Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #134
June 2, 2009
by Peter Suber

Read this issue online


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Lessons from Maryland

On April 23, 2009, the University Senate at the University of Maryland voted 37-24 to reject a proposed OA policy.

The defeated policy would have encouraged green OA (deposit in the institutional repository), encouraged gold OA (submission to OA journals), and required neither.   

Is the Maryland vote ominous or anomalous?  Either way, supporters of OA should try to understand it.  Whatever its causes, they could arise again elsewhere.  At the same time, we should understand why many stronger OA policies have been accepted at other campuses. 

The Maryland vote was not the first faculty vote on an OA policy, but it was the first defeat.  By my count, faculty have voted on OA policies at 20 universities.  At 19, all but Maryland, the votes were affirmative.  An impressive majority (12 out of 19) of the votes were unanimous.  An even more impressive majority (18 out of 19) of the approved policies could be considered OA mandates, significantly stronger than the policy rejected at Maryland. 

Part of understanding the Maryland vote is to understand why the weakest policy put to a faculty vote was the only one to be defeated.

(I list the 19 faculty-adopted policies in the second postscript below.  There are more than 19 university OA policies overall, but only 19 have been adopted by faculty, as opposed to administrators.  Of these 19, 14 were adopted before the Maryland vote and the rest after.  The first faculty-adopted policy was at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences in February 2008.  I'm not counting one recently approved policy which the institution has not yet announced; watch OAN for the details.) 

According to the University of Maryland campus newspaper, one faculty concern was that the proposed policy might limit the freedom of faculty to submit work to the journals of their choice.  The policy encouraged faculty to publish in OA journals "where practical and not detrimental to their careers."  Some faculty feared that the president would turn the encouragement into a de facto expectation.  "Both [women's studies professor Claire Moses] and [history professor Gay Gullickson] argued the resolution's language was too strong to count as a mere suggestion and would eventually lead to university policy.  'This does not call for discussion - it urges the president to take action,' Gullickson said."

The paper also tells us that some faculty were concerned that an OA policy would kill subscription journals.  "'Open access will kill the journals you need during your career,' women's studies professor and university senator Claire Moses said. 'It's as simple as that.'"  (Ibid.)

Both concerns are legitimate, even if neither is "as simple as that". 

As to the first, I've argued that respecting faculty freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice is one of three principles that ought to govern university OA policies. 

As to the second, I've acknowledged that the rising volume of green OA might eventually trigger some cancellations.  However, the evidence in the field with the highest levels and longest history of OA archiving is to the contrary, and in any case cancelling toll access (TA) journals should not be equated with undermining peer review.

Universities with strong OA mandates preserve faculty freedom primarily by offering waivers or opt-outs on request.  Since Harvard pioneered the explicit waiver option in February 2008, most institutional policies have followed suit.  Faculty who want to publish in journals unwilling to allow OA on the university's terms only have to request a waiver.  That leaves them free to submit their work to any journal they like and to publish in any journal accepting their work.

Ironically, because the Maryland policy mandated nothing, there was no need to build in a waiver provision.  Hence, no one could point to an explicit waiver option to answer fears that encouragement might harden into an expectation.

Harvard added the waiver policy precisely to answer these fears.  Stuart Shieber told Robin Peek at the time, "The provision was certainly important in assuaging some faculty members' worries that they could be held hostage by the policy in cases where it wasn't serving their best interests."

That concession allowed the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences to vote unanimously for a stronger policy.

A waiver provision could also have addressed the Maryland faculty's second concern about journal survival.  University OA policies with waiver options can't imperil subscription journals.  When a journal concludes that it can't afford to allow OA archiving, and receives a submission from a faculty member at an institution encouraging or requiring OA archiving, then it only has to ask the author to request a waiver. 

No one should blame the policy proponents at Maryland for omitting a waiver provision.  Before Maryland, there was no reason to think that a policy encouraging rather than requiring OA would have needed one.  Now, however, I believe we have reason to consider waiver options even in "mere encouragement" policies.  Either that, or we have reason to be especially clear in explaining that encouragement policies already allow opt-outs precisely by stopping short of mandates. 

Because encouragement is diffuse and without sharp boundaries, because it can be enforced by opinion, and because the pressure underlying it can rise and fall without formal action, it can be more fearsome than formal legislation.  Formal legislation has sharper boundaries and is alterable by, and only by, well-understood formal procedures.  Whether encouragement seems more insidious than a formal rule, or more insipid, will vary from campus to campus, just as faculty trust of administrators varies from campus to campus. 

Waivers are not always necessary.  On the very same day as the Maryland vote, across the country, the University of Washington approved a policy nearly identical to the one rejected at Maryland, including the absence of waivers.  One year earlier, across the globe, Macquarie University approved an unequivocal OA mandate with no waiver provision; in fact, the vote was unanimous.  But where faculty members worry about administrative encroachments on academic freedom, or green OA pressures on their preferred journals, an explicit and well-explained waiver policy should answer those worries.

I don't know all the variables in play at Maryland.  (I asked a leader of the campaign for the Maryland proposal to comment on the cross-currents, but got no reply.)  However, it appears that the two oddities about the Maryland policy --that it was the weakest of the policies put to a faculty vote and first to be defeated-- are connected.  The first is part of the explanation of the second, even if it's not the full explanation.  The gap between the Maryland policy and a mandate doesn't explain the faculty worries; other local variables explain those.  But if the gap between the Maryland policy and a mandate explains the absence of a waiver option, then it explains why the faculty worries, once aroused, were so difficult to answer. 

The lesson is not that stronger policies are always politically easier than weaker policies.  The lesson is that weaker policies are not always politically easier than stronger policies, even apart from the question whether they are worth the trouble.  When policies are strong enough to include waiver provisions, they can arouse fewer fears than weaker policies without waiver provisions.  Exercising a formal waiver to side-step a requirement can be easier than bucking informal disapproval to side-step a non-requirement.  If this is mysterious or paradoxical, consider how easy it is to opt out of liability insurance when renting a car (check!) compared to the difficulty of declining a dinner invitation. 

Here are a few other lessons for other schools considering OA policies.

(1) Don't mess with faculty freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice.

If a given policy doesn't interfere with faculty freedom, don't assume that it will be perceived that way.  Take pains to avoid interference and the appearance of interference.

(2) Green OA policies don't mess with faculty freedom. 

In the past, I've distinguished two sorts of green OA mandate:  loophole policies (requiring deposit in an OA repository except when a given journal doesn't allow it) and no-loophole policies (requiring deposit and requiring retention of the right to authorize OA).  The first sort of policy clearly protects faculty freedom to publish in any journal.  When the second sort includes a waiver provision, it clearly does so as well.

Going beyond a green OA policy to a gold OA policy can increase fears that the institution wants to steer faculty submissions to a subset of journals.  Gold OA cannot be mandated without limiting faculty freedom.

As the Maryland and Washington experiences show, encouraging gold OA without mandating it sometimes arouses faculty fears and sometimes doesn't.  Take the temperature of your campus and act accordingly.  While waiver options can help, so can a narrower focus on green OA.

(3) Faculty leaders recommending green OA policies should make clear that green OA is compatible with publishing in TA journals.  They should understand that this fact is not widely known and could even rank as the best-kept secret about OA.  It will need clear and patient explanation. 

Most TA journals already allow OA archiving.  A rights-retention policy (for example, like those at the NIH or Harvard) can close the gap and assure that OA archiving is authorized regardless of the journal in which the author eventually publishes. 

Someone might fear that a no-loophole, rights-retention mandate might lead some journals to reject work by authors subject to its terms.  But that is not happening even with the NIH policy, which allows no waivers.  Nevertheless, where it is a risk, a waiver option is a sufficient safeguard.  Journals that don't want authors to retain the mandated rights can ask authors to request a waiver.

(4) Waiver provisions in green OA policies should only apply to OA itself, not to repository deposits.  When authors obtain a waiver, then the work they deposit in the repository would remain "closed" or "dark" for a period of time matching the journal's embargo or moving wall. 

Because dark deposits are not OA, they satisfy journals which don't allow OA archiving.  They preserve faculty freedom to publish in any journal willing to accept their work, and still allow the institution to collect its full research output in the repository.  The Harvard waiver option takes this form, as clarified in March 2009.

(5) Even weak green OA policies --encouragements rather than mandates-- could add waiver provisions to answer the fear about interfering with faculty freedom. 

Some faculty will adopt even stronger policies without waiver provisions, as the Macquarie faculty proved.  But once faculty worries arise, an explicit waiver option is the best way to answer them.  Moreover, when a policy deliberately stops short of a mandate, then adding a waiver provision will improve its political chances without weakening its substance.


Many universities now have experience in drafting OA policies, anticipating faculty concerns, answering faculty concerns, shepherding policy proposals through a political process, winning faculty approval --more often than not by unanimous votes--, and implementing the adopted policies.  At the same time, many other universities want to adopt policies and are just starting down the same road.  Five years ago there wasn't much institutional experience to share, or much demand for it.  But today there's a lot to share and a lot of demand.

For a sense of the rapid growth in the number of institutional OA mandates, or the rapid growth of transferable experience, see Alma Swan's revealing new graphics.

Two initiatives, both near launch, will help institutions considering OA policies avoid reinventing the wheel.

The first is a US-focused project led by SPARC.  It will collect key documents from institutions which have successfully adopted strong OA policies and share them with institutions drafting their own or educating their constituents about the issues.  It will also provide human help to share experiences from other campuses, answer questions, and advise on strategy and substance, as needed.

The second, more international initiative is Enabling Open Scholarship (EOS).  EOS describes itself as "a membership organisation for universities and research institutions [and] a forum for raising and discussing issues around the mission of modern universities, particularly with regard to the creation, dissemination and preservation of research findings."  The EOS Advisory Board will meet in Brussels in two weeks (June 15, 2009) and we can expect an official launch soon after.  One of its top priorities will be to help universities adopt effective OA policies.  Bernard Rentier is the EOS chairman and Alma Swan is the Convenor.

If your campus is considering an OA policy, you would do well to contact SPARC or EOS. 

* Postscript 1.  Since I've argued that a waiver provision will protect faculty freedom to submit to the journals of their choice, I want to point out two nuances that complicate the picture even if they don't affect the lessons I drew above.

First, the principle to respect faculty freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice applies more strongly to university policies than funder policies.  As I argued in April 2008:

[This principle] 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....

Second, the need for a waiver provision to preserve faculty freedom to submit work to the journals of their choice may decline over time.  As I argued in February 2009:

As more TA journals convert to OA, and more accommodate university OA mandates, and as more universities adopt OA mandates, then universities may safely strengthen [their policies] by phasing out opt-outs or increasing the difficulty of obtaining them.  If publishers accommodate university OA mandates, then opt-outs will not be necessary in order to protect faculty freedom to publish in the journals of their choice.  When enough universities adopt OA mandates, we'll be there.  But until then opt-outs preserve faculty freedom without reducing repository deposits....

* Postscript 2.  Here's my list of the faculty-adopted OA policies, not counting policies limited to theses and dissertations.

(1) At these four institutions, the votes were unanimous in the faculty senate or equivalent body: 

Macquarie University, University Senate and Council (April 27, 2008)

Boston University, University Faculty Council (February 11, 2009)

University of Calgary, Division of Library and Cultural Resources, Faculty Council (c. May 1, 2009)

University of Pretoria, University Senate (May 2009)

(2) At these eight institutions, the votes were unanimous in the whole faculty or relevant division:

Harvard University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences (February 12, 2008)

Harvard University, School of Law (May 7, 2008)

Stanford University, School of Education (June 10, 2008)

Oregon State University, Library Faculty (March 6, 2009)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (March 18, 2009)

University of Oregon, Library Faculty (May 7, 2009)

University of Oregon, Department of Romance Languages (May 14, 2009)

Gustavus Adolphus College, Library Faculty, (May 14, 2009)

(3) At these seven institutions, policies were approved by non-unanimous faculty votes:

Stirling University, Academic Council (March 5, 2008)

University of Glasgow, University Senate (June 5, 2008)

University of St. Gallen, Faculty Senate (December 15, 2008)

University of Edinburgh,  Electronic Senate (February 18, 2009)

Université catholique de Louvain, Academic Board  (July 7, 2008)

Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government (c. March 9, 2009) (98% approval)

University of Washington (April 23, 2009) (not a mandate) (adopted by "an overwhelming majority")

(4) These nine institutions adopted OA mandates since the first faculty-approved policy at Harvard in February 2008.  I don't add them to the "unanimous" or "non-unanimous" columns either because I can't tell whether they were adopted by faculty votes or because I can't tell what the vote tally was.  If anyone can help with these details, I'd be grateful.

Queen Margaret University (February 19, 2008)

Southampton University (April 4, 2008)

Napier University (now Edinburgh Napier University), Academic Board (April 25, 2008)

ETH Zürich (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich) (September 29, 2008)

University of Liege (c. November 2008)

Vologda Scientific-Coordination Center of the Central Economics and Mathematics Institute (c. 2009)

Keldysh Institute of Applied Mathematics (c. 2009)

University of Salamanca, Consejo de Gobierno (February 27, 2009)

Ternopil State Ivan Puluj Technical University (c. April 2009)



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.

With this issue I'm trying out 10 rough headings to organize the round-up.  Many readers have asked for this kind of classification, but I've hesitated to provide it until now.  On the one hand, no matter what headings I use, many items will belong to more than one.  On the other, the only way to keep the miscellaneous category reasonably small is to multiply categories, exacerbating the first problem, or to cluster items by similarity regardless of category boundaries, making many items fit badly where they eventually wind up.  In an offline database I use tags to organize untidy real-world developments like these, but that system doesn't translate well into the linear order of a text newsletter.  For now, though, I've decided that the advantages of rough categories outweigh the occasional arbitrariness.  This is a first whack and I welcome your comments on other ways of doing it.

+ Policies

** The University of Calgary division of Library and Cultural Resources voted unanimously to adopt an OA mandate.

** The University of Oregon Library Faculty voted unanimously to adopt an OA mandate.

** The University of Oregon Department of Romance Languages voted unanimously to adopt an OA mandate.

** The library faculty of Gustavus Adolphus College adopted an Open Access Pledge.

** The Faculty Senate of the University of Washington adopted an OA resolution.

** The University of Pretoria senate voted unanimously to adopt an OA mandate.

** The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) adopted an OA mandate.

* The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) adopted an OA policy for its research reports.

* Denmark’s Electronic Research Library (DEFF) is drafting a policy for OA to publicly-funded research in Denmark.

* Poland's Ministry of Science and Higher Education is considering an OA mandate for publicly-funded research.

* The US Institute of Medicine (IOM) convened a group of major public and private funding agencies, who called on "funders of global health research" to mandate green libre OA for the research they fund.  Because most of the participating funders do not yet themselves mandate OA, their report suggests that they may soon do so.

* Several speakers at the 2009 WSIS (World Summit on the Information Society) Forum called for OA to publicly-funded research.

* Participants in a Toronto workshop on data sharing drafted guidelines for extending the 1996 Bermuda Principles which called for OA to genomic data.

* Elizabeth Pisani released the first draft of the Bamako data sharing code of conduct.

* Peter Murray-Rust, Cameron Neylon, Rufus Pollock, and others formulated the Panton Principles for open data, named after a Cambridge pub.  The principles recommend the public domain for open data.

* The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) endorsed OA for clinical drug trial data.

* The Kentucky Library Association urged members to write to their Congressional delegation to support (among other things) OA for publicly-funded research.

* A student project at Yale students proposed an OA mandate and released interviews with 17 faculty members.

* A student group at the University of Uppsala called on the university to support OA.

* The US Senate confirmed Aneesh Chopra as the nation's first Chief Technology Officer.  Chopra has a welcome track record on OA for PSI and OA textbooks.

* The Obama administration appointed OA supporter Andrew McLaughlin to be the country's Deputy Chief Technology Officer. 

* OA supporter Francis Collins entered the "final stages" vetting to be the next Director of the NIH.

* Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced a bill in the US Senate to provide OA to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports.

+ Journals

* The Journal of Archaeology in the Low Countries is a new peer-reviewed OA journal, published by a consortium of 10 Dutch and Flemish research and cultural institutions.

* The Journal of New Frontiers in Spatial Concepts is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Karlsruhe University Press.

* Methodist Review: A Journal of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal sponsored by a group of theology schools and hosted by the Emory University Libraries

* Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies is a peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Kent State University Department of English and hosted by Scholarly Exchange.

* Molecular Autism is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal published by BioMed Central.

* Anthropology Reviews: Dissent and Cultural Politics is a forthcoming, peer-reviewed OA journal.

* Philosophy & Theory in Biology is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal.

* Digital Culture & Education is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.

* The Columbia Science and Technology Law Review converted to OA, using a CC-BY-NC-ND license.

* African Journals OnLine (AJOL) is moving beyond OA TOCs to OA full-texts.

* Seven more journals joined Revues.org, and will be OA or delayed OA:  Bulletin de la Sabix; Les cahiers du CEDREF; Criminocorpus, la revue; Documents pour l’Histoire du français langue étrangère ou secondaire; Genre, sexualité et société; LISA e-journal; and the Revue annuelle de politique du développement - Genèv.

* Impact: Journal of Applied Research in Workplace E-learning is a forthcoming journal with a 6-month delayed OA policy, published by the E-learning Network of Australasia.

* BMJ provided OA to its entire 169 backfile (back to 1840).

* MIT provided OA to the earliest backfiles of the MIT Communications Forum, 1983-1995.

* Two more Medknow journals provided OA to their backfiles:  the Journal of Medical Physics (to 1978), and the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology (to 1998).

* Ethnologia Europaea will provide OA to its back issues, with a three-year moving wall.

* The Journal of Neuroscience now deposits peer-reviewed manuscripts directly into PMC or UKPMC for authors funded by the NIH, Wellcome Trust, or Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

* The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) will make all its articles OA through the PMC and UKPMC repositories, with a 12-month embargo.  It formerly provided OA only to the "author choice" articles in its hybrid OA journals.

* Globethics.net and Medknow agreed to collaborate on a series of OA journals on applied ethics.  The series will focus on journals from developing countries.

* The JURN search engine launched the JURN Directory of 1,500+ OA journals in the arts and humanities.

* Matthew Law is building a list of open access archaeology journals, conference proceedings and books on WikiArc, the wiki for archaeological research, and building a a Google custom search engine to crawl all the OA resources on the list.

* The International Journal of Robotics Research (IJRR) is now publishing what it calls "data papers" --TA articles accompanied by OA datasets.

* Nature.com added an OAI-PMH interface, supporting searches across its 150 journals which will return structured data records.

*Quantiki Video Abstracts is a recently launched platform for authors to create and share OA video "abstracts" of their papers in quantum information science.

* The Royal Society modified the fee structure for EXiS Open Choice, its hybrid OA program.  The program now charges by the article, not by the page.

* The University of Amsterdam laid down its OA journal fund "due to a precarious financial situation" at the university.

* Pfizer started a fund to pay publication fees at BMC journals for researchers from low-income countries who publish in BMC journals.  It also bought a BMC institutional membership to cover its own scientists when they publish in BMC journals.

* Cornell University is considering a fund to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.

* Elsevier acknowledged that it published a collection of Merck-funded, Merck-authored articles puffing Merck products and made it look like a peer-reviewed journal, Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine.  Then it admitted that it published five others sponsored by other pharma companies.  Elsevier has lobbied aggressively against OA policies on the ground that they will undermine peer review.

* Advanced Research Journals is apparently a new OA publisher.  The logo on its home page links to the Elsevier ScienceDirect home page.

+ Repositories and databases

* The University of Johannesburg launched UJDigiSpace, an institutional repository.

* The Universidad de Valladolid launched UVaDoc, an institutional repository.

* The University of Tennessee announced plans to launch an IR, TRACE (Tennessee Research And Creative Exchange).

* Queensland University of Technology configured its IR to report suitable publications to Australia's Higher Education Research Data Collection for annual research assessment, making it easier for faculty and universities to comply and encouraging faculty to deposit in the IR.

* The Social Science Research Network launched the Corporate Governance Network, a new OA repository.

* Reporting on the results of its microfiche digitization project, the US Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) sought permission to provide OA to 340,000 documents, some of which were than 40 years old, and succeeded for 192,000 or 55%.

* For authors funded by the UKPMC Funders Group, UKPMC now reports how many citations each article has received.

* The JISC's Repositories and Preservation Programme came to an end.

* The Fedora Commons and DSpace Foundation merged to form DuraSpace.

* Royal Society of Chemistry acquired ChemSpider, the OA chemical database.

+ Data

* The US federal government launched Data.gov, a compendium of open data.  At the same time, the Sunlight Foundation launched a contest for the best re-use of data from Data.gov.

* The National Science Foundation gave a $2.18 million grant to Dryad, an OA data repository for evolutionary biology and ecology.

* The National Research Council Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information (NRC-CISTI) launched an OA Gateway to Scientific Data.

* Microsoft launched its Open Government Data Initiative (OGDI).

* The UK will adopt INSPIRE, the EU directive for sharing spatial data.

* Socrata is a new platform for posting and interacting with government data.  It hosts both OA data and publisher-priced TA data.

* Vancouver adopted principles calling for open data, standards and open source, whenever possible.  Toronto also committed to open data.

* Yahoo released GeoPlanet Data under a CC-BY license.  GeoPlanet Data is OA dataset underlying Yahoo's GeoPlanet and Placemaker services.

* Puneet Kishor will promote OA to geospatial data as a new Science Commons Fellow at Creative Commons.

* The Library of Congress launched its OA subject-heading data service, Authorities & Vocabularies.

* The Open Knowledge Foundation launched the Open Data Grid and opened it for deposits.

* The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) converted part of its SIDER database of medicines and their side effects to OA.  EMBL is using CC-Zero to assign some of the data to the public domain, and CC-BY-NC-SA to license the rest.

* The International Coalition of Library Consortia (ICOLC) called on the OCLC to withdraw its plan to restrict the use of WorldCat data, and start over with wider library input.

* The chair of OCLC's Review Board also recommended that OCLC withdraw its plan to restrict the use of WorldCat data.

* John Wilbanks reported that the H1N1 virus genome sequence is OA at the US NCBI.  Steven Salzberg reported that the Mexican virus sequences, although sequenced by the US CDC, were deposited in a non-OA database (GISAID's EpiFluDB).

* More societies and journals decided to provide OA to H1N1 (swine flu) research.

* In an effort to curb unauthorized, open mapping, China is threatening to arrest foreigners who don't turn off the GPS functions on their cell phones.

* A company with a patent on how doctors use databases to diagnose and treat diseases is threatening the existence of an OA database on HIV.

+ Books

* French Creek Press is a new book publisher (launched in April 2009), whose academic division, Kenwood Academic, will combine OA with POD.

* Uganda's Fountain Publishers made its debut as a publisher of OA books.

* The founders of Pronetos, the academic networking site, offered a pre-launch preview of their Open Academic Press.

* The University of Pittsburgh Press will release nearly 500 of its out-of-print books in gratis OA editions.  In the coming year they will also be available in priced, paperback editions.

* Bloomsbury Academic launched OA book series on the ethics of genetics, edited by Nobel laureate John Sulston and Manchester bioethicist John Harris.

* Bloomsbury Academic, the British publisher of an OA edition of Lawrence Lessig's Remix, is hosting a remix contest on the book.

* More than 10,000 Norwegian books, some public domain and some under copyright, will soon be digitized, move online, and be gratis OA at least to Norwegians.

* The Biblioteca Nacional de España launched the Portal del Teatro del Siglo de Oro, an OA collection of 2,000 manuscripts (comprising more than 36,000 pages) from the Spanish Golden Age.

* The Digithèque des Bibliothèques de l'Université Libre de Bruxelles released 64 OA digitized books from the school's university press.  There will be more to come.

* New volumes in Cornell's 101-year old book series on Iceland, Islandica, will be published in dual OA/TA edition

* Cornell lifted restrictions on Cornell-digitized public-domain books.  The institution no longer asks users to seek permission before publishing copies and no longer threatens legal action against those acting without permission.  The forthright rationale is to encourage valuable uses and re-uses, support OA, and avoid copyfraud.

* A new contract between the University of Michigan and Google widens public access to Google-digitized books from the Michigan library and allows Michigan to challenge the prices Google sets for institutional subscriptions.  The same enhanced terms are on offer to other libraries providing books to the Google book-scanning project.

* O'Reilly Media's Open Feedback Publishing System supports public comment on book manuscripts before publication.  To allow feedback, the manuscripts are OA of course.  (I can't tell whether the books, when published, are also OA.)

* Four Random House books saw "significant sales increases" soon after the company released OA editions.

* The latest goal of Project Gutenberg is to serve one billion readers (15% of the world's population).

* California will develop a list of state-approved OA textbooks for use in public high schools.

* Apple initially rejected Eucalyptus as an ebook reader for the iPhone on the ground that it would display OA books, some of which "contain inappropriate sexual content".  Apple mentioned the Kama Sutra as an example.  Three days later Apple reversed itself and accepted Eucalyptus as an iPhone app.

+ University actions

* Five more US university libraries joined the CERN SCOAP3 project: Arizona State University, Northern Illinois University, Texas A&M University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Georgia.

* The Institute for Advanced Study Berlin and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.

* Charles Bailey reports little progress on the 1996 OA goals of the University of Houston Libraries.

* When Lisa Johnston didn't like the standard Taylor & Francis copyright transfer agreement, she tried the University of Minnesota author addendum.  T&F offered a second contract giving her essentially all she wanted.

+ Studies and surveys

* JISC released its roadmap for repositories for 2009-2013. 

* JISC released the final report of the IncReASe (Increasing Repository Content through Automation and Services) project.

* JISC's SAFIR (Sound, Film, Archives Image Repository) Project issued its final report.

* The Welsh Repository Network issued its final report.

* The DISC-UK DataShare project released its guide for repositories planning to include data files.

* Revues.org posted a user survey (in English).

* OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is running a survey on OA for scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

* Several partners are running a survey of OA repositories in developing countries.

* The Open Data Commons released a concise primer, Making Your Data Open: A Guide (Beta), in the form of a four-question FAQ.

* The Research Information Network (RIN) is developing a scholarly communications toolkit to implement the principles it articulated in February 2007 (which were vague and non-committal on OA).

* A new (TA) study by the Primary Research Group shows that "institutional repositories and open access materials have not substantially impacted interlibrary loan services."

+ Awards and milestones

* Wendy Hall was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society for her work in computer science, including work on OA.

* Jim Neal was awarded the American Library Association's Melvil Dewey Medal for a lifetime of service to libraries, including work for OA.

* Participants at the JISC Repositories and Preservation conference voted SWORD the most innovative project.

* JISC and Microsoft announced the winners of the second annual Developer Challenge at Open Repositories:  Rebecca Koesar won second prize for for FedoraFS, using Fuse to make Fedora a desktop filestore, and Tim Donohue won first prize for MentionIt, using Javascript to gather comments about a repository paper from around the web and make them visible from within the repository.

* The Coventry University Repository Virtual Environment won Best Institutional Repository in the IMS Global Learning Consortium's Learning Impact Awards.

* The IR at Aberystwyth University, CADAIR, passed the milestone of 2,000 deposits.

* The IR at the University of Stirling, STORRE, passed the milestone of 1,000 items on deposit. The repository's managers attribute the growth to the university's institutional mandate

* Open Education News passed the milestone of 500 posts.

* Over 100 UK universities have signed on to participate in EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service) project.  It's more than four times more popular than the second most popular linking destination in the British Library Integrated Catalogue.  The project has a backlog of 10,000+ theses waiting to be digitized.

* Sherpa has now surveyed the copyright and self-archiving policies of 600 publishers.  Currently 60% allow self-archiving in some form.

* RePEc now has archives in 67 countries.

* Open Access News turned seven.  On its birthday it had logged 17,391 posts, averaging seven a day for seven years.

+ Software and tools

* EPrints released version 3.1.3.

* Fedora Commons released Fedora version 3.2.

* The PURE repository software released versions 3.14.0 and 3.14.1.

* Microsoft Research released Zentity 1.0, its research repository platform.

* Microsoft announced that it will soon release the source code for Zentity and the Article Authoring Add-in for Word.  It also announced that the Word Add-in uses SWORD to support direct deposits into an OA repository.

* Microsoft released a preview version of Bing, its new general search engine.

* Google launched Wave, a new open-source and open-standards sharing and collaboration platform combining elements of email, chat, blogs, wikis, and discussion forums.

* Stephen Wolfram launched Wolfram|Alpha, the free "knowledge engine" that returns direct answers and graphs, not just a list of pages which might contain answers.

* The US government released DataFerrett, a free tool for searching, browsing, combining, and analyzing open data released by the federal government.

* Seed Media announced RB Connect, a new tool for linking journal articles to blog posts commenting on them.  RB Connect will be implemented first at PLoS One.

* OCLC released Mellon-funded software to support OAI-PMH data sharing among museums.

* Version 1.0 of MOAI Server is now available.  MOAI harvests input from disparate sources and disseminates it through the OAI protocol. 

* As the result of a survey of users, three priorities for DSpace 1.6 are better statistics, an embargo facility, and batch metadata editing.

* MetaJuris is a new search engine covering OA legal databases.

* Robert Simpson launched a tool to rank arXiv papers bases on their popularity on Twitter.

* BioMed Central released an online reporting tool for its institutional members.

* Open Journal Systems is now available in Romanian and Welsh.

* All the PLoS journals have now migrated to the Ambra/Topaz platform.

* Libertas Academica OA journals now support reference exporting in Endnote format.

* The CARPET (Community for Academic Reviewing, Publishing and Editorial Technology) platform for scientific publishing tools officially launched.

* Spindle Law is an OA "research and writing system" for legal research, now in pre-launch alpha. When it launches, there will also be a priced, premium edition.

* The Internet Archive is moving from FTP uploading to HTTP uploading, and launched a "share button" to facilitate the new method.

* Ben Brumfield wants to open the source code of FromThePage, his software to coordinate the work of online volunteers in transcribing and digitizing handwritten manuscripts.  But he wants to put it under a license that would require users to make the resulting transcriptions OA, a restriction that violates the principles of free and open source software.

* Open Anthropology Cooperative is a new academic networking site for anthropologists.

+ Other

* The Field Museum Library joined Flickr Commons.

* Yahoo Image Search can now filter searches by Creative Commons licenses.

* A project funded by Sweden's National Library submitted its final report on metadata for images in in institutional repositories.

* KoreaMed and the International Science and Technology Center joined WorldWideScience.org.

* Hepatitis Outbreaks National Organization for Reform (HONOReform) and the New York State Higher Education Initiative (NYSHEI) joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* The Wikipedia community voted to move from the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL) to a system in which most content is dual-licensed under the GFDL and CC-BY-SA.

* H-Net launched a fund-raising drive.

* Verlagsstarter was nominated to win some stART.hilfe funds from the Duisburg Philharmonic Orchestra and upload-Magazin to help it launch as an OA publisher.

* Several parties with candidates in the upcoming European Parliament elections support OA in their platforms.

* The International Publishers Association and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions issued a joint statement calling for evidence and respect in the OA debate.

* Scott Moskowitz and Mike Berry were awarded a US patent on a method for scrambling the data in an OA data file to a specific, reversible, degraded level of signal quality.

* The University of California libraries face budget cuts of up to 20%.

* Forty percent of UK university libraries will have to cut back their acquisition of books and journals next year.  Twenty percent will have to cancel "big deals" bundling hundreds of journal titles.

* The Obama administration joined forces with the pharma industry to take the Medical R&D Treaty off the WHO (World Health Organization) agenda.  The treaty includes an OA mandate for publicly-funded research.

* The World Health Assembly (WHA) voted to remove the Medical R&D Treaty from the WHO Global Strategy.  But at the same time it decided the treaty could be taken up by the WHO Expert Working Group (EWG) on R&D Financing.

* After removing the Medical R&D Treaty from the WHO global strategy, the WHA approved a version of the global strategy which included a provision "strongly encouraging" OA archiving.  That provision was an OA mandate in 2007 drafts.  The OA mandate in the draft treaty is unaffected.


Coming this month

* OA-related conferences in June 2009.

* Other OA-related conferences



Here's an update on the OA tracking project. 

I launched the beta version in a blog post on April 16, 2009, and then wrote it up in greater length in last month's SOAN.

Gavin Baker and I started tagging items systematically at the beginning of April, and were the only project taggers until the blog announcement in the middle of that month.

As of today, there are 17 project taggers and 1,268 items tagged with "oa.new" (the only official project tag).  That averages more than 20 items per day, which is considerably larger than the coverage at Open Access News.

To follow these numbers yourself, go to the Connotea web page of items tagged with "oa.new".  The taggers are listed in the left sidebar and the total number of items is listed at the bottom of the page.

I'm very happy with this progress and thank all who are taking part.  The community of eyeballs is catching many more new developments than any of us could catch alone.  Every tagger is improving the service for all who subscribe to the feed.

To follow the project feed, just pick a version that suits your style (web, RSS, or email).

To join the effort as a tagger, just get a Connotea account and start tagging. 

For more information, including an FAQ, see the OATP home page at the Open Access Directory.


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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