Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #117
January 2, 2008
by Peter Suber
Read this issue online
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An open access mandate for the NIH
The day after Christmas, President Bush signed an omnibus spending bill containing a provision requiring the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to mandate open access for NIH-funded research.
Here's the language that just became law:The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
This is a momentous victory, despite the 12 month embargo. Measured by the ferocity of opposition overcome and the volume of literature liberated, it's the largest victory in the history of the OA movement. It's only a plateau, not a summit, but it's an immense success. Researchers, OA advocates, and everyone concerned to advance medical knowledge, are justified in feeling joy and relief.
It's big for at least five reasons:
(1) It's the first OA mandate for a major public funding agency in the US. It's also the first OA mandate for any government funding agency worldwide adopted by the national legislature rather than directly by the agency. (This explains, BTW, why publishing lobbyists have been able to delay it for three years.)
(2) It comes after a long struggle. Congress asked for an OA mandate at NIH in 2004 but in 2005 the agency adopted a policy to request rather than require OA. OA proponents have worked tirelessly to persuade Congress to strengthen it ever since. OA opponents have worked just as hard on their side, first to keep the policy weak and then to make the weak policy succeed in order to head off momentum for a mandate.
For a timeline of the saga, with links, see SOAN for August 2007.
But for a one-paragraph encapsulation, see SOAN for November 2007:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/11-02-07.htm#nihIn September 2004, the House of Representatives appropriations report demanded an OA mandate at the NIH. The report language was not binding, and the NIH drafted a weaker policy requesting OA but not requiring it. The Senate appropriations bill remained silent on the issue, and the conference committee reconciling the House and Senate appropriations bills adopted the NIH's watered down version of the policy. In May 2005, the NIH policy took effect as a request. In November 2005, the NIH's own Public Access Working Group recommended that the policy be strengthened to a requirement. In February 2006, the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents affirmed the recommendation that the policy be strengthened to a requirement. The same month, the NIH released data showing that grantee compliance with its request was below 4%. In April 2006, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni told a House subcommittee that "the voluntary policy is just not enough" to achieve the agency's goals. In June 2006, the House Appropriations Committee again demanded an OA mandate at the NIH, this time as part of the binding appropriations bill . Again, the Senate was silent on the issue. But this time, before the conference committee could reconcile the bills, the Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate. Party bickering and budgetary delays forced Congress to turn to a continuing resolution to fund the government, dropping the House appropriations bill, canceling the vote on the Senate counterpart, and forcing us to start all over again the following year. In March 2007, Dr. Zerhouni testified again that the agency needed an OA mandate. In July 2007, once again, the House of Representatives adopted an appropriations bill demanding an OA mandate at the NIH. This time, in October 2007, finally, the Senate adopted the same language.
If NIH had adopted an OA mandate in 2004 when Congress originally asked it to do so, it would have been the first anywhere. Now it will be the 21st.
(3) It sets a precedent, breaks the ice, or cuts the shackles --pick your metaphor. Other US agencies no longer have to worry that a strong OA policy would antagonize Congress or the White House. This is a green light for agencies that have been waiting for a green light. Some agencies will act on their own and some will wait to see how the NIH policy fares in court.
(4) It's big because the NIH is big. The NIH is the world's largest funder of scientific research (not counting classified military research). Its budget last year, $28 billion, was larger than the gross domestic product of 142 nations. As my colleague Ray English points out, it's more than five times larger than all seven of the Research Councils UK combined. NIH-funded research results in 65,000 peer-reviewed articles every year or 178 every day. The NIH is the one funder that could do the most for OA. Its OA mandate will not only free up an unprecedented quantity of high-quality medical research. It will also make a giant step toward cultivating new expectations --among researchers, funders, governments, and voters-- that publicly-funded research should be OA.
(5) Finally, the policy is strong. (Or: The policy is strong, finally!) The mandatory deposit policy will drive compliance toward 100%. The bill requires deposit immediately upon acceptance in a peer reviewed journal. That's much better than requiring deposit during or after the 12-month embargo period. Immediate deposit allows immediate release of metadata, enhancing the article's visibility, and allows the NIH to switch the article from closed to open access, automatically, as soon as the embargo runs. Agency staffers won't have to hunt down the author and beg for a copy of an old manuscript. In short, Congress is instructing the NIH to implement what I call the dual deposit/release strategy or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access.
The policy does permit a 12 month embargo, which I think is too long. But here's what I said about that in August:I wish the bill had shortened the embargo. Any embargo is a compromise with the public interest, and longer embargoes are more harmful in medicine than in other fields. But I'd much rather have a mandate than a shortened embargo, if we had to choose. The reason is simply that a short embargo without a mandate isn't really short, since there would be no enforceable deadline for ending the embargo and providing OA. Moreover, we don't have to choose. Shortening the embargo can be our next goal....The bill is...a significant, unmistakable gain on the most important front --the mandate-- and [since the current embargo is 12 months] it's not a loss or retreat on any front....
Not all the news is good. In order to cut enough spending from the bill to meet the President's demands, and to pay for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the research funding agencies took major hits. The original bill gave hefty budget increases to the National Science Foundation and Department of Energy; but the new bill holds their budgets nearly flat. The original bill would have added $1 billion to the NIH budget (about 3.5%); the new bill adds only 0.5%, which is swamped by inflation. (The NIH budget for fiscal 2008 is $29.2 billion.) Science covers the details in an OA article:
Last month I predicted a publisher lawsuit to prevent the NIH from implementing an OA mandate or at least to delay it as long as possible.
If publishers do sue, the NIH will defend vigorously --and of course will only benefit from the fact that Congress and the President ordered it to adopt an OA mandate. Since the bill itself requires the NIH to implement the mandate "in a manner consistent with copyright law", it would be premature for publishers to sue on copyright grounds before they see the final shape of the policy. In SOAN for August 2007, I outlined three ways in which NIH could implement an OA mandate without infringing copyrights.
Note that the NIH doesn't have a mandate in place yet. It has only been instructed to adopt one. Because the instructions from Congress are short on details, specifying little more than immediate deposit upon acceptance and a 12 month embargo before OA, the NIH has discretion to fill in the other details according to its own judgment. Here are some of the policy details still to be decided:
* How will the NIH deal with conflicts between its OA mandate and the policies of publishers where NIH grantees may submit work? Some funders choose to create loopholes, deferring to publisher policies and in effect letting publishers opt out. Some funders, led by the Wellcome Trust, never open this loophole and simply require grantees to comply with the funding contract, which researchers sign long before they sign a publisher's copyright transfer agreement; if a given publisher will not permit OA archiving on the funder's terms, then grantees must find another publisher.
* What sanctions, if any, will the agency use for non-compliance?
* Will the policy apply retroactively to previous NIH grants? If so, how soon will it do so? The Wellcome Trust adopted its OA mandate prospectively in October 2005 and made it apply retroactively to all outstanding grants one year later.
* The US has already adopted a government-purpose license allowing federal agencies to disseminate the results of the research they fund. In 2005, the NIH knew about the license but decided to rely on publisher consent instead. Will it rely on the license this time? When drafting FRPAA, Senator John Cornyn decided that the government-purpose license was an important way to improve upon the original NIH policy.
* Will the policy allow grantees to use grant funds to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals? The NIH is already willing to pay these fees, but it may or may not integrate this policy with the new OA mandate.
* Will the policy require OA for raw or refined data generated by NIH-funded research? The NIH already has a data-sharing policy, but it's not a mandate.
In the short time since President Bush signed the omnibus spending bill, I've seen journalists and bloggers make a range of mistakes in understanding what has taken place. Among the misunderstandings: that the NIH now has a mandate in place (rather than instructions to adopt one); that the mandate is to publish in OA journals (rather than to deposit in OA repositories); that the mandate is to bypass journals and peer review (rather than provide OA to articles already published in peer-reviewed journals); that the mandate applies to the published versions of articles (rather than the final versions of the authors' peer-reviewed manuscripts); that the mandate will direct deposits to PubMed (rather than PubMed Central); that the new NIH budget is $29 million (rather than $29 billion); that the mandate will only last for one year (rather than indefinitely); that the OA mandate requires violation of copyright law (rather than compliance with it). The misunderstandings no longer function as impediments to legislation, but they could well function as impediments to implementation. As you see them crop up, please do what you can to correct them.
Many individuals and organizations deserve our thanks for this long-awaited and hard-won victory. Thanks to all supporters of OA in Congress, members and staffers alike. Thanks to all supporters of OA in the Executive branch, including the NIH itself. Thanks to SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access for their energetic and effective work with policy-makers. Thanks to Heather Joseph for her masterful and untiring leadership of both organizations. Thanks to all of you who wrote to your Representatives and Senators to support public access for publicly-funded research. And thanks to Santa!
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008, containing the provision mandating OA at the NIH
(The final colon is part of the URL.)
For more detail on the 2007 progress toward this victory, and my evaluation of the bill that is now law, see my newsletter articles from August, November, and December.
* Here are some of the articles and blog posts from December --none guilty of the egregious misunderstandings I listed above. As I go to press, I haven't seen comments from any of the publishers or trade associations who lobbied against the OA mandate.
Peter Murray, NIH Mandatory Open Access Provision Appears Set to Become Law, Disruptive Library Technology Jester, December 19, 2007.
Anon., Success! NIH Provision Remains Intact, Library Journal Academic Newswire, December 20, 2007.
Steven Salzberg, "A tiny drop of ink, a big win for science," Genomics, Evolution, and Pseudoscience, December 21, 2007.
Andrew Mytelka, Academic Winners and Losers in the Vast Federal Spending Bill for 2008, Chronicle of Higher Education News Blog, December 21, 2007.
Rick Weiss, Measure Would Require Free Access To Results of NIH-Funded Research, Washington Post, December 21, 2007.
Stevan Harnad, After the NIH Green OA Self-Archiving Mandate, Open Access Archivangelism, December 21, 2007.
Peter Suber, OA mandate now law, Open Access News, December 26, 2007.
Public Access Mandate Made Law, a press release from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access, December 26, 2007.
Peter Suber, More on the NIH victory [first collection of web comments], Open Access News, December 27, 2007.
Peter Suber, More on the NIH victory [second collection of web comments], Open Access News, December 28, 2007.
Peter Murray-Rust, What does USD 29 billion buy? and what's its value? A Scientist and the Web, December 28, 2007.
Frank Greve, New law broadens access to research on health, Kansas City Star, December 31, 2007.
* Postscript. My review of OA in 2007, next, has a paragraph on the NIH victory. Apologies for the repetition. I need the review to stand on its own for future readers who jump to it directly through a deep link.
Open access in 2007
The irrepressible progress of the open access movement means that every new year is richer than the last. At some point the thicket of new developments will make it impossible to write these annual reviews. As I wrote this year's review, I kept thinking that the point had come last year.
Here are some highlights of 2007 in 15 categories. Apologies to all the projects, policies, and developments I omitted.
(1) The compelling case for mandating OA for publicly-funded research spread even further in 2007 than in 2006. I didn't think that would be possible. Last year I called 2006 the year of the OA mandate.
Let me start with the OA mandate at the NIH, because it's the most recent and because it's the culmination of a three year drama. Here's a quick synopsis of the saga, limited to 2007. When the year began, the NIH was requesting, not requiring, OA to NIH-funded research, under a policy in effect since May 2005. In March 2007, NIH Director Elias Zerhouni told Congress (for the second time) that the agency needed an OA mandate. In July 2007 (for the second time) the House of Representatives adopted an appropriations bill demanding an OA mandate at the NIH. In October 2007 (for the first time) the Senate adopted the same language. In November, President Bush vetoed the bill for reasons unrelated to the NIH provision, and the House failed to override the veto. Congress responded by combining many of the vetoed appropriations into one omnibus bill, cutting spending down to levels that the President could accept, and retaining the NIH provision without modification. Congress passed the bill on December 19 and Bush signed it on December 26, 2007. The NIH is the world's largest funder of non-classified scientific research and its research results in about 65,000 peer-reviewed journal articles every year.
Earlier in 2007, OA mandates were adopted by the UK Arthritis Research Campaign, the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council, the UK Department of Health, the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, France's National Agency for Research (Agence nationale de la recherche), the Research Foundation Flanders (Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek), and the Swiss National Science Foundation. Two of the Research Councils UK merged, one with an OA mandate (Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council) and one without (Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils), but the new merged organization had an OA mandate (Science and Technology Facilities Council). The European Commission FP7 Grant Agreement contains an OA mandate. The Flanders Marine Institute (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee) adopted a policy that functions like a mandate, and Armenia is developing a national OA system which looks like it will mandate green OA while providing support for green and gold OA. Among private funders, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute adopted an OA mandate. The UK Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation, which both already had OA mandates, joined with a group of private-sector pharmaceutical companies to fund research into biomarkers, and all parties agreed to operate the fund under an OA mandate. And this list doesn't even include the university mandates and data mandates (which I cover below).
The UK is clearly the county with the greatest number agencies mandating OA to publicly-funded research. Six of the seven Research Councils UK now have adopted mandates, and the seventh (Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council) is still deliberating. All 10 members of the UK PubMed Central Funders Group have adopted mandates. Until the NIH writes the policy Congress has asked it to write, the UK is also the country with the greatest volume of research subject to an OA mandate.
Other funders and jurisdictions are considering mandates. The Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology released a beautifully strong draft OA mandate for public comment. The European Research Council pledged to adopt an OA mandate in 2006, before the agency itself was officially established; the agency launched in February 2007 and in September reiterated its commitment to an OA mandate. A bill introduced in the Brazilian Parliament would mandate public universities to mandate OA to their research output, and the Ethics Committee of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique recommended the broadest possible dissemination of research publications and data.
Some serious 2007 recommendations for OA mandates are still pending with policy-makers. In Europe, there were calls for an EU-wide OA mandate from the European Research Advisory Board, the European University Association's Working Group on Open Access, and a petition organized by six government and non-profit organizations. As I go to press, the petition has 26,900+ signatures, including 1,300+ signatures from research institutions. In the US, eight non-profit organizations launched a similar petition in the US (temporarily offline), and other calls for OA to publicly-funded research came from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Energy. The final report of a joint UK/US meeting (sponsored by JISC and the NSF) recommended an OA mandate for publicly-funded research. In the UK, the e-Infrastructure Working Group of the Office of Science and Innovation endorsed the OA mandate at the Research Councils UK. Library and Archives Canada and Germany's Green Party called for OA to publicly-funded research. In India, the National Knowledge Commission recommended an OA mandate first through its Working Group on Libraries, then again through its Working Group on Open Access and Open Educational Resources, and yet again in a letter from its chairman to the Indian Prime Minister. In South Africa, Eve Gray recommended an OA mandate in a policy paper for the Open Society Institute, and then a month later reported that the South African government appeared to be moving in that direction. The Botswana Minister of Education, Jacob Nkate, and Slovenian Minister for Growth, Ziga Turk, called for OA mandates to publicly-funded research.
Most of the funder OA policies adopted in 2007 were mandates, and all the adopted mandates were for green OA, but there were a few eddies in the stream where the current ran backwards. The Hong Kong Research Grants Council and the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance decided to encourage rather than require OA for the research they fund, following the failed first version of the NIH policy. The World Health Organization (WHO) Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG2) was considering an OA mandate until November, when it weakened its draft policy and settled for mere encouragement. It's not likely that any of these organizations could do better than the NIH at eliciting voluntary compliance from busy researchers, and more likely that publisher lobbying and agency misunderstandings blocked the adoption of stronger policies. Two of the adopted mandates in 2007 --the UK Arts & Humanities Research Council and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-- had large loopholes allowing publishers to opt out for themselves and for all grantees who choose to publish with them. The Australian Productivity Commission proposed a gold OA mandate, not realizing that a gold OA policy would either regulate publishers rather than grantees (a needlessly strong step) or severely limit the freedom of authors to publish in the journals of their choice.
Universities on four continents showed that they didn't want to wait for OA policies from funders or governments. University-level OA mandates were adopted at the University of Liege, Central Economics and Mathematics Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Turkey's Middle East Technical University, and are under consideration at Harvard, MIT, and the University of California. The University of Southampton Department of Electronics and Computer Science documented the success of its self-archiving mandate, showing a compliance rate between 80% and 100%, depending on how one estimates the department's overall research output. Ilmenau Technical University adopted an OA mandate for the books published by its university press. University rectors in Brazil and Europe began organizing to persuade universities in their regions to adopt strong, local OA policies. The Brazilian effort is led by the University of Brasilia and the European effort by the University of Liege. The rectors at the two meetings represent nearly twice as many universities as had mandates at the beginning of 2007. Other university organizations were active on other fronts. Universities UK supported an OA mandate in the EU, and the 12-member US Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) joined the Google library project, drafted an author addendum, and urged its member institutions to adopt it.
(2) OA journals and repositories grew vigorously in 2007. The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) added 486 peer-reviewed journals, growing by 19% over the previous year. According to OAIster, the number of OA repositories grew by 199, or 27%. According to the Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR), the number is 176, or 22%, and according to OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories), the number is 184, or 22%. According to OAIster, the number of records on deposit in these repositories grew by 4,560,809, or 46%. Thanks to Heather Morrison for most of these baseline and growth numbers; the end-of-2007 figures were recorded on December 31. Heather also reports that the DOAJ is adding new OA journals at an accelerating rate. The rate for all of 2007 was 1.4 titles per day, but the rates for November and December were both over two titles per day.
ScientificCommons now lists 893 repositories, the Registry of Open Access Repositories 968, and OpenDOAR 1,017. Apart from these tallies, the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) inventoried repositories in the US, SURF in the EU, and Electronic Information For Libraries (eIFL) in developing countries. On the journal side, the Directory of Open Access Journals reached the milestone of 3,000 titles, and SHERPA's RoMEO database documented more than 300 publisher policies on self-archiving, more than doubling the number of entries since last year.
(3) Green OA, or OA archiving, put down deeper roots in 2007, entirely apart from policies to encourage or require it and apart from the launch of individual new repositories. Spain, the Netherlands and UK spent public funds to create OA repositories at their universities. Ireland committed public funds to establish OA repositories at *all* its universities. In addition to supporting individual repositories, the UK used public funds to launch the Depot, a universal OA repository for UK researchers. New Zealand and Sweden launched services to harvest their institutional repositories. Australia launched a registry for the nation's repositories. Germany launched OA-Netzwerk to spread best practices to the national network of OA repositories. The EU's DRIVER project expanded in 2007 (after launching in 2006), wrote guidelines to facilitate the harvesting of repositories, and worked with individual repositories to bring them into compliance.
Forums and services to support repository managers proliferated, often with public funding. Managers in the UK had the UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR) from SHERPA, the Repositories Support Project from JISC, and the EPrints Community from Southampton. Managers in Australia and New Zealand had the AuseAccess wiki from Arthur Sale, the Institutional Repository Community ANZ from Alison Hunter, the ORCA support network, and RUBRIC (Regional Universities Building Research Infrastructure Collaboratively) from the Australian government. Those in Germany had OA-Netzwerk from DINI. In Europe, DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) launched a wiki and the Mentor program. OpenDOAR launched an email distribution service for sending information or announcements to different sets of OA repository managers, for example by country, language, or software platform. Early in the year, Dorothea Salo launched IR-Managers, one of the only projects not regionally focused and not based on public funds; but unfortunately, it has since shut down.
Repository software and its ecology of supporting tools continued to evolve. Arxiv and OpenDOAR opened their APIs. OpenDOAR added a range of graphs to show the state of the repositories in the directory. OpenDOAR and ROAR took part in mash-ups with mapping services (ROAR with Google Earth, OpenDOAR with Google Maps) showing the worldwide distribution of repositories. ScientificCommons started citation tracking for repository content. India launched a cross-archive search engine for the country's OA repositories. BioMed Central upgraded its Open Repository service to facilitate deposits and customization, convert files, and support RSS feeds. JISC and UKOLN launched SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) to semi-automate deposits in OA repositories. Zotero is adding a feature allowing users to upload public-domain documents to the Zotero Commons, an OA repository within the Internet Archive. The AIRway project and OCLC Openly Informatics described a way to point link resolvers to OA repositories and help researchers find OA copies of articles published in journals to which their institutions do not subscribe. PubMed abstracts by authors from the University of Michigan now link to fulltext OA editions of the articles in the Michigan repository. Ari Friedman wrote software to scan an online bibliography, check the OA policies of the represented publishers in ROMEO, annotate each entry accordingly, and email the authors to ask if they would self-archive their articles or email copies to the user. At least two different library OPAC packages now integrate library holdings with the contents of the institutional repository. A handful of major reports and full-length books offered guidance on building OA repositories and analyzed the factors driving and inhibiting their growth. The EPrints Community came to the end of its JISC funding and issued its final report, while the DSpace community launched the DSpace Foundation and the Fedora community launched the Fedora Commons, both based on significant new funding.
(4) Gold OA, or peer-reviewed OA journals, also put down deeper roots in 2007, entirely apart from the launch of individual new OA journals. Canada (through the Social Science and Humanities Research Council) used public funds to support OA journals. Germany (through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Scandinavian countries (through Nordbib) used public funds to launch new OA journals and convert existing toll-access (TA) journals to OA. Five individual experiments at CERN, which already operated under a green OA mandate, encouraged their researchers to submit new work to OA journals. INASP and the Lund University Library joined forces to raise the visibility of OA journals published by developing countries.
The European Research Council agreed to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute extended its existing policy to cover fees at hybrid OA journals. The CNRS' Institut de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules (IN2P3) agreed to pay the publication fees for French physicists who publish in the OA Journal of High Energy Physics. These funder policies were welcome but not fundamentally new. By contrast, universities began launching funds expressly to help faculty members pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. The Universities of Amsterdam, Nottingham, and Wisconsin all launched OA journal funds in 2007. Texas A&M University announced its willingness to help faculty pay publication fees even without a central OA fund. The Research Councils UK made it easier for UK universities to launch such funds by offering to reimburse them, at least in part, for their payments.
By my conservative count, based on what crossed my desk, 65 journals converted from TA to OA in 2007, more than twice the number from 2006 and probably twice the number from all previous years combined. Smaller numbers converted from TA to hybrid OA, from hybrid OA to full OA, and from fee-based OA to no-fee OA. Hindawi converted its last two TA journals to OA and became an OA-only publisher. (Is it a coincidence that a few months later it reported that its submissions were up 70% over the previous year?)
CERN's SCOAP3 project (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) made steady and inspiring progress toward the goal of converting all the major journals in particle physics to OA by redirecting the flow of subscription funds. The coalition has now recruited members from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. The Mellon Foundation announced its willingness to fund a study of massive redirection projects designed to support OA journals.
Sage launched its first line of full OA journals, after teaming up with Hindawi, and Wiley-Blackwell launched the first full OA journal for either company, after their merger. Bentham Science Publishers announced an ambitious program to launch 300 OA journals before the end of 2007, a goal it later revised to 200. Last week it had web sites for 166 new OA journals at different stages of development. (I hope to bring you a report on the Bentham OA journal program early in the new year.) We also saw new OA-oriented start-ups in Birchley Hall Press, Co-Action Publishing, Marquette Books, Merlien, and Pabst Science Publishers.
The DOAJ launched a membership program, improving its prospects for longevity. Its institutional parent, Lund University, launched a companion service called Journal Info, to help scholars evaluate journals where they might submit their work. For non-OA journals, it recommends OA alternatives and indicates the journal's self-archiving policy, subscription price per article, and subscription price per citation. A group of scientists launched Eureka Science Journal Watch, a wiki to collect information about OA and TA journals and to organize strategies to expand OA. A group of Spanish researchers launched SCImago, an OA database of journal data organized by field and country, supporting flexible queries and its own journal rank measurement. JISC and the University of Glasgow launched OpenLOCKSS, a LOCKSS-based preservation system specifically for OA journals.
We learned more about the existing range of OA journals, sometimes contrary to prevailing wisdom. Harvesting data from the DOAJ, Bill Hooker not only updated a 2005 study on the predominance of no-fee over fee-based OA journals, but surveyed the full DOAJ, not just a sample. He found that 67% of full OA journals in the DOAJ charged no publication fees, 18% did charge fees, and 15% didn't make it easy for the DOAJ to find out. (Kaufman and Wills found in October 2005 that 52.8% of sampled OA journals charged no publication fees.) Caroline Sutton and I found 427 societies publishing 496 full OA journals, and 19 societies publishing 74 hybrid OA journals, challenging the widespread belief that society publishers, as such, feel threatened by gold OA. (These numbers update those we published in the November 2007 issue of SOAN.) We also found that most society OA journals, like most OA journals overall, charged no publication fees. But the no-fee society OA journals form a much larger majority (83.3%) than the no-fee OA journals overall (52.8% for Kaufman-Wills two years ago, 67% for Hooker last month).
(5) The hybrid OA journal model, publishing both OA and non-OA articles in the same journal, generally charging a publication fee for the OA articles, expanded in 2007 but much more slowly than in 2006. WorldSciNet adopted the model for all 133 journals published by WorldScientific and all eight journals published by Imperial College Press; Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers adopted the model for eight of its journals; the American Physiological Society for 10 of its journals; Professional Engineering Publishing for all 19 of its journals; the American Geophysical Union for the majority of its 19 journals; and the ALPSP adopted it for its journal, Learned Publishing. Taylor & Francis added 31 journals to its hybrid OA journal program. Emerald launched an unusual (but not unprecedented) no-fee hybrid program for its engineering journals.
Oxford's hybrid OA Journal of Experimental Botany waived its publication fee for authors from subscribing institutions. Springer struck a deal with the Dutch library consortium UKB (Universiteitsbibliotheken en de Koninklijke Bibliotheek), and later with the University of Göttingen, under which current subscription payments are considered to cover publication fees for affiliated authors. These experiments show that the hybrid model is still evolving, and that there's room for creative ways to reduce publication fees for subscribing institutions or to reduce the likelihood of cancellations.
As the model matured, it began to shows some ups and downs. For the second year in a row, Oxford reduced the subscription prices on a batch of its hybrid journals (this year, 28) to reflect rising levels of author uptake. The Royal Society also reduced its publication fees. Blackwell stopped describing its hybrid program as an experiment. The American Society of Animal Science converted the Journal of Animal Science (JAS) to a hybrid OA journal, but JAS Editor Larry Reynolds editorialized against the move. Peter Murray-Rust discovered that Oxford, Ingenta, and the British Library were charging for access to papers that should have been OA; he also found some supposedly free papers at hybrid journals from ACS, Blackwell, RSC, and Springer in which the free abstracts linked only to TA editions of the full-text or in which free full-text papers used all-rights-reserved copyright statements instead of promised open licenses. All the publishers acknowledged the problems and promised to fix them.
(6) The number of author addenda more than trebled in 2006, but they were all suggestions waiting for adopters. In 2007, universities started adopting them. (Author addenda are lawyer-written contract provisions to supplement a publisher's standard contract, allowing authors to retain the rights they need to authorize OA.) The Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) wrote its own author addendum and then asked its 12 member institutions to adopt it. At least three did so: The U of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the U of Wisconsin at Madison, and the U of Minnesota.
SPARC and Science Commons consolidated their author addenda and launched an online tool to help authors choose and implement an addendum. SPARC and CARL produced a Canadian version of the SPARC author addendum. Washington University revised its author addendum to make clear that when authors submit it to a journal, and the journal publishes the underlying article, the publisher will be deemed to have accepted the terms of the addendum.
(7) With or without mandates, more governments committed themselves to OA for publicly-funded data. Norway adopted an OA mandate for public geodata. Canada, Ireland, and Australia began providing OA to publicly-funded digital mapping data, without a mandate. After long resistance, the UK Ordnance Survey began to do the same, at least experimentally. (Earlier in the year, a legal analysis by Charlotte Waelde concluded that the data are not protected by copyright but at most, only by the database right, a JISC report recommended a general UK policy of OA for research data, and the new UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown endorsed the principle of public access to public data.) The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe recommended "wide public access to research results to which no copyright restrictions apply" (i.e. data). Eve Gray reported that the South African government was moving toward a policy of OA for publicly-funded research data. The Australian government proposed an Australian National Data Service to promote OA and re-use of publicly-funded research data. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued principles and guidelines to implement its 2004 Declaration on Access to Research Data From Public Funding. California is about to adopt the strongest and broadest OA mandate for greenhouse gas data in the US, and Pennsylvania is about to join the other 49 states in mandating OA for state statutes. And the UN Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP) adopted an OA mandate for most kinds of data covered by the convention.
The US Government Accountability Office called on four major federal funding agencies (DOE, NASA, NOAA, and NSF) to enforce their existing policies on data-sharing. Twenty-two US federal government agencies formed an Interagency Working Group on Digital Data (IWGDD), plan to deposit the data generated by their research grantees in a network of OA repositories, and are considering an OA mandate. The US National Archives joined the OA web portal, Geospatial One Stop. The NSF Office of Cyberinfrastructure launched a data interoperability project (INTEROP). Google launched a Public Sector Initiative to improve its crawling of OA databases hosted by federal, state, and local government agencies in the US. A group of open government activists convened by O'Reilly Media and Public.Resource.Org drafted principles for open government data. For the first time the US made progress toward OA for its three most notorious non-OA government resources: PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records), the database of federal court docket information; NTIS (National Technical Information Service), the online databases of research and business data; and CRS Reports, the highly regarded reports from the Congressional Research Service. The first two began offering OA to selected portions of their otherwise priced content, and the third is the subject of a new bill in the Senate to mandate OA.
Nature editorialized in favor of e-notebook science and data sharing, and Nature Biotech recommended "that raw data from proteomics and molecular-interaction experiments be deposited in a public [OA] database before manuscript submission." Maxine Clarke at Nature said that the journal would consider requiring and not merely recommending OA for multimedia data if there were a suitable OA repository supporting annotation and long-term preservation. Wiley threatened legal action when Shelley Batts posted a chart from a Wiley article on her blog; when she replaced it with her own chart of the same data and blogged Wiley's threat, the blogosphere exploded and Wiley said it was all a misunderstanding.
Data sharing policies were adopted by the UK Medical Research Council, the Ethics Committee of France's Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), the Audiovisual Communications Laboratory at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and the International Telecommunications Union. The NIH launched a new data-sharing program for its neuroscience research. There are too many new OA databases to name separately, but since I've mentioned the NIH, I should add that it launched the Database of Genotype and Phenotype (dbGaP) and SHARe (SNP Health Association Resource), which it described as "one of the most extensive collections of genetic and clinical data ever made freely available to researchers worldwide."
Google began helping researchers exchange datasets up to 120 terabytes in size, too large for ordinary online uploads and downloads. At no charge to the researchers, it will ship a brick-sized box of hard drives from one research team to another, provided that the data have no copyright or licensing restrictions and the bricks stop first at Google headquarters for copying and offline storage. In time, Google hopes to make the datasets OA. The company also began sharing files of its own data with researchers but on the condition that they make the results of their research OA.
2007 saw a wave of general OA data repositories spring up, many with built-in features for graphics and analysis: for example, Dabble, Data360, Freebase, Many Eyes, Open Economics, StatCrunch, Swivel, and WikiProteins. At the same time, several projects worked to facilitate the deposit of data in OA repositories, such as EDINA's DataShare and JISC's SPECTRa (Submission, Preservation and Exposure of Chemistry Teaching and Research Data), or to enhance the interface between data repositories and literature repositories, such as JISC's StORe (Source-to-Output Repositories).
By my informal estimate, the fields with the largest advances in OA data during 2007 were archaeology, astronomy, chemistry, the environment (including climate change), geography (including mapping), and medicine (especially, genomics and clinical drug trials).
(8) Book-scanning projects grew significantly in 2007. The Google Library Project added the U of Texas at Austin, Princeton U, the Bavarian State Library, the U of Lausanne, Ghent U, Keio U, Cornell U, Columbia U, five Catalonian libraries including the National Library of Catalonia (Biblioteca de Catalunya), and the 12 research institutions in the US Committee on Institutional Cooperation. As in 2006, the legal suspense created by unresolved lawsuits against Google by author and publisher organizations did not stop new institutions from joining the program, although it did cause most of them to limit their participation to public-domain books. Nor did it stop McGraw-Hill, one of the plaintiffs, from adding a Google Book Search box to its web site.
The Open Content Alliance not only expanded to 80 contributing libraries, but attracted libraries who made a public point of saying that they would rather pay their own digitization costs and have the OCA's openness than to have Google pay the costs and restrict the use of the resulting ebooks. Among those were the 19 institutional members of the Boston Library Consortium, including the MIT Libraries. Students at NYU asked their institution to join the OCA instead of Google for the same reason. Objecting that Google restricted use of its scanned public-domain books, Philipp Lenssen liberated 100 of them by posting them to his free book site, Authorama.
Google and the OCA both enhanced their offerings as well. Google (finally) added plain-text editions to the scanned images of some of its digitized public-domain books and officially revealed its journal backfile digitization project, which quietly launched in 2006. Michigan made its Google-scanned books OAI-compliant. The OCA launched a working demo of its Open Library, and described plans for a wiki-like universal catalog, online annotated bibliographies of its scanned OA books, and a program to digitize and lend orphan works, its first foray beyond public-domain books.
The European Parliament blessed the European Digital Library and urged it to speed up. Project Gutenberg launched PG Canada. The Million Book Project reached the milestone of 1.5 million digitized books, and LibriVox reached the lesser milestone of 1,000th free online audiobooks. Microsoft began digitizing more than 100,000 books from the British Library and another 100,000 from the Yale University Library. The Sloan Foundation gave the Library of Congress $2 million to digitize thousands of rare and brittle public domain books for OA. A new, major book-scanning project joined the existing players when Kirtas Technologies, maker of a book-scanning machine, teamed up with Amazon's print-on-demand subsidiary, BookSurge, to digitize rare public-domain books and sell POD editions through Amazon.
The beautiful synergy of OA and print-on-demand (POD) wasn't born in 2007 but began to spread quickly in 2007. The Kirtas-Amazon book-scanning project is based on the sales of POD editions. The first three universities to take part, Emory, Maine, and Cornell, promised to provide OA to their copies of the digital editions. Rice University Press will not only publish its own monographs in OA/POD editions, but also monographs vetted and approved by Stanford University Press. Hamburg University Press decided that all its scientific publications will be OA/POD, and later agreed to produce OA and POD editions of the works published by Schleswig-Holstein state archive. Six European university and museum presses launched a consortium, OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), for publishing OA monographs with POD editions. The Public Domain Books Reprints Service began to sell POD editions of public-domain ebooks from the Internet Archive and Google.
We saw new series of OA books, some with and some without priced, print editions, from the U of Michgan Press (Digital Cultural Books), the U of California Press (FlashPoints), MIT Press (Digital Media and Learning), the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, the American Museum of Natural History, the Open Knowledge Foundation, and a partnership between Harvard's Berkman Center and the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction. The Canadian Library Association will consider OA for all its new monographs, case by case. The Université Libre de Bruxelles decided to provide OA to all its out-of-print books, while Ilmenau Technical U decided, conversely, to provide OA to all its new books. The U of Pittsburgh Press decided to provide OA to all its back titles and OA to all new titles after a maximum two-year moving wall.
Polimetrica released an Open Access Manifesto, the first ever from a book publisher. The American Association of University Presses released a Statement on Open Access, calling on presses to experiment with OA monographs. The UK National E-Books Project started providing free ebooks to UK universities and Pakistan's Higher Education Commission, blending subsidized priced access and open access, started providing free ebooks and ejournals to Pakistani universities.
When Springer announced that more than 29,000 of its books had been indexed by Google Book Search, it made a point of saying that the enhanced visibility boosted sales of its older titles. The first Chinese book publisher to join Google's Publisher program, Cite Publishing Holding Group, explained that it expected Google indexing to increase its sales. Tim O'Reilly published a detailed case study of how the OA edition of an O'Reilly title affected the sales of the print edition. Eric Von Hippel explained to an interviewer how the OA editions of two of his books increased sales of the print editions. Publishers of the novels nominated for this year's Man Booker Prize considered a proposal to publish OA editions of the nominated books.
(9) More countries and institutions saw the logic of OA for electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). Denmark, German, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK announced a working demo of the European e-Theses portal, which harvests its contents from local, interoperable OA repositories in the participating countries. Sweden, which already had an OA portal of theses and dissertations, launched an OA collection of the English-language theses. Italy's Conference of University Rectors adopted guidelines for the deposit of ETDs in OA repositories. The Australian Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project released a Copyright Guide for Research Students, introducing OA and Creative Commons licenses for authors of theses and dissertations. ProQuest began giving universities OA to all of their own PQ-hosted ETDs. The University of Florida began digitizing past dissertations for OA. Ohio University's Russ College of Engineering and Technology and Center for International Studies decided to require electronic submission of theses and dissertations. Canada's University of Victoria streamlined its process for the electronic submission of ETDs. Students at Harvard College Free Culture launched an OA Thesis Repository for undergraduate senior theses.
(10) In 2007 there was an explosion of interest in OA videos for scholarship, research, and education. PLoS and partners launched SciVee ("YouTube for scientists"), specializing in OA videos explaining OA journal articles. New collections OA science videos launched at AthenaWeb, Bioscreencast, DNATube, Science Hack, SciTalks, VideoLectures, and the video channel at Science Daily. The Video Journal of Conference Presentations is a peer-reviewed OA journal of conference presentations. BioMed Central launched a YouTube channel, increased its support for video in multi-media BMC articles, and joined with Intelligent Television to launch the Open Access Documentary Project, which will produce documentary videos about OA. The University of California at Berkeley and the University of Southern California launched their own YouTube channels for lectures and public events. Yale's new open courseware project features OA videos of actual classroom sessions. JISC and the Wellcome Trust teamed to provide OA to 400+ films important in the history of medicine. SPARC announced the first annual SPARC Discovery Awards, or Sparkies, a contest for videos on information sharing. Lawrence Lessig organized a campaign asking US TV networks to release their presidential debate broadcasts either to the public domain or under a CC license; Barak Obama, John Edwards, and Chris Dodds endorsed the campaign; CNN agreed to participate and Fox News did not. In short, bandwidth and tools --which will only get better-- make it easy to bring the power of video to other forms of exposition, helping to move online scholarship beyond digital replicas of print scholarship.
(11) 2007 saw a flurry of activity in what could be called the Wikipedia neighborhood. Germany began using public money to fund scientific articles for the German Wikipedia. A group of German scholars launched DBpedia, an OA database harvesting uncopyrightable facts from Wikipedia and using them to support sophisticated queries to Wikipedia and links to other OA datasets. Luca de Alfaro and colleagues wrote software to color-code Wikipedia passages according to their trustworthiness, when this is a function of how seldom the contributor has been overruled by other contributors. Virgil Griffith wrote software to track Wikipedia edits to their IP addresses, showing many powerful corporations deleting criticism and polishing their images. The Wikimedia Foundation began developing tools to print Wikipedia articles and export them to OpenOffice formats. Wikipedia worked out a complicated deal with Creative Commons and the Free Software Foundation allowing it to relicense under CC licenses. (Expect a vote by Wikipedians in early 2008.) Daniel Paul O'Donnell, Sage Ross, John Willinsky, a Nature editorial, and other voices --including my own-- urged scholars to strengthen Wikipedia by adding expert content and linking to peer-reviewed OA articles. Nature found that Wikipedia was comparable to the Encyclopedia Britannica in accuracy; all the errors it identified in Wikipedia were quickly corrected while those identified in EB still remain.
Ezclopedia is another user-written OA encyclopedia trying to do better than Wikipedia. Debatepedia is a new wiki from the International Debate Education Association and Georgetown University, organizing pro and con arguments on major policy questions. Archivopedia is a new wiki-based encyclopedia of library and information science, supporting search of the OA primary sources with a Google Co-op search engine. Freebase is wiki-like free database from Danny Hillis' Metaweb that aims to capture "the world's knowledge" and has already negotiated to capture knowledge from BioMed Central's OA journals. Just last month, Google launched Knols, a rival from a different direction offering author attribution, ad revenue, and built in tools for rating and annotation. Citizendium launched in 2006 but in 2007 moved out of alpha into beta, adopted the CC-BY-SA license, and announced plans for major changes in governance and scope that justify the label Citizendium 2.0. Four physicians in Cleveland launched AskDrWiki, and Elsevier launched WiserWiki, two of many new wikis on medical research that can only be edited by physicians. WHO converted its database, the International Classification of Diseases, to a wiki. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey launched Wikisky, a cross between a virtual telescope, database of astronomical data, digital library of astronomical texts, annotatable wiki, and Google Earth for the sky. Wiley's Wrox Press launched a new line of OA books on computer programming in the form of wikis.
Some other encyclopedia developments were about OA, but not about wikis. Two foundations and a group of research institutions launched the Encyclopedia of Life, a multimedia OA compendium of biodiversity on our planet. Open Semiotics Resource Center is a combination OA repository, OA encyclopedia, and OA peer-reviewed journal. The OA Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy reached the fund-raising milestone needed to trigger matching funds from the US National Endowment for the Humanities.
(12) In 2007, more and more OA discussions zeroed in on the details of open licenses. Much of the discussion took place in blogs, and marked a shift in focus and concern more than a series of concrete developments. But there were also some notable developments, apart from the licensing changes at Wikipedia and Citizendium (noted above). The Microformats Wiki started using the CC Public Domain Dedication. Nature began to use CC licenses for Nature Precedings and even for Nature articles reporting genome data. OpenMathText began to permit commercial reuse. Libertas Academica, already an OA publisher, agreed to use CC-BY licenses for its journals after Peter Murray-Rust urged it to do so in a blogged review. Elsevier adopted a liberal license, permitting a range of re-use rights as well as free online access, for the articles it deposits in PubMed Central or UKPMC on behalf of funding agencies who pay it to do so. Generalizing the trend, a group of publishers and research funders agreed that when funders pay publishers to make an article OA, then the publishers should remove key permission barriers as well as price barriers. Shahram Ahari argued that the TRIPS agreement might support compulsory licenses for distributing toll-access journal articles, without charge, in developing countries. The Open Knowledge Foundation released its Guide to Open Data Licensing and released a draft open data license for public comment. Science Commons proposed a protocol for the licensing of open data, and in less than one month is already attracting adoptors.
An Eduserv survey showed that most UK museums, archives, and libraries do not use open licenses for their digital content. The Queensland government in Australia undertook a major study of open licenses for government information. The National Library of Chile released all its digital content under CC licenses. The Japanese government is considering a new exception to Japanese copyright law that would allow uncompensated copying and distribution of medical journal articles in cases of medical emergency. A German copyright reform that took effect yesterday allows scholars who published in Germany before 1995 to regain or retain the rights to their works (and therefore, use those rights to authorize OA) if they notify their publishers before the end of 2008.
Creative Commons dropped its DevNations license because it conflicted with the principles of OA by authorizing it only in certain countries. It also added two new licensing projects: CC0 (CC-Zero), a more effective assignment to the public domain, and CC+, which makes it easier for authors to bar commercial use and make individual exceptions. In addition, CC released the 3.0 versions of its licenses, created an add-in for OpenOffice, and launched ccLearn, which will try to spread the use of open licenses for teaching and learning,
SPARC Europe and the DOAJ announced a program to develop standards, including licensing standards, for OA journals, and to help publishers meet those standards. It's understandable why few postprints on deposit in OA repositories carry CC licenses or the equivalent. Journals that give permission for self-archiving rarely give permission to exceed fair use and permit user copying and distribution. But there's no comparable reason why so few OA journals carry CC licenses or the equivalent, and it's dismaying that so many still limit users to fair use. The SPARC-DOAJ program is the most promising, bottom-up idea I've seen for remedying this situation.
(13) Open access to courseware and other teaching and learning materials surged in 2007, so much so that I must now, reluctantly, treat it like free and open source software: a category too large to cover on Open Access News. Here's a very short list of its highlights in 2007. MIT OpenCourseware reached the milestone of 1,800 courses and launched a version of the program for high school students. Novell launched Novell Open Courseware, the first open courseware from a for-profit company for its corporate training courses. The IEEE Signal Processing Society began making open education modules in partnership with Connexions. Sun Microsystems spun off Curriki, "the Wikipedia of curriculum". Harvard's Berkman Center teamed up with the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction to create OA teaching and learning materials for law schools. The People's Open Access Education Initiative is a new open education project focusing on medical education in developing countries. The Indian Consortium for Educational Transformation launched a national open education project. Vietnam launched Vietnamese Open Courseware and Yale University launched Open Yale Courses. A non-profit with public funding launched CultureSource, an OA portal for Canadian courseware. The EU-funded Open eLearning Content Observatory Services released a report on OA repositories for courseware and research. Creative Commons officially launched ccLearn, its project on open content and open licenses for teaching and learning, and David Wiley, who developed the first open content license, drafted a new one for the special purpose of open education. ccLearn project and the Hewlett Foundation are building a search engine for open educational resources, and two MIT researchers are making OA lectures more useful by making them keyword-searchable. The Dutch SURF Foundation began funding projects to enhance knowledge-sharing in higher education, and the State of Utah gave $200,000 to Utah State University for OpenCourseWare. The Ministers of Education in Norway (Lisbet Rugtvedt), the Netherlands (Ronald Plasterk), and Botswana (Jacob Nkate) publicly called for OA and open education. UNESCO issued the Kronberg Declaration on the Future of Knowledge Acquisition and Sharing (focusing more on education than research), and the Cape Town Open Education Declaration made a "soft launch" in order to collect signatures before its official launch in mid-January.
(14) In 2007, Carl Malamud launched Public.Resource.Org (PRO), a heroic organization deserving a section to itself. With boldness and energy, PRO systematically collects public-domain information held by US government agencies and then provides OA to its own copies, sometimes after a polite request and successful negotiation and sometimes after negotiations fail. It started in May 2007, when it found that the Smithsonian Institution was selling public-domain photographs. PRO bought copies and posted them to Flickr. In June it set up a web interface to help citizens buy public-domain documents sold by US federal government agencies; it asked the buyers to donate them to PRO, which then hosted OA copies on its own web site. (Ari Schwartz started a similar program in 2007 to liberate the CRS Reports of the Congressional Research Service.) In August PRO began scanning new US judicial opinions and hosting OA copies. In September it asked the US Copyright Office to provide OA to its database of copyright registrations. When the office admitted that the data were in the public domain but said that it had no control over the access policy, PRO harvested the information and hosted its own OA copy. In November, it teamed up with Fastcase to launch an OA collection of US federal case law, including Supreme Court decisions back to 1754. Fastcase donated digital files for which it had previously charged access fees. Also in November, PRO persuaded the US National Technical Information Service (NTIS) to give it 10 to 20 government videotapes every month, which PRO would then digitize and post online for OA. Until this agreement, NTIS sold access to the government information in its collection. And once more in November, PRO created an OA mirror of the entire web site of the US Government Printing Office. In December, PRO and Creative Commons "committed to freeing all federal case law by the end of 2008", and PRO and the Boston Public Library agreed to work together to digitize government documents for OA. PRO is like an energetic Robin Hood, but even more subtle and satisfying for leaving the Sheriff no grounds for legal complaint.
(15) Here's another organization deserving a section to itself: the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM), launched in August by the Executive Committee of the Professional and Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP). The story began in January 2007, when Jim Giles at Nature published leaked documents showing that the AAP/PSP, American Chemical Society, Elsevier, and Wiley met with PR consultant Eric Dezenhall, who recommended that the publishers combat government OA mandates by "equat[ing] traditional publishing models with peer review" and using messages like "public access equals government censorship". He estimated a fee of $300-500,000 for a six month campaign. The AAP/PSP hired him, and the August launch of PRISM is the apparent result of his advice. The PRISM web site repeated the hand-waving about peer review and the Orwellian slogan about censorship. If anything, it went further, asserting that OA "open[s] the floodgates to non-peer reviewed junk science". The response was immediate, widespread criticism and ridicule. In short order, nine important academic publishers publicly disavowed PRISM or distanced themselves from it: Cambridge University Press, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Columbia University Press, MIT Press, Nature Publishing Group, Oxford University Press, Pennsylvania State University Press, Rockefeller University Press, and the University of Chicago Press. James Jordan, the director of Columbia University Press, and Ellen Faran, director of the MIT Press, resigned from the AAP/PSP Executive Council in protest. In mid-September PRISM toned down without eliminating the inflammatory rhetoric on its web site, but did not add the disclaimer requested by Rockefeller University Press "indicating that the views presented on the site do not necessarily reflect those of all members of the AAP." A week later, the AAP/PSP quietly removed all mention of PRISM from its front page, though it did not take down the PRISM site itself. In November, the Charleston Advisor's Readers' Choice Awards gave PRISM its "Lemon Award". The citation said, "These publishers should not bite the hand that feeds them." From beginning to end, it billed itself as a coalition but never publicly identified any of its members.
* Postscript. While the year is still vivid in your memory, take a look at my timeline. Let me know if I've omitted anything significant from the section on 2007.
Also see my reviews of OA from previous years:
Open access in 2006
Open access in 2005
Open access in 2004
Open access in 2003
Here's what happened, or what I noticed, since the last issue of the newsletter, emphasizing action and policy over scholarship and opinion. I put the most important items first, with double asterisks, and otherwise cluster them loosely by topic. Most of the time I link to my blog posts, not to the sources themselves, because I only want to use one link per item and my blog posts usually bring many relevant links together.
** Congress passed, and the President signed, a spending bill mandating OA to research funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Details in the top story above.
** The Flanders Marine Institute (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, or VLIZ) adopted a policy to deposit the Institute's research output in its OA repository, the Open Marine Archive (Open Marien Archief, or OMA).
** Ireland's Higher Education Authority Strategic Innovation Fund is paying to create OA repositories at every Irish university.
** The National Academy of Sciences of Armenia is developing a national OA communication system which will include institutional repositories, self-archiving, and OA publishing.
** The journals from the Nature Publishing Group will provide OA, and use CC-NC licenses, for all papers reporting full genome sequences.
* Italy's Conference of University Rectors (Conferenza dei Rettori delle Universitŕ Italiane) adopted guidelines for the deposit of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) in institutional repositories, which it regards as the first step in a plan to make Italian ETDs OA.
* Germany's Green Party called for open access to publicly-funded research.
* Google launched online tools for creating Knols ("units of knowledge"), OA articles with attribution, on any subject, no editorial supervision from Google, support for user comments and additions, and an option for the author to earn ad revenue.
* BioMed Central launched three new OA journals: BMC Proceedings; Parasites and Vectors; and BMC Research Notes.
* Radio IMERSD is a new, multimedia OA journal of the digital arts from the Griffith University program on Intermedia, Music Education & Research Design.
* The Journal for Late Antique Religion and Culture is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Cardiff University.
* Spontaneous Generations: A Journal for the History and Philosophy of Science is a new peer-reviewed, OA journal published by graduate students at the University of Toronto.
* Neuroethics is a new peer-reviewed free online journal from Springer.
* Evolution: Education and Outreach is a new peer-reviewed free online journal from Springer.
* The Pediatric Cardiology Society of India will soon launch a peer-reviewed OA journal, the Annals of Pediatric Cardiology, published by Medknow.
* Nature created another free online supplement, this time Proteins to Proteomes, sponsored by Pfizer.
* The journal of the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance converted to OA and moved to BioMed Central.
* The Annals of Improbable Research converted to OA.
* Biomedical Digital Libraries, formerly a fee-based OA journal from BioMed Central, left BMC and dropped publication fees.
* The University of Edinburgh's OA journal, SCRIPT-ed ("A Journal of Law, Technology & Society") started using CC-BY-NC-ND licenses.
* The CAC Review from the Caribbean Amerindian Centrelink converted from an OA newsletter to an OA blog.
* Since 2001 the New England Journal of Medicine has provided free online access to its research articles after a six month embargo, but it required users to register. In December, it dropped the registration requirement.
* The Society for Medieval Archaeology provided OA to the full, 50 year backfile of its journal, Medieval Archaeology.
* Folklore Forum has provided OA to all 39 years of its backfile by depositing the back issues in the institutional repository of Indiana University.
* Scientific American now allows postprint archiving, at least on request.
* MIT linguistics professor Kai von Fintel made an 11 minute podcast on the founding the new OA journal, Semantics and Pragmatics.
* CERN and DESY became institutional members of PhysMath Central.
* The Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Research Library joined CERN's SCOAP3 project.
* The Danish Library Agency also joined CERN's SCOAP3 project.
* CERN's SCOAP3 project released an FAQ for US Libraries.
* SCImago is a new OA database of journal data organized by field and country.
* Heather Morrison computed year-to-date growth figures for OA journals and repositories, as of December 11, and updated her numbers on December 31.
* Bill Hooker harvested data on all the full OA journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals and found that 18% charged publication fees, 67% did not, and 15% did not say. This confirms earlier studies showing that most OA journals charge no publication fees (Kaufman and Wills, October 2005; Sutton and Suber, November 2007), but is the first to look at every full OA journal listed in the DOAJ.
* PubMed abstracts by authors from the University of Michigan authors now link to fulltext OA editions of the articles in the Michigan repository.
* A new feature of Zotero will let users upload scanned images of public-domain documents to a repository hosted by the Internet Archive (the Zotero Commons), where they will be OCR'd and hosted for OA.
* Archivopedia is a new wiki-based encyclopedia of library and information science. It includes a Google Co-op search engine for OA primary sources.
* The European Commission expressed support for the European Digital Library and the Foundation developing it.
* Science Commons released its protocol for implementing open access data.
* The Tranche Project from Proteome Commons is the first I've seen to adopt the Protocol for Implementing Open Access Data from Science Commons.
* The UK Ordnance Survey began to experiment with free access and non-commercial reuse of public mapping data.
* Nature started depositing chemical data in ChemSpider.
* ChemSpider deposited all its structure data (for nearly 18 million compounds) into PubChem.
* Microsoft is funding a project to create an OAI-ORE-compliant, OA repository for chemical data.
* O'Reilly Media and Public.Resource.org hosted a meeting that drafted principles on open government data.
* Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) is a new consortium of university and museum presses dedicated to publishing OA monographs with print-on-demand (POD) editions.
* MIT Press published six books in dual (OA and non-OA) editions. The series is sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation's initiative on Digital Media and Learning.
* Columbia University joined the Google Library project.
* The University of Michigan made its collection of Google-scanned books OAI-compliant.
David Santos is making Openmathtext.org even more open by permitting rather than blocking commercial use.
* Yale University launched an open courseware program.
* A partnership of public and private agencies in Vietnam launched Vietnamese Open Courseware.
* The IEEE Signal Processing Society teamed up with Connexions to make a series of open education modules.
* The UN Development Programme released a primer on open content by Lawrence Liang.
* The Congressional Research Service wrote a report on open-source intelligence.
* EPrints released the final report of the EPrints Community Project.
* Bioinformatics named the six champions of open access and open source on the short list for its 2008 Ben Franklin Award: Philip E. Bourne, James L. Edwards, Robert Gentleman, Michael Hucka, Francis Ouellete, and Steven Salzberg.
* The Alexandria Archive Institute announced the three winners of its first Open Archaeology Prize.
* Two winners on Scientific American's SciAm 50 for 2007 are notable for their OA work: (1) the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, which freely shares its data, summary statistics, and software, and (2) Ilaria Capua, who pioneered OA for avian flu data.
* Robert Barr was made an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth "for services to geography". Barr is a professor of geography at Manchester University, managing director of Manchester Geomatics, and advocate for OA to public geodata in the UK.
* Intute won the 2007 Jason Farradane Award from the Journal of Information Science for outstanding work in the field of information science.
* Curriki ("the Wikipedia of curriculum") is one of two winners of this year's King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize.
* Citizendium received an Award of Excellence from the Society for New Communications Research.
* The SPARC Innovator award for the second half or 2007 went to student activists in general and to five student leaders in particular.
* The Directory of Open Access Journals reached the milestone of listing 3,000 peer-reviewed OA journals.
* E-LIS, the OA repository for library and information science, reached the milestone of 7,000 documents on deposit.
* The Caltech Collection of Open Digital Archives (CODA) reached several milestones recently: hosting more than 13,500 texts, including more than 4,000 ETDs, and the participation of more than 8,100 authors.
* The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE) now indexes over 500 OA repositories and supports multi-lingual searching.
* A bipartisan group of Senators introduced a bill to mandate OA to the highly-regarded reports of the Congressional Research Service (CRS Reports).
* YourSci.com is a new site for organizing collaborative, open research in the life sciences.
* The Open Archives Initiative released the alpha version of the Object Reuse and Exchange Specification and User Guide.
* The Open Knowledge Foundation organized a petition calling for OA to bibliographic data, in response to the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control.
* Nereus is conducting a survey of economists in order to strengthen NEEO (Network of European Economists Online), its portal of OA economics research.
* GovernmentDocs is an OA database of documents released under the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
* PublicRecordsWire is an OA portal of public records databases letting users search, tag, and rate the databases, browse by tags, category, and popularity, and add new databases.
* Public.Resource.Org, the Internet Archive, and the Boston Public Library announced a new project to digitize government documents for OA.
* The Wikimedia Foundation and partners began to develop tools for printing Wikipedia articles and exporting them in PDF and OpenOffice formats.
* The Wikipedia community will soon vote on whether to shift from the GNU Free Document License to the Creative Commons BY-SA license.
* Citizendium decided to use a CC-BY-SA license.
* Creative Commons launched two new licensing projects, CC0 (CC-Zero), a more verifiable assignment to the public domain, and CC+, a way for authors to bar commercial use and easily negotiate exceptions.
* The Public Knowledge Project released version 2.2 of Open Journal Systems.
* The Fedora Commons has released the Fedora 3.0 Beta 1 for testing.
* The American Anthropological Association voted to ban certain kinds of secret ethnographic scholarship, for example, by anthropologists studying soldiers for the military or studying consumers for corporations.
* The new editor-in-chief of Science Magazine is Bruce Alberts, a defender of OA who (as President of the National Academy of Sciences) once tried to shorten the embargo on PNAS to two months, though he eventually moved it back to six months.
* The new Director General of CERN is Rolf-Dieter Heuer, a strong defender of OA who (as Research Director at DESY) was one of the first supporters of the SCOAP3 project.
* I brought my Timeline of the Open Access Movement up to date.
Coming this month
Here are some important OA-related events coming up in January.
* January 1, 2008. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) OA mandate goes into effect requiring grantees to self-archive their articles within six months of publication.
* January 1, 2008. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) OA mandate goes into effect requiring grantees to publish only in journals permitting OA through PMC within six months of publication.
* January 1, 2008. Germany's new copyright rules take effect, limiting access to digitized works and giving researchers an opportunity to regain rights to works they published before 1995.
* January 31, 2008. Deadline for EPrints plugin submissions that want to be eligible for a prize.
* Sometime in January 2008. SPARC will announce the winners of the first annual SPARC Discovery Award (the Sparky).
* Notable conferences this month
Research Publication and Dissemination - the Future? (OA is among the topics.)
Galway, January 10, 2008
American Library Association 2008 Midwinter Meeting
Philadelphia, January 11-16, 2008
--Working with the Facebook Generation: Engaging Student Views on Access to Scholarship, a SPARC/ARL Forum, January 12, 2008, 4:00-6:00pm at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, room 204 A/B.
Improving access to public sector information in the UK (not the official title)
London, January 12, 2008
DRIVER Summit: Towards a Confederation of Digital Repositories
Göttingen, January 16-17, 2008
Communia workshop on Technology and the Public Domain
Torino, January 18, 2008
Science Blogging Conference (OA is among the topics)
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, January 19, 2008
International Workshop on Asia and Commons in the Information Age
Taipei, January 19-20, 2008
Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) (OA is among the topics)
Berlin, January 21-23, 2008
Providing Access to Information for Everyone (OA is among the topics)
Zadar, Croatia, January 28-30, 2008
* Other OA-related conferences
* I've added 15 new conferences to my conference page since the last issue. In the next few days I'll delete the second asterisk marking them and the new entries will blend into the rest of the collection.
This is the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (ISSN 1546-7821), written by Peter Suber and published by SPARC. The views I express in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of SPARC or other sponsors.
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