Welcome to the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, issue #152
December 2, 2010
by Peter Suber

Read this issue online


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Eleventh hour for SCOAP3

The SCOAP3 project is in its eleventh hour.  Since 2007, SCOAP3 (Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics) has been pulling together research institutions, journal publishers, and subscribing libraries to negotiate a transition to libre OA for peer-reviewed journals in particle physics.  The idea is that a portion of the money now spent on subscriptions could support the same journals, at the same quality, after converting to OA.  The hope is that all the stakeholders would benefit from the conversion, and that direct talks would help everyone see the win-win logic. 

SCOAP3 is still the only systematic attempt to convert all the journals in a field to OA at the same time.  It's the only field-wide attempt to show that the transition to gold OA can be a peaceful revolution based on negotiation, consent, and self-interest.  The project was kicked off by CERN, the nonpareil particle physics lab in Geneva where the World Wide Web was born, but is now an international consortium of institutional partners. 

The project has entered its endgame.  It has approached government agencies, research institutions, and subscribing libraries in nearly every country on Earth active in particle-physics research.  More than 160 institutions in 24 countries have decided to join, while others have chosen to stand back for now.  The immediate goal is to obtain budget pledges from a critical mass of libraries.  Because SCOAP3 is a specific project to flip TA journals to OA, not an ongoing advocacy program, at some point it must decide whether its membership list is sub-critical and will not ignite.  Because the central, elegant idea is to flip a whole ecological niche of journals at once, not one journal at a time, there's no smaller version of the idea to fall back upon.  Plan B is to pull the plug. 

Today the consortium has pledges for about 71% of its budget, and it's running out of new institutions to ask.  It's also running out of time.  It must have pledges for a larger percentage of its budget in order to negotiate details with publishers before the 2011 subscription season starts. 

The success of SCOAP3 now depends on the seven countries most productive in particle physics that do not yet participate in the consortium:  Japan, China, Brazil, Russia, India, Korea, and Poland.  Japan and China alone could close half the remaining budget gap.  The consortium's first Russian member joined in October.

Eleven Chinese libraries just released an open letter suggesting that China will participate.  From their November 11 letter:

We, the undersigned libraries, represent the major institutions in mainland China engaging in HEP [high-energy physics] research and in subscription of key international HEP journals. We support the SCOAP3 initiative, and will joint request that the Ministry of Science and Technology of China...and the National Science and Technology Library...join the SCOAP3 initiative through the national scientific literature platform program.

Here's an updated picture of the SCOAP3 budget if China decides to participate.

The project can't ask already-committed nations to close the budget gap, since participating countries only pay to support OA for the literature they produce.  Without wide international participation SCOAP3 would lose its comprehensive coverage of particle physics and lose its advantages over hybrid OA journals, which cost libraries much more than full OA journals.

Will Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, Korea, and Poland be able to make nation-wide pledges --in the next few weeks-- to help this promising project fulfill its promise? 

Here are four losses we'll suffer if SCOAP3 doesn't reach its goal.  I don't speak for CERN.  By "we" here, I mean the worldwide research community.

(1) We'll have lost a ripe or nearly-ripe opportunity to flip TA journals in particle physics to OA.  Either we'll have to return to a journal-by-journal conversion campaign, or be content with green OA uncomplemented by gold OA. 

Green OA in physics is more adequate than green OA in any other field, covering a larger percentage of new research and attracting the participation of a larger percentage of authors and readers.  But gold OA is a critical complement to green OA.  It brings immediate OA (not delayed or embargoed OA) to the peer-reviewed published editions (not just the author manuscripts) and, more often and more easily than green OA, can offer libre OA (not just gratis OA) to the results.  Self-sustaining gold OA also supports the costs of organizing peer review rather than depending on others to provide both peer review and the funds to support it

In nearly every field outside physics, green OA is still inadequate, and helping it grow is a top strategic priority.  But green OA in particle physics is fully mature, with roughly 100% participation from researchers.  Particle physics is the first field in which we can think about stepping beyond mature green OA to systematic gold OA.  SCOAP3 is a custom-built plan for that transition.  It's also an experiment to test the opportunities and obstacles that other fields will soon face, and a sophisticated answer to the question what comes next after high-volume green OA. 

High-volume green OA may bring about the transition to gold OA on its own, without a transition plan beyond that of growing green OA itself.  But the SCOAP3 transition will be cooperative, and carry stakeholder consent all around, while the default transition through high-volume green OA will be fractious and widely involuntary.  More on this in #4 below. 

(2) I've often pointed out that CERN dominates particle physics in a way that no other institution dominates any other field.  Its centrality allowed it to convene the stakeholders in particle physics, persuade them to take this bold idea seriously, and start recruiting project partners around the world.  If SCOAP3 succeeds, however, it won't merely prove that CERN can pull off ambitious projects, which we already knew.  It will prove that this particular ambitious project has an underlying win-win logic convincing to stakeholders. 

It's critical to look past CERN itself to that win-win logic.  A success in particle physics would give hope that the tested win-win logic could be lifted and adapted to other fields without their own CERN-like movers or shakers to pave the way.  A failure in particle physics, however, would just about dash hopes that we'd ever see a field-wide flip in a CERN-less field, even if the win-win logic is real.

(BTW, CERN isn't an ordinary giant, if there are ordinary giants.  CERN is itself a consortium funded and administered by 20 countries, and hosting researchers from 580 institutions in 85 countries.)

(3) Under SCOAP3, participating publishers would be paid for services rendered, but those services would essentially shrink to the organization of peer review and a few other editorial services.  SCOAP3 is the first field-wide effort to decouple peer review from distribution as functions of a scholarly journal.  This is a crucial step in the evolution of journals, regardless whether distribution is eventually done by publishers, authors, universities, funding agencies, OA repositories, P2P networks, or in new ways still over the horizon. 

This decoupling recognizes the new reality that the internet slashes the cost of distribution but not the cost of facilitating (the most respected forms of) peer review.  It recognizes that online journals can still compete on the quality and price of their vetting systems, but cannot compete on distribution.  It ensures that peer-review facilitators will be paid for facilitating peer review, enabling them to release the results into an OA distribution system without economic loss.  It frees peer-review facilitators from perverse incentives to monopolize (claim exclusive rights over, erect access barriers to) research they didn't fund, perform, write up, or purchase.  And it would free the rest of us to use that research without interference from publishers still laboring under those perverse incentives.

Without SCOAP3, other projects to decouple peer review and distribution would continue.  But they'd be piecemeal and uncoordinated rather than systematic. 

With SCOAP3, peer-reviewed journals would still publish different articles.  In that sense, they'd still be natural mini-monopolies, not fungible or competing delivery services for the same articles, and would still compete for authors more than for readers.  But by decoupling peer review and distribution, they'd no longer be able to use the natural monopoly of publishing different articles to support an artificial monopoly of exclusive rights and take-them-or-leave-them access fees.

(4) I've often praised SCOAP3 as our best hope for a peaceful revolution in the shift from peer-reviewed TA journals to peer-reviewed OA journals.  However, SCOAP3 is not the only strategy for that transition.  It's just the only one that builds on negotiation, cooperation, and stakeholder consent.  The chief alternative to the SCOAP3 strategy is to grow the volume of green OA --whether or not it triggers a shift from TA journals to gold OA.  I support both strongly, with equal emphasis on "both" and "strongly".  I don't want either to be the only arrow in our quiver. 

I strongly support green OA mandates and other methods for growing the volume of green OA, and I support them regardless of their effect on publishers.  If SCOAP3 fails and we continue to grow green OA as fast as we can, then in addition to accelerating research, we'll find ourselves testing whether or for how long subscription journals can compete with free.  If high-volume green OA turns out to be compatible with subscriptions --which is the case to date--, then our future will consist of green OA without gold OA for a long time to come.  If high-volume green OA eventually triggers TA journal cancellations, then many TA journals will convert to OA as a survival strategy.  But that path to journal conversion won't be a peaceful revolution. 

The goal of green OA is not to force subscription journals to convert to gold OA.  The goal is to share knowledge and accelerate research.  The idea is not for researchers and research institutions to harm or transform publishers, but for researchers and research institutions to act in their own interests.  However, the effect could create economic risk for publishers, and hence create economic pressures to avert that risk.  Instead of a frictionless flip, brought about by consent and self-interest, the all-green strategy could bring about a high-friction flip, preceded by hostile lobbying and disinformation and followed by resentment and acrimony.  (Insofar as we already see hostile lobbying, disinformation, and acrimony, it's from publishers who fear that current trends will lead to economic risk rather than cooperative transition.)

But as I said, I support the green strategy regardless of its effect on publishers.  I'll take this revolution with or without friction.  I support green OA because it delivers more OA more quickly and less expensively than gold OA.  It needn't wait for journals to decide to convert or for new born-OA journal to learn the ropes.  It isn't limited to new work submitted to OA journals, but can cover new work published anywhere.  However, for the narrow goal of increasing gold OA, as opposed to broader goal of increasing OA overall, I support the win-win logic of SCOAP3.  Both strategies may bring about the same volume of OA in the end.  But if it works, the win-win logic will convert publishers and journals with consent and cooperation.  As I argued in SOAN last year, "Peaceful revolution through negotiation and self-interest is more amicable and potentially more productive than adaptation forced by falling asteroids."

I applaud the commitments of the 160+ institutions in 24 countries to join SCOAP3, and urge the subscribing libraries in Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, Korea, and Poland to make similar nation-wide commitments of their own.  The success of SCOAP3 is now in their hands.  Friends of OA in those countries can help the cause by bringing the argument --and the timetable-- to the attention of academic administrators, library leaders, and relevant government agencies.

SCOAP3 home page

About SCOAP3 (the best introduction)

SCOAP3 members to date

OATP tag library for "oa.scoap3"

My past blog posts and newsletter articles about SCOAP3


The US elections and open access

Republicans took control of the US House of Representatives in the mid-term elections last month.  Democrats retained control of the Senate but Republicans ate into their majority.  Barack Obama is still President, but must work with the new Congress.  What are the consequences for OA?

First some numbers.  Before the election, the Democrats held 255 seats in the House, giving them a 58% majority.  When the new session of Congress begins on January 3, 2011, the Republicans will hold 242 seats and a 55% majority.  In the Senate, the Democrats held 56 seats plus two independents (Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders) who caucused with the Democrats, for a 58% majority.  After January 3, the Democrats' majority will shrink to 53%.

One question is what the Democrats might do in the next month, while they still control both chambers of Congress.  Another is what the two parties might do together, or fail to do together, after January 3.

The most urgent business in the lame-duck session is to fund the government itself.  The new fiscal year began on October 1, but Congress still hasn't approved a budget and has been funding the government on temporary measures that will expire on December 31.  The debate is fierce in part because budget priorities top the list of contentious issues dividing the parties.  A host of social issues attached to spending bills raise the temperature even higher.  For example, a provision in the Defense appropriations bill would abolish "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) and allow gays to serve openly in the military.  Republicans are fighting among themselves about whether it's better to fund the troops and repeal DADT, or to preserve DADT and defund the troops.  Democrats are fighting among themselves about how much to take advantage of the last month of their House majority, for example, by refusing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans.

The urgency of passing a budget, the heat of the associated disputes, and the shortness of the lame-duck session, with or without a holiday break, will almost certainly keep OA bills from coming to the floor in the next month.  This will affect good bills like FRPAA (Federal Research Public Access Act), bad ones like FCRWA (Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, a.k.a. the Conyers bill), and middling ones like the America COMPETES (America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act) Reauthorization Act.

FRPAA in the Senate (S. 1373)
FRPAA in the House (H.R. 5037)

FCRWA in the House (H.R. 801)

COMPETES in the Senate (S. 3605)
COMPETES in the House (H.R. 5116)

FRPAA would essentially extend the NIH mandate across the federal government, at the same time shortening the maximum permissible embargo from 12 months to six. 

It has authentic bipartisan support in both chambers and good momentum in Congress and the wider public.  FRPAA has been endorsed by 120 US university presidents or provosts, 41 Nobel laureates, an editorial in Nature, and the business-oriented Committee for Economic Development.  FRPAA in the House has 16 co-sponsors from both parties, the most recent from this fall (September 2010).

But because Congress is preoccupied with more urgent business, FRPAA has little chance as a stand-alone bill in the lame-duck session.  If it expires without a vote at the end of this month, it or some variation of it will almost certainly be re-introduced in the new session.  The new bill may be the same as the current FRPAA, which itself is the same as the version of FRPAA introduced in 2006, or may be revised to account for any executive action taken by President Obama in the meantime.  (More on this below.) 

The Conyers bill would essentially repeal the NIH mandate and prevent other federal agencies from adopting similar policies.

It has been dead for more than year and hasn't had a new co-sponsor since Chaka Fattah (D-PA) signed on in July 2009.  No version of it has ever been introduced in the Senate.  If it expires without a vote at the end of this session, it's very unlikely to come back next session.  Not only was the bill subject to wide criticism and even ridicule, but John Conyers (D-MI) will lose his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee.  He was the chief force behind the bill, and always seemed less concerned about OA debates in the world of research than turf battles in the House of Representatives.  He adopted the publishing lobby's rhetoric about OA, but cared more about asserting the jurisdiction of his committee in OA policy-making. 

COMPETES is a major funding bill for research, development, and education.  For that reason alone, it's unlikely to make progress against the new imperative to cut spending.

The version of COMPETES now on the books calls for agency-level open-data policies (stronger than FRPAA) and calls for OA for abstracts rather than full-texts (weaker than FRPAA).  But the re-authorization bills in the House and Senate drop both provisions.  At the same time, both bills create an Interagency Public Access Committee, though they differ on its precise responsibilities.  Friends and foes of OA worry that the committee might settle the unsettled details of federal OA policy in unpredictable ways.  Each side wonders whether it might take the wind out of the sails of a stronger policy like FRPAA.  But in any case, it would need significant revisions to pass muster with deficit hawks, this month or in the new session.

Let's look closely at two key committees in the House of Representatives, where the chairmanships will shift from Democrats to Republicans.

(1) The House Committee on Science and Technology

This is the committee to which the COMPETES bill was referred.  Under the Democrats, the chair was Bart Gordon (D-TN).  But Gordon didn't run for re-election and will not return to the new Congress.  Jerry Costello (D-IL) is next in line to be ranking minority member, and his elevation would have been good news:  he's a co-sponsor of the House version of FRPAA.  But he has decided to take a leadership position on the Transportation Committee rather than a leadership position on the Science Committee.  However, he'll remain a member of the committee and a voice for FRPAA and OA mandates.

It's not yet clear which Democrat might become the ranking minority member.  Nor is it clear where the new chair, Ralph Hall (R-TX), stands on OA.  The day after the election, Hall released a statement on how he plans to run the Science Committee.  The statement is designed to please everyone and disclose little, and it succeeds.  If they squint, OA friends and foes can both see some support in it:

The Science and Technology Committee will be a place where every member's ideas will be respected and considered, and all Republicans can play a role in crafting good science policy.  We must also conduct strong oversight over this Administration in key areas including climate change, scientific integrity, energy research and development (R&D), cybersecurity, and science education.  Over the past few years the unprecedented growth of the Federal government and the creation of multiple new and duplicative programs occurred without having first assessed the effectiveness and success of existing programs.  My goal is to ensure science policy drives innovation and thereby the American economy.  Federal investment in R&D must empower the free market, not interfere in it.

(2) The Committee on Government Oversight and Reform

This is the committee to which House version of FRPAA was referred.  Under the Democrats, the chair was Ed Towns (D-NY).  When the Republicans take over in January, Towns has the inside track to become the ranking minority member.  But Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) is challenging him for the position.  Towns and Kucinich are both friends of OA, but Kucinich is a co-sponsor of FRPAA and Towns is not.

The new Republican chair of the committee will be Darrell Issa (R-CA).  The news here is decidedly mixed.  Issa was a co-sponsor of the original version of the Conyers bill (September 2008, 110th Congress, HR 6845), and a co-sponsor of its re-introduction in February 2009 (111th Congress, HR 801). 

In fact, Issa and liberal Robert Wexler (D-FL) were the only two members of the House other than Conyers himself to co-sponsor both versions of the bill.  But Wexler has since retired, leaving Issa alone with that distinction. 

In 2007-08, only three members of Congress received more money from Elsevier than Issa. 

Morever, Issa is trying to position himself as the most obstructive member of the obstructive wing of the Republican party.  According to Politico.com,

Issa told POLITICO in an interview that he wants each of his seven subcommittees to hold "one or two hearings each week....I want seven hearings a week, times 40 weeks," Issa said....To give an idea of how expansive Issa's oversight plans are, look at the record of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) when he chaired the oversight committee during in the 110th Congress during George W. Bush's presidency. Waxman held 203 oversight hearings in two years; Issa has signaled he's prepared to hold about 280 in just one year.

Here's more coverage of Issa's planned hurricane of hearings.

However, Issa is a strong supporter of open government.  As OMBWatch pointed out, "Issa is co-chair of the Transparency Caucus and recipient of the Project On Government Oversight's 2010 Good Government Award."

He also supports open government data.  In an op-ed in the Washington Examiner just over a month ago, Issa wrote:

Better transparency will enable voters, media, and watchdog groups to hold the bureaucracy accountable.  Currently, however, federal agencies do not use consistent, compatible electronic data formats for financial, regulatory, and legislative information. If they did – and made it all public, searchable, sortable, and downloadable – anyone with Web access could scrutinize the federal budget, second-guess federal regulators, or navigate proposed laws and the U.S. Code with ease....Consistent data formats and reliable public access would give the public a better understanding of their government's actions. Such knowledge is essential for the federal government to earn the informed consent of the governed, which is a basic principle of democracy.

If Issa's chief rationale for government transparency is to control government spending, then his argument may not extend to OA for publicly-funded research.  But if he means what he says about holding the government accountable, understanding its actions, and earning the informed consent of the governed, then it could.

About six weeks before the election, Issa vowed to use the Oversight Committee to re-investigate the Climategate controversy.  As he told the New York Times, "For me, settled science starts out with settled raw data, then people negotiate and discuss and hypothecate from that data.  If the raw data's in doubt, then the idea that we have settled science doesn't exist. I want settled science."  It's too early to say whether he'll support general open-data policies, especially if they would solidify support for the current consensus about human-made climate change, or whether he'll join a long list of other Republicans in making politically selective calls for OA designed to harass political opponents more than widen access, enhance scrutiny, and correct errors.

Finally, Issa has conspicuously refrained from seizing natural opportunities to oppose OA.  Back in July 2010, a subcommittee of the House Oversight Committee held a hearing on OA for federally funded research.  The witnesses testifying in support of OA were compelling, and when committee members asked publishers for any evidence that the NIH policy had harmed them, the publishers had nothing to offer.  After the hearing, Issa could have said that he opposed FRPAA, but he didn't.  As the ranking minority member of the Oversight Committee, he could have called on Republican members to oppose FRPAA, but he didn't.  The signs to date suggest that Issa and his staff appreciate the evidence that the economic benefits of an OA mandate vastly exceed the costs. 

See the hearing testimony  and the Alliance for Taxpayer Access' summary of the hearing.

The subcommittee actually holding the hearing was the Information Policy, Census and National Archives Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform

Under the Democrats, the chair of this subcommittee was William Lacy Clay (D-MO), who was pleased by hearing's outcome.  He'll be the subcommittee's ranking minority member.  The new chair will be Patrick McHenry (R-NC), who has neither supported nor opposed FRPAA but who has many constituents in North Carolina pressing him to support it.

* Two co-sponsors of the House version of FRPAA were defeated in the recent elections:  Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Bill Foster (D-IL).  One co-sponsor retired:  Todd Tiahrt (R-KN).  One other friend of OA in the House retired:  Dave Obey (D-WI).  Bart Gordon (D-TN), the chief sponsor of the House version of the COMPETES act, retired as well.

No co-sponsors of the Senate version of FRPAA retired or were defeated.  As far as I can tell the same is true of other friends of OA in the Senate.

* President Obama is still serious about mandating OA for publicly-funded research, perhaps through an executive order.  A year ago, from December 2009 to January 2010, the White House Office for Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) collected public comments on the idea of extending the NIH policy across the federal government.  It released the comments in March 2010.

Since then it has been digesting the comments and crafting a policy response.  But when will it act?  It would have been smart for Obama to act before the election, since he could honestly have framed the action as good for jobs, good for the economy, good for fiscal responsibility with public funds, and good for open government, all issues on which Republicans campaigned hard.  An executive order providing OA to publicly-funded research would have been good policy and good politics at the same time.  For the same reason, it would be smart to act soon, before the newly elected Republicans can jack up their rhetoric on Obama's failings on the same set of issues. 

If Obama doesn't act during the lame-duck session, I predict that he'll definitely act in the next session.  The Republican gains are an obstacle to some kinds of legislation, but not to any kind of executive order, which does not require Congressional approval.  The Republican gains are a reason to back down or compromise on issues opposed by conservatives, but not on this issue.  Support for OA has always been bipartisan.  Common ground between liberals and conservatives may be shrinking, but it still includes any action that is good for jobs, good for the economy, good for fiscal responsibility with public funds, and good for open government.

OMBWatch has a good summary of Republican support for open-government initiatives, both before and after the election.  The common ground is on these issues is no illusion.  But as OMBWatch adds, "Planned Republican budget cuts could further tighten the squeeze on funding for open government measures."

Note Glyn Moody's report that open government is also a principle of the new conservative government in the UK.

Last May, I argued that "support [for FRPAA] from conservative Republicans hasn't scared away liberals, and support from liberal Democrats, including President Obama, hasn't scared away conservatives."

I could have added, "so far".  We could lose this vestige of bipartisanship in the wake of upcoming legislative battles or the run-up to the 2012 presidential election.  We know that genuine common ground isn't enough for Republicans and Democrats to shake hands and work together.  We've seen too many examples in which legislators avert their eyes from common ground and pretend it doesn't exist, even if this means voting against positions they previously supported.  This kind of spiteful opposition dominated the last two years of Republican Congressional strategy and there's no doubt that it still hangs in the air.  One example important in the current lame-duck session is the New START Treaty, a cause that Republicans formerly championed but from which some defected when Obama began pushing it.

We simply don't know how far the newly elected Congressional Republicans will want to work constructively with the Democrats on issues where there is genuine common ground.  Republicans are not just divided on specific issues, such as funding the troops at the cost of allowing openly gay soldiers to serve, or reducing the risk of nuclear war at the cost of giving Obama a foreign-policy victory.  They're divided on the general question whether two more years of engineered gridlock will serve their political fortunes in 2012 better than two years of constructive work to solve the nation's problems.  They see the case for good-faith work, since they can now be held accountable for policy failures.  But they also see the case for flat obstruction, since it paid off for them in the 2010 elections.

Nor do we know whether Tea Party Republicans oppose establishment Republicans as much as they oppose Democrats.  During the election, some Tea Party candidates liked to pretend they did.  This matters for OA because many will come to Washington committed to open government but without having given a thought to OA.  If they were open to persuasion from party elders like John Cornyn, the chief proponent of FRPAA in the Senate, they'd connect open government to OA and support FRPAA.  But if they're not inclined to follow party elders, then they may not connect open government and OA at all, or they may be ready to oppose OA as part of wider opposition to Obama and the Democrats.

If we put to one side those Republicans motivated to oppose everything Obama likes because Obama likes it, then an Obama executive order mandating OA for non-classified, publicly-funded research could resonate with both parties.  For the same reason, a re-introduced FRPAA could earn the same kind of bipartisan co-sponsorship that FRPAA earned the last two times it was introduced. 

But we can't put those Republicans to one side, even if we don't know whether they'll be a majority or minority within their party.  Some Congressional Republicans (new and old) are determined to work constructively on the nation's problems, but others are ready to retreat from common ground and vote against their own values rather than lend their weight to any victory in which Obama would earn partial credit.  In the next two years, some from the constructive camp could drift to the obstructive camp, both a cause and effect of increasing polarization.

In his first two years in office, President Obama often made unilateral offers of compromise, even when they bought him no Republican votes.  He's likely to continue in this pattern, partly from temperament and partly to show his willingness to work with the rejiggered Congress and electorate.  Ironically, one result could be a greater reluctance to appeal to values and principles inside the common ground with Republicans.  For example, he might ask federal funding agencies to mandate OA, but he might not defend his action with research showing the enormous benefit/cost ratio of OA mandates and their tendency to create jobs and stimulate economic activity.  That would simply stir opposition from Republicans who don't want Obama to get credit for creating jobs, including some Republicans who would otherwise have supported an OA mandate as an open government measure.

If polarization reached that pitch, it would be a compound tragedy:  Republicans retreating from the public good because it might benefit Democrats, and Democrats watering down their proposals precisely to avoid that sort of opposition.  You could call it a new tragedy of the commons:  tiptoeing toward goals in the common ground precisely because they are in the common ground.  Moreover, of course, if Democrats fail to make the job-creation argument, they open to door the publishing lobby to repeat its tired job-destruction argument.

My prediction:  insofar as Republicans are inclined to work constructively for achievable progress, there will be some common ground with Democrats.  That common ground will include creating jobs, stimulating the economy, opening government, showing fiscal responsibility with public funds, and mandating public access to publicly-funded research.  That bodes well both for FRPAA and for an Obama executive order mandating OA from federal funding agencies.  But insofar as Republicans are inclined to obstruct Democrats, reject their own party elders, or both, common ground will be a vanishing quantity.  That plus Obama's tendency to seek compromise without reciprocation will mean defeat or dilution for OA policies.



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.  I thank Katharine Dunn for her assistance in restating many of these developments in the brief Roundup format. 

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

+ Policies

** The University of Lisbon adopted an OA mandate for faculty research papers and student theses and dissertations.  It also required all research centers of the institution to adopt their own OA mandates.  (Adopted in 2010 but not clear when.)

** Harvard Divinity School adopted an OA mandate. Six of Harvard's nine schools now have OA mandates.
http://www.hds.harvard.edu/news/pr/openaccess.html http://osc.hul.harvard.edu/hdspolicy

** The Polytechnic University of Madrid adopted an OA mandate for university-funded research.

** Sweden's Malmö University strengthened its 2003 OA policy, requiring deposit in an OA repository when permitted by the publisher.  The policy also encourages publication in OA journals and requires that the university's own publications be OA. 

** Mount Saint Vincent adopted an OA policy requesting that faculty deposit new research articles in the IR, subject to publisher restrictions.  (This was adopted on October 25, 2010, and should be added to my list in last month's SOAN of the record-breaking number of new OA policies adopted in October 2010.)

** Virginia Tech adopted an OA mandate for theses and dissertations.

** San Jose State University announced its OA mandate for theses and dissertations, which took effect in January 2010.

* The University of Pennsylvania's Public Access Committee issued its recommendations, which Senior Vice Provost for Research Steve Fluharty summarized for the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.  The recommendations themselves are not yet public.   (In March 2010, the University created a Committee on Open Access Publishing --apparently the same committee-- and asked it to make policy recommendations before the end of the year.)

* The University of New Mexico's Office for eScholarship proposed a wide-ranging "eScholar Innovation Center" (eSIC) to support OA, data sharing, and consultations with faculty on copyrights. 

* Rajan Gurukkal, Vice-Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU), opened a conference with a call for worldwide OA.  MGU's OA policy doesn't yet go beyond ETDs, and Gurukkal's talk may be a sign that a wider policy is under consideration.

* S. Gutam and four co-authors called for OA to publicly-funded research in India, in part on the ground that it would spur economic development.

* The institutional partners in Project NECOBELAC, representing six countries in Europe and Latin America, and the participants in a NECOBELAC training course (Bogotà, November 9-11, 2010), issued the Bogotà Declaration, committing themselves to "Promote Open Access to Scientific Output in their Nations...."

* Participants in an APIN (Asia-Pacific Information Network) conference recommended that several new information policies for the Philippines.  One was "public domain information and alternative forms of protecting intellectual property (such as the use of the Creative Commons license)...."

* At the Berlin8 conference in Beijing, LI Jinghai, Vice President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) argued that the CAS, which adopted an OA mandate in February 2009, has "an ethical responsibility to make the information produced by its researchers available to the public, which is paying for the research."  LI also described CAS-OAJ, the OA portal CAS launched in June 2010, and announced that 63 CAS institutes in 22 Chinese cities now host OA repositories.

* Ian Henderson described the OA policy at the Institute for Research in Construction, a unit within Canada's National Research Council.  Instead of mandating deposit in its institutional repository, the IRC simply follows the rule that "[w]hen a researcher is eligible for promotion, only official bibliographies generated from the NRC-IRC Publications Database [the IR] are accepted for review by the promotion committee...."  (I can't tell when the policy was adopted.)

* The UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) strengthened its open-data policy.  The new policy, to take effect in January 2011, provides OA to NERC's environmental data (with exceptions to satisfy "third party rights" or "large or complex requests"), requires grantees to specify their data management plans, and requires publications based on NERC-funded research to specify how users can access the supporting data.  Most NERC grantees will have two-year "right of first use" for data collected in NERC-funded projects. 

* A new bill before the German Parliament would require public sharing of the results of clinical drug trials. 

* Germany's Pirate Party updated its policy statement and manifesto on OA for publicly-funded content.

* UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to review British copyright laws and "make them fit for the internet age."  He wants to reduce the cost of obtaining permission from rightsholders and add a US-style fair-use provision for limited use of copyrighted material without permission.

* In a public statement, Neelie Kroes, the EC Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, argued that copyright law must not be allowed to prevent Europeana from providing OA to Europe's cultural heritage and must stop putting intermediaries ahead of artists themselves.  She announced that the European Commission would "soon make legislative proposals" to address these problems.  "And we will not stop exploring ideas for as long as the system is not working...."

* In a public statement, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, Europe's Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, argued that "We must embrace new ways of sharing knowledge....One step we have already taken is to encourage open access to publications and data from publicly funded research...."

* The Lancet's Global Independent Commission on Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century issued its final report.  One of its recommendations:  "Strengthening of educational resources, since faculty, syllabuses, didactic materials, and infrastructure are necessary instruments to achieve competencies. Many countries have severe deficits that require mobilising resources, both financial and didactic, including open access to journals and teaching materials...."

* SPARC issued a statement in support of the Confederation of Open Access Repositories. 

+ Journals

* Sage Open is a forthcoming peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary OA journal for the social sciences and the humanities, from Sage Publications.  The first issue should appear next spring.  Like a PLoS ONE for the SSH fields, it "will not limit content due to...thematic significance...[and] will accept articles solely on the basis of the quality of the research....SAGE Open will also include several enhanced features to give readers greater power to determine the significance of articles published, with usage metrics, commenting features, subject categories, article ranking and recommendations...."

* AIP Advances is a new peer-reviewed "fast-track, community-style" OA journal on applied research in the physical sciences, from AIP Publishing, a division of the American Institute of Physics.

* The Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Beilstein-Institut.

* Topics in Integrative Health Care is a new peer-reviewed OA journal, published by Healthindex, Inc.

* IP Theory is a new peer-reviewed OA journal from the Center on Intellectual Property at Indiana University's Maurer School of Law.

* Laws is a forthcoming OA journal from MDPI. The first issue should appear in 2011.

* The International Journal of Peer to Peer Networks (IJP2P) is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the non-profit Academy & Industry Research Collaboration Center (AIRCC).

* The Journal for Research on Libraries and Young Adults is a new peer-reviewed OA journal published by the Young Adult Library Services Association. http://www.yalsa.ala.org/jrlya/

* The All Results Journals is a new, peer-reviewed OA journal of negative results in biology, chemistry, nanotechnology, and physics.

* PLoS Currents: Evidence on Genomic Tests is a new OA publication in the PLoS Currents series providing rapid sharing of brief summaries of quality-controlled research reports.

* PLoS launched Epigenetics 2010, a collection of research articles and primers in the field of epigenetics.

* Gary Ward will take over as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Public Library of Science on January 1, 2011. Gary is "a charter member of the PLoS Biology Editorial Board, ...Chair (through year-end) of the National Library of Medicine's PubMed Central National Advisory Committee, a past member of the NLM Public Access Working Group, and member of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Open Access working group...."

* The Lancet launched a series of papers on chronic non-communicable diseases in preparation for a UN meeting on the subject next September. The papers are OA after free registration.

* The OA journal, Trials, from BioMed Central, launched a series on "Sharing clinical research data" edited by Associate Editor Andrew Vickers.

* King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) announced five forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journals on water technology, oil and gas technology, petrochemicals technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology.  All five will have priced print editions for those who want them.

* The International Journal of ePortfolio is a forthcoming peer-reviewed OA journal from by the Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research at Virginia Tech.  It will start accepting manuscripts on January 21, 2011.

* Atiqot converted to OA (with free registration required).  Atiquot is published by the Israel Antiquities Authority.

* One journal from the Company of Biologists (COB), Disease Models & Mechanisms, converted to full OA.  COB's three hybrid OA journals (Development, Journal of Cell Science, and Journal of Experimental Biology) revised their terms to meet the libre OA standards of the UKPMC Funders' Group. 

* Acta Dermato-Venereologica will convert to OA, starting with the first issue of 2011, and continue to sell a print edition to those who want it.  ADV is published by the Society for Publication of Acta Dermato-Venereologica.

* Orientalia Suecana will convert to OA with the first issue in 2011, after 58 years of publication as a TA journal.

* Pakistaniaat: A Journal of Pakistan Studies, converted to delayed OA.  All issues published during a year will be made OA at the end of the year. The journal previously offered immediate OA.

* The American Medical Association provided OA to the complete backfile of American Medical News back to January 2000.

* Jan Jensen proposed an "unjournal" called Open Science. "An unjournal is to journals what an unconference is to conferences."  http://molecularmodelingbasics.blogspot.com/2010/11/open-science-unjournal.html

* The Institute of Physics (IOP) Publishing and the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) signed a five-year agreement to publish OA proceedings of IUPAP's annual Conference on Computational Physics. Papers will appear in the OA Journal of Physics: Conference Series.

* Britain's Emerald Group Publishing began providing OA to articles written for conferences run by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and published in one of Emerald's LIS journals.

* The Redalyc project announced a new set of services to promote OA journals in Latin America, the Caribbean, Spain, and Portugal.

* The American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS) launched GoldMiner.arrs.org, a portal offering OA to "articles and images from more than 260 peer-reviewed journals...."

* The University of Pittsburgh Library System launched an E-journal Publishing Program, using Open Journal Systems to help faculty launch OA journals.  The E-journal Publishing Program is part of the library's D-Scribe Digital Publishing Program, which is a joint project with the University of Pittsburgh Press.

* The Florida Center for Library Automation launched an instance of Open Journal Systems and offered to host OA journals published by any Florida public university, with automatic archiving to the Florida Digital Archive.

* The Libraries of China's eleven leading research institutions released an open letter in support of SCOAP3.  (Also see the lead story above.)

* CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) joined COPE (the Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity).

* In September, the Library of Congress' Cooperative Online Serials (CONSER) launched a project to create CONSER records for every journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.

* France's CNRS Editions published a special volume of the journal Hermes devoted to Science.com: Free Access and Open Science, with more than two dozen articles on OA. http://www.cnrseditions.fr/Communication/6339-hermes-57-sciencescom-libre-acces-et-science-ouverte-joelle-farchy-pascal-froissart-et-cecile-meadel.html

* David Rosenthal reported that TA journals may now be indexed in PubMed and Medline by depositing copies in Portico, a dark archive.  Formerly they had to deposit in PMC, an open repository. 

* The Research Libraries UK (RLUK) announced that "it would not support future journal big deals unless they showed real price reductions."  Without price reductions, UK libraries will be "forced to cancel significant numbers of subscriptions which will fatally compromise the UK's capacity for research" and "forced to provide information resources to their researchers and students in other ways...."

* A new financial analysis from Simba Information forecasts rocky times for journal publishers.  "If library budget constraints and shrinking advertising expenditures" persist, and "libraries start cancelling big contracts", then "publishers will be under the gun to find alternative strategies...."

* The Times Higher Education Supplement noticed that "after years of grumbling about rising prices for journal subscriptions, universities just may be ready to say enough is enough...."

+ Repositories and databases

* Italy's University of Catania and University of Molise launched institutional repositories.

* Rome's Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore announced plans to launch an institutional repository.

* SciClips launched ddTargets (Drug Targets/Disease Targets), an OA database of therapeutic drug targets gleaned from US patents, patent applications, and research articles. http://www.sciclips.com/sciclips/drug-targets-all.do

* The University of Hawai'i agreed to revive and host Mana'o, the OA repository for the field of anthropology launched by Alex Golub in October 2007 and laid down in October 2009.

* Cornell University secured more than $300,000 from 85 institutions to fund the ongoing costs of arXiv. The university, which has committed to paying 15% of arXiv's costs, is looking for other funding sources, such as collaborations with publishers and scholarly societies.

* Australia's Powerhouse Museum announced plans to create an OA image repository, starting with about 5,000 photos from its archives. The repository will eventually include half of all audiovisual content from the museum and will be a "social portal" where users can give feedback. http://www.computerworld.com.au/article/366384/powerhouse_museum_launch_open_access_image_repository/

* InTech made its OA repository OAI-compliant.

+ Data

* The British Library made three million bibliographic records OA under the CC0 Public Domain Dedication Licence.  "This dataset consists of the entire British National Bibliography, describing new books published in the UK since 1950; this represents about 20% of the total BL catalogue, and we are working to add further releases."

* Soon after the British Library's release of open bibliographic data (previous item), the JISC Open Bibliography project announced two ways in which it had made the data more useful.  "The data has been loaded into a Virtuoso store that is queriable through the SPARQL Endpoint and the URIs that we have assigned each record use the ORDF software to make them dereferencable, supporting perform content auto-negotiation as well as embedding RDFa in the HTML representation."

* JISC released the Open Bibliographic Data Guide for institutions providing OA to library catalogue records. The guide offers advice on how to license data, legal issues to be considered, and potential costs and savings.

* Nature Publishing Group (NPG) announced an experiment to encourage prepublication data sharing in Nature Precedings, an OA repository. The goal is to improve best practices among researchers. NPG is also exploring community authorship of standards documents.

* A collaboration of American labs, universities, and organizations announced the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), which has the world's largest digital camera and will survey tens of millions of stars and asteroids each night.  Once it is up and running in Chile, the telescope will provide immediate OA to its data OA. http://azstarnet.com/news/local/article_07b4cde9-8c50-5aed-b30d-442648d668b8.html

* Two researchers at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois improved the OA images in Google Sky so that users can now see many more galactic clusters.

* Adam Keith reported that open data from the Landsat satellite, and the GMES open data policy of the Sentinel missions, are providing OA to Earth Observation (EO) data, as encouraged by GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of Systems).  Keith believes these open data will stimulate the development of downstream businesses.

* JISC launched AddressingHistory, an OA web site allowing users to search for historical data about Scottish people, places, and professions. The data comes from 18th and early 19th century Scottish post office directories and contemporary maps.

* The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) announced plans to merge its Catalog and Journals database.

* The 1000 Genomes Project provided OA to 4.5 terabytes of genetic information from its work on cataloging human genetic diversity. http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/editors/25943/

* The UK's Cetacean Stranding Investigation Programme (CSIP), which provides OA to data on marine mammal strandings throughout Europe, called on the public to help enlarge its dataset with their own observations.

* The United Nations Statistical Division launched UNdata, an OA website pooling statistical information from across the UN. The website includes 60 million records from nearly three dozen databases.

* The US Patent and Trademark Office and Google began providing OA to 20 terabytes of US patents and related data from 1790 to the present.  The partnership plans to add another 50 terabytes to the database.

* The Open University became the first university in the UK to provide OA to institution-wide data as part of the Linked Open Data Movement. The OU's LUCERO (Linking University Content for Education and Research Online) project, funded by JISC, brings together data about courses, podcasts, and academic publications.

* The Association for Research Libraries (ARL) released a guide to the new NSF data-sharing policy, written for research libraries and librarians.  (At time I write this entry, the guide is temporarily offline for updating.)

* While the US National Science Foundation (NSF) released its revised data-sharing policy in October, Heather Piwowar reports that only a comparatively small number of NSF offices, divisions, and directorates have followed up with their own policies or guidances. 

+ Books and digitization

* The Universidad Complutense de Madrid libraries joined the HathiTrust, the first partner from outside the US.

* The Baylor University Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* The Emory University Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* Harvard University Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* The University of Maryland Libaries joined the HathiTrust.

* The University of Pennsylvania Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* The University of Pittsburgh Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* Texas A&M University Libraries joined the HathiTrust.

* Hachette Livre became the first French publisher to strike a book-scanning deal with Google.  Unlike other publishers working with Google, Hachette, not Google, will decide which of its copyrighted but OP books Google will scan.  Hachette will support the French national book-scanning project provide free copies of the Google-scanned books to the Bibliothèque Nationale (but I can't tell whether those copies will become OA).

* Makerere University in Kampala, the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, and Canada's Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), launched the Africa Portal, which will provide OA to books, journals, and other texts.  Some of the contents were already digital but others were digitized just for the portal.

* Mexico launched the Mexican Digital Library and joined the World Digital Library project.

* South Africa joined the World Digital Library Project.

* Europeana announced plans to add more than a million images to its digital library from 10 news agencies across Europe.

* Robert Darnton argued once more for a US National Digital Library (NDL) or Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

* JISC Collections invited monograph publishers in the humanities and social sciences to participate in the OAPEN-UK project, to test the feasibility and impact of OA book publishing.  Publishers will submit "matched pairs" of scholarly monographs (new or old), and the project will randomly make one digital + OA and make the other digital + TA.  The project will pay publishers to participate in the experiment, which will run from May 2011 to April 2014.

* The University of Chicago's Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) began digitizing and providing OA to records, photos, maps, and other holdings from several of its archives and manuscript collections. The SCRC is starting with materials in the public domain or whose copyright is held by the university.

* Oxford and Cambridge University libraries launched a pilot project to provide OA metadata from about 10,000 Islamic manuscripts in their collections. The texts will be searchable in Roman and Arabic script.

* The National Library of Norway provided OA to "large parts" of its digitized collection, including both public domain and copyrighted works. The copyrighted work was made available through a deal with Kopinor, a company representing publisher and author associations.

* The World Bank provided OA to its all annual World Development Reports from the first in 1978.

* Charles W. Bailey Jr. released version 5 of his Electronic Theses and Dissertations Bibliography.

* The TA journal, Academic Medicine, published its first OA book, an anthology of 27 articles about the work of Abraham Flexner. http://journals.lww.com/academicmedicine/pages/default.aspx

* MIT Press published an anthology of essays on activist efforts worldwide involving intellectual property and access to information.  Each chapter is OA.

+ Studies and surveys

* Keiko Kurata and four co-authors found that "almost half of the articles [published in biomedicine in 2009] were...[OA], indicating that OA has progressed rapidly since our previous surveys reported for 2005 and 2007."  Of the OA articles, a majority (53%) were gold rather than green, or gold first and green second (deposited by the OA journal in PubMed Central).  "The percentage of OA articles accessible via institutional repositories (IR) and authors? websites, or the 'Green Road', has consistently remained low."

* Marcel Hommel published a study on how OA has changed research on malaria over the last 10 years.  In 2009, papers on Malaria were published in 528 journals, with most journals publishing only one or two articles each.  34.2% of the papers were published in just 13 journals, of which the two leaders with both OA, Malaria Journal from BMC and PLoS ONE.

* Joseph Hardin and Aristóteles Cañero released the results of their survey of faculty attitudes toward OA at Universidad Politecnica de Valencia and the University of Michigan. "The responses show that 17.2% of the respondents had published in OA journals, and 31% planned on doing so in the future. 18% of the respondents put up pre-prints of their articles [in OA repositories] and 26.1% put up copies of their published articles...."

* Carol Tenopir, Donald King, and six co-authors released the results of their survey of 400 researchers in 12 countries, published by the Publishing Research Consortium.  Among the findings:  The single most important attribute of a research paper for readers, after relevance, was that it be "accessible online at no personal cost".

* Graham Currie and two co-authors surveyed users of SORT (Social Research in Transport), an OA repository for research in the field of transportation.  Among the findings:  "Overall 56% of all users (65% of professional/practitioners) considered SORT essential/very essential to their work...."

* A library science student from Southern Connecticut State University invited librarians and others working with institutional repositories to participate in a web survey on faculty participation and recruitment of work.

* Germany's Netzwerk von Open-Access-Repositorien released data on the deposits in DINI-certified German repositories, broken down by field. Medicine leads the list with 11.7% of deposits.

* The UK Repositories Support Project released the results of its 2010 survey of repository software. The survey compared a dozen repository software packages for their support, metadata, searching capabilities, interoperability, and other features.

* Antony Williams of ChemSpider launched a survey on public chemistry databases.

* Philip Davis published a new study of the connection between OA and citation tallies (apparently an article-length version of his dissertation).  "The results of this experiment suggest that...[OA] may increase readership (as measured by article downloads) and reach a larger potential audience (as measured by unique visitors), but have no effect on article citations."

* Stevan Harnad commented on Philip Davis' new study (previous item):  "It is not the demonstration that the OA Advantage is an artifact of self-selection that it set out to be, since there is no control group....There is simply the failure to detect any citation advantage at all on this particular sample and time-span, compared to the many other studies, in field after field, that have reported a significant OA Citation Advantage -- some with far bigger sample sizes and time-spans."

* Frederick Friend and the Knowledge Exchange released a briefing paper on "the impact of open access upon potential users of research outputs outside the walls of research-led European universities, where the economic value of open access may be even greater than the academic value within universities."

* Farhana Sarker and two co-authors released a study of ways in which institutional repositories can address "higher education challenges". 

* Alma Swan released Open Access Impact: A Briefing Paper for Researchers, Universities and Funders.

* The Research Information Network and OCLC Research released a new report on the services researchers use and need.  It recommends that "Universities should ensure that researchers have access to relevant web-based and other tools to support the sharing of documents and data across institutional boundaries" but never uses the term "open access".

+ Software and tools

* The California Digital Library (CDL) created tools to search the larger HathiTrust digital library, and launched the website for its eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), the open-source platform for facilitating online access to digital content.

* OpenAIRE announced the OAI Extended Addon, a patch for DSpace that enhances OAI-PMH functionality and helps European repositories become OpenAIRE compliant. The patch was developed by the Portuguese RCAAP project.

* Researchers at the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid released a search tool called PubDNA Finder that links OA documents from PubMed Central with the nucleic acid sequences they contain.

* Mendeley enhanced its search engine to filter articles published in OA journals. 

* The UKPMC search results page now displays the names of all the authors of a given article.  Formerly it displayed only the first seven.  

* Linkedin now allows users to add their publications (links, not copies) to their profile page. 

* The Open Knowledge Foundation released CKAN version 1.2.

* OPUS, the free and open-source repository software, released version 4.

+ Awards and milestones

* Misha Jepson, a staff member at Glyndwr University, won the Welsh Repository Network's OA Week competition, for her effective presentation persuading Glyndwr administrators to launch an institutional repository.

* Daniel Mietchen won the inaugural blogging contest from Science 3.0, blogging about the risks and rewards of OA.

* BioMed Central solicited nominations for its annual Excellence in Open Access Research Awards.  It will accept nominations for work published in 2010 until December 31.

* Bryn Mawr Classical Review turned 20 years old.  BMCR is the second-oldest OA journal in the humanities, "surpassed by only a few weeks by Postmodern Culture...."

* The eGranary Digital Library turned 10 years old.  It started life as a "a CD-ROM full of copied websites mailed to a handful of universities in Nigeria" and now consists of two TB (or 2,000 GB) of multimedia docs freely accessible to more than one million users in developing countries over their local area networks.

* A recent audit showed that 58% of peer-reviewed articles published in 2009 based on Wellcome-funded research meet Wellcome's three criteria for "full" OA:  immediate OA through PMC or UKPMC (no embargo) of the published edition (not the author's manuscript), with an article-level open license (not just gratis OA).  (PS:  For perspective, the Wellcome compliance rate has more than doubled since May 2007.)

* Europeana now offers OA to more than "14 million digitised books, maps, photographs, paintings, film and music clips from cultural institutions across Europe....", well ahead of its 2010 target of 10 million objects. 

* Two years after its launch, HathiTrust announced several milestones: the digital library contains more than 7 million volumes from its member libraries, 52 institutions now jointly own and operate it.

* RePEc (Research Papers in Economics) added 14 new archives and passed several milestones in October, including 20,000,000 article downloads and 5,000 institutions with registered authors.

* NEP (New Economics Papers), one of the services using RePEc data, recently passed the milestones of sending more than 30,000 email or RSS reports on more than 150,000 new working papers.  Because the human editors cannot manage more than 500 new papers every week, "several years ago an expert system [was] put in place that learns on the choices of the editors and offers them every week the complete list of papers for selection, but placing the most likely choices first. It is remarkable how well this works, thereby saving our volunteers considerable time...."

+ Other

* US law requires libraries to post notices on copying machines warning users that copyright law prohibits infringement.  There is no requirement to tell users that copyright allows fair use, but the University of Michigan decided the add the second clause on its own.

* The University of Michigan] Library began using CC-BY licenses for its website content.  Since 2008 it has used CC-BY-NC licenses.  "Mike Linksvayer, vice president of Creative Commons, believes MLibrary to be the first major research library to adopt the CC-BY license...."

* The Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges joined the Alliance for Taxpayer Access.

* The Norwegian Knowledge Center for Health Services announced plans to create an open-source drug discovery project. http://groups.google.com/group/diybio/browse_thread/thread/5fe341df4087d83a?pli=1

* During OA Week, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie signed the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge.

* Sergey Strigin translated the Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing into Russian.

* The US National Eye Institute (NEI) within the NIH deposited more than 72,000 photographs of human eyes in the OA database of Genotypes and Phenotypes (dbGaP).  For patient privacy, only the study descriptions are OA; "researchers must apply for controlled access to de-identified information about study subjects, including the new images...."

* Knowledge Exchange commissioned an independent review of its work.  "The main findings of the review were that Knowledge Exchange has created substantial external value in the past three years through various bodies of work. Examples of this work are the open access petition to the EC, the Houghton reports [on the economic impact of OA], activities of the various working groups such as the licensing working group and a variety of workshops...."

* Law.Gov started a campaign to open access to federal court decisions from the Federal Reporter. Public.Resource.Org, which backs Law.Gov, has asked for financial support from law firms and others to transcribe public domain texts from 1880 to 1924 and format them in HTML.

* OA publishers Hindawi and BioMed Central provided matching funds to support the Creative Commons fund-raising campaign.
http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/24702 http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/24752

* Aaron Dunn explained how Musopen "crowdfunded $70k to make public domain recordings of public domain works."

* The Right to Research Coalition, the student-based OA advocacy group, announced its inaugural Steering Committee.

* OMB Watch reported that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has neither created a strategic plan for its library network nor made an inventory of its collections. "The agency also has no plan for prioritizing the digitization of its materials, a key component to improving public access to the agency's library holdings."

* English Heritage sent form letters to UK image libraries selling photos of Stonehenge, claimed to own the copyright on Stonehenge, and demanded a cut of their profits. 

* When Monica Gaudio noticed that the online Magazine, Cooks Source, copied one of her articles from her website and published it without her permission, she asked for an apology and a $130 donation to the Columbia Journalism School.  The magazine editor, Judith Griggs, explained that "the web is considered 'public domain' and you should be happy we just didn't 'lift' your whole article and put someone else's name on it!"


Coming this month

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

* December 1, 2010.  Deadline for comments on "Rome Wasn’t Digitized in a Day", a draft report on OA project in the field of classics.

* December 10, 2010. Deadline for grant applications to the US National Science Foundation's funding program, launched Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections.

* Sometime in December 2010.  Europe's "reflection group" should issue its report on ways to overcome the technical, legal, and financial barriers to the mass digitization and OA of European cultural heritage.

* OA-related conferences in December 2010

* Other OA-related conferences


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

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