Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #150
October 2, 2010
by Peter Suber
Read this issue online
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I have a confession to make. For as long as I've urged scholars to support OA, I've urged them to self-archive. But I wasn't systematic about doing it myself until last year.
I'm not as guilty as I look. I did make all my work OA, with the exception of one 1998 book for which I don't yet have permission. In fact, I started making my work OA in the mid-1990's, about five years before I started serious OA activism. But I made these works OA on my personal web site. For most of the past 15 years, I knew that making them OA through a repository would be better, and I urged other scholars to make their work OA through repositories.
The work on my personal web site was bona fide green OA. It was even libre green OA, since I used a custom-written open license. (Creative Commons didn't launch until 2002.)
But personal web sites at universities tend to disappear when people change jobs or die. Personal web sites from GoDaddy and the like tend to disappear the day you forget to renew them. Then the domain names are bought up by pornographers who use your accumulated Google rank to boost their traffic. Most of the surprised visitors will blame you for the surprise, and they'd be half-right to do so.
I knew the vulnerability of personal web sites from firsthand experience. After I spent about two years coding HTML copies of my print publications for OA through my Earlham home page, a student worker with the best of intentions reorganized the whole college web site in 1997 without consulting users. He changed the URL of every page and broke all incoming links.
Repositories don't do that (or shouldn't). They use persistent URLs (or should). They take steps toward long-term preservation (or should). If you put your work in a repository, it should not only be OA, and indexed by search engines, but should stay put even if you move to a different institution, stop paying your bills, or drift from the first to the second half of your institution's publish or perish policy.
I knew that, and I made the case for repositories again and again.
(I probably made the case most extensively in this article from May 2004.)
* My cobbler problem
Why didn't the cobbler's children have shoes? Was it overwork? Too many children? Priority for paying customers? Hypocrisy? Secret disdain for shoes? Someone should investigate.
In my case, I would certainly have used a repository if I could have. Or I hope I would have.
When I started making my work OA on my web site in the mid-1990's, OA repositories were scarce, non-interoperable, and hard to search. (The Open Archives Initiative didn't launch until 1999.) Apart from my personal plans for my own work on my own site, OA had barely crossed my radar and I didn't know about the pioneering early repositories. But when I did learn about them, I joined Stevan Harnad and others in making the case for self-archiving. (Stevan first proposed OA self-archiving in 1994.)
The snag was that Earlham didn't have an institutional repository, and there weren't suitable subject repositories in either of my two subject areas, philosophy and OA.
In March 2004, I persuaded E-LIS and dLIST, two OA repositories for library and information science, to accept articles about OA.
That's when I lost my first excuse. I did deposit a couple of pieces in E-LIS, but I didn't systematically deposit my OA pieces in E-LIS. I kept thinking: "I'd prefer to put all my pieces in one repository. So I'll wait for Earlham to launch one. Meantime, the pieces are still OA through my personal web site." It wasn't a bad excuse, but in retrospect I find it inadequate. I'm glad I didn't die before working out my present solution. (Full disclosure: I have other reasons to be glad I didn't die.)
There were two small subject repositories for philosophy fairly early in the game, PhilSci and Sammelpunkt. But both specialized in kinds of philosophy other than mine. The first general OA repository for philosophy was PhilPapers. But PhilPapers launched its public beta in January 2009, almost 15 years after I started making my work OA through my personal web site, and the same year that I found my current solution and started systematic self-archiving at Harvard's institutional repository, DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard).
What other options did I have before 2009?
In 2004, Brewster Kahle approved my plan to launch a universal repository at the Internet Archive. Motivated in part by my own quandary, the idea was to build a repository to accept deposits from scholars who didn't have repositories in their institutions or fields. An ambitious second layer was to mirror and preserve all the willing OA repositories in the world. I still like the idea, and I'm sorry it never got off the ground. (Long story.)
Within a few years several repositories began offering "universal repository" options to scholars with nowhere else to turn, not even counting those that were universal for scholars in a given field. For example, Tampub was primarily for Finnnish scholars, and Ad Astra for Romanian scholars, but both offered refuge to homeless foreigners. The British Library Research Archive was universal for UK scholars, and Israel Scholar Works was universal for Jewish scholars. Bepress' ResearchNow was universal for preprints. And there was a slew of repositories like DocStoc, Egnyte, Google Knol, Scribd, Twidox, Wikimedia Commons, and Wikisource, so universal that they didn't limit themselves to academic or research literature.
The universal repository options available today are more attractive than any of these. But like PhilPapers, they were too late for me. They're functional and even elegant. But by the time they launched and I had confidence that they'd work for me, I'd already solved my problem through DASH.
Depot launched for UK scholars in April 2007. Despite the initial limitation to the UK, it had exactly the right idea. It would take deposits from any UK scholar and either redirect them to the scholar's own institutional repository or host them itself. When it faced the loss of its UK funding in 2009, I was among those recommending that it become international, or truly universal, and seek funding from outside the UK. It succeeded in late 2009, and just re-opened for business this fall under the new name of OpenDepot.
OpenAire is a Depot-like service for European scholars, but it didn't launch until February 2010.
Academia.edu and Mendeley both launched in 2008, and were operational and universal before OpenDepot, before OpenAire, and before I had the DASH option. I liked them both, and explored them as potential solutions to my problem.
Although I had a slight preference for institutional repositories, my chief reservation was that I felt obliged to wait for some evidence that they would survive. I've felt this caution about every new app or service I've wanted to use since the mid 1980's, when I had to migrate all my academic writings from WordStar. Not even the small world of universal OA repositories for academic research was immune to start-up failures. Scholas was a promising universal repository, but it died in 2009, the same year it launched.
Perhaps a failed repository would let me harvest my deposited papers for redeposit elsewhere. But perhaps it wouldn't. It would depend on how it failed. The significant labor of depositing my backlog of existing publications made me extra cautious.
Today, however, there are four universal academic repositories worth your attention: OpenDepot, OpenAire, Academia, and Mendeley. If you're in the situation I was formerly in, without a repository in your field or institution, check them out. I'd look at OpenDepot and OpenAire first, since they rest on the worldwide network of interoperable institutional repositories. By redirecting deposits to IRs, when IRs exist, they help support institutional cultures of OA archiving. By hosting deposits themselves, when IRs don't exist, they provide a valuable interim solution while IRs continue to spread.
In that sense, my preference for OpenDepot and OpenAire derives from my preference for institutional archiving. Here's how I made that case in February 2009:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/02-02-09.htm#choicepointsThere are great advantages in having authors deposit in their own institutional repository. It helps institutions share, analyze, and evaluate their own research output. It adds local incentives to funder mandates to prod and reward author participation. It adds robustness to preservation, on the LOCKSS principle, by distributing the literature around a large network. It ensures that the system will scale with the growth of published research, simply from the fact that distributed networks are more capacious than any individual node. Above all, it nurtures local cultures of self-archiving at every university, which will benefit non-funded research and research funded by non-mandating funders.
But in the same article I argued that the stakes are low in the choice between institutional and disciplinary repositories, and that your repository choice needn't be exclusive. Now that my papers are flowing into DASH (the process is ongoing), I'm happy for them to be on deposit elsewhere as well, especially if it takes no extra work. PhilPapers, for example, is willing to populate its repository by harvesting institutional repositories for philosophy papers, using its own home-grown subject-matter criteria to decide what counts as a philosophy paper. Just last month, I sicced it on DASH and it should soon host its own set of my philosophy papers.
(It should. As of yesterday, however, it had harvested 100 philosophy papers from DASH, none of them mine. Either it's still harvesting or my papers slip through its criteria.)
I'm very willing to do the same with Academia and Mendeley, for example, when they can harvest from DASH or from my DASH RSS feed. Academia and Mendeley both offer automated methods of deposit, but they don't yet work for me, unfortunately, in part because they're limited to PDF. Note to repository managers: Supporting PDF alongside other formats like HTML and XML is a feature; supporting PDF-only is a bug.
* Finally a solution
I became a Berkman Fellow at Harvard in July 2009. That fall I learned I was eligible to deposit in DASH, and the deposits began early in 2010.
Reaching this stage was huge relief. I moved from a vulnerable personal web site to a durable institutional repository. And I moved from making my own work OA, in isolation, to doing my part to populate an OA repository and nurture a culture of OA archiving at the hosting institution. These were big steps for me, in part because I'd been advocating them for so many years. My work was safer, but I was also in harmony with my long-standing public advice to fellow scholars.
While working toward tenure at Earlham in the 1980s, I mentally compared the process to whitewater kayaking. Tenure itself felt like an eddy turn into a still pool. You're still in your boat and still in the rapids. But you're parked behind a rock protecting you from the current. You can pause, take a breath, look around, register your progress, and think about how to navigate the visible part of the river below. The best way for me to describe the relief of systematic self-archiving in an institutional repository is that it felt like another eddy turn downstream. It felt like Tenure 2.0. The turbulence from which I'd escaped was the insecurity of my personal web site and the dissonance of falling short of my honest recommendations.
For most researchers, the relief should be even greater because self-archiving marks the even greater transition from TA to OA. It makes work available, for the first time, to everyone who could make use of it, apply it, cite it, or build on it. It bypasses the access barriers which keep you from finding readers and keep readers from finding you. I missed out on this most significant layer of relief, or realized it incrementally over the past 15 years, because everything I'm putting into DASH was already OA elsewhere.
* What was easy
Depositing my philosophy articles and preprints was probably much like depositing anyone else's academic articles and preprints. (I note a few exceptions below.) But after 2001 or so, I was publishing much more on OA than philosophy, and for a variety of reasons depositing my work on OA was less typical. So let me make a few more confessions, in the spirit of acknowledging the ways in which I was an easy case.
1. My newsletter articles, and most of my other OA pieces, were published under CC-BY licenses. I already had explicit, indisputable permission to deposit them. I didn't have to wonder about it, didn't have to risk proceeding without it, didn't have to waste time requesting it, didn't have to pay a dime to secure it, and didn't have to make dark deposits while I worked on the problem of how to open them up. Permissions can be a big headache for some authors and some publications.
There are good ways to solve these problems for future publications (ask me about them!), but no particularly good ways to solve them for retroactive deposits.
2. For the same reason, I had permission to deposit the published editions. I didn't have to deposit inferior versions and I didn't have to hunt down earlier versions which I might not have kept or kept unaltered. Laying hands on the version one is permitted to deposit can be a big problem for some authors and some publications.
3. I was strongly motivated and already understood the issues. "Strongly motivated" is an understatement. I was avid; I was guilty with impatience. I didn't need a mandate from a funder or employer. I didn't even need encouragement.
In practice, as I've often argued, OA mandates are implemented through expectations, education, incentives, and assistance, not coercion. But I didn't even need expectations, education, or incentives. I did receive assistance, however, which in gratitude I will treat separately:
4. Harvard pays a cadre of student workers, Open Access Fellows or OAFs, to deposit work in DASH. The Office for Scholarly Communication put a hard-working and meticulous OAF on my case. (Thank you OSC, and thank you JC Guest.)
I hope I would have begun systematic self-archiving as soon as I learned that I was eligible to deposit in DASH, even without assistance. But I admit that I'll never know for sure, since I never faced the question in that form. I had OAF assistance as soon as I had deposit rights. I'll also admit that the assistance made a huge difference in my plan for retroactive deposits, which was many times more daunting than my plan for prospective deposits.
* Bumps and decisions
I knew that my experience would be easier than most in at least those four ways. So I took careful note of the bumps in the road, large or small, and the decisions we had to make along the way that didn't rise to the level of bumps. Here's a round number of them in the spirit of acknowledging that even easy cases can face unexpected complexities.
1. I was the first DASH author to want to deposit HTML rather than PDF. This was no problem for DASH, technically or administratively. But we did have to ask to be sure. This decision even made life easier for my OAF, since she didn't have to create PDFs. The HTML also allowed her to edit links to my other publications, changing them from relative URLs pointing to Earlham copies into absolute URLs pointing to DASH copies.
2. Converting those URLs turned out to be a bump. When she deposited a piece with no such links to convert, the whole process took 15-20 minutes per paper. When she had to convert links, it took about 40 minutes. For the first 200 deposits or so, she converted all the links needing conversion. For subsequent deposits, she didn't, but she took notes on which pieces had unconverted links so that we could go back and modify them later.
3. When I created the OA edition of my 1990 book, The Paradox of Self-Amendment, I put separate chapters into separate files. We could easily deposit each file into DASH, but we couldn't easily show that they were connected to one another. This is precisely the problem to be solved by OAI-ORE (Open Archives Initiative - Object Reuse and Exchange), the latest iteration of the OAI protocol. DSpace doesn't yet support OAI-ORE by default, but Harvard is studying ways to add OAI-ORE support. Meantime, we're improvising another solution. In addition to depositing the separate chapter files, we're depositing a table of contents file with links to each of the chapters. When I link to "the book", I'll link to the table of contents file. (This is still in the works, so you won't find it on DASH just yet.)
I'm also working on a single-file PDF version with a reader who likes PDF better than I do. (Just about everybody likes PDF better than I do.) I'll deposit it when it's ready, but it's not ready yet.
4. A handful of my philosophy papers were written for publication, but for different reasons I never submitted them and no longer plan to submit them. The word "forthcoming" in the metadata would be misleading. What term should we use instead? This one is still under discussion. It should come up with other DASH depositors but came up with me first.
5. I wanted to deposit my newsletter articles as stand-alone articles, but I also wanted to deposit my newsletter issues. Should we deposit just the issues, with internal links to the articles? (This is what I do at my personal web site.) Or should we deposit the two separately? We decided to do the latter. The main reason is that DSpace wants a separate file for each record. I don't object to this solution, but I do note that it was driven by the software, not by considering what would be easiest or clearest for users.
6. DASH links to the published editions of deposited articles, a practice I support. But what is the published edition of my newsletter articles? The version at the SPARC distribution list (without internal links to internal sections)? The version at my Earlham home page (with internal links to the internal sections)? Or should we simply link to SPARC itself, as the publisher? After some discussion we settled on the second of these, although in time we may add links to the SPARC copies as well.
7. Some of my newsletter articles were subsequently published elsewhere as well. DASH has no problem listing the other versions. But what should we do when the second version is a translation, or contains notable revisions, and I don't have permission to deposit it? In these cases we decided to deposit the newsletter edition alone and link to the other editions.
8. When I find a typo in an older newsletter article, I fix it in the edition posted to my personal web site. I know that violates archival purity. But I tell users that I do it, and I limit the fixes to typos. Can I do the same with DASH deposits? At the moment the answer is no. I have permission to deposit but not to revise existing deposits. I can ask someone higher in the chain of command to make a revision, but I won't want to do that very often.
9. Some of my philosophy publications use logic notation, and I posted them online before HTML 4 gave us a good way to represent logic symbols as text characters. In those days we had to use small images of the symbols. (I feel like an old codger talking this way.) I could either convert the files to PDFs, which would integrate the text and images, or I could edit each file to replace the images with text characters from special symbol fonts introduced with HTML 4. I'm choosing the second path, though I haven't finished doing the work yet. This is definitely a bump in the road, and one I trace to my decision to favor HTML, or to offer HTML in addition to PDF whenever I can.
10. A few of my publications have actual images other than logic symbols. In these cases I caved and decided to convert the files to PDF. When DASH supports OAI-ORE, I may go back and deposit the HTML text and images separately, and use ORE methods to aggregate the separate files.
11. In a few cases I never got around to depositing the full text at my Earlham web site. The text was OA at the publisher's site and I linked to the publisher's copy. (I don't approve this practice and can't remember why I felt constrained to follow it. Either I was very overstretched at the time or I didn't have permission to do anything else, both easy for me to believe.) However, in nearly all of these cases, by the time I got around to self-archiving the pieces, the links were dead! I had to find working URLs, which I was able to do. This was a good lesson in the benefits of persistent URLs, and in the benefits of going beyond repository links to repository storage.
12. A couple of my works are print-only. I published them before the net and web, never had digital editions, and never rekeyed them. In these cases we'll deposit image scans. We'll deposit OCR'd text versions as well, though we don't know yet whether we'll have time to deposit at the same time as the image scans or whether we'll have to add them retroactively later on.
13. When I pulled the plug on Open Access News in April 2010, my DASH archiving was already in process. I asked whether I could deposit the now-complete blog archive. The content was entirely acceptable to the DASH managers, even desirable. The problem was that in its raw form it consisted of more than 400 separate archive files (18,000+ posts over 8+ years). Charles Bailey was good enough to consolidate all the files into one zipped file about half a GB in size. The unzipped files would be unwieldy but searchable, and the zipped file would be the reverse. Which would be better? While we were mulling this over, an elegant solution emerged from a different quarter.
The Harvard University Archives, separate from DASH, agreed to harvest and preserve my entire Earlham web site, including the unzipped blog archive, in its forthcoming "H-Sites" series. It will even re-harvest periodically to capture my continuing updates and rewrite my links to Earlham pages so that they point to archived copies of those pages. This too is still in process but should be ready soon.
Meantime, the blog archive is still up and searchable at its original location...
...and Charles Bailey's 475 MB zipped version of the blog archive is available from his site.
14. We decided to omit a lot. In particular we're omitting interviews where I'm the subject rather than the author and don't hold the copyright. I could seek permission, but for now I don't have time. We're omitting my course hand-outs, although I was scrupulous about making them all OA when I was teaching. But I'm no longer teaching. One day I'll want them in the repository, and DASH will accept them; but they're not a priority for now.
15. Finally there were the problems I feel lucky to face. Should I replace the Earlham copies of these works with redirects to the DASH copies? (Pro: It would steer people and search engines to the persistent URLs. Con: It would sacrifice the Google juice on the Earlham copies.) Should I keep the Earlham copies up but just add links to the DASH copies? For now, I'm taking the latter course, or I will when I have time. But one day, especially if Earlham wants to save server space when I perish, I'd like redirects.
* Here are a few links:
My home page at Earlham, where I've posted all my work to date (minus one book for which I lack permission)
My section within DASH (still growing)
RSS feed for my section within DASH
DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard)
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.
** Portugal's Instituto Politécnico de Bragança adopted an OA mandate.
** Ukraine's V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University adopted an OA mandate.
** Erasmus University Rotterdam adopted an OA mandate to take effect in 2011.
** France's Institut français de recherche pour l'exploitation de la mer (Ifremer) adopted an OA mandate.
** Denmark's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, called for OA to publicly-funded research in Denmark. Danish universities met at the Niels Bohr Institute to discuss OA mandates. In May, Denmark's Open Access Committee recommended OA mandates for Danish funding agencies and universities.
* The Great Lakes Protection Grant Program seems to have adopted an OA mandate for at least some grantee project data. Its most recent call for proposals stipulates that "Successful applicants must maintain open access to certain project data, records, and information...."
* Neelie Kroes, the European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, called for "expanding" Europe's OA policies.
* The European Commission asked the Reflection Group (Comité des Sages) to recommend ways to speed up digitization and OA for Europe's cultural heritage. The Comité des Sages in turn launched a public consultation (which ended two days ago, on September 30).
* Germany's Green Party adopted a resolution called for open licensing and libre OA for content, especially in education and research, developed with public funds.
* Germany's Stiftung Preußicher Kulturbesitz announced its support for OA and its plan to write an addition to the Berlin Declaration for museums and cultural institutions.
* Hideki Uchijima reported Hokkaido University is thinking about strengthening its 2008 OA policy into an OA mandate.
* Duke University released a set of model letters, release forms and licenses for OA distribution.
* Thirty-two Chinese research libraries released a joint open letter to international STM publishers protesting journal price increases as monopolistic, hyperinflationary, "totally unreasonable, and categorically unacceptable".
* Nature editorialized that many of the problems besetting Chinese journal publishers could best be solved by converting to OA.
* A Southern African Development Community workshop on agricultural research launched a regional Open Access Working Group to work on information sharing, interoperability, and OA mandates.
* A workshop on South Africa's Intellectual Property Rights from Publicly Financed Research and Development Act (2008) reprised criticism that the act moved in exactly the wrong direction, requiring commercialization rather than OA for publicly-funded research.
* Despite South Africa's 2008 IPR act (previous item), the country's Minister of Science and Technology, Grace Naledi Mandisa Pandor, announced what looked like a government OA policy: "The government will ensure all government content, and content developed using government resources, is made Open Content, unless analysis on specific content shows that proprietary licensing or confidentiality is substantially beneficial...."
* SPARC and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access called on OA supporters in the US to ask their Senators and Representatives to co-sponsor FRPAA (S.1373, H.R. 5037).
* The Alliance for Taxpayer Access called on OA supporters in the US to thank William Lacy Clay (D-MO), chairman of the US House Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform, for hosting the first Congressional hearing on OA to publicly-funded research (July 29, 2010).
* Carl Malamud called on the US government to spend "a minimum of $250 million per year for a decade" on digitizing government information, including the primary sources of US law, and making it all OA.
* Thirteen scientific societies wrote a joint open letter to the US Senate calling for public funds for research on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, on the ground that private funds from BP come with unacceptable copyright restrictions which limit public access to the research.
* Canada's Access to Information and Privacy Commissioners adopted a resolution calling for Canadian PSI to be made available to the public "free or at minimal cost".
* Australia's Secretariat of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Publications recommended that the government launch an OA repository for the Parliamentary papers.
* The University of Michigan joined the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE).
* The University of Barcelona joined the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE). It launched its OA journal fund in July 2010 and began accepting applications in September.
* Wiley-Blackwell hired a Senior Open Access Marketing Manager, Natasha White, formerly of BMC. The press release suggests a reason why: "Together with a number of our society partners, we are experimenting with alternative models. In addition, several of our journals offer free access to older content and to certain types of material, such as review articles...."
* UNESCO advertised for a temporary OA consultant to help it reach three significant benchmarks during 2010-2011: " Multilingual platform for the sharing of open scientific resources accessed by users from at least 3 regions;  Agreements reached with 3 publishers to facilitate access to the state-of-the-art scientific research;  Open Access policies adopted in 5 countries; ..."
* Mechanical Circulatory Support is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Co-Action Publishing.
* The Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice is a new no-fee, peer-reviewed OA journal published by Medknow on behalf of the Associacion Ayuda Enfermo Neuroquirurgico.
* Psychiatrische Forschung is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the University of Regensburg.
* Artefakt is a new peer-reviewed journal of art history publishing work by students and young scholars under 35.
* Journal of Systems Chemistry is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Chemistry Central.
* Animals is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from MDPI.
* Coatings ("a journal of coatings and surface engineering") is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Molecular Diversity Preservation Initiative (MDPI).
* Journal of Neuroscience and Behavioral Health is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Academic Journals.
* Cell Medicine is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Cognizant Communication Corporation.
* The International Journal of Surgery Case Reports is a new, fee-based peer-reviewed OA journal from Elsevier. I believe this is Elsevier's first full (non-hybrid) OA journal, though Elsevier does not draw attention to this fact in its press release.
* Gold Bulletin is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal sponsored by the World Gold Council and to be published by SpringerOpen. (Yes, this will be the first gold gold OA journal.)
* Quaternary Science Journal / Eiszeitalter und Gegenwart converted to OA.
* Portugal's Project Blimunda began feeding data on Portuguese OA journal publishers to Sherpa RoMEO.
* Norway's NORA project (Norwegian Open Research Archive) began feeding data on Norwegian OA journal publishers to Sherpa RoMEO.
* Hindawi's OA journals are now OAI-compliant.
* Versita launched Versita Open, a digital publishing platform for OA journals. Participating titles may be fee-based or no-fee OA journals.
* Oxford University Press announced that 100 journals now participate in Oxford Open. Of the 100, 95 are hybrid OA and 5 full OA.
* Oxford University Press migrated its 1.2 million online journal articles to the HighWire 2.0 platform.
* BioMed Central launched Shared Support, a new variation on the theme of institutional memberships. "This Membership is based on a deposit of funds that cover fifty percent of the article processing charges for articles submitted and accepted from your researchers. The other fifty percent is covered by the authors and their grants...."
* The Helmholtz Association became a member of SpringerOpen, agreeing to pay publication fees when Helhholtz authors publish in OA journals from SpringerOpen or BioMed Central.
* Canada's NRC Research Press, formerly part of National Research Council, moved to the private sector under the name Canadian Science Publishing. It's not yet clear what will become of its 17 OA journals. From the anonymous blogger at Gallant Ecology: "However, they appear committed to maintain and even expand open access for the journals...."
+ Repositories and databases
* Bharathidasan University launched an institutional repository.
* Heriot-Watt University launched an institutional repository.
* Oxford Archaeology launched OA Library, its institutional repository.
* The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at the American University Washington College of Law launched an OA repository of research papers.
* The US National Library of Medicine launched Digital Collections, an OA repository of monographs and films from the NLM History of Medicine Division.
* Google Code is now a general open-source repository for programming projects using any open license. From its birth 5+ years ago, it tried to limit the proliferation of software licenses by requiring accepted projects to use licenses within a certain, narrow range.
* A Latin American project to foster interoperable institutional repositories (Estrategia Regional y Marco de Interoperabilidad y Gestión para una Red Federada Latinoamericana de Repositorios Institucionales de Documentación Científica) was funded by the Washington-based Banco InterAmericano de Desarrollo. The project will be carried out by Cooperación Latino Americana de Redes Avanzadas (CLARA).
* TierraCloud Technologies launched HC2, an open-source platform for private cloud storage. Among other things, it will support Duraspace Fedora Commons and EPrints repositories.
* Peter Murray-Rust proposed building a prototype OA knowledgebase for computational chemistry in the next month.
* JISC upgraded its Digital Repositories infoKit to reflect "the increasing use of repositories for learning and teaching resources in addition to those for research...." http://jiscinfonet.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2010/10/01/digital-repositories-infokit-learning-teaching-upgrade/
* BioMed Central's Research Notes launched a project to identify standards and best practices for journals wishing to provide open and reusable data to accompany published articles.
* BioMed Central released a draft statement on open data and licensing for wider discussion. The statement endorses the Panton Principles and seeks advice on how BMC could put them into practice through an open data licensing policy.
* A group of climate researchers launched the Climate Code Foundation to support open data and open-source software in climate research.
* Oxfam became the first large British charity to open up its aid and spending data.
* NASA released an OA collection of satellite data on evapotranspiration.
* Cyprotex launched an OA database on the "ADME [absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion] and pharmacokinetic properties of marketed drugs".
* A group of Estonian researchers launched E-SovTox, an OA database of toxicology data gleaned from Russian-language journals from the Soviet era.
* A group of South African researchers launched Immunopaedia, an OA collection of information to demystify immunology for clinicians.
* WIPO and Thomson Reuters jointly launched Access to Specialised Patent Information (ASPI), a project give "government and academic researchers in developing countries free and low-cost access to comprehensive patent information...."
* USA Today opened its data archive and released an API to help developers make use of it.
* The World Bank tripled the amount of open data at data.worldbank.org.
* Google released its comments on how the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) could enhance its Data Innovation Initiative, a project to release open data on the state of broadband in the US.
* The Open Knowledge Foundation's Working Group on EU Open Data is pushing to finish up its Open Data Manual.
* A group of researchers released the genome sequence of the domesticated turkey.
* A group of researchers released the first full genome sequence of an Irish person.
* A group of researchers sequenced the genome of the cocoa tree. While they claimed to make the data "full open access" and even "public domain", in fact the license limits commercial use and prohibits redistributing the data without written permission.
+ Books and digitization
* Princeton University Library became the 29th library to join the HathiTrust.
* A Google employee launched a discussion thread at the Google Book Search Help forum, asking readers to help identify books in the public domain that Google should make available in "full view" (full-text OA with rights to download, save, and print).
* Jonathan Zittrain wants OA casebooks for law schools, and commissioned developers at Harvard's Berkman Center to modify the open-source H20 software to make it easy for law professors to build them.
* Academic Berlin had planned to launch in the spring of 2010 as an OA book publisher in the humanities. But it's launch has been delayed, apparently until the spring of 2011.
* Charles W. Bailey, Jr. released Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography.
+ Studies and surveys
* RIN (Research Information Network) and NESTA (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts) released the results of a joint study "to identify what motivates researchers to work (or want to work) in an open manner with regard to their data, results and protocols, and whether advantages are delivered by working in this way...."
* The PEER study (Publishing and the Ecology of European Research) released its second annual report, providing the latest details on its unfinished study of the effects of green OA. "By the end of year 2 (August 2010), almost 25,000 unique publisher provided manuscripts had been processed by the PEER Depot, resulting in 10,000 EU manuscripts after processing (some still under embargo), with embargo expired manuscripts distributed to participating repositories. The three areas of usage, economic and behavioural research commissioned by PEER are well underway, with the Baseline Behavioural Report already publicly available from the PEER website...."
* Holly Mercer reported that nearly half (49%) of scholarly articles by academic librarians were OA in some form or another, a higher figure than reported by earlier studies.
* Hideki Uchijima reported that 11.1% of Japan's annual crop of peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles are green OA through the country's 158 institutional repositories.
* Ronald Snijder reported an experiment in which OA dissemination of full-text books did not affect citation rates or sales.
* Heather Morrison calculated that "At the PLoS average article processing fee of $1,649 U.S. per article, or BMC average article processing charge of $1,560 U.S., libraries worldwide could fund full open access to the world's estimated 1.5 million scholarly peer-reviewed journal articles produced every year at less than 30% of current annual global academic library journal expenditures...." She also released the data underlying her calculation.
* Heather Morrison posted her quarterly update on the growth of OA. "There are at least four major free or open access journal collections that are more than twice the size of the largest commercial publisher, Elsevier, in terms of number of titles....Open Access Mandate Policies (from ROARMAP): 230 (growth rate: 2 per week)...."
+ Software and tools
* The Public Knowledge Project released Open Journal Systems version 2.3.3.
* DuraSpace released DuraCloud version 0.6.
* The California Digital Library (CDL) launched the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), a web site opening the code and offering support for its repository and publishing (green and gold OA) platform.
* The beta version of Microsoft's new Academic Search (not the older Microsoft Live Academic) announced that it had indexed seven million documents.
* LIS Links launched the Open Access Journals Search Engine (OAJSE), a Google custom search engine indexing more than 3,600 OA journals in all fields of the sciences and humanities.
* I. Eggel and H. Müller described a scientific search engine that indexes the images as well as the texts of research articles.
* The US National Endowment for the Humanities announced a series of Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants, including one for a better editorial management system for Open Journal Systems.
* Spain's OA repository, Digital.CSIC, developed a new statistics package for measure the impact of the repository and help assess its costs and benefits.
* Inkstone Software launched MegaReader, an ebook reader for the iPhone able to display "over 1.8 million free books on the internet...."
* PubGet launched Pubget Mobile, offering access to research articles from mobile devices.
* The videos from Scitable, the OA library from Nature Education, are now encoded with Encoding.com's Mobile Made Easy and accessible to mobile devices.
* The Public Library of Science launched PLoS Blogs, a network of blogs written by scientists and journalists.
* The JISC-funded Research Communications Strategy project launched a blog that will (apparently) focus on OA issues.
+ Awards and milestones
* ChemSpider won the ALPSP Publishing Innovation award for 2010. It also won the iExpo/KM Forum 2010 Most Innovative Software award in June, and the Bio-IT Best Practice Award for Community Service in April.
* CODATA named Paul F. Uhlir, Director of the Board on Research Data and Information at the US National Academy of Sciences, the winner of the 2010 CODATA Prize. The prize will be awarded at CODATA's international conference in Cape Town later this month.
* Addgene named four laboratories winners of its 2010 Resource Sharing Award. "All the award winners share the sentiment that research should be collaborative and open-access...."
* Germany's Verein für freien Wissenszugang (Association for Free Access to Knowledge) announced the winners of its 2010 SuMa (Suchmaschinen) awards.
* SPARC announced the fourth annual SPARKY Awards Sparky Awards student video contest on "the potential of Open Access to foster creativity, innovation, and problem solving...."
* Google announced the five projects it would fund under its Project 10^100, out of more than 150,000 submissions. Two are OA-related: The Khan Academy, providing OER, and Public.Resource.Org, providing OA to US government information, including US law.
* Creative Commons announced its 2010 Catalyst Grant Recipients. One of the winners will implement "a web site that will provide technical and legal support for Latin-American publishers of academic journals to satisfy open journal standards...."
* INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications) launched a competition in which it will give 10 projects £300 each to promote OA.
* Wikimedia Germany will pay between € 500 - 5,000 for "bold ideas" for promoting OA. Submissions are due by October 15, 2010.
* JISC announced that it will issue a call for tenders later this month. Among the topics on which it welcomes applications is "Taking the open approach...."
* None of the six winners of the Jorum Learning and Teaching competition is on deposit in the Jorum repository.
* PubMed now has 20 million records and PubMed Central 2 million full-text articles on deposit.
* Hindawi announced that its OA journals received more than 2,000 submissions in August, "only a year and a half after having passed 1,000 monthly submissions in February 2009...."
* RePEc passed the milestones of 3,000,000 cumulated software abstract views, 500,000 online articles, 300,000 online working papers, and 25,000 registered authors.
* New Economics Papers (NEP), the email service from RePEC, disseminates 300-500 papers per week through 85 topical mailing lists. The system has disseminated 150,000 papers to date to nearly 30,000 subscribers.
* The WiderNet Project celebrated its 10th birthday.
* WorldCat announced that it now has 200 million bibliographic records. OCLC is still in the process of rethinking the access or data-sharing policy for WorldCat records.
* The Open Access Directory (OAD) announced that it will host a comprehensive list of events celebrating Open Access Week (October 18-24, 2010). Event planners should post their details to the OAD wiki.
* Germany's Informationsplattform Open Access opened a shop for OA-related swag, including an "I heart OA" bandana for OA-promoting dogs.
* SPARC's also opened store for OA swag, especially OA Week swag.
* The European Commission funded the Linked Open Data 2 (LOD2) project. The Open Knowledge Foundation is one of the 10 partners carrying out the project.
* The Mellon Foundation awarded Indiana University a $349,000 grant for its project to enhance MESUR (MEtrics from Scholarly Usage of Resources), "Developing a Generalized and Sustainable Framework for a Public, Open, Scholarly Assessment Service Based on Aggregated Large-scale Usage Data".
* The American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) launched the Global Health Informatics Partnership (GHIP), a non-profit subsidiary to promote health informatics in the global south. "All GHIP activities will conform to open standards, open content, and open-access principles and practices...."
* Brazil's Network for Copyright Law Reform proposed a series of copyright amendments. One proposal would legalize non-commercial file-sharing in exchange for a small fee from all internet subscribers.
* The International Center for the Arts of the Americas at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston announced that it plans to provide OA to "primary and critical documents relevant to Latin American and Latino art of the 20th Century".
* A group of European libraries submitted a proposal to the European Commission to "enable The European Library to become the library-domain aggregator for Europeana."
* OpenStudy began collaborating with MIT OpenCourseWare to connect users and help them form study groups.
* MIT corrected a spreading rumor that it might start charging a fee for MIT OpenCourseware. "MIT has no plans to charge for access to MIT OpenCourseWare content...."
* The Foundation for P2P Alternatives (P2P-F) joined the Associate Network of the Free Technology Academy.
* Humboldt University became the 12th node in the worldwide CLOCKSS network. Each node stores a local copy of the CLOCKSS archive; if any portion becomes unavailable from its publisher, CLOCKSS will make that portion OA to the world.
* Later this fall, Germany's Informationsplattform open access will also be home to OA information for Australia and Switzerland.
* The Swedish OpenAccess.se project entered its second phase and published a review of its first phase (2006 - 2009).
* Nancy Pontika translated my "Very Brief Introduction to Open Access" into Greek. (Thank you Nancy.)
* Several African nations signed a protocol to protect traditional knowledge and folklore. WIPO applauded the move, though a UN report in January warned against applying western concepts of copyright to "collectively owned knowledge in traditional communities".
* Ghana announced that it will enforce a 2005 copyright reform requiring payment and government permission to use Ghanian folklore.
Coming this month
Here are some important OA-related events coming up in October.
* October 18-24, 2010, Open Access Week 2010.
* October 6, 2010. OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), the OA book publisher, will officially launch at the Frankfurt Book Fair.
* October 15, 2010. The sponsors of the Reclaim the Commons Manifesto (February 2009) invite the world to celebrate the World Day of Commons.
* October 15, 2010. Deadline for applying to Wikimedia Germany for € 500 - 5,000 to fund "bold ideas" for promoting OA.
* October 2010 in general. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) announced that "on or around October 2010" new grantees will be required submit a data management and sharing plan as part of their grant proposal. This is the first in a series of NSF steps to insure OA for data arising from publicly-funded research.
* OA-related conferences in October 2010.
* Other OA-related conferences
This is the 150th issue of my newsletter.
I wrote the first 62 issues while I was on sabbatical in 2001-02. At the time I called it the Free Online Scholarship Newsletter (FOSN). OA existed in 2001, of course, but didn't have a consensus name. Indeed, arXiv was already 10 years old. Interest was growing but total activity was scanty compared to today. It was still possible to track just about everything that was going on, and even to digest and understand it. I tried to do that in my newsletter, and my freedom from other obligations gave me a fighting chance. (Thank you Earlham.)
Earlham let faculty take a half-year sabbatical at full pay or a full year at half pay. I chose a full year at half pay and planned to live frugally. But a few months later, I realized that I should have applied for a grant to replace the missing half of my salary. I looked around for a foundation that might be willing to support what I was doing and found the Open Society Institute. OSI knew about my newsletter and generously agreed to fund the second half of my sabbatical. (Thank you OSI.)
I wrote FOSN feverishly and put out more than one issue a week. The issues started short but grew longer over the year. At the end of my sabbatical, I returned to full-time teaching, suspended the newsletter, and launched my blog (Open Access News) to take its place. In a moment of mutual madness, my wife and I decided to use that year to tidy up our affairs and leave our positions. I'd been at Earlham for 21 years and she for 25. We were both tenured full professors. We both loved our institution, and our fields (philosophy and classics), but we were both ready for a change. In my case, I wanted to work full-time on OA. (Thank you Liffey.)
I resumed the newsletter in the summer of 2003, this time sponsored and published by SPARC. It had a new name, the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (SOAN), and a new monthly schedule. I've put out an issue every month since then, rain or shine. Two years ago I passed the point at which I'd published more issues of SOAN than FOSN. My blog lasted eight years, until I laid it down last April. But my newsletter started a year earlier and is still going strong. I haven't had a salary since 2003, and have lived on a mix of funding sources in which the newsletter has been steadiest component. It has given me a sabbatical-like existence in which I could focus on what's happening with OA and try to digest and understand it. (Thank you SPARC.)
If the newsletter has made a niche for itself and had an impact, it's from boot-strapping. In 2001, I simply started writing about OA and made those writings OA. At the time I had no publisher and no particular name. The only kind of head start I had toward visibility was the increment provided by OA itself. I tried to make the newsletter useful and persuasive, of course. But even when you hit it, quality alone doesn't suffice to attract eyeballs or create influence. Imagine the problems on which we could stop laboring if things were otherwise. Two variables seem to have made all the difference. Even work worth sharing has to be sharable. (Thank you OA.) And even work that is useful or persuasive needs readers to complete the transaction and spread the word. (Thank you subscribers, all 2,266 of you.)
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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