Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

Open Letter from 57 Liberal Arts College Presidents Supporting the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009

Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access on September 23rd, 2009

Fifty-seven liberal arts college presidents have issued an open letter expressing "strong support" for the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (S. 1373).

Here's an excerpt:

Liberal arts colleges are important components of our nation's scientific and scholarly productivity. Studies have shown that our institutions are highly effective in producing graduates who go on to obtain Ph.D. degrees and become productive researchers. Our faculty actively pursue research, much of it with government funding, and often working in partnership with talented undergraduates. Unfortunately, access to research information paid for with tax dollars is severely limited at our institutions – and indeed at most universities. Academic libraries simply cannot afford ready access to most of the research literature that their faculty and students need. The Federal Research Public Access Act would be a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers. The federal government funds over $60 billion in research annually. Research supported by the National Institutes of Health, which accounts for approximately one-third of federally funded research, produces an estimated 80,000 peer-reviewed journal articles each year. Given the scope of research literature that would become available online, it is clear that adoption of the bill would have significant benefits for the progress of science and the advancement of knowledge.

S. 1373 would build on a number of established public access policies that have been adopted by government agencies in both the U.S. and abroad. The National Institutes of Health has implemented a very successful comprehensive public access policy, as required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2007. All seven of the Research Councils in the United Kingdom have public access policies as do the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The bill is also consistent with the growing number of institutional open access policies that have been adopted at universities such as Harvard, MIT, and the University of Kansas.

We are supportive of the Federal Research Public Access Act because it has been crafted in a way that provides ample protection for the system of peer review. It allows for a window of up to six months before final peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from publicly funded research are made openly accessible on the Internet. In addition, it leaves control of the final published version of articles, which is generally used for citation purposes, in the hands of publishers.

Adoption of the Federal Research Public Access Act will democratize access to research information funded by tax dollars. It will benefit education, research, and the general public. We urge the higher education community, American taxpayers, and members of Congress to support its passage into law.

Read more about it at "Open Letter on Open Access."

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    OCLC Answers Questions about the Future of OAIster

    Posted in Open Access on September 22nd, 2009

    In "The Straight Dope on OAIster," OCLC answers questions about the future of OAIster.

    Here's an excerpt:

    • Starting in October, the records will be freely discoverable along with all the other content in WorldCat.org. However, it will not be possible to limit a search to OAIster records alone.
    • In FirstSearch, OAIster records can either be searched along with other FirstSearch databases, or selected to search alone. OAIster records have been searchable in FirstSearch since January 2009.
    • Contributors of OAIster records can receive free access to the OAIster aggregation in FirstSearch by request. Contributors were recently contacted to offer them such access and many have already responded that they would like to have such access.
    • Only data providers that request that we not harvest their records will be removed from the aggregation. We feel strongly that one of the main benefits of OAIster has been the aggregation of records from the vast majority of repositories worldwide. Therefore, unless a repository denies us permission to harvest their records, we will seek to include them.
    • No money was exchanged in this transfer and OCLC is not making any money on the OAIster aggregation. OAIster records were added to FirstSearch at no extra charge to FirstSearch subscribers, and of course there is no charge for searching WorldCat.org, where they are also exposed. Rather than boosting revenue, in fact, OCLC is committed to making an investment in the kind of large-scale harvesting operation that OAIster represents. . . .
    • We are exploring options for machine access. Z39.50 access to OAIster is available to FirstSearch subscribers now, and we are considering whether additional options should be supported. The University of Michigan did not offer an OAI-PMH or Web Services interface, although they did offer an rsync option. Learning the needs of the community will help inform what we do in this area. . . .
    • We are forming an advisory board to provide us with essential advice. We know that this is an ongoing service that will require further development and support, and so we seek the advice of those knowledgeable and experienced within the community to make sure we get it as right as we can on behalf of our member institutions and the broader community of users.
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      "Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals"

      Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on September 22nd, 2009

      Caroline J. Savage and Andrew J. Vickershave have published "Empirical Study of Data Sharing by Authors Publishing in PLoS Journals" in PLoS One.

      Here's an excerpt:

      We requested data from ten investigators who had published in either PLoS Medicine or PLoS Clinical Trials. All responses were carefully documented. In the event that we were refused data, we reminded authors of the journal's data sharing guidelines. If we did not receive a response to our initial request, a second request was made. Following the ten requests for raw data, three investigators did not respond, four authors responded and refused to share their data, two email addresses were no longer valid, and one author requested further details. A reminder of PLoS's explicit requirement that authors share data did not change the reply from the four authors who initially refused. Only one author sent an original data set. . . .

      We received only one of ten raw data sets requested. This suggests that journal policies requiring data sharing do not lead to authors making their data sets available to independent investigators.

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        Nature Publishing Group Will Publish New Open Access Journal, Nature Communications

        Posted in E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on September 22nd, 2009

        The Nature Publishing Group has announced that it will publish a new open access journal, Nature Communications, starting in April 2010.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        Nature Communications will publish high-quality peer-reviewed research across the biological, chemical and physical sciences, and will be the first online-only Nature-branded journal.

        "As a born-digital publication, Nature Communications will provide readers and authors with the benefits of enhanced web technologies alongside a rapid, yet rigorous, peer-review process." says Sarah Greaves, Publisher of Nature Communications. "Nature Communications will offer authors high visibility for their papers on the nature.com platform, access to a broad readership and efficient peer review with fast publication. For readers, the journal will offer functionality including interactive browsing and enhanced metadata to enable sorting by keywords."

        Nature Communications will publish research papers in all areas of the biological, chemical and physical sciences, encouraging papers that provide a multidisciplinary approach. The research will be of the highest quality, without necessarily having the scientific reach of papers published in Nature and the Nature research journals, and as such will represent advances of significant interest to specialists within each field. A team of independent editors, supported by an external editorial advisory panel, will make rapid and fair publication decisions based on peer review, with all the rigour expected of a Nature-branded journal.

        To ensure Nature Communications responds to changes in journal publishing, authors will be able to publish their work either via the traditional subscription route, or as open access through payment of an article processing charge (APC).

        Authors who choose the open-access option will be able to license their work under a Creative Commons license, including the option to allow derivative works. Authors who do not choose the open-access option will still enjoy all of the benefits of NPG's self-archiving policy and manuscript deposition service.

        "Developments in publishing and web technologies, coupled with increasing commitment by research funders to cover the costs of open access, mean the time is right for a journal that offers editorial excellence and real choice for authors." said David Hoole, Head of Content Licensing at NPG.

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          Open Access in Portugal: A State of the Art Report

          Posted in Open Access on September 20th, 2009

          RCAAP has released Open Access in Portugal: A State of the Art Report

          Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

          This report describes the present situation in Portugal concerning Open Access (OA) in scientific publishing. It presents a comprehensive portrait of the Portuguese initiatives related to OA, such as the implementation of open access institutional repositories at various Portuguese universities or research institutes.

          This document is commissioned within the RCAAP project and is a deliverable (D30) of the project. The study of the current situation of OA in Portugal is also related with SELL (Southern European Libraries Link) initiative, to assess the situation on southern countries, and will primarily function as a basis for discussion at a seminar which the final aim will be to establish a group of actions in the SELL countries (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey) for promoting Open Access to scientific information.

          The report starts by providing some contextual background on Open Access and the Portuguese reality related with research and scientific publication. A brief history and evolution of Open Access initiatives in Portugal in the last six years, and the description of the current situation of Portuguese OA repositories and OA journals, constitute the main sections of this reports.

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            OCLC Outlines Its Future OAIster Strategy

            Posted in OCLC, Open Access on September 20th, 2009

            OCLC has outlined its future OAIster strategy in an e-mail message to OAIster database contributors.

            Here's an excerpt from the "Next Steps" part of the document:

            OAIster users will have two ways to access the records you contribute to OAIster.

            • WorldCat.org search results will include OAIster records. WorldCat.org is a publicly available Web site searchable at no charge. When users search WorldCat.org, OAIster records will be included in search results. Each search will retrieve results from the WorldCat database along with OAIster and article-level content from sources that now include GPO Monthly Catalog, ArticleFirst, MEDLINE, ERIC, the British Library and Elsevier. Records from all sources are presented to users in integrated search results.
            • Authenticated users of libraries that subscribe to the FirstSearch Base Package may search OAIster as a separate database through WorldCat.org, WorldCat Local and WorldCat Local "quick start." These users will be able to select OAIster for searching from the Advanced search screen.

            At the University of Michigan OAIster site, there is an announcement that reads; "OCLC will be taking over operations of OAIster in October, loading August data into WorldCat.org and making harvesting fully operational at OCLC by January 2010."

            What appears to be lost in this strategy is free access to OAIster as a separate database after OCLC assumes full control of OAIster in 2010.

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              "The York Digital Journals Project: Strategies for Institutional Open Journal Systems Implementations"

              Posted in E-Journal Management and Publishing Systems, E-Journals, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on September 17th, 2009

              College & Research Libraries has released a preprint of "The York Digital Journals Project: Strategies for Institutional Open Journal Systems Implementations" by Andrea Kosavic.

              Here's an excerpt:

              Embarking on a university-wide journal hosting initiative can be a resource-intensive undertaking. Providing such a service, however, can be equally rewarding as it positions the library as both partner and colleague in the publishing process. This paper discusses ideas and strategies for institutional journal hosting gleaned over two years by the York Digital Journals Project. Suggestions for startup including policy considerations and service models are discussed. Ideas for advertising and networking are explored as well as the question of project sustainability.

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                Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, and UC Berkeley Commit to Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity

                Posted in ARL Libraries, Open Access, Publishing on September 14th, 2009

                Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley have committed to a Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity.

                Here's an excerpt from the press release:

                Open-access scholarly journals have arisen as an alternative to traditional publications that are founded on subscription and/or licensing fees. Open-access journals make their articles available freely to anyone, while providing the same services common to all scholarly journals, such as management of the peer-review process, filtering, production, and distribution.

                According to Thomas C. Leonard, university librarian at UC Berkeley, "Publishers and researchers know that it has never been easier to share the best work they produce with the world. But they also know that their traditional business model is creating new walls around discoveries. Universities can really help take down these walls and the open-access compact is a highly significant tool for the job."

                The economic downturn underscores the significance of open-access publications. With library resources strained by budget cuts, subscription and licensing fees for journals have come under increasing scrutiny, and alternative means for providing access to vital intellectual content are identified. Open-access journals provide a natural alternative.

                As Dartmouth Provost Barry P. Scherr sees it, "Supporting open-access publishing is an important step in increasing readership of Dartmouth research and, ultimately, the impact of our research on the world."

                Since open-access journals do not charge subscription or other access fees, they must cover their operating expenses through other sources, including subventions, in-kind support, or, in a sizable minority of cases, processing fees paid by or on behalf of authors for submission to or publication in the journal. While academic research institutions support traditional journals by paying their subscription fees, no analogous means of support has existed to underwrite the growing roster of fee-based open-access journals.

                Stuart Shieber, Harvard's James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and Director of the University's Office for Scholarly Communication, is the author of the five-member compact. According to Shieber, "Universities and funding agencies ought to provide equitable support for open-access publishing by subsidizing the processing fees that faculty incur when contributing to open-access publications. Right now, these fees are relatively rare. But if the research community supports open-access publishing and it gains in importance as we believe that it will, those fees could aggregate substantially over time. The compact ensures that support is available to eliminate these processing fees as a disincentive to open-access publishing."

                The compact supports equity of the business models by committing each university to the timely establishment of durable mechanisms for underwriting reasonable publication fees for open-access journal articles written by its faculty for which other institutions would not be expected to provide funds.

                Additional universities are encouraged to visit the compact web site and sign on.

                Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs offers his perspective on participating in the compact. "As part of its social commitment as a research university," Fuchs says, "Cornell strives to ensure that scholarly research results are as widely available as possible. The Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity could increase access to scholarly literature while at the same time ensuring that the valuable services that publishers provide are supported."

                A full account of the motivation for the compact can be found in the article "Equity for Open-Access Journal Publishing," published in the open-access journal Public Library of Science Biology.

                "Supporting OA journals is an investment in a superior system of scholarly communication," states Peter Suber of the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) in Washington, DC, and a fellow of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center and Harvard University's Office for Scholarly Communication. "Before this compact, a number of funding agencies and universities were willing to pay OA journal processing fees on behalf of their grantees and faculty. It's significant that five major universities recognize the need to join the effort, extend fee subsidies to a wider range of publishing scholars, enlist other institutions, and start to catch up with their long practice of supporting traditional—or non-OA—journals."

                Summing up the compact, MIT Provost L. Rafael Reif observes, "The dissemination of research findings to the public is not merely the right of research universities: it is their obligation. Open-access publishing promises to put more research in more hands and in more places around the world. This is a good enough reason for universities to embrace the guiding principles of this compact."

                Read more about it at "Interview: Stuart Shieber."

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