Opensecrets.Org Lists Reed Elsevier as One of Sen. Inhofe's Top Contributors

In a list of Sen. James Inhofe's top contributors for the 2001-2006 Senate election cycle, Opensecrets.Org identifies Reed Elsevier Inc. as his 11th largest contributor, with $13,250 in contributions. Opensecrets.Org notes:

The organizations themselves did not donate, rather the money came from the organization's PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals' immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Before he withdrew them, Sen. Inhofe was the sponsor of two amendments” to delete or weaken the NIH Open Access Mandate in the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill.

Opensecrets.Org also provides summary information about Reed Elsevier's 2006 lobbying activity, which includes a chart showing 1998-2007 totals.

Inhofe Withdraws Amendments, NIH Open Access Mandate Passes Senate

Peter Suber reports that Sen. James Inhofe withdrew his amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that would have deleted or weakened the NIH open access mandate, and that the bill has passed the Senate with the mandate intact.

The House and Senate bills will be reconciled in the fall, and President Bush should receive the final bill by year's end. It is anticipated that President Bush will veto the bill; however, the mandate's strong showing during Congressional deliberations should help ensure its future passage in post-veto legislation.

Here's an excerpt from "Defying President Bush, Senate Passes Spending Bill for Health and Education Programs" (subscription required for full access):

The president has threatened to veto the measure over what he has called "irresponsible and excessive" spending. It would take a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives to override a veto. The Senate, which approved the bill 75 to 19, apparently could muster that margin, but the House might not. It passed its version of the bill in July by a vote of 276 to 140, 14 votes shy of the two-thirds mark.

The Alliance for Taxpayer Access has issued a press release about the legislative victory.

Read more about it at "More on Inhofe" and "OA Mandate at NIH Passes the Senate."

Text of the Inhofe Amendments That Affect the NIH Open Access Mandate

Below is the text of Sen. James Inhofe's amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill that affect the NIH open access mandate (thanks to Heather Joseph at SPARC).

Amendment 3416:

To strike provision to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

Beginning on page 76 strike line 24 and all that follows through line 7 on page 77.

Amendment 3417:

To modify provisions to maintain the NIH voluntary research public access policy

On page 77 line 7 insert before the period the following:

'and in addition only where allowed by and in accordance with the policies of the publishers who have conducted the peer review and accepted the manuscripts for publication'

Here's the affected section of the bill:

Page 76

24 SEC. 221. The Director of the National Institutes of
25 Health shall require that all investigators funded by the

Page 77

1 NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National
2 Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic
3 version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon ac-
ceptance for publication to be made publicly available no
5 later than 12 months after the official date of publication:
6 Provided, That the NIH shall implement the public access
7 policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.

ALA Says Contact Senate Before Noon Tomorrow to Support NIH Open Access Mandate

The American Library Association is strongly recommending that U.S. citizens who want to support the NIH open access mandate by voicing their opposition to the amendments (#3416 and #3417) to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill proposed by Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) do so by noon on Monday, October 22nd.

Here's the latest action alert from ALA: "Fight Continues for Public Access to NIH Medical Information—Urge Your Senators to Support NIH Public Access Policy (and Oppose Inhofe Amendments)"

You can use a cut-and-paste version of the Alliance for Taxpayer Access text about the amendments to simplify the process of sending the e-mail via the ALA Web form, but personalizing this text with an added sentence or two is recommended.

NIH Mandate May Be Deleted or Weakened: Urgent Need to Contact the Senate

Peter Suber reports that the NIH open access mandate may be deleted or weakened by last-minute amendments to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill (see his posting reproduced in full below).

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of the below ATA text or you can use the same form to write your own text.

Urgent action need to support the NIH bill

The provision to mandate OA at the NIH is in trouble.  Late Friday, just before the filing deadline, a Senator acting on behalf of the publishing lobby filed two harmful amendments, one to delete the provision and one to weaken it significantly.  We thought we'd done everything and only had to wait for the Senate vote.  But now we have to mobilize once more, and fast, to squash these amendments.  Here an announcement from the Alliance for Taxpayer Access:

URGENT CALL TO ACTION: Tell your Senator to OPPOSE amendments that strike or change the NIH public access provision in the FY08 Labor/HHS appropriations bill

The Senate is currently considering the FY08 Labor-HHS Bill, which includes a provision (already approved by the House of Representatives and the full Senate Appropriations Committee), that directs the NIH to change its Public Access Policy so that participation is required (rather than requested) for researchers, and ensures free, timely public access to articles resulting from NIH-funded research. On Friday, Senator Inhofe (R-OK), filed two amendments (#3416 and #3417), which call for the language to either be stricken from the bill, or modified in a way that would gravely limit the policy’s effectiveness.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate the provision altogether. Amendment #3417 is likely to be presented to your Senator as a compromise that “balances” the needs of the public and of publishers. In reality, the current language in the NIH public access provision accomplishes that goal. Passage of either amendment would seriously undermine access to this important public resource, and damage the community’s ability to advance scientific research and discovery.

Please contact your Senators TODAY and urge them to vote “NO” on amendments #3416 and #3417. (Contact must be made before close of business on Monday, October 22). A sample email is provided for your use below. Feel free to personalize it, explaining why public access is important to you and your institution. Contact information and a tool to email your Senator are online [here]. No time to write? Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be patched through to your Senate office.

If you have written in support before, or when you do so today, please inform the Alliance for Taxpayer Access. Contact Jennifer McLennan through jennifer@arl.org or by fax at (202) 872-0884.

Thanks for your continued efforts to support public access at the National Institutes of Health.

—–

SAMPLE EMAIL

Dear Senator:

On behalf of [your organization], I strongly urge you to OPPOSE proposed Amendments #3416 and #3417 to the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill (S.1710). These amendments would seriously impede public access to taxpayer-funded biomedical research, stifling critical advancements in lifesaving research and scientific discovery. The current bill language was carefully crafted to balance the needs of ALL stakeholders, and to ensure that the American public is able to fully realize our collective investment in science.

To ensure public access to medical research findings, language was included in the in the FY 2008 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Bill directing the NIH to make a much-needed improvement to its Public Access Policy — requiring that NIH-funded researchers deposit their manuscripts in the National Library of Medicine’s online database to be made publicly available within one year of publication in a peer-reviewed journal.  This change is supported by NIH Director Elias Zerhouni, and a broad coalition of educational institutions, scientific researchers, healthcare practitioners, publishers, patient groups, libraries, and student groups — representing millions of taxpayers seeking to advance medical research.

Amendment #3416 would eliminate this important provision, leaving only a severely weakened, voluntary NIH policy in place. Under the voluntary policy (in place for more than two years) less than 5% of individual researchers have participated — rendering the policy ineffective. The language in Amendment #3417 would place even further restrictions on the policy, ensuring that taxpayers – including doctors and scientists – are unable to take full advantage of this important public resource.

Supporting the current language in the FY08 LHHS Appropriations Bill is the best way to ensure that taxpayers’ investment in NIH-funded research is used as effectively as possible.  Taxpayer-funded NIH research belongs to the American public. They have paid for it, and it is for their benefit.

I urge you to join the millions of scientists, researchers, libraries, universities, and patient and consumer advocacy groups in supporting the current language in the FY08 LHHS Appropriations bill and require NIH grantees to deposit in PubMed Central final peer-reviewed manuscripts no later than 12 months following publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Vote NO on Amendments #3416 and #3417.

Comment.  The ATA is not exaggerating.  This is urgent.  If you're a US citizen, please contact your Senators and spread the word.  Note the short deadline.  Your Senators must hear from you before the end of business on Monday, October 22:  two days from now.

Co-Action Publishing News: One Journal Converts to OA and a New OA Journal Is Launched

Co-Action Publishing has announced that, starting in January 2008, the Swedish Nutrition Foundation's Scandinavian Journal of Food & Nutrition will become an open access journal and be renamed Food & Nutrition Research. Co-Action Publishing also announced the launch in the first quarter of 2008 of a new open access journal, Ethics & Global Politics. Both journals will be under Creative Commons licenses.

Taylor & Francis Expands iOpenAccess Program

In a liblicense-l message, Taylor & Francis has announced that it has added "31 journals in environmental and agricultural sciences, behavioural sciences and development studies" to its iOpenAccess program. It notes that: "This is in addition to the 175 journals from T&F's Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics portfolios, 7 behavioural science journals from Psychology Press, and medical and bioscience journals from Informa Healthcare."

Contact the Senate Now to Support the NIH Public Access Policy Mandate

If you are a U.S. citizen, now is the time to contact your Senators if you want to support the NIH open access mandate.

You can easily contact your senators using the ALA Action Alert Web form with my cut-and-paste version of ALA/ATA text or you can use the same form to write your own text.

If you want to write your own message, Peter Suber has gathered together key documents for talking points. If you use my cut-and-paste text, add a few sentences at the start of the text to personalize it.

Here's what Peter Suber has to say about the Senate fight:

This year is our best chance ever to win an OA mandate at the NIH. But the opposition from the publishing lobby is fierce. Remember that the AAP/PSP has launched PRISM, the behemoth Copyright Alliance has weighed in, and Elsevier has hired an extra lobbying firm. If you're a US citizen, please do what you can: contact your Senators and spread the word.

Here's Some Advice That Won't Cost the AAP $500K

After the PRISM fiasco, it may be time for the Association of American Publishers to consider a new initiative: CIA (Change Instead of Annihilation).

CIA would have a single goal: to develop new business strategies so that AAP members could survive and thrive in a scholarly communication system where open access prevails. The AAP doesn't have to embrace open access to launch CIA—CIA can be a contingency plan. However, CIA will fail if its participants do not take the underlying premise that open access can succeed seriously, and CIA will require intense brainstorming that lets go of long-held beliefs about conventional publishing models.

To that end, why not let the barbarians at the gate in and have lunch? Who better to bring fresh perspectives than open access advocates? After all, open advocates are not generally anti-publisher—they just want to change publishing models to support open access. If Elsevier, Wiley, and others can do it, so be it.

It may sound crazy, but ask yourself this: Who do you want to be if open access gains enough momentum to trigger the collapse of conventional publishing models, the guy with a plan or the guy without a plan? It looks to me like Elsevier is starting to think outside of the box with initiatives such as OncologySTAT and Scirus, and Elsevier has always been a tough, smart competitor in the publishing marketplace. If the day of reckoning comes, how far behind Elsevier do you want to be?

Which brings us to why the AAP may never do CIA. Having an open access plan is a competitive advantage, and publishers may not want to share that advantage. But, that doesn't mean they can't have their own internal planning process, even if it's clandestine.

So, is it time to dance with the devil?

The Dezenhall Proposal: What Would $300K to $500K Buy the AAP?

The leaked text of Eric Dezenhall's anti-open-access proposal to the Association of American Publishers has been made available as part of a NewScientist article by Jim Giles, who broke the Dezenhall story in January.

This is a must read for those interested in open access issues.

Source: Suber Peter. "Background on the AAP Hiring of Eric Dezenhall." Open Access News, 20 September 2007.

Wiley Reports Strong First Quarter Growth

Boosted by its acquisition of Blackwell, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. reported strong earnings growth in the first quarter.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE:JWa) (NYSE:JWb) announced today that revenue for the first quarter of fiscal year 2008 of $389 million increased 48% from $263 million in the previous year, including $116 million of revenue from Blackwell Publishing Ltd. (Blackwell), which Wiley acquired on February 2, 2007. Revenue excluding Blackwell increased 3% over last year's strong first quarter to $273 million, or 2% excluding favorable foreign exchange. . . .

U.S. STM revenue of $56 million was flat with the previous year's first quarter mainly due to the timing of journal, book and backfile releases. In addition to healthy journal license renewals, several new Enhanced Access Licenses were signed by academic and corporate customers around the world. Direct contribution to profit as a percent of revenue declined in the first quarter mainly due to the flat top-line results. Excluding Blackwell, global STM revenue was up 4%, including the favorable effect of foreign exchange. . . .

During the first quarter, U.S. STM signed several new, renewed, and extended contracts with societies to publish their journals, including a multi-year agreement with the American Association of Anatomists, with whom Wiley already partners, to publish Anatomical Sciences Education; the International Society for Autism Research to publish Autism Research; and the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) to publish IUBMB Life. . . .

According to the Thomson ISI® 2006 ISI Journal Citation Reports, Wiley and Blackwell combined now publish more journals in the Social Science Citation Index than any other publisher. A third of these titles experienced significant increases in impact factors, more than any other publisher.

Cut-and-Paste NIH Public Access Policy Message to Senate Updated

I've updated the cut-and-paste text on the Contact the Senate about the NIH Public Access Policy page to include mention of and a link to the ALA/ARL/SPARC "Mandatory Public Access to Federally Funded Research Does Not Violate Copyright Obligations" statement.

You can use the cut-and-paste text in the linked ALA Contact Your Senators in Support of Open Access Web form, which will allow you to easily e-mail your senators by entering your Zip Code.

A Closer Look at OncologySTAT: Elsevier's Version of Open Access?

In a prior posting, I discussed Elsevier's release of OncologySTAT. In this one, I'll take a closer look at the system.

It appears that OncologySTAT permits registration by any type of user. As noted previously, it gathers fairly detailed registration information.

Is it an open access system? Let's look at it from the point of view of Peter Suber's' Open Access Overview. The barrier of registration exists, but the system removes price barriers. Since it doesn't change the underlying copyright terms of the included journals, it doesn’t remove permission barriers. However, as Suber states:

While removing price barriers without removing permission barriers is not enough for full OA under the BBB definition [see this explanation], there's no doubt that price barriers constitute the bulk of the problem for which OA is the solution. Removing price barriers alone will give most OA proponents most of what they want and need.

Moreover, some major open access advocates, such as Stevan Harnad, argue that free access is sufficient.

How is OncologySTAT funded? Here's an excerpt from the About OncologySTAT page:

OncologySTAT is commercially supported by online advertising, sponsorship, and educational grants. Individual access to OncologySTAT is free, based on users registering with the site.

The Advertise page offers a more detailed description of advertising options:

OncologySTAT offers an array of online advertising and sponsorship opportunities including:

  • Run-of-Site Online Advertising
  • Targeted Online Advertising: Behavioral, Contextual or Keyword
  • E-Newsletters: OncologySTAT InfoBLAST weekly e-newsletter
  • 27 Cancer-Type Sponsorships (Breast, Lung, Prostate, etc)
  • Banners, Spotlights, Skyscrapers, Keyword Search
  • iPanels – Interactive expandable ad units
  • Section and Content Sponsorship (Video, Chemotherapy Regimens, Article Downloads, etc.)
  • MicroSites: custom branded content/advertorial
  • Interactive live and on-demand Webinars

Here's what Suber says about ways that open access journals can be funded (italics added):

OA journals pay their bills very much the way broadcast television and radio stations do: those with an interest in disseminating the content pay the production costs upfront so that access can be free of charge for everyone with the right equipment. Sometimes this means that journals have a subsidy from the hosting university or professional society. Sometimes it means that journals charge a processing fee on accepted articles, to be paid by the author or the author's sponsor (employer, funding agency). OA journals that charge processing fees usually waive them in cases of economic hardship. OA journals with institutional subsidies tend to charge no processing fees. OA journals can get by on lower subsidies or fees if they have income from other publications, advertising, priced add-ons, or auxiliary services.

OncologySTAT is unusual in that the journals it covers also remain available under free-based, restricted-use licenses and as print subscriptions. However, if anyone can obtain free access though registration, is this a significant issue or an artifact of an older business model?

It appears that OncologySTAT is a limited open access experiment embedded in a larger conventional fee-based, restricted-access publishing model.

It will be interesting to see how OncologySTAT affects library subscriptions to these expensive medical journals. Cancellation decisions will be influenced by how permanent OncologySTAT appears to be: it will be more tempting to cancel subscriptions if the system shifts into a more permanent mode. Since there appears to be no change in underlying digital preservation arrangements, cancellation decisions will also be affected by how strongly libraries are committed to the long-term access to and preservation of these journals vs. short-term access to them. An immediate, massive rush to cancellation doesn't seem highly probable, and consequently OncologySTAT is more likely to add revenue than subtract it.

Elsevier Experiments with Free, Ad-Sponsored Access for Oncologists

Reed Elsevier has launched OncologySTAT, which offers oncologists free access to its medical journals in exchange for registration. Users will also have access to summaries of relevant research published elsewhere. Elsevier plans to support the service with online ads and the sale of mailing lists.

Here's an excerpt from "A Medical Publisher’s Unusual Prescription: Online Ads":

. . . Reed Elsevier executives hope that OncologySTAT.com users will be an attractive target for advertisers, providing a model for an array of portals they could set up for health care professionals. Future sites may focus on specialties like neurology, psychiatry, cardiology and infectious diseases, company officials said. . . .

Monique Fayad, an Elsevier senior vice president, said the total online advertising market was growing “in double digits” and added, “We expect it will be a $1 billion opportunity within the next two years.” . . .

Source: Freudenheim, Milt. "A Medical Publisher’s Unusual Prescription: Online Ads" The New York Times, 10 September 2007, C1, C5.

PRISM Controversy Recap

While the Association of American Publishers' Partnership for Research Integrity in Science and Medicine (PRISM) initiative didn't get a warm welcome from library and open access bloggers, it certainly got a heated one.

Peter Suber has pointed out a few of the more incisive responses: "Andrew Leonard on PRISM," "Has PRISM Violated Copyright?," "John Blossom on PRISM," "More Comments on PRISM [1]," "More Comments on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [1]," "More on PRISM [2]," "More on PRISM [3]," "More on PRISM [4]," "Much More on PRISM," and "Stevan Harnad on PRISM." As usual, Suber's own analysis is one of the most cogent: "Publishers Launch an Anti-OA Lobbying Organization." Matt Hodgkinson's post, "PRISM Are Scum," offers another link roundup. Rick Anderson, a frequent critic of the open access movement, disclaimed any affiliation with PRISM in a 8/30/07 liblicense-l message after the organization included his "Open Access: Clear Benefits, Hidden Costs" paper in its In the News: Articles page.

Jonathan A. Eisen, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California at Davis, said the following in his "Calling for a Boycott of AAP—Association of American Publishers" posting:

I think academics and the public need to fight back against this attempt to mislead the public about the issues surrounding Open Access publishing. And one way to fight back is to recommend that the members of AAP drop out or request termination of the PRISM effort. So here is a list (see below for the full list) with links of the members of AAP. If you are involved or have connections to any of these groups, consider writing or calling them and suggesting they reconsider involvement in AAP. Look, for example at all the University presses. If they do not back out of PRISM we should consider launching a boycott of AAP members.

So far, no official PRISM response to this tsunami of criticism that I'm aware of.

Google Scholar Digitization Program

According to the article "Changes at Google Scholar: A Conversation with Anurag Acharya," Google Scholar has begun a small-scale, targeted journal digitization effort.

Here's a quote from the article:

Representing another effort to reach currently inaccessible content, Google Scholar now has its own digitization program. “It’s a small program,” said Acharya. “We mainly look for journals that would otherwise never get digitized. Under our proposal, we will digitize and host journal articles with the provision that they must be openly reachable in collaboration with publishers, fully downloadable, and fully readable. Once you get out of the U.S. and Western European space into the rest of the world, the opportunities to get and digitize research are very limited. They are often grateful for the help. It gives us the opportunity to get that country’s material or make that scholarly society more visible.”

Source: Quint, Barbara. "Changes at Google Scholar: A Conversation with Anurag Acharya." NewsBreaks 27 August 2007.

Athabasca University Establishes AU Press, an Open Access Publisher

Athabasca University has established AU Press, which will publish open access books, journals, and other digital publications.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

AU Press, Canada’s first 21st century university press, is dedicated to disseminating knowledge emanating from scholarly research to a broad audience through open access digital media and in a variety of formats (e.g., journals, monographs, author podcasts).

Our publications are of the highest quality and are assessed by peer review; however, we are dedicated to working with emerging writers and researchers to promote success in scholarly publishing.

Our geographical focus is Canada, the West, and the Circumpolar North, and we are mandated to publish innovative and experimental works that challenge the limits of established canons, subjects and formats. Series under development in several subject areas will promote and contribute to specific academic disciplines, and we aim to revitalize neglected forms such as diary, memoir and oral history.

At AU Press, we also publish scholarly websites with a particular focus on distance education and e-learning, labour studies, Métis and Aboriginal studies, gender studies and the environment.

SPARC Canadian Author Addendum

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) and SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have released the SPARC Canadian Author Addendum.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Traditional publishing agreements often require that authors grant exclusive rights to the publisher. The new SPARC Canadian Author Addendum enables authors to secure a more balanced agreement by retaining select rights, such as the rights to reproduce, reuse, and publicly present the articles they publish for non-commercial purposes. It will help Canadian researchers to comply with granting council public access policies, such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Policy on Access to Research Outputs. The Canadian Addendum reflects Canadian copyright law and is an adaptation of the original U.S. version of the SPARC Author Addendum. . . .

An explanatory brochure complements the Addendum. Both the brochure and addendum are available in French and English on the CARL and SPARC Web sites and will be widely distributed. SPARC, in conjunction with ARL and ACRL, has also introduced a free Web cast on Understanding Author Rights. See http://www.arl.org/sparc/author for details.

BioMed Central Replies to Yale

On Sunday, DigitalKoans reported that Yale had canceled its BioMed Central membership. Today, BioMed Central has replied to the Yale posting about that decision.

Here's an excerpt from the BioMed Central posting:

The main concern expressed in the library's announcement is that the amount payable to cover the cost of publications by Yale researchers in BioMed Central's journals has increased significantly, year on year. Looking at the rapid growth of BioMed Central's journals, it is not difficult to see why that is the case. BioMed Central's success means that more and more researchers (from Yale and elsewhere) are submitting to our journals each year.


An increase in the number of open access articles being submitted and going on to be published does lead to an increase in the total cost of the open access publishing service provided by BioMed Central, but the cost per article published in BioMed Central's journals represents excellent value compared to other publishers.

The Yale library announcement notes that it paid $31,625 to cover the cost of publication in BioMed Central's journals by their authors in 2006, and that the anticipated cost in 2007 will be higher. But to put this into context, according to the Association of Research Library statistics, Yale spent more than $7m on serial subscriptions. Nonetheless, we do recognize that library budgets are very tight and that supporting the rapid growth of open access publishing out of library budgets alone may not be possible. . . .

If library budgets were the only source of funding to cover the cost of open access publication, this would be a significant obstacle. Fortunately, however, there are other sources of funding that are helping to accelerate the transition to open access. . . .

The Wellcome Trust report estimated that on average the cost associated with publishing a peer-reviewed research article is less than $3000, and further estimated that this represented only 1-2% of the typical investment by a funder in carrying out the research that led to the article. It is not surprising therefore, that major biomedical research funders such as NIH and HHMI now encourage open access publication, and are willing to provide financial support for it. BioMed Central's list of biomedical funder open access policies provides further information.

Authors may, of course, pay articles from their own grant funds, and around half of articles published in BioMed Central journals are indeed paid for in this way. However, relying on authors to pay for the cost of open access publication themselves puts open access journals at a significant disadvantage compared to traditional journals, which are supported centrally through library budgets, and so are often perceived to be 'free' by authors.

That is why BioMed Central introduced its institutional membership scheme, which allows institutions to centrally support the dissemination of open access research in the same way that they centrally support subscription journals, thereby creating a 'level playing field'.

In order to ensure that funding of open access publication is sustainable, we have encouraged institutions to set aside a small fraction of the indirect funding contribution that they receive from funders to create a central open access fund.

Over the last several months, BioMed Central has hosted workshops on the issue of sustainable funding for open access at the UK's Association of Research Manager's and Administrators annual conference and at the Medical Library Association's meeting in Philadelphia [see report]. Further such workshops are planned.

In this way, by helping research funders, administrators, VPs of research and librarians to work together to provide sustainable funding channels for open access, we aim to "provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options", as called for in statement fromYale's library. . . .

We look forward to working with librarians and research administrators at Yale to develop a solution that will make it as easy as possible for Yale's researchers to continue publish their open access research articles in BioMed Central's journals.

ACRL Recommends Next Steps for Supporting NIH Mandate

As reported on DigitalKoans previously, the House passed H. R. 3043, which includes the NIH deposit mandate.

ACRL has some suggestions about follow-up actions that supporters of the mandate can take as the battle moves to the Senate.

Here’s an excerpt from ACRL Legislative Update:

  1. Send a thank you note if your Representative voted yes to pass the House appropriations bill (check the roll call). Your legislators want to hear from you and need to know they did the right thing.
  2. Contact both of your Senators during August. While a phone call, e-mail or fax would work, consider taking advantage of the fact that they are home for the August recess. Make a visit to the local district office or invite your Senators to visit your library. Urge them to maintain the language put forth by the Senate appropriations committee on the NIH public access policy. Find talking points and contact info in the ALA Legislative Action Center.
  3. Ask library advocates in your state to talk to their Senators.
  4. Talk about this issue with leaders on your campus—your government relations office, library advisory committee, faculty senate—to enlist individual and institutional support.

Publisher Author Agreements

According to today's SHERPA/RoMEO statistics, 36% of the 308 included publishers are green ("can archive pre-print and post-print"), 24% are blue ("can archive post-print (i.e. final draft post-refereeing)"), 11% are yellow ("can archive pre-print (i.e. pre-refereeing)"), and 28% are white ("archiving not formally supported"). Looked at another way, 72% of the publishers permit some form of self-archiving.

These are certainly encouraging statistics, and publishers who permit any form of self-archiving should be applauded; however, leaving aside Creative Commons licenses and author agreements that have been crafted by SPARC and others to promote rights retention, publishers recently liberalized author agreements still raise issues that librarians and scholars should be aware of.

Looking deeper, there are publisher variations in terms of where e-prints can be self-archived. Typically, this might be some combination of the author's Website, institutional repository or Website, funding agency's server, or disciplinary archive. Some agreements allow deposit on any noncommercial or open access server. Restricting deposit to open access or noncommercial servers is perfectly legitimate in my view; more specific restrictions are, well, too restrictive. The problem arises when the agreement limits the author's deposit options to ones he or she doesn't have, such as only allowing deposit in an institutional repository when the author's institution doesn't have one or only allowing posting on an author's Website when the author doesn't have one.

Another issue is publisher requirements for authors to remove e-prints on publication, to modify e-prints after publication to reflect citation and publisher contact information, to replace e-prints with published versions, or to create their own versions of postprints. Low deposit rates in institutional repositories without institutional mandates suggest that anything that involves extra effort by authors is a deterrent to deposit. The above kinds of publisher requirements are likely to have equally low rates on compliance, resulting in deposited e-prints that do not conform to author agreements. To be effective, such requirements would have to be policed by publishers or digital repositories. Otherwise, they are meaningless and are best deleted from author agreements.

A final issue is retrospective deposit. We can think of the journal literature as an inverted pyramid, with the broad top being currently published articles and the bottom being the first published journal articles. The papers published since the emergence of author agreements that permit self-archiving are a significant resource; however, much of the literature precedes such agreements. The vast majority of these articles are under standard copyright transfer agreements, with publishers holding all rights. Consequently, it is very important that publishers clarify whether their relatively new self-archiving policies can be applied retroactively. Elsevier has done so:

When Elsevier changes its policies to enable greater academic use of journal materials (such as the changes several years ago in our web-posting policies) or to clarify the rights retained by journal authors, Elsevier is prepared to extend those rights retroactively with respect to articles published in journal issues produced prior to the policy change.

Elsevier is pleased to confirm that, unless explicitly noted to the contrary, all policies apply retrospectively to previously published journal content. If, after reviewing the material noted above, you have any questions about such rights, please contact Global Rights.

Unfortunately, many publishers have not clarified this issue. Under these conditions, whether authors can deposit preprints or author-created postprints hinges on whether these works are viewed as being different works from the publisher version, and, hence, owned by the authors. Although some open access advocates believe this to be the case, to my knowledge this has never been decided in a court of law. Michael Carroll, who is a professor at the Villanova University School of Law and a member of the Board of the Creative Commons, has said in an analysis of whether authors can put preprints of articles published using standard author agreements under Creative Commons licenses:

Although technically distinct, the copyrights in the pre-print and the post-print overlap. The important point to understand is that copyright grants the owner the right to control exact duplicates and versions that are "substantially similar" to the copyrighted work. (This is under U.S. law, but most other jurisdictions similarly define the scope of copyright).

A pre-print will normally be substantially similar to the post-print. Therefore, when an author transfers the exclusive rights in the work to a publisher, the author precludes herself from making copies or distributing copies of any substantially similar versions of the work as well.

Much progress has been made in the area of author agreements, but authors must still pay careful attention to the details of agreements, which vary considerably by publisher. The SHERPA/RoMEO—Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-Archiving database is a very useful and important tool and users should actively participate in refining this database; however, authors are well advised not to stop at the summary information presented here and to go to the agreement itself (if available). It would be very helpful if a set of standard author agreements that covered the major variations could be developed and put into use by the publishing industry.

Yale Cancels BioMed Central Membership

Except for current submissions, Yale’s Cushing/Whitney Medical and Kline Science Libraries have stopped funding author fees for Yale faculty who publish papers in BioMed Central journals. According to ARL statistics, the Yale spent $7,705,342 on serials in 2005-06, which raises the question: If Yale can’t afford to support BioMed Central, what academic library can?

Here’s an excerpt from the Yale posting:

The libraries’ BioMedCentral membership represented an opportunity to test the technical feasibility and the business model of this OA publisher. While the technology proved acceptable, the business model failed to provide a viable long-term revenue base built upon logical and scalable options. Instead, BioMedCentral has asked libraries for larger and larger contributions to subsidize their activities. Starting with 2005, BioMed Central page charges cost the libraries $4,658, comparable to a single biomedicine journal subscription. The cost of page charges for 2006 then jumped to $31,625. The page charges have continued to soar in 2007 with the libraries charged $29,635 through June 2007, with $34,965 in potential additional page charges in submission.

As we deal with unprecedented increases in electronic resources, we have had to make hard choices about which resources to keep. At this point we can no longer afford to support the BioMedCentral model.

(Thanks to Open Access News.)