Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #156
April 2, 2011
by Peter Suber

Read this issue online


SOAN is published and sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).


Open access as humanitarian aid

On March 11, Japan suffered the largest known earthquake in its history and one of the five largest ever recorded.  The resulting tsunami caused immense damage over 500 square kilometers (193 square miles).  More than 11,800 people are confirmed dead and more than 15,500 still missing.

First things first:  If you're looking for practical information on how to help, or how to cope, see Google's crisis response page and the OLIVE wiki for quake survivors.

Beyond those survival basics, several forms humanitarian assistance take the form of free online access to research:

* Three US organizations created the Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) to provide temporary free online access to toll access (TA) research literature.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) and National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NN/LM) both support OA.  But the third partner is the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers (AAP/PSP), which lobbies against OA policies in the US.  The EAI will provide free online access to "to full-text articles from over 230 biomedical serial titles and over 65 reference books and online databases to healthcare professionals and libraries affected by disasters."  Because the free access is temporary, and limited to those affected by the earthquake and tsunami, it's not OA and the EMI isn't calling it OA.  Nevertheless it lifts access barriers to research.  The free access began on March 14, three days after the earthquake struck, is currently scheduled to end on April 8, 2011. 

* Thomson Reuters launched an OA portal of research on the diagnosis and treatment of radiation exposure.

* Elsevier began giving all Japanese IP addresses temporary free online access to the company's "primary online clinical reference tools", MD Consult and First Consult.

* Nature News released an OA special collection of news and opinion on the Japanese earthquake and nuclear crisis.

* ReliefWeb, the UN's OA repository for humanitarian relief, has a section on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  Among other content, ReliefWeb harvests from OA journals.  See for example the articles it has harvested from BMC.

* OpenStreetMap is building OA maps of the disaster area to aid rescue and recovery efforts.

* Several initiatives around the world are crowdsourcing OA maps of radiation levels in different parts of the world as a result of the reactor leaks in Japan.

* RDTN.org is a new site crowdsourcing the collection of "reliable data" about radiation levels in Japan.  "Although primarily built to gather data from citizens taking readings on the ground, the site also takes readings from official sources including Pachube.com, an infrastructure platform that gathers community-based environmental data, and Japan's Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology."

* Architecture for Humanity uses CC-licensed architectural plans to assist with disaster reconstruction.

I posted a call on SPARC Open Access Forum (SOAF) for other examples of free online access to research or data --not normally OA-- as humanitarian assistance to Japan.  As I go to press, these are the only examples I know.  If others appear later, please post them to SOAF.   

Here's a sad example of an impediment to OA-related humanitarian aid.  The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) has sensors around the world as part of its mission to detect nuclear tests.  In particular, it has sensors in Japan and throughout the Pacific.  The sensors are picking up radiation leaking from Japan's six damaged nuclear reactors.  The data would be extremely valuable to rescue workers and physicians in Japan, and to policy-makers everywhere thinking about nuclear power.  They would even help calm some exaggerated fears on the west coast of North America.  But according to Nature, "the CTBTO has no mandate for making radionuclide data publicly available for the purposes of monitoring nuclear accidents, because its member states have not yet agreed for it to have this role...."

This is a fixable problem.  Thomson Reuters, Elsevier, and the publishers participating in the Emergency Access Initiative didn't have standing policies to free up articles for humanitarian purposes until they saw the need to do so (often well before the Japanese earthquake), got their acts together, and changed course in time to do some good.  Let's hope it's not too late for the CTBTO to do the same.  Every government participating in CTBTO --nearly every country on Earth-- should help CTBTO reach this decision.


In the face of a disaster like the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, OA research is less urgent than food, clothing, and shelter.  But access to research can be an essential part of rescue and recovery.  To show that, here's a brief history of OA as humanitarian assistance, organized by disaster, starting with the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004.  Because standing OA journals and repositories are available to every disaster-damaged region with internet connectivity, this list focuses on resources that would not otherwise have been OA or not otherwise created at all.  (I maintain an offline list of these resources and would appreciate learning about any that I've missed.)

(1) The earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean, December 26, 2004

The Dutch Royal Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies created Aceh Books, an OA collection of more than 600 books about Aceh, Indonesia.  The books are digital replacements for 400 years' worth of print books about Aceh destroyed by the tsunami.

(2) Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) released a collection of 8,000+ OA photographs of Hurricane Katrina and other storms from 1998 to 2008.

OA data from Google Earth aided rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina.  (The same article shows how Google Earth data also helped with rescue efforts after the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.)

(3) The earthquake in Haiti, January 12, 2010

The Emergency Access Initiative (noted above in connection with the Japanese earthquake) originally launched to offer assistance after the Haitian earthquake.

The Open Street Map community provided OA data and tools to assist rescue workers in Haiti.

A new, free iPhone app offered rescue workers the most up-to-date maps and geodata of Haiti, including maps and data from the Open Street Map project.

Cameron Parkins described two Haitian relief projects using CC licenses to share information with all who might need it.

(4) The earthquake in Chile, February 27, 2010

Chilean seismologists shared data on the earthquake which hit central Chile on February 27, 2010

The UK Geological Society released a collection of OA research on Chilean tectonics.

Students at Columbia University's School of Public Administration (SIPA) organized "crisis information" gathered from text messages, emails, and Twitter feeds, to assist with humanitarian aid to victims of the Chilean earthquake.

(5) The Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, April 20, 2010

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched the Deepwater Horizon Library, an OA collection of "maps, wildlife reports, scientific reports and other previously released public information used by emergency responders, fishermen, mariners and local officials during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

The US Environmental Law Institute launched the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Litigation Database to track ongoing legal cases related to oil spill. http://www.eli.org/Program_Areas/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill_litigation_database.cfm

The US National Library of Medicine added data on crude oil and dispersants to its OA Hazardous Substances Data Bank.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology provided OA information on 22 bird species "at risk from the BP oil spill".

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) launched a website of OA, near-real-time information on the response to the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill.  The site gathered data from all US federal agencies working on the disaster.

Thirteen scientific societies wrote a joint open letter to the US Senate calling for public funds for research on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, on the ground that private funds from BP come with unacceptable copyright restrictions which limit public access to the research.

(6) The earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, February 22, 2011

Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness (DMPHP) published four OA articles on the Haitian earthquake of January 2010 to assist with disaster relief for the New Zealand earthquake.  DMPHP is a TA journal published by the American Medical Association (AMA).
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/SC1102/S00083/how-long-to-search-a-review.htm http://www.dmphp.org/

* To round out this skeleton history, here are some examples of OA-related relief for what could be called generalized emergency rather than particular disasters. 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science formerly had a project called Science & Intellectual Property in the Public Interest (SIPPI), laid down in March 2007, and SIPPI had a Humanitarian Licensing Working Group which issued a July 2004 report, Exploring a Humanitarian Use Exemption to Intellectual Property Protections.

Amanda L. Brewster, Audrey R. Chapman, Stephen A. Hansen, Facilitating Humanitarian Access to Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Innovation, Innovation Strategy Today, 1, 3 (2005).

Edward Mills,  Sharing evidence on humanitarian relief, BMJ, December 22, 2005. An editorial arguing that an OA database of humanitarian efforts would itself make those efforts more effective and efficient. 

In 2007, the Japanese government called for public comments on a proposed humanitarian exception to Japanese copyright law.  The new exception would allow free copying and distribution of medical journal articles in cases of medical emergency.  Most TA publishers submitting comments opposed the idea, including some who participate in the Emergency Access Initiative (see Japan and Haiti, above).  If anyone knows what happened to this proposal, I'd love to hear the details.  For example, if it passed, is it being used in the present disaster?  If it didn't pass, is it being reconsidered now?

In 2008, Elisa Mason found that about half the journals in the field of forced migration were OA to some degree or another.

A May 2009 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS) argued that the US "humanitarian obligation" to global health should include green OA mandates for medical research.  The report was co-sponsored by the Gates Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Google Foundation, Merck Company Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, US Department of Health and Human Services, US Department of Homeland Security, and US Department of State.

In February 2011, the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) agreed on a global standard for publishing aid data.  The idea is that data released under the standard will allow "donors and recipients [to] coordinate their plans and complement the activities of others, reducing duplication and waste...."

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines has been working on humanitarian licensing for years.  Its document archive on the topic has docs from just last month.

Also see the many items in the Open Access News archive on efforts to provide OA to research and data on avian flu, in anticipation of a global pandemic.


I'm not going to argue that TA publishers who make temporary sacrifices to provide OA during emergencies should make permanent sacrifices to provide OA all the time.  I understand the distinction between emergencies and routine circumstances.  You probably give more to the Red Cross after a disaster than you could afford to give every month.  I do, and I have an answer ready for anyone who wants me to give the same amount every month.

But but but but.  There's more to say on this subject.  Here are four buts.

* But #1:  Some publishers do provide OA all the time, rain or shine.  More than 6,300 peer-reviewed journals, about one-quarter of today's total, provide OA to all their articles.  At least two different business models for OA journals are making profits or surpluses for the publishers using them.  Converting to OA is not impossible.  For publishers making double-digit profit margins, the shift would mean accepting less.  For publishers with more modest margins, it would mean changing business models, a non-trivial undertaking.  However, publishers in this category should look at companies that have made the move.  Hindawi is a profitable OA publisher which finished the job of converting all its peer-reviewed journals to OA in 2007.  Looking back on several years of rapidly growing submissions, its co-founder and CEO said in 2010, "It is clear now more than ever that our open access conversion...was the best management decision we have taken...."

When Springer bought BioMed Central, Derk Haank, Springer CEO, said that OA is "a sustainable part of STM publishing, and not an ideological crusade." 

Publishers contemplating the shift should also consider the evidence that it increases submissions and citations to the journal, even apart from increasing the productivity of researchers.  If you were *thinking* about giving more to the Red Cross every month, at least you'd want the plus column to include the benefits to yourself as well as the benefits to others.  With all respect to the Red Cross, the narrow self-interest of donating to the Red Cross is less than the narrow self-interest of shifting to OA, especially for smaller publishers excluded from big deals and facing a losing battle for shrinking library budgets under the subscription model.  Reread Ahmed Hindawi's statement from 2010 that converting to OA was the best management decision his company ever made.  That's not the way CEOs talk about upping their charitable donations. 

* But #2:  Most publishers allow author-initiated green OA.  The percentage of surveyed publishers who do has declined as SHERPA/RoMEO surveys more publishers.  But today SHERPA has surveyed more than 940 publishers, and reports that 55% allow postprint archiving, and 63% allow either preprint or postprint archiving.

Just as some gold OA publishers are making profits, some green TA publishers (TA publishers allowing green OA) are making very large profits.  Elsevier falls into this category, for example, and it places no embargo on green OA.  Permitting green OA is not impossible and it's not even a drag on revenue or profits.  Publishers not ready to convert to gold OA should at least permit green OA.  It doesn't require a financial hit and it doesn't require an emergency.  And it would serve research (more in But #4 below), a major factor for non-profit society publishers committed to serving research more than serving stockholders.

The Nature Publishing Group puts a six month embargo on green OA, but has "actively encourag[ed] self-archiving since 2005" and reports that "to date, [it has] found author self-archiving compatible with subscription business models."

* But #3:  The publishers already permitting green OA include the largest ones and most of the smaller ones.  We still need to move the percentage of green TA publishers from 63% to something closer to 100%.  But at the same time, we need to move the percentage of authors who take advantage of existing permissions from 15% to something closer to 100%.  I'm looking at you, researchers.  More often than not, you already have permission from your TA publishers to self-archive your work, and more often than not you don't take advantage of it.  In that sense, the bulk of the OA shortfall can be traced to author inertia (preoccupation, unfamiliarity, misunderstanding) rather than publisher opposition. 

There are three solutions to this problem.  First, make green OA as familiar as gold OA to publishing researchers.  This is a long slow process.  I believe the curve is moving up, but the slope is shallow.  Most researchers still don't understand their green OA options, and don't realize that publishing in a TA journal is usually compatible with depositing the peer-reviewed manuscript in an OA repository.  The second and third solutions are funder and university OA mandates.  The growth of OA depends on author decisions, but funders and universities are in an unmatched position to influence author decisions.  If you regret the slow growth of OA, in routine circumstances as well as emergencies, then here's a simple strategy:  make your own work OA; educate your colleagues about their OA options, especially their green OA options; and work for a strong OA policy at your institution.

(For what counts as a strong OA policy at funders and universities, see my article from February 2009.)

* But #4:  Lifting access barriers in an emergency is a public acknowledgment that research is more useful when OA than when TA.  It confirms what I've called the OA principle:  the more knowledge matters, the more OA to that knowledge matters. 

This proposition doesn't compare one set of OA articles with a control group of TA articles that might or might not be relevantly similar.  We're talking about one and the same set of articles and data, without any "self-selection bias" or any of the other alleged confounders complicating the analysis of the citation impact advantage.  Research is more useful after we lift access barriers than it was before, and publishers who lift access barriers in emergencies are admitting that.  

This is the heart of the case for OA.  It makes research more useful.  When research is gratis OA, it reaches more people who can make use of it.  Users needn't go without, and needn't rely on slow, unscalable methods like interlibrary loan and emails to authors.  When research is libre OA, it can be used and reused in ways that exceed fair use.  Users needn't slow down to ask for permission, risk proceeding without it, or err on the side of non-use. 

Publishers may have financial reasons not to provide OA themselves.  But reasons to stop short of gold OA aren't reasons to stop short of green OA.  In any case, arguments against permitting or mandating green OA must be weighed against the fundamental background acknowledgement that OA research is more useful than TA research.  My hope is that every publisher will remember this acknowledgement when considering or reconsidering its access policies.  We need research to be as useful as possible every day, in routine circumstances, and not just in times of disaster.  The "we" here are not just researchers but everyone who depends on research.  The stakes are not always elevated by earthquake and tsunami, but they are elevated by illness, climate change, environmental degradation, species extinction, unsafe technologies, unsolved problems, and uninformed policies.

In a different context in 2009, I put the question this way:  "Do we only want to solve the [access problem] in matters of life and death, or might we also want solve it in matters of scholarship, research, art, culture, and education?"

The question isn't whether we could give as much to the Red Cross every month as we manage to give in the aftermath of a humanitarian disaster.  The question is whether we could make what we already do just as useful as emergency-level donations to the Red Cross. 

When I give to the Red Cross in an emergency, I don't feel committed to do it every month.  But I do feel blocked from arguing that donations to the Red Cross don't really help.  Making that claim would be factually incorrect and personally inconsistent.  Likewise publishers who provide free online access in an emergency are blocked from arguing that increased access isn't necessary or doesn't help, or that everyone who needs access already has access.  Premise 1:  There is an access problem.  Working on solutions to this problem is not incendiary, but humanitarian in the broadest sense. 

* Postscript.  To keep this article a manageable size, I've tried to distinguish humanitarian relief in the wake of disasters from humanitarian relief to developing countries in the face of more chronic conditions, although I admit that the border between them is fuzzy.  Hence, I haven't even tried to list the very many OA initiatives at work in the global south, day in and day out.  But for lists of those initiatives, see:

EBSCO and Hasselt University's Open Science Directory

Ann Okerson's list of Developing Nations Initiatives (not updated since 2007)

The "oa.south" tag library from the OA Tracking Project (active since April 2009)


Five years ago in SOAN

See SOAN for April 2, 2006

* One essay in that issue:  "Germany's DFG adopts an open access policy"

Excerpt:  "The DFG is the largest research funder in Germany.  While it's independent, like the RCUK in England, it disburses public funds.  Hence, a DFG policy is a national policy, making Germany the second country after US the to adopt a policy encouraging or mandating OA to publicly-funded research....Is the DFG making a request, like the NIH, or imposing a requirement, like the Wellcome Trust?  Neither, really.  It says that authors *should* provide OA to their work (the German verb is sollen, not mussen), which is stronger than a request and weaker than a requirement....It remains to be seen whether this middle ground will be as effective as the Wellcome's mandate, as ineffective as the NIH's request, or something in between...."

* From the other top stories in that issue:

Scientists call for OA to avian flu data

Excerpt:  "Most flu researchers deposit their data in a closed (non-OA) database run by WHO, which limits access to researchers in just 15 labs around the world.  If the data were OA, it would be available to all who could use it or build on it for sequencing the virus genome, monitoring mutations, tracking outbreaks, and developing vaccines.  WHO would like to share the data more widely, but protectionist countries threaten to stop depositing their data if WHO took that step, limiting the circulation of data even further than today.  It says its hands are tied since it doesn't own the data and needs the permission of the data producers in order to share it.  The first leak in the dam came when Italian flu researcher Ilaria Capua refused to deposit her flu data in the WHO database.  Instead, she put it in GenBank, the OA database from NIH, and called on other flu researchers to do the same...."

Momentum builds for OA to geodata in the UK and EU

Excerpt:  "On March 9 [2006], the Guardian newspaper in England launched a campaign for OA to publicly-funded geodata in the UK.  Called Free Our Data, the campaign is the brainchild of Charles Arthur and Michael Cross, two Guardian journalists.  Since the March 9 article, Arthur and Cross set up a campaign web site, launched a blog, wrote a second Guardian article on the topic, and persuaded Tim Berners-Lee to add his voice to the call.  The Guardian campaign complements the Public Geodata campaign for OA to publicly-funded geodata throughout the EU.  Unlike the US, the UK and EU generally do not provide OA to publicly-funded geodata.  In the UK, the government agency collecting most of the data, the Ordnance Survey, is obliged by law to generate revenue to cover its costs.  So part of the strategy behind Free Our Data is to show that OA to geodata would bring more revenue to the treasury, say, through taxes on mapping startups, than charging access fees...."

Universities launch OA presses

Excerpt:  "The [university presses at the] University of Tennessee and Georgetown University launched OA imprints last month, in both cases using their libraries as critical partners...."

University of Minho uses financial incentives to implement its OA mandate

Excerpt:  "Currently, five universities or departments worldwide mandate OA to their research output. All have good compliance records, but none achieves compliance by cracking the whip. They use a wide range of kinder and gentler methods, among which the financial incentives at Minho are unique. What I like about them is that they are directed to departments and research centers, not individual faculty.  Because they're indirect, they create incentives for departments to create their own faculty-level incentives or to facilitate deposits through education and assistance...."

The ALPSP finds that journal prices are far more threatening than OA archiving

Excerpt:  "The ALPSP published a report on factors considered by librarians in deciding whether to cancel journals.  The [top] three factors were faculty demand, usage, and price.  Availability through OA archives or non-OA aggregators were tied for fourth place "but some way behind" the first three.   Bottom line:  journals have much more to fear from their own price increases than from OA archiving...."


Ten years ago in SOAN

Ten years ago, SOAN was called FOSN (Free Online Scholarship Newsletter) and came out several times a month.  Here are excerpts from three different issues 10 years ago this month.

* See FOSN for March 28, 2001

Excerpt:  "This week's _Chronicle of Higher Education_ contains a summary of a promising movement in the natural sciences to boycott scholarly journals that do not put their contents online, free of charge, within six months of publication....The movement was started with a letter to the editor of _Science Magazine_, published in the March 23 [2001] issue....To accompany the letter, the authors have created a web site [called the Public Library of Science] to collect signatures supporting their idea. I urge you to visit the site and read the open letter there (not the same as the letter published in _Science_) and their FAQ...."

* See FOSN for April 6, 2001

Excerpt:  "_Nature_ is sponsoring an online debate on the advantages and feasibility of free online scholarship in the sciences. The debate site contains an editorial, a series of articles directly discussing the main issues, and a forum for reader comments...."

Excerpt:  "Instead of sending out a raft of personal emails whenever there is a new development in this area, I've decided to get organized and create a mailing list...."  [This marked the transition of FOSN/SOAN from hand-addressed emails to a sign-up newsletter.]

* See FOSN for April 12, 2001

Excerpt:  "I know I'm late to this, but I just discovered that the National Academy Press (NAP)...publishes all 1,800 of its books both in print and on the web. The web editions are unabridged and free of charge....NAP claims that its free web editions stimulate sales of its for-profit print editions...."



Last month I said that I didn't know of any full OA journals (as opposed to hybrid OA journals) published by Taylor & Francis.  Here at least one:  Acta Orthopaedica (previously Acta Orthopaedica Scandinavica).

If T&F has a list of all its full-OA journals, I haven't been able to find it.



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.  I thank Katharine Dunn for her assistance in restating some of these developments for Roundup.

For a more comprehensive picture of recent OA developments, see --and help build-- the project feed of the OA Tracking Project.

Starting with this issue, the Roundup section will contain more quotations and fewer restatements.  When I can find clear and concise quotations that tell the gist of the story, I'll use them.  This will save time and minimize inaccuracy at the same time. 

+ Policies

** The University of North Texas adopted an OA mandate.  

** The University of Johannesburg Senate adopted an OA mandate in 2010 (and apparently didn't make it public until last month).

** The Emory University Faculty Council voted unanimously to launch an OA repository and recommend a university-wide OA policy. 

** Argentina's National University of La Plata adopted an OA mandate for theses and dissertations. 
http://sedici.unlp.edu.ar/ http://sedici.unlp.edu.ar/resolucion/resolucion_tesis98.pdf

** The Universidad Nacional de Colombia adopted an OA mandate for theses and dissertations. http://roarmap.eprints.org/403/

** The William Mitchell College of Law (St. Paul, Minnesota) launched an OA repository.  I can't tell whether it also adopted an OA policy to fill it.  The press release suggests either a policy or a serious effort to collect and deposit faculty publications:  "William Mitchell College of Law recently made the scholarly writings of...[its] faculty available for free...." http://web.wmitchell.edu/news/2011/03/mitchell-open-access-offers-complete-collections-of-faculty-writing-at-no-cost/

** The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, KNAW) announced an OA mandate in February.  "In principle all publications by KNAW researchers will become freely accessible, preferably immediately after publication, but not later than a period of eighteen months. Research data will become freely accessible and will be stored sustainably, unless urgent reasons - such as privacy, statutory regulations - dictate otherwise. To support this policy two stimulation funds have been set up for the use of KNAW-researchers: one for publications and one for data....As a logical result of its policy the KNAW will take part in OAPEN, a collaborative project in which the feasibility of an economic model for open access book publishing is being investigated...."

** Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD) introduced a bill in parliament amending Germany's Copyright Act to allow author-initiated green OA for publications when at least half the funding for the underlying research came from taxpayers.  Authors would have this right notwithstanding any provisions in their publishing contract.  Authors would have to respect a six month embargo journal articles and a 12 month embargo for some other publications. 

* In February Helio Kuramoto launched a petition to the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology, asking it to support a pro-OA bill before the Brazilian parliament.  (I can't tell what the bill would provide and welcome information about that.)  The petition remains open for new signatures.
http://www.peticaopublica.com/PeticaoVer.aspx?pi=11202007 http://bcufrgs.blogspot.com/2011/03/open-access-no-brasil-o-pl-11202007.html

* Copyright reforms in Moldova that took effect on at the beginning of 2011 allow libraries "to make digital copies for preservation and replacement, the ability to create student course packs for short periods for education and classroom teaching, [and] reproduction for research or private purposes...."

* Denmark is moving closer to an OA mandate for publicly-funded research.  From Google's English:  "If science minister does not define a policy on free and open access to research articles, Danish National Research Foundation set its own rules...."

* The US Strategic Health IT Advanced Research Projects (SHARP) announced the programs it would support with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  The funding agreement contains an OA preference:  "[Each grantee will] publish and otherwise disseminate these research findings, preferably in open source journals that maximize the accessibility of this knowledge to the entire health IT community...."

* The Arcadia Fund issued a call for strengthening the OA mandates for publicly-funded research in the UK, and and began collecting signatures. 

* David Willetts, the UK Minister of State for Universities and Science, convened a roundtable discussion on OA, which included the heads of most of the Research Councils, JISC, RIN, the head of HEFCE, several publishers, learned societies, research charities, academics and consultants (disclosure: including myself).  The government later issued a summary statement:  "The Coalition [UK government] has a commitment to Open Access....The Roundtable appeared to recognise that OA has the potential to bring significant benefits to the academic community and through its effective translation, the wider economy and society. What is also clear is that whilst a trend towards OA is developing, how we move from “here to there” remains a major challenge....‘Green’ and ‘gold’ are clearly different and whilst ‘gold’ may be more appealing, it is not clear, from an OA perspective, that it provides the best solution or is sustainable. We need to consider where costs should fall....We will want to consider how we can best use the means to bring about change (including the REF, negotiations on improving the relevant EU directive and policy developments and proposals for the forthcoming White Paper on Higher Education) to push the issue forward in a collaborative way...."

* The UK Open Access Implementation Group called on authors to retain the rights to make their work green OA, so that the needn't obtain permission from publishers. 
"Recently, some publishers have sought to negotiate directly with universities and research institutes on the terms and conditions under which the authors can deposit manuscripts of their own papers into repositories....The OAIG therefore wish to state our concern with publishers who seek to limit access by imposing unacceptable embargo periods on the deposit of authors' manuscripts in local, institutional or subject-based repositories. Authors should retain their right to deposit their own manuscripts, and this right should not be dependent on the later agreements to publish agreed with publishers. In particular, publishers should not seek to supersede any agreement between authors and their funders or institutions. These funders and institutions wish to see wide dissemination, with no artificial delays or embargoes. Furthermore, where collective arrangements for licensing exist that can already cover these issues (such as in the UK with clauses in the JISC Collections Model Licence), then such direct negotiation with individual universities is doubly unhelpful and risks undermining those collective arrangements. The UK Open Access Implementation Group calls on universities not to enter into one-to-one negotiations with publishers on self-archiving rights for their staff, and instead to rely on publicly declared rights as shown on the Sherpa-RoMEO website."

* A new report from the Royal Society recommends gold OA in order to promote South-North and North-South access to research.  "[W]hat steps can the world take to enable omnipresent science? The report suggests concrete measures such as more open-access journals to allow poorer institutions to have access....Scientific capacity building must involve financial support for authors in developing countries to publish in open access journals.  Open access publishing has made a wealth of scientific literature available to the developing world, but conversely has made it harder for their scientists to publish under the 'author pays' model...."  (The report shows no awareness that most OA journals charge no publication fees, or that green OA is a low-cost alternative to gold OA.)

* The Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen adopted an OA resolution and a fund to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.  From Google's English:  "The Justus-Liebig-University supports its authors when publishing in open access journals....The scientific authors in the future JLU will also fund financially supported by a publication with a publication in Open Access journals. Thus, the JLU specifically promote the strategy of the Golden Way to Open Access....Also on the institutional publications server Giessen Electronic Library (CER), the scientists their articles using the open access publication are the world online...."

* The Harvard and MIT libraries announced plans to increase their levels of collaboration, including efforts to improve the storage and preservation of faculty papers deposited under their respective OA mandates.

* EIFL and SPARC Europe responded to public consultation on Slovenia's Research Infrastructure Development Plan 2011-2020.  They "expressed our support for the establishment of a national open data and open publication infrastructure and mandatory deposition of publicly funded data and publications. We provided evidence for the benefit of open access policies and guidelines for how to best structure them...."

* The Netherlands National Commission for UNESCO finds grounds for supporting OA in the UNESCO constitution.   "UNESCO supports Open Access for the benefit of the global flow of knowledge, innovation and equitable socio-economic development. Its Constitution, written long before the advent of digital publishing, gives the Organisation a clear mandate in this field: UNESCO should 'maintain, increase and diffuse knowledge, by assuring the conservation and protection of the world's inheritance of books, works of art and monuments of history and science' (Constitution, art, 1.2 c). Open Access is one of the three pillars of UNESCO's approach to increase access to scientific knowledge, together with the promotion of Free and Open Software (FOSS) and of Open Educational Resources (OERs)...."

* SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access called on Americans to recognize the third anniversary of the NIH OA mandate (April 7, 2011) by writing letters to three federal offices before April 14, 2011:  "[1] Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, calling for the expansion of the policy to other agencies within HHS.  [2] Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), John Holdren, for the expansion of the policy to federal agencies with extramural research budgets of $100 million or more.  [3] Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Francis Collins, celebrating the success of the policy and encouraging a shorter embargo period...."

* The Open Access Directory (OAD) list of publisher policies on NIH-funded authors now includes a statement summarizing three years of work.  "To the best of our knowledge, no publishers anywhere refuse to publish NIH-funded authors on the grounds of the NIH's public-access policy...."

* Some grad students at the University of North Carolina are protesting the school's OA mandate for dissertations.

* A group of European publishers issued the Berlin Declaration on the Future of the Digital Press, and started collecting signatures.  Among other things, the declaration calls for "strong copyright protection".  The sponsors seem unaware of the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities (October 2003).

+ Journals

* "The Emergency Access Initiative (EAI) is a partnership of the National Library of Medicine, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, and the Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division of the Association of American Publishers and other publishers. EAI provides temporary free access [from 3/14/11 to 4/8/11] to full text articles from major biomedicine titles to healthcare professionals, librarians, and the public affected by disasters.  Access to biomedical literature through the Emergency Access Initiative is only available to those affected by the disaster and for those providing assistance to the affected population....."

* "In response to the disaster in Japan, Thomson Reuters announced the availability of evidence-based clinical and patient-focused information that covers the evaluation and treatment of radiation exposure.  These free resources...include: [1] Clinical information on evaluating radiation exposures, [2] Clinical information about drugs used in the treatment of radiation exposure, [3] Clinical information about treating overdoses involving radiation therapies, [4] Patient education handouts for people who have been exposed to or are concerned about the risk of radiation exposure, and [5] Patient education handouts for people who receive treatment for radiation exposure...." http://thomsonreuters.com/content/press_room/healthcare/Radiation-Exposure-Information

* "Elsevier...announced that following the devastating [Japanese] earthquake and tsunami..., the company is providing free access to its primary online clinical reference tools - MD Consult and First Consult - to all IPs originating from Japan. Free access will be available through April, 2011. This effort is part of a new initiative to provide easily accessible focused resources in response to world events that present difficult medical challenges...."

* "In support of disaster relief efforts in Japan following the recent earthquake and tsunami, Ovid and Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, part of Wolters Kluwer Health, are providing free online access to emergency, disaster, trauma, and radiation contamination resources to Japanese hospitals and healthcare institutions affected by the disasters via the Wolters Kluwer Health Emergency Resources Portal. The access will be immediate and extend for 30 days...." http://www.wolterskluwerhealth.com/News/Pages/WoltersKluwerHealthSupportsDisasterReliefEffortsinJapan.aspx

* Nature began providing regular OA news updates on the Japanese nuclear crisis "as well as analysis of why this earthquake was so destructive, the Japanese government's struggle to respond to the nuclear disaster, and the effects on Japan's research community...."

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

* The Irish Veterinary Journal converted to OA and moved to BioMed Central.

* Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Co-Action Publishing. 

* Tassmeem is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of international design from Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Journals (BQFJ).

* Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from InTech.

* The American Journal of Cancer Research is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from e-Century Publishing Corporation.

* Stigma Research and Action is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the University of Amsterdam Library.

* The Molecular Diversity Preservation Initiative (MDPI) announced "the inaugural issues of the following five new open access journals:  Animals (ISSN 2076-2615)...Biosensors (ISSN 2079-6374)...Crystals (ISSN 2073-4352)....J. Low Power Electronics and Applications (ISSN 2079-9268)...Membranes (ISSN 2077-0375)...." http://www.mdpi.com/about/announcements/114/

* Stem Cells Translational Medicine is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) and AlphaMed Press.  "CIRM is offering up $600,000 to jumpstart the journal. The publication is a first for a US state and is one of a handful that are publically funded...."

* Brain and Behavior is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from Wiley.

* Shingles and PHN is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

* The Asia Pacific Journal of Library and Information Science is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal planning to publish its inaugural issue in June or July.  It's now calling for papers.

* Kerim Friedman launched Share Anthropology, a site offering OA to articles, blog posts, and reviews that comment on OA scholarly works in anthropology.  Users can submit their own links by visiting the Tumblr site.  At the same time Friedman announced two other OA anthropology initiatives, one a blog/journal called "anthropologies" and the other a working papers series published by the Open Anthropology Cooperative.

* The Open Folklore Project announced a series of enhancements including new content from new sources, an improved search engine, compatibility with Zotero, and collaborations with the HathiTrust and the Ethnographic Thesaurus.

* College & Research Libraries converted to OA, in a decision approved unanimously by the ACRL Board of Directors.  In an editorial announcing the decision, C&RL Editor Joseph Branin wrote, "The intellectual value of open access, I believe, justifies its cost."  C&RL previously used a delayed OA model with a six-month moving wall.

* The Brookings Papers on Economic Activity converted to OA. 

* Incontri: Rivista europea di studi italiani converted to OA after 26 years of publication.  It's published by the University of Utrecht in cooperation with the Dutch Werkgroep Italië Studies.

* PMC Biophysics re-launched as BMC Biophysics.  "The ‘P to B’ transition is the consequence of integrating PhysMath Central journals into existing Springer and BioMed Central portfolios which has resulted in this very welcome addition to the BMC series...."

* IOS Press in the Netherlands launched a hybrid option, called Open Library, for all IOS journals.  OA articles in Open Library are published under CC-BY licenses, and "[s]ubscription prices of IOS Press journals will be based solely on their non-Open Library content...."

* The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) adopted a hybrid OA option.

* Springer acquired 12 OA journals from Hindawi.  

* Revistas Abiertas is a new Spanish-language site, now in beta, giving guidance on launching new OA journals.

* BioMed Central and OpenHelix teamed up to offer context-sensitive online tutorials for BMC readers.  Users can click links within BMC journals to go to tutorials on bioinformatics and genomics tools used or cited in BMC articles.

* Four journals from BioMed Central rate first in their fields according the SCImago Journal Rank.

* PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (PloSNTDS) is "now the leading  Tropical Medicine journal in the Journal Citation Report (JCR) impact factor ranking.  For 2009, PloSNTDS has an Impact Factor of 4.693 and also ranks in the top three paracitology journals...."

* "The Helmholtz Association and New Journal of Physics (NJP)...signed a funding agreement to cover article publication charges for all authors affiliated to any of the Helmholtz Research Centres who publish with NJP. The initial term of the agreement will extend until the end of 2011...."

* France's Centre pour l'édition électronique ouverte (Cléo) launched OpenEdition Freemium, a new business model for OA journals "combining open-access to information and paid services generating income for the producers of its resources....Two-thirds of income is allocated to those journals and partner publishers who adopt the freemium model. The other third enables us to develop the platform. All income created by OpenEdition Freemium is then reinvested in the development of open-access academic publishing."

* "The Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information (KISTI)...joined the SCOAP3 consortium on behalf of Korea, the first Asian partner in this international Open Access initiative...."

* The University of Lyon-2 may pull the plug on Persée, a journal collection similar to JSTOR but OA.  French supporters of OA are collecting signatures to keep Persée alive.

* Since December 2007, Nature has had a policy to provide OA to papers reporting new genome sequence data.  But Jonathan Eisen found that many papers fitting that description are TA.  "I know.  I know.  This is probably just some glitch in their system.  They really do seem committed to trying to make these available.  But clearly, the system either does not work well.  Or they are not committed to it.  Either way this is really annoying...."

* The 17 OA journals formerly published by Canada's National Research Council Research Press converted to TA when the Canadian government privatized the press, which is now called Canadian Science Publishing (CSP).  The non-profit CSP said in September 2010 that it would "maintain" the OA policies of the journals and "expand" its own OA models.  But it has failed to live up to that pledge.

+ Repositories and databases

* The University of Miami launched an institutional repository. 

* The Arts and Social Sciences Faculty at the National University of Singapore launched the Singapore Research Nexus (SRN), an OA repository providing "academics, policymakers, students and the public access to important past and current humanities and social science research on issues affecting Singapore...."

* The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) launched the Food Security Portal, "an open access policy information portal aimed at the provision of detailed and comprehensive information on food policy developments around the world." 

* Peer Evaluation is a new OA repository and networking service allowing members to disseminate their articles and data and receive comments from other members.  The launch announcement suggests that CiteSeerX is a project partner. 
http://www.peerevaluation.org/ http://sites.tufts.edu/soeadr/2011/03/01/open-access-peer-review/

* Harvard's institutional repository launched a statistics package on the data it provides about authors and deposits, and made and a video showing how to retrieve the data.

* "[A] scientific panel [investigating] a new approach to protecting the global public from electromagnetic fields (EMF)....suggests that an open access disease registry be formed to track trends of EMF exposure related illnesses, particularly cancer, immune, and neurological problems...."

* The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) "hosted a meeting of the Working Group that is developing ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards for use in certifying trustworthy digital repositories...."

* The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) certified the HathiTrust as a trustworthy digital repository.

* A proposed nation-wide OA Austrian repository for theses and dissertations was laid down for budgetary reasons.

+ Data

* BioMed Central followed up it September 2010 statement in support of open data with a proposal for a Publishing Open Data Working Group and a call for community suggestions.
"Potential goals of the proposed Publishing Open Data Working Group....1. Establish a process and policy for implementing a variable publishers’/authors’ license agreement, allowing public domain dedication of data and data elements of scientific articles....2. Consensus on the role of peer reviewers in articles including supplementary (additional) data files....3. Sharing of information and best practices on implementation of journal data sharing/deposition policies....We look forward to hearing from you."

* The Open Knowledge Foundation launched Open Data Search, a meta search engine for open data that aggregates thousands of datasets, largely from the Americas and Europe.  "Behind the scenes, opendatasearch.org is web spider with a twist: all collected data is converted to DCat, DERI/W3C’s RDF-based ontology for dataset descriptions....Our goal with this is to establish some degree of interoperability between different data catalogues, leading into a federated catalogue architecture for Europe and perhaps beyond." http://blog.okfn.org/2011/03/16/open-data-search-finding-useful-datasets-worldwide/

* OpenCorporates collects open data on corporations through ScraperWiki, and offered "small bounties" for each jurisdiction that users add to the open database.  "[M]any of these registers have distinctly un-open licences. This is in part why we’re just asking for the most basic and non-contentious information: the company name, number and possibly status or company type. However moving forward we need to open up the whole register, and we’ve already had positive discussions with some countries for doing this."

* "After two years of negotiating, the 18 donors of the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) agreed on February 9th the final details of a new global standard for publishing aid information. This format makes aid information internationally comparable, and so more information will now be better information....With this format it will now be possible to build a bigger picture of aid activities which means that donors and recipients can coordinate their plans and complement the activities of others, reducing duplication and waste...."

* "The University of Southampton...released a range of non-personal data online as part of its pioneering commitment to the open data revolution.  [The initiative] builds on the University's commitment to access by opening up a wide range of data for students to create the information they seek in the way that they want it, such as the development of iPhone apps.  Electronics and Computer Science has already played a significant role in the development of the Open Data movement through the work of Professors Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee as Transparency and Open Data Advisers to the UK Government.  There will be over 20 datasets available on data.southampton.ac.uk with information about University buildings, National Student Survey statistics, research outputs and financial statements...."

* Mendeley released a statement on the openness of its data in response to a question from Peter Murray-Rust.  "[Y]es, you could download and mash up our data set in any way you see fit.  It is currently covered by a CC-BY license....[C]urrently there is no bulk data dump option available to all. That option is available to academic researchers who want to work closely with us. The current process of using API methods is the more appropriate tool for developers...."

* The University of Dortmund released 1.2 million bibliographic records into the public domain under CC0.

* The University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates, launched a seismographic station to contribute real-time, open data to the Global Seismographic Network, along with more than 150 similar stations around the world.

* An international consortium of researchers launched Pelagios: Enable Linked Ancient Geodata In Open Systems (Pelagios), a JISC-funded project that will create a method to link to information about ancient locations referred to in web documents. The project members are using Linked Open Data principles so that users can, for example, generate maps from historical texts online.

* Google announced that users can upload their own data to its Public Data Explorer tool. Google created an open, XML-based data format, Dataset Publishing Language, that will process data for use in the Public Data Explorer.

* Datamarket is a new international portal of open data on public and private sector organizations. Users can now find, compare, visualize, and download statistics from the UN, the World Bank, the US Geological Survey, WikiLeaks and dozens of other organizations.

* "In the past few weeks, several crowd-sourced radiation maps have arisen that attempt to give up to the minute looks at the threat level in the areas most likely to be affected by a catastrophe: Japan, Asia, and the US...."

* "In the aftermath of Japan's recent earthquake, the Japanese have turned to crowdsourcing in their battle against the nuclear crisis. RDTN.org recently launched online, allowing people to submit their own radiation readings that are then posted in comparison to data contributed by official sources....Although primarily built to gather data from citizens taking readings on the ground, the site also takes readings from official sources including Pachube.com, an infrastructure platform that gathers community-based environmental data, and Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. The developers also stress that RDTN is not meant to replace data taken by official agencies monitoring the nuclear activity in Japan...."

* "An international agency set up to monitor for nuclear tests [the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)] is collecting extensive data on the levels of radionuclides in the air in and around Japan and the Asia-Pacific and transmitting this daily to its member states. The data would be of enormous public interest as it would provide a far fuller picture of the extent and spread of any current or future radioactive release from the major Japanese nuclear accident now under way. But none of these data are being released to the public, Nature has learned...."

* "Due to budget constraints, NCBI [the US National Center for Biotechnology Information] will be discontinuing its Sequence Read Archive (SRA) and Trace Archive repositories for high-throughput sequence data. Closure of the databases will occur in phases. SRA and Trace will stop accepting some types of submissions in the coming weeks, and all submissions within the next 12 months....NCBI will continue to support and develop information resources for biological data derived from next-generation sequencing such as genotypes, common variations, rare variations, sequence assemblies and gene expression data. We therefore encourage the research community to continue submissions of these data to the applicable databases, including: ..."

+ Books and digitization

* Judge Denny Chin of the US District Court rejected the amended Google book settlement.  One of his many arguments was that the the Authors Guild and Association of American Publishers --the plaintiffs--, did not represent academic authors who (in the words of Pamela Samuelson, quoted by the court) "almost by definition, are committed to maximizing access to knowledge.  The [plaintiffs], by contrast, are institutionally committed to maximizing profits."  Academic authors would also "prefer that orphan books be treated on an "open access" or "free use" basis rather than...controlled by one private entity."  Google said it was considering its options, and the plaintiff organizations said they were willing to modify the agreement to satisfy the judge's objections. (PS:  Also see my article from December 2009 on OA and the Google book settlement, <http://goo.gl/PjDu3>.)

* The Digital Public Library of American (DPLA) released a "concept note" or summary of its planning to date.  "The [DPLA] will make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all. By adhering to the fundamental principle of free and universal access to knowledge, it will promote education in the broadest sense of the term....The DPLA must respect copyright, and insofar as it will include works that are commercially available, it must do so only with the consent of the rightsholders. With adequate funding, it might establish a pool of money to be distributed, according to the frequency of usage, to authors and publishers of works that are in print and covered by copyright. Many authors are now making their work available online according to open-access programs. The DPLA could coordinate and help implement such voluntary contributions to the general store of knowledge...."

* Egyptian citizens began digitizing records from the State Security service and making them OA.

* The Digital Library of Georgia and the University of Georgia Press Georgia History E-book Project launched an OA collection of "early and seminal works on Georgia history [including] biographies, letter collections, and works of Georgia history...."  Print editions are for sale from the U of Georgia Press.

* Harvard Classics Professor Mark Schiefsky began creating an OA collection and bilingual lexicon of ancient Greek texts and their Arabic translations.

* Fifteen German libraries announced plans to collaborate on digitizing and providing OA to 17th century German cultural heritage.

* The National Library of Finland launched a crowdsourced digitization program asking citizen volunteers to help correct errors in millions of pages of culturally and historically valuable magazines, newspapers, and journals.  The resulting digital editions will be OA.

* Europeana launched its "First World War in everyday documents" project with a call on Germans to to contribute photos, letters, diaries, films, and audio recordings for digitization.  The project is a partnership between Europeana, the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, and Oxford University, which created its own Great War Archive in 2008.

* The Library of Congress (LoC) launched Music Consortium Treasures, an OA website that brings together manuscripts, scores, sound recordings, books, periodicals, and libretti from six music libraries in the US and the UK, including the British Library, the Lila Acheson Wallace Library at the Julliard School in New York, and the LoC. http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2011/11-048.html

* The Brooklyn Museum announced it will offer pre-1990 publications from the museum and the Brooklyn Institute under Creative Commons licenses in the HathiTrust digital library. There are nearly 200 works now online, with more to come.

* The Hebrew University of Jerusalem marked Israel's National Science Day and Albert Einstein's birthday by announcing it will digitize and offer OA to the 80,000 documents in its Einstein archive. Digitization will take about a year, after which Einstein's scientific manuscripts, personal correspondence, and essays will be accessible via the Albert Einstein Archives website.

* Google funded an OA digital archive of the "personal diaries, notebooks, letters and film footage of the life of former president Nelson Mandela...."

* The British Library released its collections and services strategy for 2011-2015.  "The Library's strategy...contains five strategic priorities...:  [1] Guarantee access for future generations, [2] Enable access for everyone who wants to do research, [3] Support research communities in key areas for social and economic benefit, [4] Enrich the cultural life of the nation, [5] Lead and collaborate in growing the world’s knowledge base...."
http://pressandpolicy.bl.uk/Press-Releases/Growing-Knowledge-The-British-Library-launches-its-strategy-for-2011-2015-4b3.aspx http://www.bl.uk/aboutus/stratpolprog/strategy1115/index.html

* At libraries subscribing to the Summon discovery service, patrons will soon be able to search digital books at the HathiTrust, including books under copyright, and receive pointers to print editions on their local shelves.  Summon is a product of Serials Solutions, a division of ProQuest.

* The Robert Crown Law Library at Stanford Law School and the legal information portal Justia launched the Supreme Court of California website (SCOCAL), which offers OA to full-text of the state’s Supreme Court opinions from 1934 to the present.

* Charles Bailey released his Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography 2010, a 466-page book available in OA and paperback editions. 

* A crowdsourced project to transcribe the unpublished manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham for OA is in jeopardy for budgetary reasons.  Although the crowdsourced labor is free of charge, "the project still required money to pay for computer programming, photography, and research associates who vet the quality of volunteers' submissions. Now its government grant is coming to an end, [and] the associates will have to be laid off unless more money can be found."

* "Some library consortia [in Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon]...decided to forgo the purchase of HarperCollins ebook titles...in the wake of the publisher's decision to set a license limit of 26 checkouts per title and also amid concerns about what may be next...."

+ Studies and surveys

* The Engineering & Manufacturing Taskforce of the UK Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE) released a major report on the need for OA by businesses and industry.  "This report urges UK universities to open their knowledge banks and to give more of their ideas away free of charge....The Council's Task Force, with senior figures from BAE Systems, EADS, BG Group and the National Grid, says universities should "open their digital doors" and make research and ideas not currently being used freely accessible on the internet.  Simon Bradley, vice-president of EADS, said to gain greater access to universities' knowledge, ideas and creativity was vital for manufacturing: "Our Taskforce has found that the simple act of universities opening their vast knowledge banks and providing free access to their intellectual property would have the single biggest impact on accelerating the capability and growth of smart manufacturing in the country."  The council calls on all universities to follow Glasgow University, which last year pioneered an initiative to give away intellectual property.  Glasgow hopes to have signed up to 50 contracts with companies by the summer. Revenue from resulting consultancy and collaboration contracts is expected to exceed the amount that might have been made by selling ideas...."

* John Houghton released another study on the economic impact of OA.  "We examine the costs and potential benefits of the major alternative models for scholarly publishing, including subscription publishing, open access publishing and self-archiving. Adopting a formal approach to modelling the scholarly communication process and identifying activity costs, this paper presents activity and system-wide costs for each of the alternative publishing models. It then explores the potential impacts of enhanced access on returns to R&D....We find that different scholarly publishing models could make a material difference to the costs faced by various parties and to the returns on investment in R&D that might be realised....It seems likely that more open access could have substantial benefits in the longer term. While the benefits may be lower during a transitional period they would be likely to be positive for both open access publishing and self-archiving alternatives."

* James M. Donovan and Carol A. Watson found that OA law review articles "can expect to receive 50% more citations than non-open access writings of similar age from the same venue."

* Phil Davis released a new study of the OA impact advantage.  "[OA articles] (n=712) received significantly more downloads and reached a broader audience within the first year, yet were cited no more frequently, nor earlier, than subscription-access control articles (n=2533) within 3 yr. These results may be explained by social stratification, a process that concentrates scientific authors at a small number of elite research universities with excellent access to the scientific literature. The real beneficiaries of open access publishing may not be the research community but communities of practice that consume, but rarely contribute to, the corpus of literature."

* Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education released a major report on peer review with three OA-related recommendations.  Recommendation I (p. 7):  "Improve peer review in hiring, tenure, promotion, and grantmaking to reduce the reliance on secondary indicators [like impact factors]."  Recommendation III (p. 9):  "Institutions must exert an interest in copyright on peer-reviewed journal articles published by their faculty and make copyright to non-royalty-granting scholarship part of any “public access to scholarship” discussion."  Recommendation IV (p. 9):  "Institutions and funders should support reasonable and self-sustaining public access publication models for peer-reviewed articles, reward good practices by publishers and societies, and encourage alternative publishing options for faculty."

* Gale Moore released the results of a survey of University of Toronto faculty.  Among the findings:  "More than eighty percent of the faculty members responding say they 'Agree' or 'Strongly agree' with the statements that: i) the principle of free access for all to the results of publicly funded research is important to them (84%) and ii) making their work openly accessible to everyone with access to the internet - not only to those whose universities can afford the licensing fees - is a benefit to them (81%). Almost seventy percent (69%) 'Agree' or 'Strongly agree' that open access is likely to lead to an increase in the number of citations to their work....Overall, forty-two percent (42%) 'Agree' or 'Strongly agree' that OA is a threat to commercial publishers in their field, but just over one quarter (26%) 'Disagree' or 'Strongly disagree' that this is the case, and one third say they 'Don’t know'. Over sixty percent (61%) 'Disagree' or 'Strongly disagree' that open access threatens the survival of scholarly societies....Overall, seventy percent (70%) of faculty are not aware of policies or mandates for faculty to routinely grant to the University a limited, non-exclusive license to place their scholarly publications in a non-commercial publicly accessible online repository [like the policy at Harvard]. At the same time there is a small core of faculty (6%) who are knowledgeable or actively involved in this issue (Table 5.17.0). [...] Two thirds (67%) of faculty 'Agree' or 'Strongly agree' that this is an idea the University of Toronto should evaluate...."
http://hdl.handle.net/1807/26446 https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/handle/1807/26446

* A SURFShare survey of Dutch faculty from the Fall of 2010 released its results.  "Almost 90% of the lectors ["associate professors who carry out research and organise knowledge networks"] at Dutch universities of applied sciences are in favour of making their research results freely available.  The majority would be prepared to publish in future by means of Open Access. Lectors produce some four thousand publications annually, but at the moment only about a third of these are freely accessible. In a study just published, lectors say that they need practical support to upload their publications. They also say they need to know just what Open Access publication actually involves."

* SURFShare released the results of an October 2010 study on access to research data.  "Although there are major differences in the way disciplines conduct their research, they also have a number of factors in common when it comes to data storage and access. They all encounter both technical barriers, for example the use of obsolete software, and non-technical ones, such as fear of competition, lack of trust, lack of incentives, and lack of control.  The literature shows that these non-technical barriers are more powerful than other impediments...."

* The Association of American University Presses released a major report on business models for university presses.  Among the recommendations:  "Open access is a principle to be embraced, if publishing costs can be supported by the larger scholarly enterprise.  University presses, and nonprofit publishers generally, should be fully engaged in these discussions....Early experiments with free-online-plus-print publication suggested that making books available free online does not reduce print sales and may indeed increase sales, though further experience has indicated this is affected by many factors of both content and format...."

* Heather Morrison released a study of "the potential for cost savings with a full flip to [gold] open access if we look for efficiencies along the way."  TA journal publishers receive $8 billion/year in revenue, with about $5.6 billion of it from library subscriptions.  It would cost only $2.5 billion/year to publish the same number of articles at the BioMed Central's standard processing fee of $1,680 per paper.  "This would be full global open access to scholarly articles at less than half of what academic libraries are contributing to the system now. The savings would be even greater at average PLoS ONE fee of $1,350....[T]he average per-article revenue received in the current system of over $5,000. This is compared with the BioMedCentral standard article processing fee and PLoS ONE, about a third of the current per-article revenue...."

* Deborah Shorley, Director of the Imperial College London Library is leading the effort by Research Libraries UK (RLUK) to reduce journal subscription prices. In an interview she released clues about the "contingency" plan RLUK is developing to allow libraries to cancel big deals.  "A 'world expert in document supply', as Deborah Shorley refers to him, is developing the contingency plan at Imperial. The plan will involve purchasing the must-have, high-use journals individually (research has shown that 5% of journals account for 40% of journal subscription use) and supplying other papers through document supply, which means that researchers are able to read an abstract and request delivery of the paper, commonly from the British Library. Delivery times for document supply can be less than two hours electronically. Additionally, 10% of the material that libraries receive through paid subscriptions is already available through open-access...."

* R. Saadat and A. Shabani released a study of the rates at which OA journal were cited by ISI Web of Science articles from 2003 to 2008 in several different fields.  Among the findings:  10.9% of the studied OA journals received citations, with a mean of 6.5 citations/journal.  Natural-science journals received the most citations (53.1% of the total) and arts and humanities journals the fewest (3.7% of the total).

* Nancy Pontika, a doctoral student in LIS, is looking NIH-funded researchers who published their results in a PLoS journal between 2005 and 2011.

* "The United Kingdom Council for Research Repositories and the Repositories Support Project invite repository staff in the UK to participate in a nationwide initiative to gauge researchers' attitudes to open access generally, funding for open access publishing and the institutional repository specifically.  We are asking you to carry out a standardised survey between April and June 2011. This is based on a survey carried out at the University of Huddersfield during Open Access week 2010 which revealed some interesting results. There are benefits for participating institutions such as raising the profile of the repository and also nationally in creating a body of evidence about researchers' attitudes...."

+ Software and tools

* Book Scan Wizard is a new open-source tool for DIY book scanners.  It processes raw camera images into e-books that can be uploaded to the Internet Archive.  Users can convert scans of books to text, PDF, DjVu, or other formats for e-readers.

* Microsoft upgraded Academic Search (not to be confused with its older Live Academic Search) and will soon expand beyond computer science and a few hard sciences to much wider range of disciplines.

* The Full Wiki adds several layers of utility to Wikipedia.  When it can, it finds the source and citation for any given Wikipedia passage.  Among it other features:  "People don't always want to digest articles by reading them from beginning to end. So we have a left nav companion that highlights the part of the article you're on. People often want more than the encyclopedia, so we have travel guides, quotes, study guides on the same page. People like to see things visually, so we have those Google maps for every article....People like to digest things as a story, so soon we'll have timelines for 3 million topics. People want to know what's hot right now, so we tell them for each of Wikipedia's 13,000 categories...." 

* OCLC released version 6.0 of CONTENTdm, its software for Digital Collection Management software, which is often used for OA repositories.

* DuraSpace released DSpace version 1.7.1.

* DuraSpace released the source code for DuraCloud version 0.8.

* From the Open Knowledge Foundation released the source code for its Public Domain Calculator as a standalone library, ready to integrate into other software and services.  The PD Calculator helps determine whether a given work is in the public domain in a given jurisdiction.

* ROARMAP (Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies) launched a major upgrade, including a search engine of the listed funder and university OA policies.

* The Bielefeld University Library launched a test version of its Bielefeld Academic Search Engine (BASE), which collects and indexes data from OAI-PMH repositories. The new version of BASE includes about a million more documents than the previous version.

* The Visual Arts Data Service (VADS) at the UK University for the Creative Arts launched eNova, a JISC-funded project "to increase the take-up and embedding of institutional repositories by providing visually attractive personal research pages and a personalised working area suited to the specialist needs of  arts researchers working with complex and multimedia outputs.  Re-using tools and methodologies from the allAboutMePrints and Kultur projects, eNova will enhance the MePrints tool in order to provide staff research profile pages that are integrated with the EPrints repository platform. As a consequence, researchers will no longer need to enter the same data into multiple systems...." http://www.vads.ac.uk/kultur2group/downloads/20110329_eNova_press_release.pdf

* After Google revised its relevance algorithms to demote sites that reproduced material online elsewhere, Leslie Carr looked for signs that the new algorithms might treat OA repositories as "content farms" and demote them.  "Bearing in mind that Google delivers the vast majority of our visitors to us, if the changes were to impact on our rankings, we might suffer quite badly. Now that there's been a couple of weeks for the changes to migrate around the planet, our usage stats point to business as usual...."

+ Awards and milestones

* Jonathan Eisen won the Benjamin Franklin Award for 2011.  Eisen is a professor of evolutionary geneticist at the University of California, Davis, the academic editor-in-chief of PLoS Biology, co-developer of BioTorrents for sharing large open datasets, and an influential advocate for OA.  (His brother Michael Eisen won the Franklin Award in 2002.)

* Daniel Cohen won the Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology for 2011.  Cohen is an associate professor of history and art history at George Mason University and director of the Center for History and New Media.  For some of his work on OA in the field of history, see <http://goo.gl/w4vV8>.

* Cathy Casserly won the President's Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence from the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC).  Casserly is the new CEO of Creative Commons, but won the award for her OER work as director of the Open Educational Resources Initiative at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

* Katarina Lovrecic reports that the number of OA journal published in Croatia rose from zero in 2002 to 133 in 2010.

* Project Gutenberg posted its 40,000th OA book.

* The OA library on the Information Society, hosted by Edelstein Center for Social Research, now contains 20,000 academic articles, books and reports.

* In February, RePEc added seven new archives and passed several milestones: 600,000 journal articles, 500,000 book chapter downloads, 300,000 working paper abstracts, 12,000 institution records. RePec’s plagiarism committee is soliciting comments and volunteers.

* The Directory of Open Access Journals launched a new interface and passed several milestones.  "Now there are more than 6300 journals from more than 110 countries in more than 50 languages in the DOAJ. More than 2500 journals are providing metadata on article level, which means that more than 500,000 articles are searchable from DOAJ...."

* MIT's OA mandated turned two years old.  "In the two years since the creation of the MIT Faculty Open Access Policy, over 2,800 articles have been deposited in MIT's research repository, DSpace@MIT, in the Open Access Articles Collection...."

* Wiki software --invented and named by Ward Cunningham-- turned 16 years old last month. 

* The OA mandate at the US National Institutes of Health turns three years old on April 7.  To mark the occasion, the Alliance for Taxpayer Access called for user experiences with the OA literature in PubMed Central. 

* Mendeley launched a Binary Battle, "a contest for outside developers to build applications drawing from Mendeley’s collected information, with a $10,001 grand prize for the best new application...."

* SPARC Europe is seeking nominations for the sixth SPARC Europe Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications and Open Access.  "Nominations are open to individuals or teams preferably within Europe who have made significant contributions and discoveries in the field of scholarly communications" and will be accepted until May 15, 2011.

* SPARC announced four categories in this year's Sparky Awards video contest: animation, speech, remix, and people’s choice. Student winners of the fourth annual awards will receive an iPad, iPhone, or iPod. Entries are due May 27, 2011.

* SPARC launched the SPARC Subject Repositories Forum, moderated by Jessica Adamick, Julie Kelly, and Rebecca Reznik-Zellen.

* SPARC launched a blog. 

* OJS (Open Journal Systems) launched a new blog, OJS Latin America.

* The Open Access Directory (OAD) launched a list of services that will launch or help launch new OA journals.  OAD is a wiki and appreciates your help in keeping its lists comprehensive, accurate, and up to date.

* The Open Access Directory (OAD) retired three lists that were only useful when up to date:  calls for papers, calls for proposals, and jobs in OA.  For current info on these topics, OAD recommends the corresponding tag libraries in the OA Tracking Project (OATP) instead.  OAD also retired one list under development, devoted to open educational resources, on the ground that there were other, better lists of OER elsewhere.

* The OA Tracking Project (OATP) introduced a new version of the project feed showing levels of "user engagement", as this concept is defined by PostRank. Users may view all the posts in the feed with their engagement levels showing, sort the feed by levels of user engagement, or filter the feed to view only the posts at certain levels of engagement.  This is an experiment.  User engagement as measured by PostRank may not help identify the most important OA developments in the OATP feed.  But if it does, it's one way to manage the high-volume OATP feed without filtering out entire subtopics or skimming.

+ Other

* The US National Endowment for the Humanities launched a new call for funding proposals, including proposals "preserving and creating access to humanities collections".  Applications are due by May 19, 2011.

* Three grad students representing National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) presented Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania with a plaque to thank him for introducing FRPAA in the House last in the previous session of Congress. 

* A discussion thread on the listserv of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) is grinding to a halt because the key documents are not OA.


Coming this month

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

* April 7, 2011.  This is the third anniversary of the implementation of the mandatory version of the OA policy at the US National Institutes of Health.
--See how SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access are using the occasion to call for anecdotes on how the policy has helped people.
--See how SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access are using the occasion to ask friends of OA to write three federal offices, by April 14, to support extensions of the policy to other agencies.
--See my 18 articles on the long struggle to adopt and strengthen the NIH policy.

* OA-related conferences in April 2011

* Other OA-related conferences



From late February to late March, the SOAN archive at Earlham College had a display problem in which accented characters appeared as garbage characters.  The problem also affected the OAN blog archive.  Thanks to the staff in the Earlham computing center, the problem is now solved.


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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Peter Suber

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