Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #151
November 2, 2010
by Peter Suber
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The mandates of October 2010
October 2010 was the most prolific month for OA mandates in our history. We saw adopted OA mandates at two funders (Agricultural Research Service at the US Department of Agriculture and a funding program at the Gates Foundation), adopted OA mandates at six research institutions (Australian National University, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Teesside University, Trinity College Dublin, University of Tromsø), one adopted OA mandate at a multi-institutional consortium (the EUR-OCEANS Consortium, representing 29 institutions), one adopted departmental OA mandate (library faculty at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis), two adopted OA resolutions or pledges (librarians at Arizona State University, University of Northern Colorado), one adopted OA thesis mandate (University of Westminster), three OA thesis mandates adopted earlier but announced in October (Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, Wageningen University & Research Centre), two forthcoming mandates announced (Birkbeck College at the University of London, the University of Twente), one OA mandate in preparation (India's National Metallurgical Laboratory), and one proposed departmental OA mandate (Northern Melbourne Institute of Tertiary and Vocational Education and Training) --altogether 20 actions at 38 institutions in 9 countries (Australia, France, India, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, UK, USA), or in 20 countries if you count all the countries were member institutions of the EUR-OCEANS Consortium are located (adding Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Morocco, Poland, South Africa, and Sweden). For links, see the Roundup section below.
For some comparison, here are the two runners up:
October 2006: One new OA mandate (Austria's Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung), one new open data mandate (China's Ministry of Science and Technology), one previously adopted OA mandate extended from new grants to outstanding past grants (Wellcome Trust), four previously adopted OA mandates took effect (Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, Economic & Social Research Council, Medical Research Council, Natural Environment Research Council), one previously adopted OA mandate announced (Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council), one adopted near-mandate (Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils), one draft OA mandate released for comment (Canadian Institutes of Health Research), and one draft mandate revealed to be under deliberation (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) --altogether eleven actions in five countries (Austria, Canada, China, the UK, and the US).
January 2008: New OA mandates from three funders (European Research Council, US National Institutes of Health, Italy's Istituto Superiore di Sanità), two OA mandates took effect (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute), one previously adopted OA mandate announced (Charles Sturt University), two near-mandates adopted (Hokkaido University, Spain's National Research Council, and the Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences), one reaffirmation of an earlier OA mandate not previously enforced (the Russian public sector information) --altogether ten developments in eight countries (Australia, Canada, EU, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the US).
Politically selective calls for open access
What should we think about politically selective calls for OA? For now, put aside those that are yoked to general calls for OA and framed as politically realistic first steps. What about those that are not yoked to general calls for OA, and whose narrowness suggests political opportunism more than political realism? Here are five quick examples from the US to show what I have in mind.
(1) When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, Republican critics called for public disclosure of Hillary Clinton's undergraduate thesis. When Barack Obama ran for president 16 years later, Republican critics called for Michelle Obama's undergraduate thesis. When Obama nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court, Republican critics called for Kagan's undergraduate thesis. As far as I know, none of the people calling for public disclosure of these undergraduate theses called for similar disclosure of the theses written by the spouses of Republican presidential candidates or by the Supreme Court nominees of Republican presidents. Nor did they call for OA to all undergraduate theses.
(2) In 1999, Senator Richard Shelby sponsored an amendment to an appropriations bill, subsequently passed, requiring federally-funded research projects to make their data publicly available through the Freedom of Information Act. (Green OA mandates were unknown in 1999.) Shelby opposed certain environmental regulations and wanted the studies underlying those regulations exposed to skeptical scrutiny, including some studies based on private medical records of patients harmed by airborne pollution. But his FOIA-access mandate was not limited to those particular studies or even to environmental research. On the contrary, the Shelby amendment was a general open data mandate and applied to publicly-funded studies of all kinds. Eleven years later, however, in February 2010, Senator James Inhofe cited the Shelby amendment as one ground for criminal prosecution of climate scientists unwilling to share their data. One of the targeted scientists was Michael Mann, creator of the famous "hockey stick" graph showing a sharp rise in global temperatures in the 20th century. Like Shelby, Inhofe opposed certain environmental policies and hoped that public scrutiny of the underlying studies would undermine the policies. (In a public statement as famous as the hockey stick graph, Inhofe called the idea of human-made global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.") Unlike Shelby, however, Inhofe was unwilling to generalize the call for access, even to climate research, and has a track record of opposing generalized OA policies such as the NIH policy.
(3) In 2005, Representative Joe Barton led a House committee investigation of three climate scientists, including Michael Mann. Barton, who denied the role of human activity in global warming, gave the three scientists 18 days to produce documentation on hundreds of studies going back decades. When scientists and members of Congress criticized Barton's investigation as harassment, an anonymous blogger defended the investigation and claimed to speak for Barton's committee. The blogger cited arguments on the benefits of OA to research in general, although neither Barton's committee nor the blogger were calling for OA to research in general.
(4) In 2006, liberal and conservative members of the House and Senate agreed to co-sponsor a bill creating an OA database of US government spending. Initially the bill was general and applied equally to liberal and conservative projects. Each side was willing to gamble that public exposure would help its cause more than the opposing cause. However, the House bill was soon amended to favor conservatives by exempting the disclosure of government contracts with corporations. In the Senate, the unamended general bill was blocked by two Senators, one conservative and one liberal, who wanted to limit public scrutiny of the pork projects they steered toward their states. Eventually the balanced, general bill passed both chambers and became law.
(5) Earlier in 2010, Kenneth Cuccinelli II, the Attorney General of Virginia, picked up where Joe Barton (#3) and James Inhofe (#2) left off, and investigated climate scientist Michael Mann for fraud. Like Barton and Inhofe, Cuccinelli believes that human-made global warming is a hoax, and targeted one of the most prominent scientists opposing his views. Like Barton, he demanded a mountain of documentation, going back over a decade, and gave Mann's university just over a month to produce it. Like them both, he has not called for OA to climate research generally or OA to publicly-funded research generally. In August 2010, a federal court halted his investigation. But early last month, he picked it up in a modified form that he hopes will pass muster with federal courts. About two weeks ago, the University of Virginia was back in court to stop him. Stay tuned.
See the appendix for links and more detail on these five cases.
* These cases beg for a close analysis of the kind of opportunism that puts political advantage over principle. If these politicians thought that climate science had become ideologically skewed, if they wanted to improve its reliability, and if they believed public scrutiny would help expose and correct scientific errors, then why did they target just a few political opponents when they could have taken a more general, principled approach? Why not call for OA generally, to all research in the field, to help expose and correct errors generally, across the field? Why target just the leading scientists opposed to their own personal views, as if their own personal views were the measure of scientific reliability, or as if their own personal views were the remedy, rather than the recipe, for ideological bias?
Here, however, I'm more interested in the strategy questions these tactics raise for OA activists, and by extension for activists of all kinds. When should we welcome small steps toward a good goal and when should we oppose them? Does it matter whether the small steps are politically selective if they take steps in the right direction? Does it matter whether there are political obstacles to wider, fairer, and more general policies?
First I acknowledge that all five cases show Republicans putting political advantage over principle. One case (#4) shows a Democrat joining a Republican in this practice. I've looked for other examples of Democrats doing the same, on OA issues, without much to show for it. The next closest case I've found is that some Democrats joined some Republicans in opposing OA for the high-quality, publicly-funded research from the Congressional Research Service. Politicians of both parties have called for OA to CRS Reports (notably, John McCain and Joe Lieberman) and politicians of both parties have opposed OA to the reports (notably, Bob Ney and John Larson). http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2007/12/bill-to-mandate-oa-for-crs-reports.html
If you can help balance the picture, drop me a line. I don't want this investigation to be guilty of one kind of bias while criticizing another.
But for the issues I care about here, it doesn't matter whether the guilty parties are Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. The issue is whether we should support politically selective calls for OA, on the ground that they would take at least a small step in the right direction, or whether we should reject them because of their motivation, their incompleteness, their political consequences, or some other failing.
Some of the five cases don't even take a step in the right direction. For example, I can't support mandatory OA to undergraduate theses (#1) or patient medical records (#2), although I support voluntary OA to both when the students or patients consent. But I strongly support mandatory OA for publicly-funded research, including climate research and data (##2, 3, 5), and mandatory OA for data on government spending (#4).
Even after we sort out the cases, however, and distinguish those taking steps toward goals we can support, we still face a hard question. When should we support incremental progress, especially when it's politically lopsided, and when should we tell our opportunistic, one-time-only allies to return to the drawing board?
* These cases bother me because in most respects I'm an incrementalist. I even wrote an article in 2004 in defense of incrementalism:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/09-02-04.htm#progressOne reason to praise forward steps is that they really do constitute progress, whether or not they reach full OA....There's no contradiction here and no implication that the progress we are praising is all that could be desired. We praise students for improving without implying that they've improved enough. We praise good moves in politics, sports, and science without implying that further progress is unnecessary or impossible. We can speak clearly. If we want to say that widening access is good and open access is better [or that targeted OA is good and general OA is better], we can say that.
I was very disappointed in 2004 when the NIH proposed an encouragement policy with an embargo up to 12 months, especially when Congress had asked for a mandate with an embargo no longer than six months. But I was an incrementalist and argued that we should support both the imperfect policy and continuing strategies to strengthen it.
When the East Anglia "climategate" case broke, a common response across the scientific world was to call for OA to climate data. I was heartened when politicians joined scientists in calling for open data, including some who had already decided on nonscientific grounds that the scientific consensus must be wrong. I didn't support the cynical wing of the coalition, but I did support the general call that the cynical had cynically joined. I supported it even though the call didn't go beyond climate science to all science or even all publicly-funded science.
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/01-02-10.htm#2009When emails stolen from climate researchers at the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit suggested that some researchers might have fudged some data, scientists of many kinds called for open data for all climate studies. Because the scientists calling for open data were joined by some serious politicians concerned to keep climate science credible with the public, and by some opportunistic politicians who don't follow and don't accept climate science, the odds rose that public policy on climate research might shift toward OA....
When we agree that a goal is good, then we should do what we can when we can. If we have an opportunity to open up climate data today, but no similar opportunity for national security data, then we should open up climate data today without waiting until we can do everything at once. If some climate activists want to open up climate data and then stop, we should support them with the intention of continuing to work when they themselves have finished.
Here's the hard question: If we have an opportunity to open up climate data from a few targed researchers, before we have an opportunity to open it up more generally, should we take it? Here we need to ask some follow-up questions. (1) Will we open up the kinds of data we really want open? For example, will we open up ocean temperature data, rather than personal emails about ocean temperature data? (2) Will we allow the kinds of exceptions or delays we really think are legitimate? For example, will we exempt non-anonymized medical data and wait until the data-gathering scientists have had a chance to publish their results at least once? (3) Is it true that we can't yet open up data more generally? For example, are we targeting just a few individuals because we really can't do better, or would it be just as politically feasible to call for OA to all research of a certain kind?
If we can answer 'yes' to all three questions, then let's take the step. But if the step would open up information not useful for research, the case for OA is weak, not strong. If the step would harm researchers or research subjects, then the cost could easily outweigh the benefit. If a larger and more general step is just as feasible as the smaller step, then limiting ourselves to the small step is a missed opportunity for progress and a needless narrowing of focus requiring --but usually not receiving-- a special justification.
Here's an analogy. Suppose we support efforts to reduce carbon emissions. If a politician pretended to agree and proposed "as a first step" to ban all carbon emissions from certain people, all targeted political opponents, that would be indefensible. The problem is not that it fails to qualify as a small step toward a good goal. It does qualify. The problem is that it invidiously discriminates on political grounds, creates harms to offset the good, and chooses a narrow focus when a general rule would be more desirable, more justified, and apparently as feasible.
To pretend that general arguments for reducing carbon emissions justify this selective step is to overlook the most objectionable aspect of this selective step. Any justification for the step must address the objection about its suspiciously political, narrow scope. This was the problem with the anonymous blogger's defense of Barton's committee investigation in case #3. The general arguments for OA were impeccable, but they didn't answer the objection that the investigation was unjustifiably narrow and political.
The problem is not with intentions but consequences. The hypothetical carbon ban --like the actual Barton-Inhofe-Cuccinelli investigations-- may be intentional political warfare. But partisan intentions needn't disqualify a bipartisan plan, which is one of the heartening aspects of case #4. When assessing a proposal we can ignore intentions and look only at the proposal itself. In the hypothetical case, however, it's hard to deny that the small first step could have been a tolerable carbon reduction for a fairly selected group rather than an intolerable burden for an unfairly selected group.
What if we actually support the political goals of a politician who happens to use such a one-sided tactic? The question is not whether we support the players or causes that might gain from the tactic, but whether we can support the tactic itself as a means to the end. If it creates political gains for causes we like, we can't overlook its costs to innocent bystanders and fair procedure. (Adlai Stevenson comes to mind: "The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning.")
Sometimes small steps are positively preferable to large ones, even when both are politically feasible. For example, we could reduce risk in off-shore oil drilling if we decide to study the consequences of small, early steps before committing to larger, later ones. But this principle doesn't cover Barton, Inhofe, and Cuccinelli, since they've offered no public plans to generalize the call for OA after studying the consequences of the politically selective OA they demand.
The question in these cases is when small, politically selective steps toward OA are acceptable even when they are *not* preferable to larger, general OA policies.
The best reason to accept small steps, when they're not preferable to large steps, is that sometimes they are politically feasible when larger steps are not. For political reasons, the 2005 version of the NIH policy stopped at mere request and encouragement. But it was better than the previous non-policy, which was a reason to support the advance. However, stopping short of a mandate was also a reason to keep working for a mandate. The 2008 version of the policy strengthened the request to a requirement but failed to shorten the embargo. It was better than the previous voluntary policy, which was a reason to support the advance. However, failing to shorten the long embargo was also a reason to keep working for a shorter embargo.
We've had to work toward a mandatory policy with a short embargo in stages, not because small steps were better than large ones but because accomplishing everything in one step was politically impossible. Likewise, if we want libre OA mandates rather than gratis OA mandates, then we must still work for them in stages. The political obstacles are precisely why gratis OA policies are hard-won, and worth celebrating, even if we regard them as steps along the way to libre OA policies.
In short, to repeat, when the goal is good, do what you can when you can. Sometimes you can only do so much. But turn the ratchet of social good whenever you have your hand on the crank.
When large steps face insuperable political obstacles, it's much easier to support small steps. But when larger steps are politically feasible, and certain smaller steps would have one-sided political consequences, then we have to think about how to weigh the stepwise progress against the risk of playing an invidious political game.
Barton, Inhofe, and Cuccinelli seem to think that public scrutiny of Michael Mann's data (and personal emails) would invalidate his results. But they know very well that the vast majority of scientists in the field support his results, and have already independent data to come to similar conclusions. In fact, the existence of that scientific consensus has put these politicians on the defensive and provoked their political strategy. But what is their strategy? If making Mann's work OA would only tend to confirm it in the eyes of other scientists, then why would *they* want to do it? It's hard to avoid the conclusion that their real purpose is harassment and intimidation. They want to raise the cost to scientists who confirm inconvenient truths about climate change. If raising the cost and annoyance level is success, then they're succeeding.
That's why I think we can go beyond talk about intentions to talk about consequences. If they intended to expose bad science, we wouldn't have to agree with them about which science is bad; we should focus on the consequences and welcome their support in the campaign to share research data for every sort of review and reuse. If they intended to harass and failed, then we needn't care. But if they intended to harass and succeeded, then we should certainly care. They may not be stopping other climate scientists from following the weight of the evidence, but they are increasing the cost of doing so --and ironically all in the name of OA.
It's just as hard to avoid the conclusion that another element in their strategy is FUD. We start from the same premise: these politicians are very aware of the scientific consensus on climate change. They must realize that exposing Mann's data would do little or nothing to shake that consensus. But in their demands to expose it, the lay public will see the consensus contradicted, even if it's contradicted by politicians rather than scientists. Politicians who can't disconfirm a scientific theory can still shake its credibility, at least with the constituents that matter most to them. If they reduce its credibility and increase FUD, they'll reduce the odds that policy-makers and the public will accept large and expensive solutions that would inconvenience the same constituents. For those politicians, that's at least half a victory.
When the East Anglia climate researchers were acquitted of misconduct by the Commons Science and Technology Committee of the British Parliament', "the MPs criticised Professor [Phil] Jones and climate scientists in general for being too possessive and secretive about the raw scientific data and computer codes they use to establish the link between global warming and human activities. They also criticised the [University of East Anglia] for fostering a culture of non-disclosure of scientific information to climate sceptics."
That secrecy, plus political attacks on climate science and scientists, plus superficial journalism dutifully giving equal weight to both sides of a cooked-up controversy, have had a cumulative effect. The credibility of climate science has taken a hit, way out of proportion to its apparently normal rate of methodological problems. Worse, it's impossible to say that some of that hit wasn't deliberately solicited or abetted by political operatives and PR firms who specialize in sowing doubt. Actual misconduct in climate science may be rare, but suspicion and distrust are not. On the other side, OA can answer suspicion and distrust, at least when the OA is general and not politically selective. On this front, general OA policies are part of the solution and politically selective calls for OA are part of the problem.
Among the many groups calling for general OA policies as part of the solution was the Independent Assessment Panel set up to evaluate the climate data controversy. From its April 2010 report:
http://www.uea.ac.uk/mac/comm/media/press/CRUstatements/SAPIt was pointed out that since UK government adopted a policy that resulted in charging for access to data sets collected by government agencies, other countries have followed suit impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers. This is unfortunate and seems inconsistent with policies of open access to data promoted elsewhere in government.
The University of East Anglia was certainly not alone in "impeding the flow of processed and raw data to and between researchers." Not even Al Gore and the publicly-funded UN Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change made their work OA, not even after they made public statements about the importance of spreading the message they were publishing, and not even after they had Nobel prize money to compensate them for any lost royalties.
But the generality of the problem calls for general solutions. Even when the selective targets of calls for OA are guilty of needless secrecy, our solutions should be general. When the selective targets are guilty of nothing more than disagreeing with policy-makers, or ratcheting up the inconvenience of inconvenient truths, then we should redouble our support for general solutions and not lend our weight to intimidation or FUD, even when they're dressed up as small steps toward OA. To advance the cause --and incidentally prove our good faith, if that's necessary after refusing to join certain politically selective steps toward OA-- let's work for OA to climate research in general, or publicly-funded research in general, or peer-reviewed research in general.
Let's do that with our eyes wide open to the fact that good knowledge doesn't lead directly to good policy. We must work on both parts of that two-part problem. Let's use general OA policies to advance good knowledge, and use the resulting good knowledge to advance good policy. Let's learn what we can and use what we know, even if it's foreseeable that we'll get bogged down later quarreling about how to translate our good knowledge into good policy. Let's not cooperate with attempts to set policy without using what we know, attempts to limit the circulation of knowledge, attempts to intimidate those trying to know, or attempts to engineer FUD and confuse what we know.
In particular cases, our decisions will turn on fine judgments about how large a step is politically feasible or how damaging a certain narrower step would be. We won't all draw the line of unacceptable incrementalism at the same place. True friends of OA disagree about whether to support double-dipping hybrid OA journals, whether to support any hybrid OA journals at all, or whether to support OA journals as such, or gold OA, until green OA is further along. They disagree about whether gratis OA is an acceptable incremental step toward libre OA, whether CC-BY-NC is an acceptable incremental step toward CC-BY, and whether CC-BY is an acceptable incremental step toward CC0.
The same is true on the other side as TA publishers experiment with OA or decide which incremental steps they can support. In June 2006, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) issued a joint statement in support of open data. I blogged this comment at the time:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2006/06/alpsp-and-stm-support-oa-data.htmlThe ALPSP and STM both lobby *against* policies that would provide OA to research *literature*, like FRPAA and the draft RCUK policy. I acknowledge that there are many differences between OA to data and OA to peer-reviewed articles interpreting or analyzing data. But ALPSP and STM should acknowledge that there are many similarities, and that most of their arguments for OA data (enhancing research productivity, avoiding costly repetition of research, supporting the creative integration and reworking of research) also apply to OA literature.
Similarly, some TA journals provide OA at their own expense to especially important articles or editorials, in order to spread the word. But that creates line-drawing problems when they must decide when a work is sufficiently important to qualify for special treatment. Some TA journals provide retroactive OA to articles that turn out to be especially important, for example when their authors later win Nobel prizes. (There are some examples in this month's Roundup section, below.) But that creates the same kind of line-drawing problems, even when there are generalizable ways of doing the same thing.
The negative spin on these practices is that some TA publishers recognize the principle of OA but apply it selectively or even inconsistently. The positive spin is that these TA publishers recognize the principle and are taking incremental steps to live up to it.
In any hard case of incrementalism, one question is about the pace of progress. But another is about changing minds. Part of any activist campaign is to change minds, and part of changing minds is to move from one position to another incompatible with it. If we're too harsh on the inconsistencies of others, whether in allies or opponents, then we'll stigmatize and deter the kind of mind-changing that is our goal. But if we're more forgiving, in order to open the door to the kind of progress we want, then at least we should understand that we too are being politically selective.
* Here are some cases to test your own intuitions about where to draw the line.
Last spring the Russian Federal Archives Agency began providing OA to papers documenting the 1940 Soviet execution of Polish officers at Katyn. The documentation is coming out in dribs and drabs, but this is apparently due to archiving problems within the agency, not political interference. I applaud the project, but since I don't know the cause of the problems, perhaps I should be more conditional: I'm ready to applaud the project if the plan is for general disclosure, without political selectivity, and the problems are merely logistical.
In May 2010, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that public libraries may use internet filters to block pornography. At least filters don't violate the free-speech rights of patrons, and librarians are free to decide how much of the unfiltered internet to offer patrons. Some librarians wanted to take the big step of offering the whole unfiltered internet. But Jan Walsh of the Washington State Library wanted the state's public libraries to take the smaller step of offering a porn-free internet. She argued: "If you want to see the demise of support for libraries, just keep going the way of wide-open access to all of these ugly sites."
Librarians continue to disagree about which position best fulfills the mission of libraries. I suspect that nearly all librarians would agree to take the larger step, and offer the unfiltered internet, when it is politically feasible to do so, or when there are politically feasible ways to implement it within the library, for example, by lifting filters on request for adult patrons in certain parts of the library. Making unfiltered access lawful doesn't solve the political problem in communities where library policies can cost them patrons and funding.
In an April 2010 letter to BMJ from Ane Krag Jakobsen and four co-authors pointed out that fee-based OA journals "preferentially increase accessibility to studies funded by industry [which makes funds available for publication fees]. This could favour dissemination of pro-industry results...."
My take: this is a small step toward a good goal --not the goal of industrial domination of science but the goal of financially healthy peer-reviewed OA journals as an alternative to peer-reveiwed TA journals. Insofar as industrial sponsorship favors some conclusions over others, it's a one-sided step. But it should be complemented by other steps rather than retracted. It's not invidious that industrial sponsors are willing to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. Indeed, every kind of research funder should do the same, when it can afford to do so. We should increase support from funding agencies and universities, which we're doing, rather than reduce support from industry. Meantime, as always, we should push for green OA, which requires no fees, for all peer-reviewed research regardless of how it is funded.
Until more non-industrial sponsors enter the lists, or until green OA levels rise further, industry-sponsored research may (or may not) be more accessible than non-industry-sponsored research in fee-based OA journals, and that may (or may not) skew some investigations. But this kind of bias is peculiar and deserves at least two comments. First, non-industrial sponsors are joining industrial sponsors in funding OA journals and may already outnumber them. In that sense, the correctives are politically feasible and spontaneously growing. There may be no threshold at which they become knowably sufficient, but they're moving steadily in that direction. Second, the bias will only affect researchers who limit their reading to fee-based OA journals, a very odd research method that I've never heard anyone propose or defend. Moreover, it would be difficult to put into practice, deliberately or inadvertently. Not only are OA journals a minority of peer-reviewed journals, but fee-based OA journals are a minority of OA journals. Most readers don't know and can't easily tell whether an OA journal charges author-side publication fees. If the bias were more likely or more severe, then we'd want to offset it without waiting for more corrective steps to accumulate. But because ordinary research practices steer clear of the problem, we can easily tolerate this first step while subsequent steps steadily improve the solution. Indeed, we should praise industrial research sponsors for their commitment to OA.
Also see thoughtful comments on the Jakobsen letter by Kent Anderson and S. Pelech.
However, similar kinds of bias have actually arisen and done harm. Ellen Roche died in June 2001 when she inhaled hexamethonium for an asthma experiment. The physician supervising the experiment researched the safety of inhaling hexamethonium, but apparently limited his research to one contemporary textbook and PubMed. Some journal articles from the 1950's documented the risk of death from inhaling the drug, but PubMed's coverage didn't start until the 1960's.
Here the problem is not any bias in the literature, but the limited scope of one OA resource, a side-effect of incrementalism. That incrementalism doesn't always mix well with the unprecedented convenience of OA, which makes OA resources the first stop for many researchers, and for some busy or careless ones, the last stop as well. This cases raises some deep questions about incrementalism, and I addressed some of them in this newsletter for August 2001:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/newsletter/08-23-01.htm#roche2...Fourth, I'd urge researchers to draw the conclusion that relevant information may exist without being online, let alone free and online. When easy searches fail, we do not have a bona fide negative result from which we can draw scientific conclusions. Instead we must spend the time and calories to undertake a more arduous search. Fifth, I'd wonder out loud whether there is a good scientist anywhere who didn't already know this. Finally, I'd point out that part of the underlying problem here is that [OA] is compellingly attractive. It is only hazardous because it tempts busy people to rely on it to the exclusion of other research methods. What makes it tempting is not false advertising but spectacular convenience....If [OA] is spectacularly convenient, but not yet adequate [in its scope or coverage], then it may be hazardous to put before people who don't understand its inadequacy or whose will has been weakened by various pressures. But the same is true of potato chips and money.
If the problem is that [OA] is available for use before it is adequate, then the real objection is to stepwise progress. Which is better, to make [OA] repositories available as they are ready, and let them grow and interconnect in real time, or to hold them back until the network of such repositories encompasses all published literature? Serious scientists would be the first to object to the latter plan. Running a close second would be people with debilitating medical conditions anxious for research breakthroughs....
Let's also admit that PubMed doesn't pretend to be more than it is. Its scope does not go back to the 1950's or extend to the rulings of federal administrative agencies [which showed that the US Food and Drug Administration withdrew its approval of hexamethonium in 1972]. What it does, it does very well....If it appears to a researcher through a veil of illusion, the illusion of sufficiency, then it is the researcher's illusion. The same is true of a print library.
If incomplete resources lead to inadequate searches, with fatal consequences, then we might want to question incrementalism itself. But we can't realistically demand that researchers search only complete resources. No resources are complete and the full interoperability of our many incomplete resources is still a long way off. This is another way back to the conclusion that the problem lies more in the inadequacy of the researcher's search than the inadequacy of any incrementally growing resource or library.
One more example: In 2009, the Reynolds Tobacco Company went to court to demand a copy of an unfinished book manuscript by Stanford historian, Robert Proctor. Proctor had often served as an expert witness against tobacco companies and was scheduled to do so again in an upcoming trial. Reynolds wanted to use information from Proctor's book to prepare its cross-examination of him in that trial.
Although Reynolds was not demanding OA for Proctor's manuscript, an important OA principle is still at stake here. We want OA for texts that authors are ready to publish or distribute, but not before. Violating that principle leads to Congressional subpoenas for personal emails, as if to advance research. In other circumstances, violating the principle could force disclosure of patentable discoveries before authors have a chance to apply for patents. That could mobilize the very large and well-funded patent industry to oppose OA policies they could otherwise support, which is roughly what happened with the 2003 Public Access to Science Act (a.k.a. the Sabo bill).
Reynolds was not demanding OA to all unpublished book manuscripts, or even private disclosure of all unpublished book manuscripts. But I won't criticize the company for failing to generalize, for those generalizations would have been worse than the selective demand, which was already bad enough. Moreover, while Reynold may not have generalized its demand, US courts treat decisions as precedents for similarly situated parties in the future, and in that sense stand ready to generalize where Reynolds wasn't. The generalization would have been something like this: unpublished book manuscripts by expert witnesses should be disclosed privately to the parties against whom the witnesses plan to testify, when those parties need access to the manuscripts in order to prepare their cross-examination of those witnesses.
* Appendix. Here are some more details, links, and comments on the five examples from the first section. I repeat a little from my summaries there to make these case studies stand on their own.
(1') When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, some Republican opponents called for public disclosure of Hillary Clinton's allegedly radical undergraduate thesis at Wellesley College on Saul Allinsky.
When Barack Obama ran for President in 2008, some Republican opponents called for public disclosure of Michelle Obama's allegedly radical undergraduate thesis at Princeton on whether a Princeton education made Black students more motivated, or less motivated, to help the Black community.
The Obama campaign made Michelle's thesis OA after the election.
In response to similar calls in 2010, the Obama administration also released Elena Kagan's undergraduate Princeton thesis on socialism, after Obama nominated Kagan to the Supreme Court and conservative critics demanded to see her thesis.
As far as I know, Democrat critics of Republican presidential candidates have never called for public disclosure of the undergraduate theses of the candidates or their spouses. As far as I know, none of the Republicans calling for disclosure of the Clinton, Obama, and Kagan theses called for the public disclosure of the undergraduate theses of the spouses of Republican presidential candidates, or the nominees of Republican presidents to the Supreme Court. Nor did they make a general call for OA to all undergraduate theses.
I support OA for doctoral dissertations, even mandatory OA for doctoral dissertations.
But while I support voluntary OA to undergraduate essays, I couldn't support an OA mandate. Many of the strongest arguments for OA to doctoral dissertations do not carry over to undergraduate theses. Undergraduate theses are valuable as pedagogical exercises even when they fall short of the criteria used to judge dissertations. Teachers may ask for original scholarship in undergraduate theses, but are more likely to get it in doctoral dissertations, which makes dissertations better subjects for inclusion in the institution's publish-or-perish policy. Mandatory OA is a way to treat a dissertation seriously as a work of original scholarship in which the university takes pride. Doctoral students are trying to become professionals in a field, and can be asked to take the risk of publishing something they may regret later.
But even if I were willing to call for mandatory OA to undergraduate theses, and even if I knew that Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Elena Kagan all wrote admirable theses (which would not be hard to believe), I'd still have to conclude that people targeting these three theses were thinking more about embarrassing political opponents than sharing valuable scholarship.
(2') In 1999, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) introduced an amendment to a spending bill requiring that the Office for Management and Budget (OMB) revise one of its regulations to mandate that "all data produced under an award will be made available to the public through the procedures established under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)."
Remember that this was 1999, when there were no green OA mandates anywhere. Requiring a certain category of publicly-funded data to be available through FOIA was a precursor to today's OA mandates. If Shelby had known about green OA mandates, he might have rewritten his amendment to create one.
For details, see the 2002 report on the Shelby amendment from the US National Academies Press (NAP), "Access to Research Data in the 21st Century: An Ongoing Dialogue Among Interested Parties Report of a Workshop."
Digression for OA historians: Chapter 5 of the NAP report acknowledges the clumsiness of the FOIA for data sharing and considers some alternatives to streamline the process, including free online access to the datasets and the software required to read the data.
The Shelby amendment passed. This was a breakthrough for open data arising from publicly-funded research. So what's the problem?
There's no problem except Shelby's motivation, and even his motivation wasn't a large problem in light of the generality of his amendment. According to the NAP report, the Environmental Protection Agency started regulating airborne particulate pollution in 1997, based on studies that it caused health problems and its levels correlated with death rates. Quoting the report (pp. vii-viii):Critics of the proposed standards claimed that implementing the new standards would be unreasonably costly, with estimates reaching billions of dollars. They argued further that the standards were not scientifically justified, and they called for access to all of the underlying data so that the results could be verified by other scientists. The Harvard researchers [who undertook one of the targeted studies], who had been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and not the EPA, declined to provide the underlying data. They took this position in large part because of their concern that releasing all data would violate the privacy agreements they had made with the patients who participated in the study as part of the informed consent process. However, Harvard did indicate a willingness to provide the data to other qualified researchers for confidential analysis and requested that the Health Effects Institute (HEI) conduct an independent review of the data. The researchers’ refusal to make all their data available led to calls from Congress, industry, and others, requesting access to the data, and was one of the causes of...the Shelby Amendment...."
Shelby opposed the pollution regulations and wanted to scrutinize the data from the studies inspiring the regulations in order to undermine them. However, to his credit, wrote a general OA (or FOIA) mandate that went well beyond the studies underlying the regulations he disliked. His political allies may have shared his skepticism about the science, or his priorities for business over the environment, but they too used general arguments for data sharing. From the NAP report (p. viii):Defenders of the Shelby Amendment argued that it provided the public with both accountability (taxpayers fund the research —therefore they should be able to see its basis) and transparency (the public should be able to review research data produced with federal funds that is used to support regulatory decisions that affect the public).
For that reason, Shelby's personal motivation doesn't matter much. He may have opposed environmental research and some environmental regulation, but his amendment would accelerate and improve research of all kinds.
But while I support his generalied call for open data, I also respect the data-sharing reservations of the scientistis behind the studies that especially agitated him. Those studies were based on medical data showing the effects of airborne particulate pollution on individual patients. If the researchers obtained those data on the condition that they would keep them private, they were bound to keep them private. Moreover, I support the principle that medical privacy takes priority over OA, or that only anonymized medical data can be made OA.
If that were the end of the story, I wouldn't use it as a case study, except perhaps as a case study showing that a one-sided motivation is compatible with a general OA policy. But the Shelby amendment returned to the news in February 2010 when Senate Republicans released a minority report on the "climategate" controversy from November 2009. Although the notorious emails were leaked from the Climatic Research Unit of the UK's University of East Anglia, one of the researchers involved was an American, Michael Mann of the University of Virginia, which created a foothold for a US Senate committee to investigate.
The Senate minority report threatened criminal charges against Mann for falsifying data, and cited the Shelby amendment as one of the laws he might have violated. The report also alleges (p. 29) that Mann might have violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a directive from the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy, President Obama's Transparency and Open Government Policy, the Federal False Statements Act, the False Claims Act, and federal laws against the obstruction of justice and iInterference with Congressional proceedings.
The report was written by Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), in his role as the ranking minority member of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Inhofe famously called global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people" (July 2003).
Unlike Shelby, Inhofe was not willing to generalize. Inhofe has not called for OA to all climate data, or all publicly-funded climate data. He even tried his best to derail the OA policy at the NIH before its adoption. In October 2007, he filed two amendments to the Senate appropriations bill containing the OA mandate for the NIH. One amendment would have deleted the NIH provision and the other would have weakened it significantly. His strategy was apparently to use the deletion proposal to set up the dilution proposal as a reasonable compromise.
Charles Bailey pointed out at the time that one of Inhofe's top financial contributors was Reed Elsevier.
(3') In 2005, Joe Barton (R-TX), then-chairman of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, began investigating three government-funded scientists --Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes-- who concluded that human activity is largely responsible for global warming. Barton denied their conclusions, worked for the oil industry before running for Congress, and in the decade before his committee investigation was one of the top five Congressional recipients of oil-industry campaign funds. He gave the three scientists 18 days to produce documentation on hundreds of studies going back decades. Scientists and fellow members of Congress criticized his investigation as harassment.
In 2006, an anonymous blogger who claimed to be writing on behalf of Barton's committee began using OA arguments to defend Barton's investigation. The posts have since been taken offline, but I blogged excerpts at the time:
http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/2006/06/oa-to-promulgate-or-to-intimidate.htmlClimate change is a fascinating science worthy of much study. Some recents [sic] studies have been used by overzealous regulators and politicians to push heavy-duty burdens and taxes on many industries. Before we tax potentially trillions of dollars out of the economy, we here at the House Energy and Commerce Committee thought we might have a look at it too. Turns out, that made us personna [sic] non grata.
Now, the National Research Council, in a report that upholds the science that hypothesizes on some some [sic] warming trends, also upholds our efforts to look at the data too. As you can see on page 23 of the report's overview section, the NRC took note of the issue of access to scientific data, and emphasized the importance of sharing information.
"Our view is that research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory," the report said. "Paleoclimate research would benefit if individual researchers, professional societies, journal editors, and funding agencies continued to improve their efforts to ensure that these existing open access practices are followed. "
Obviously, our nation's most prestigious scientific [sic] sees the need to make data available.
I accept the National Research Council's arguments for open data, especially in high-stakes and contested fields like climate science. The difference between the NRC's call for OA and Joe Barton's was that the NRC was willing to generalize. It called for a policy to cover a whole field, or to cover all publicly-funded science. Barton zeroed in on three scientists whose influential results contradicted his own beliefs.
It turns out that the three scientists had been reluctant to share their data, not just with Barton but with scientific colleagues. Some of the data, Mann argued, was "protected by confidentiality agreements with governments." (This is similar to the confidentiality problem that caused the data-withholding that inspired the Shelby Amendment in case #2.)
But if we want to open up research data not covered by confidentiality agreements, should we target three researchers or call for a more general opening up?
One more complexity: Joe Barton may not have called for OA to climate research generally, or publicly-funded research generally, but he did support the NIH policy and did use his committee chairmanship to help it pass.
I applaud him for that, and wish he'd appeal to the same policy considerations behind the NIH policy to generalize his interest in public scrutiny for climate research. In this respect Richard Shelby is a good model. A desire to undermine certain studies by exposing them to scrutiny is entirely compatible with a general OA mandate.
(4') In 2006, a liberal Democrat (Barack Obama, D-IL) and conservative Republican (Tom Coburn, R-OK) co-sponsored the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006, which would create an OA database of US government spending.
At first the proposal was general, disclosing the pet projects of both liberals and conservatives. And at first Senators from both parties supported it, though their motives might have been one-sided and complementary. Liberals liked it because they thought public scrutiny would protect popular programs and the politicians who funded them. Convervatives liked it because they thought public scrutiny would expose needless programs and protect politicians who wanted to axe them. That looked like democracy in action: people who think government programs are justified, and people who think they are unjustified, agreeing to back their bets with public scrutiny and accept the public's verdict.
The bill's only opponents were politicians who wanted to shield their pork projects from public scrutiny. But over time that small category grew large, especially on the Republican side. House Republicans won amendments which required the disclosure of grants, which benefitted nonprofit organizations favored by liberals, and blocked the disclosure of contracts, which benefitted corporations favored by conservatives. In the Senate, two Senators notorious for steering pork projects to their own states, Republican Ted Stevens and Democrat Robert Byrd, put secret "holds" on the bill, stopping its progress, but eventually relented.
Eventually the balanced version of bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent, and the House adopted the Senate version. The OA database, USASpending.gov, went live in December 2007.
The bill started with admirable generality, veered toward politically selective OA, and then regained admirable generality with strong bipartisan support. It's a success story.
If the only politically feasible version of the bill were the selective version that suppressed information about government contracts with corporations, should supporters of OA government data support the bill, in the spirit of starting a long journey with a single step, or would that be a case in which the politics swamps the principle?
(5') In March 2010, Kenneth Cuccinelli II, the Attorney General of Virginia, picked up where Joe Barton (#2) and James Inhofe (#2) left off, and investigated climate scientist Michael Mann for fraud. (Mann worked at the University of Virginia 1999-2005, though he now works at Pennsylvania State University.) Cuccinelli is a conservative Republican who "really believes that global warming is a hoax" according to Jeremy Mayer, professor of public policy at George Mason University. Cuccinelli says that his investigation is to defend Virginia taxpayers by discovering whether Mann used doctored research to seek research funds from the state. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Cuccinelli gave the university just over a month to produce what could amount to thousands of documents."
http://chronicle.com.proxy.earlham.edu:2048/article/State-Investigation-Could-Cast/65672/[T]he scope of Mr. Cuccinelli's demand for documents from the University of Virginia was nothing short of breathtaking. The "civil investigative demand" delivered to the university seeks "data, materials, and communications that Dr. Mann created, presented, or made" in connection with five grants involving a total of about $484,875. But it also seeks "all documents that constitute or are in any way related to correspondence, messages, or e-mails" between Mr. Mann and 39 other scholars, including many prominent climate scientists, as well as his communications with "all research assistants, secretaries, or administrative staff" with whom he worked at Virginia. For good measure, it demands "any and all e-mails or pieces of correspondence from or to Dr. Mann since he left the University of Virginia," and "any and all computer algorithms, programs, source code, or the like created or edited" by Mr. Mann. The demand covers documents going back to January 1, 1998—three years before Mr. Mann gained international notice as co-creator of the "hockey stick": a graph showing that global temperatures, after remaining stable for several hundred years, rose sharply in the 20th century.
As far as I know, Cuccinelli has never called for OA to climate research generally or to publicly-funded research generally. Even if Cuccinelli did support general calls for OA, like the NIH policy and FRPAA, there are reasons why those policies do not cover private emails, just as there are reasons why they omit undergraduate theses.
The University of Virginia went to court to dismiss Cuccinelli's demand for documents, and in August 2010 it prevailed.
However, in early October Cuccinelli revised and reissued his demand for documents, and in late October the University of Virginia went back to court to stop him. (It was the revival of Cuccinelli's investigation that made me decide to address this topic this month.)
In my last issue, I suggested that OpenAire was a "universal repository" that would accept content from scholars who didn't have an OA repository in their field or institution. But in fact OpenAire has some restrictions. It will only accept content that is EC-funded and peer-reviewed. (Thanks to Klaus Graf.)
(See slide 15.)
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.
The Roundup section is different in two ways this month.
First the good news: I'm happy to announce that Katharine Dunn is helping me restate Roundup-worthy items in SOAN's customary brief format. She did about one third the items in this issue and with luck will be able to continue in the future. Katharine is a Program Assistant in Scholarly Publishing at the MIT Libraries with a background in LIS and journalism.
Now the bad news: Connotea was down for much of the month, dragging the OA Tracking Project (OATP) down with it. That would be bad news in any month, since OATP is the most comprehensive source of worldwide OA-related news. But it was especially untimely in the same month as Open Access Week, when the volume of news soared. As a result, I couldn't tag much of the OA Week activity for OATP, and neither could other OATP participants. That may have had a slightly dampening effect on OA Week itself, though I'm glad to report (via SPARC) that this year's event was three times larger than last year's. But it certainly had a dampening effect on my news gathering for this month's Roundup section. I've done my best to identify Roundup-worthy news stories, even when they didn't appear in OATP. But I know I've fallen far short.
Because of OA Week, this month's Roundup is larger than usual. But because Connotea was down, it's less complete than usual. I'm afraid that the December Roundup will have many items that I should have included in this issue. If Connotea comes back up in November, I'll do what I can to tag October and November items retroactively.
Meantime, here are four sources of news about OA Week. None is complete but together they should cover the field.
1. The SPARC site on OA Week at Ning.
2. The Open Access Directory (OAD) list of Events celebrating Open Access Week
3. The OAD list of Conferences and workshops for October 2010
4. The "oa.oa_week" tag library from OATP. (But this link won't work when Connotea is down.)
** The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) of US Department of Agriculture adopted a green OA mandate. ARS authors must deposit their "refereed and non-refereed publications", conference presentations, and research reports in the OA National Agricultural Library no later than three months after publication.
** Norway's University of Tromsø adopted an OA mandate.
** Trinity College Dublin adopted an OA mandate, by a unanimous vote of its Research Committee. It's the first OA mandate for an Irish university.
** Spain's Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia) adopted an OA mandate.
** The Australian National University adopted an OA mandate.
** The EUR-OCEANS Council voted overwhelmingly to adopt an OA mandate. The EUR-OCEANS Consortium represents 29 research institutions in 15 countries.
** France's Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) adopted a green OA mandate.
** The Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) library faculty adopted a green OA mandate.
** England's Teesside University launched institutional repository and adopted a green OA mandate.
** A new $20 million funding program from the Gates Foundation, the Next Generation Learning Challenges, requires the results of funded projects to be libre OA under CC-BY licenses.
** The University of Northern Colorado Faculty Senate unanimously adopted a resolution in September encouraging faculty to make their peer-reviewed journal articles green or gold OA.
** Librarians at Arizona State University adopted an OA resolution, pledging to provide green libre OA to their work whenever possible.
** The University of Nottingham announced its November 2009 green OA mandate for research articles, and adopted a new OA mandates for theses and dissertations.
** The University of Westminster adopted a green OA mandate for theses and dissertations. (It has had an OA mandate for faculty research articles since 2007.)
** Loughborough University announced its October 2009 green OA mandate for dissertations.
** The Netherlands' Wageningen University & Research Centre announced its 2002 green OA mandate for theses and dissertations. It also announced its compliance rate, which is now 98%.
** The Netherlands' University of Twente announced that its Executive Board would soon adopt an OA policy.
** Birkbeck College at the University of London adopted a "trial" OA mandate at its School of Law and announced a university-wide mandate to take effect in September 2011.
** India's National Metallurgical Laboratory is preparing to adopt a green OA mandate to follow the spring 2009 recommendation of its parent organization, India's Council of Scientific & Industrial Research. (PS: I learned this by email with NML; it's not explicit at the link below.) NML also released data on the rapid growth in deposits and usage of its IR in the nine months since its launch.
** Sigi Jottkandt and Paul Ashton proposed a departmental OA mandate for the Bachelor of Writing and Publishing program at the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (Tertiary and Vocational Education and Training).
* The EPrints team at the University of Southampton launched an Open Access Mandate Adoption Challenge for OA Week.
* Alma Swan graphed the progress on the Eprints Open Access Week mandate Adoption Challenge. By week's end her chart showed seven adopted institutional mandates, one adopted departmental mandate, three adopted thesis mandates, and three proposed departmental mandates.
* In a major report on the state of OA in the UK, the Centre for Research Communications recommended that that UK funders "to take a robust attitude to copyright and reserve copyright for OA archiving prior to any downstream agreement with publishers. This...is only a mirror of US Federal policy which has been in existence alongside traditional subscription publishing for many years...."
* Ten major institutions --nine British and one US-- formed the UK Open Access Implementation Group to "coordinate evidence, policies, systems, advice and guidance, to make open access an easy choice for authors and one that benefits all universities...." The group currently consists of representatives from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Salford, Universities UK, Research Libraries UK, the Society of College, National and University Libraries, JISC, the Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Association of Research Managers and Administrators UK, and the Public Library of Science.
* JISC released a Scholarly Communications Action Handbook to suggest 90 actions to improve scholarly communication, many on OA. For example, #23: "Support the development of an institutional Open Access policy." Actions ##24-40 concern institutional repositories. Also see ##50-58, 63-65, 67, 82, and 87.
* The 20 members of the Copyright Principles Project released a draft report on seven principles and 25 recommendations for re-balancing copyright law between the interests of rightsholders and the interests of the public. See especially the OA-friendly recommendations ##14-21.
* Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, EC Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, and Antonio Tajani, EC Vice-President, submitted a report to the European Commission arguing that one of the "ten key elements" for making the EU an "Innovation Union" is "maximising open access to results of publicly-funded research...."
* The European Commission wants to encourage or require open data from projects funded by the forthcoming FP8 research program. Quoting EU Vice President Neelie Kroes: "We need to ensure that every future [research] project funded by the EU has a clear plan on how to manage the data it generates. Such plans should foster openness and economies of scale, so that data can be re-used many times rather than duplicated....We should all should strive to make real progress towards open access to the scientific data produced within the EU’s framework programme research projects."
* In an interview, Jos Engelen, President of the largest public funding agency in the Netherlands, Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO), corrected some common misunderstandings about gold OA and reaffirmed the NWO policy to pay publication fees at fee-based OA journals. He didn't mention the possibility of a green OA mandate at NWO, which Ronald Plasterk, the Dutch science minister, called for in the summer of 2009 and which NWO supported.
* Qatar's Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, ictQATAR, announced plans to create a "digitally open society" in the country; among other things, ictQATAR will promote the use of Creative Commons licenses and open source software.
* The Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) revised its Statement on Open Scholarship. The new statement says that CAUL and its members will facilitate open scholarship by educating researchers, universities and publishers about OA, assisting researchers in making their own publications and data OA, launching institutional repositories, and working with the Australian government to maximize OA to publicly-funded research and data. According a recent survey, 85% of CAUL member institutions "mandate deposit of at least some types of scholarly publications...."
* The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) released its Statement of Principles on the Federal Depository Library Program, affirming "that the best means of providing broad public access to these collections is through online access to digital and digitized copies" and recommending that "the management of our tangible collections should include efforts to support or participate in initiatives to create a comprehensive digital collection in the public domain...."
* Martin Fenner proposed an OA preprint repository for clinical trial research papers and a policy to require deposit when the results are first submitted to a journal or presented at a conference.
* The White House issued a memo reminding agencies to comply with the 2009 recommendations of the Interagency Working Group on Scientific Collections (IWGSC). Recommendation #3: "Within the scope of their missions, agencies should work together to document their holdings and make as much information as possible available on-line where it can be useful to the public and the research community. This should be implemented within 36 months of this policy issuance."
* Jerry Costello (D-IL) became the 15th co-sponsor of FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act) in the House of Representatives. If Democrats retain control of the House this week, Costello will become chair of the House Committee on Science and Technology; if they don't, he'll become the ranking minority member.
* Students at the University of British Columbia began working toward a university-wide green OA mandate.
* The Right to Research Coalition relaunched its web site with new features to help students learn about OA and take action to support it. Individual students, as opposed to student organizations, can now sign the Student Statement on the Right to Research.
* Duke University, the University of Calgary, and Simon Fraser University joined the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE).
* The Wellcome Trust released a Statement of Support for COPE. The Trust "welcomes the work being done through the Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity initiative to help develop a sustainable and stable source of funding for publishers who choose to provide an open access option."
* The Compact for Open Access Publishing Equity (COPE) launched a program of Individual and Institutional Supporters who endorse the project and encourage other universities to join it. Among the individual supporters are more a dozen Nobel laureates, and among the institutional supporters are BioMed Central, Creative Commons, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Wellcome Trust.
* Genes (ISSN 2073-4425), Information (ISSN 2078-2489), and Micromachines (ISSN 2072-666X) are new peer-reviewed OA journals from the Molecular Diversity Preservation Initiative (MDPI).
* Mechanical Sciences is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Delft University of Technology.
* Barnelitterært forskningstidsskrift (Nordic Journal of the Aesthetics of Children's Literature) is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Norwegian Institute for Children's Books, published by Co-Action Publishing.
* Annals of Innovation & Entrepreneurship is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Co-Action Publishing.
* Fragments: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Ancient and Medieval Pasts is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the University of Michigan’s Office of Scholarly Publishing.
* The Journal of Fine and Studio Art is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from Academic Journals.
* The Journal of Internal Displacement is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal. The inaugural issue is expected in January 2011.
* The Dutch journal, Tijdschrift voor Tijdschriftstudies (Journal of Journal Studies), published since 1997, converted to OA with an optional, annual print edition. The journal is published by Radboud University.
* Stem, Spraak en TaalPathologie (Voice, Speech and Language Pathology) began the process of converting to OA. It has been published since 1992. The new OA version of the journal will be published by the Library of the University of Groningen.
* BC Studies, from the University of British Columbia, opened access to all articles from back issues between 1969 and summer 2008.
* With help from JISC, Taylor & Francis published the first OA issue of the journal New Review of Academic Librarianship. The special issue devoted to "dissemination models in scholarly communication" came out during OA week.
* PLoS Biology launched a series of articles that offer teaching tools, methods, and other materials to life sciences teachers and their students. The goal is to create a "virtual biology education library" using OA resources.
* The Public Library of Science launched PLoS Hubs: Biodiversity, a website that aggregates OA articles, images, maps, and other biodiversity-related content from PubMed Central.
* SPIE, a society publisher in optical engineering, launched two new OA options during OA Week: articles in the Journal of Biomedical Optics for which authors pay voluntary page charges are made OA after a one-year embargo, and articles published in the first year of the forthcoming Journal of Photonics for Energy will be OA. (The OA Week announcement lists many other OA options, but only these two are new.)
* Canadian Science Publishing, the new privatized incarnation of what used to be Canada's National Research Council Research Press, announced it will attempt to provide continuing access to its journals and that it will maintain OA policies and expand OA models.
* Andrew Richardson, VP for Business Development at Wolters Kluwer Health Medical Research, said in an interview that "I think we went through a period as an industry and probably as a company as well, where we saw open access lobby as a threat. I think we see it much more, as an industry, we see it as an opportunity now...."
* Two academic libraries in Oregon jointly launched an Open Access Journal Publishing Service. "In addition to hosting journals on an OJS server, the initiative will assist in the migration of journal content from traditional print format to digital format." The two co-founders are the University of Oregon Libraries and Oregon State University Libraries.
* The Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna became the first Russian organization to join SCOAP3.
* Washington University created an online list of fee-based OA journals for which WU will subsidize the publication fees for WU authors.
* The American Chemical Society (ACS) updated and slightly liberalized its standard copyright transfer agreement. Authors may not deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts in an OA repository unless required to do so by a funder or employer. If the mandate is from a university, then authors must obtain "written confirmation...from the appropriate ACS journal editor...." Authors must respect a 12 month embargo, pay ACS a fee, or seek a waiver from the OA policy binding them.
* The Society for Endocrinology provided temporary (three months), retroactive, gratis OA to articles in its journal by this year's Nobel laureate in medicine, Robert Edwards. The Society for Reproduction and Fertility announced that Edwards' articles in its journal are already OA because the normal one-year embargo has already run.
* The Institute of Physics (IOP) provided temporary (less than three months), retroactive, gratis OA to articles this year's Nobel laureates in physics, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov. Note that Geim and Novoselov have a total of 25 permanently OA papers in arXiv.
+ Repositories and databases
* The high-energy physics labs CERN, DESY, Fermilab, and SLAC launched the beta version of INSPIRE, the successor to the SPIRES physics database. INSPIRE provides a unified interface and improved searching for the leading green and gold OA resources in the field.
* The Work and Family Researchers Network announced plans to use some of its $990,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to build an OA repository of articles and working papers in the field.
* An international team of scientists concluded a 10-year project cataloging sea life in which they discovered more than 6,000 new species. To host and distribute the data from the Census of Marine Life (CoML), the team launched a new OA repository called the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).
* Mister Wong, Germany's largest bookmarking service, added repository features allowing users to upload their documents in nearly any file format and distribute them with or without Creative Commons licenses.
* JISC launched a new funding program "to improve institutional services that rely on the repository by enabling take-up of the lessons and benefits from the most successful repository applications, tools and good practice." Proposals are due by November 15, 2010.
* DuraSpace announced plans to put all DSpace and Fedora community groups under a single framework, which will support for individuals and institutions using either of the two platforms.
* BMC's Open Repository became a DuraSpace Registered Service Provider.
* BioMed Central's Open Repository added citation counts from Scopus for items with a DOI.
* The UMass Amherst Libraries contributed $2,880 to the operating budget of the ArXiv as part of a voluntary program to "assure that all submitters and users continue to have free access" to the repository.
* The Registry of Open Access Repositories (ROAR) released an animated map showcasing OA materials from repositories around the world. New deposits and short descriptions are posted in real time at appropriate spots on the map.
* GreyNet released 11 volumes of full-text conference preprints and other materials from the International Conference Series on Grey Literature into OpenSIGLE, its OA repository. This completes GreyNet's project to provide retroactive OA to its 15 years of conference proceedings.
* Breaking new ground in deposit incentives, the library at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands announced that for every 1,000 publications deposited in its institutional repository it will donate a goat to a family in Bangladesh.
* The US National Science Foundation (NSF) released its long-awaited data-sharing policy. Starting on January 18, 2011, grant applicants must include a data management plan detailing how they will share research results. Also see Heather Piwowar's detailed explication of the new policy.
* BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science were two of the first publishers to respond to queries from the new "Is It Open Data?" service. Both publishers clarified that the CC-BY licenses they use for their articles also apply to supplementary information. (Moreover, both said they supported the Panton Principles, which requires the public domain, not CC-BY.)
* The Open Knowledge Foundation Working Group on Open Bibliographic Data released a draft version of Principles on Open Bibliographic Data for public comment.
* The University of Konstanz and Cambridge University libraries announced plans to provide bibliographic data under an open license.
* The Decision and Policy Analysis Program of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) announced it will launch an OA portal for data from agricultural trials, and do what it can to make data-sharing a standard practice in the field.
* Twelve named individuals from the Genomes Unzipped project released their personal genome sequences, in part to advance medical research, in part to encourage others to do the same, and in part to "allay fears about discrimination and privacy."
* The US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) launched an OA database of images, and upgraded the PubMed display of PubMed Central abstracts to show images from the new database.
+ Books and digitization
* A consortium of European university presses officially launched OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks), an EU-funded publisher of peer-reviewed OA books in the humanities and social sciences. (PS: While this was the official launch, OAPEN first formed in January 2008, received its first funding in November 2008, published its first OA book in August 2009, and published some important reports and studies on OA book publishing in late 2009 and early 2010.)
* Participants in a recent workshop on an OA Digital Public Library of America (a.k.a. "National Digital Library") issued a short statement on their plans: "Leaders from research libraries, foundations, and a variety of cultural institutions gathered in a workshop at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study on October 1-2 in order to discuss how to work together toward the creation of a Digital Public Library of America -- that is, an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources...."
* Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Libraries, restated the case for an ambitious, publicly-funded OA National Digital Library for the United States, pointing to similar projects in France, Japan, Mongolia, and the Netherlands.
* The US National Archives and the University of Virginia Press announced plans to release an annotated OA edition of the collected papers of the "Founding Fathers" of the United States, including the papers of George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin.
* The HathiTrust now has about 20 staffers on its Copyright Review Project, carefully checking the copyright status of the digitized books in its collection. After checking 95,000 books to date, the project has confirmed that more than half (more than 52,000) are in the public domain and may be made OA without restriction.
* Dartmouth College and the Triangle Research Libraries Network, which includes Duke and UNC at Chapel Hill, joined the HathiTrust.
* Cornell University Library joined the HathiTrust, and announced that it will deposit 300,000 digitized books by March 2011.
* Utah State University joined HathiTrust.
* John Mark Ockerbloom's Online Books Page harvested book metadata from the Hathi Trust, Google, Microsoft, the Internet Archive, and other sources, and made it all browseable and searchable, enlarging the collection's "repertoire of titles" twentyfold. Ockerbloom also plans to harvest metadata on digitized, public-domain journal backfiles and point users to the OA full texts.
* The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced plans to digitize the Dead Sea Scrolls for OA. With Google's help, the IAA will enhance the digital edition with transcriptions, translations, and a bibliography.
* Two filmmakers and a member of the Dutch parliament launched the Great Book Robbery Project, to harness the power of the crowd to provide OA to a digital library of more than 60,000 books owned by Palestinians and seized by the Israeli army during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The project founders also hope to find the books' legal heirs (copyright owners? original possessors?) and to produce a documentary film on the subject.
* The British Library (BL) and Chicago's Center for Research Libraries in Chicago released 400 UK doctoral theses on Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. The theses are OA from EThOs (Electronic Theses Online), which the BL runs jointly with JISC.
* OA publisher InTech launched InTechOpen, a website offering free scientific books and articles on subjects ranging from biology to materials science.
* OCLC launched the WorldCat knowledge base, which will give one-click access to OA textbooks and journal articles held by libraries. The knowledge base includes material from PubMed Central, HathiTrust, Elsevier, Wiley, Springer, and others.
* The U.S. Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) released a study on college textbooks and student preferences, recommending that publishers, colleges, and governments invest more in open textbooks and other affordable alternatives.
* The American Folklore Society and the Indiana University (IU) Bloomington Libraries officially launched the Open Folklore Portal, a website providing OA to 57,000 books and journals from IU's folklore collection ("the most significant collection of its kind in the world") as well as to other OA books. A prototype of the portal launched in August 2010.
* The US National Science Foundation launched Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections (ADBC), a new funding program seeking "to create a national resource of digital data documenting existing biological collections and to advance scientific knowledge by improving access to digitized information (including images) residing in vouchered scientific collections across the United States." Proposals due by December 10, 2010.
Charles W. Bailey, Jr. released an XHTML version of Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography.
* In honor of its 10th anniversary, the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture at Virginia Tech published an OA book, Putting Knowledge to Work and Letting Information Play, an anthology of essays about OA, academic publishing, e-research, and related topics.
* The University of Calgary Press released its first OA book during OA Week (Nancy Marlett and Claudia Emes, Grey Matters: A Guide to Collaborative Research with Seniors). http://www.uofcpress.com/announcingourfirstopenaccesstitle
* The Open Knowledge Foundation gave a preview of works that will enter the public domain in 2011.
+ Studies and surveys
* A new study by Yassine Gargouri, Stevan Harnad, and five co-authors confirmed the OA citation advantage and ruled out self-selection bias by comparing voluntary green OA with mandatory green OA. Their summary: the OA citation advantage is "independent of other correlates of citations (article age; journal impact factor; number of co-authors, references or pages; field; article type; or country) and highest for the most highly cited articles."
* A new study by Kayvan Kousha and Mahshid Abdoli used random samples of OA and non-OA publications to confirm the OA citation advantage for agricultural research.
* Rufus Pollock released two new studies, one on the size of the European public domain and one on its economic value.
* The Bielefeld University Library released a draft report on enhanced interoperability, discussing practical approaches for implementing the OAI-ORE standard.
* Maria Cassella proposed a set of metrics to measure the success of institutional repositories.
* Elisa Mason found that only one article out of 119 published in Journal of Refugee Studies was on deposit in an OA repository.
* Claire Creaser and six co-authors published the results of a survey of European author attitudes toward OA repositories. "The research found that although there was a good understanding and appreciation of the ethos of open access in general, there were clear differences between scholars from different disciplinary backgrounds in their understanding of open access repositories and their motivations for depositing articles within them. This research forms the first part of a longitudinal study...."
* Muluken Wubayehu Alemayehu released a Master's thesis with the results of survey of Norwegian author attitudes toward OA repositories. The surveyed authors "were found to have a low level awareness of the Institutional repository but were interested in contributing their research work to the university institutional repository and have a positive attitude towards providing free access to scholarly research results of the University of Oslo."
* Alison Babeu of the Perseus Digital Library released a draft report on digital projects, and especially OA projects, in the field of classics ("Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day"). CLIR welcomes public comments on the report until December 1, 2010.
* The SOAP (Study of Open Access Publishing) released its data and analysis of peer-reviewed OA journal publishing, including "the number of open access journals and articles; their subject area; the starting date of open access journals; the size and business models of open access publishers; the licensing models; the presence of an impact factor; the uptake of hybrid open access."
* Megan Scudellari summarized TA journal cancellation data from from 2009. Highlights: "A 2009 global survey of 835 libraries in 61 countries found that nearly one-third of academic libraries saw their budgets reduced by 10 percent or more that year." The University of Washington cancelled 1,600 titles (journals and databases), the University of Virginia library 1,169 titles, New Mexico State University more than 700. "The list goes on and on...."
* The Europe-based High-Level Group on Scientific Data released a report describing "long term scenarios and associated challenges regarding scientific data access, curation and preservation."
* During OA Week, JISC's Research Communications Strategy (RCS) project launched a page of OA Answers, a kind of FAQ with links to evidence in support of its answers. RCS plans to update the page periodically.
* The 2010 Horizon Report has a section on open content, especially open educational resources.
* SPARC launched survey on Open Access Week 2010 in order to make next year's event even bigger and better.
+ Software and tools
* Creative Commons released the Public Domain Mark, a label to inform users that a work has no known copyright restrictions worldwide. Users can tag works with the label and search engines can search for it.
* RoMEO launched a prototype of the journal database it has been building. It should help "identify journal titles more accurately with their publishers" and "include journals that are not currently covered by the external look-up databases that RoMEO uses."
* The Center for History and New Media and the Corporation for Digital Scholarship released the beta version of Omeka.net, an open-source, cloud-based repository and platform for digital museum exhibits.
* The University of Rochester launched version 2.0 of IR+, its repository software, and opened the source code.
* The German Research Foundation launched Open Access Plagiarism Search (OAPS), a service to detect plagiarism of publications on deposit in OA repositories.
* Chuck Jones launched the blog, Ancient World Open Bibliographies, to discuss and develop "a project to collect and solicit annotated [OA] bibliographies about subjects relevant to studies of the ancient world."
* The Right to Research Coalition launched Open Students, a new blog devoted to "Student news from the OA movement."
+ Awards and milestones
* The Charleston Advisor gave Charles W. Bailey Jr. a Special One Time Award for Best Content by an Individual, for his career-full of contributions and especially for his most recent work, Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography.
* The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced the winners of its 2010 Pioneer Awards. Two of the four were honored for their contributions to OA: Steven Aftergood, for his work on OA to government information, and James Boyle, co-founder of Science Commons, for his work for to protect and expand the public domain.
* Philip Bourne won Microsoft's 2010 Jim Gray Award, for his work on OA in bioinformatics and computational biology.
* Heather Piwowar won ASIS&T's 2010 SIG USE Elfreda A. Chatman Research Proposal Award for her submission, "Tracking data reuse: Following one thousand datasets from public repositories into the published literature."
* Jimmy Wales won the Gottlieb Duttweiler Award from the Swiss-based Im Grueene Foundation for "democratising the access to knowledge" through Wikipedia. The award came with a prize of 100,000 Swiss francs.
* Public.Resource.Org announced the Law.Gov Report contest, which will award $5,000 prizes to the best essay and best video on the principles behind the OA Law.Gov project. Submissions are due by May 31, 2011.
* Springer and its Journal of Materials Science (JMS) announced the Sapphire Prize for the best papers published in the journal in 2011. The first prize will include $10,000, the largest cash prize in the field, and all 12 finalists will receive no-fee OA publication in JMS. JMS is a hybrid OA journal that normally charges a $3,000 publication fee for the OA option.
* Science 3.0 launched a monthly blogging contest. In honor of Open Access Week, the first contest asked bloggers for "opinions, testimonials, cry-it-out postings" on OA.
* EPrints turned 10 years old. Developed at the University of Southampton's School of Electronics and Computer Science, EPrints was the first OA repository software.
* After one year of implementing its OA mandate, MIT reported 1,900 deposits in the IR and 63,000 article downloads. MIT estimates that the articles on deposit and queued for deposit represent one-third of the articles published by faculty in the year since the policy took effect. The downloads came from users in 125 countries.
* RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) passed several milestones in September: 1,000,000,000 pages views on IDEAS, 75,000,000 article abstract views, and 30,000,000 working paper downloads.
* Open Journal Systems announced there are now more than 7,000 installations of its open-source journal management software worldwide.
* UK PubMed Central (UKPMC) released its OA subset, about 195,000 articles, in 20 zipped files for downloading.
* Swedish institutions added 1.2 million cultural and scientific items to Europeana via the Swedish Open Cultural Heritage (SOCH) web service.
* SPARC Europe became an attending member of the board of DART-Europe, a partnership of research libraries and library consortia working to improve access to European research theses.
* Japan's two major academic library groups --the Japanese Association of National University Libraries (JANUL) and the Private and Public University Libraries Consortia (PULC)-- joined CLOCKSS, the preservation system which makes content OA when it's no longer available from publishers.
* OA proponents and opponents in Germany are debating a proposed amendment to German copyright law.
* The British Library launched an exhibition, Growing Knowledge: The Evolution of Research, looking at how researchers use digital technology in their work. A researcher in residence will gather information to show that "research quality will improve in a culture of greater openness."
* JISC launched a new funding program on Infrastructure for Education and Research Programme. See Point 16 in Appendix E: "All projects must commit to releasing the metadata produced under an open licence that permits reuse. JISC would prefer projects to use the Open Data Commons PDDL licence for their data. Any projects not using this licence will need to discuss the reasons for this decision on their project blog to ensure the knowledge is shared...."
* HighWire Press contracted with Data Conversion Laboratory to convert HighWire-hosted files to the NLM DTD. DCL will convert 225,000 pages before the end of 2010, and the rest in 2011.
* SHERPA and the Blimunda project released a Portuguese-language version of RoMEO.
* The Open Access Directory (OAD) launched a list of "Advocacy organizations for OA" for community editing and enlargement.
* McGill University's new dean of libraries, Colleen Cook, plans to "explore possibilities with open access policies."
* Stellenbosch University became the first African university to sign the Berlin Declaration.
* During OA Week, Harvard University signed the Budapest Open Access Initiative and the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities.
* SPARC reported that OA Week 2010 had nearly 900 participants in 94 countries, and was three times larger than last year's.
Coming this month
Here are some important OA-related events coming up in November.
* November 15, 2010. Deadline for funding proposals to JISC's program "to improve institutional services that rely on the repository by enabling take-up of the lessons and benefits from the most successful repository applications, tools and good practice."
* OA-related conferences in November 2010.
* Other OA-related conferences
The Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) has a series of tags for different kinds of OA news, including tags for OA news in different nations. In the past few weeks I asked the national OA sites --in the countries that have national OA sites-- to link to the OATP tags for their countries. I'm happy to say that most have now done so. Here they are in the order in which the links were added.
Iceland's national OA site now links to the "oa.iceland" tag library.
Thanks to Ian Watson and Áslaug Agnarsdóttir.
Greece's national OA site now links to the "oa.greece" tag library.
Thanks to Nancy Pontika and Victoria Tsoukala.
Norway's national OA site now links to the "oa.norway" tag library.
Thanks to Jan Erik Frantsvåg.
France's national OA site now links to the "oa.france" tag library.
Thanks to Hélène Bosc and Hans Dillaerts.
Germany's national OA site now links to the "oa.germany" tag library.
Thanks to Anja Oberländer and Rubina Vock.
Austria's national OA site now links to the "oa.austria" tag library.
Thanks to Anja Oberländer and Rubina Vock.
Switzerland's national OA site now links to the "oa.switzerland" tag library.
Thanks to Anja Oberländer and Rubina Vock.
These two are imminent:
Sweden's national OA site will soon link to the "oa.sweden" tag library.
Thanks to Jan Hagerlid and Ann Tobin.
Denmark's national OA site will soon link to the "oa.denmark" tag library.
Thanks to Mikael Elbæk
Note that the Connotea links will not work when Connotea is down. I'm announcing this news now, even though Connotea has been up and down for repairs recently, because the news is good and because I expect Connotea to be back up before the next issue of SOAN.
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