Archive for the 'Open Access' Category

Michael Eisen Replies to Rep. John Conyers about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 8th, 2009

Michael Eisen has replied to Rep. John Conyers' "A Reply to Larry Lessig," which was written in response to "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen. (Thanks to Open Access News.)

Here's an excerpt:

Unfortunately, Representative Conyers actions do not reflect his words. This bill was introduced in the last Congress. The Judiciary Committee then held hearings on the bill, in which even the publishers' own witnesses pointed out flaws in its logic and approach. In particular, a previous Registrar of Copyrights, clearly sympathetic to the publishers' cause, acknowledged that the NIH Policy was in perfect accord with US copyright law and practice. If Conyers were so interested in dealing with a complex issue in a fair and reasonable way, why then did he completely ignore the results of this hearing and reintroduce the exact same bill—one that clearly reflects the opinions of only one side in this debate?

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    Peter Suber Replies to Rep. John Conyers about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

    Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 7th, 2009

    Peter Suber has replied to Rep. John Conyers' "A Reply to Larry Lessig," which was written in response to "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" by Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen.

    Here's an excerpt:

    I thank Rep. Conyers for making a public defense of his bill in a forum which offers the public a chance to respond.  I also respect his record on other issues, including civil rights and bankruptcy, and his current efforts to compel the testimony of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers. On research publications, however, he's backing the wrong horse, and his arguments for siding with publishers against scientists and taxpayers are not strong.

    (1) Rep. Conyers insists that the House Judiciary Committee should have been consulted on the original proposal for an open-access policy at the NIH. However, William Patry, former copyright counsel to the House Judiciary Committee (and now chief copyright counsel at Google), believes that "the claim that the NIH policy raises copyright issues is absurd," and that the Judiciary Committee did not need to be in the loop.  I understand that the House Rules Committee came to a similar decision when formally asked. . . .

    Clearly Rep. Conyers disagrees with these views. But they should suffice to show that bypassing the Judiciary Committee was not itself a corrupt maneuver.

    If it's important to revisit the question, I hope Rep. Conyers can do it without backing a bill from a special interest lobby that would reduce taxpayer access to taxpayer-funded research. A turf war is not a good excuse for bad policy. On the merits, see points 2 and 3 below.

    For more independent views that the NIH policy does not raise copyright issues, see the open letter to the Judiciary Committee from 46 lawyers and law professors specializing in copyright.

    (2) Rep. Conyers accepts the publisher argument that the NIH policy will defund peer review by causing journal cancellations. The short answer to that objection is that (a) much higher levels of open-access archiving, of the kind the NIH now requires, have not caused journal cancellations in physics, the one field in which we already have evidence; (b) subscription-based journals are not the only peer-reviewed journals; and (c) if the NIH policy does eventually cause journal cancellations, then libraries would experience huge savings which they could redirect to peer-reviewed OA journals, whose business models do not bet against the internet, public access, or the NIH policy.

    For a detailed analysis of the objection that government-mandated open access archiving will undermine peer review, and a point-by-point rebuttal, see my article in the SPARC Open Access Newsletter from September 2007.

    (3) Rep. Conyers writes that the NIH policy "reverses a long-standing and highly successful copyright policy for federally-funded work and sets a precedent that will have significant negative consequences for scientific research." It's true that the policy reverses a long-standing copyright policy.  But the previous policy was unsuccessful and perverse, and had the effect of steering publicly-funded research into journals accessible only to subscribers, and whose subscription prices have been rising faster than inflation for three decades. Both houses of Congress and the President agreed to reverse that policy in order to allow the NIH to provide free online access to the authors' peer-reviewed manuscripts (not the published editions) 12 months after publication (not immediately). This was good for researchers, good for physicians and other medical practitioners, good for patients and their families, and good for taxpayers. It was necessary to make NIH research accessible to everyone who could use it and necessary to increase the return on our large national investment in research. It was necessary from simple fairness, to give taxpayers—professional researchers and lay readers alike—access to the research they funded.

    On the "significant negative consequences for scientific research":  should we believe publishers who want to sell access to publicly-funded research, or the research community itself, as represented by 33 US Nobel laureates in science, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, and a host of patient advocacy groups?

    For further information about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act, see Suber's article "Re-introduction of the Bill to Kill the NIH policy" and his post "Aiming Criticism at the Right Target."

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      Rep. John Conyers Replies to Lessig and Eisen about Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

      Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Legislation and Government Regulation, Open Access, Self-Archiving on March 6th, 2009

      Rep. John Conyers has replied to Lawrence Lessig and Michael Eisen's "Is John Conyers Shilling for Special Interests?" article about the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act.

      Here's an excerpt:

      The policy Professor Lessig supports, they [opponents] argue, would limit publishers' ability to charge for subscriptions since the same articles will soon be publicly available for free. If journals begin closing their doors or curtailing peer review, or foist peer review costs on academic authors (who are already pay from their limited budgets printing costs in some cases), the ultimate harm will be to open inquiry and scientific progress may be severe. And the journals most likely to be affected may be non-profit, scientific society based journals. Once again, a policy change slipped through the appropriations process in the dark of night may enhance open access to information, but it may have unintended consequences that are severe. This only emphasizes the need for proper consideration of these issues in open session.

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        Open Access Week: October 19-23, 2009

        Posted in Open Access on March 5th, 2009

        Open Access Week will be held between October 19-23, 2009.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        To accommodate widespread global interest in the movement toward Open Access to scholarly research results, October 19-23, 2009 will mark the first international Open Access Week. The now-annual event, expanded from one day to a full week, presents an opportunity to broaden awareness and understanding of Open Access to research, including access policies from all types of research funders, within the international higher education community and the general public.

        Open Access Week builds on the momentum generated by the 120 campuses in 27 countries that celebrated Open Access Day in 2008. Event organizers SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition), the Public Library of Science (PLoS), and Students for FreeCulture welcome key new contributors, who will help to enhance and expand the global reach of this popular event in 2009: eIFL.net (Electronic Information for Libraries), OASIS (the Open Access Scholarly Information Sourcebook); and the Open Access Directory (OAD). . . .

        This year's program will highlight educational resources on Open Access that local hosts can use to customize their own programs to suit local audiences and time zones. OASIS will serve as the centerpiece of the 2009 program, delivering resources for every constituency and every awareness level. The Open Access Directory will again provide an index of participants on five continents, as well as their growing clearinghouse for all OA resources. Through the collaborative functionality of the two initiatives, OA videos, briefing papers, podcasts, slideshows, posters and other informative tools will be drawn from all over the Web to be highlighted during Open Access Week.

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          Digital Videos from Texas A&M's the Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication in the Digital Age Symposium

          Posted in Copyright, Open Access, Scholarly Communication, Texas Academic Libraries, University Presses on March 5th, 2009

          Texas A&M University has made digital videos of presentations from its recent the Changing Landscape of Scholarly Communication in the Digital Age Symposium available.

          Speakers included:

          • Georgia K. Harper, Scholarly Communications Advisor, University of Texas at Austin
          • Michael J. Jensen, Director of Publishing Technologies, National Academies Press
          • Michael A. Keller, Stanford University Librarian, Director of Academic Information Resources, Publisher of HighWire Press, and Publisher of Stanford University Press
          • Clifford A. Lynch, Executive Director, Coalition for Networked Information
          • David E. Shulenburger, Vice President for Academic Affairs, National Association for State Universities and Land Grant Colleges
          • Stuart M. Shieber, James O. Welch, Jr. and Virginia B. Welch Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication, Harvard University
          • Donald J. Waters, Program Officer for Scholarly Communications, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
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            DCC Overview of the Science Commons

            Posted in Copyright, Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Open Access on March 4th, 2009

            The Digital Curation Centre has released an overview of the Science Commons as part of its Legal Watch Papers series.

            Here's an excerpt:

            Science Commons is a branch of Creative Commons that aims to make the Web work for science the way that it currently works for culture. It is a non-profit organisation aimed at accelerating the research cycle which they define as "the continuous production and reuse of knowledge that is at the heart of the scientific method." Science Commons describes itself as having three interlocking initiatives: making scientific research 'reuseful'; enabling 'one-click' access to research materials; and integrating fragmented information sources

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              Following the Money Trail: MAPLight.org Report on Campaign Contributions and the Fair Copyright in Research Works Act

              Posted in Copyright, Digital Copyright Wars, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals, Self-Archiving on March 3rd, 2009

              MAPLight.org has released "Report on HR 801, Fair Copyright in Research Works Act: Report Shows Campaign Contributions Given to Sponsors of Fair Copyright in Research Works Act." (Thanks to the Huffington Post and Open Access News.)

              Here's an excerpt:

              MAPLight.org's research team released data today showing campaign contributions given to members of the House Committee on the Judiciary from publishing interests during the 2008 election cycle (Jan. 2007 through Dec. 2008). MAPLight.org analyzed campaign contribution data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics and determined that the publishing industry gave an average of $5,150 to each of the bill's five bill sponsors and an average of $2,506 to each of the other 34 non-sponsor members of the Committee. Total publishing industry contributions given to the House Committee on the Judiciary were $110,950.

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                "Institutional Repositories: Thinking Beyond the Box"

                Posted in Institutional Repositories, Open Access on March 1st, 2009

                Library Journal has published "Institutional Repositories: Thinking Beyond the Box" by Andrew Richard Albanese.

                Here's an excerpt:

                If [Clifford] Lynch is "queasy," it's because he questions whether institutions—in particular, libraries—are biting off more than they can chew and swallow by conflating IRs with an alternative publishing mission. "I think it is short-sighted. I know many of these institutions are feeling great pain from pressure on their acquisition budgets and would like to mitigate that," he says. "But that's a short-term economic thing, and I'm sorry to see it getting mixed up with IRs."

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                  "Toward the Design of an Open Monograph Press"

                  Posted in E-Books, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books on March 1st, 2009

                  As part of a thematic issue on open access, The Journal of Electronic Publishing has published a paper by John Willinsky titled "Toward the Design of an Open Monograph Press."

                  Here's the abstract:

                  This paper reviews and addresses the critical issues currently confronting monograph publishing as a matter of reduced opportunities for scholars to pursue book-length projects. In response, it proposes an alternative approach to monograph publishing based on a modular design for an online system that would foster, manage, and publish monographs in digital and print forms using open source software developments, drawn from journal publishing, and social networking technologies that might contribute to not only to the sustainability of monograph publishing but to the quality of the resulting books.

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                    "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?"

                    Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on February 26th, 2009

                    Pietro Cavaleri, Michael Keren, and Giovanni B. Ramello have made "Publishing an E-Journal on a Shoe String: Is It a Sustainable Project?" available in EconPapers. (Thanks to Open Access News.)

                    Here's the abstract:

                    The aim of this article is to report on an experiment in publishing an open access journal and learn from it about the larger field of open access publishing. The experiment is the launch of the European Journal of Comparative Economics (EJCE), an on-line refereed and open access journal, founded in 2004 by the European Association for Comparative Economic Studies and LIUC University in Italy. They embarked upon this project in part to respond to the rising concentration in the market for scientific publishing and the resulting use of market power to raise subscription prices and restrict access to scientific output. We had hoped that open access journals could provide some countervailing power and increase competition in the field. Our experience running a poorly endowed journal has shown that entry to the field may be easy, yet that making it a sustainable enterprise is not straightforward.

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                      Long-Term Open Access Medical Journal Restricts Some Content

                      Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Journals on February 26th, 2009

                      Starting with the January 2009 issue, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, which went open access in 1996, began restricting some content. Research articles, corrigenda, and erratum remain freely available. Access to other content, such as book reviews and commentary, is restricted to subscribers.

                      Read more about it at "End of Free Access."

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                        "Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System"

                        Posted in Open Access on February 25th, 2009

                        Katie Fortney has made "Towards an Open Source Legal Operating System" available on SSRN.

                        Here's the abstract:

                        An informed democratic society needs open access to the law, but states' attempts to protect copyright interests in their laws are a major roadblock. This article urges broader access, analyzes the implications and legal arguments for and against copyright in the law, and considers strategies for access advocacy.

                        Also see "New Draft Paper on States Claiming Copyright in their Laws and Access to Legal Research" for an interview with Fortney.

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