Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #148
August 2, 2010
by Peter Suber

Read this issue online


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

Additional support is provided by Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL), experts in converting research documents to XML.


Part 2 of this article appeared in the September 2010 issue.

Discovery, rediscovery, and open access.  Part 1.

In 1979, William Garvey made a remarkable claim:  " ... in some disciplines, it is easier to repeat an experiment than it is to determine that the experiment has already been done."  (See W.D. Garvey, Communication: The essence of science, Pergamon Press, Oxford 1979, p. 8.)

Garvey was talking about research in the era of print, and we'd like to think that digital technologies have changed the picture.  But Garvey's thesis is not false today.  It's just true less often than it was in 1979. 

Of course digitizing research makes it easier to find.  But when finding it is still hard (because search tools are weak or access barriers block crawlers) or when retrieval is hard (because the work is toll-access or TA) or when the original experiment is particularly easy to repeat, then repeating the experiment can still be the path of least resistance. 

The same is true when we move beyond mere digitization to online distribution.  Search will be easier, but may still fail.  For many people retrieval will still be costly or impossible.

The same is true when we move beyond online distribution to OA distribution.  When the original research is OA, then if we can find it, we can retrieve it.  But a hard search can still be harder than an easy experiment --though not very often. 

Of course even when the original research is findable and retrievable, the researchers might have been vague or coy when writing it up.  ("Decant the phlogiston..." or "The results, according to our [homegrown, closed-source] software....").  But the Garvey problem is about access failures, not author failures.  Hence, we needn't consider the case --which can arise in an OA world-- in which we can find and retrieve the original research but must still repeat the work in order to make up for deficiencies in what we retrieved.

Our best hope for solving the Garvey problem is the combination of ubiquitous OA and powerful search, and fortunately we're making good progress on both fronts.  The scope of the Garvey problem is shrinking.  The optimistic take is that it won't be long before the Garvey problem is limited to known, simple truths that are easier to discover in the world than to rediscover by search.   (For the pessimistic take, see Part 2 next month.)

This class of simple truths may be small and shrinking, but it's non-empty.  For example, I have a thermometer outside my kitchen window, but I wear bifocals and can't read it from across the room.  On some days, when I'm drinking my morning coffee at my laptop, it's easier to Google the local temperature than walk across the room.  On other days, it's easier to walk across the room.  A key variable is whether Bonny, my excitable 100-pound Labrador Retriever, is hovering between me and the window waiting for me to stand up.

Of course when the Garvey problem arises only for this class of truths, it's no longer a serious obstacle.  As time goes on, then, we might be tempted to blur the distinction between the cases where there is no Garvey problem and the cases where the Garvey problem is no obstacle --that is, between the cases when searching is easier than repeating the original experiment and the cases when searching is harder but still easy.  But we should remember that we reach this plateau of low-barrier access to knowledge not just in the rare cases when discovery and rediscovery are both easy.  We also reach it in the more plentiful cases when just one of them is easy.  Hence, it remains important to distinguish the speed bump of search from the speed bump of repeating the original experiment or observations.  The two bumps are equally low only for a special subset of simple truths.  But we only need one to be low in order to accelerate research. 

Where we can't make empirical discovery easier, at least we can make look-up or rediscovery easier.  Step One in eliminating the Garvey problem is to discover and record a piece of knowledge, or a claimed piece of knowledge.  If we get this far, then in principle others can find it without having to repeat the original work.  Step Two is to make finding easier than repeating.  Hence, it takes a village to shrink the scope of the Garvey problem:  the original discoverers and recorders, the larger community of refiners and confirmers, and the army of cooperators developing the recent critical improvements to our access system:  digitization, online distribution, strengthening search, and spreading OA.

(For more on why OA isn't enough, and why search must complement OA, see SOAN for July 2005.  For more on why search isn't enough, and why OA must complement search, see SOAN for December 2005.)

Solving the Garvey problem doesn't mean that we'll make use of what we know, but it gives us a fighting chance.  It means that we're moving beyond mere preservation to a useful degree of findability.  Findability may exist in a spectrum of degrees from 0 to 1.  But we pass an important threshold when the ease of findability through an effective access system surpasses the ease of discoverability through empirical experiments.  Insofar as knowledge is worth accessing, knowing, or using, then it's urgent to pass this threshold and urgent to remain above it.  It's just as urgent to keep working to lower any access barriers that may remain. 

Where we haven't solved the Garvey problem, we're allowing access barriers to render some known truths essentially useless.  Where we've solved the Garvey problem but haven't kept working to lower the barriers to findability and retrievability as much as we can lower them, we're allowing access barriers to render some known truths needlessly expensive, invisible, and out of reach. 

* For a given research question, I might face a Garvey problem when you would not.  For example, you might have good access to the internet or a print library when I don't, or I might have good access to lab equipment when you don't.  (Further, one of us might face a lab problem and the other a "Lab" problem.)

Similarly, some research questions raise Garvey problems when others do not.  Some searches are so difficult --reading a handwritten manuscript locked in the Vatican-- that we'd prefer to redo the original work, if only we could.  This is the kind of problem that digitization, OA, and search can solve, even if they haven't yet solved them all. 

Conversely, some experiments are too expensive or dangerous to repeat.  Does lunar soil contain more silicon than iron?  What happens when two 3.5 trillion electron-volt proton beams collide?  Is thalidomide safe for pregnant women?  If only we could answer our question through a difficult search, perhaps by traveling across the globe to read a unique handwritten manuscript, we'd prefer to do that than to redo the experiment. 

OA helps in both cases, either by making difficult searches easier or by making the repetition of difficult experiments unnecessary.

For more on the second family of cases, see Richard Poynder's case study of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (August 2008), showing that big science intrinsically carries big incentives for OA:

"Ten or 20 years ago we might have been able to repeat an experiment," says [CERN's Rolf-Dieter Heuer]. "They were simpler, cheaper and on a smaller scale. Today that is not the case. So if we need to re-evaluate the data we collect to test a new theory, or adjust it to a new development, we are going to have to be able reuse it. That means we are going to need to save it as open data."  ...Openness is not an issue for data alone, however. The research papers produced from the LHC experiments will also have to be open....Because science is a cumulative process, the greater the number of people who can access research, critique it, check it against the underlying data and then build on it, the sooner new solutions and theories will emerge. And as "Big Science" projects like the LHC become the norm, the need for openness will be even greater because the larger the project, the more complex the task, and the greater the need for collaboration....Certainly, if the public is asked to fund further multi-billion-pound projects like the [Large Hadron Collider], there will be growing pressure on scientists to maximise the value of the data they generate - and that will require greater openness.

Banks too big to fail can threaten the economy.  But experiments too big to repeat are no threat to research, at least if we take the lesson from their virtual unrepeatability and open up the process, data, software, and results so that repetition is as unnecessary as we can possibly make it.

Experiments too big to repeat don't face Garvey problems.  No matter how difficult it is to find the original results, finding them will be easier the redoing the original work.  But insofar as we tolerate access barriers to those results, we undermine our own enormous investment in the original research.  It's penny wise and pound foolish to fund an expensive experiment and make the results expensive for subsequent researchers to find and retrieve. 

If this is true of single experiments that are individually expensive, it's also true of portfolios of experiments that are collectively expensive.  One of the compelling rationales for a funder OA mandate is that the large investment in the funder's research budget should not be undermined by needless access barriers to the results.  Many funders turn to OA to solve "big portfolio" and "big science" problems at the same time.  The NIH research budget is more than the GDP of 140 nations.  When taxpayers devote that kind of money to research, they can maximize the return on their investment by ensuring that the results are available to all who can build on them.  In addition, the cost of an NIH-funded research project can be hundreds or even thousands of times greater than the cost of publication.  To allow its results to be held hostage by publishers is the same mistake on a different scale as spending billions on a Large Hadron Collider and locking up the results in toll-access publications.

* Not all the literature we want to find, retrieve, and read should be called "knowledge".  We want access to serious proposals for knowledge even if we're still evaluating them and debating their merits.  We want access even to knowledge claims that turn out to be false or one-sided.  We want access to the arguments.  We want access to datasets even when they are small, uninterpreted, or methodologically flawed.  We want access to observations that were true when they were made but time-bound and variable (like Garvey's own observation in 1979).  We want access to all the data, evidence, arguments, and algorithms that help us decide what to call "knowledge", not just to the results that we agree to call "knowledge".  If access depended on the *outcome* of debate and inquiry, then access could not *contribute* to debate and inquiry.

We don't have a good name for this category larger than knowledge, but here I'll just call it "research".  Research includes knowledge, knowledge claims and proposals, hypotheses and conjectures, data, algorithms, arguments, debate, evaluation, criticism, dissent, interpretation, summary, and review.

Recapitulating an experiment or observation can be trivial compared to recapitulating a generations-long and culture-wide (or cultures-wide) debate.  Large-scale debates, like large-scale experiments, are too big to repeat.  Like large-scale experiments, they are generally immune to Garvey problems.  Even if finding and retrieving all the relevant bits is extraordinarily difficult, it's usually easier than recapitulating the original process.  It doesn't follow that access barriers are low, merely that they are lower than repetition barriers.  Access can be formidably expensive and difficult, not only because of price and permission barriers, but because of the nearly opposite problems of information overload and inadequate filtering and search. 

In these ways, research in the wider sense, and nearly all research in the humanities, is like big science.  It's too big to repeat or recapitulate and carries intrinsic incentives for OA.  Leaving access barriers any higher than necessary means slowing the process of inquiry and wasting more effort and resources than necessary.

* Postscript.  This essay stands on its own, but it's also Part 1 of a longer piece.  I'm hoping to publish Part 2 next month.  In Part 2 I'll look at (1) when we *want* to repeat the original work, in order to test its reproducibility, and (2) when the rediscovery of older knowledge is made difficult not so much by access barriers as by ignorance, indifference, taboos, and Dark Ages 2.0.



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.

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

+ Policies

** The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada adopted a green OA mandate. Like every medical research funder in the world with an OA mandate, other than the NIH, it caps the permissible embargo at six months.

** The green OA mandate at Italy's Telethon Foundation took effect on July 22, 2010.  The policy mandates deposit in UKPMC, caps the permissible embargo at 6 months, offers to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals, and requires libre OA when it pays publication fees.

** The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) adopted a green libre OA mandate for SBCTC-funded research.  The policy applies to all 34 colleges in the consortium and requires OA under CC-BY licenses for software, educational resources, and "knowledge" resulting from SBCTC grants.

** The Australian National University adopted a policy encouraging but not requiring green and gold OA.  It requires faculty give the university copies of new journal articles and conference papers, for "reporting to the Higher Education Research Data Collection (HERDC)", an aspect of the policy that moves it toward a green OA mandate. "[T]he University will check for copyright compliance and if able, display the work through" the IR.  The new policy also encourages the use of open licenses. 

** A memo from President Obama's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Office for Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) asked all heads of executive departments and agencies to provide open data on their funding programs and "update their data sharing policies for research performers and create incentives for sharing data publicly in interoperable formats to ensure maximum value, consistent with privacy, national security, and confidentiality concerns...."

** Todd Tiahart (R-KS) introduced a FRPAA-inspired amendment to an appropriations bill covering the agencies within the US Department of Health and Human Services.  The language would extend the NIH OA mandate to other agencies in the department.  Unlike FRPAA itself, which Tiahart still supports, the amendment would be limited to agencies in the department and allow 12 month embargoes.  The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education adopted the amendment.

** On July 29, 2010, the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Policy, the Census and National Archives held a hearing on OA for federally funded research.  The prepared testimony of the witnesses is now online.

* The National Association of Graduate-Professional Students (NAGPS) issued a public statement supporting OA for publicly-funded research and supporting the July 29 House hearing on the issue.

* The House version of FRPAA (HR 5037) has two new co-sponsors:  Tim Holden (D-PA) and Pete Stark (D-CA).  The bill now has 10 co-sponsors.

* The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) adopted an OA policy for physical climate data in December 2009.  (Sorry for not catching this earlier.)

* UNESCO released an explicit statement in support of OA for publicly-funded research.  

* After a hearing at Germany's Ministry of Justice, two members of the German Parliament, Michael Kretschmer and Tancred Schipanski, called for OA to publicly-funded research in Germany.  Kretschmer  and Schipanski are members of the CDU/CSU party, the unification of the former Christian Democratic Union of Germany and the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.  Kretschmer is a member of the German Parliament's Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, and the Committee on Culture and Media.

* In late June, Germany's Alliance of German Science Organizations (Allianz der deutschen Wissenschaftsorganisationen) adopted a set of principles calling for OA to data arising from publicly-funded research. 

* Germany's Coalition for Action: Copyright for Education and Research (Aktionsbündnis: Urheberrecht für Bildung und Wissenschaft) called for OA-friendly reforms to German copyright law to foster education and research.

* Participants at a meeting at the University of Toronto (July 4, 2010) adopted a consensus statement calling on Canadian federal funding agencies to adopt OA mandates.

* Participants in THATCamp (Paris, May 18-19, 2010) called for OA to data, metadata, methods, code, formats and research findings.

* MELIBEA is a new directory OA institutional OA policies, giving each one a weighted score for its conformity to a set of recommended provisions.  MELIBEA was launched by Reme Melero and her colleagues at Spain's Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (IATA) within the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC). 

* Southern Illinois University revealed that it shares the University of California's frustration with the Nature Publishing Group and may have to take similar steps.  (I would have included this in my article on UC v. NPG last month but I didn't know about it; thanks to OpenBioMed.info for publicizing it.)

* Purdue University revealed that it, and the other 10 members of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, shared the University of California's frustration with the Nature Publishing Group, may have to take similar steps next year, and may not limit their actions to NPG.   (This took place after my article last month and I couldn't have included it.)

* Gayle Davis and Thomas Haas, Provost and President respectively of Grand Valley State University, publicly endorsed FRPAA. 

* A copyright reform bill in Brazil would allow DRM circumvention for fair use and punish attempts to hinder or prevent users from exercising their fair-use rights.

* A US federal appeals court ruled that breaking DRM for purposes of fair use doesn't always violate the anti-circumvention of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

* According to Michael Geist's reading of recent ACTA leaks, the US may be letting go of its strong anti-circumvention demands and allowing European language to decide the question.

* The Librarian of Congress created six new exceptions to the anti-circumvention language of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  The exceptions allow ripping DVD's for using video clips in teaching, research, and criticism, and hacking ebooks to support alternative formats and read-aloud functions.

* Todd Platts (R-PA) introduced a bill (HR 5704) in the US House of Representatives allowing faculty at the US military academies to obtain copyrights on their scholarly writings "in order to submit such works for publication" and require such faculty to transfer their copyrights to publishers.  Platts introduced the same bill in 2005.

* The American Psychological Association argued that requiring public access for publicly-funded research would violate President Obama's December 2009 memo on government transparency.  Obama's memo required exceptions for national security, privacy, and "other genuinely compelling interests".  The APA believes that putting the financial stability of TA publishers ahead of the research needs of researchers, even at agencies whose mission is to advance research, is a "genuinely compelling interest".

+ Journals

* Comparative Law Review is a new peer-reviewed journal co-sponsored by Polimetrica and the Italian Association of Comparative Law.

* The Journal of Bachelor of Nursing is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal, to launch in the fall.

* The European Journal of Psychotraumatology is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and Co-Action Publishing. It will launch in the fall.  

* Indiana Libraries converted to OA, starting with the first issue of 2010, its 29th year of publication.

* Molecular Neurodegeneration, published by BioMed Central, became the official journal of the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF).

* The American Physical Society (APS) is making its full backfile, to 1893, OA to users in US public libraries.  The service is free of charge both to end users and to participating libraries. 

* Penn State Harrisburg, Indiana University ScholarWorks, and Google digitized the backfiles of three journals of folklore studies:  Folklore Historian, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review, and Keystone Folklore. The digital editions are OA at the Hathi Trust and will soon also be OA at Google Books.

* OCLC became a member of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

* Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), OA journal published by the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, now has the highest impact factor (6.19) of any "monthly journal of original research both in environmental sciences and in public, environmental, and occupational health...."

* Switzerland's Molecular Diversity Preservation Initiative (MDPI) launched a new online submission and editorial system for its OA journals.  The new system also supports email TOC subscriptions and saved search queries. 

* The Public Library of Science released its progress update on the 2009 fiscal year, focusing on enhanced search, mobile features, and a new manuscript submission system to accommodate its growing submissions.

* The MLA's Ad Hoc Committee for Advocating Scholarly Communications updated its list of "STM publishers who have committed to no price increases (or actual decreases) for at least some of their journals for 2011..." The list now contains 9 publishers or journals.

The Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) released an open letter correcting the Chronicle of Higher Education's July 4 story on the University of Prince Edward Island's decision to cancel the Web of Science.  (PS: I mentioned the Chronicle story in my SOAN article last month on the University of California v. NPG.)  "In short, UPEI's cost increase in 2010 for Web of Science had nothing to do with Thomson Reuters, and everything to do with a difficult, sensitive, internal consortium decision."

* The Journal of Biomedical Optics now gives authors the option of paying a publication fee and getting *delayed* OA. 

+ Repositories and databases

* The American University in Cairo launched an institutional repository.

* The University of Costa Rica launched Kérwá, an institutional repository.  Kérwá will will "start as a voluntary deposit" repository, which sounds like an alert that an OA policy is in the works.

* The Metamorphosis Foundation launched an institutional repository.  The current version is in Macedonian language and will soon be accompanied by Albanian version

* The University of Leipzig joined the Qucosa (Quality Content of Saxony) consortial repository.

* The Scientific Library of the Academy of Economic Studies of Moldova will create an OA for economics, Moldava's first disciplinary repository.  The project is funded by a grant from the Norwegian Embassy in Romania.

* The American Folklore Society (AFS) and the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries launched a prototype of Open Folklore, an OA portal for published and unpublished research, digitization, preservation, and search.  

* NRC-CISTI announced the first steps toward a Canadian Virtual Health Library (CVHL), a joint project of the Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  

* The Cybermetrics Lab from Spain's CSIC (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) released the July 2010 version of its Webometrics project, ranking repositories and universities by (some of) their OA research output.

* RePEc added 12 new archives:  Universität Duisburg-Essen, SEACEN, La Trobe University, Oxford University (III), Sociedad Española de Historia Agraria, South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, Universidad de Zaragoza, Australian National University (V), Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, Economic Research Forum (Egypt), US Environmental Protection Agency, Auburn University...."

+ Data

* Climate scientists at the University of East Anglia were cleared of misconduct by an official UK inquiry.  However, the inquiry report pointedly called for more openness in climate research.

* The UK Met Office, or National Weather Service, used the Climategate report as an occasion to describe its own commitment to open data.  "We are making data and codes available and we have led an international proposal for a new global daily land surface temperature data set, which has the backing of the World Meteorological Organisation and has open access as its key element...."

* JISC used the Climategate report as an occasion to reiterate its commitment to open data.  "The report strongly states the need for researchers to be open with their data. JISC fully supports openness between researchers in sharing information, processes and outputs."  

* JISC is also funding a project at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit to implement to open-data recommendations of the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee. 

* The UK Information Commissioner ruled that the country's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compelled the sharing of research data collected by more than 30 years ago, some of which had not yet been published by the scientist who collected it, Michael Baillie, an emeritus professor of palaeoecology at Queen's University Belfast.  Part of the ruling was that the data were owned by the university and therefore covered by FOIA requests.

* Southampton University's School of Electronics and Computer Science became the first university department anywhere "to release all its public data in open linked data format", thanks to department members Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt.  The department assigned the data to the public domain under CC0, deliberately making attribution optional in order to promote mashups.

* Google bought Metaweb and its OA database, Freebase.  

* Google Labs launched Google Fusion Tables, a new platform for uploading, sharing, and visualizing data tables from spreadsheets, CSV files, or KML files.  Fusion Tables contain built-in tools for graphing quantitative data and mapping geographic data.  The new data platform also has an open API.

* The Public Library of Science uploaded its May 2010 Article Level Metrics (ALM) data to Google Fusion Tables.

* Microsoft Research enhanced its WorldWide Telescope with OA images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

* The International Monetary Fund released an OA database of the info gathered from its first Financial Access Survey.

* The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) converted FAOSTAT, the world's largest database of food, hunger and agricultural information, to OA.  Until now, users could access only limited amounts of into without charge and needed a subscription for access to more.  

+ Books

* The University of Ottawa Press launched a collection 36 OA books in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. 

* Google announced a new program of digital humanities research grants for text-mining Google's growing corpus of digitized books.  Grantees will have at least some text-mining access to the copyrighted books in the collection. 

* One of the Google grants will go to the Google Ancient Places (GAP) project for mapping the ancient books about certain geographic locations during certain historical periods.  http://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=81689&CultureCode=en

* Israel's Keter Publishing House struck a deal with Google Books to digitize Keter's Hebrew-language books.  (The article doesn't discuss the access terms for the digital editions.)

* Google and the National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek, KB) announced plans to digitize 160,000+ public-domain books from the KB.  The digital editions will be available from Google, the KB, and Europeana.  

* Google is funding librarians at the University of California - Riverside and Eastern Connecticut State University to improve the metadata for the 10+ million books Google has already digitized. 

* The 11-institution Committee for Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and Google struck a deal to digitize a large set of US Federal Documents.  The digital editions will be OA through Google Book Search, FDSys, and the Hathi Trust Digital Repository.

* The HathiTrust will soon "significantly increase" the number of OA, public-domain books in the collection not digitized by Google.  Currently that part of the collection consists of about 100,000 volumes digitized by the Internet Archive, the University of California, and the University of Michigan.  

* The Internet Archive has now digitized more than 23,000 books from the University of Illinois library.  

* Concord Free Press publishes print books and distributes them free of charge.  It asks users to make a voluntary contribution to charity, post it on the Concord web site, and pass on the book to a friend when they have finished with it.  In the past two years, the program has generated $142,000 in charitable donations.

+ Studies and surveys

* Kate Price launched a survey on how libraries support OA monographs and textbooks. She'll accept responses until July 30.

* The JISC-funded Names Project launched a survey "to identify the requirements of a name authority service for use by repositories of research outputs in the United Kingdom."

* Richard Cockram launched a survey on cloud computing in institutional repositories.

* ACRL launched a survey on the Scholarly Communication Toolkit it released last year.

* Jackie Wickham launched a short survey on the professional backgrounds of repository managers.

* JISC released a history of its contributions to OA.  

* A survey by Sigi Jottkandt found that "the majority (54%) of WorldCat-affiliated US academic libraries have at least one record for a DOAJ journal in their holdings."

* eIFL.net, DRIVER, the University of Kansas Libraries, and Key Perspectives published the results of their survey of digital repository activities in developing and transition countries.  Among the findings:  66% of the surveyed institutions in 20 countries have repositories and 13% have green OA mandates.

* eIFL released its study of the use of open licenses in developing and transition countries.  Among the findings:  far more OA journals published in eIFL network countries use CC-BY licenses than CC-BY-NC-ND licenses (321 v. 16).  Three repositories in China, Poland, and South Africa provide libre green OA under CC licenses, and three others in Botswana, Poland and South Africa recommend it.

* A report from the European Commission estimates that "across Europe" 13% of the books still under copyright are orphans.

* Jorum released the results of its April JorumOpen survey.

* The Research Information Network released its study of how researchers are using Web 2.0 tools.  Many of the survey questions were about OA and open science.

* The University of East Anglia released the results of its survey on repository policies for obtaining or verifying copyright permissions.  Among the results:  "86% [of surveyed institutions] manage the IPR centrally, with 60% carrying out the functions within the Library/Information Services, employing 1-2 fte staff to do so....A couple commented that the library double checks the IPR even if academics have done so already, and it was also noted that awareness levels of the issues need raising among academics/researchers...."

* Heather Piwowar described a potential research project on how open datasets, which allow reuse, are actually reused.  

* Wayne Miller outlined a coordinated stakeholder plan to implement the Durham Statement on Open Access to Legal Scholarship.

* The US Department of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) has long championed the proposition that accelerated sharing of knowledge will accelerate discovery.  A 2005 literature search for the earliest traces of the proposition came up dry.  "Unwilling to accept this negative result and implicitly questioning the thoroughness of the literature search, we commissioned a second literature search entirely independent of the first and, if possible, even more rigorous. We were again surprised when that literature search, too, was unable to find any indication that the thought had been previously recorded."

* A Wellcome Trust analysis revealed that the compliance rate with its OA mandate is 44%. 

* Tania Bardyn released the results of her survey of UCLA researchers.  Among the findings:  half didn't know know the stated intention of the NIH policy.  95.4% had never tried to retain their copyright when publishing in a journal. 

* A British Library study of Generation Y doctoral students (born between 1982 and 1994) found that, while they generally support OA, "most Generation Y students do not have a clear understanding of what open access means and this negatively impacts their use of open access resources...."

* The British Library released a collection of essays on how UK copyright law helps or hinders research.  While not designed to reflect just one point of view, the essays reflect "a consensus that the laws on copyright...must be redefined in the context of a modernising world and developing research techniques...." 

* UNESCO released its World Social Science Report 2010.  It endorses gold OA but worries about the effect of publication fees on authors from developing countries.  (It doesn't seem to be aware that most OA journals charge no fees, and doesn't seem to be aware of green OA.)

* WIPO released its Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain.  Although the report was commissioned by the OA-friendly WIPO Development Agenda, and some of the coverage is sympathetic, it describes OA as an "ideology" wanting to "subvert the intellectual property regime from within" and "socialize intellectual property, counter to the very meaning of the exclusivity that
characterizes it."

+ Software and tools

* Google Scholar launched a new feature allowing users to search within the set of articles citing a given article. 

* antropologi.info launched the beta version of a Google custom search engine covering a large number of OA journals of anthropology.

* David Haden launched Intwine, a Google custom search engine covering "all URLs catalogued by the Intute Arts and Humanities cataloguers at the demise of Intute."

* The British Library upgraded its Search Our Catalog service to search for research datasets.

* VuFind left beta and launched version 1.0.  It allows library users to search the institutional repository at the same time as the OPAC.  

* DuraSpace opened the source code for its DuraCloud platform. 

* Silicos NV, a computational chemistry company based in Belgium, opened the source code to most of its proprietary software.

* The Corporation for National Research Initiatives (CNRI) put its Handle System technology under an open license.  Among the important users of the Handle System technology are the DOI system and DSpace.  

* Akila Wajirasena updated the Creative Commons Open Office plugin with tools for using CC0 and assigning work to the public domain.

* Ex Libris released SFX version 4.0, the most widely used OpenURL link resolver.

* Richard Jones published a preview of new features coming in version 2.0 of the SWORD protocol. 

* Stuart Lewis released a five-part SWORD Course.

* Connexions is working on EPUB versions and mobile access for all its collections.  

* Wikipedia is exploring ways to incorporate semantic tags. 

* Mark Leggott, head librarian at the University of Prince Edward Island, proposed an OA, wiki-based index of literature called "Knowledge for All", to be built to cooperating libraries. 

* The US National Archives launched a wiki, "Our Archives", to allow "researchers, historians, archivists, and citizen archivists to work together to create pages on specific records or topics as well as to share information and resources to connect with other researchers...."

* Harvard's Office for Scholarly Communication (OSC) launched a Facebook page with a news feed about the OSC and featured articles recently deposited in the Harvard repository.

* Germany's Informationsplattform open-access.net launched accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and SlideShare.

+ Awards and milestones

* SPARC Europe gave its 2010 Award for Outstanding Achievements in Scholarly Communications to CERN "for its comprehensive approach to Open Access, especially in respect of the SCOAP3 project...."

* Germany's Verein für freien Wissenszugang released the nominees for its 2010 SuMa (Suchmaschinen) awards. It will announce the winners on October 6, 2010.

* Jorum judges picked the top ten entries in this year's Jorum Learning and Teaching competition, and invited the community to vote for the winner (before August 6). 

* The British Library's Timelines: Sources from History won the "opening the world of knowledge" award from the Nominet Internet Awards.

* Karen Schneider's personal award for the "best product demo" at this year's annual American Library Association meeting went to ContentDM.

* This year's Developer Challenge, announced at the Madrid Open Repositories meeting, was won by Richard Davis and Rory McNicholl from the University of London Computer Centre.  The challenge was to "Create a functioning repository user-interface, presenting a single metadata record which includes as many automatically created, useful links to related external content as possible...."

* MIT's OpenCourseWare project passed the milestone of 2,000 courses.

+ Other

* The Medieval Academy of America received a $120,000 grant from the US National Endowment for the Humanities to digitize 75+ years' worth of MAA publications in nine languages.  The digital editions will be OA at the MAA web site. 

* The US Institute of Museum and Library Services gave the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute Museum a grant to launch an OA database of its diverse digital collections.

* A grant from the World Digital Library (WDL) enabled the National Library of Uganda to launch a Digital Conversion Center "to digitize documents relating to the history and culture of Uganda for inclusion on its own website and on the WDL...."

* Argentina's National Agency for Promotion of Science and Technology and Inter-University National Council launched a funding program for OA repositories.

* Brigham Young University received a grant from the Hewlett Foundation to compare the pedagogical effectiveness of OA and TA textbooks.

* The Yale University Library launched the OA Yale Silk Road Database.

* Bloomsbury Acacdemic announced plans to publish an OA edition of the one-million page personal archive Winston Churchill.

* Oxford University started work on an OA archive on the Anglo-Saxon period of British history.  Oxford is soliciting the public for contributions:  "stories, poems, writing, art or songs they have composed or heard that relate to Old English and the Anglo-Saxons...translations of Anglo-Saxon texts, pictures and videos of Anglo-Saxon buildings or monuments, recordings of Old English, and even videos of historical re-enactments...."

* Sonkita Conteh reports that there are "plans to establish a Sierra Leone Legal Information Institute which would make judgments and rulings of courts as well as other types of legal information available online, free of charge...."

* Jerry Mansfield described how the Center for Legislative Archives of the US National Archives and Records Administration provided OA to the findings of the US 9/11 Commission (a.k.a. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States).

* Xplana is a new cloud-based platform for student learning and social networking.  In addition to supporting the purchase of TA textbooks, it will "deliver open academic resources that are collected from across the Web directly to students...."

* Science 3.0 is a new science-networking site.  "We do not have the answers to all of the problems associated with open access and bringing science to the masses. We are the place where like minded people can collaborate to generate these answers...."

* OpenNotes is a new project in which doctors share their medical notes with patients.  So far, "[m]ore than 100 doctors and 25,000 patients are participating...."

* The Open Source Initiative is considering the Open Knowledge Definition (from the Open Knowledge Foundation) as its official definition of open data.

* CERN became a "creator level" corporate sponsor of Creative Commons. 

* The National Library of Scotland joined Flickr Commons.

* Steve Carson called for help in constructing a wiki-based timeline of the open courseware movement, sponsored by the Open Courseware Consortium. http://www.ocwconsortium.org/community/blog/2010/07/22/help-build-a-history-of-ocw/

* Rob Ingram launched a campaign to ask Google to create a "Doodle" (Google home-page graphic) for Open Access Week.

* Phil Davis reported on the obstacles Cornell University puts in the way of grad students who want to make their dissertations OA. 

* Starting yesterday, the University of Western Ontario allowed its grad students to submit their theses and dissertations electronically through the IR.

* Pfizer announced that it will provide libre OA to the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) and the General Anxiety Disorder questionnaire (GAD-7), two widely-used assessment scales for diagnosing mental disorders. 

* The African Copyright and Access to Knowledge (ACA2K) project published a book, Access to Knowledge in Africa: The Role of Copyright.  The book focuses on eight African countries and recommends strategies for creating "access-friendly copyright environments".  One chapter concludes that South African copyright law impedes "access to learning materials via digital portals".

* Last February, Elsevier articles began linking to relevant parts of the OA PANGAEA (Publishing Network for Geoscientific & Environmental Data) database and vice versa.  Now Elsevier and PANGAEA have taken their collaboration one step further.  Elsevier has added "a map to every ScienceDirect article that has associated research data at PANGAEA; it displays all geographical locations for which such data is available. A single click then brings the user from the ScienceDirect article to the research data set at PANGAEA...."

* Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum International and the Purdue University Libraries joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* Six new organizations joined Healthcare Information for All by 2015 (HIFA2015):  Fundación de Neurociencias (Spain), iMedPub (Spain), Institute of Family Medicine (Kenya), International Centre for Eye Health / Community Eye Health Journal (UK), IntraHealth International (USA), and the LiveWell Initiative (Nigeria).

* The Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing was translated into French.

* Patricia Clausnitzer translated the Open Knowledge Definition into Belarusian.

* Princeton University will pull the plug on its University Channel, "a Web service that streams videos of public-policy lectures, citing financial reasons."  But it will look for other ways to provide OA to many of the same lectures and conferences. 

* Graham Stone, the Chair of the UK Council of Research Repositories (UKCoRR), said in a public statement, "I must admit that I am starting to agree with the gold only route, although I'm not sure I should...."

* A US federal appeals court ruled that the Uruguay Round Agreements allowed the retroactive copyright of works that already passed into the public domain (PS:  what I've called piracy from the public domain).  Note that in the same month, even a new WIPO report opposed the retroactive copyright of works in the public domain.

* BP is trying to hire scientists from the US gulf coast to do research on the gulf oil spill.  The BP contract "prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years....[and requires them] to withhold data even in the face of a court order if BP decides to fight such an order. It stipulates that scientists will be paid only for research approved in writing by BP...."


Coming this month

* OA-related conferences in August 2010

* Other OA-related conferences



In 2008 I started moving many of my offline lists to the wiki-based Open Access Directory for community editing and updating.

I have many more offline lists that I'll move to OAD over time.  But I've recently started moving some of my offline lists into the OA Tracking Project (OATP), the social tagging system I launched last year for classifying older OA developments and alerting users to new ones.

For example, in June I took my offline list of studies and anecdotes on the evidence that OA editions of full-text books may increase the net sales of print editions, and tagged each item with "oa.books.sales" for OATP.  I asked Klaus Graf, who kept a similar list, to do the same and he agreed.  All the items on both our lists are now available in the "oa.books.sales" tag library. 

In July I took my several offline lists of OA-related case studies and tagged each item for OATP.  In this case I introduced different tags for different kinds of case studies.  For example: 

(or case studies of OA journal funds)

(for case studies of OA journals)

(for case studies of OA policies at funding agencies)

(for case studies of OA policies at universities)

(for case studies of OA repositories)

Just to be clear:  the items tagged with "oa.case.policies.universities", for example, are not the university policies themselves but articles or blog posts describing their development or analyzing their provisions. 

If these topics are relevant to your work, please consider linking to the tag libraries and please consider making them more complete by tagging new items as they arise and older items so far omitted.  (When tagging new items, also use "oa.new"; when tagging older items, simply omit "oa.new".)

If there are other OATP tags you'd like to try to make retroactively comprehensive, please let me know.  I may be able to help coordinate volunteers to agree on the tag and share the labor.


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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