Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #118
February 2, 2008
by Peter Suber
Read this issue online
SOAN is published and sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).
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The mandates of January
January 2008 was a nearly unsurpassed month for institutional OA policies. The two biggest policy breakthroughs came back to back: on January 10, the European Research Council announced its new OA mandate (pledged in December 2006) and on January 11, the US National Institutes of Health released the text of its new OA mandate (demanded by Congress in December 2007). Also in January, Italy's Istituto Superiore di Sanità adopted a new OA mandate, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute OA mandate took effect (adopted in June 2007), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research OA mandate took effect (adopted in September 2007), and the Charles Sturt University OA mandate became generally known (probably adopted in early 2007). The Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Spain's National Research Council, and Hokkaido University adopted OA policies recommending but not requiring green OA, and the Russian cabinet clarified and reaffirmed a 2005 OA mandate for public sector information that was not being enforced. Altogether that makes three new mandates, two start dates for previous mandates, one public disclosure of an older mandate, one tightening of an older mandate, and three near-mandates --ten developments in eight countries (Australia, Canada, EU, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the US).
This was the strongest surge for OA policies since October 2006, when we saw six adopted OA mandates, two proposed mandates, two adopted near-mandates, and one adopted mandate limited to data, altogether eleven actions in five countries (Austria, Canada, China, the UK, and the US).
In this article I'll focus on the new ERC and NIH mandates. But first here some links to the other eight:
Italy's Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health, or ISS) adopted an OA mandate, requiring staff researchers to deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts in the ISS repository immediately upon acceptance, for OA release 6-24 months after publication.
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) OA mandate took effect on January 1, 2008, requiring grantees to publish only in journals permitting OA through PMC within six months of publication.
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) OA mandate took effect on January 1, 2008, requiring grantees to self-archive their articles within six months of publication.
We learned that Charles Sturt University had adopted an OA mandate for faculty peer-reviewed postprints.
The Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences, or SAGW) adopted an OA policy recommending, but not requiring, that SAGW grantees self-archive their work or submit it to OA journals.
Spain's Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (National Research Council, or CSIC) launched an OA repository and adopted a policy to encourage, but not require, grantees to deposit their CSIC-funded research in it.
Hokkaido University adopted an OA policy strongly recommending, but not requiring, that its faculty deposit their research in the Hokkaido institutional repository.
The Russian cabinet clarified a 2005 law requiring OA for certain government information. The key government agency had not been complying and appears to have ties to businesses which have been selling the same information to the public. A private institute is pushing for the enforcement of the new cabinet decree, which spells out OA as access that is "free of charge".
I'm not even counting *calls* for mandates, but I'll list one important one here before moving on. The European University Association (EUA) unanimously adopted the recommendations of its Working Group on Open Access, and urged them on its 791 university members in 46 countries. The recommendations include university-level OA mandates and support for national-level OA mandates.
On January 11, The Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC) released its long-awaited OA policy. It has two major provisions:
- The ERC requires that all peer-reviewed publications from ERC-funded research projects be deposited on publication into an appropriate research repository where available, such as PubMed Central, ArXiv or an institutional repository, and subsequently made Open Access within 6 months of publication.
- The ERC considers essential that primary data - which in the life sciences for example could comprise data such as nucleotide/protein sequences, macromolecular atomic coordinates and anonymized epidemiological data - are deposited to the relevant databases as soon as possible, preferably immediately after publication and in any case not later than 6 months after the date of publication.
This is one of the strongest funder policies anywhere.
* It makes OA mandatory. It supports central and distributed (disciplinary and institutional) repositories equally. It makes no exception for resisting publishers and even seems to apply to the published editions of articles, not just the authors' peer-reviewed manuscripts.
* The embargo is reasonably short. But more importantly, the ERC says elsewhere in the document that it "is keenly aware of the desirability" of making it even shorter. The ERC is the first funder to aim at an embargo shorter than six months.
* The policy is one of the few anywhere to cover data files and not just articles. However, while the provision on articles explicitly "requires" deposit in an OA repository, the provision on data merely "considers [it] essential" that data files be deposited. If you like, consider this a strong recommendation rather than a requirement. It's unclear what the distinction will mean in practice.
* For peer-reviewed articles, it requires deposit upon publication, before the embargo runs, supporting what I call the dual deposit/release strategy or what Stevan Harnad calls immediate deposit / optional access.
* The ERC will continue its year-old policy to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. We don't know this from the new document, on the mandate, but from the ERC's December 2007 grant guidelines (p. 16), issued just two weeks before the mandate.
* The ERC pledged to adopt an OA mandate back in December 2006, before the agency had officially launched. (That pledge is now included as Appendix 1 in the new document.)
The ERC formally launched in February 2007, and in September 2007 issued a position paper reiterating the need for an OA mandate.
The new policy delivers on all the ERC's earlier promises. The only rub is that the new policy is only its "interim position" on OA. The ERC has not said when its final position will be announced or what process must be completed first. Nor have I heard of any respect in which it might differ from the interim policy.
* The ERC will disburse about 15% of the EU research budget for FP7 (2007-20013), or about 7.5 billion Euros.
* While there were already OA mandates at public funding agencies in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Switzerland, and the UK, and OA recommendations in other European countries, this is the first EU-wide OA mandate.
This trail-blazing is even more significant than it may seem. The EU Council of Ministers released their Conclusions about OA in November 2007, and they stop well short of endorsing the near-consensus recommendations for a mandate from an EU-commissioned study, the European Research Advisory Board, the ERC itself, and over 1,300 European research institutions (and 25,000 individuals) who signed last February's EU petition for OA.
Nor is the EU Parliament following the recommendations for a mandate. Just two days ago it released a report reflecting the position of the publishing lobby far more than the position of institutions representing research.
We should all be grateful that the ERC decided to lead, and not wait for leadership from the EU.
The day after Christmas 2007, President Bush signed an appropriations bill instructing the NIH to mandate OA for NIH-funded research. The NIH was clearly ready and released the text of its policy just 16 days later.
The new NIH policy
The new FAQ for the new policy
In four previous issues of SOAN, I've written about the bill requiring the new policy, but this time I'm writing about the policy itself.
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/08-02-07.htm#nih (August 2007)
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/11-02-07.htm#nih (November 2007)
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/12-02-07.htm#nih (December 2007)
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/01-02-08.htm#nih (January 2008)
The substance of the policy is contained in five points:
- The NIH Public Access Policy applies to all peer-reviewed articles that arise, in whole or in part, from direct costs funded by NIH, or from NIH staff, that are accepted for publication on or after April 7, 2008.
- Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this Policy.
- PubMed Central (PMC) is the NIH digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed journal articles. Its content is publicly accessible and integrated with other databases.
- The final, peer-reviewed manuscript includes all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article.
- Beginning May 27, 2008, anyone submitting an application, proposal or progress report to the NIH must include the PMC or NIH Manuscript Submission reference number when citing applicable articles that arise from their NIH funded research.
* Point #1 is easy to misread. The policy doesn't kick in for all grants awarded after a certain date. It kicks in for all articles based on NIH-funded research that are accepted for publication after a certain date. The NIH is the first funder I've seen to take this novel approach. The advantage is that the policy applies to previous grants that are still generating new articles.
The FAQ (question B1) shows that the policy applies to four types of funded research: [a] work directly funded by an NIH "grant or cooperative agreement" during or after fiscal 2008, which began on October 1, 2007; [b] work directly funded by a "contract" signed on or after April 7, 2008; [c] work directly funded by the "NIH Intramural Program", and [d] work by NIH employees.
For works in categories [a], [c], and [d], the policy applies retroactively, at least to the beginning of fiscal 2008 and perhaps earlier. But before long, works in category [b] will vastly outnumber works in the other three categories.
I asked a knowledgeable colleague how the NIH distinguished "grants" from "cooperative agreements" and "contracts". Her reply: "Grants and cooperative agreements are distinct from contracts in that the former are the 'bread and butter' of research support and are less restrictive in dictating what the investigator is agreeing to do in terms of research proposed. NIH contracts are only a very small portion of what actually funds most academic research and are awarded in response to an RFP strictly outlining what the feds want. Most of the latter are cost reimbursement agreements."
* How will the NIH deal with conflicts between its OA mandate and the policies of publishers where NIH grantees may submit work? The policy does not defer to publisher policies or depend on publisher consent. It simply requires grantee compliance. Point #2 is explicit that copyright transfer agreements must conform to the policy, not the other way around. If a publisher does not accommodate the NIH policy, and grantees cannot obtain special permission to comply with it, then they must look for another publisher.
The FAQ (question F1) explains that, while grantees may still hold copyright to their articles, they must now retain a key right and stop transferring full copyright to publishers. Grantees "may assign these rights to journals (as is the current practice), *subject to* the limited right that *must* be retained by the funding recipient to post the works in accordance with the Policy..." (emphasis added).
This strategy was pioneered by the Wellcome Trust and takes advantage of the fact that funders are upstream from publishers. Once researchers bind themselves to comply with a funder policy, any subsequent agreement with a publisher is subject to the terms of the prior funding agreement. I endorsed this approach as soon as the Wellcome Trust took it, and have recommended it ever since.
It has two compelling advantages: First, it does not give resisting publishers a veto or allow their access policies to supersede the agency's access policy. It does not allow publishers the easy opt-out of adopting a contrary in-house rule, but only the hard opt-out of refusing to publish work by NIH-funded authors. Second, it makes crystal clear that the policy does not violate the publisher's copyright. NIH-funded authors will retain the right to comply with the NIH policy, even if they transfer all other rights to a publisher. When authors do comply with the policy and make a copy of their work publicly accessible through PubMed Central, publishers cannot complain that this infringes a right they possess, only that it would infringe a right they wished they possessed. Nor can they complain that they don't possess the right to block author compliance, unless they *wish* to block author compliance. And on that point, the NIH, Congress, and the President have already spoken: This time, we're giving priority to the public interest in public access to publicly-funded research.
* Or at least that's how things will work when grantees follow the NIH's new rules. But what if they don't? What if a grantee (negligently or deliberately) fails to retain the right to comply with the policy and transfers full copyright to a publisher who will not allow compliance?
First, the FAQ (question C3) tries to head off this problem by suggesting language that authors can use in copyright transfer agreements to retain the right to comply with the policy. The NIH doesn't require this language, and offers it only as an example, but it doesn't leave grantees at a loss about how to comply or in need of hiring a lawyer.
The same question C3 strongly asserts that authors "must make sure" that the publishing contract accommodates the NIH policy. This confirms that a non-negotiable "no" answer from a publisher means that an author must look elsewhere. But it doesn't tell us what happens when the author fails to do so. We must conclude, I think, that such authors are non-compliant. For the consequences of non-compliance, see below (under Point #5).
* Point #4 requires deposit of "all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article". It's not clear what counts as "supplementary materials associated with the article", but at least we know that data files do not count and continue to fall under the NIH's 2003 data-sharing policy.
The FAQ (question F3) is explicit that the OA mandate only applies to peer-reviewed articles, not data files. It points to the data-sharing policy without adding new clarity on when it applies.
* Point #5 requires grantees to use the "manuscript submission reference number" in progress reports and new funding applications when citing their previous articles covered by the policy. Because grantees must submit their articles to get submission reference numbers, this is a simple way to build compliance. (A working link to the PMC edition would be simpler and even more elegant if there were no processing time and no embargo period between submission and PMC release.)
But if push ever comes to shove, how will NIH enforce the new mandate? The FAQ (question B9) says that "[c]ompliance with the Public Access Policy is not a factor in the evaluation of grant applications. Non-compliance will be addressed administratively, and may delay or prevent awarding of funds."
According to Science Magazine for January 18, 2008, "Other possible ways of forcing scofflaws to comply range from having a program director call with a reminder to 'the most extreme: suspending funds,' says NIH Deputy Director for Extramural Research Norka Ruiz Bravo. 'We hope we're not going to get there,' she says."
* Before releasing the new policy, the NIH was willing to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, although it expressed its willingness in a separate document, not in the public-access policy. The NIH reaffirms its willingness in the new FAQ (question E3): "The NIH will reimburse publication costs, including author fees, for grants and contracts on three conditions: (1) such costs incurred are actual, allowable, and reasonable to advance the objectives of the award; (2) costs are charged consistently regardless of the source of support; (3) all other applicable rules on allowability of costs are met."
Norka Ruiz Bravo adds an important detail in the January 18 Science, cited above: "NIH is not offering any extra money for 'open access.'" Grantees may use grant funds to pay these fees but may not apply for supplemental funding to pay them.
Note the reasonableness condition in the FAQ. The NIH is not offering to pay any fee charged by any journal.
Also note that the NIH is just as willing to pay page or color charges at subscription journals as it is to pay publication fees at OA journals. This is the "level playing field" that publishers have demanded: if basic conditions are met, the NIH is equally willing to support OA and TA (toll access) journals. If TA publishers accept the revenue, however, they will undercut arguments by the publishing lobby that the NIH policy diverts money from research. To be consistent, publishers opposed to the policy should either stop taking the money or stop making the argument. So far, they've done neither. When the previous, voluntary policy was adopted in 2005, the subsidy to TA publishers came to $30 million/year, about 10 times the cost of implementing the OA policy.
* The policy requires deposit at the time an article is accepted for publication. The embargo, if any, only applies to the free online release of the copy on deposit in PMC. Like the ERC mandate, the NIH mandate separates the timetable for deposit from the timetable for release, and supports what I call the dual deposit/release strategy or what Stevan Harnad calls the immediate deposit / optional access strategy.
This is very desirable and important. It makes compliance easier for the author, who doesn't have to dig up an old manuscript a year after moving on to other projects. It makes ensuring compliance easier for the funder, who doesn't have to hunt down authors and beg for old manuscripts. And it's the best method we know for mitigating the damage of a long embargo. The strategy works better if the repository releases OA metadata immediately upon deposit, making the article visible and discoverable during the embargo period, and if it supports an "email eprint" button to automate the process of requesting and delivering the full-text by email. We don't yet know whether the NIH will enhance its basic dual/deposit policy with these two features.
* The bill adopted by Congress and signed by the President does not, strictly speaking, require a 12 month embargo. It permits an embargo of up to 12 months. That raises a host of questions about where and how to fix the length of an embargo within this range. Oddly, though, the policy itself says nothing about the embargo, and not even the FAQ helps us answer basic questions like these: Who decides the exact length of the embargo for a given article? If an NIH grantee publishes in a journal that demands a 12 month embargo, and the author demands a shorter embargo, which decision governs? Does NIH encourage shorter embargoes (e.g. 0-3 months) even if it permits longer ones (12 months)? If so, what form does this encouragement take?
* When NIH grantees publish in journals that deposit their articles in PMC upon acceptance and allow release within 12 months, then the grantees themselves needn't submit their manuscripts to PMC. Currently 315 journals fall into this category, though the number is bound to grow.
Not all OA journals in biomedicine fall into this category, but all of them should. More interestingly, not all the journals in this category are OA. Many TA journals provide OA to their own back issues after a delay of 12 months or less; all of them could be in this category, and all of them should.
Barbara Epstein, director of the University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System, argued to journalist Kimberly Barlow that journals in biomedicine would help themselves, as well as researchers, if they made themselves eligible for this list: "[Epstein] noted that because submission to PubMed Central now is required by NIH, the publishers can't obstruct it. 'They can help the authors more or they can help the authors less,' she said, agreeing that the more helpful journals are likely to look more attractive to researchers...."
In the voluntary policy, publishers had the option to replace the author's peer-reviewed manuscript with the published edition of an article, something they might want to do either to help researchers or to reduce the number of different versions in circulation. Neither the new policy nor the FAQ explicitly mentions this option, though it is implicit in the invitation to journals to deposit articles on behalf of authors, which applies (according to the FAQ, question D1), to both the author's peer-reviewed manuscript and to the published edition.
* The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is still talking about a lawsuit. After President Bush signed the bill, but before NIH released the text of the policy, "Allan Adler, vice president of legal and government affairs of the AAP...told The Scientist that it's too early to say whether this mandate will prompt publisher lawsuits, but he 'wouldn't rule out the possibility that publishers might seek judicial review.' It depends on how the NIH chooses to implement this policy, he added, given that the general language of the mandate does not specify how it will be implemented in light of copyright laws."
After the NIH released the policy, Rebecca Trager reported in Chemistry World that "the Association of American Publishers (AAP) is considering legal action," and Library Journal Academic Newswire reported that "the American Chemical Society (ACS) reiterated AAP claims that suggest a possible legal showdown."
Only time will tell whether the AAP agrees, now that it has seen the policy, that the NIH has disarmed the copyright objection. Only time will tell whether it wants to try it in court anyway, if only to delay what it cannot stop. Meantime, see my discussion of the possibility of a lawsuit in my predictions for 2008.
Even if the AAP doesn't go to court, it will continue to lobby Congress, and ask it to repeal or modify the new policy. In its January 3 response to the appropriations bill containing the NIH mandate, the association "reaffirmed that journal publishers who have opposed the policy will continue to pursue their concerns with Congress."
When publishers take their case back to Congress, they will find that the burden is now against them, just as it was against us until December 2007. This is clearly good news for OA, but it's not a guarantee of continuing good news. We know that changing law is difficult, because we faced those difficulties at every turn for the past three years. But we also know that taking one's case to Congress, and persisting for years, can succeed in changing the law, because we just did it ourselves. If we have a long-term edge, giving hope of continuing good news, it's not that we can muster as much lobbying power as the publishers --for the opposite is the case-- but that our arguments are better. As Eric Dezenhall told the AAP, "It’s hard to fight an adversary that manages to be both elusive and in possession of a better message: Free information."
* Putting the NIH and ERC policies together, there's no mistaking their significance. One is the first mandate for a major US public funding agency, and the other is the first mandate for an EU-wide public funding agency. They're not the first funder mandates, and not even close, but they are particularly strong signs that the default is shifting. We're moving from a world in which most funded research is disseminated exclusively by priced journals, where only lucky researchers at affluent institutions can see it, to a world in which most publicly-funded research is freely available to everyone some time after publication. We're not there yet, I realize. But the teeter-totter is in motion.
* Here's some of the NIH and ERC coverage from January
Stevan Harnad, Optimize the NIH Mandate Now: Deposit Institutionally, Harvest Centrally, Open Access Archivangelism, January 2, 2008.
Gavin Baker, Public access is law at the NIH: What’s next? This place is pretty ugly, January 2, 2008.
Publishers Say Enactment of NIH Mandate on Journal Articles Undermines Intellectual Property Rights Essential to Science Publishing, a press release from the Professional/Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP), January 3, 2008. (My blog comment responds to the AAP/PSP objections.)
STM comments on U. S. National Institutes of Health Unfunded Mandate, a press release from the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM), January 4, 2008. (My blog comment responds to the STM objections.)
Bill Hooker, Does the AAP/PSP really represent its members? Open Reading Frame, January 4, 2008.
Andrea Gawrylewski, Publishers object to OA mandate, The Scientist, January 5, 2008.
Jan Velterop, Taking the trip without paying the ship? The Parachute, January 6, 2008.
Robin Peek, NIH OA Mandate Passes, a preprint of a column to appear in the February issue of Information Today, January 6, 2008.
Rebecca Trager, US science budget fails to deliver, Chemistry World, January 7, 2008.
David Hanson and three co-authors, Policy Changes In Budget Bill, Chemical and Engineering News, January 7, 2008.
Matthew Cockerill, NIH Public Access Policy to become mandatory, BioMed Central blog, January 7, 2008.
Publishers: NIH Public Access Mandate Undermines Science Publishing, Library Journal Academic Newswire, January 8, 2008.
The LJ Academic Newswire Newsmaker Interview: SPARC Executive Director Heather Joseph on the NIH Public Access Policy, Library Journal Academic Newswire, January 8, 2008.
Jocelyn Kaiser, NIH Announces Public-Access Policy, Science, January 11, 2008.
Mark Patterson, Open access mandates from the National Institutes of Health and the European Research Council, PLoS blog, January 14, 2008.
NIH Public Access Policy Recap, Medical Writing, Editing & Grantsmanship, January 14, 2008.
John Willinsky, When Free Access to Research Is Mandated by Law, Slaw.ca, January 14, 2008.
Publishers attack NIH deposit mandate; authors can fight back, Copyright Advisory Network, January 15, 2008.
Gino D'Oca, Consolidated Appropriations Act 2008: positive for open access, disappointing for chemistry? Chemistry Central blog, January 16, 2008.
NIH Mandatory Article Deposit Signed Into Law, Society for Scholarly Publishing, January 17, 2008.
More research articles free to all, Electronic Publishing Trust for Development, January 17, 2008.
Jocelyn Kaiser, Uncle Sam's Biomedical Archive Wants Your Papers, Science Magazine, January 18, 2008.
Katie Newman, More on the NIH Mandate from the journal, Science, Issues in Scholarly Communication, January 18, 2008.
Alyssa Schwenk, Under the microscope: research available free online, The Daily Pennsylvanian, January 22, 2008.
NIH Sets Deposit Date for Public Access Policy, but Copyright Battle Still Brews, Library Journal Academic Newswire, January 22, 2008.
Rebecca Trager, NIH battles publishers over open access, Chemistry World, January 22, 2008.
Kimberly K. Barlow, NIH mandates open access to researchers' publications, University of Pittsburgh University Times, January 24, 2008.
Jeanne Lenzer, US Congress and European Research Council insist on open access to research results, BMJ, Jnuary 26, 3008.
Gavin Baker, Public Science: NIH’s New Open Access Policy Can Benefit Everyone, Science Progress, January 28, 2008.
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.
** The NIH released the text of its new OA mandate and an accompanying FAQ.
** The European Research Council (ERC) released its OA mandate for peer-reviewed articles and primary data resulting from ERC-funded research.
** The ERC released its grant guidelines for December 2007, confirming that it will continue pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.
** Italy's Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health, or ISS) adopted an OA mandate for research by ISS staffers.
** Australia's Charles Sturt University adopted an institutional OA mandate.
** The Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften or SAGW) adopted an OA policy recommending (not requiring) that authors self-archive or submit their work to OA journals, and that journals and publishers use CC licenses or deposit their articles in an OA repository.
** Spain's Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (Spanish National Research Council, or CSIC) launched an OA repository, Digital.CSIC, and adopted a policy to encourage (but not require) the deposit of CSIC-funded research.
** The Russian cabinet clarified and reaffirmed a 2005 Russian law requiring OA for certain government information. The key government agency had not been complying and appears to have ties to businesses which have been selling the same information to the public.
** The European University Association (EUA) unanimously adopted a set of strong OA recommendations for its 791 university members in 46 countries. The recommendations include university-level OA mandates and support for national-level OA mandates.
** The University of California - Berkeley launched a pilot program to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.
* Germany's OA-Netzwerk project received more public funding from DFG (German Research Foundation).
* Sweden's OpenAccess.se updated its English-language page of new OA projects.
* The European Parliament adopted a report reflecting the reservations of the publishing lobby about OA policy.
* The Professional/Scholarly Publishing division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP) issued a press release criticizing the new OA mandate at the NIH.
* The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) issued a press release criticizing the new OA mandate at the NIH.
* The American Chemical Society criticized the new OA mandate at the NIH through stories in Chemical and Engineering News and Chemistry World.
* Transformative Works and Cultures (TWC) is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Organization for Transformative Works.
* The Journal of Language Contact is a new peer-reviewed journal from the the Dynamique du langage et contact des langues at the Institut Universitaire de France.
* BMC launched a new OA journal, Parasites & Vectors, to fill the niche left to two that it laid down in December, Filaria Journal and Kinetoplastid Biology and Disease.
* Lessons in Conservation is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners, a project of the American Museum of Natural History.
* Cities and the Environment is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Urban Ecology Institute and Boston College. (Although the articles in the inaugural issue are dated 2006, the issue was made public on January 9, 2008.)
* Green Fuels Forecast is a new OA newsletter on renewable fuels.
* Biolinguistics is a new peer-reviewed journal providing free online access to registered users three months after publication.
* The Atlantic now provides free online access to its current issue and backfile from 1995 to the present. The rest of its backfile (1857-1994) is still behind a price barrier.
The Foot & Ankle Journal converted to OA and changed its name from the Podiatry Internet Journal.
* The Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition converted to OA, moved from Taylor & Francis to Co-Action Publishing, changed its name to Food & Nutrition Research, and providing OA to its six-year backfile.
* The Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance published its first OA articles after converting to OA and moving from Taylor & Francis to BioMed Central.
* Taylor & Francis raised the publication fee for its iOpenAccess hybrid journals from $3,100 to $3,250.
* Longwoods Press adopted a hybrid policy for its four journals.
* Oxford University Press released new data on the rate of uptake for the OA option at its Oxford Open journals.
* Europhysics Letters converted to hybrid OA and joined CERN's SCOAP3 project.
* The Physics at the Terascale project of the Helmholtz Alliance joined SCOAP3.
* The Institute of High Energy Physics at the Austrian Academy of Sciences joined SCOAP3.
* The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (Universitets- og høgskolerådet, or UHR) joined SCOAP3.
* The US High Energy Physics Advisory Panel expressed support for SCOAP3.
* CERN's SCOAP3 project created a page OA endorsements from high-energy physicists.
* Biomedical Digital Libraries completed its conversion from a fee-based OA journal to a no-fee OA journal.
* The Journal of Neuroscience (from the Society for Neuroscience) converted to hybrid OA.
* The Journal of Cell Science provided free online access to its entire 155 year backfile.
* All six years of the back issues of Carnets de Géologie (Notebooks on Geology) are now OA through HAL.
* Matthew Honan, Editorial Director at Bentham Science Publishers, described the recent progress and future plans of Bentham's program to launch 300 OA journals.
* Revistes catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO) is a collection of OA Catalan journals.
* The Nature Publishing Group clarified its policy on OA archiving.
* Nature created another free online supplement: Year of planet Earth.
* The Max Planck Society agreed to pay the publication fees for MPS authors when they publish in any of the 17 OA journals from Copernicus Publications.
* The American Journal of Archaeology formerly sold print subscriptions and gave away read-only PDFs of its articles. Starting this year, it will sell electronic subscriptions and stop giving away the PDFs.
* DRIVER launched an alpha version of its portal of European research repositories.
* eIFL upgraded its federated repository, which covers the 17 developing and transition countries in which eIFL operates.
* The New York University Libraries launched the OA Afghanistan Digital Library.
* Leeds Metropolitan University launched a pilot OA repository.
* The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) launched an alert system for OA articles on dryland agriculture, organized by crop.
* Offsystem is a new P2P-based repository for digital content. The system scrambles content upon deposit and reassembles the pieces for downloading. Deposits may be OA (if you share the download URL) or private and indecipherable (if you don't).
* The Center for Public Integrity created an OA database of 900+ false statements made by Bush administration officials to justify the invasion of Iraq.
* Online Contents Linguistik is an OA database of journal tables of contents in general linguistics.
* The OA Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE) moved from the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
* Google announced that it will soon launch a research data repository to provide OA to multi-terabyte sized datasets, integrated with tools for visualization, annotation, and user comments.
* Aaron Swartz has launched TheInfo.org, a wiki-based collection of tools and tips for those who scrape, process, view, and host large data sets.
* The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will provide OA in real time to 30 terabytes of data per night. The LSST is funded by Bill Gates and the Charles Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences.
* The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) launched a beta edition of OECD.stat, a tool to extract data from all 50 of its statistics databases at once and gather it into customizable tables. It will only be available free of charge for the next eight months.
* The EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) launched an OA database of one million sentences translated into 22 languages. The texts are official documents translated for official EU purposes, released in part to help train translation software.
* A UK government commission called for an OA database of clinical drug trial data.
* The American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) reiterated their call for OA to clinical drug trial data.
* The Florida Museum of Natural History received a Sloan grant to prepare 25,000 marine specimens for DNA barcoding, as the first step toward an OA database for species identification.
* Florida became the first state in the US to approve an OA textbook program (FreeReading.net) for use in its public schools.
* Amsterdam University Press published three OA books about OA repositories.
* Columbia University struck a deal with Microsoft to digitize public-domain books from the Columbia library. The month before, Columbia joined the Google Library project.
* The seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) created a YouTube channel for video lectures. Currently the channel covers 13 courses, and will grow to cover 110 courses by March.
* Citizendium and several university partners launched Eduzendium, a project to give college credit for contributing to Citizendium articles.
* The UKPMC Funders Group released a survey of UKPMC users.
* The Biosciences Federation released a Survey on Open Access.
* E-Conservation Online released a questionnaire on open access.
* The American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) released a Scholarly Publishing Questionnaire which includes several questions about OA.
* Michael Middleton and Julie Lee wrote a report on how Australian cultural institutions are making use of OA and Web 2.0.
* JISC released the final report of the Digital Repositories and Archives Inventory (DRAI) project.
* The University of Amsterdam Institute for Information Law released a major report supporting the use of Creative Commons licenses for Dutch public sector information.
* A new report on research data from the Research Information Network concluded that "free and open access, without restriction as to use, should be the default option wherever possible."
* The pro-business Committee for Economic Development released another report (its second since April 2006) supporting OA for publicly-funded research.
* Co-Action Publishing and the Lund University Library announced plans to produce a guide to best practices for OA journals.
* SPARC announced the winners of the first annual SPARKY awards for short videos imaginatively capturing the value of sharing ideas and information.
* The Royal Astronomical Society announced its awards for 2008, including one for Gunther Eichhorn for his work as project manager of the OA NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS).
* The Science Commons Neurocommons project was named one of "Ten to watch in 2008" for accelerating medical research and translating research into cures.
* The University of California eScholarship Repository passed the milestone of 5 million full-text downloads.
* Citizendium reached the milestone of 5,000 articles.
* RePEc passed the milestones of 1,900 working paper series, 15,000 registered authors, 130,000 items with references, 275,000 online articles, and 125,000,000 cumulative abstract views.
* Of 10,000 journal policies recorded on SHERPA/Romeo, a full 91% now support preprint and/or postprint archiving.
* Wikipedia celebrated its seventh birthday.
* Jimmy Wales launched an alpha version of Wikia, the search engine to be built openly and wiki-like by users.
* Jimmy Wales called on librarians to help improve Wikipedia and Wikia.
* Alf Eaton developed a tool for tracking the OA conversations about OA articles, and Jon Udell created a bookmarklet to make it even more convenient.
* The folks behind RePEc upgraded CitEc, their experimental citation index.
* The SNEEP project (Social Networking Extensions for EPrints) released the alpha version of SNEEP.comment, an EPrints plug-in for adding user comments.
* Seven UK universities launched a new version of the Intute search engine, which uses human vetting to index OA resources.
* Intute changed the name of Repository Search to Simple Search.
* The Open Courseware Consortium launched OER Blogs, an aggregator of blogs devoted to open educational resources (OERs) and OA.
* Greenstone released an OAI metadata analysis tool for "producing statistics and visualisations of repository metadata".
* ResearchBlogging is a new project to harvest blog discussions of peer-reviewed research articles and organize them by field.
* Martijn Schuemie and Jan Kors released Jane (Journal/Author Name Estimator) a free online tool to help authors find journals for new work and help editors find referees for new submissions.
* Creative Commons released a draft of the CC-Zero waiver.
* The new German copyright law which took effect on January 1, 2008, is confusing scholars, who disagree about the deadline for notifying publishers that they want to retain the rights to their pre-1995 publications. In addition, some publishers are denying requests that the new law apparently requires them to grant.
* The Open Access Unit of the Max Planck Digital Library released a detailed, bilingual, wiki-based guide to Germany's new copyright law and its consequences for OA.
* The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) created a Task Force on Digital Repository Issues.
* After many delays, New Zealand provided OA to the nation's statutes.
* The Greece-based Open Research Society officially launched.
* The EU-project Science Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF) became the Netherlands-based independent Free Knowledge Institute.
* The Cape Town Open Education Declaration officially launched.
* Senator Kim Carr, Australia's Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research is looking for "efficient ways to make public research more available."
* The EU Alliance for the Dissemination of Evidence launched a petition to the European Commission, asking it to subsidize free online access for the Cochrane Library, at least within Europe. This would mean paying Wiley to provide access to research largely produced with public funds.
* Gavin Baker launched Open Students, a new blog for students about OA.
* SPARC launched The Right to Research, a student guide to OA.
* StudentPIRGs launched a sign-on Statement of Intent for faculty to show their support for OA textbooks.
* Hewlett-Packard described its plans to promote DSpace in India.
* The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities released its January 2008 rankings, designed to recognize and promote university OA initiatives.
* The Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences launched e-Meducation, an OA portal of medical education.
* Elsevier officially launched the beta edition of WiserWiki, its medical wiki which it first revealed last November.
* The Verizon Foundation is funding the digitization and OA of 20,000 pages of George Washington's writings.
* UNESCO launched a web site to collect success stories from its Information for All Programme.
* Dorothea Salo has been creating a cast of fictitious characters to illustrate the real-life problems faced by universities hosting and trying to fill an institutional repository. I'm looking forward to the play. (Much Ado About Our Low Deposit Rate? Doctor Faustus Is Clueless About Copyright? A Long Day's Journal Into Research Productivity?)
Coming this month
Here are some important OA-related events coming up in February.
* February 8, 2008. Responses are due for the UKPMC user survey.
* Notable conferences this month
UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) Workshop
London, February 4, 2008
The Scholar's Toolbox Workshop Series, Part 4: What Can Open Access Do For You?
Rochester, NY, February 6, 2008
What does Higher Education want from Publishers? (sponosored by the Publishers Association) (OA is among the topics)
London, February 12, 2008
1st African Digital Management and Curation Conference and Workshop (OA is among the topics)
Pretoria, February 12-13, 2008
Open Access Collections: Workshop on the challenges and opportunities of open access publishing for Australian universities
Brisbane, February 14, 2008
IPR and the web: challenges for taxonomy (OA is among the topics)
London, February 20, 2008
Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Informationslandschaft in Deutschland: Chancen und Strategien beim Aufbau vernetzter Repositorien (sponsored by the DFG and DINI)
Berlin, February 26-27, 2008
SCOAP3 US Focal meeting (sponsored by CERN)
Berkeley, February 29, 2008
* Other OA-related conferences
* I've added 18 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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