Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #120
April 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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Implementing the new NIH policy

The new OA mandate at the NIH will kick in for most grantees next week, on April 7.  The threshold condition is not whether a researcher is funded on or after April 7, but whether a researcher has an article based on NIH-funded research accepted for publication on or after April 7.  The mandate already applies to NIH employees and researchers in its intramural program. 

The policy makes compliance the responsibility of investigators and their institutions.  Since it was announced on January 11, universities across the country have been gearing up help their faculty comply.  At the same time, individual scholars like Mike Carroll and Kevin Smith, and library associations like ARL and SPARC, have been gearing up to help universities help faculty.

I will leave the implementation advice to the many experts who are compiling it.  In this short piece, I'm simply collecting links to their work.  For my comments on the policy itself, see SOAN for February 2008.

* First see the many helpful pages from the NIH itself:

The NIH policy home page

The text of the new NIH policy

The NIH FAQ on the new policy.  The first place to look for implementation advice.

The NIH manuscript submission home page.  Don't overlook the links to online help.

The NIH manuscript submission tutorials (slides, video, and PDF)

The NIH manuscript submission help desk

The NIH FAQ for the manuscript submission process

The NIH FAQ for publishers wishing to submit work on behalf of authors

The NIH Public Access Communications and Training resources

* Some of the most useful pages were put together by library associations:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Guide for Research Universities

ARL-NASULGC webcast: Institutional Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy: Ensuring Deposit Rights

SPARC page on implementing the policy

SPARC Author Rights discussion forum, moderated by Kevin Smith.  A good place to ask and answer questions about compliance.

Michael Carroll, Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy - Copyright considerations and options, a white paper from SPARC, Science Commons, and ARL, February 2008.  http://www.arl.org/sparc/advocacy/nih/copyright.html

Kevin L. Smith, Managing Copyright for NIH Public Access: Strategies to Ensure Compliance, ARL Bimonthly Report, June 2008.  A preprint.

* Some universities have created their own web sites to help NIH-funded authors.

U of California at Davis

U of California at San Diego

U of California at San Francisco

Cornell U

Duke U Medical Center Library

Georgetown U

U of Illinois at Chicago

Indiana U Medical Libraries

U of Iowa, Division of Sponsored Programs

U of Iowa Libraries

Johns Hopkins U

U of Michigan

U of Minnesota

U of Missouri


U of North Carolina Population Center

U of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library System

Purdue U

U of Rochester

Rockefeller U

U of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

U of Virginia

Washington U in St. Louis, Becker Medical Library

U of Wisconson - Madison

(For leads to the university pages, thanks to Charles W. Bailey, Jr., Greg Grossmeier, Karla Hahn, Ann Campion Riley, Luke Rosenberger, and Dorothea Salo.)

* Postscript

The NIH held an open meeting on the new policy, March 20, 2008.  It solicited comments in advance of the meeting, posted them online, and aired selected comments at the meeting itself.

Open meeting on public access (Bethesda, March 20, 2008)

Home page for comments elicited by the meeting

Statement by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni on the comments elicited by the meeting.  ("Preliminary analysis indicates over 60% of these pre-meeting comments expressed support of the Policy as implemented, but approximately 15% thought the 12-month delay period was too long and 15% had concerns that a mandatory policy will be detrimental to scientific publishers.")

After the meeting, the NIH announced yet another round of public comments on the policy from March 31 to May 31, 2008. 


Three principles for university open access policies

On March 17, Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society hosted a workshop on university OA policies and asked each participant to write a position statement. 

I was a participant and began writing out detailed model university policies on OA repositories, OA journals, university presses, theses and dissertations, and promotion and tenure criteria.  Although I knew what I wanted to say under each head, the draft quickly grew large and ungainly.  I changed course and decided that it would be easier to read and write a small number of principles than a large number of policy details.  In the end I was able to say all that I wanted to say as consequences of just three principles.

I limited myself to OA for peer-reviewed journal literature.  It's my top priority and already a very large topic.  With regret, therefore, I omitted OA to data, monographs, and courseware. 

The other position statements were first-rate and I hope they will be distributed soon.  Here's a slightly revised version of my own.


* Principles

1.  Universities should provide open access (OA) to their research output.

2.  Universities should not limit the freedom of faculty to submit their work to the journals of their choice.

3.  Universities now pay most of the costs of peer review, through subscription fees and faculty salaries.  They should continue to bear the costs of peer review, in order to assure its survival, while recognizing that the forms and venues of peer review are changing. 


* Annotations

1.  Universities should provide open access (OA) to their research output.

1.1.  Universities should launch OA institutional repositories (IRs) and adopt effective policies to fill them with their research output.  That is, they should actually provide OA to their research output, not just wish for it, request it, encourage it, settle for ineffective policies to provide it, or sign statements calling for it elsewhere. 

1.2.  There is good evidence that merely requesting or encouraging faculty to deposit their work in the IR has little effect.  By contrast, there is good evidence that mandates work.  However, the word "mandate" may be misleading; there is good evidence that successful policies use mandatory language but rely on expectations, education, assistance, and incentives, not coercion.  (If there were a better word than "mandate", I would use it.)  There is also good evidence that the overwhelming majority researchers would willingly comply with an OA mandate from their funder or employer.

1.3.  The OA mandate should require OA through the IR, not through OA journals.  See Principle 2.

1.4.  The OA mandate should apply, at least, to the peer-reviewed manuscripts of faculty journal articles and the theses and dissertations of grad students.  It should make exceptions for royalty-producing books and should be open to other exceptions. 

1.5.  Universities have roughly two options for creating a legal basis to distribute OA copies of peer-reviewed manuscripts by their faculty.  First, they can seek permission from publishers, and only distribute OA copies when they succeed in obtaining it.  Second, they can ask faculty to retain the right to provide OA on the university's terms (and grant the university non-exclusive permission to provide that OA), even if faculty transfer all their other rights to publishers. 

The second option can support OA for 100% of the faculty research output, while the first option would support much less.  According to SHERPA (March 10, 2008), 57% of surveyed publishers currently give blanket permission for postprint archiving.  Even if half the remaining publishers permit it on request, the second first option would still fall 20% short of the first second option.  Principle 1 requires the approach that yields the highest rate of OA.  See the Appendix for more detail.

1.6.  To help faculty who may not understand copyright law, or who do not want to negotiate with publishers, the university should adopt an author addendum which allows the author to retain the rights needed to implement the university policy.  (An "author addendum" is a lawyer-written document that authors sign and attach to a publisher's standard copyright transfer agreement.  It modifies the publisher's contract to allow authors to retain some rights which the default contract would have given to the publisher.)   The university needn't write its own addendum; there are already good ones from CIC, JISC/SURF, OhioLink, SPARC, three from Science Commons, and a handful of others from individual universities.  After adopting or recommending one, the university should allow faculty to use any author addendum which enables them to retain the same or larger set of rights. 

1.7.  When universities need to see a list of a faculty member's recent journal publications (e.g. for promotion, tenure, or post-tenure review), they should either draw up the list from the IR or request the list in digital form with live links to OA copies in the IR.  They should tell faculty that they will limit their review of journal articles to those on the list, unless the faculty member writes a special justification for the Dean.  Policies along these lines are already in effect at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Labortoire de Psychologie et Neurosciences Cognitives (at the University of Paris - Descartes), Charles Sturt University, and the National Research Council Canada.

1.8.  Once a university has an IR, it may want to fill it with many kinds of digital content other than its research output, e.g. courseware, conference webcasts, digital collections from the library, and administrative records.  That is desirable, but should not delay progress toward the goal of providing OA to the institution's research output.

1.9.  Universities should encourage peer institutions to provide OA to their research output.  Every university gains from every other university's OA policy.  Universities should talk to their consortial peers, their regional neighbors, and their associations.  There are already provost initiatives centered at the U of Liege, the U of Brasilia, and SPARC, to spread the message to other provosts, and there are OA initiatives from associations as varied as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, Conference of Italian University Rectors, Council of the Rectors of Portuguese Universities, European University Association, Finnish Council of University Rectors, German University Rectors' Conference, Irish Universities Association, the New England Council of Presidents, Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions, the Oberlin Group, Southern African Regional Universities' Association, and Universities UK.

1.10.  OA here means at least removing price barriers (making content free of charge).  But when possible, the policy should remove permission barriers as well (making content free of unnecessary copyright and licensing restrictions).  For example, the U of Auckland not only provides free online access to student theses and dissertations, it also releases them under Creative Commons licenses. 

2.  Universities should not limit the freedom of faculty to submit their work to the journals of their choice.

2.1.  If it weren't for Principle 2, universities could require faculty to submit their articles to OA journals rather than deposit them in an OA repository (a gold OA mandate rather than a green OA mandate).  But there aren't yet enough OA journals; there aren't yet first-rate OA journals in every research niche; and even one day when there are, a university policy to rule out submission to a journal based solely on its business model would needlessly limit faculty freedom.  Not even the urgent need for OA justifies that kind of restriction, as long as we can achieve OA through OA repositories.  That's why all university and funder OA mandates focus on green OA (through OA repositories) rather than gold OA (through OA journals). 

But of course OA journals still deserve support.  See Principle 3. 

2.2.  If annotation 2.1 doesn't stand on its own, it may be because it presupposes another premise.  As I put it elsewhere:  "The purpose of the campaign for OA is the constructive one of providing OA to a larger and larger body of literature, not the destructive one of putting non-OA journals or publishers out of business. The consequences may or may not overlap (this is contingent), but the purposes do not overlap." 

2.3.  If it weren't for Principle 2, universities could require faculty to deposit some version of their peer-reviewed journal articles in the IR, for OA, with or without an embargo, and faculty would have to avoid journals that did not allow OA archiving on those terms.  But that would needlessly limit faculty freedom to submit to the journals of their choice.  To respect faculty freedom, universities must allow exemptions (waivers, opt-outs) for faculty submitting to journals that do not allow OA archiving on the university's terms.  However, when enough universities adopt OA mandates, then all journals would have to accommodate them, and therefore the first type of policy (no opt-outs) would no longer limit faculty freedom or violate Principle 2.  But until we approach that point, Principle 2 requires the second type of policy (with opt-outs).  Moreover, allowing an opt-out on OA is compatible with not allowing an opt-out on IR deposits themselves.  See the Appendix for more detail.

2.4.  The strategy to require OA archiving, and to require researchers to avoid publishers that will not allow it, was pioneered by the Wellcome Trust.  The WT's example has been followed by some other funding agencies, most notably the UK Medical Research Council and the US National Institutes of Health.  Because I support these policies, as well as annotation 2.3, I should therefore point out that Principle 2 is designed for universities, not funding agencies.  Funding agencies are essentially charities, spending money on research because it is in the public interest.  They have an interest in making that research as useful and widely available as possible, and virtually no competing interests.  Universities have the same charitable purpose but many competing interests, such as nurturing researchers more than research projects, nurturing them over their entire careers, and erecting bulwarks of policy and custom to protect academic freedom.

2.5.  If we hasten the day when all or most journals allow postprint archiving, then we hasten the day when universities could adopt no-opt-out OA policies (as opposed to both no-opt-out deposit policies and opt-out OA policies) without violating Principle 2.  One way to do that is for universities to demand the right for postprint archiving when negotiating licensing terms for subscription or renewal.  OhioLink publicly committed itself to this strategy in 2006, the only library consortium I know to do so.  (OhioLink is a consortium of 86 academic libraries in Ohio representing more than 600,000 faculty, students, and staff.)  Several major universities are also trying this strategy, but so far without a public announcement.  Public or private, I recommend that all universities do what they can to negotiate better terms for their authors, not just better terms for their readers.

3.  Universities now pay most of the costs of peer review, through subscription fees and faculty salaries.  They should continue to bear the costs of peer review, in order to assure its survival, while recognizing that the forms and venues of peer review are changing. 

3.1.  Whenever a university library saves money in its serials budget from the cancellation, conversion, or demise of toll-access (TA) journals, it should spend the savings first on peer-reviewed OA journals.  This will insure that the same money which formerly paid the costs of facilitating peer review at TA journals will continue to pay the costs of facilitating peer review at OA journals. 

(BTW, my second priority for the savings is to replenish the book budgets suppressed by the high costs of TA journals.)

Many publishers argue that the growth of OA will undermine peer review.  It's important for universities to recognize that the key factor in the survival of peer review is not the growth of OA but the willingness of universities to support peer-reviewed OA journals with the same funds they formerly used to support peer-reviewed TA journals.

3.2.  Universities should create a fund to pay reasonable publication fees at fee-based OA journals (or subsidies to no-fee OA journals).  Such funds are already in operation at the U of Amsterdam, U of California at Berkeley, U of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, U of Nottingham, and the U of Wisconsin at Madison.

3.3.  Why is it important to recognize that the forms and venues of peer review are changing?  So that universities can support effective forms of quality control wherever they occur, not just the traditional forms which may over time represent a shrinking percentage of peer-reviewed literature.  Universities should use promotion and tenure criteria to reward all forms of excellent scholarship, not just the subset delivered in certain conventional packages.  When new peer-reviewed journals and new forms of peer review are worthy, universities should not discriminate against them or create disincentives for faculty to submit their work to them.  Universities should continue to try to weed out second-rate scholarship, but they should not do it with such crude criteria that they rule out much that is first-rate at the same time.  They should not disregard or devalue new forms of high-quality review or (by disregarding and devaluing them) put a brake on their continuing evolution.


* Appendix:  Quick summary of seven policy options

A.  Require submission to OA journals. 
(Unattested, though once considered by the Australian Productivity Commission.  Included on this list only for completeness.)

B.  Request and encourage OA through the IR, except when publishers do not allow it.
(Examples:  Athabasca U, Swedish U of Agricultural Sciences.)

C.  Require OA through the IR, except when publishers do not allow it. 
(Examples:  UK Economic & Social Research Council, Canadian Institutes of Health Research.)

D.  Require OA through the IR, and require faculty to avoid publishers that do not allow it. 
(Examples:  Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, and US National Institutes of Health.)

E.  Require OA through the IR, and permission from faculty, and allow opt-outs when faculty want to publish with publishers that do not allow it. 
(Examples:  Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences, draft policy of U of California.)

F.  Require deposit in the IR, no exceptions, and make the deposits OA whenever the author or institution can obtain permission. 
(Examples:  Recommendation of European Research Advisory Board, draft policy of Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology.)

G.  A blend of E and F:  Require faculty to grant permission for OA through the IR (with an opt-out), but also require deposit in the IR (without an opt-out). 
(Examples:  Recommendation of Stevan Harnad.)

None of these is perfect.  Policy A violates Principles 1 and 2.  Policies B, C, and E permit exceptions, falling short of Principle 1.  Policy D violates Principle 2.  Policies F and G permit OA exceptions, even if not deposit exceptions, falling short of Principle 1. 

Some shortfall from 100% OA is probably inevitable, like the friction in a machine, and a small shortfall is harmless.  I even believe that some deliberate exceptions (as opposed to unintended failures) could be desirable, for example, to muster support to pass the policy and to accommodate unexpected circumstances.  We don't have to pretend to anticipate unanticipated cases; it's enough to make OA the default and ask those seeking an exception to bear the burden of proof.

My preference is to think about which policy will bring an institution closest to 100% OA (Principle 1) without violating academic freedom (Principle 2).  I rule out A because there aren't nearly enough OA journals today; the shortfall and violation of academic freedom would both be large.  I rule out B because mere requests and encouragement generate low compliance rates; the shortfall would be large.  I rule out C because about one-third of journals do not allow OA archiving; the shortfall would be large. 

I rule out D because it violates Principle 2. But I only rule it out for universities, not funders, and only for the present.  As I argued in annotation 2.4, Principle 2 binds universities more than funders, and as I argued in 2.3, over time policy D will violate Principle 2 less and less.  These qualifications are important because only D-type policies eliminate the shortfall caused by author or publisher opt-outs.  When the violation of Principle 2 becomes negligible, D-type policies will be the clear winners.

I like E, F, and G, even today.  In each case, it appears that the shortfall would be fairly small.  If true, then in choosing among them the stakes are low and I would applaud any university for adopting any of them.  However, we should still look closely at which would have the smallest shortfall and be ready to refine our policies in light of what we find.

As I argued in my March 2008 newsletter, over time policy E will fall short of Principle 1 less and less.  For similar reasons, over time, policies F and G will fall short of Principle 1 less and less.  Whatever their initial deficiencies, I'm persuaded that all three of these policies will steadily, even if asymptotically, close their loopholes and improve their conformity to Principle 1.



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 blog posts at Open Access News (where I am now assisted by Gavin Baker), not to the sources themselves, because I only want to use one link per item and the blog posts usually bring many relevant links together.

** Austria's Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Fund to Promote Scientific Research, or FWF) strengthened its OA policy from a request to a requirement and released an English translation of the policy.

** The prime ministers of the 27 EU member states endorsed an explicit connection between OA and the proposed new "fifth freedom" or "free movement of knowledge" for the EU.  This is encouraging in part because the Council of the European Union silently severed the connection in February.

** After a slow start at implementing its July 2005 OA mandate, the University of Zurich began taking steps to boost the deposit rate in ZORA, its institutional repository.

** The University of Tasmania is preparing to implement an OA mandate recommended by its Research College Board.

* The University of Bergen is preparing a draft OA policy to submit to its Board.

* Rollins College is at least thinking about an OA mandate.  After the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences adopted its OA mandate, the Executive Committee of the Rollins Arts and Sciences Faculty asked Jonathan Miller, Director of the Library, to write a memo on the issues raised by the decision.  Miller wrote the memo and posted it to his blog.

* New Zealand's Otago Polytechnic has a progressive IP policy with implications for OA.  With a couple of exceptions, it authorizes "free and open access" under a CC-BY license to all the intellectual property the institution "owns or co-owns".  It also "encourages" faculty and students to provide OA under a CC-BY license for their own work. 

* Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS, a division of the American Chemical Society) decided not to allow the industry-standard but proprietary CAS Registry Numbers to organize the growing body of chemical information on Wikipedia.  But it changed its mind in one week when the open chemistry community protested and began looking for an open alternative to the CAS numbers.

* Bibliotheca Alexandrina launched an Access to Knowledge project to raise awareness of A2K issues, especially in the Arab world.

* eIFL (Electronic Information for Libraries) called for collaboration on OA projects from like-minded organizations in the 47 developing and transition countries in which it operates.

* Larry Sanger called on foundations to buy or commission first-rate educational content and then make it OA.  A few days later he created a sign-on petition to encourage foundations to act.  (In my blog comments, I describe a similar but half-hearted initiative from the Indonesian government.)

* Dave Solomon and Gunther Eysenbach called for an organization of OA journal editors and publishers.

* The NIH hosted an open meeting on its public access policy (March 20, 2008), for which it solicited a new round of public comments on the policy.

* The NIH released the comments submitted for its March 20 open meeting.  The vast majority supported the new OA mandate.

* The NIH called for yet another set of public comments, from March 31 to May 31, 2008.

* The British Journal of Mormon Studies is a new OA, peer-reviewed journal with a print edition available by POD from Lulu.

* Archimaera is a new German-language, peer-reviewed OA journal of architecture and cultural history.

* Agôn is a new French-language, peer-reviewed OA journal on the performing arts.

* Molecular Cytogenetics is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from BioMed Central.

* Tropical Conservation Science is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Mongabay.com.

* Drinking Water Engineering and Science is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by Copernicus for the Delft University of Technology.

* Humana Press, an imprint of Springer, announced two new OA journals: Current Reviews in Musculoskeletal Medicine (launched March 2008) and the Journal of Ocular Biology, Diseases, and Informatics (forthcoming).

* Health and Human Rights converted to OA, starting with the March 2008 issue.  HHR is published by Harvard University's François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights.

* Acta Crystallographica Section E: Structure Reports Online, published by the International Union of Crystallography, converted from hybrid OA to full OA.

* After MIT canceled its subscription to the Society of Automotive Engineers Technical Papers because its onerous DRM, the journal dropped the DRM and MIT re-subscribed.

* Bioscience Horizons is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of undergraduate research from Oxford University Press.

* The University of Pennsylvania publishes three OA journals of undergraduate research and distributes them through the institutional repository:  the Penn McNair Research Journal (PMRJ), the Journal of Student Nursing Research (JOSNR), and the College Undergraduate Research Electronic Journal (CUREJ).

* The National Library of Wales is digitizing and providing OA to hundreds of thousands of pages Welsh journals, in Welsh and English, from 1900 to the present.

* Three PLoS journals --PLoS Computational Biology, PLoS Genetics and PLoS Pathogens-- moved to the Topaz platform already used by PLoS ONE and PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

* USENIX, the "advanced computing systems association", announced that it will provide OA to all its conference proceedings.

* College & Research Libraries (C&RL) began offering access to preprints from the journal web site, but only for members of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL).

* Physicists who want to post their articles to wikis, for OA and text-mining, criticized the American Physical Society for not allowing it.  The APS said it would consider revising its licensing terms.

* Heather Morrison found that only 8 out of 84 psychology journals listed in the DOAJ charge publication fees.

* Heather Morrison found that the DOAJ grew by three titles/day during the first quarter of 2008, compared to 1.4 titles/day during 2007.

* Using data from PubMed, Heather Morrison found that 4% of dentistry literature is OA, 13% of cancer literature, and 30% of genetics literature.

* OhioLINK joined the SCOAP3 project.

* Johns Hopkins University expressed interest in joining CERN's SCOAP3 project.

* ICOLC (the International Consortium of Library Consortia) is looking for US academic libraries and library consortia interested in joining CERN's SCOAP3 project.

* The American University of Rome launched an institutional repository.

* In January the University of Ljubljana launched DiKUL (Digitalna Knjiznica Univerza v Ljubljani), its institutional repository.

* India's Chandragupta Institute of Management is planning to launch an institutional repository.

* Hprints, the Nordic repository for humanities research, signed the deal to be hosted by HAL, the consortial repository from France's CNRS.

* A NISO working group may recommend an IR deposit tool and a standard deposit protocol.

* Chris Keene launched a web page to track the growth of UK repositories.

* Barbara Kirsop collected deposit download numbers for a group of OA repositories in developing countries.

* DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) is soliciting contributions to its wiki.

* The Human Oral Microbiome Database is an OA database of information about microbes which live in the human oral cavity.

* CiteSeer released the alpha version of CiteSeerX.

* The NIH added genome data on Parkinson's disease to dbGaP (Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes).

* PatientsLikeMe is a new web site allowing medical patients to share personal data on their conditions, their medications, and the effects of their medications, in order to "get help and give help".

* Proteopedia is a new OA database for "making structural biology clearer for chemists and biologists by linking textual content to 3D structures".

* Library and Archives Canada has launched a project to provide OA to Canadian genealogical data.

* The Open Data Commons project released version 1.0 of its Public Domain Dedication & Licence.

* Open Source Chemistry Dictionary is an OA dictionary of chemistry terms.

* France launched Gallica 2, a new and larger version of Gallica, offering more than 60,000 free online books digitized from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and about 2,000 from about 50 private-sector publishers.

* UNESCO is helping to digitize rare Mongolian texts for eventual OA.

* Richard Crocker launched Planet eBook, a new portal of OA books in the public domain.

* Microsoft and the Internet Archive will digitize thousands of public-domain books from the Princeton Theological Seminary library.

* The library at Ludwig-Maximilans-Universität München is digitizing and providing OA to many of its rare books, with 229 done to date.

* The University of Pittsburgh library released an OA collection of bird illustrations by John James Audubon.

* Purdue University endorsed the CIC author addendum.

* MIT and Elsevier struck a deal allowing MIT Open Courseware pages to use limited text selections and graphics from 2,000+ Elsevier journals, under CC licenses.

* Ball State University released a summary of its repository and digitization projects.

* Oxford University released its project plan for Scoping Digital Repository Services for Research Data Management.

* Public University Online is a portal of OA video lectures.

* A controversy erupted at the U of Iowa when its MFA (Master of Fine Arts) students thought their creative writings were subject to the OA mandate for theses and dissertations.  The interim provost explained that the policy did not apply to writings in the MFA program.

* UNESCO released a major new report on open education.

* A report by ACIL Tasman prepared for Australia's Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information and ANZLIC concluded that in Australia alone, in one year (2006-07), the lack of OA to spatial data cost the economy $500,000,000.

* An independent study commissioned by the UK government concluded that the benefits of giving away government data exceeds the costs (in lost license fees), for the top six data providing agencies alone, by more than £160 million/year.

* TGE Adonis is launching a study of French publishing in the social sciences and humanities. The goal is to identify indicators to measure the impact of OA policies, especially for publicly-funded research.

* A report on publishing needs at the U of California found that "campus resources are increasingly compromised by the commercial publishing culture", that "the tenure and promotion process generally impedes those actions that might effectively address the scholarly communications crisis, such as publishing in open access journals [and] granting non-exclusive copyright to publishers," and recommended "a full spectrum of journal support services at the university" including support for OA journals.

* A report on scientific books in Brazil found high levels of public subsidies but a confusing array of barriers to public access.

* The Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology announced hearings Canadian on science and technology policy.  The hearings will include OA policy and the committee will accept written testimony from anyone.

* According to Cliff Morgan of Wiley, the European Commission is funding a three-year study of OA, Publishing and Ecology of European Research (PEER) and may delay any EU-wide OA policy until the study is complete.  According to eContentPlus, the study will be undertaken by STM and is funded at more than 2 million Euros.

* Alexander Varshavsky, a Professor of Cell Biology at the California Institute of Technology, is the winner of the first annual $1 million Gotham Prize for cancer research.  The Gotham Prize doesn't require OA but does encourage data sharing.

* The University of Florida Digital Library Center announced that it has been digitizing and providing OA to more than 100,000 pages per month for the past seven months.

* GenBank turns 25 this week.

* The Association of Cancer Online Resources and Committee for Economic Development joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* Jan Velterop left his position as Open Access Director at Springer to become the CEO of KnewCo.

* Microsoft released an add-in for Word 2007 to generate XML-tagged documents conforming to the National Library of Medicine Document Type Definition (NLM DTD).

* Microsoft released a new platform for OA, OAI-compliant research repositories.  The software is now free of charge, and the company said that it may one day open the source code.

* Microsoft launched a discussion forum for its new repository platform.

* The National Library of Sweden released OAI4J, a free and open source client library for OAI-PMH and OAI-ORE.

* The National Library of Sweden also released oreprovider, a free and open source add-on service for Fedora to "disseminate digital objects stored in a Fedora repository as OAI-ORE Resource Maps".

* DSpace released version 1.5.

* ACRL, ARL, and SPARC released a short video on the rights of scholarly authors.

* The Lieberman bill to provide OA for CRS reports is stalled in Congress, and a compromise bill has been introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).

* Public.Resource.Org released a new batch of OA case law from US federal courts.

* The British And Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII) will publish OA editions of the UK's 3,000 most important legal decisions.

* The Open Knowledge Definition was translated into Spanish and Catalan.

* The Open Knowledge Definition was translated into Basque.

* The Open Knowledge Definition was translated into Slovenian.

* STM, PSP, and ALPSP issued a joint Statement on journal publishing agreements and copyright agreement "addenda", March 2008.  My blog comment responds to their objections.

* When Scopus released TopCited, a new free service listing the most-cited recent articles in various disciplines, Klaus Graf discovered that all the current top 20 papers (across all disciplines, from the past five years) have OA versions online.

* Germany's Informationsplattform Open Access has made it to the second round of consideration for renewal of its DFG funding.

* The UK Arts and Humanities Data Service (AHDS) came to the end of its regular funding, and will operate for one more year on supplemental funding from JISC.

* Ross Scaife died of cancer at age 47.  He was a leading OA advocate in the humanities and a Professor of Classics at the University of Kentucky.


Coming this month

Here are some important OA-related events coming up in April.

* April 7, 2008.  All articles arising from NIH-funded research that are accepted for publication on or after this date are covered by the new NIH OA mandate and must be submitted to PubMed Central on acceptance.  See the lead article above.

* Mid-April, 2008.  Germany's 30-volume Brockhaus Encyclopedia plans to drop its price barrier and offer free online access to all.

* Sometime in April 2008.  A prototype of TicTOCS, the OA, RSS-based, table-of-contents service, should be online.

* Notable conferences this month

Open Repositories 2008
Southampton, April 1-4, 2008

On the Open Humanities Press (two public lectures by Sigi Jottkandt and Gary Hall)
Los Angeles, April 3, 2008

EurOpenScholar Meeting: The University's Mission, Management and Mandate in the Open Access Era
Southampton, April 4, 2008

Institutional Compliance with the NIH Public Access Policy: Ensuring Deposit Rights
April 7, 2008 (a webcast, 1:00 - 2:00 pm Eastern Standard Time)

Economies of the Commons: Strategies for Sustainable Access and Creative Reuse of Images and Sounds Online
Amsterdam, April 10-12, 2008

Culture of Sharing (OA is among the topics)
Madison, April 12, 2008

Open Access: New Trends in Scholarly Communcation
Thessaloniki, April 14, 2008

Faculty discussion of scholarly communication (not the official title) (OA is among the topics)
[Looking for a better URL]
Berkeley, April 14, 2008

ODaF Europe 2008 (sponsored by the Open Data Foundation)
Colchester, April 14-15, 2008

Panel on OA for students (not the official title)
[no web site yet]
Northfield, Minnesota (Carleton College), April 15, 2008

Panel on OA for students (not the official title)
[no web site yet]
Northfield, Minnesota (St. Olaf College), April 16, 2008

Scholar 2 Scholar: How Web 2.0 is Changing Scholarly Communication as We Know It (Drexel University Libraries' Scholarly Communication Symposium)
Philadelphia, April 16, 2008

Institutional Repositories: The Great Debate
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, April 17, 2008

Off the Shelf and Out of the Box: Creativity in Libraries (2008 BC Library Conference)(OA is among the topics)
Richmond, British Columbia, April 17-19, 2008

Fourth Nordic Conference on Scholarly Communication (NCSC 2008)
Lund, April 21-23, 2008

Blogs, RSS and Wikis: tools for dissemination, collaboration and information gathering
Manchester, April 22, 2008

Open Access Repositories: New Models for Scholarly Communication (sponsored by eIFL.net and Ahmadu Bello University)
[no web site yet]
Zaria, Nigeria, April 28-29, 2008

Bio-IT World 2008 (OA is among the topics)
Boston, April 28-30, 2008

* Other OA-related conferences



* I've added 47 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.


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