Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #124
August 2, 2008
by Peter Suber

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Gratis and libre open access

In February 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative called for a kind of online access to research literature that was free of charge and free of most usage restrictions.  It offered a name ("open access") for the unified concept, but it didn't suggest names for the two component parts. 

In a February 2003 article, I distinguished those two parts and called them the "removal of price barriers" and the "removal of permission barriers".  But those were negative terms, and I didn't think to offer matching positive ones describing kinds of access rather than kinds of access barriers.

When the Bethesda and Berlin statements came out (June and October 2003) they followed the Budapest statement in calling for the removal of both price and permission barriers.  As a result, all three components of the Budapest-Bethesda-Berlin (BBB) definition of OA now call for both sorts of free online access.

But unfortunately we still don't have widely accepted terms for the two sorts of free online access:  (1) the kind which removes price barriers alone and (2) the kind which removes price barriers and at least some permission barriers.  This gap in our vocabulary has caused confusion and conflicts, not least because it created pressure to use the term "open access" for each.

In April 2008, Stevan Harnad and I proposed the terms "weak OA" and "strong OA" for these two species.  I wrote a blog post to explain what we meant.

But we quickly realized that "weak OA" was needlessly pejorative and started looking for more neutral and descriptive language.  Stevan launched a public discussion on the American Scientist Open Access Forum.

Unfortunately, however, the discussion hasn't come up with clear winners.  If the terms Stevan and I introduced in April had been better chosen, and widely supported, I'd have used them 100 times already in my blog and newsletter.  I need them almost every day. 

In the absence of terms that are neutral, accurate, and widely supported, I've decided to make a provisional decision as an individual writer while the larger discussion continues.  For now, my choice is to use "gratis" and "libre".  They are accurate, neutral, and descriptive.  In the neighboring domain of free and open source software, they exactly express the distinction I have in mind. 

The terms may be unfamiliar in the domain of OA or scholarly communication.  But as far as I can see at the moment, that's their only drawback, and it's one I may be able to overcome by writing this article.  Their relative unfamiliarity is even a kind of advantage.  They're not common words with clouds of common connotations.  "Weak/strong" were not objectionable because of their new definitions, but because of their preexisting connotations, and "gratis/libre" won't run into that problem.

This choice is personal in the sense that I'm making a decision for my own writing.  It's provisional in the sense that I'll continue to look for better terms. 

I've already used "gratis/libre" in a few blog posts.  But I didn't want to use them frequently until I had time to write up this longer case for them. 

Here's the updated heart of my April 2008 blog post using "gratis/libre" in place of "weak/strong".  But while my original post described a decision Stevan Harnad and I reached together, in this version I'll speak for myself. 

The term "open access" is now widely used in at least two senses.  For some, "OA" literature is digital, online, and free of charge.  It removes price barriers but not permission barriers.  For others, "OA" literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of unnecessary copyright and licensing restrictions.  It removes both price barriers and permission barriers.  It allows reuse rights which exceed fair use. 

There are two good reasons why our central term became ambiguous.  Most of our success stories deliver OA in the first sense, while the major public statements from Budapest, Bethesda, and Berlin (together, the BBB definition of OA) describe OA in the second sense. 

I've decided to use the term "gratis OA" for the removal of price barriers alone and "libre OA" for the removal of price and at least some permission barriers.  The new terms allow us to speak unambiguously about these two species of free online access.

On this new terminology, the BBB definition describes one kind of libre OA.  A typical funder or university mandate requires gratis OA.  Many OA journals provide libre OA, but many others provide only gratis OA.

There is more than one kind of permission barrier to remove.  Therefore, there is more than one kind or degree of libre OA. 

I've often wanted short, clear terms for what I'm now calling gratis and libre OA.  But I've also wanted a third term.  In my blog and newsletter I often need a generic term which means "gratis or libre OA, we don't know which yet".  For example, a press release may announce a new free online journal, digital library, or database, without making clear what kind of reuse rights it allows.  Or a new journal will make its articles available online without charge but say nothing about its access policy or licensing terms.  I will simply call them "OA".  I'll specify that they are gratis or libre OA only when I learn enough to do so.

The two new terms will help us avoid ambiguity without resisting current usage, which would be futile, or revising the BBB definition, which would be undesirable.

I learned a lot from the emails leading up to the "weak/strong" announcement in April, and especially from the emails and blog posts afterwards.  Here's a mini FAQ responding the sorts of questions I've heard.

* Why introduce new terms at all?  Weren't we doing fine before?

We were not doing fine.  Our central term was (and is) widely used to cover two non-equivalent sorts of free online access.  As long as we don't have narrower terms for the two sorts, then we'll continue to use the broader term "OA" for each, aggravating the ambiguity rather than resolving it.

* Are you saying that we should stop using the term "OA" and only use the narrower terms?

Not at all.  I'm only introducing terms for sub-species when we need to speak unambiguously about sub-species.  When we don't need that level of precision, "OA" is the perfect term, indeed, the only term. 

"Gratis OA" and "libre OA" will supplement "OA", not supplant it --roughly the way "simple carbohydrate" and "complex carbohydrate" supplement "carbohydrate" without supplanting it.

* Isn't the green/gold distinction the same as the gratis/libre distinction?

No.  The green/gold distinction is about venues (repositories and journals), while the gratis/libre distinction is about user rights or freedoms.  Green OA can be gratis or libre, but is usually gratis.  Gold OA can be gratis or libre, but is also usually gratis. 

It's easier for gold OA to be libre than for green OA to be libre.  But both can be libre.  It follows that the campaign to go beyond gratis OA to libre OA is not just about journals (gold OA), even if it is primarily about journals.

For more on how these two distinctions differ, see the table I posted to my blog this morning,

* Are you trying to legislate usage?

No.  I'm in no position to legislate usage.  If I were, usage would never have become ambiguous!

I am proposing these terms for others to use as well.  But even if I were able to legislate usage, this choice would still be personal and provisional.  I need terms to use in my own writing, and I'll use these until I find better ones.  I don't want to preempt the search for better terms, by myself or others, and I don't want to tie my hands about using the fruits of that search. 

* Are you trying to revise the BBB definition of OA?

No.  It hasn't changed and I don't want to change it.  Nor --slightly different thing-- am I retreating from my endorsement of it.  (I was the principal drafter of the Budapest statement and stand by it.)

I'm simply trying to clarify communication by introducing terms for different sorts of free online access.  It's all about vocabulary, and not at all about policy.

There is a problem to solve.  It's not that the BBB definition has changed, or needs to change, but that the term "open access" has changed, and is now widely used in both a BBB and non-BBB sense.  As I've argued elsewhere, our term has spread faster and further than the BBB definition.  That usage is a fact of life, and support for the BBB definition doesn't make it go away.  There are roughly two ways to approach this problem.  We could fight the tide of usage and try to make "OA" refer to nothing but BBB OA again.  But that's unwinnable.  (I deliberately say nothing about the advantages and disadvantages of winning it if it were winnable; that's a pointless exercise.)  Or we could cure the ambiguity by using separate names, like "gratis OA" and "libre OA", for the two important things which have been going under the same name.  That's more than winnable.  It's easy.  It will support unambiguous communication without fighting usage, without modifying the BBB definition, and without giving anyone a reason to diminish their support for it.

* Is "libre OA" synonymous with "BBB OA"?

No.  Because there is more than one kind of permission barrier to remove, there is more than one kind or degree of libre OA.  BBB OA is one kind or subset of libre OA.  But there are others, and not all libre OA is BBB OA.

For example, permitting all uses except commercial use (the CC-NC license) and permitting all uses except derivative works (the CC-ND license) are not equivalent to one another and --ignoring certain subtleties-- not compatible with the BBB definition.  But they all remove price barriers, they all remove at least some permission barriers, and therefore they are all libre OA.

We shouldn't speak as if there were just one kind of libre OA.  Gratis OA may be just one thing (freedom from price barriers), but libre OA is a *range* of things (freedom from price barriers and one or more permission barriers). 

* What's the best way to refer to a specific type of libre OA?

With a license.  We'll never have unambiguous, widely-understood technical terms for every useful variation on the theme.  But we're very likely to have clear, named licenses for every useful variation on the theme, and we're already close.  Licenses are more precise than single terms and not nearly as susceptible to misunderstanding or divergent usage. 

* What's the borderline between gratis and libre OA? 

Gratis OA removes no permission barriers and libre OA removes one or more permission barriers.  (Both of them remove price barriers.) 

But what does it mean to remove a permission barrier?  If copying a short excerpt is permitted by "fair use" (or "fair dealing" or the local equivalent), then users may do it without asking anyone's permission.  Hence, there are no permission barriers in the way.  If copying full text and redistributing it to others exceeds fair use, then users must ask permission, take the legal risk of proceeding without it, or err on the side of non-use.  In general, when a use requires permission, users face a permission barrier.  This doesn't mean that permission is denied, only that permission is not already given and must be sought if one wishes to proceed.  When rightsholders grant permission in advance for uses that exceed fair use, then they remove permission barriers.  As a practical matter, there are two ways to remove permission barriers:  (1) with copyright holder consent, through a license or statement permitting uses that would otherwise be impermissible or doubtful, and (2) with the expiration of copyright and the transition of the work into the public domain.

In short, gratis OA alone allows no uses beyond fair use, and libre OA allows one or more uses beyond fair use.

* What's wrong with "full OA" (instead of "libre OA")? 

"Full OA" implies just one degree or kind of OA, in fact a maximum.  But libre OA is a range of many positions, corresponding to the many permission barriers which we could remove.

Hence, "full" isn't a good word to contrast libre OA with gratis OA.  But it's a perfectly good word to contrast OA journals with hybrid OA journals.   For example, I see no problem with saying that "full OA" journals provide OA to all their articles, while "hybrid OA" journals provide OA to some and not others.

* What's wrong with "free" access?

The main problem is that some people already use "free" to mean gratis ("free as in beer") and some people already use it to mean libre ("free as in speech").  It would be very hard to give this widely used and versatile word a narrower meaning for some special purpose, and make it stick.  Making "free" a technical term would increase ambiguity, not decrease it.

It's relevant that "gratis" and "libre" emerged to resolve an ambiguity endemic in the "free" software movement.

* Why was the original "weak/strong" announcement presented as a joint decision with Stevan Harnad?

Simply because Stevan and I came up with it together.  (Not because we are a cabal.)  The background is important.  Stevan wanted to recognize the movement's many gratis OA success stories.  But because gratis OA doesn't meet the terms of the BBB, he felt it necessary to revise the BBB.  I wanted to join him in recognizing the many gratis OA success stories, but I didn't want to revise the BBB.  Whether the BBB needed revision became a tactical disagreement of growing importance between us, showing up in many of our blog posts, taking more of our time, and perhaps even overshadowing our agreements on most issues of substance and strategy.  As we talked it out, however, we realized that our disagreement on the BBB arose from an inadequate vocabulary for the varieties of free online access.  Once we had that vocabulary we could agree in our speech as much as we agreed in substance, and we could take revision of the BBB off the table.  It was a beautiful resolution --except that we settled too quickly on the wrong pair of words ("weak/strong"). 

To show the new terms in action, here's how they help clarify the major points of substance and strategy on which Stevan and I agree.  We agree that gratis OA is a necessary but not sufficient condition of libre OA.  We agree that gratis OA is often attainable in circumstances when libre OA is not attainable.  We agree that gratis OA should not be delayed until we can achieve libre OA.  We agree that libre OA is a desirable goal above and beyond gratis OA.  We agree that the desirability of libre OA is a reason to keep working after attaining gratis OA, but not a reason to disparage the difficulties or the significance of gratis OA.  We agree that the BBB definition of OA does not need to be revised.

* Why do we have to recognize this distinction at all? 

Because there really is a difference between removing price barriers alone and removing both price and permission barriers, and because this difference really matters to users, strategies, and policies.  The distinction by itself isn't new or even controversial.  All that's new here is the proposal to use certain terms to name its two parts.  But even if you don't like the terms I plan to use, and even if you don't plan to use any special terms yourself, understanding the distinction itself is necessary to understand the day-to-day progress and discussions of the OA movement.



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.

** The Humanities and Social Sciences branch of France's Agence Nationale de la recherche (ANR) adopted an OA mandate.

** The National Research Council Canada adopted an OA mandate to take effect in January 2009.

** The European Commission announced that it is "developing an open access pilot in FP7.  More information will be available soon."  That's all we know so far.

* The European Commission released a green paper on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy.  Question 19 asks whether researchers should "enter into licensing schemes with publishers in order to increase access to works....Are there examples of successful licensing schemes enabling online use of works for teaching or research purposes?"  Comments are due by November 30, 2008.

* The American Psychological Association decided to charge a $2,500 fee to deposit peer-reviewed manuscripts by NIH-funded authors in PMC.  At the same time it rescinded permission for NIH-funded authors to self-archive to their institutional repositories.  After a week of widespread criticism, the APA retracted the deposit fee for re-examination and reaffirmed its 2002 policy allowing no-fee self-archiving to institutional repositories.

* The Norwegian government is considering an OA mandate, and is seeking advice from the Norwegian Research Council and the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions.

* The Victorian government is considering OA for public-sector information and publicly-funded research.  Comments on its discussion paper are due by August 22, 2008.

* The Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences is considering an OA mandate.  (The Stanford School of Education adopted an OA mandate in June 2008.)

* The Vice Chancellor of Macquarie University, Steven Schwartz, drafted an OA mandate for his university.  He posted it to his blog for comments while he considers submitting it to the University Senate.

* The Delft University of Technology launched a temporary fund (April - December 2008) to help faculty pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.

* Boston University’s Superfund Basic Research Program is providing OA to its research results.  It encourages its researchers to publish in OA journals (and agrees to pay publication fees); it hosts a wiki for research communication and collaboration; it plans to host an OA repository; and it encourages other Superfund Basic Research programs elsewhere to provide OA to their research.

* The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) recommends that scholars retain copyright when publishing journal articles, and use the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum to do so.

* The US Defense Department issued a memo reaffirming the right of researchers to publish unclassified research, reversing a drift toward the suppression of results during the Bush years.

* SPARC Europe and DRIVER agreed to work together to support institutional repositories throughout Europe.

* The Association of Universities in the Netherlands and the Association of Indian Universities agreed to collaborate in many areas of common interest, including "open access to scientific and scholarly publications."

* The Nature Publishing Group launched a free service to deposit peer-reviewed author manuscripts directly into PMC (or UKPMC) when authors are under OA mandates from funders like NIH, HHMI, MRC, or the Wellcome Trust.  At the same time it said would be willing to accommodate university mandates as well, and eventually deposit directly into institutional repositories.  In both cases it would embargo the deposits until six months from the date of publication.

* One condition of Nature's willingness to deposit directly into institutional repositories (see previous item) is that the repositories support batch uploading.  Les Carr reported that both EPrints and DSpace supported batch uploading, and both support the SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) protocol.

* Deposits in PubMed Central have grown significantly since December 2007.  Every month since January 2008 has topped the previous monthly deposit record.

* The NIH released the author addendum it requires when NIH employees (not to be confused with external grantees) publish articles based on NIH-funded research.

* The NIH clarified and restated the four deposit options under its OA policy.

* SPARC and ARL released their analysis concluding that the NIH policy does not affect US copyright law in any way.

* William Patry also concluded that the NIH policy does not affect US copyright law and need not be reviewed by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (which has jurisdiction over copyright matters).  Patry is the Senior Copyright Counsel at Google, and former copyright counsel to the House Judiciary Committee.

* Two Nobel laureates, John Sulston and Joseph Stiglitz, said the "innovation system" was broken and called for greater "access to the benefits of knowledge" and loosening the grip of intellectual property rights on scientific results.

* Science Commons formulated four recommendations for open science.

* Harvard created an FAQ for Publishers to accompany the OA mandate at the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

* Plant Genome is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Crop Science Society of America.

* The Journal of Foot and Ankle Research is a new, peer-reviewed OA journal published by BioMed Central.

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

* Energies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of energy and "Related Scientific Research, Technology Development and Studies in Policy and Management", published by the Molecular Diversity Preservation International.

* The International Journal of Cuban Studies is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the International Institute for the Study of Cuba at London Metropolitan University.

* The Journal of Transport and Land Use is a new peer-reviewed, no-fee OA journal from the Center for Transportation Studies at the University of Minnesota.

* The International Journal of BioSciences and Technology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal sponsored by the VM University.

* Ufahamu: A Journal of African Studies is a new, peer-reviewed OA journal published by the University of California, Los Angeles' James S. Coleman African Studies Center.

* The Armenian National Academy of Sciences launched two new, peer-reviewed OA journals: the Armenian Journal of Mathematics and the Armenian Journal of Physics.

* Theological Librarianship is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the American Theological Library Association.

* Wide Screen is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of cinema "from historical, theoretical, political, and aesthetic perspectives."  It expects to publish the first issue in February 2009.

* Physics is a new journal from the American Physical Society.  The inaugural issue is OA, but it doesn't mention a standing access policy or a subscription price.

* Oxford University Press announced plans to launch an OA journal of OA databases:  Database:   The Journal on Biological Databases.

* Historical Studies of Digital Entertainment Media is a forthcoming, peer-reviewed OA journal from the How They Got Game project.

* The Ibero-American Network and Portal of Open Access Veterinary Scientific Journals offers OA to veterinary journals from Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

* Rangifer, the journal of "Research, Management and Husbandry of Reindeer and other Northern Ungulates", converted to OA after 26 years of TA publication.

* After seven years of TA publishing, Science and Technology of Advanced Materials converted to no-fee OA with its January-March issue.

* The Scandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine converted to OA moved to BioMed Central.

* Three journals from Revues.org converted to OA:  (1) Balkanologie: Revue d’études pluridisciplinaires, (2)  Lapurdum: Revue d’études basques, and (3) the Revue historique des armées.

* The African Journal of Paediatric Surgery converted to OA.

* Urban Library Journal (formerly known as Urban Academic Librarian) announced plans to convert to OA.

* Acta Zoologica Sinica will convert to OA and change its title to Current Zoology in January 2009.

* The Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte provided OA to the backfile (1967-2001) of its journal, Ius Commune.

* The average impact factor for Hindawi journals with IFs rose by more than 14% last year.

* The hybrid OA journal, Genome Research, boosted its impact factor significantly in 2007, from 10.3 to 11.2.

* For the third year in a row, Oxford University Press lowered the subscription prices of its hybrid Oxford Open journals to reflect growing author uptake of the OA option.

* The 2009 prices for Elsevier hybrid journals will reflect the rate of author uptake.  The company doesn't say whether the prices will go down or merely rise more slowly than they would otherwise.

* The NorthEast Research Libraries consortium (NERL) joined the CERN SCOAP3 project.

* The Great Western Library Alliance joined the CERN SCOAP3 project.

* The Gates Foundation gave a $900,000 grant to The Future of Children, a peer-reviewed OA journal from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Brookings Institution.

* BMJ, which already provides OA to its research articles, adopted a policy of continuous publishing, releasing them online as soon as they are ready. 

* OA journal publisher, Scientific Journals International, which was not previously green, decided to permit postprint archiving.

* Richard Poynder is requesting help in his research on Scientific Journals International.

* Gunther Eysenbach named Dove Medical Press and Libertas Academica (run by the same person, Tom Hill a.k.a. Tim Hill) as spammer of the month for spamming researchers to solicit articles.

* The University of Crete launched an institutional repository, E-Locus.

* The University of Milano - Bicocca launched an institutional repository, Bicocca Open Archive.

* Algoma University launched an institutional repository, DigitalAlgoma.

* Médecins Sans Frontières repeated the May 2008 announcement of the launch of its institutional repository.

* The Audiovisual Communications Laboratory at Switzerland's Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne launched a repository, blog, and discussion forum to advance its work on openness as a way to facilitate the reproducibility of research.

* The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched the DOE Data Explorer (DDE), an open data repository for DOE-funded research.

* India launched a repository to hold all of its space exploration data.  The contents will be accessible only to Indian scientists for the first 18 months, after which it will provide OA.

* Participants in Google's X Prize contest learned that if they are US citizens and plan to create a private remote-sensing system for Earth imaging, then they may need to apply for a license from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  The purpose, however, is not to restrict space data but to compel it to be shared with all countries that agree to similar sharing.

* The JISC Information Environment Team launched a web site to "gather ideas and opinions about how repositories are defined...."

* SHERPA compiled a list of common ways in which OA repositories inadvertently block search engine crawlers. 

* The DRIVER (Digital Repository Infrastructure Vision for European Research) project added a current awareness service in the D-NET platform.  Users can sign up to receive alerts on new contents matching a stored search.

* Shirley Fung launched Molecular Biology Databases, a website evaluating the openness of databases in molecular biology according to the criteria laid out by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay.

* NASA and the Internet Archive launched a unified, OA version of 21 major collections of NASA images.

* The U.S. National Archives joined the World Digital Library.

* The DOAJ added a page of statistics by country.

* SHERPA launched a Google Maps extension to OpenDOAR, showing OA repositories by country.

* Columbia University is looking for a Digital Repository Coordinator.

* Galapagos NV transferred a large collection of its drug and small-molecule data to the public domain.  EMBL's European Bioinformatics Institute will host and manage the data with the help of a major grant from the Wellcome Trust.

* The Geochemical Society adopted a statement recommending open data to funding agencies, publishes, and researchers.  (The statement was adopted in November 2007, but the online version was undated until last week.)

* The Open Knowledge Foundation released its Open Software Service Definition version 1.0.  In short, an open software service combines open source software and open data.

* The CARe project (Candidate Gene Association Resource) from the US National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute finds a new way to balance patient privacy and open data.

* The National Institute of Standards and Technology released a preview of its Digital Library of Mathematical Functions.

* The Open Access Directory opened five new lists for community editing and enlargement:  Data repositories; OA journal business models; Publisher policies on NIH-funded authors; Bibliography of open access; and Implementation resources for the NIH policy.

* A consortium of major medical schools has announced MedPedia, the professionally written wiki-based encyclopedia of medicine with separate sections for lay readers and professionals.

* The Gladstone Institutes at the University of California San Francisco launched WikiPathways, a wiki of open data on biological pathways.

* To stimulate the communal annotation of human genome sequences, a group of researchers developed a system to create stub Wikipedia articles directly from gene databases.

* Walt Crawford launched a cluster of pages on OA at the PALINET wiki.

* Google officially launched its Knol project, which hosts "authoritative" OA articles by named authors, who may choose to allow contributions by readers, to allow Google ads (and share revenue with the company), and to use their preferred CC license.

* The Lyon Municipal Library became the first French partner of the Google Library project.

* ETC-Press is a new OA press from a partnership of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Lulu.com.
* At Bauhaus-Universität Weimar, the press and library are working together to publish a series of dual-edition (OA/TA) monographs.

* The 200 World eBook Fair began giving away one million OA ebooks at its now-annual, month-long online book fair.

* Lulu and Scribd struck a deal under which Lulu will provide some of its OA content in Scribd's iPaper format.

* A new book-length guide to OA for authors:  Kylie Pappalardo, Understanding Open Access in the Academic Environment:  A Guide for Authors, Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project, June 2008. 

* A new book on OA:  E. Canessa and M. Zennaro (eds.), Science Dissemination using Open Access, a new book published under a CC-NC-ND license by the Science Dissemination Unit of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, July 2008.

* A new book on OA:  Barbara Malina (ed.), Open Access Opportunities and Challenges:  A Handbook, the German UNESCO Commission, July 2008.  A 144 pp. collection of articles on OA by 38 authors.  This is an English translation of Open Access: Chancen und Herausforderungen - ein Handbuch, published on June 6, 2007.

* A forthcoming book on OA:  Gary Hal, Digitize This Book! The Politics of New Media, or Why We Need Open Access Now, University of Minnesota Press, October 2008.

* Italy's Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.

* James Evans published a study concluding that when researchers have access to more articles, they read and cite fewer of them (contradicting several previous studies).

* The Biosciences Federation released a survey of some learned societies and their members on OA journals.  The BSF draws a number of anti-OA conclusions without support from the survey or other evidence.

* Alma Swan shared some preliminary findings from an unpublished study showing that institutions with OA mandates had the least difficulty populating their repositories and institutions with author deposit had the least difficulty collecting metadata.

* In an informal poll on the JISC-Repositories list, Kate Price found that most universities prefer to combine their OA repository and central publications database rather than create separate resources.

* Four major organizations released a major report on digital preservation, concluding (among other things) that OA works as well as statutory copyright reform to secure the permissions needed for preservation.  The study was jointly produced by the Library of Congress National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program, the Joint Information Systems Committee, the Open Access to Knowledge (OAK) Law Project, and the SURFfoundation.

* Scientific Commons passed the milestone of 20 million publications and 8 million authors.

* In June, RePEc passed several important milestones, among them 140,000,000 cumulative abstract views, 600,000 listed works, and 350,000 articles listed.  The number of papers in RePEc has grown by 20% less than one year.

* The University of Florida's Digital Collections passed the milestone of two million OA pages.

* E-LIS passed the milestone of 8,000 deposited documents.

* The University of Hertfordshire IR passed the milestone of 2,000th articles on deposit.

* SHERPA's RoMEO passed the milestone of listing more than 400 publisher copyright and self-archiving policies.

* The George Eastman House and the Bibliothèque de Toulouse joined Flickr Commons and will provide OA to some of their images there.  The Biblioteca de Arte-Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian is also
providing OA to part of its collection on Flickr, though not as part of Flickr's Commons project.

* The UK Office of Public Sector Information launched the Public Sector Information Unlocking Service to help citizens re-use government information.

* Under an agreement with the US Government Accountability Office, Public.Resource.Org began providing OA to scanned copies of Congressional legislative histories.

* A new blog, Open Education News, officially launched with the support of the Open Society Institute and the Shuttleworth Foundation.

* Microsoft’s External Research Division announced a set of free software tools to support scholarly communication and OA, including an article add-in for Word (for the NLM DTD and XML mark-up), a Creative Commons add-in for Word, the Microsoft e-Journal Service, and the Microsoft Research Output Repository Platform.

* Fedora Commons released version 3.0 of its Fedora repository software.

* DSpace and Fedora agreed to collaborate on a number of common goals, for example to promote open-source repository software over proprietary software and to synchronize their development to facilitate the interoperability of key components.


Coming this month

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

* August 22, 2008.  Deadline for comments on the Victorian government discussion paper on OA for public-sector information and publicly-funded research. 

* OA-related conferences in August 2008

* Other OA-related conferences


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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