Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #139
November 2, 2009
by Peter Suber
Read this issue online
SOAN is published and sponsored by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC).
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Update. For a sequel to this article, see Open access, markets, and missions, SPARC Open Access Newsletter, March 2, 2010.
Knowledge as a public good
One of the most durable arguments for OA is that knowledge is and ought to be a public good. Here I don't want to restate or evaluate the whole argument, which is complex and has many threads. But I do want to pull at a few of those threads.
What is a public good? In the technical sense used by economists, a public good is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. A good is non-rivalrous when it's undiminished by consumption. We can all consume it without depleting it or becoming "rivals". Radio broadcasts are non-rivalrous; my reception doesn't block yours or vice versa. A good is non-excludable when consumption is available to all, and attempts to prevent consumption are generally ineffective. Radio broadcasts are non-excludable for people with the right equipment in the right area. Breathable air is non-excludable for this purpose even though a variety of barriers, from pollution to suffocation, could stop people from consuming it.
Knowledge is non-rivalrous. Your knowledge of a fact or idea does not block mine, and mine does not block yours. Thomas Jefferson described this situation beautifully in an 1813 letter to Isaac McPherson: "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea....Its peculiar character...is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine." (See H.A. Washington, ed., The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, printed by the United States Congress, 1853-54, vol. VI, p. 180.)
George Bernard Shaw also described it: "If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." (I can't find a source for the Shaw quotation and would appreciate any help.)
Knowledge is also non-excludable. We can burn books, but not all knowledge is from books. We can raise the barriers to knowledge, through prices or punishments, but that only creates local exceptions for some people or some knowledge. When knowledge is available to people able to learn it, from books, nature, friends, teachers, or their own senses and experience, attempts to stop them from learning it are generally unavailing.
The thesis that knowledge is a public good frequently shows up in critiques of copyright law for trying to privatize what is intrinsically public. But we should be more precise. Copyright law, even today in its grotesquely unbalanced form, recognizes that knowledge is a public good. It privatizes only the expression of ideas, and leaves the ideas themselves unprivatized, unregulated, and public.
Nonetheless, privatizing the expression of ideas, such as the texts which capture knowledge, seriously impedes the sharing of knowledge. But we should talk about that impediment clearly. It means that *texts* are not public goods, even if the knowledge they contain remains a public good. Hence, to remove impediments to knowledge-sharing, the job isn't to make knowledge a public good, which is already done. The job is to make texts into public goods as well.
Or the job is to make *some* texts into public goods. I want to focus on texts by authors who consent to make them public goods. One of the most important types will be royalty-free research articles. Because I believe that authors of royalty-producing monographs, novels, and journalism have a right to their royalties, I'm not interested in making *all* kinds of copyrighted texts into public goods or at least not without author consent.
Can we make *texts* into public goods?
Texts on paper, skin, clay, or stone are rivalrous material objects. Even when we use an inexpensive medium like paper and an inexpensive method of reproduction like xerography, the product is rivalrous. All texts were rivalrous before the digital age. But digital texts are non-rivalrous. With the right equipment we can all have copies of the same digital text without having to take turns, block one another, multiply our costs, or deplete our resources. This may be the deepest transformation wrought by the digital revolution. For the first time in the history of writing, we can record our non-rivalrous knowledge without turning it into a rivalrous material object. The same revolutionary liberation from rivalrous media affects sound, images, and video. No matter how we record knowledge today, the recording can be as non-rivalrous as the underlying knowledge itself, something new under the sun.
Publishers sometimes object to the taxpayer argument for OA on the ground that public money supports many goods, such as buildings or wheat, which we cannot readily provide to the public free of charge. The problem with these objections is that they pick out rivalrous material goods as examples. It's true that we can't give everyone free access to a building without making them take turns, or free access to wheat without rationing. But the taxpayer argument for OA is about free access to a strictly non-rivalrous good where there is no risk of depletion and no need to take turns or ration. In fact, it would cost more to discriminate among users, and make this non-rivalrous good available to some and not others, than to give it freely and indiscriminately to all.
Note that digital texts are non-rivalrous not because they are publicly-funded, scholarly, or carry author consent, but because they are digital. Hence the public good argument is not limited to publicly-funded goods, and in that respect (and a few others) differs from the taxpayer argument. Here, though, I am deliberately limiting it to scholarly texts that carry author consent.
Texts on paper, skin, clay, or stone are are not only rivalrous; they are also excludable. As we know too well, even digital texts online behind price or password barriers are excludable. However, when we choose to put digital texts online without price or password barriers, they are not excludable, just as roads are not excludable when we choose to build them without toll booths.
If we choose, then, we can make texts, not just the knowledge expressed in texts, into true public goods that are non-rivalrous and non-excludable. Or we could if it were not for copyright law, the one restriction on would-be public goods that doesn't arise from the good's material form. Free online texts can be copyrighted. Forms of sharing facilitated by revolutionary new technologies may be obstructed by copyright, and users not excluded by practical or technical barriers may be excluded by legal barriers.
I put it this way in order to highlight the anomalous situation in which we find ourselves. We possess a revolutionary technology for knowledge sharing but are often restrained from using it by laws which (in the relevant respects) have not changed for more than two centuries. It's not just that legal change is slower than technological change. The desire for legal change is either not sufficiently widespread or is dispersed among the comparatively powerless and opposed by the comparatively powerful. Some of us want to seize the opportunities created by digital media and lift the legal restrictions on new kinds of knowledge sharing. But many others want to keep the restrictions in place and force us to forego the full benefits of our revolutionary technology. We're divided on whether to seize or fear the opportunities created by the internet.
This is a good moment to remember that copyright law originated in the 18th century when full-text copying of any lengthy text was a time-consuming and error-prone job. When copyright arose, and for centuries after, it prohibited acts that were difficult to commit. But today it prohibits acts that are easy to commit. That doesn't invalidate copyright law, as law. But it reduces the law's effectiveness as a barrier of exclusion, even if it ought not to reduce its effectiveness. The compliance arising from the difficulty of violation is no longer quite so invisibly blended together with the compliance arising from respect for the law. Hence our understanding of the extent of respect for the law is not quite so distorted. In fact, compliance is down. Way down. Speaking for the US, I doubt that we've seen more widespread and conspicuous violation of any laws since Prohibition.
If the barriers that count against public goods are practical or technical, then digital goods of all sorts may already be public goods. But if legal barriers count as well, and they should, then we must address them as well.
Can we make *copyrighted* texts into public goods? Again, the answer is yes. With the copyright holder's consent, we can remove the legal barriers which obstruct free sharing. Without the copyright holder's consent, we can get the same or better result if we wait for the copyright to expire. But here I'll focus on methods that don't require delays of up to a century or more: the life of the author plus 70 years.
Both green OA and gold OA rely on copyright-holder consent. As a practical matter, the expiration of copyright is only a legal basis for OA when we are talking about digitizing old texts, not distributing new ones.
Authors are the copyright holders until they decide to transfer their rights away, for example, to a publisher. If they authorize OA while they are still the copyright holders, then authors can make their works into public goods. If they transfer their rights to an OA journal and the journal uses the rights to authorize OA, then the journal can make the works into public goods.
When journals don't provide OA on their own (gold OA), more often than not they are willing to let authors provide OA through a repository (green OA). When journals don't allow even that, authors can try to retain the right to authorize OA themselves.
Can we make copyrighted texts into public goods even when publishers are unwilling to authorize it and unwilling to let authors retain the right to authorize it?
Again the answer is yes. Even in this case there are several lawful ways to make texts into public goods. The most effective is the method pioneered by the Wellcome Trust and now used by the NIH and about a dozen other funding agencies. It rests on the simple fact that funders are upstream from publishers. Authors sign funding contracts before they sign publishing contracts. If the funding contract requires authors to retain key rights and use them to authorize OA, then the author's eventual publisher comes on the scene too late to interfere. Authors could always choose to avoid publishers unwilling to allow OA, but the Wellcome/NIH method tends to elicit publisher accommodation and therefore to keep all publishers within the circle of eligible destinations.
The trick is to keep the relevant rights in the hands of someone who will authorize OA. Publishers like to use the language of expropriation when protesting the NIH policy, as if publishers owned the relevant rights and the NIH seized them or blocked their exercise. But the beauty of the Wellcome/NIH method is that it prevents publishers from owning the relevant rights. Authors retain them, use them to authorize OA, and only transfer the rest of the bundle to publishers. Publishers have the right to refuse to publish work by Wellcome- or NIH-funded authors, but they choose not to exercise it. The NIH, for example, is putting publishers to the choice of accommodating the policy or refusing the publish NIH-funded research. This is hard bargaining, not expropriation. It's just what publishers have been doing to authors, in order to make research a private good, until some funders took the side of authors, in order to make research a public good.
Green OA mandates at universities represent one way to generalize the funder approach. Universities and funders are two different institutions, with different kinds of influence over publishing scholars, using their influence to make research texts into public goods. Instead of making OA a condition of funding, they can make it a condition of employment. Or faculty, seeing the benefits of OA, can self-impose this condition on themselves. At 16 universities, OA policies have been self-imposed by unanimous votes.
(In SOAN for June 2009, I listed 12 universities where the relevant faculty bodies adopted green OA mandates by unanimous votes. Since then unanimous votes by the relevant bodies have occurred, or come to light, at University College London, Copenhagen Business School, the York University librarians, and Venezuela's Universidad de Oriente.)
* But there's another way to generalize the funder approach, or a gold rather than green way: When you pay for something, insist on getting what you want. It's remarkable how little this method has been used by universities.
Roads are public goods which we generally succeed in treating as public goods. By contrast, knowledge is a public good whose most important embodiments and manifestations we treat as private commodities, despite the ease of taking a different course and despite the palpable harm our present course inflicts on research, health care, the environment, public safety, and every aspect of life which depends on research. How did we avoid this problem with roads? What can we learn from roads?
We treat roads as public goods when we don't require users to pay to use them, which would exclude drivers who can't afford to pay. (This, by the way, is what's wrong with the cost-recovery model for public data: it excludes people from access to something which is or ought to be a public good.) But we don't expect road builders to donate their labor and materials. Instead, we pay them upfront so that they don't have to decline the job, work as volunteers, or seek their compensation after the fact by installing toll booths. If we want a toll-free road and offer to pay for one, we can find usually find a first-class road builder willing to make one for us.
Governments get the kinds of roads they want because they ask for them. They contract for them. It helps that governments are just about the only entities buying roads. That inclines road builders to listen when governments describe what they want. Universities should be just as specific in saying what kinds of journals they want. It should help that universities are just about the only entities buying peer-reviewed scholarly journals.
When I say that universities buy journals, of course I mean university libraries. But want to spotlight the larger institution in order to broaden the responsibility for change. If we are going to take any deliberate steps toward the road-building model for journals, the steps will be more successful if approved by university administrators, not just librarians.
There are some important differences between road builders and publishers, of course. For example, road builders concentrate on custom work. Every job is a one-off, built to the specs of a client. Road builders don't make many copies of a new road and hope to sell different copies to different buyers --a model which, where it exists, reduces the bargaining power of individual buyers. As a result publishers have more bargaining power with universities than road builders have with governments. A related difference is that there are often many road builders bidding for the same job. Governments commissioning roads enjoy the benefits of a buyer's market. If a road builder insists on an unacceptable condition, the government can usually deny the bid, look elsewhere, and get what it wants. Another difference is that when several governments with a common interest commission a road together, they face no anti-trust problems. A final difference --to cut the list short-- is that governments tend to care only about the quality and price of roads and road builders, not their prestige.
These differences are reasons not to expect the same solution for scholarship. But they don't foreclose an analogous solution.
Universities and libraries could demand change as a condition of their enormous annual layouts for journals. "If we're going to pay for your services, then we want the following terms...." If universities want toll-free journals, they could specify that in the purchasing contract, as governments do when they want toll-free roads.
There's no contradiction, by the way, in "paying for" a "toll-free" journal. I'm imagining that universities, individually or collectively, would pay for the production of a journal but insist that the journal be OA, or free even for those who don't pay. The situation is the same for a government "paying for" a "toll-free" road.
Here we have to work through some of the differences between road builders and publishers. Universities won't have much bargaining power as long as publishers put out "must-have" journals and universities are unwilling to cancel. We're still in that epoch, but we're in the late stages. Decades of hyperinflationary price increases are pushing us past it. Every year universities cancel journals that were "must-have" just a few years earlier. The longer subscription journal prices rise faster than inflation, the more universities will be forced to cancel valued titles, and the more realistically they can threaten to cancel others in the future. Though we're still moiling through this historical change, after a critical point universities will be able to tell publishers, "This is what we want. If you can't provide it, we'll find someone who will."
Today the converse is more common: publishers can tell universities, "This is what we're selling. If you don't want it, we'll sell to others who do."
Imagine a world in which for centuries all roads had been toll roads. The very idea of a toll free road is new and unheard of. Then imagine a town trying to commission a toll-free road. The road builder might say, "No, sorry. That's not what I do. I can build you a toll road. Take it or leave it." Now imagine all the towns in a country or large region jointly commissioning a toll-free road.
It makes a huge difference who can say "take it or leave it" in a negotiation. Right now publishers tend to hold that privileged position. But as prices and cancellations keep rising, the positions are reversing. Even apart from the average balance of bargaining power, slowly shifting to universities, there is the bargaining power over specific titles. The desirability of journals is a matter of degree, despite the binary sound of "must-have". Some high-demand journals may be unthreatened by all recent developments. But the set of unthreatened journals is shrinking, and the set for which universities could modify basic terms to better serve research and researchers is growing. For a growing number of journals overall, universities could cancel, threaten to cancel, or bargain effectively, if they wanted to.
If we don't want to wait for slow processes to shift more bargaining power to universities, then concerted action could change the picture overnight. If anti-trust law blocks concerted action, universities could achieve much the same result by making individual, independent, convergent requests of publishers. This is feasible to the extent that universities really do have a common interest (say) in OA, and could start to demand what they want, separately and without coordination. In general, publishers have more bargaining power than universities today because they are more aggressive in acting on their own interests, not because they act as a cartel. Universities could be more aggressive in acting on their own interests and avoid any whiff of cartel.
(If concerted university action does raise anti-trust problems, on which I have no opinion, then note the irony that in this case anti-trust law would not block a private monopoly opposing the public interest but block a public good advancing the public interest.)
Universities that act alone for better terms from publishers are as unlikely to succeed as workers who ask for raises alone. But universities can act together without acting as a cartel if critical numbers of them become courageous about seeking their own interests at about the same time. Without critical numbers and critical timing, early requests will simply be rejected. But as soon as some large institutions or clusters of institutions start to win concessions, it will be easier for the next institutions to make the same requests and build on the momentum.
To adapt a point I made last December:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/12-02-08.htm#predictionsIf it's tried too soon, [early universities will be rejected]. But after a point, when other OA initiatives have had their effect, and more TA [toll access] publishers have adapted to an OA world, universities will encounter fewer flat refusals and the [university demands for better terms] will trigger more publisher accommodation than publisher resistance. Enlightened [universities] will be watching for that moment and testing the waters. Because the odds of success soar as more universities adopt similar policies, or because followers take fewer risks than leaders, [university demands for OA from publishers] may spread quickly once they are adopted.
Finally, as I argued elsewhere in the same piece, the recession adds a new layer of opportunity:[A]s the recession deepens, universities will face an opportunity similar to the one now faced by governments. It may sound strange to call the financial crisis an opportunity for governments. Certainly no government would mortgage its future with massive bailouts unless forced by the prospects of disaster. But the bailout of large banks and manufacturers is an opportunity to demand transformations from these banks and manufacturers that address long-term problems. Universities could seize the same opportunity. They could wake up to their power as buyers --virtually the only buyers-- of scholarly journals and demand transformations that better serve the interests of the research community....They could offer to make future payments to publishers conditional upon friendlier access policies, and initiate a transition from reader-pays TA to institutionally-subsidized OA....
Another of the relevant differences is that a government would never reject a low bid, let alone relinquish its demand for a toll-free road, just because a certain road or road builder had prestige among drivers. There are no "must-have" roads that override a government's specs for a needed new freeway. This is part of the imbalance of bargaining power between universities and publishers, but the existence of prestige adds a new element. Journal prestige attracts authors, readers, and subscribers, and it's not changing as fast as the economics of library acquisitions. Universities may be increasing their cancellations of high-prestige journals, thanks to the price hikes instituted by the journals themselves, and this makes prestige less decisive at renewal time. But it doesn't reduce journal prestige itself or its role in attracting authors and readers.
Even if roads had prestige, drivers would not demand prestige over quality and access. That kind of thing only happens in the demented world of scholarship, where authors, publishers, and tenure committees all routinely put prestige ahead of quality, when the two differ, and ahead of access.
Because prestige or brand is not a factor in road building, road builders tend to be fungible to governments. For road builders willing to build a given road according to spec, the most relevant difference among them will be their bids. If their reputations come into play, it will be their reputations for finishing jobs on time and under budget. Prestige, brand, and reputation are much more significant in publishing. We shouldn't expect that to change on its own. But universities could change it if they exerted themselves. Every year universities cancel more high-prestige titles, giving them more bargaining power over the titles they renew. If this gradual shift of bargaining power is too little, too slow, concerted action can always make change sudden. Universities don't have to pretend that prestige, brand, and reputation don't exist or don't matter. They only have to realize that they are just about the only buyers of these journals and have untapped power to demand better terms.
Part of the road builder model is that road builders are adequately paid. Their bids cover their costs and some margin, and a scholarly analogue to the road builder model should do the same. If we could do that, then it should answer most publisher objections about the transition to gold OA, which have been based on financial risk.
As the PLoS analogy of publishers as midwives always suggested, the idea is to stop the midwife from keeping the baby, not to avoid paying for services rendered.
Of course adequate payment won't answer the objection that publishers deserve 30% profit margins, or the objection that it's demeaning for publishers to work on spec. But if we can separate the publishers who only object to financial risk from the others, and eliminate financial risk by offering adequate remuneration, then universities could work with the publishers who are ready to work with them. As for rest, we can take advantage of a further difference between universities and publishers. Nearly all authors, referees, and editors of scholarly journals work in universities, and the internet allows us to distribute perfect copies of non-rivalrous digital files to a worldwide audience at zero marginal cost. When publishers are not willing to help, even when adequately paid, then we can work around them. Unfortunately for governments facing recalcitrant road builders and a dearth of effective competition, disintermediation is not an option.
* Postscript. Fortuitously, I had already chosen this month's topic and was well into my draft when the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Elinor Ostrom had won the Nobel Prize for economics.
Ostrom's lifework has focused on showing that commons need not be tragic, even when they consist of rivalrous and depletable resources like fish stocks or woodlands, and need not be privatized to be well-managed. She has also written extensively on knowledge commons, which are not rivalrous or depletable.
For a quick sense of how her work on common property connects with the special case of an information or knowledge commons, see her video press conference at Indiana University the day the prize was announced. At minute 18:40 she says, "The work of Garrett Hardin we tested in the lab. If you...are facing a problem like a fishery, and no communication is allowed, people overharvest *drastically*. Simply allowing people to communicate and discuss what they can do --*simply* communication-- makes a huge difference [in avoiding overharvesting]. When in addition people can design in a lab the rules that they will follow in the future, then they get up to 92% of optimal."
Here's some of her work on the commons of information, knowledge, and scholarly communication, all of it on deposit in the Digital Library of the Commons, the OA repository launched by her institute at Indiana University.
--Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, Artifacts, Facilities, and Content: Information as a Common-Pool Resource, a conference presentation at Duke Law School, October 17, 2001.
--Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, Ideas, Artifacts, And Facilities: Information As A Common-Pool Resource, Law & Contemporary Problems, 66 (2003) pp. 111ff. See esp. Section V, The Evolution of Scholarly Information.
--Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom (eds.), Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, MIT Press, 2006.
(These are the revised proceedings of a small workshop she and her research group sponsored at Indiana University in 2004, in which I had the pleasure of participating.)
--Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, Introduction: An Overview of the Knowledge Commons
(Their introduction to the 2006 MIT book above.)
An excerpt from the introduction:First, open access to information is a horse of a much different color than open access to land or water. In the latter case, open access can mean a free-for-all, as in Hardin's grazing lands, leading to overconsumption and depletion. With distributed knowledge and information the resource is usually nonrivalrous....In this instance, instead of having negative effects, open access of information provides a universal public good: the more quality information, the greater the public good.
--Elinor Ostrom and Charlotte Hess, A Framework for Analyzing the Knowledge Commons
(Their contribution, as opposed to their introduction, to the 2006 MIT book above.)
--Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, Studying Scholarly Communication: Can Commons Research and the IAD Framework Help Illuminate Complex Dilemmas? A conference presentation at Oaxaca, Mexico, May 10, 2004.
For my contribution to the 2006 MIT book above, see: Peter Suber, Creating an Intellectual Commons Through Open Access.
For the other contributions to the book, search by author in the Digital Library of the Commons.
Note that most of Ostrom's work on knowledge commons was co-authored by Charlotte Hess, formerly a colleague at Indiana University but since September 2008 the Associate Dean for Collections and Scholarly Communication at Syracuse University Library. Here are a few relevant pieces Hess wrote without Ostrom:
--Charlotte Hess, Dilemmas of Building a Sustainable Equitable Information Resource, a conference paper at IASCP, Vancouver, June 10-14, 1998.
--Charlotte Hess, The Knowledge Commons: Theory and Collective Action; or Kollektive Aktionismus? A conference paper at the Wizards of OS 2, June 10-12, 2004.
--Charlotte Hess, Resource Guide for Authors: Open Access, Copyright, and the Digital Commons, The Common Property Resource Digest, March 2005.
Here are some of the better articles and blog posts on Ostrom's work since her prize was announced, highlighting the features most relevant to OA and the knowledge commons.
--David Bollier, Elinor Ostrom And The Digital Commons, Forbes, October 13, 2009.
--David Bollier, Putting People Back into Economics, On the Commons, October 13, 2009.
--Andy Kaplan-Myrth, Elinor Ostrom's theories applied to Copyright: this Commons is certainly not Tragic, Myrth on a Blog, October 27, 2009.
--Mike Linksvayer, Nobel Prize in Economics to Elinor Ostrom "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons", Creative Commons blog, October 12, 2009.
--Daniel Moss, Nobel Prize in economics a big boost to commons and blow to corporate control, Grist, October 13, 2009
--Jay Walljasper, Tragedy of the Commons R.I.P., On the Commons, October 13, 2009.
Here's what happened, or what I noticed, since the last issue of the newsletter, emphasizing action and policy over scholarship and opinion. I put the most important items first, with double asterisks, and otherwise cluster them loosely by topic.
October 2009 was the richest month to date for OA action and policy, thanks to the first international OA Week (October 19-23, 2009). In this list, as usual, I omit scholarship and opinion, including journal articles and conference presentations. For a more complete account of OA Week activities, see the Open Access Week blog, from the OA Week sponsors, or the catalog of Events celebrating Open Access Week, from the Open Access Directory. The latter is a wiki, btw, and it's not too late to include omitted events in order to complete the record.
** The Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrĺdet or VR) adopted an OA mandate to take effect on January 1, 2010. It requires green OA within six months of publication for all conference reports and peer-reviewed journal articles based on VR-funded research.
** The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a US federally funded lab sponsored by the National Science Foundation, adopted an OA mandate.
** The University of Salford adopted an OA mandate to take effect on January 1, 2010.
** The Academic Council of Venezuela's Universidad de Oriente voted unanimously to adopt an OA policy. The university plans to launch an IR this month.
** The Universitat Politčcnica de Catalunya adopted an OA policy.
** Trinity University adopted an OA policy, the first "small, primarily undergraduate liberal arts institution" to do so. (The policy details have not yet been released.)
** India's Madurai Kamaraj University launched an IR and adopted a green OA mandate. (The policy details have not yet been released.)
** The Faculty Senate at the University of Virginia will vote on an OA mandate November 20.
* Rita Cheng, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, announced plans to create an Open Access Task Force to recommend an OA policy at UMW.
* The Student Senate at the University of Tennessee discussed the launch of an OA repository for the university.
* An editorial in the Georgetown University student newspaper called on the university to expand its OpenCourseWare program and adopt a green OA mandate.
* An op-ed in the Yale student newspaper called on Yale to adopt an OA policy.
* The Dartmouth Council on Libraries is considering the launch of an institutional repository.
* In September when Dartmouth joined the Compact for Open-Access Publication Equity (COPE), it also launched is own fund to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals.
* JISC is asking UK universities whether it should "create a centrally administered open access publication fee service for UK Higher Education Institutions".
* In June 2009 the UK Department for International Development (DFID) announced plans to adopt an OA policy.
* The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) is now willing to fund universities to cover faculty publication fees at fee-based OA journals.
* Austria's Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Fund to Promote Scientific Research, FWF) is now willing to pay publication costs for OA monographs, anthologies, and conference proceedings, not just journal articles.
* The latest working drafts of the Paris Accord Round II call for public and private research funders to make OA a condition of funding.
* A session on OA at an EC-hosted conference (European Research Area Conference 2009, Brussels, October 21-23, 2009) was charged "to come up with recommendations for policies on Open Access that the Commission can take forward."
* SURF endorsed EnablingOpenScholarship (EOS).
* The LIBER (Ligue des Bibliothčques Européennes de Recherche) Strategic Plan 2009-2012 includes collaboration with SPARC Europe and DRIVER to promote OA in Europe, especially green OA.
* The sponsors of OA Week in Cuba launched the Grupo de trabajo de Políticas para el Acceso Abierto (Working Group for Open Access Policy).
* The African Copyright & Access to Knowledge Project (ACA2K) urged African countries to "create and populate Open Access Institutional Repositories/Research Archives to showcase African research."
* The business-oriented Committee for Economic Development released a major report in support of "openness to improve research, teaching, and learning". It explicitly supports the NIH policy and FRPAA.
* Congressional staffers report that healthcare reform is pushing other legislation, including FRPAA, to a back burner. A House version of FRPAA to match the Senate version is in the works.
* In the US House of Representatives, Rep. Frank Kratovil (D-MD) introduced a bill (H.R. 3762) to provide OA for CRS (Congressional Research Service) Reports. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) introduced a Senate version (S. Res. 118) in April.
* In the US Senate, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is holding up consideration of a $33.5 billion appropriations bill for energy and water because it does not include his amendment to require the public disclosure of certain reports from federal agencies to Congress.
* John Boehner (R-OH) and James Bunning (R-KY) plan to introduce a bill requiring Congress to provide OA for all bills at least 72 hours before they come up for a vote.
* After an eight-month delay, with most horses out of the barn, the US Treasury finally adopted a set of rules for the public disclosure of corporate lobbying for TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) funds.
* After operating in secret since last summer, the US House Committee on Science and Technology "Scholarly Publishing Roundtable" released a status report, membership list, and member bios. The Roundtable's recommendations should be made public soon.
* A group of activists drafting the Open Declaration on European Public Services 2.0 invited public participation and comment. The declaration calls for OA to European PSI and will be presented at the EU's 5th Ministerial eGovernment Meeting and Conference (Malmö, November 18-20, 2009).
* Students for Free Culture called for volunteers to join its Open University Campaign. The campaign includes a recommendation that universities adopt OA mandates.
* Two more student organizations signed the Student Statement on The Right to Research: the Simmons College Library and Information Science Student Association and the University of Tennessee Student Government Association.
* Bill Gasarch posted his Journal Manifesto 2.0, seven steps that researchers can take on their own without appealing to publishers, funders, or universities. All support OA.
* Daniel Lemire posted his Simplified Open Publishing Manifesto (a simplified version of Bill Gasarch's Journal Manifesto, above).
* Automated Experimentation is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from BMC.
* Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from BMC.
* Experimental & Translational Stroke Medicine is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from BMC.
* EvoDevo is a new peer-reviewed OA journal of evolutionary developmental biology published by BMC.
* BioMed Central launched a Stem Cells Gateway, an OA portal of stem-cell research published in BMC journals.
* Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Brazilian Diabetes Society.
* The Journal of Participatory Medicine is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Society for Participatory Medicine.
* craft + design enquiry is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Craft Australia Research Centre.
* Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the University of East London's Centre for Cultural Studies Research.
* Études caribéennes is a new peer-reviewed OA journal at Revues.org, published by the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane.
* The Journal of Biomedical Sciences and Research and Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology are two new peer-reviewed OA journals from Pharmainfo Publications.
* The Journal of Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology Research is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Academic Journals. (As I go to press, the link is dead.)
* The International Journal of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.
* The Pan African Medical Journal is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.
* The Journal for International Counselor Education is a new peer-reviewed OA journal.
* Nature released an OA News Special on neuroscience.
* Amicus is a new OA supplement to the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review, launched as part of OA Week.
* Fibonacci is a new OA magazine published under a CC-BY-SA license by Students Forum for Free Open Source Software.
* The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft published the first issue of its newsletter on OA activities within the FG.
* Filozofski vestnik International, a peer-reviewed philosophy journal from the Institute of Philosophy, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of the Arts and Sciences, converted to OA and moved to the Open Humanities Press.
* The Bulletin of the Geological Society of Denmark decided to convert to OA. The journal site will soon be updated to reflect the new policy.
* Therapeutic Hypothermia is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Its first issue is expected in February 2010.
* The Internet-Beiträge zur Ägyptologie und Sudanarchäologie (IBAES), launched in 1998, provided OA to its full backfile.
* The ANZIAM Journal from the Australian Mathematical Society provided OA to 25 years of its backfile, all but the most recent five years.
* LOCKSS is providing continuing OA to Pain Reviews, an OA journal that folded in 2002.
* The UK ticTOCs project recommended that journals provide unrestricted access to RSS feeds of their tables of contents.
* The Wellcome Trust called for greater transparency from hybrid OA journals to show that they are not "being paid twice [for their OA articles], once through subscriptions and again through publication fees." At the same time, the WT announced that it was allocating an additional Ł2 million to cover publication fees at OA journals for grantees over the next year.
* The UK National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) entered a "Supporter Membership arrangement" with BioMed Central under which all NIHR-funded researchers who publish in BMC journals will receive a 15% discount on publication fees.
* MIT announced that four more society publishers are cooperating with the MIT OA policy: the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the Optical Society of America (OSA), the American Institute of Physics (AIP), and the American Vacuum Society (AVS). This means that MIT faculty publishing in their journals needn't use an author addendum or request a policy waiver.
* Elizabeth H. Blackburn, one of the new Nobel laureates in medicine, has published in PLoS ONE.
* The American Institute of Physics provided retroactive OA to selected research papers by this year's Nobel laureates in physics (as it has done in the past).
* Innovate, the OA journal published by the Fischler School of Education and Human Services at Nova Southeastern University, announced that it will cease publishing. It had 76,282 subscribers from 271 countries.
+ Repositories and databases
* EDINA announced that the Depot is now an international resource not limited to serving the UK. The Depot acts as a universal repository for researchers, either accepting deposits when the author has no institutional repository or redirecting deposits to the author's IR.
* EDINA's Theo Andrew told Klaus Graf that the Depot would initially focus on English-language deposits, but would not turn away peer-reviewed articles in other languages.
* The international Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR) launched in Ghent during OA week. COAR is an outgrowth of DRIVER.
* JISC became a founding member of COAR.
* Concordia University launched Spectrum, its institutional repository.
* Boston University launched the BU Digital Common, its institutional repository.
* The Regensburg University Library launched the Regensburg IR.
* India's National Metallurgical Laboratory launched an institutional repository.
* The Madras Diabetes Research Foundation launched an institutional repository.
* The Christie NHS Foundation Trust launched an IR, the first OA repository within the UK NHS.
* Duke University Law School relaunched its institutional repository.
* The US Department of Energy (DOE) launched an OA collection of research on peaceful uses of nuclear energy. Some of the docs were digitized by DOE and some by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for its OA International Nuclear Information System (INIS).
* SPIE launched Advancing the Laser, an OA collection of research articles and video interviews with researchers and industry leaders.
* OpenImages is a new database of libre OA images from the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision.
* Pillbox is a new OA database from the NIH, in beta, for identifying FDA-approved pills by their appearance.
* The Canadian government launched the OA Language Portal of Canada, which includes Termium Plus, the large database of linguistic data (formerly available only by subscription).
* EthicShare is a searchable OA portal for research articles, news articles, books, dissertations, teaching materials, discussions, and events in ethics. Instead of hosting its own copies of articles (for example), it links to copies elsewhere, some of which are OA and some of which are not. EthicShare is still in beta.
* Neeru Paharia launched AcuWiki, a wiki gathering user-contributed summaries and discussions of peer-reviewed journal articles, all under a CC-BY license.
* University Copyright Ownership Policies (UCOP) is a wiki-based OA collection of university copyright ownership policies.
* The American Society for Cell Biology has a $2.5-million stimulus grant to launch an OA database, The Cell: An Image Library.
* The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Northrop Grumman Corp. have a $15.7 million contract from the NIH to develop the OA Virus Pathogen Database and Analysis Resource (ViPR).
* MIT deposited a new collection of faculty articles in its IR as part of OA Week.
* The University of Delaware added its undergraduate Senior Theses to its institutional repository.
* Brown University is preparing to launch a Fedora-based IR.
* In France, CNRS, TGE Adonis, and Sciences-Po are studying the possibility of launching an OA database of qualitative social science.
* The Italian National Research Council (Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CNR) is studying the feasibility of an institutional repository. (Is the CNR considering an OA policy?)
* The Johns Hopkins Libraries have a $300,000 grant from the NSF to study the feasibility an OA repository of articles based on NSF-funded research. (Is the NSF considering an OA policy?)
* The Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), a federation of neuroscience databases, released NIF 2.0, incorporating a new ontology to improve searches and offering more OA data.
* The National Library of Medicine added several new features to the OA Toxics Release Inventory.
* The Open Knowledge Foundation added new features to the Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN).
* The University of Pretoria released an Open Access Scorecard, showing how repository deposits have grown, how usage has grown, and how policy has changed at the institution, over time.
* OCLC finished the job of incorporating the OAIster database into WorldCat. Contrary to some expectations, it also promised a separate, OA version of the OAIster records by January 2010.
* The NIH announced plans to revise its data-sharing policy for sequence and related genome data.
* Two new resources provide OA data and annotations on the first genome sequences of the yeast protein production host, Pichia pastoris.
* Sage Bionetworks received funding from Quintiles to help develop the OA Sage Commons open access platform for genomics and drug discovery.
* The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) new Principles on Conduct of Clinical Trials and Communication of Clinical Trial Results took effect on October 1. The principles include a commitment to "the timely submission and registration on a public database of summary information about all clinical trials that we conduct...regardless of outcome."
* Gale and EBSCO announced separate initiatives to provide OA information on the H1N1 virus.
* A federated data cyberinfrastructure or data cloud will facilitate data sharing among scholars at Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
* A new report from the US National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) urges states to follow the federal government in opening their data to the public.
* The Open Knowledge Foundation summarized the data access policies at 14 cities in the UK and North America.
* OpenStreetMap is making the most detailed and accurate map of Atlanta available anywhere. Of course all the data will be OA.
* New York City released more than 170 OA datasets and launched a competition to make good use of them.
* The Danish government launched a contest for the best ways to reuse and mash-up public data.
* Participants at the UK Conservative Party Conference agreed to provide OA to "20 of the most socially useful government datasets" within one year of the general election.
* OpenFlights released its airline flight data under the Open Database License (ODbL).
* The KAYAK travel search engine now provides OA to its search data and travel statistics.
* Santa Clara County tried to sell its mapping data for a profit, and force buyers to sign non-disclosure agreements, in violation of California's public-records laws. A citizens group sued and won $500,000 in legal fees.
* The Internet Archive launched BookServer, an open platform for discovering, selling, loaning, and giving away ebooks, and indexing them for search.
* The Internet Archive announced that it is converting all 1.6 million of the public-domain books it has digitized to date from PDF to the open EPUB format in order to make them more useful for users in developing countries or with small machines, such as the one million children worldwide with the laptops from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation (OLPC).
* The EC adopted a Communication on Copyright in the Knowledge Economy, designed to remove legal obstacles to the mass digitization of European books.
* According to its new communication on copyright (above) next year the EC will start reviewing ways to revise copyright law in order to support the digitization and online distribution of books. The revisions may include a compulsory license for books under copyright. The EC wants to stimulate book scanning independently of Google and avoid the legal pitfalls it sees in the Google book settlement.
* Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner for information society and media, is calling on Europe to launch a book-digitization program which is faster and larger than the Google program, and more consistent with European copyright law.
* The European Commission launched the EU Bookshop, an OA collection of 12 million pages from more than 110,000 EU publications from 1952 to the present, digitized by the EC Publications Office.
* New York University will digitize books from its library, as needed, in order to make them accessible to its new sister campus in Abu Dhabi. Contrary to early reports, NYU will not necessarily digitize all 5.1 million books in its library, and the digitization costs will not be paid by the Abu Dhabi government.
* Yale University is negotiating with Google and the Open Content Alliance to host 30,000 public-domain books scanned by Microsoft out of the Yale library before Microsoft dropped its book digitization program.
* Yale received two grants to digitize its collections of Middle Eastern scholarship and government records for OA.
* The University of Michigan Press and the HathiTrust Digital Library are teaming up to provide OA to more than 1,000 books before the end of 2009.
* Harvard University and the National Library of China will digitize and provide OA to all 51,500 volumes of the Harvard-Yenching Library, the largest university collection of rare East Asian literature in the Western world.
* UNESCO launched Majaliss, an OA collection of digitized books in Arabic.
* Cornell is making 90,000 books digitized from Cornell's library available from Amazon in print-on-demand (POD) editions. Cornell is working on a plan to make digital editions of the same books OA through the Internet Archive.
* Cornell University Library published a new book by Peter Hirtle and two colleagues, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for Digitization for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums (available in an OA edition as well as a priced/print edition).
* In an interview, Peter Hirtle also described the background of Cornell's policy to provide unrestricted libre OA to Cornell-digitized works from the public domain (Research Library Issue, October 2009).
* The US federal government published an OA edition of the Federal Register in XML. The XML is designed to allow citizen-initiated mashups, several of which are already featured on the site.
* Bibliotheca Alexandria published the Access to Knowledge Toolkit II: The Access to knowledge movement. A 95 pp. report edited by Hala Essalmawi contains many chapters discussing OA.
* William Patry published a new book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars (Oxford University Press, September 2009). Patry is Senior Copyright Counsel at Google and former copyright counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee.
* Microsoft published an OA book of essays under a CC-BY-SA license: _In The Fourth Paradigm: Data-Intensive Scientific Discovery_. The essays build in Jim Gray's vision for data-intensive science. Part 4 on Scholarly Communications is almost entirely devoted to OA.
* Charles W. Bailey, Jr., release the first version of his Institutional Repository Bibliography.
* Science Dissemination Using Open Acces, the book on OA from ICTP, CERN, and INASP, was translated into Spanish.
* When Peter Cooper couldn't persuade his book publisher, Apress, to offer an OA edition alongside the print edition, as it has done with other titles, Cooper told his readers that he wouldn't object to the circulation of pirated copies. Cooper owns the copyright on the book.
* When Mark Pilgrim persuaded his book publisher, Apress, to publish a print edition of his OA book under the GNU Free Documentation License, Apress didn't apparently realize that this gave others the right to sell their own versions. When a user did just that, Pilgrim welcomed the move and had to explain to Apress that it was lawful.
* The Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies picked a 2007 book, Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice (MIT Press) as a "book of the month for October 2009". (A prescient choice: two weeks later, Elinor Ostrom, one of the book's co-editors, won the Nobel Prize for Economics.)
* Barnes & Noble released the Nook, its ebook reader. Unlike Amazon's Kindle, the Nook allows readers to share and re-sell their ebooks.
* Google announced plans to launch Google Editions, an ebook store whose books will be accessible from any web-enabled computer or reader, not just from dedicated devices.
* The amended Google book settlement is expected on November 9, 2009.
* The US Government Printing Office (GPO) solicited bids in 2008 to digitize all federal publications in US history and make them OA. For complicated reasons it could not accept any of the bids before the RFP expired. It had a least one bid, from the Internet Archive.
+ Studies and surveys
* SPARC released a report by Raym Crow, Income Models for Supporting Open Access, on the business models used by OA journals.
* JISC released a detailed guide to its 15 years of work on OA.
* JISC's Project ICE-TheOREM (Integrated Content Environment + Theses with ORE Metadata) released its final report.
* The JISC SWORD2 Project released its final report.
* JISC released the final report of the DiSCmap (Digitisation of Special Collections, mapping, assessment, prioritisation) project.
* A new JISC study found that students expect research to be OA, and recommends that JISC give a higher priority to the promotion of OA.
* Ana Sanllorenti and and Martín Williman released a study of the consent forms by which authors agree to provide OA to their theses in OA repositories.
* Stuart Shieber produced evidence showing that the correlation between quality and publication fees at fee-based OA journals is positive, and even high, not negative or inverse as one would expect if fee-based OA journals were a form of vanity publishing.
* Heather Morrison calculated that "library savings from a full flip from subscriptions to open access via article processing fees, at the PLoS One rate of $1,350[,] would be at least 64%."
* Elisa Mason found that of the 41 articles published in Oxford's Journal of Refugee Studies in 2006, 2008, and 2009, only one preprint and no postprints had been self-archived. Oxford allows postprint archiving with a two year embargo.
* The University of Nebraska at Lincoln reports that OA dissertations in its repository are downloaded up to 60 times more often than TA dissertations.
* An informal survey of African researchers by Robinson Esalimba and William New found none who were aware of the existence of OA databases of patent information.
* Nancy Sánchez-Tarragó and J. Carlos Fernández-Molina released the results of a survey of attitudes toward OA by Cuban health researchers.
* Anne Fitzgerald and Neale Hooper released a book-length literature review on the policies for OA to PSI in Australia and selected other jurisdictions.
* Anne Fitzgerald and Kylie Pappalardo wrote a brief report on copyright and data for the Australian National Data Service.
* The International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) released a report on the state of scientific and scholarly journal publishing. Section 4 is devoted to OA.
* OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) released the results of a study of "user needs in relation to open access book publishing" and launched a new survey on the "funding of monographs in the humanities and social sciences".
* ALPSP released the preliminary results of its survey of 400 scholarly book publishers. More than 60% reported that participating in Amazon's Look-Inside-the-Book program had a positive effect on sales; fewer than 2% reported a negative effect. 13% of surveyed publishers had published OA monographs.
* Berkeley's Center for Studies in Higher Education released a study of faculty attitudes toward OA textbooks.
* The California Learning Resource Network released the results of its survey on the California Free Digital Textbook Initiative.
* The members of NECOBELAC (Network of Collaboration Between Europe and Latin American-Caribbean Countries) launched a questionnaire on OA, publication, and science writing.
* RoMEO launched a user survey for suggestions on how to improve the service.
+ Software and tools
* SHERPA introduced a major upgrade to its RoMEO database of publisher copyright and self-archiving policies.
* By the middle of this month, the HathiTrust Digital Library will launch a full-text search engine for its 4.3-5 million items on deposit.
* The NIH Library launched a demo version of AllPlus Search, a metasearch engine covering the NIH Library, the NIH Library Catalog, PubMed, and MedlinePlus.
* Stuart Lewis released version 0.9 of the SWORD PHP library.
* The Public Knowledge Project released Open Journal Systems version 2.3.0.
* The Public Knowledge Project is looking for beta testers for Open Conference Systems version 2.3.
* Waterford Institute of Technology released ResearchScope, a tool for harvesting content from the OAI-compliant OA repositories of Ireland.
* The RepositóriUM team at Minho University finished the documentation for the Statistics Add-on for DSpace 1.5.2.
* OpenMoko released WikiReader, a small piece of hardware containing a complete copy of the English-language Wikipedia (minus images), a small screen, and and two AAA batteries good for "several months" of viewing.
* Structural Genomics Consortium released an interactive tool, iSee, for using open data to view protein molecules in 3D.
* The EC launched SETIS (Strategic Energy Technology Plan Information System), an OA tool to monitor the funding of green technologies in Europe.
* Wolfram Alpha opened its API to developers.
+ Awards and milestones
* Elinor Ostrom won the 2009 Nobel Prize in economics (with Oliver Williamson) for her work on the economics of the commons. (Also see the postscript to the lead article above.)
* John Willinsky received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Simon Fraser University, in part for his work on OA.
* The Utne Reader listed three OA activists --John Wilbanks, Cory Doctorow, and Brewster Kahle-- among its 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World.
* The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gave OA advocate Carl Malamud one of its three Pioneer Awards for 2009.
* Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, is one of the Huffington Post's 10 nominees for "the ultimate game changer in media". Readers will vote on the winner.
* Siva Vaidhyanathan was one of three winners of this year's IP3 Awards from Public Knowledge.
* SHERPA hosted an OA Week contest for the best haiku introducing OA. Miggie Pickton won the prize: "Set your research free / As flowers offer nectar / To the passing bee."
* DuraSpace and SPARC announced the winners of its OA Week contest for the best OA repository stories: Luise Barnikel of IssueLab, Bryan Beecher of the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), and Erik Mitchell of the Forsythe County, North Carolina, Digital Library.
* The JISC MOSAIC project announced the three winners of its Developer Competition for the best OA mashup of library circulation data. The top prize went to Alex Parker, an undergraduate computer science student at the University of Southampton, for his dynamic, graphic presentation of library user activity.
* Digital Open announced the eight student winners of its contest to demonstrate the benefits of open licensing.
* Europeana won the 2009 Erasmus Award for Networking Europe from the European Society for Education and Communication.
* The winner of the Repositories Support Project contest for the most deposits during OA Week was White Rose, a consortial repository at the Universities of Leeds, Sheffield, and York, led by Rachel Proudfoot.
* The Virginia Department of Education's "Virginia on iTunes U" was one of two winners of the 2009 Virginia Governor's Technology Award for Innovative Use of Technology in K-12 Education.
* IssueLab launched Research Remix, a video contest to encourage nonprofits to provide libre OA to their research.
* Organizations belonging to the Right to Research Coalition represent more than five million students.
* The Illinois Digital Environment for Access to Learning and Scholarship (IDEALS) passed the milestone of one million downloads. The repository was launched in 2006 and has over 12,000 deposits.
* The Université de Ličge institutional repository passed the milestone of 20,000 deposits, 70% in full-text.
* OpenDOAR passed the milestone of listing 1500 repositories.
* Open Education News passed the milestone of 1,000 posts.
* RePEc passed several milestones in September: 800,000 works listed, 250,000 online working papers, 200,000 article abstracts, and 25,000 NEP reports.
* The University of Pennsylvania's institutional repository, ScholarlyCommons, "was launched in 2003 and currently includes over 12,000 articles, lectures, dissertations, and other academic works...."
* DuraSpace announced that there are now more than 700 DSpace repositories in more than 70 countries.
* SURF launched OpenAccess.nl, a web site on Dutch OA initiatives.
* DEFF (Danmarks Elektroniske Fag- og Forskningsbibliotek) launched Open-Access.dk, a web site on Danish OA initiatives.
* The Hong Kong Open Access Committee launched a page on its activities. Among it goals are to insure "That all research and intellectual output produced in Hong Kong on a non-commercial basis be placed in Open Access" and "That research and intellectual output funded by the Hong Kong taxpayer be freely available in Open Access...."
* The UK Minister for IP proposed copyright reforms to facilitate use of orphan works without fear of liability and to protect reuse rights from nullification by contract.
* The University of California relaunched eScholarship (formerly eScholarship Repository) as a versatile OA publishing platform.
* JISC launched the Supporting, Harnessing and Advancing Repository Enhancement (SHARE) project.
* Scholars at Stanford are proposing to create a text-mining center to study Google-scanned books, Highwire journals, and the university's licensed content.
* DeepDyve launched a new service to "rent" journal articles for $0.99 each. The fee gives the user 24 hours of access without any rights to print, download, or screen-capture.
* The US Fish and Wildlife Service posted a bibliography of its OA publications.
* The UNESCO OER Community released draft version 1.1 of its OER toolkit.
* DuraSpace and the DSpace Global Outreach Committee launched DSpace Ambassador Program, " a global network of volunteers who can help new and potential users get started with DSpace and/or help solicit the necessary help for users with questions."
* UNESCO's Information for All Programme (IFAP) launched an Information Society Observatory to monitor national information strategies.
* A group of students, faculty, and staff at the University of Michigan formed the Open.Michigan Reading Group.
* Healthcare Information For All by 2015 (HIFA2015) will launch a chapter in Portugal later this month.
* Larry Sanger launched WatchKnow, a wiki-based collection of OA educational videos for children. On lauch day it had more 10,000 classified into 2,000 categories. Sanger is the founder of Citizendium and co-founder of Wikipedia.
* The US Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR) launched Forum Network, an OA collection of video lectures by university faculty and notable figures from business and politics.
* SPARC released a 3:20 minute animated video, Open Access 101, a brief and clear introduction to the basics.
* SPARC released a 6 minute video letter welcoming OA Week.
* Klaus Graf reports that the Lexikon der Revolutionsikonographie is the first OA database within the Prometheus image archive.
* Ken Masters reported the existence of a P2P file-sharing site for swapping medical research articles without publisher permission. In the six months from May to November 2008, users requested 6,587 articles through the network, and posted 5,464 (82%) for free online viewing at the site. Each posted article was viewed a mean 4.5 times. Masters does not identify the site.
* Adobe launched the "Adobe Opens Up" website to promote Flash and PDF as tools for the open government movement ("missing the irony" as Chris Foresman wrote).
* Oona Schmid, Director of publishing at the American Anthropological Association, wrote a TA article inviting AAA members to "engage in the future" of the association's publishing problem and access policies (missing the irony, as someone should have written).
* Arthur Sale reported that the Australian Research Online gateway, from the National Library of Australia, is harvesting Australian repositories with its own local variation on the OAI standard. Already two repositories have modified their OAI interface to fit the non-standard harvester, threatening the interoperability the OAI standard was designed to secure./
* The National Archives and Records Administration again allowed Footnote.com, a private company, to digitize public records, and charge the public for access to them. In this case, the records are on the Holocaust and Footnote will provide one month of OA before moving the public records behind a pay wall.
Coming this month
Here are some important OA-related events coming up in November.
* November 9, 2009. The parties to the Google book settlement will submit the revised version of their settlement agreement.
* November 15, 2009. Comments due on the European Commission's public consultation on the future of Europeana, orphan works, the public domain, and digitization, including the questions whether to provide OA to publicly-funded digitization projects.
* OA-related conferences in November 2009.
* Other OA-related conferences
This is the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (ISSN 1546-7821), written by Peter Suber and published by SPARC. The views I express in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of SPARC or other sponsors.
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