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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.
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:
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.
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,
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.
Dublin Institute of Technology has adopted an OA mandate:
The University of Abertay Dundee has adopted an OA mandate:
Columbia University Commits to Open-Access Publication Compact, press release, December 11, 2009.
See also our past post on Columbia joining COPE.
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.)
The Obama administration is calling for public comments on ways to enhance access to federally-funded research. From today's announcement:
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.
University of Ottawa among North American leaders as it launches open access program, press release, December 8, 2009.
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.
David Wiley, Two Units in BYU Adopt Open Access Policies, iterating toward openness , November 23, 2009.
See also: Peter included BYU in his January newsletter's list of "mandate proposals known to be under discussion".
Oberlin College Faculty Unanimously Endorses Open Access, press release, November 20, 2009.
... 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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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 proposal is undated, but the status report states the roundtable was convened in "early summer 2009".
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.
Katherine Raichlen, Requiring the right rights, Cavalier Daily, October 26, 2009.
See also our past posts on the proposed policy at UVa (1, 2).
MKU to go for Open Access Mandate, press release, undated but recent.
Trinity University is First Small, Liberal Arts University to Endorse Open Access for Sharing Scholarly Work, press release, October 23, 2009.
From the Trinity University Open Access Policy Statement draft dated September 25:
Pending confirmation of the final text approved, it looks like a mandate.
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.
UK Department for International Development, This is Open Access Week, press release, October 19, 2009.
From the Guidance Note on Open Access, dated June 2009:
Peter Ballantyne, Towards a DFID Research Policy on Open Access, report, September 2009. Summary of recommendations:
Also see OpenR4DFID, a wiki with more information on the study.
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:
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.
University of Salford, University formally announces intention to be Open Access for research, press release, October 19, 2009.
Update (10/19/09). The NCAR policy is now online.
SPARC, Student coalition for Open Access solidifies, now represents over 5 million students internationally, press release, October 15, 2009.
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.
John Dupuis, Open Access Policy for York University Librarians and Archivists, Confessions of a Science Librarian, October 8, 2009.
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.
Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries Awarded $20 Million Grant, press release, October 2, 2009.
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.
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.
Update. Correction: 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.
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.
U.Va. Faculty Senate Weighs Access to Scholarly Articles, UVA Today, September 28, 2009.
See also our past post on the proposed mandate or all past posts on UVa.
Plasterk is Minister for Education, Culture and Science in the current Dutch government.
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:
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.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research, PMC Canada: Making Canadian health research accessible to all, press release, September 16, 2009.
See also our past posts on PMC Canada.
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.
The details of the fund are largely the same as Harvard's. A few areas where they differ:
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:
See also this interview with Shieber from Harvard University Library Notes.
Comments. Kudos to Harvard for (again) putting its money where its mouth is.
A Compact for Open-Access Publication, press release, September 14, 2009.
See also our past post on this proposal.
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. Also see comments on Law Librarian Blog.
Iryna Kuchma, Open access to research information included into the Olvia declaration of the Universities in Ukraine, eIFL, September 8, 2009.
Scott Jaschik, The Humanities and the NEH, Inside Higher Ed, September 2, 2009.
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.
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:
Update: Harnad is no longer calling the policy a mandate.
Diverse Coalition Unites To Counter Google Book Settlement, Open Book Alliance, press release, August 26, 2009.
See also our forthcoming follow-up post for more on the Open Book Alliance.