upon the policies of their publishers. In support of copyright law and the health of the publishers that support NCAR and UCAR science, all publishing agreements will be honored. OpenSky will be managed by the NCAR Library and is expected to go live in 2010.

"This updated policy will support broader access to the cutting-edge research conducted at NCAR, covering climate, weather, air quality, and other areas vital to society and the environment," says Mary Marlino, the Director of the NCAR Library. "It is especially timely because it comes at a critical time for atmospheric science research. I can think of no better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of NCAR than to formalize our longstanding commitment to open science, open access, and open data." Marlino adds, "The policy that we have developed respects the policies that publishers self-set, and it is our intention to continue to honor publisher policy, while at the same time, to monitor developments in this fast evolving arena."

UCAR is a nonprofit corporation formed in 1959 by research institutions with doctoral programs in the atmospheric and related sciences. UCAR was formed to enhance the computing and observational capabilities of the universities and to focus on scientific problems that are beyond the scale of a single university. NCAR supports the UCAR mission by providing the university science and teaching community with the tools, facilities, and support required to perform innovative research....


Update (10/19/09).  The NCAR policy is now online.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Major growth of student support for OA

SPARC, Student coalition for Open Access solidifies, now represents over 5 million students internationally, press release, October 15, 2009.

The student Right to Research Coalition, a group of national, international, and local student associations that advocate for governments, universities, and researchers to adopt Open Access practices, has now grown to include some of the most prominent student organizations from the United States and across the world. The recent addition of 8 new organizations brings the number of students represented by the coalition to over 5 million, demonstrating the broad, passionate support Open Access enjoys from the student community.

Additions to the coalition since its launch this summer include: the United States Student Association (USSA), the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS), the National Graduate Council of the Canadian Federation of Students, the International Association of Political Science Students, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Graduate Student Council, the University of Minnesota Graduate and Professional Student Assembly, the University of Nebraska - Lincoln Graduate Student Association, and the Student Government Association of St. Olaf College.

“Our core mission is to protect and enhance students’ access to education,” said Angela Peoples, USSA’s Legislative Director, noting her organization’s motivation for joining the coalition. “We believe Open Access plays a crucial role in ensuring that all students have access to the academic research on which their education depends.”

The United States Student Association, the largest American student organization, is already taking steps to tap its vast network of student activists for this important cause. Likewise, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, the premier American graduate student advocacy organization, has made Open Access a top legislative priority and recently lobbied over two-dozen Congressional offices in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act. ...

Also see NAGPS' resources on FRPAA:

See also our past posts on the Right to Research campaign.

Disclosure: I have been a paid consultant on the Right to Research campaign.


Friday, October 09, 2009

York U. libraries adopt OA policy

John Dupuis, Open Access Policy for York University Librarians and Archivists, Confessions of a Science Librarian, October 8, 2009.

On October 1, 2009 librarians and archivists at York University Libraries voted unanimously to adopt the following policy: ...

Policy Statement: Academic librarians and archivists at York University commit to making the best possible effort to publish in venues providing unrestricted public access to their works. They will endeavour to secure the right to self-archive their published materials, and will deposit these works in YorkSpace [the university's IR].

The York University academic librarian and archivist complement grant York University Libraries the non-exclusive right to make their scholarly publications accessible through self-archiving in the YorkSpace institutional repository subject to copyright restrictions.

Guidelines: This policy applies to all scholarly and professional work produced as a member of York University academic staff produced as of the date of the adoption of this policy. Retrospective deposit is encouraged. Co-authored works should be included with the permission of the other author(s). Examples of works include:

  • Scholarly and professional articles
  • Substantive presentations, including slides and text
  • Books/book chapters
  • Reports
  • Substantive pedagogical materials such as online tutorials
  • Works should be deposited in YorkSpace as soon as is possible, recognizing that some publishers may impose an embargo period.

This policy is effective as of 01/10/2009 and will be assessed a year after implementation. ...


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Swedish Research Council adopts OA mandate

The Swedish Research Council announced today that it has adopted an OA mandate for its grantees. From a translation of the press release by Ingegerd Rabow:

The Swedish Research Council requires free access to research results

In order to receive research grants the Research council requires now that researchers publish their material freely accessible to all. The general public and other researchers shall have free access to all material financed by public funding. ...

Researchers are required to guarantee that everything published shall be freely available according to to Open Access not later than six months after publication.

The Council's decision regarding Open Access has been taken in close cooperation with SUHF, the Association of Swedish Higher Education. ...

The Open Access-mandate covers so far only refereed journal articles and conference reports, not monographs and book chapters. The mandate will be included in the new grant conditions from 2010.

A page with more information (Google translation) notes that the Research Council signed the Berlin Declaration in 2005.

The Swedish Research Council is an arm of the Swedish Department of Education and Culture which funds research in humanities and social sciences, medicine, and natural sciences and engineering.

See also our past posts on the Swedish Research Council.

Update. An official English translation is now available.


Monday, October 05, 2009

NSF considering a repository

Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries Awarded $20 Million Grant, press release, October 2, 2009.

The Johns Hopkins University Sheridan Libraries have been awarded $20 million from the [U.S.] National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a data research infrastructure for the management of the ever-increasing amounts of digital information created for teaching and research. The five-year award, announced this week, was one of two for what is being called “data curation.”

The project, known as the Data Conservancy, involves individuals from several institutions, with Johns Hopkins University serving as the lead and Sayeed Choudhury, Hodson Director of the Digital Research and Curation Center and associate dean of university libraries, as the principal investigator. ... The Hopkins-led project is part of a larger $100 million NSF effort to ensure preservation and curation of engineering and science data.

Beginning with the life, earth, and social sciences, project members will develop a framework to more fully understand data practices currently in use and arrive at a model for curation that allows ease of access both within and across disciplines. ...

In addition to the $20 million grant announced today, the Libraries received a $300,000 grant from NSF to study the feasibility of developing, operating and sustaining an open access repository of articles from NSF-sponsored research. Libraries staff will work with colleagues from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), and the University of Michigan Libraries to explore the potential for the development of a repository (or set of repositories) similar to PubMedCentral, the open-access repository that features articles from NIH-sponsored research. This grant for the feasibility study will allow Choudhury’s group to evaluate how to integrate activities under the framework of the Data Conservancy and will result in a set of recommendations for NSF regarding an open access repository. ...

Comment. The comparison to PMC is promising. The history of the NIH Public Access policy began with a repository, then a voluntary policy for grantee deposits, then finally an OA mandate. NSF is the main federal funder of non-biomedical research, including STEM fields, social sciences, and STEM education, so this could touch a lot of research.


Friday, October 02, 2009

October issue of SOAN

I just mailed the October issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at ten challenges facing OA journals.  The roundup section briefly notes 177 OA developments from September. 

UpdateCorrection:  I tried and failed to mail the October issue.  I'm having trouble with my ISP and can't send any email at all.  I'm sure it's temporary, and my ISP simply found the perfect time to let the gremlins out.  In the meantime you can read the online edition of the newsletter, which is identical to the email edition.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New U.S. bill proposes OER mandate

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) last week introduced the Open College Textbook Act (S. 1714). (Thanks to TechLaw.) The bill has two main parts:

  • Authorizes $15 million for grants to develop open textbooks for college courses. The grants would be managed by the Department of Education, with a peer review process involving the National Science Foundation. Funding would be available to create new open textbooks, update existing open textbooks, or adapt traditional textbooks. The resulting works would have to be available OA: free online and under an open license.
  • Requires that "educational materials such as curricula and textbooks created through grants distributed by Federal agencies, including the National Science Foundation, for use in elementary, secondary, or postsecondary courses shall be licensed under an open license" and "made available free of charge".

Also see Durbin's press release on the bill.

Comment. Is this the first federal legislation to define "open license"?

See also our past posts on Sen. Durbin, or our past post on a similar piece of legislation in the House, the LOW COST Act.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

U. Virginia debates an OA mandate

U.Va. Faculty Senate Weighs Access to Scholarly Articles, UVA Today, September 28, 2009.

The University of Virginia Faculty Senate discussed how to make scholarly articles more accessible when it met Wednesday in the Rotunda Dome Room.

Edmund Kitch, a law professor, and Brian Pusser, a professor at the Curry School of Education and chairman of the senate's Task Force on Scholarly Publication and Authors' Rights, presented a draft resolution on open access to scholarship with the intention that senators vote on it at their November meeting.

Under the proposed resolution, U.Va. faculty members would assign to the rector and Board of Visitors "a nonexclusive, irrevocable, non-commercial global license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of her or his scholarly articles, in any medium, and to authorize others to do the same, provided the articles are not sold for profit."

The policy would apply to all scholarly articles written by faculty members while at U.Va., except pieces that were written before the policy is adopted and remain under "incompatible" licensing agreements. All other articles would be turned over to the provost's office in electronic form and made generally available no sooner than 12 months after their journal publication. ...

Madelyn Wessel, special adviser to the University librarian and a member of the task force, said the current resolution is based on a similar policy at Harvard University. ...

See also our past post on the proposed mandate or all past posts on UVa.


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.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

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.


Friday, September 18, 2009

PMC Canada to launch during OA Week

Canadian Institutes of Health Research, PMC Canada: Making Canadian health research accessible to all, press release, September 16, 2009.

Canadians will soon have access to the latest health research findings with the launch of PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada). Building on the successful PubMed Central archive developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PMC Canada will help accelerate the creation of knowledge and facilitate its use by providing a freely accessible, Canada-based archive of peer-reviewed health science literature.

PMC Canada is the result of a three-way partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Research Council's Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information, and the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It will be part of the larger PubMed Central International network, which currently includes the U.S. PubMed Central and UK PubMed Central. ...

PMC Canada will support CIHR's Policy on Access to Research Outputs, which requires that all peer-reviewed publications resulting from CIHR funding be freely accessible online within six months of publication. This archive will provide CIHR researchers an outlet to deposit their peer-reviewed publications and allow them to reach a much broader audience, which has the potential to increase the value and impact of their research.

The first phase of PMC Canada will be launched during Open Access Week - October 19-23, 2009. It will include a manuscript submission system to enable CIHR researchers to deposit articles that are accepted for publication by peer-reviewed journals. ...

See also our past posts on PMC Canada.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cornell launches an OA fund

Following on the compact to support OA journals (which Cornell signed) and on Harvard's OA fund to implement it, Cornell is launching an OA fund.

George Lowery, New funds help faculty publish in open-access journals, Cornell Chronicle, September 15, 2009.

Cornell University Library and the Office of the Provost are contributing $25,000 each for a pilot program to pay publication fees in open-access journals for Cornell faculty, researchers, staff and students. ...

The Cornell Open-Access Publication (COAP) Fund will underwrite processing fees for scholarly peer-reviewed articles in open-access journals for which funds are not otherwise available. Cornell faculty, postdoctoral researchers, staff or student authors can apply for COAP funding of up to $3,000. ...

The details of the fund are largely the same as Harvard's. A few areas where they differ:
  • The Cornell fund starts with a fixed amount ($50,000) and states that funding will be "first-come, first-served". (Harvard hasn't announced how much money it's committing.)
  • The Cornell fund specifically calls itself as a "pilot project" with the possibility to be continued.
  • Cornell encourages, but doesn't require, that the funded publication be deposited in a Cornell repository. (Harvard requires it.)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Harvard launches an OA fund

On the heels of the Harvard-led compact to support OA journals:

Stuart Shieber, Harvard’s new open-access fund, The Occasional Pamphlet, September 15, 2009.

Harvard’s participation in the open-access compact is being managed by the Office for Scholarly Communication, which has set up an open-access fund—the Harvard Open-Access Publishing Equity (HOPE) fund—consistent with the compact. Through HOPE, Harvard will reimburse eligible authors for open-access processing fees. Initially, members of the four Harvard faculties—Arts and Sciences, Education, Government, and Law—that have formally adopted open-access policies will be eligible to make use of the fund, with other faculties becoming eligible as they develop open-access policies. More information about Harvard’s fund can be found at the OSC web site.

From the HOPE fund site:

Faculty, researchers, staff, and students may request reimbursement for articles connected with their research activities at [the eligible] schools. ...

Eligible fees must be based on a publication's standard fee schedule that is independent of the author's institution.

The venue of publication must be an established open-access journal, that is, a journal that does not charge readers or their institutions for unfettered access to the peer-reviewed articles that it publishes. Journals with a hybrid open-access model or delayed open-access model are not eligible. To be eligible, a journal must meet these additional requirements:

We trust requesters to make appropriate decisions about the quality of the publication venue and the value of its services in relation to the fees it charges. ...

Articles for which alternative funding is available are not eligible for reimbursement. This includes articles funded by a gift or a grant from a granting agency, foundation, or other institution (including Harvard itself) that allows granted funds to be used for article processing fees ...

There is a nominal limit on the total reimbursement per article of $3,000, ...

[A]uthors may receive reimbursement for up to a total of $3,000 per academic year for all article processing fees. ...

[S]hould demand for funds exceed expectations, we may limit access to funds on a first-come-first-served basis. ...

You'll also need to make sure that you have deposited a copy of the article in the DASH repository before the reimbursement can be made. ...

See also this interview with Shieber from Harvard University Library Notes.

Comments. Kudos to Harvard for (again) putting its money where its mouth is.

  • Tying eligibility for funding to the school's adoption of an OA policy, and to the individual's actual self-archiving of the funded article, are strong moves.
  • The fund's requirements for journals are right-headed and reasonable.
  • Including staff and students -- not just faculty -- in eligibility is laudable and forward-looking.


5 major American universities commit to support OA journals

A Compact for Open-Access Publication, press release, September 14, 2009.

Five of the nation's premier institutions of higher learning—Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley—today announced their joint commitment to a compact for open-access publication. ...

Since open-access journals do not charge subscription or other access fees, they must cover their operating expenses through other sources, including subventions, in-kind support, or, in a sizable minority of cases, processing fees paid by or on behalf of authors for submission to or publication in the journal. While academic research institutions support traditional journals by paying their subscription fees, no analogous means of support has existed to underwrite the growing roster of fee-based open-access journals.

Stuart Shieber, Harvard's James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and Director of the University's Office for Scholarly Communication, is the author of the five-member compact. According to Shieber, "Universities and funding agencies ought to provide equitable support for open-access publishing by subsidizing the processing fees that faculty incur when contributing to open-access publications. Right now, these fees are relatively rare. But if the research community supports open-access publishing and it gains in importance as we believe that it will, those fees could aggregate substantially over time. The compact ensures that support is available to eliminate these processing fees as a disincentive to open-access publishing."

The compact supports equity of the business models by committing each university to the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication fees for open-access journal articles written by its faculty for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.

Additional universities are encouraged to visit the compact web site and sign on. ...

See also coverage by Library Journal, The Wired Campus, and Inside Higher Ed. More information:

  • Of the initial compact signatories, only Berkeley previously had an OA fund. Berkeley's existing fund, though, was established as a pilot; at least three-quarters of the initial funding already have been obligated. The compact FAQ says that "the mechanisms developed by compact institutions would not be short-term, experimental deployments but programs with an expectation of continuity for multiple years."
  • Of the initial compact signatories, only Harvard and MIT have mandatory self-archiving policies; only MIT's is university-wide. Stevan Harnad criticizes this as putting the cart before the horse. The compact FAQ notes that signatories may choose to place conditions on implementing the compact, such as "prior establishment of an open-access policy at the institution".
  • According to the compact FAQ, the goal is to support journals that provide OA to all of their research: "hybrid open access journals ... would not be expected to be eligible". (Update. Note that the Berkeley fund currently includes hybrid journals.)
  • In addition, the compact FAQ establishes a loophole for grant-funded research: "a compact institution may reasonably expect that ... the funding agency should be responsible for payment of the publication charge, and the article would not be eligible for underwriting by the institution whether or not the funding agency actually covers the particular charge."

See also our past post on this proposal.

Update. Harvard has launched an OA fund to implement its commitments under the compact.

Update. See also my comments:

... I don’t see why the compact couldn’t have been a commitment to fund OA journals in general rather than to fund publication charges at OA journals.

Update. Cornell launched an OA fund.

Update. See also further comments by Stevan Harnad (1, 2).

Update. Also see comments by Jason Baird Jackson and Philip Davis.

Update. Also see comments on Law Librarian Blog.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Rectors of 26 Ukrainian universities call for OA

Iryna Kuchma, Open access to research information included into the Olvia declaration of the Universities in Ukraine, eIFL, September 8, 2009.

26 rectors of Ukrainian universities endorsed the Olvia declaration of the Universities: Academic Freedom, University Autonomy, Science and Education for Sustainable Development at Olvia Forum 2009 (Livadia palace, Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine, June 12, 2009). Open access to research information is described in the Article 2.6:

Academic freedom includes open access to information (except reasonable exceptions specified by the law of Ukraine), including open access to research information through the development of open repositories and open access journals in the Universities, and ability to communicate freely with the peers in any part of the world.

Open access to information is a significant part of the research in today's globalised world, a key to further development of science, education and society, and Ukraine's integration into the global academic community.

From the Article 2.11 of the Action Plan on implementing the Olvia declaration of the Universities:

To practice open access to knowledge Universities and research organizations should:

  • develop institutional polices and strategies on open access (free and unrestricted access to full text peer reviewed research results), provide access to, search and usage of the above mentioned works by the faculty to every internet user to increase scientific, social and economic impact of the research;
  • launch and develop open institutional repositories and open access journals;
  • encourage open use of this information for research and education. ...


Thursday, September 03, 2009

New chair of NEH favors OA

Scott Jaschik, The Humanities and the NEH, Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2009.

The National Endowment for the Humanities doesn't need "radical change," but may see some subtle shifts in emphasis, according to James A. Leach, the new chairman, who discussed his plans with Inside Higher Ed in this podcast interview. ...

Leach served in Congress for 30 years, representing an Iowa district as a Republican.

Among other topics he discussed:

  • The importance of promoting public access to government records. He said that declassification systems shouldn't be used to delay the work of scholars, and that fewer documents should be classified in the first place. ...
  • In discussions of digitization of scholarship and the push to require free online access to such work that receives federal support, Leach said he understands the importance of copyright, but that he leans "toward open access" and wants "maximum availability" of scholarship. ...


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September SOAN

I just mailed the September issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.  This issue takes a close look at the BMJ model of selling access to abridgments or summaries in order support full-text OA.

The roundup section briefly notes 154 OA developments from August.


Friday, August 28, 2009

New OA policy at Finland's U. Tampere

The University of Tampere adopted a new OA policy on April 16, 2009. Stevan Harnad calls the policy a mandate, although the university's English-language policy memo uses the term "request" (Google translates the Finnish as "calls on"). From the English memo:

On 17 November 2008 the Rector set up a work group to prepare for the parallel depositing of research publications, the aim being to improve the open access to research publications at the University of Tampere. Led by Vice-Rector Arja Ropo, the work group completed its proposal on 30 March 2009 and on 31 March 2009 submitted its proposal to the Rector. ...

According to the proposal of the work group the Rector would

  • request researchers working at the University as of 1 January 2011 to deposit copies of their research articles accepted for publication in scientific journals in the institutional repository provided by the University of Tampere and
  • encourage researchers to deposit copies of their publications in the University’s repository before the Decision comes into force.

Research articles refers in this Decision to single articles to be published in scientific refereed journals, in the University’s own publication series, in conference publications or other compilations as covered by the KOTA [national research assessment] data collection obligation. The final publisher’s version of the article should be deposited in the repository or then the author’s last version of the article revised in response to referees’ comments. ...

The University of Tampere hereby undertakes to provide researchers with the support services required for parallel depositing (see Annex 1 of the Decision). The University of Tampere will endeavour to improve publication information systems and to design the process of depositing in a researcher-centred manner. ...

In addition to the research articles referred to in the Decision, other kinds of publications which may be stored in the open depository provided by the University of Tampere include popular articles, other published written texts, serial publications of University departments, teaching material and, if the publication agreements allow, also monographs.

People within the sphere of University of Tampere research not covered by the KOTA data collection obligation may also store their publications in the University repository. ...

Update: Harnad is no longer calling the policy a mandate.


New Open Book Alliance criticizes Google settlement

Diverse Coalition Unites To Counter Google Book Settlement, Open Book Alliance, press release, August 26, 2009.

Librarians, legal scholars, authors, publishers, and technology companies today announced the formation of a coalition – the Open Book Alliance – that will counter the proposed Google Book Settlement in its current form. ...

“Just as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press more than 700 years ago ushered in a new era of knowledge sharing, the mass digitization of books promises to once again revolutionize how we read and discover books,” said Open Book Alliance co-chairs Peter Brantley and Gary Reback in a blog post. “But a digital library controlled by a single company and small group of colluding publishers would inevitably lead to higher prices and subpar service for consumers, libraries, scholars, and students.”

“The public interest demands that any mass book digitization and distribution effort be undertaken in the open, grounded in sound public policy, and mindful of the need to promote long-term benefits for consumers rather than those of a few commercial interests,” continued Brantley and Reback.

Brantley is a director of the non-profit Internet Archive and Reback is a noted antitrust attorney who serves of counsel at the firm Carr & Ferrell, LLP.

The Open Book Alliance will work to inform policymakers and the public about the serious legal, competitive, and policy issues in the settlement proposal. Members of the Alliance include:

See also our forthcoming follow-up post for more on the Open Book Alliance.