Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #104
December 2, 2006
by Peter Suber

Read this issue online


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

Additional support is provided by Data Conversion Laboratory (DCL).


After the November election

The big news from the U.S. in November is the mid-term election that gave Democrats control of both houses of Congress.  Here are the outcomes of five races that matter for open access.

(1) Joe Lieberman was re-elected to the Senate from Connecticut.  If you remember, he was defeated in the Democratic primary and decided to run as an Independent.  Lieberman introduced the CURES Act in December 2005 and co-sponsored FRPAA with John Cornyn (R-TX) in May 2006, making him the sponsor or co-sponsor of the two strongest OA bills ever introduced in Congress.  Both CURES and FRPAA would mandate OA to publicly-funded research.

After FRPAA was introduced in May, it was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs, chaired by Susan Collins (R-ME).  However, when the majority party changes, all the committee chairmanships shift to members of the new majority party.  The new chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs?  Joe Lieberman.

Lieberman's home page at CongressMerge



(2) Rick Santorum (R-PA) lost his Senate seat from Pennsylvania.  Santorum is notable for taking money from AccuWeather, the weather-forecasting company, to sponsor legislation that would stop the National Weather Service from providing open access to publicly-funded weather data.  Santorum was defeated by Bob Casey, Treasurer for the State of Pennsylvania.

Santorum's home page at CongressMerge

Links to my blog posts on Santorum's fight against OA.

Bio of Bob Casey

(3) Mike DeWine (R-OH) lost his Senate seat from Ohio.  Elsevier is a major employer in Ohio, as the owner of Ohio-based Lexis-Nexis, and DeWine listened when Elsevier argued that national OA policies would cost jobs in the publishing industry.  DeWine was defeated by Sherrod Brown (D-OH), currently in Congress as a Representative from Ohio's 13th District.  Brown has been a friend of OA, and especially the NIH public-access policy, from his position on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the authorizing committee for the NIH, and his position as ranking Democrat on the Subcommittee on Health.

Mike DeWine home page at CongressMerge

Sherrod Brown's home page at CongressMerge

(4) Ernest Istook (R-OK) gave up his seat in the House to run for governor of Oklahoma.  He lost that race and is now, at least temporarily, out of politics.  Istook was OA's best friend on the influential House Appropriations Committee and introduced the language (July 2004) requiring the NIH to mandate OA to NIH-funded research.  We often forget that the House language --Istook's language-- demanded a mandate even though the NIH eventually adopted a weaker policy.

Ernest Istook's home page at CongressMerge

Istook's language in the July 2004 appropriations bill.

(5) Martin Sabo chose not to run for re-election and retired after 28 years in Congress.  In June 2003 he introduced the Public Access to Science Act (aka the Sabo bill), the first bill ever introduced in Congress specifically to promote open access.  Sabo's seat in the House was won by Keith Ellison, a Democrat, the first African-American to represent Minnesota in the House of Representatives and the first Muslim elected to Congress.

The Sabo bill (Public Access to Science Act)
(The final colon is part of the URL.)

My SOAN article about the Sabo bill, July 2003.

Sabo's retirement

Sabo's successor, Keith Ellison

* If you don't count the voluntary retirements (Istook and Sabo), then OA advocates won in three out of three critical races:  a very satisfactory outcome. 

* The election may also affect the House appropriations bill covering the NIH.  As I reported in July, this bill would compel the NIH to strengthen its public-access policy by converting it from a request to a requirement.  For a while after the election, it was unclear whether the new or old Congress would decide the fate of this bill.  The old one met in a lame-duck session in November and will do so again in December.  If it wanted, it could take care of the pending appropriations bills before the new Congress convenes in January.  The fiscal year started on October 1 and action is past due.  However, the Republican leaders of the old Congress have now decided to leave the fiscal 2007 appropriations for the new Congress. 

Jeffrey Brainard, Senate Republicans Defer Completion of 2007 Spending Bills, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 21, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers). 

* Because OA is a bipartisan or nonpartisan issue, there's no generic advantage for OA in having Democrats rather than Republicans control Congress.  Martin Sabo was a liberal Democrat, but John Cornyn is a conservative Republican and Joe Lieberman is a moderate to conservative Democrat. 

Publishers sometimes make the mistake of thinking that OA is a liberal, even socialist, idea.  But it's not about expropriating private property or interfering in the market so much as fairness to taxpayers and increasing the return on the very large public investment in research.  There are certainly liberal arguments for OA, but there are also conservative arguments and many of its best friends in Congress are conservatives. 

* Here are a few takes on what the election means for kindred issues like copyright, technology, net neutrality, and higher education.

Mike Miliard, What Will a Democratic Congress Mean for Digital Freedom? Free Press, November 15, 2006.

Jeffrey Brainard and Kelly Field, Democratic Takeover Will Change Face of Senate, but Narrow Margin of Control Could Slow Democrats' Agenda, Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers).

Jeffrey Brainard, Kelly Field, and Jeffrey Selingo, After the Switch in the U.S. Senate: 5 Key People to Watch,  Chronicle of Higher Education, November 10, 2006 (accessible only to subscribers).
Also see the Chronicle Forum on what the elections will mean for higher education.

Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache, What the Democrats' win means for tech, News.com, November 9, 2006.

William Patry, What the Election May Mean for Copyright, The Patry Copyright Blog, November 8, 2006.  (Patry is the Senior Copyright Counsel at Google.)

David Bollier, What the 2006 Elections Mean for the Commons, On the commons, November 8, 2006.

Peter Suber, How the US election will affect open access, Open Access News, November 8, 2006.

Gigi Sohn, Election Day Schizophrenia, Public Knowledge Policy Blog, November 7, 2006.  (Sohn is the President of Public Knowledge.)

Anon., Net Freedom Fighters to Take Charge in Congress, Save the Internet, November 7, 2006.


Predictions for 2007

This year I'm publishing my predictions in December and will publish my review of 2006 in January.

* The spread of OA archiving policies by funding agencies and universities is an unstoppable trend.  As in 2006, we'll see more mandates than requests, and we'll see more policies from funders than universities.  But we'll see the numbers grow in all of these categories.  We'll see new policies in countries that already have strong OA policies, such as Canada, France, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and the US, and we'll see policies emerge in countries that haven't had national-level policies before, such as Australia, Brazil, China, India, and South Africa.  We'll see pre-policy ferment in Latin America, Africa, and the Arab world, leading to national-level policies the year after.

* The spread of institutional repositories is equally unstoppable.  The number of universities launching them is growing fast and the conviction that they are an obvious, even tardy development is growing faster.  More and more universities will launch them in a spirit of catch-up, rather than as break-out break-throughs.  They will soon be a new fact of life for universities, like libraries or web sites, and the discussion will shift from their utility to the best practices for filling them. 

I'm tempted to predict a continuing tension between the narrow conception of institutional repositories (to provide OA for eprints) and the broad conception of IRs (to provide OA for all kinds of digital content, from eprints to courseware, conference webcasts, student work, digitized library collections, administrative records, and so on, with at least as much attention on preservation as access).  But I have to predict that the broad conception will prevail.  Universities that launch general-purpose archiving software will have active constituents urging them to take full advantage of it.  The good news for OA is that many institutional interests, beyond the OA interests, will converge to fund and maintain the IR.  The bad news for OA is that the project of filling the IR with the institution's research output could, without vigilant stewardship, drift downward on the IR's priority list.

* Funding agencies with weak OA policies (requesting rather than requiring OA, or requiring it but letting publishers set the embargoes) will find, like the NIH, that the policies generate unacceptably low compliance rates or unacceptably long embargoes.  Unfortunately, it will take a year or two to document the failure and then another year or two to strengthen the policy in the face of publisher opposition.  They will lose three to four years of work before they get back on track toward meeting the goals that led them to adopt OA policies in the first place.  We'll see this for the non-mandate or encouragement-only policies in Canada, France, and the UK, and perhaps also in Germany and Austria.  At the same time, however, the many new mandates at *other* agencies in Canada, France, and the UK will start to prove themselves and may shorten the time needed to recognize and remedy ineffectual policies elsewhere.

BTW, I do predict that the NIH will eventually have an OA mandate, but it won't happen until Congress makes it happen.  That could be in 2007.  But if it doesn't come that soon, it's because the NIH is too big for publisher lobbyists to ignore.  Despite this year's halt to its budget growth, the NIH is still the largest funding agency for non-military research in the world; its budget of $28 billion is larger than the GDP of 142 nations.  Its sheer size raises the stakes for both friends and foes of OA mandates.  However, despite determined opposition from publishers, the NIH will get there.  Congress asked for a mandate; the NIH's own Public Access Working Group recommended a mandate as the only way to improve the dismal compliance rate; the National Library of Medicine Board of Regents joined the call for a mandate; and NIH Director, Elias Zerhouni, has admitted that a mandate may be necessary to meet the agency's goals.  Even FRPAA, not yet adopted, is exerting pressure for a mandate, and now Congress is renewing its demand for a mandate.  It's only a matter of time.

* When funding agencies consider OA mandates, the center of attention will be the length of the permissible embargo.  On one side, funders know that when the permissible embargo is sufficiently long, it can persuade publishers to acquiesce, and that when it's excessively long, it can vitiate the purpose of the OA mandate.  Elias Zerhouni, Director of the NIH, talks about finding the "sweet spot".  For some, like Zerhouni, the sweet spot will be defined politically:  the spot that minimizes protests from both sides.  For publishers, the sweet spot will be defined financially:  the spot that sustains enough subscriptions to survive and allows enough OA to attract authors and generate citations.  (To make things more complicated, the sweet spot defined this way will differ from discipline to discipline.)  For authors and readers, the sweet spot is zero --no embargo at all. 

The embargo period will be the center of attention for four reasons:  (1) it really could make the difference between effective and ineffective OA; (2) it really could make the difference between between survivable and unsurvivable cancellations; (3) it's not binary and could always be nudged up or down; (4) and most other issues have already been settled.

* Publishers who don't already consent to author self-archiving are facing increased pressure to go green.  Publishers who do already consent are feeling increased pressure to retract or scale back their permission (say) by adding fees or embargoes or both.  These forces will not neutralize one another and are only apparently in conflict.  In fact, I think both will continue to increase.  We'll see a net increase in the number of publishers who permit self-archiving, although we'll also see an increase in the percentage of them that impose embargoes or other limitations on self-archiving.  (We'll also see some disagreement about whether the latter should be considered "green".)

* We'll continue to debate the question whether high-volume OA archiving will reduce journal subscriptions, and we'll continue to debate it without hard evidence --except in physics where the evidence is in and shows that high-volume archiving does not cause cancellations.  My position has always been two-sided:  on the one hand, there's no evidence that high-volume OA archiving will reduce subscriptions; but on the other, it might really have this effect in some fields and, if it did, it would still be justified.  The first half reflects the fact that OA archiving has not yet reduced subscriptions in any field, not even in physics where researchers have been self-archiving for the longest time (since 1991) and at the highest levels (approaching 100% in some sub-fields).  On the contrary, it has led two major physics publishers (APS and IOP) to host their own mirrors of arXiv.  The second half reflects the fact that, long-term, we'll need the money now spent on subscriptions to pay for the OA alternative. 

On the first front, I doubt that we'll see new evidence in 2007.  To get evidence outside physics we'll have to generate high-volume OA archiving outside physics.  OA mandates can do that, but in the US, FRPAA has not yet passed, and in the UK, the Research Council mandates outside physics will need more than a year to produce the high volumes needed to test the hypothesis.  However, we're probably only a year away from the time when the Research Council mandates stimulate enough OA archiving in biology, economics, environmental science, medicine, and social sciences to give us the first hard evidence outside physics. 

On the second front, I predict explicit new attention to the problem of redirecting funds from toll access to open access (TA to OA).  For journals, as opposed to repositories, this is the endgame.  The most ambitious current initiative is the CERN project to convert all the TA journals in particle physics to OA.  Publishers are fully involved and cooperating, and see the plan as something closer to risk management than risk amplification.  If the CERN project succeeds, and I predict that it will, then it will trigger creative and constructive conversations about how to do the same in other fields --convert journals, keep paying their expenses, save money, remove access barriers for everyone, and see the beginning of the end of the transition to OA.

* Last year I predicted that "it will start to sink in that fewer than half of OA journals charge author-side fees and that many more subscription-based journals do so than OA journals (first documented in the October [2005] report from the Kaufman-Wills group)."  By June I was already admitting that it was the worst prediction I'd ever made.  I still predict that these important facts will start to sink in, but I've been rigging the prediction by shining a light on these facts whenever I can, especially in two lead essays for SOAN (June and November 2006).  I predict more attention for no-fee OA journals, and not just from me, and focused projects to study and launch them. 

We may see occasional friction between proponents of fee-based and no-fee OA journals, just as we see occasional friction between proponents of OA archives and OA journals.  But in both cases it's best to interpret this as division of labor rather than real rivalry.  We need people to explore the no-fee model and make it work wherever it can work, and we need the same for the fee-based model.

* More publishers will adopt the hybrid OA model for more journals.  Because the hybrid model is so risk-free, this is an easy prediction.  If the numbers don't climb quickly, it's only because most large publishers already have hybrid programs.  The question in 2007 will not be whether the hybrid model will spread among publishers (it will) but whether it will appeal to authors.  I predict low uptake at most of the hybrid journals and I predict that at least one publisher will point to lack of author interest in OA as the cause.  But that explanation will be more convenient than true.  Publishers adopting a hybrid model can quickly get past the easy problem --setting fees and copyright conditions that match current levels of revenue and control-- only to get stuck on the hard problem --making fees and copyright conditions attractive to authors.  That's the hard problem because, I predict, it will require many publishers to give up some revenue and some control. 

The big question for publishers is whether they want author uptake badly enough to make it attractive.  Will the existence of subscription revenue as a safety net kill the incentives to make the OA option succeed?  If any hybrid publishers want author uptake badly enough to keep fees low, offer waivers in cases of economic hardship, stop charging authors to comply with their own prior funding contracts, permit self-archiving without embargo or fee, permit self-archiving of the published edition, let authors retain copyright, let authors use OA-friendly licenses, and let authors deposit articles in repositories independent of the publisher, then we may start to see real competition for authors.  Some hybrid programs offer some of these desiderata already, but many offer very few.  The whole industry will be watching to see what it takes increase author uptake.  I predict that the greatest incentive to make OA options attractive will not be competition from other journals with attractive offers but increased pressure on subscriptions.

I'm not predicting that many hybrid OA journals will convert to full OA, though that's what I'd like to see happen.  Full conversion increases the risk for publishers and presupposes that they've already solved the problem of making the offer attractive to authors (hence, that they have the will to do so).  For most publishers there's no reason to give up the benefits of risk-free experimentation until the subscription safety net frays further.

* A few years ago most book publishers denied that free online full-text searching (even without reading) would increase net sales.  Today most believe it.  Today most deny or don't want to believe that free online full-text *reading* will also increase net sales.  But in a couple of years most will believe it and they will seize it as a new and lucrative business model which, incidentally, will help readers, researchers, and purchasers enormously.  In retrospect, it will look a lot like the fuss about distributing movies on videotape --a profitable no-brainer delayed by short-sighted panic.

* Novel copyright problems are coming over the horizon.  Do machine-generated paraphrases of copyrighted texts infringe copyright?  What about databases of facts and assertions gleaned from copyrighted texts, either by human gleaners or by software?  What about data (not itself copyrightable) seamlessly integrated with a copyrighted text? 

In 2007 we'll see an outcome in the lawsuits against the Google Library project.  We'll finally learn whether making a full-text copy without permission, but disseminating only fair-use snippets, is permitted by fair use.  This is very close to the question whether search engines as we know them are legal.  The question is too important to leave hanging, but it's possible that the parties will settle before a judge rules on the merits.  I predict a judicial ruling, however, not a settlement.  I have an opinion on who *ought* to win (see SOAN for October 2005) but I'm not optimistic enough to predict that the courts will agree.  So I'm chickening out and predicting only that the loser will appeal.

* We've used many methods over the years to educate publishing scholars about OA, and for many reasons this work has been slow-going.  The arguments are strong, but it's hard to get the attention of scholars who are overworked, preoccupied, professional anarchists loath to act as a bloc.  Finally, however, one elegant method is starting to work 24/7 without draining anyone's time or energy.  It's simply the growing exposure of existing OA literature.  More and more scholars who know nothing about OA are encountering OA articles, labelled as OA, and delighting in the fact that useful, peer-reviewed, full-text articles are accessible online free of charge.  I haven't seen any studies or surveys on this phenomenon yet.  But in my daily scan for OA-related news, I see a growing number of bloggers and listserv contributors recommending good articles --on every conceivable topic-- and noting with gratitude that they are OA.  OA literature is the best advertisement for OA and we're starting to see a critical mass of it exert its effect.  It doesn't take academic readers of OA articles very long to figure out that this is what they want for themselves as authors.  Since the volume of OA literature is growing in every field, it's easy to predict that this kind of spontaneous author education will also continue to grow.  We've only started to see what this kind of viral self-advertising can do to spread the word about OA and create a tipping point.

* Here are my past predictions if you want to judge for yourself how they've turned out.

Predictions for 2006

Predictions for 2005

Predictions for 2004


Top stories from November 2006

This is my selection of the most important OA developments since the last issue of the newsletter, not counting any developments covered in the lead essays above.  When items have two URLs, the first is usually for the item itself and the second for my blog posting about it on Open Access News.  For other developments that didn't make the cut, see my round-up, below, or Open Access news, which I update daily and which has a browseable and searchable archive.

Here are the top stories from November:

     * CERN starts implementing its ambitious OA project.
     * India launches two major OA initiatives.
     * Two government commissions recommend OA mandates in Australia.
     * The EU adopts a weakened version of the INSPIRE Directive.
     * The AAA disbands the committee that endorsed FRPAA.

CERN starts implementing its ambitious OA project.

At a November 3 meeting, CERN began implementing its beautifully big plan to convert all the toll-access journals in particle physics to open access.  The simple, grand idea is to get journals to change their business models and to get the institutions now paying subscriptions to pay upfront publication fees instead. 

CERN created a task force to study the idea in December 2005 and outlined a plan in a June 2006 report.  The November meeting formally created the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics (SCOAP3) to carry it out.  SCOAP3 includes research institutions, libraries, funding agencies, and publishers, and represents more than 10 countries.  The plan has the support of the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), the Max Planck Society, the French national institute for particle and nuclear physics (CNRS/IN2P3), Italy's national institute for nuclear physics (INFN), and the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA).

Critically, the plan will cost less than current subscriptions and publishers support it.  The press release after the meeting reports that "the publishers of the Journal of High Energy Physics (JHEP) stated they are ready to embrace a sponsorship policy in which they would allow unrestricted access to their articles. On the cost of this policy JHEP states: 'we have managed to prove that the costs can be reduced whilst at the same time ensuring the highest rigour in peer review'."

We're watching a massive transition to OA in process.  This is not only the first project to convert all the TA journals in a field to OA; it's also succeeding.  It's succeeding in pulling together the needed stakeholders and it's succeeding in raising the money.  It's also succeeding in showing that the final result will cost the stakeholders less than the current system. 

OA advocates have always argued that funding OA doesn't require new money, just a redirection of the money now spent on subscriptions.  We see small new pressures for redirection every time libraries cancel journals because of high prices or inadequate funds, and we see small actual steps toward redirection every time a TA journal converts to OA.  What's most significant about the CERN project is that it's a large-scale, discipline-wide, stakeholder-united redirection project.  If it works, it will accomplish in one move what other disciplines are accomplishing, if at all, in halting steps.  Finally, CERN is on track to accomplish this feat with fusion, not fission --or with cooperation and comity all around rather than antagonism and division.  The payors (universities, labs, libraries, and funding agencies) may realize a net savings and the payees (publishers, journals) may realize a net gain in financial security. 

Other disciplines don't have CERNs to coordinate analogous projects.  In fact, no institution dominates any field the way CERN dominates particle physics.  But every field has the same interest in removing access barriers and using subscription funds to a better purpose.  To launch analogous projects, other fields don't need a CERN-like institution with great wealth or research dominance, only an institution with great convening power.  There's good reason to believe that when the stakeholders convene, they will see the same win-win possibility in their fields that SCOAP3 members see in particle physics.  Long live the peaceful revolution.

The CERN task force report:  Rüdiger Voss (ed.), Report of the Task Force on Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics, June 22, 2006.
My SOAN article on it

The November 3 meeting:  Establishing a sponsoring consortium for Open Access publishing in particle physics.  The conference site includes the briefing documents and letters of support from stakeholder institutions.

Press release on the results of the November 3 meeting (November 4, 2006).


India launches two major OA initiatives.

India held two important OA meetings in November, each launching a significant OA initiative.  The first meeting was in Bangalore (Workshop on Electronic Publishing and Open Access, November 2-3) and led to the excellent National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries.  For articles based on public funding and published in peer-reviewed journals, the Bangalore model policy would (1) require immediate deposit in an OA repository, (2) encourage immediate OA for the deposited articles, and (3) encourage publishing in a suitable OA journal where one exists.  These are the most urgent goals, succinctly stated.  Moreover, it was drafted by respected researchers and high officials from India, China, Brazil, and South Africa, the largest of the developing and transition countries.  Actions are already under way to persuade governments to adopt it.  The policy says the right things in the right way, separating the essential from the inessential, and stands a good chance of making the research done in developing countries --representing 80% of the world's population-- available to everyone, North and South.

The second meeting was in Hyderabad (Workshop on Open Access in Agricultural Science and Technology, November 6-7) and led to India's first OA initiative in agriculture, spearheaded by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).  The project will launch two pilot OA repositories, one in Delhi and one in Hyderabad, and share the benefits of India's voluminous annual output of agricultural research.

Workshop on electronic publishing and open access (focusing on India, China, Brazil and South Africa) (sponsored by the Indian Institute of Science)
Bangalore, November 2-3, 2006

National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries

First Workshop on Open Access in Agricultural Science and Technology: Indian Initiatives (sponsored by AGRIS, FAO, and ICRISAT)
Hyderabad, November 6-7, 2006

Here's some news and comment on the two meetings and the two OA initiatives.

Barbara Kirsop, Creating a National Open Access Policy for Developing Countries, Open and Shut, November 29, 2006. 

Frederick Noronha, Scientists push open access for developing nations, SciDev.Net, November 29, 2006.

Achim Oßwald, Bangalore Commitment: Workshop on Electronic Publishing and Open Access: Developing Country Perspective, a preprint forthcoming in Information - Wissenschaft und Praxis.  A report on the workshop of the same name (Bangalore, November 2-3, 2006).  In German.

Eve Gray, South-South Alliances - the Bangalore workshop on Electronic Publishing and Open Access, iCommons, November 27, 2006.

Eve Gray, The Bangalore National Open Access Policy - a way forward for developing countries, Gray Area, November 24, 2006.

B.V. Mahalakshmi, E-tech invasion of farmlands, Financial Express, November 20, 2006.

Eve Gray, The Bangalore National Open Access Policy - a way forward for developing countries, Gray Area, November 24, 2006.

Eve Gray blogged some notes on the Bangalore Workshop on electronic publishing and open access (November 2-3, 2006), November 16, 2006.

ICRISAT and partners launch initiative on open access information on agricultural research, a press release from ICRISAT, November 8, 2006.


Two government commissions recommend OA mandates in Australia.

Two Australian reports, both written by government commissions, and both released in November, recommended that the country mandate OA for publicly-funded research.  You have to think that this increases the odds that Australia will adopt a mandate.

Research Quality Framework:  Assessing the Quality and Impact of Research in Australia:  The Recommended RQF, from Australia's Department of Education, Science and Training (dated October 2006 but released in November).  The report's recommendations are endorsed by the Development Advisory Group for Australia's Research Quality Framework.

Australian Government Productivity Commission, Public Support for Science and Innovation:  Draft Research Report, November 2, 2006.  Public comments are invited until December 21.

Also see Steve Hitchcock, Australia's Research Quality Framework (RQF) recommended for adoption, Eprints Insiders, November 27, 2006.  Quoting some Arthur Sale analysis of the RQF proposal.


The EU adopts a weakened version of the INSPIRE Directive.

After a long period of negotiation, the European Parliament reached a compromise on the INSPIRE Directive (Infrastructure for Spatial Information in Europe).  One of the most difficult questions was, naturally, one of those on which the parties had to accept compromise:  whether to require open access to publicly-funded geospatial data.  The compromise, in the words of the EU President's office, is that geospatial data "designed for the general public" will "generally" be OA although government agencies may charge cost-recovery fees "for access to data that has to be updated frequently, such as weather reports".  The new directive will take effect in the summer of 2007.

INSPIRE Directive

Here's some of the news and comment:

Rufus Pollock, INSPIRE: Where Next?  Open Knowledge Foundation Weblog, November 24, 2006.

Michael Cross, Britain poised for victory in Brussels, The Guardian, November 24, 2006.

Better geographical data: conciliation agreement on INSPIRE, a press release from the European Parliament, November 22, 2006.

Anon., Inspire decision, Free Our Data: the blog, November 22, 2006.

European Parliament and Council reach agreement on spatial information directive, a press release from the office of Finland's EU Presidency. 


The AAA disbands the committee that endorsed FRPAA.

When we left off, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) had publicly opposed FRPAA, and the AnthroSource Steering Committee, representing the AAA's own publishing arm, had publicly supported FRPAA.  The result?  The AAA disbanded the committee.  (This happened on October 30 but wasn't reported until November 2.)  The AAA didn't consult its members before opposing FRPAA and apparently didn't want to hear from its in-house experts either. 

In addition to blogging their disappointment and protests, AAA members have launched a wiki and blog on OA in anthropology, sold OA anthropology t-shirts, launched an OA email list, circulated a sign-up letter to present to the AAA leadership, and planned a gathering at the AAA Annual Meeting (Washington D.C., November 28 - December 2, 2006).  There'll be a lot more to this story before it's over.  I'll blog the results of the Washington gathering as I learn about them.

Here are the major blog posts mixed in with some other OA anthropology news from November.

Lorenz, Open Access to Indigenous Research in Norway, Antropologi.info, November 28, 2006.

Kambiz Kamrani, Debunking some Open Access and FRPAA myths, Anthropology.net, November 17, 2006

Eric Kansa, Once more on FRPAA, Digging Digitally, November 17, 2006.

Rex, Please sign the Open Access Anthropology Letter, Savage Minds, November 10, 2006.

Dorothea Salo, Rah-rah OAA! Caveat Lector, November 8, 2006.

The friends of OA within the American Anthropological Association began selling OA anthropology t-shirts.

Rex, Open Access Anthropology: what you can do, Savage Minds, November 7, 2006.

Biella Coleman, I would rather be a member of the other AAA, Interprete, November 6, 2006.

P. Kerim Friedman launched a wiki devoted to Open Access Anthropology.

Lorenz, Open Access: "The American Anthropological Association reminds me of the recording industry", Anthropologi.info, November 5, 2006.

Kambiz Kamrani, AnthroSource Steering Committee has been dissolved by the dark iron hand of the AAA, Anthropology.net, November 3, 2006.

Eric Kansa, This Morning’s Jaw Dropper: More on FRPAA and the AAA, Digging Digitally, November 3, 2006.

Rex, So much for open access: AnthroSource Steering Committee liquidated by AAA, Savage Minds, November 2, 2006.



This is an experiment I started in October.  It's just a list of the OA developments from the past month not already discussed in the stories above.  I can't do this every month, at least not without shortening my coverage of the top stories.  But if this kind of list is useful, I'll look for a way to fit it in.  I welcome your feedback.

Here they are:  short statements with no elaboration, emphasizing action over scholarship, in no particular order.  I link to my blog postings, not to the sources themselves, because I only want to include one link and my blog postings usually bring many relevant links together.  The list is still selective, long enough to give the picture but short enough to be a map through the wilderness rather than the wilderness itself. 

* Four German universities --Universities of Bielefeld, Goettingen, Constance and the Free University of Berlin-- will manage the Informationsplattform Open Access, the OA platform launched in September by Germany's DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).

* The National Library of the Netherlands (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) announced that it will preserve the OA repositories in the country's Darenet network. 

* The Open Access Knowledge Law project at the Queensland University of Technology officially launched at the end of November.

* The UK's Medical Research Council (MRC) launched an FAQ on its OA policy.

* Connecting for Health (a part of the UK's National Health Service) dropped BMJ in favor of Prodigy Knowledge as the distributor of its Clinical Knowledge Summaries.  The shift will insure that CfH can provide OA to publicly-funded research generated by the contract.

* The Association for Progressive Communications (APC) revised its Internet Rights Charter, which (in section 3.3) construes open access to publicly-funded research as a consequence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

* SPARC and CARL issued a joint press release commending the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for its draft OA policy.

* Canada's Athabasca University now asks that its faculty self-archive their peer-reviewed research articles.

* The University of Tasmania launched UTAS ePrints, its new institutional repository.

* The University of Tasmania mandated electronic submission of theses and dissertations.

* Bond University in Australia officially launched its institutional repository, epublications@bond. 

* The Flanders Marine Institute (Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, VLIZ) launched the Open Marine Archive.

* The Bryant University institutional repository now includes faculty eprints.

* The Australian Computer Society (ACS) launched the ACS Digital Library which offers OA to the ACS journals.

* OpenArchives.eu is a new portal of OAI-compliant repositories around the world.

* The Karman Center for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Bern launched an OA Pantheon Project and committed itself to OA for all its future projects.

* The Public Knowledge Project launched its Strengthening Scholarly Publishing in Africa project.

* Scirus began crawling two OA repositories from the Indian Institute of Sciences.

* Starting in January 2007, Springer will publish print editions of 10 journals from the Indian Academy of Sciences (IAS), for distribution outside India.

* Informa rejected Springer's offer to buy the company.

* Thomson Scientific contributed 2.2 million chemical structures to PubChem.

* The EPA is "frantically" boxing up and dispersing its library holdings, sometimes to the trash, rushing to finish the job before the new Congress orders it to stop in January.  The EPA library closures are the result of a $2 million cut in the EPA budget directed by the Bush administration but never approved by Congress.  The trashing operation has already cost more than $2 million.  House Democrats have told the EPA that it is "imperative" to stop.

* The European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) and the University of Alicante in Spain signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Acces to Knowledge.

* More top administrators of US universities endorsed FRPAA:  Ann Weaver Hart, President of Temple University; Jamshed Bharucha, Provost and Senior of Tufts University; and David Roselle, President of the University of Delaware.

* Google finally revealed why it blocks access to Google-scanned public-domain books outside the US.  The block is only temporary until Google can finish determining which books are in the public domain in which countries.

* The University of Virginia library joined the Google Library project.

* The University of California at Irvine joined the Open Courseware Consortium. 

* FreeCulture joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* CrossRef now has an OAI-PMH interface allowing it to collect metadata from participating publishers and make it available to approved users. 

* Oxford University Press began supporting OAI-PMH harvesting of its journal metadata.

* The Oxford hybrid OA journals now deposit participating articles in PubMed Central.

* The Royal Society updated the copyright policy for EXiS Open Choice, its hybrid OA journal program, and now lets participating authors use Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommecial licenses.

* Open Access Anthropology is a new blog from the same people who brought you the wiki of the same name. 

* Jim Till launched a new blog on OA:  Be Openly Accessible or Be Obscure.

* An anonymous academic librarian in Belgium launched a blog on ETDs (electronic theses and dissertations), focusing on "recent free access publications" about them. 

* Stewart Brower launched the PubDrug wiki.

* Stewart Brower and Chris Hollister launched the OA journal, Communications in Information Literacy.

* The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal specializing in videos of biological experiments. 

* Hindawi launched three new OA journals and converted a fourth from TA to OA.

* The University of Birmingham launched a new OA journal on archaeology.

* Anpere is a new peer-reviewed, open-access journal on the anthropology of religion.

* BioMed Central launched a new OA journal on neural development, and two OA medical journals for two Chinese medical societies.

* BioMed Central launched its 100th independent OA journal, and Hindawi Publishing published its 1,000th OA article in 2006 alone.

* OAIster is approaching 1 million entries, and HighWire Press is approaching 1.5 million free online full-text articles.  CiteSeer has more than 700,000.

* India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) reached the 500th full-text deposit in its institutional repository.

* The Caltech blog that tracks OA decisions by faculty posted its 200th entry.

* The International Council for Archaeozoology (ICAZ) has announced the winners of its (first annual?) Open Zooarchaeology Prize.  The winning essays will be posted on the society web site under CC licenses. 

* Arthur Sale won the University of Tasmania's Vice-Chancellor Award for Outstanding Community Engagement, in part for his work on OA.

* "Hybrid Open Access" won the Charleston Advisor Readers Choice award for "Best Contract Option".  The "Networked Book" won for "Best Effort".  And I won a special award for "Non-Librarian Working for Our Cause".

* Lord David Sainsbury stepped down from his position as UK science minister.  Sainsbury was the UK official most responsible for rejecting the OA recommendations of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in July 2004.

* Bernhard Linseisen translated the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing into German.

* The UN's Asia-Pacific Development Information Programme converted 15 of its out-of-print e-Primers to Wikibooks.

* Chris Beckett and Simon Inger wrote a report for the Publishing Research Consortium on librarian purchasing preferences and how they might affect decisions to cancel journal subscriptions when there are OA alternatives.

* A study published in BMJ reported that doctors Googling OA literature, without examining patients, could correctly diagnose medical cases more than half the time.

* Donat Agosti has started maintaining a list of scientific advances facilitated in some significant way by open access.

* Tim Brody added refinements to the Google Custom search engine for the OA repositories registered in ROAR.

* Luke Rosenberger built a Google Custom search engine for the full-text contents of the English-language journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals.  He continues to refine it.

* Rice University's Connexions project received a $1.7 million grant from the Hewlett Foundation.  The grant will help the OA project become self-sustaining.

* The Directory of Open Access Journals dropped the terms "author fees" and "author pays" from the search filter and journal records within its new "for authors" section.  Instead, it now refers to "publication fees".

* MediaCommons has launched the planning site that will coordinate the launch of the actual project.  It's calling for public participation.

* digitAlexandria has released version 1.2.1 of Freescience.

* Eprints released the beta of version 3.0.


Coming up later this month

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

* December 1, 2006.  The OA mandate at the UK's Particle Physics & Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) takes effect.

* December 21, 2006, Comments are due on the Australian Productivity Commission's report recommending an OA mandate for publicly-funded research.

* December 31, 2006.  Sally Morris retires as the Chief Executive of ALPSP.

* December 31, 2006.  The trial period for Blackwell's Online Open (hybrid OA) experiment ends.  I assume it be renewed.

* December 31, 2006.  The resignation of the editorial board from Elsevier's Topology takes effect. 

* Notable conferences this month

DCC and the University of Liverpool Library Information Day: Institutional Repositories
Liverpool, December 4, 2006

International Conference on Digital Libraries (OA is among the topics)
New Delhi, December 5-8, 2006

Discovery and Access: Standards and the Information Chain (sponsored by JISC, ALPSP, PA, and CrossRef)
London, December 7, 2006

Eprints v3 Briefing
London, December 8, 2006

One-Day Tutorial on Building a Digital Library (IRs are among the topics)
Kolkata, India, December 11, 2006

Open Access 2006: 4th International Workshop on Open Access
Stockholm, December 12-14, 2006

International Workshop On Research Issues in Digital Libraries (IWRIDL 2006)
Kolkata, India, December 12-15, 2006

Joint Webcast on Author Rights (sponsored by ARL, ACRL, and SPARC) (on self-archiving)
December 14, 2006

Second National Workshop on Scientific Journal Publishing in India (OA is among the topics)
Bangalore, December 14-15, 2006

Repositorios Institucionales...: Una vía hacia el acceso, la visibilidad y la preservación de la producción cientifíca
Zaragoza, Spain, December 14-15, 2006

Cultural Heritage Online: The Challenge of Accessibility & Preservation (OA is among the topics)
Florence, December 14-16, 2006

Standing on the Shoulders of Digital Giants: International Symposium on Institutional Repositories, e-Science and the Future of Scholarly Communication (OA is among the topics)
Tokyo, December 18, 2006

* Other OA-related conferences



* I've added 26 new conferences to my conference page since the last issue.  In the next few days I'll delete the second asterisk marking them and the new entries will blend into the rest of the collection.

* I'm glad to welcome Data Conversion Laboratory as a co-sponsor of this newsletter.  Like SPARC, my chief sponsor, DCL wants to support me in saying what I want to say about open access, and I'm grateful for that support.  When DCL makes news and I write about it, I'll remind everyone of the connection and trust you to let me know if I waffle.  Naturally, the views I express here are my own and not necessarily those of SPARC or DCL. 

* I often need another kind of support, tech help.  If you have expertise in any of the areas below, and want to help me do what I'm doing, I'd like to hear from you.  I'll add your email address to my private list of technical advisors and promise to respect your time.  If I get more than one volunteer in the same area, I may never contact you at all.  I need occasional expert help with the following:  quirks of blogging (like pings and trackbacks); quirks of Blogger (old and new); quirks of CSS (I'm currently revising my blog template); quirks of Word (because I use it too rarely to master it); quirks of FTP; quirks of PDF; and quirks of Windows.  Thanks.


This is the SPARC Open Access Newsletter (ISSN 1546-7821), written by Peter Suber and published by SPARC.  The views I express in this newsletter are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of SPARC or other sponsors.

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